Arts/Life

Monkey See
2:21 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

On Television, More Transgender Characters Come Into Focus

Laverne Cox plays Sophia on Netflix's Orange Is The New Black, one of several current shows exploring the lives of transgender characters.
Paul Schiraldi Netflix

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 3:24 pm

Over the past year or so, I've looked at how TV's expanding universe represents gays and lesbians and working women. This piece about transgender representation feels like an important part of the same project.

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Bonus Round: Ask Me Another
12:46 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Household Words: Shakespeare's Enduring Lexicon

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In 1964, for Shakespeare's 400th birthday, The Beatles performed an excerpt from A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Roger Jackson Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 4:18 pm

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NPR Story
12:44 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Seth Meyers' 'Late Night' Challenge: What To Do With His Hands

Seth Meyers hosts the premiere of his talk show, Late Night with Seth Meyers, in February. "The trickiest part of this job the first week was just figuring out what to do with my hands," says Meyers, who was used to holding a microphone during standup. Remembering that he had pockets was key.
Peter Kramer AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 2:32 pm

Seth Meyers already had his dream job. As the host of Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update, "I sort of had already accomplished the job I never thought I would accomplish," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. He joined the cast in 2001 and was there for 12 years.

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Music
9:23 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Yaya Alafia's Songs Of Strength For Her Baby Boy

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 10:24 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Finally today, let's hear from a model and actress who also has Nigerian roots, Yaya Alafia. Last year was a breakout year for her with meaty roles in critically acclaimed films including Lee Daniels' "The Butler" and Andrew Dosunmu's "Mother of George." And she had a baby.

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Kitchen Window
6:58 am
Wed April 23, 2014

In Tasmania, A Food Bounty As Spectacular As The Scenery

Laura B. Weiss

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 1:01 pm

Have you seen the devil?

When you've been to Tasmania — or Tassie, as the Aussies call it — that's what everyone wants to know.

Sure, the Tasmanian devil, a squat, foul-smelling animal with a ferocious screech, has helped put the 26,000-square-mile island (roughly the size of West Virginia ) on the map.

But there's a lot more to Tassie than its infamous marsupial. And a lot of it is ace tucker — that's Aussie slang for good food.

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Monkey See
6:47 am
Wed April 23, 2014

What Do 'The Simpsons' Look Like In Lego?

The Simpsons enters the world of Lego in the upcoming episode "Brick Like Me."
Fox

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 7:26 am

Fox has started to release images of the Simpsons from the upcoming episode "Brick Like Me," which is — get this — the 550th episode. That means you could watch a different episode of The Simpsons every day for roughly a year and a half, weekends and weekdays, before you ran out of new ones.

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The Two-Way
6:10 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Book News: Gabriel García Márquez Left An Unpublished Manuscript

Writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who won the Nobel Prize in 1982, died last week at age 87.
Paco Junquera Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 9:17 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Better (?) Living Through Chemistry In 'Afterparty'

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 5:44 am

The question you have to ask yourself is, how juicy do you like your science fiction?

And I mean that in terms of a spectrum. To me, classic space operas are saltines — dusty and dry and fit only as a calmative after a long binge of weirder, more foreign flavors. William Gibson? He's ... moist. Rudy Rucker is a juicy peach. Paul Di Filippo is that same peach, a week gone and with a tooth stuck in it.

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Theater
2:34 am
Wed April 23, 2014

As Shakespeare Turns 450, 'Hamlet' Tour Makes The World A Stage

The theater troupe is kicking off its Hamlet tour with three performances at Shakespeare's Globe Theater in London.
Alastair Grant AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 8:51 am

No one knows the exact date of William Shakespeare's birth, but devotees have adopted April 23 as the day to celebrate — and this year, the man from Stratford turns 450.

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Book Reviews
2:16 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Book Review: 'In Praise Of Hatred'

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 4:38 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

In Syria, the 1980s were marked by a bloody civil war between the Sunni majority and the minority Alawite Muslim government. That's now the setting for a novel titled "In Praise of Hatred." It's by Syrian writer Khaled Khalifa. It's now available in the United States and a translation by Larry Price. And Alan Cheuse has our review.

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Television
2:06 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

'Inside Amy Schumer,' Some Surprising Commentary

Inside Amy Schumer showcases the work of Schumer, here with Deborah Rush.
Matt Peyton Comedy Central

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 4:38 pm

No one can send up sexism with a punch line quite like Amy Schumer.

