Arts/Life

Author Interviews
3:22 pm
Sun December 28, 2014

From Her Dad To Her 'Jamish' Roots, A Poet Pieces Her Story Together

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 4:02 pm

Growing up in 1970s England, Salena Godden stood out. Her mother was Jamaican and her father was an Irish jazz musician who mysteriously disappeared from her life when she was very young.

In her memoir, Springfield Road, the writer, poet and musician tells the story of finding her personal identity, beginning with the word she made up to describe her race: Jamish.

"It's kind of ... a mix of being Jamaican, Irish, English," she tells NPR's Arun Rath. "It's the name I gave myself."

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Food
7:40 am
Sun December 28, 2014

A Cuppa Matcha With Your Crickets? On The Menu In 2015

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 9:07 am

It's time to set the table for 2015. What will be the next kale? Has the cupcake breathed its last?

We're headed for high times. As states legalize marijuana, cannabis comestibles are coming. Pot brownies — so 1960s — are joined by marijuana mac 'n' cheese and pot pesto. There's a new cooking show called Bong Appetit.

Another crushed leaf is this year's super drink. Matcha is made from green tea and promises a calmer energy boost than Red Bull. The Japanese have been drinking it for centuries.

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Movie Interviews
5:39 am
Sun December 28, 2014

Director: 'The Interview' Is A Case Of Accidental Irony

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 9:07 am

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

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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Race
5:39 am
Sun December 28, 2014

'Selma' Tells The Civil Rights Story Through Black Eyes

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 9:07 am

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

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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Author Interviews
5:39 am
Sun December 28, 2014

Jamie Oliver, Up To His Elbows In Mashed Potatoes With 'Comfort Food'

Holly Farrell ABC-TV

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 9:07 am

Jamie Oliver is a food superstar — he's produced and presented hugely popular TV programs on cooking, notably The Naked Chef and more recently Jamie's Food Revolution. He's written more than a dozen cookbooks, many to accompany the TV shows. He's written about English food, Italian food, fast food, American food, school food and has campaigned for a healthier diet for kids, built around introducing children to a wider range of things to eat — including the dreaded vegetables.

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Book News & Features
5:03 am
Sun December 28, 2014

The Enduring Life Of Lit Mags: We'll Always Have (The) Paris (Review)

promo crop
iStockphoto.com

This month, Canadian literary journal Descant — which published new work from authors like Margaret Atwood and Isabel Allende — announced it will be closing up shop after 44 years.

"After long and painful negotiations and deliberations for four years," wrote Editor-in-Chief Karen Mulhallen, "we have jointly decided that Descant magazine in its present form is no longer sustainable."

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Author Interviews
3:38 am
Sun December 28, 2014

Novel Gives Voice To Virginia Woolf's Overshadowed Sister

Unlike her sister, Vanessa Bell, seen here circa 1910, didn't keep a journal. "Her voice is largely unheard and I was really interested in that," Priya Parmar says.
George C. Beresford Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 9:07 am

In the winter of 1905, in the London neighborhood of Bloomsbury, a group of friends began meeting for drinks and conversation that lasted late into the night. The friends – writers like Lytton Strachey, artists like Roger Fry and thinkers like economist John Maynard Keynes — continued to meet almost weekly for many years. Eventually, they came to be known as the Bloomsbury Group.

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History
3:34 am
Sun December 28, 2014

Before The Internet, Librarians Would 'Answer Everything' — And Still Do

New York Public Library

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 9:07 am

Before Google there was — that paragon of accuracy and calm — the librarian. The New York Public Library recently came upon a box of questions posed to the library from the 1940s to the '80s — a time capsule from an era when humans consulted other humans for answers to their daily questions and conundrums.

Here's one salacious example: "I went to a New Year's Eve Party and unexpectedly stayed over. I don't really know the hosts. Ought I to send a thank-you note?" asked a "somewhat uncertain female voice" during a mid-afternoon telephone call on New Year's Day, 1967.

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Author Interviews
3:45 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

Comedian Andrea Martin: 'I Don't Think Age Has Anything To Do With It'

Comedian Andrea Martin performs at New York's 54 Below in 2012. She published her memoir Lady Parts in September.
Michael Loccisano Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 4:54 pm

In her memoir Lady Parts, comedy star Andrea Martin writes that in the 1970s, comedians weren't as easy to come by as they are now. "Comedians were much more rare," she tells NPR's Arun Rath. They were "like rock stars, really celebrated."

Over the course of her career, Martin has appeared on-stage and on screens both big and small — she won a Tony for her role in Pippin, performed in the films My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and stars in the NBC TV series Working the Engels.

