Arts/Life

Book Reviews
2:32 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

A Historic Backdrop Frames Forbidden Love In 'The Paying Guests'

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 3:20 pm

Frances has it bad, and that's not good. Normally she's an intelligent, reliable, resourceful young woman, a companion to her widowed mother, keeper of the large house on Champion Hill in which the two of them rattle about, now that the men of the family have died. But then Frances falls in love, and the carefully wrought edifice of her life collapses in a heap of passion and catastrophe.

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Movie Interviews
1:55 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

From Sideman To Star: A New Film Captures Jimi Hendrix's Pivotal Year

André Benjamin plays Jimi Hendrix in the new film Jimi: All Is By My Side.
Patrick Redmond Courtesy of Open Road Films

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 2:33 pm

In 1966, Jimmy James, a guitarist working as a sideman in R&B bands, is discovered by Linda Keith, a 20-year-old music insider. She helps him move to London, where he developed his own sound. During that year, he transformed himself into an electrifying performer known as Jimi Hendrix.

Hendrix formed his band The Jimi Hendrix Experience, recorded his first album Are You Experienced, and soon became a star.

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The Salt
1:46 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Before You Take A Bite Of That Mushroom, Consider This

This grocery store packet of porcini mushrooms contained a surprise: three species of fungi never before named or described.
Bryn Dentinger/Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew

If you haven't been DNA-sequencing your dinner lately, you've been missing out. In particular, we suggest examining those spongy, wild fungi before you lay them on your pizza.

Bryn Dentinger and Laura Suz, mycologists with the Royal Botanic Gardens in Surrey, England, were curious about what was in their marketplace shrooms. So they bought a packet of dried Chinese porcini and took it to the lab.

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Book Reviews
11:45 am
Tue September 23, 2014

After WWI, A Mother And Daughter Must Take In 'Paying Guests'

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 2:10 pm

Sarah Waters' new novel, The Paying Guests, is a knockout, which isn't a word any of her characters would use.

The book opens in 1922: The Edwardian Age, with its high collars and long skirts, is dead; the Jazz Age is waiting to be born — at least, that's the case in the suburban backwater of London where Waters' main character, a 26-year-old spinster named Frances Wray, lives with her mother.

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The Salt
10:54 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Rosh Hashana's Sacred Bread Offers Meaning In Many Shapes And Sizes

The author's braided round challah.
Deena Prichep NPR

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on Sept. 15, 2012.

Challah is a rich, eggy bread baked every week for the Jewish sabbath, or shabbat. But for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year that starts tomorrow at sundown, it gets a few tweaks. There's a little extra honey or sugar, for a sweet new year. And instead of the usual long braid, it's round.

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Code Switch
6:16 am
Tue September 23, 2014

How Not To Handle A New Voice In TV

Shonda Rhimes (left) with Scandal star Kerry Washington at a 2012 press conference.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 8:51 am

This is what happens when voices that have normally been pushed to the background take center stage.

That's the reaction I usually offer these days whenever someone asks me about a race-based media firestorm — this time, in reference to the nuclear-sized backlash against New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley's bewildering commentary on Shonda Rhimes, one of the most successful showrunners in television history.

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The Two-Way
5:19 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Book News: Gabriel Garcia Marquez Books Go Digital

Nobel Prize-winning novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez appeared in public during a celebration marking his 87th birthday on March 6 in Mexico City. He died in April.
Yuri Cortez AFP/Getty Images

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

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue September 23, 2014

A Feisty Writer Spars With Her Young Protege

What a treat it is to read Brian Morton's latest novel, populated with the prickly, civic-minded liberal intellectuals we've come to expect from him. Florence Gordon, his fifth book, like Starting Out in the Evening, his best known, is set on Manhattan's Upper West Side and concerns a feisty older writer and a much younger admirer and would-be mentee. Both novels not only feature curmudgeonly characters who insist on living on their own terms but explore questions about what constitutes a successful life.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue September 23, 2014

'My Life' Asks: How Do You Leave A War Behind?

Brian Turner is director of Sierra Nevada College's MFA program and has previously written two books of poetry, Here, Bullet and Phantom Noise.
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

With each new story we hear about PTSD, about the lasting price paid by those fortunate enough to have returned from war, our notion of a soldier's sacrifice expands: There are those who sacrifice their lives, those who sacrifice parts of their bodies, and those who — forever anguished by their experiences — sacrifice their minds.

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Fine Art
1:32 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Now That's An Artifact: See Mary Cassatt's Pastels At The National Gallery

These pastel boxes originally owned by Mary Cassatt were acquired recently by the National Gallery of Art. Click here for a closer look.
National Gallery of Art

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 11:20 am

Imagine if you could see the pen Beethoven used to write his Symphony No. 5. Or the chisel Michelangelo used to sculpt his David. Art lovers find endless fascination in the materials of artists — a pen, a brush, even a rag can become sacred objects, humanizing a work of art.

