Arts/Life

Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
8:23 am
Sat October 25, 2014

Not My Job: Brady Bunch's Florence Henderson Gets Quizzed On Weird Science

Katy Winn AP

Originally published on Sat October 25, 2014 10:45 am

For decades — during the original run and then countless reruns — Florence Henderson, who presided over the Brady Bunch, was America's perfect Mom.

We've invited Henderson to play a game called "They said you were mad at the Academy! Mad, I tell you!" In September, the Annals of Improbable Research handed out their annual Ig Nobel Awards for achievements in real, if ridiculous, research. We'll ask three questions about the far horizons of science.

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Book Reviews
8:03 am
Sat October 25, 2014

'Beautiful You' Makes Sex And Death Boring

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Doubleday

At first, I wanted to write this review of Chuck Palahniuk's new book, Beautiful You, as a letter. A lament, really, from a former fan and dedicated Palahniuk loyalist to the author who brought Fight Club to the page like he was writing in fire. Because I am a man, and because I was once a younger man, I loved Fight Club for its apocalyptic depiction of the wasteland of modern masculinity and its viciously smart skewering of consumer and service culture. I read Choke and liked it. Less than Fight Club, but still. Read Lullaby, too.

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Movie Interviews
5:59 am
Sat October 25, 2014

New Shakespeare Movie Puts Hamlet In Kashmir

Originally published on Sat October 25, 2014 9:02 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Author Interviews
5:52 am
Sat October 25, 2014

Novelist Nuruddin Farah: Facing A Blank Page Is 'Bravest Thing' A Writer Does

Nuruddin Farah is the author of 11 novels, including Maps, Gifts and Secrets. He is a professor of literature at Bard.
Riverhead

Nuruddin Farah's novel Hiding in Plain Sight centers around Bella, a Somali living in Rome, who has become a famed fashion photographer. Her beloved half-brother Aar, a UN official, is murdered by extremists in Mogadishu and leaves behind two teenagers who are Bella's niece and nephew.

Bella's a globetrotter, with tightly scheduled lovers and global obligations, but she feels drawn into their lives despite the opposition of Valerie — the mother who gave birth to the youngsters but left the family and doesn't know them.

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Music Interviews
5:52 am
Sat October 25, 2014

Music To Keep You On The Edge Of Your Seat

Originally published on Sat October 25, 2014 9:57 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Race
5:52 am
Sat October 25, 2014

Rare Silent Film Discovered With An All-Black Cast

Test
Museum of Modern Art

Originally published on Sat October 25, 2014 9:57 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Author Interviews
3:47 am
Sat October 25, 2014

The Life Of De Niro, From 'Mean Streets' To 'Meet The Parents'

Originally published on Sat October 25, 2014 5:52 am

Robert De Niro is one of the greatest actors of all time — period, no parenthesis or qualification, the kind of actor who creates icons like Travis Bickle, Jake LaMotta and James "Jimmy the Gent" Conway.

But for younger filmgoers today, this screen acting legend may be most familiar as a daft, cranky father in the Meet the Parents movies.

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Book Reviews
3:39 am
Sat October 25, 2014

'Heap House' Is A Treasure Of A Trash Tale

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Overlook

How do I even begin to talk about this exceptional, astonishing book?

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The Salt
3:36 am
Sat October 25, 2014

Tracing A Gin-Soaked Trail In London

A depiction of "Gin Lane," filled with sins caused by drunken revelries.
William Hogarth/Wikimedia

Originally published on Sat October 25, 2014 9:57 am

In Scotland, some long-time whisky makers are switching over to gin. In Germany, people who distill traditional brandies are doing the same. The world is in the middle of a gin distillery boom, and it is coming to America.

One place to find the roots of this boom is London, where 250 distilleries once existed in the city limits alone.

For Charles Maxwell, this story is personal. "My great-great-grandfather was apprenticed in the city of London in the 1680s to learn how to make gin," Maxwell says. "And from that day to this, we've distilled gin in London."

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This Week's Must Read
4:31 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

For The Midterm Elections, A Book On 'What It Takes' To Win

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 4:59 pm

In less than two weeks, Americans will go to the polls to vote in the midterm elections. At least, some of them will — about 40% of eligible voters, if past elections are any indication. This year's races have already made stars — some rising, some falling — out of Americans hoping to represent their states and districts.

