Arts/Life

Arts and culture

Actor Jake Gyllenhaal knows what it feels like to take a punch. "It doesn't feel great, you know," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I don't like getting hit, but it was important for the movie. At least that's how I justify when I would get hit: 'That was good for the movie.' "

The movie in question is Southpaw, in which Gyllenhaal stars as a boxer who grew up in the foster care system and is struggling to be a father to his daughter.

The next time you pop a Popsicle in your mouth, think about this: You're enjoying the fruits of an 11-year-old entrepreneur's labor.

Back in 1905, a San Francisco Bay Area kid by the name of Frank Epperson accidentally invented the summertime treat. He had mixed some sugary soda powder with water and left it out overnight. It was a cold night, and the mixture froze. In the morning, Epperson devoured the icy concoction, licking it off the wooden stirrer. He declared it an Epsicle, a portmanteau of icicle and his name, and started selling the treat around his neighborhood.

Archie Comics Cartoonist Tom Moore Dies At 86

Jul 22, 2015

Artist Tom Moore, who gave life to the teen angst of Archie and his Riverdale pals from 1953 to the late 1980s, has died of lung cancer in El Paso, Texas.

The Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei finally got his passport back today, four years after it was seized by government authorities.

Ai made the announcement on Instagram, posting a selfie of him holding his red and gold passport with a simple caption: "Today, I picked up my passport."

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Juan Gabriel Vasquez opens Lovers on All Saints' Day with a line that's almost a thesis statement.

"I didn't leave Belgium much during that season," says the narrator at the start of "Hiding Places," the first story in the collection. "I spent the time observing the people of the Ardennes and participating in their activities, and then learning to write what I'd seen in such a way that as little of it as possible would be squandered."

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Let's take a moment now to remember a Grammy-winning songwriter.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALWAYS ON MY MIND")

ELVIS PRESLEY: (Singing) Maybe I didn't love you.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Novelist E.L. Doctorow, best known for his works of historical fiction set in the early 20th-century United States, died Tuesday at the age of 84, his agent confirmed late Tuesday.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The Mattress Factory hasn't been an actual mattress factory for a while now. Built on a hillside in the Central Northside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, back at the turn of the last century, it was used as a warehouse and showroom for Stearns & Foster until the 1960s.

Today, it's one of the country's more unusual art museums. Filled not with paintings or sculptures — and certainly not with mattresses — it is now, four stories of ... well, of "stories" in a way. Installations that take you places you don't expect to go in an art museum.

Actor and musician Theodore Bikel, whose talents landed him memorable roles on the stage and screen, has died at age 91. His manager Robert Malcolm confirmed the news to NPR's Neda Ulaby, who says Bikel "died last night at a hospital in Los Angeles after a long illness."

Some of Bikel's most notable work took place on stage — starting with an early breakthrough in the London staging of A Streetcar Named Desire, in which he starred opposite Vivien Leigh.

When film director Sean Baker moved to Los Angeles three years ago, he found himself drawn to one of the city's most infamous intersections. The corner of Highland Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard is "an unofficial red light district," Baker tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. But Baker's interest in the area went beyond the usual transactions: "I thought there must be some incredible stories that take place on that corner."

Dorothée Goffin's lab in Belgium is outfitted with 3-D printers and digital milling machines. It's also a kitchen. And, one day a week, the doors open to anyone who feels like walking in to mess around with the equipment. These days, the tech geeks, chefs and curious folk that inhabit the lab are focused on 3-D printing. Instead of spouting plastic doodads, the printers exude chocolate.

Even those of us who can't tell the difference between a pinot noir and a merlot are probably familiar with the basic rule of wine pairing: white wine with fish and red wine with steak. But when it comes to tea pairings, we're stumped.

Yet it turns out there is an art to unlocking new flavors in your food by pairing it with tea. Sipping oolong with a buttery, citrusy madeleine can highlight the flowery and milky notes of the tea, while a hot cup of green tea melts the texture of goat cheese and enhances its creamy notes.