"A lot of the women's magazines are supposed to, like, be confidence building, but they really just scare ... you so you buy the products in them," she says in one stand-up routine. "Like, they all will put Jessica Alba or somebody like that on the cover. And she's supersexualized no matter what magazine. ... And you're like, 'Good Housekeeping?' "

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Author Interviews
1:51 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

'Forcing The Spring' Tells One Chapter In Story Of Marriage Equality

In her new book, Forcing the Spring, investigative reporter Jo Becker goes behind the scenes in the fight for marriage equality. Above, Eric Breese of Rochester, N.Y., joins hundreds of others to rally outside the Supreme Court during oral arguments in a case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act on March 27, 2013.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 3:34 pm

In her new book, Forcing the Spring, investigative reporter Jo Becker tells the behind-the-scenes story of an important chapter in the fight for marriage equality. She embedded with the team that challenged Proposition 8 — the 2008 anti-gay-marriage California ballot initiative that called for amending the state constitution to say that the state would only recognize marriage between a man and a woman.

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Music
10:36 am
Tue April 22, 2014

'Cuddly Toy' On Nonstop Rotation For Margaret Cho

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now, the regular feature we call In Your Ear. That's where we invite some of our guest to tell us about the songs on their playlists. We caught up with entertainer Margaret Cho during her latest comedy tour. And she gave us a few of her favorite tunes.

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#TMMPoetry: Muses and Metaphor
10:36 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Waxing Poetic About Politics And Jimmy Choos

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now it's time for Muses and Metaphor. That's our ode to National Poetry Month. All through April we are featuring original tweet-length poems, 140 characters or less, delivered by Twitter and written by NPR listeners and, new this year, some of our regular contributors.

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The Two-Way
6:21 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Book News: Ex-Supreme Court Justice Wants 6 Changes To Constitution

Former Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, pictured in 2013, has a laundry list of legal changes he'd like to see and thinks "ultimately each will be adopted."
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue April 22, 2014

'Chameleon Club' Takes On Too Many Colors

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 12:10 pm

The narrators of Francine Prose's novel Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 are not to be trusted. In describing the life of Lou Villars, French racecar driver, cross dresser and Gestapo torturer, Prose tells a complex story about the malleability of truth when everybody is a collaborator.

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Book News & Features
5:01 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Exclusive First Read: Colson Whitehead's 'The Noble Hustle'

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 9:22 am

In the annals of great first lines, The Noble Hustle's ranks near the top: "I have a good poker face," Colson Whitehead writes, "because I am half dead inside." Hustle is a gritty, grimly funny — and seriously self-deprecating — account of Whitehead's adventures in poker, from home games to seedy $2 tables in Atlantic City and finally a trip to Las Vegas to play in the World Series of Poker — with a few detours for beef jerky, and a discourse on Anhedonia, his gloomy spiritual homeland.

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Book Reviews
4:02 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

The Tawdry Ballad Of A Man, A Casino And A Game Of Chance

Courtesy of Hogarth

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 5:26 pm

Millionaire Chinese gamblers, high-class Mongolian escorts, drunken Englishmen — these are the kind of characters who populate Lawrence Osborne's hypnotic new novel, The Ballad of a Small Player. Set in the hotels and casinos of Macau, a former Portuguese colony where ostentatious 21st century glamour meets the faded charms of old Asia, the novel traces the trajectory of a compulsive gambler, the self-styled "Lord" Doyle, a man who seems addicted to failure. "Everyone knows that you are not a real player until you secretly prefer losing," he asserts at the beginning of the novel.

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Pop Culture
12:14 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

For Comic Hari Kondabolu, Explaining The Joke IS The Joke

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Comic Hari Kondabolu's album Waiting for 2042 is a reference to the year the Census Bureau projects whites will be the minority in the U.S. "Don't worry, white people," he says. "You were a minority when you came to this country. Things seemed to have worked out for you."
Kyle Johnson

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 2:23 pm

At first, Hari Kondabolu's comedy was mostly about catharsis: "I was doing some work in detention centers and meeting families who had family members who were going to be deported," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It was really powerful work ... but it was incredibly hard and performing at night was a relief. It was cathartic. It was just a way to get things out."

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Music
10:27 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Library Of Congress, How Could You Forget Run-DMC?

Rap group Run-DMC at the second annual MTV Video Music Awards. Does the group belong in the Library of Congress?
Suriani AP

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 3:53 pm

Rap and hip-hop have been around for decades and have become one of America's most successful cultural exports.

But when the Library of Congress added new recordings to its national registry this year, none of them were hip-hop.

Tell Me More guest host Celeste Headlee discusses that with William Boone, professor in the English and African-American studies department at Winston-Salem State University. He says that hip-hop artists are used to being overlooked by the powers that be.