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Code Switch
3:23 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

For Hollywood, 'Selma' Is A New Kind Of Civil Rights Story

Common plays James Bevel, Tessa Thompson plays Diane Nash, Lorraine Toussaint plays Amelia Boynton and Andre Holland plays Andrew Young in Ava DuVernay's Selma.
Atsushi Nishijima Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 4:54 pm

The movie Selma opened to high praise on Christmas Day — Variety says director Ava DuVernay delivers "a razor-sharp portrait of the civil rights movement." The film focuses on a 1965 voting rights march from Selma, Ala., to the state capital in Montgomery — a march remembered for the savage beatings participants sustained at the hands of both state and local police.

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Arts & Life
8:10 am
Sat December 27, 2014

One Man's Trash, Another Man's Fashion Brand

Javier Goyeneche contends that trash can be transformed into beautiful cloth — with a much higher percentage of recycled materials than found in most commercially popular recycled fabrics.
Courtesy of Javier Goyeneche/Ozy.com

Trying to save the world today can take on many forms. For Javier Goyeneche, a 44-year-old Spanish entrepreneur, it happens to involve trash — discarded tires, leftover coffee grounds, even old fishing nets from the sea. He's not just recycling them; he's using them to make a fashion statement.

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Author Interviews
5:46 am
Sat December 27, 2014

Author Explores Armenian Genocide 'Obsession' And Turkish Denial

Earlier this year, protestors in Los Angeles called for recognition of, and reparations for, the 1915 Armenian genocide executed by Ottoman Turks.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 9:10 am

Writer Meline Toumani grew up in a tight-knit Armenian community in New Jersey. There, identity centered on commemorating the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I, a history that's resulted in tense relations between Armenians and Turks to this day.

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Book News & Features
5:03 am
Sat December 27, 2014

All The Writers You Love Probably Love Dorothy Dunnett

iStockphoto.com

The old fiction room at my high school was a small box of wonders, and no matter how long I spent investigating its seven and a half overstuffed shelves, I never stopped discovering treasures. When I was sixteen, the shelf which held authors A through D divulged a small, yellowing paperback with a splashily romantic cover: a long-limbed blond man in Renaissance dress, gripping both a woman and a rapier. The title was The Game of Kings, its author was Dorothy Dunnett, and reading it was going to change my life.

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Author Interviews
4:32 am
Sat December 27, 2014

'The Bishop's Wife' Tracks A Killer In A Mormon Community

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 9:10 am

Writer Mette Ivie Harrison is no stranger to struggles of faith; she says she spent six years as an atheist within the Mormon church.

"It wasn't something that I talked about openly," she tells NPR's Eric Westervelt. "I lost my faith, and I felt like I had made a promise to my husband and my children that I would continue to participate in the Mormon church. So I kept going."

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Media
2:53 pm
Fri December 26, 2014

A Short List Of The Best 'Longform' Journalism Of 2014

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

This Week's Must Read
2:26 pm
Fri December 26, 2014

For Wintry Weather, An Especially Cold And Snowy Tale

It's my favorite of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales. It's also the strangest, and the one he wrote the fastest — in a rare burst of inspiration.

It's "The Snow Queen" — a tale that took just five days to create.

You can feel Andersen's excitement in the writing.

"All right! Now let's begin," he starts, "When we reach the end of the story, we'll know more than we know now, because there was an evil troll."

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The Two-Way
12:06 pm
Fri December 26, 2014

Book News: Egypt Bans Ridley Scott's 'Exodus' For 'Historical Inaccuracies'

Rameses (Joel Edgerton) and his wife Nefertari (Golshifteh Farahani) try to save their stricken child, a victim of one of the plagues, in Exodus: Gods And Kings.
Kerry Brown Twentieth Century Fox

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

When a book makes the leap from print to the big screen, it's not uncommon for filmmakers to take a few liberties with the adaptation. When that book is the Bible, however, those liberties can attract a bit more attention.

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Code Switch
7:03 am
Fri December 26, 2014

Sony Hack Reveals Hollywood's Acceptance Of White Privilege

The Rev. Al Sharpton (left) and Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, speak to reporters after they met with Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal on Dec. 18.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 11:00 pm

It is, perhaps, the worst nightmare for those of us constantly trying to get a white-dominated Hollywood to widen its doors of opportunity for people of color: All those executives who say the right things in public and give to the right causes, just might think something much less admirable about diversity behind closed doors.