Some, like Kansas Senate hopeful Greg Orman and Georgia governor candidate Jason Carter, may pull off surprising victories. Others, like Wendy Davis in the Texas governor race have seen their once bright lights fade.

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Author Interviews
2:33 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

40 Years Later, Diane Von Furstenberg's Wrap Dress Still Wears Well

Designer Diane Von Furstenberg has written a memoir called The Woman I Wanted to Be.
Larry Busacca Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 4:59 pm

Diane von Furstenberg was a young socialite when she first started showing her designs to New York boutiques and magazine editors in the late 1960s. The dresses she created weren't very expensive and they definitely weren't couture. They were wrap dresses — made of gentle jersey, gorgeously patterned, with a deep-cut V-neck and light belt.

"It's a dress that was practical and pretty and sexy," von Furstenberg tells NPR's Audie Cornish. It's been described, she says, as "a dress that you get the men with ... but he doesn't mind taking you to his mother."

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Television
2:23 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

TLC's 'Honey Boo Boo' Cancellation Shows Dangers Of Exploitative TV

June "Mama June" Shannon jokes with daughter Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson, star of TLC's unscripted series Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.
John Bazemore AP

Originally published on Sat October 25, 2014 6:33 am

It's easy to slip into gloating mode, now that cable channel TLC has finally canceled a show so many of us critics have hated for so long: Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

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Movie Reviews
2:11 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Alienating Leading Men: The Force Behind 'Listen Up Philip' And 'Majeure'

A 'controlled avalanche' gets out of control in Force Majeure.
Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 6:59 pm

Back in 1940, in a review of the then-new Rodgers & Hart musical Pal Joey, New York Times critic Brooks Atkinson famously asked whether a show with a "cad" for a hero could ever really work for audiences.

"How can you draw sweet water," he wondered, "from a foul well?"

Goes without saying that times have changed, what with antiheroes now common on the big screen, and cable TV celebrating everything from mobster Sopranos to sexist Mad Men, to drug dealers for whom everything always breaks Bad.

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Movie Reviews
1:10 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

'Citizenfour': A Paranoid Conspiracy Documentary About Edward Snowden

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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Author Interviews
1:10 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Patchett: In Bad Relationships, 'There Comes A Day When You Gotta Go'

Ann Patchett got married and divorced young. When she met the man who would eventually become her second husband she said: "I'll be true, I'll be faithful, I'll see you every day ... but I don't want to get married and I don't want to live together." Her new book is This Is The Story of a Happy Marriage.

Originally aired Jan. 23, 2014.

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The Two-Way
9:02 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Dallas Nurse Nina Pham, Now 'Ebola Free,' To Be Discharged Today

Nina Pham, 26, who became the first person to contract Ebola within the United States, is set to be released after testing free of the virus.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 9:18 am

Dallas Nurse Nina Pham, who became the first person to contract Ebola on U.S. soil while treating patient Thomas Eric Duncan, is now free of the virus and will be discharged from a special facility at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., the NIH says.

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Book Reviews
8:03 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Pursuing The Mafia Into All 'Four Corners' Of Palermo

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Other Press

Drive on highway E90 out of the Sicilian town of Palermo towards the airport and you pass a tall, orange memorial on the highway dedicated to the anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone; he was killed by a massive bomb blast when traveling on that highway in 1992.

Falcone and his fellow judge Paolo Borsellino are perhaps the most famous of those gunned down by the Sicilian mafia during its brutal war with the Italian state in the 80s and 90s.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Fri October 24, 2014

'Rebellion' Charts A Tumultuous, Formative Century

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Thomas Dunne Books

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 12:40 pm

The 17th century was one of the most radical periods in all of English history. It was an era of enormous change, upheaval and debate, and extreme violence, which saw the evolution of the modern British state as we know it today.

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Movie Reviews
3:21 am
Fri October 24, 2014

James Brown On Film: An Admiring And Unflinching Look At 'Mr. Dynamite'

James Brown performs onstage at the TAMI Show on December 29, 1964 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in California.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 25, 2014 10:36 am

Eight years after his death, James Brown is suddenly everywhere.