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Author Interviews
1:26 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Remembering The 'Short And Tragic Life Of Robert Peace'

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 11:20 am

On a May night in 2011, a man was murdered — shot — in a basement just outside Newark, N.J. Cash and marijuana were found at the scene.

Given the circumstances, it might be easy to make assumptions about that man.

Reality, however, is more complex.

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Monkey See
3:04 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Mia Wasikowska On The Sounds Of Camels And The Lure Of Travel

Mia Wasikowska plays Robyn Davidson, a woman whose real-life journey across the Australian desert is depicted in Tracks.
Transmission Films

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 3:40 pm

Mia Wasikowska wants you to know that camels get kind of a bad rap.

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Book Reviews
2:58 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

An 'Epilogue' That Makes Sense Of The Chaos Of Memory

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 3:40 pm

Will Boast's parents, Andrew and Nancy, met and married in Southampton, a port city on England's south coast. Fleeing the social and economic malaise that blighted the country in the late '70s — workers on strike, power outages and high inflation — and with ambitions for his young family, Boast Sr. moved them to Fontana, Wis., where he worked for a plastics company.

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The Salt
1:48 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Abe Lincoln

The Abe Lincoln
NPR

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 2:46 pm

Fourscore and 700 calories ago, I took my first few bites of the Abe Lincoln Sandwich from Skrine Chops in Chicago. In a tribute to our 16th president, they've stacked up sausages like Lincoln Logs, set them atop a bed of mashed potatoes and doused them in barbecue sauce, all on a hamburger bun.

Ian: How is this sandwich not the first thing on Lincoln's Wikipedia page?

Kelsie: The ONLY way to play Lincoln Logs is with sausages.

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The Salt
12:59 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Got Dessert? Slather On The Salted Caramel, Or Just Nibble Some

Salted caramel has arrived. Here it is at TGI Friday's, on cake, topped with a Ghirardelli salted caramel sauce.
Courtesy of TGI Friday's

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 7:27 am

The legendary American sweet tooth may be growing up. It's classier now; more sophisticated. It lusts after salt with its sweets.

Driven by an increasingly adventurous population of palates, now even mainstream retailers and restaurants are expanding their salty-sweet repertoire. Just 0.4 percent of U.S. restaurants offered salted caramel desserts on menus in 2010, according to food and beverage consultancy CCD Innovation. This year, 3.1 percent of them do.

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Television
12:18 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Fall TV Preview: 'Gotham,' 'Scorpion' And 'Black-ish'

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 12:39 pm

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

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. For the major broadcast networks tonight is the official start of the new TV season. Our TV critic, David Bianculli, has a list of the new shows you should make an effort to sample. He says it is not a very long list.

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Author Interviews
12:18 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Ron Perlman On 'Sons Of Anarchy' And His Many On-Screen Transformations

Ron Perlman played Clay Morrow on FX's Sons of Anarchy.
Prashant Gupta FX

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 1:47 pm

[Editor's Note: This conversation discusses plot points from the sixth season of Sons of Anarchy.]

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Monkey See
8:33 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Deggans Picks 'Gotham,' 'Black-ish,' 'The Flash' Among Fall TV's Best

Ben McKenzie (front right) and Donal Logue (left) lead the cast of Fox's Batman prequel Gotham.
Fox TV

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 8:20 am

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Monkey See
7:33 am
Mon September 22, 2014

The Only One: A Talk With Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes speaks onstage at the How to Get Away with Murder panel during the Television Critics Association summer press tour.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 12:02 pm

I saw Shonda Rhimes at a panel presentation at the Television Critics Association press tour this summer where she helped introduce How to Get Away with Murder, the new ABC drama she helps produce but did not create. I found her pleasantly (and a little amusingly) transparent in not loving some of the questions she was asked (including one about whether she was worried that #HTGAWM, which was printed on the promotional cookies ABC handed out, was an unwieldy hashtag), and I thought, "She is an interview for which you would want to be on your toes."

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Mon September 22, 2014

'Sally Heathcote' Rescues Women's Suffrage From The Doldrums

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 8:36 am

It's the hats. In century-old photos of women's suffrage activists, there's something just plain dowdy about the headgear. Teetering atop laboriously pinned-up hair, groaning under the weight of improbable foliage, the hats can't help but make suffragists seem irredeemably stodgy to modern eyes.

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Author Interviews
3:29 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

A Poet Parses The Legacy Of War In 'My Life As A Foreign Country'

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 6:06 am

War is in Brian Turner's blood. His father served during the Cold War, his uncle fought in Vietnam, his grandfather fought in World War II and his great-grandfather in World War I. And the family's warrior tendencies went beyond deployments: Turner's dad built a martial arts studio in the garage, and the family mixed napalm and blew things up for fun.