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Monkey See
6:03 am
Fri December 26, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Into The Woods' And How To Make A Franchise

NPR

We at PCHH are not together this week for the holidays, as we are scattered hither and yon, literally from coast to coast. But before we scattered thusly, we sat down with our friend (and film critic and musical theater aficionado) Bob Mondello to talk about Disney's new adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Into The Woods, starring Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine and lots more.

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Europe
2:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

In Britain, A Christmas Tradition Of Slapstick And Silliness

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

The Salt
2:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

What Would Jesus Drink? A Class Exploring Ancient Wines Asks

An illustration depicts Jesus Christ transforming water into wine during the wedding at Cana (John 2:7).
Joseph Martin Kronheim Kean Collection/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 3:44 pm

Inside the Boston Wine School, Jonathon Alsop places empty glasses and plates of figs and cheese before a small group of students. Alsop, who founded the school in 2000, is doing a test run of a new class that poses the question: What would Jesus drink?

"This is ... a cheese that Jesus might have eaten," he tells students. "It's called Egyptian Roumy — it was a cheese that was introduced to the Egyptians by the Romans. It's a sheep's milk cheese."

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The Salt
2:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Why Bury Fig Trees? A Curious Tradition Preserves A Taste Of Italy

Michele Vaccaro buries a fig tree in the yard of Mary Menniti in Sewickley, Pa.
Hal Klein for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 4:01 pm

On a gray, chilly December morning in Sewickley, Pa., Michele Vaccaro and his assistant are digging a trench in a garden.

"It looks like we're burying somebody over here — a body," Vaccaro says.

Cast your old Godfather stereotypes aside, because this Calabrian immigrant is carrying on a much more wholesome tradition: He's burying a 12-foot fig tree.

"It's been done for years. Probably [since] the 1800s," he says, when Italians coming to America first started bringing fig trees over from the old country. "They would put them always in the ground."

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Found Recipes
2:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

After The Presents, A Buttery Tea Cake Tradition

Susan Tannewitz-Karnes grew up eating Mrs. Lawrence every Christmas. The tea cake was so beloved that Tannewitz-Karnes and her siblings would argue over who received more than their fair share.
Courtesy of Susan Tannewitz-Karnes

When listener Susan Tannewitz-Karnes was a child in Johnson City, Tenn., Christmas wasn't Christmas without an English tea cake baked by their neighbor, Mrs. Lawrence.

She would deliver it about a week before Christmas. "We would come home from school and my mother would just say, 'Mrs. Lawrence came by! We have Mrs. Lawrence!' And we'd say, 'Oh, yes! Yes!' We couldn't wait."

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The Salt
1:24 am
Thu December 25, 2014

A Punch Line In The U.S., Christmas Fruitcake Is Big In Calcutta

At Calcutta's famous New Market, vendors do brisk business in fruitcake as Christmas approaches.
Sandip Roy for NPR

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 5:00 am

Denzil Saldanha is over 80 but far from retired.

He takes orders on the phone, surrounded by workers, newspapers spread out in front of them, cutting slices of fruitcake with thick almond icing.

The family-run Saldanha Bakery and Confectionery is making 600,000 pounds of cake this Christmas. Denzil's daughter Debra Saldanha, who gave up banking to join the family business, says customers appreciate that it's all made to order.

"They get the smell of hot cake coming out of the oven and literally wafting in the air," she says.

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Movie Reviews
2:42 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

'Selma' Manages To Be Both Passion-Inspiring And Measured

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

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

Books
2:42 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

The Perfect Family Book List

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 1:51 am

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We're going to do some last-minute shopping with our book critic Alan Cheuse. Needless to say, his friends and family can guess what they'll get from him. And this year he says he's proud of his selections.

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U.S.
2:42 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

Independent Theater Owner In D.C. Gets Ready To Screen 'The Interview'

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 3:09 pm

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

Around the Nation
2:42 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

'Crabs For Christmas': A Tuneful Baltimore Tradition (Really!)

Every year, David DeBoy and The Hons (Wendy Savelle, center, and Karen Fitze) perform a live — and often sold-out — show in the upstairs cabaret of a Baltimore restaurant.
Courtesy of David DeBoy

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 3:09 pm

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Monkey See
2:02 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

50 Wonderful Things From 2014

Jenny Slate and Jake Lacy in Obvious Child.
Courtesy of A24

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 10:36 am

I am not a great maker of lists. Unless pressed, I will make exactly one each year, and this is it.

This is a list of 50 of the wonderful things that wandered through my field of vision in 2014. It is not a definitive list of the best things. It is not merely subjective but sublimely subjective. It leans away from (but doesn't entirely avoid) what's been most highly praised and what seems to have been most rewarded.

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Arts/Life
1:05 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

The Best Of KRWG Music Spotlight

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