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Code Switch
2:53 am
Fri October 24, 2014

A Tale Of Asian Gangs Unleashed In 'Green Dragons' Film

Paul Wong (Harry Shum, Jr.) leads the Green Dragons, a young, Asian-American gang that trafficked Chinese immigrants into the U.S. with help from the so-called "Snakehead Mama" (Eugenia Yuan).
Courtesy of A24

Originally published on Sat October 25, 2014 6:00 am

Thousands of Chinese immigrants took to the seas in the 1980s and 1990s. Many stowed away on cargo ships, spending months on voyages to America organized by Chinese-American gangs in New York.

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Movie Reviews
2:53 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Message From Documentary 'Citizenfour': Be Afraid (Of Surveillance)

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 5:03 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A new documentary, "Citizenfour" takes us, the audience, inside one of the biggest new stories of the past few years. Kenneth Turan has this view.

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Movie Reviews
12:03 am
Fri October 24, 2014

'Life Of Riley,' Alain Resnais' Final Film, Bids A Sunny Adieu

Hippolyte Girardot and Sabine Azéma play spouses in Life of Riley.
Kino Lorber

There are as many mysteries in Alain Resnais' final film, Life of Riley, as there are in the movies that made his reputation almost 60 years ago. But where Hiroshima, Mon Amour and Last Year at Marienbad were shadowed by history, this sunny adieu is set in a series of make-believe gardens.

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Movie Reviews
12:03 am
Fri October 24, 2014

'Citizenfour' Follows The Snowden Story Without (Much) Grandstanding

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Radius/TWC

As a filmmaker, Laura Poitras is not a grandstander.

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Movie Reviews
12:03 am
Fri October 24, 2014

'The Heart Machine' Finds Subtlety In The Perils Of Online Dating

In The Heart Machine, John Gallagher Jr. plays a man who begins to suspect that his long-distance girlfriend actually lives nearby.
FilmBuff

The Heart Machine is Zachary Wigon's debut feature — a point worth mentioning up top, because the film exhibits the kind of patience, good judgment and restraint that normally requires careful cultivation.

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Movie Reviews
12:03 am
Fri October 24, 2014

In 'Force Majeure,' Society Crumbles Under An Avalanche

Force Majeure follows the aftermath of a split-second decision made by a father during an avalanche.
Magnolia Pictures

Off to the side of the wickedly funny Swedish black comedy Force Majeure lurks a minor but significant figure with a sour, slightly saturnine face. The man is a cleaner in a fancy French Alps ski hotel and he hardly says a word. But his wordless hovering inspires dread, nervous laughter or both. Which pretty much sums up Force Majeure's adroit shifts of tone, and quite possibly its director's take on the ways of the hip urban bourgeoisie.

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Book Reviews
12:06 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

You'll Want To Accept The Dinner Invitation To 'The Immortal Evening'

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Our book critic, Maureen Corrigan, says a new book about an almost 200-year-old dinner party serves up plenty of food for thought. Here is her review.

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Food
11:30 am
Thu October 23, 2014

'Test Kitchen': How To Buy The Safest Meat And Make The Juiciest Steaks

To make the best (and safest) burger, America's Test Kitchen recommends grinding the meat at home and packing it loosely.
Courtesy of America's Test Kitchen

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 12:10 pm

When shopping for meat, sometimes the options can be dizzying — what's the difference between an organic, free-range or air-chilled chicken? The Cook's Illustrated Meat Book offers insights.

It's about how to shop for, store, season and cook meat and poultry — and how to prevent contaminating your kitchen with bacteria from the raw meat.

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Book Reviews
8:03 am
Thu October 23, 2014

'Season Of The Witch' Shines A (Black)Light On The Occult In Rock

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Tarcher

Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 8:42 am

Rock 'n' roll was built on rebellion, but too often today, that's about as deep as the conversation goes — especially now that rock is so completely woven into the mainstream, it's hard to imagine a time when it wasn't pop-culture wallpaper.

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Ask Me Another
7:55 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Celebrity Wedding Announcements

How do you make a celebrity marriage work? We think it's all in the name. Imagine nuptials between two celebs whose paired surnames create a phrase: Keith Urban plus John Legend = Urban-Legend!

Heard in Episode 329: Lake Street Dive Bar Trivia

Ask Me Another
7:55 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Accentuate The Positive

Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 8:46 am

What do Beyoncé, André the Giant, and a soufflé have in common? Why, the accents in their names, bien sûr! The answers in this final round will be words, names, or phrases containing an accent.

Heard in Episode 329: Lake Street Dive Bar Trivia

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