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Children's Health
3:02 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

It May Be 'Perfectly Normal', But It's Also Frequently Banned

Michael Emberley's illustrations, like this one showing an egg traveling through a fallopian tube, make sexual health information accessible to an elementary and middle school audience. But elements of the art, including naked bodies, make some parents uncomfortable.
Candlewick Press

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 5:48 am

Banned Books Week kicks off Sunday: Each year, the American Library Association takes this week to sponsor events all over the country to talk about the books that shock, offend and generally make Americans uncomfortable.

Violence and curse words are two of the top three reasons books get banned in the U.S.

The third reason is sexual content. For example, the Fifty Shades of Grey series has been frequently banned from libraries for its explicit descriptions of intercourse.

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My Big Break
3:02 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

Mafia Wife, Getaway Driver, Stuntwoman: From The Underworld To Hollywood

In order to secure a career as a stuntwoman, Georgia Durante would show up on Hollywood film sets asking for work. At first, directors ignored her. Then they saw her drive.
Courtesy of Georgia Durante

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 9:20 am

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

Georgia Durante's life has taken some unexpected turns. She was a model for Kodak — a "Kodak Girl" — who went on to do TV and commercial work as a stunt driver. In the '90s, she appeared in Chevrolet ads and was the stunt double for Cindy Crawford in a Pepsi commercial.

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Television
3:02 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

In 'Transparent', Transgender Issues Are A Family Affair

Amy Landecker and Jeffrey Tambor are two of the stars of Transparent, in which Tambor's character comes out as transgender to her three adult children.
Beth Dubber Amazon Studios

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 9:59 am

This fall, one of the more interesting and bold TV shows you'll see isn't being released by a major network — instead, it's coming out of Amazon Studios.

Transparent is a comedy-drama that centers on a family and their lives following the discovery that their father, whom they'd known as Mort (played by Jeffrey Tambor of Arrested Development fame) is a transgender woman named Maura.

"Are you saying you're going to start dressing up like a lady all of the time?" asks daughter Sarah (Amy Landecker).

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Movie Interviews
5:46 am
Sun September 21, 2014

Boys Puzzle Through Twists And Turns In 'Maze Runner'

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 9:15 am

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

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

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Author Interviews
5:46 am
Sun September 21, 2014

Jargon-Free History Of The Universe Finds Beauty In Ordinary Words

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 9:15 am

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

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

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Code Switch
5:46 am
Sun September 21, 2014

Adding Color To 'The Great White Way'

Sharp observations about race, class and gender plus pure passion for the theater: That's what get when you ask a distinguished panel of playwrights whether "The Great White Way" is still too white.
Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 9:15 am

Sharp observations about race, class and gender plus pure passion for the theater: That's what you get when you ask a distinguished panel of playwrights whether "The Great White Way" is still too white.

Award-winning dramatists David Henry Hwang, Lydia Diamond, Kristoffer Diaz and Bruce Norris are some of America's most critically acclaimed contemporary playwrights. Their work captures the tensions and aspirations of an increasingly diverse America, but they all acknowledged that it was a challenge to bring a more diverse audience to theaters.

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Book News & Features
5:46 am
Sun September 21, 2014

Finding A Voice — Again — In The Pages Of A Comic Book

Recall and Given recasts the story of David Rector and Roz Alexander-Kasparik as a superhero comic.
Roz Alexander-Kasparik

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 9:15 am

This is a story about love. It's a story about bad things happening to good people, about memory and perseverance — and comic books. But most of all, it's a story about a voice. A mellow, smooth voice, just right for late-night jazz.

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Book Reviews
3:31 am
Sun September 21, 2014

The Stories In 'Bright Shards' Glimmer With Empathetic Power

iStockphoto.com

Bright Shards of Someplace Else is Monica McFawn's first collection of short stories, and it's already won this year's Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. Perhaps it was her idiosyncratic voice, or her flair for distinctive characters that the judges recognized. Or maybe it was her empathetic power. Either way, McFawn has talent. In these 11 stories she manages to range from fantastic to satiric to poignant.

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Author Interviews
2:56 pm
Sat September 20, 2014

'Passages' Author Reflects On Her Own Life Journey

Gail Sheehy's previous books include The Man Who Changed the World: The Lives of Mikhail S. Gorbachev, Hillary's Choice and Middletown, America: One Town's Passage from Trauma to Hope.
Yolanda Perez Harper Collins

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 12:23 am

Journalist and author Gail Sheehy has taken readers into the minds and hearts of countless important figures. Throughout her career, she's written in-depth character portraits of Hillary Clinton, Michael Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher, among others.

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