Each Wave Tells A Story In 'Barbarian Days'

Jul 21, 2015

"It wasn't that the waves beggared language. It was more that they scrambled it." Longtime New Yorker staff writer William Finnegan is being modest here, relating one of many spiritually resonant surfing experiences on Fiji's Tavarua Island in 1978. In fact, there is no wave in his memoir Barbarian Days that Finnegan can't describe in intimate detail. Honolulu, LA, Fiji, Australia, Madeira, San Francisco. Finnegan lovingly remembers every break, treating them like old friends who only occasionally tried to brutally murder him.

William Finnegan is a New Yorker journalist, but his new memoir doesn't focus on the wars or controversies he's covered. It's about surfing.

Finnegan traces his love of surfing back to his childhood, when he used to watch surfers in Ventura, Calif. He remembers being 10 years old, sitting with his family in a diner, watching waves break on the coast.

It seemed "like they were arriving from some celestial workshop ... carved by ocean angels," he writes. "I wanted to be out there, learning to dance on water."

Donald Trump quickly earned the scorn of many veterans' groups this weekend with his controversial comments about Sen. John McCain's military service.

In 1849 an American farmer watched a sow give birth and was moved to record a diary entry: "Pigs! Pigs! Pork! Pork! Pork!"

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

If you're planning to become an artist, here's one nice way to do it: be independently wealthy, easily pay your bills without needing to sell your own work, buy up the paintings of your marvelously talented friends, and then give their works to the nation. A little-known 19th-century artist named Gustave Caillebotte did just that, and there's a big show devoted to him at the National Gallery right now.

Examining Hollywood's Pay Disparities

Jul 19, 2015
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Actress Amanda Syefried caused a stir in Hollywood this past week for telling an interviewer with Britain's Sunday Times she had been paid just 10 percent of what her male co-star received for a movie made a few years ago, but she didn't say which movie.

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.

Juan Gabriel Vásquez is best known for his 2013 blockbuster novel The Sound of Things Falling. But more than a decade before that book vaulted him onto the international literary stage, he published a well-reviewed collection of short stories in Spanish.

Now, that collection, Lovers on All Saints' Day, is getting an English translation.

The Turkish television industry is booming.

During Ramadan, which ended this week, many Muslims — around the world — tuned in to watch Turkish TV in massive numbers.

But Turkey isn't just presenting religious programming. The country is second only to the U.S. in producing and exporting secular TV dramas — and they're becoming global hits

A 'Captive Audience' During Ramadan

Many families watch as they gather as they wait to break their Ramadan fast after sundown, says Pinar Tremblay, a columnist for the online newspaper Al-Monitor.com.

On-air challenge: Today's puzzle has a bit of wordplay. Change one letter in each word provided to make two new words. The letter you change must be in the same position in each word of the pair. And the letter you change each of them to will be the same letter of the alphabet.

For example, "relief" and "mallet" become "belief" and "ballet."

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF L'ANARCHISTE SONG, "SHAKER")

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It begins with that cord - again and again. Then it builds.

(SOUNDBITE OF L'ANARCHISTE SONG, "SHAKER")

MARTIN: Layer after layer, a baseline emerges and ultimately, lyrics.

This summer, NPR is getting crafty in the kitchen. As part of Weekend Edition's Do Try This At Home series, chefs are sharing their cleverest hacks and tips — taking expensive, exhausting or intimidating recipes and tweaking them to work in any home kitchen.

This week: A play on an iconic New Orleans dish to get supreme flavor from shrimp without heads.

The Chef

In her debut novel Ex Utero, Laurie Foos tells the story of a woman who misplaces her uterus at a shopping mall, "somewhere between the shoe store and the lingerie counter." After her womb goes missing her husband feels utterly lost, and others are quick to deem her careless. While fantastical on the surface, it's also a striking commentary on the nature of feminism, desire and society's obsession with presumed gender roles.

Pages