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Monkey See
7:22 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Shirley, This Is The Dawn Of A New 'Mad Men'

Teyonah Parris as Dawn Chambers, whose future changed quite a bit on Sunday night's Mad Men.
Jordin Althaus AMC

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 8:33 am

[This post discusses the plot of Sunday night's episode.]

Once Mad Men moved into the early-middle part of the 1960s, people began to ask an increasingly urgent question: Where was the civil rights movement? Where were the black people? Was Sterling Cooper (Draper Pryce) (And Partners) really so sheltered that race barely touched its tiny world?

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The Two-Way
5:34 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Book News: 'Rabbit-Proof Fence' Author Doris Pilkington Garimara Dies

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Author Interviews
3:00 pm
Sun April 20, 2014

Far From 'Infinitesimal': A Mathematical Paradox's Role In History

The 17th-century rivalry between English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, left, and English mathematician John Wallis lasted decades.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Sun April 20, 2014 4:43 pm

Here's a stumper: How many parts can you divide a line into?

It seems like a simple question. You can cut it in half. Then you can cut those lines in half, then cut those lines in half again. Just how many parts can you make? A hundred? A billion? Why not more?

You can keep on dividing forever, so every line has an infinite amount of parts. But how long are those parts? If they're anything greater than zero, then the line would seem to be infinitely long. And if they're zero, well, then no matter how many parts there are, the length of the line would still be zero.

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Monkey See
11:11 am
Sun April 20, 2014

From 'Field Of Dreams' To 'Draft Day': Who Cares About The Front Office?

Kevin Costner warms up to pitch in the 1989 film Field Of Dreams.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 9:23 am

Sports movies were powerful once. In the '80s and '90s, there were hits about football, baseball, basketball, hockey, boxing, karate – and they were movies about teams and players and coaches, not scouts and executives.

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Food
6:07 am
Sun April 20, 2014

Soup to Nuts, Restaurants Smoke It All

Originally published on Sun April 20, 2014 9:53 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

So you thought smoking in restaurants was out. Well, you are right, of course. Smoking cigarettes in restaurants and bars is definitely taboo, but another kind of smoking is pretty popular in the culinary scene these days. WEEKEND EDITION food commentator Bonny Wolf tells us more.

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Author Interviews
6:07 am
Sun April 20, 2014

BBC Icon Finds Children's Adventure In An Element Hunter

Originally published on Sun April 20, 2014 9:53 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In the UK, Simon Mayo is a household name. Countless people grew up listening to him as the breakfast show host of BBC Radio One and BBC Radio 5 Live, where he was on air during 9/11. He still broadcasts a daily show for the B, but has in the last few years turned his hand to writing. The second book in his children's series is called "Itch Rocks." It is out now in the United States. And he joins us from our studios in London. Mr. Mayo, thanks so much for being with us.

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Movie Reviews
6:07 am
Sun April 20, 2014

Woody Allen's 'Fading Gigolo' Full Of Loneliness And Longing

Originally published on Sun April 20, 2014 9:53 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Actor John Turturro is known for his work in films like "Quiz Show" and "The Big Lebowski." With his long face and hang-dog look, he's probably not what you'd call a matinee idol. But he went ahead and cast himself as the title character in his new movie, "Fading Gigolo." And he cast Woody Allen as his pimp. Critic Bob Mondello says it's easy to imagine ways this concept might go terribly wrong, but it doesn't.

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Book News & Features
6:07 am
Sun April 20, 2014

'Traveling Pants' Author Tries Traveling In Time

Author Ann Brashares became a young adult superstar more than a decade ago with the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, a feel-good series of books about the adventures of four best friends and a really great pair of jeans. It was eventually made into a couple of movies.

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Author Interviews
6:07 am
Sun April 20, 2014

Exploring The Secret History Of The Cubicle

Originally published on Sun April 20, 2014 9:53 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now to a topic you may be intimately familiar with, the office - the paperwork, the cubicles, the potentially awkward social dynamic. It is an almost universal experience that's been baked into our pop-culture, like in the movie "Office Space."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "OFFICE SPACE")

GARY COLE: (As Bill Lumbergh) Hello, Peter. What's happening? Uh, we have sort of a problem here. Yeah, you apparently didn't put one of the new cover sheets on your TPS reports.

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Three Books...
3:11 am
Sun April 20, 2014

All Grown Up? Three Books About The Mystery Of Coming Of Age

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 12:42 pm

Some books have a subject so timeless as to be almost mythic — it's as though these stories are reinvented each time a new book appears, since the subject is right at the heart of what it means to be human. Coming of age books, if they are any good, have this mythic quality. Here are three that are at the top of the scale.

What does it mean to grow up? And why are adults so fascinated by this transition from the innocent to the knowledgeable?

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