Arts/Life

Interviews
2:20 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

How 'Gatsby' Went From A Moldering Flop To A Great American Novel

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

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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Monkey See
10:54 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: For 'Mad Men' And Letterman, A Week Of Goodbyes

Jon Hamm as Don Draper.
Michael Yarish AMC

This week's taping presented us with a few conundrums: Host Linda Holmes had already begun her vacation, while I know jack-all about the seven accumulated seasons of Mad Men, whose finale we were duty-bound to discuss. Our solution involved a pair of our most beloved guest panelists — Gene Demby and, from a studio in L.A., Barrie Hardymon — and a brief interregnum in poor Linda's vacation. (I stayed home and ate snacks.)

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TED Radio Hour
6:34 am
Fri May 22, 2015

What Are The Secrets of Centenarians?

National Geographic writer and explorer Dan Buettner studies the world's longest-lived peoples and their lifestyles.
Courtesy TEDxTC

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 11:45 am

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Fountain Of Youth

About Dan Buettner's TED Talk

To find the path to long life and health, Dan Buettner studies the world's "Blue Zones," communities whose elders live longer than anyone else on the planet.

About Dan Buettner

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TED Radio Hour
6:26 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Can Aging Be Cured?

"Things that only have a 50% chance of happening 20 years from now are supposed to sound like science fiction." - Aubrey de Grey
Robert Leslie TED

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 7:01 am

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Fountain Of Youth

About Aubrey de Grey's TED Talk

Cambridge researcher Aubrey de Grey argues that aging is merely a disease — and a curable one at that.

About Aubrey de Grey

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Book Reviews
1:59 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Beyond The Best-Sellers: Nancy Pearl Recommends Under-The-Radar Reads

Librarian Nancy Pearl shares her selections of under-the-radar books that you may have missed.
Emily Bogle NPR

Originally published on Wed May 27, 2015 10:17 am

Every once in a while, NPR's go-to books guru Nancy Pearl sends Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep a tall stack of books. They're generally "under-the-radar" reads — titles she thinks deserve more attention than they've been getting.

"I just think that it's so important that readers learn about books that haven't been heavily promoted – what we would call mid-list books," Pearl says.

Here are some of her fiction picks, to kick off your summer reading list:

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Michel Martin, Going There
4:50 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

#MotorCityDrive: Is Detroit's Economic Engine Roaring Back To Life?

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 6:29 pm

For generations of Americans, Detroit was the place where people made things: powerful cars, amazing architecture, beautiful music. But now Detroit is entering a new chapter. After months of often tense and difficult negotiations, Detroit is now formally out of bankruptcy. Millions of dollars of contributions from private foundations and corporations helped the city preserve its acclaimed art collection. A new generation of artists and entrepreneurs, doers and makers is calling Detroit home. So we'd like to ask, what's next? What will drive Detroit's future now?

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Movie Reviews
3:33 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

In 'The Seeds Of Time,' One Man's Quest To Save Our Food Supply

Seeds of Time
Hungry, INC. Kino Lorber

Cary Fowler is an easygoing, soft-spoken Tennessee native who travels the world with an urgent message: The human race may starve to death. If that threat becomes likely, however, people can turn to the biological archive that director Sandy McLeod's documentary calls The Seeds of Time.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

A Journey Of Self-Discovery In 'When Marnie Was There'

When Marnie Was There
2014 GNDHDDTK

The adolescent girl at the heart of Hiromasa Yonebayashi's haunting When Marnie Was There has the cropped dark hair, wide eyes and square-peg awkwardness that will be familiar to fans of Studio Ghibli animated movies. Unlike the feisty, willful sprites of Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away and many other Ghibli treasures though, Anna is a cowed, sensitive soul with artistic leanings. At school she's friendless and bullied.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

'Aloft': A Haunting Family Drama Ripe With Magical Realism

Jennifer Connelly as Nana in Aloft.
Jose Haro Sony Pictures Classics

The first scene of Aloft is one of the more haunting movie openings in recent years. It's a bitter cold day in northern Canada; against a barren snowscape, a single mother named Nana (Jennifer Connolly) and her two young sons hitch rides in vans from morose men toward an increasingly remote location. With little dialogue, we discover they are on their way to visit a faith healer named The Architect, who performs rituals for a cult of believers in an igloo-like structure built from twigs.

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Television
2:01 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Letterman Signs Off, With A Heartfelt Guest-Filled Finale

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

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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Television
1:20 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Letterman's Executive Producer: 'He's Meant A Lot To A Lot Of People'

Rob Burnett celebrates with Barbara Gaines (left) and Maria Pope (right) after winning an Emmy Award for his work on the Late Show with David Letterman in 2000.
Kevork Djansezian Associated Press

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 2:01 pm

Rob Burnett started working with David Letterman as an intern in 1985 and never left, even when the talk-show host moved from NBC to CBS. During the course of his 29-year tenure, Burnett evolved from intern to head writer to executive producer of the Late Show with David Letterman, a position he held through last night's final show.

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Monkey See
12:26 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Small Batch: 'Mad Max: Fury Road'

Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky and Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa.
Jasin Boland Warner Bros.

Another sequel, another chance for Hollywood to hurl metal hither and yon and make with the flashy summer blockbuster blow-'em-ups. Yawn, right?

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The Two-Way
12:26 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Go Forth And Pwn For Shizzle, Word List Guardians Tell Scrabble Players

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 2:59 pm

A new batch of 6,500 words are now available to Scrabble players, after publishing house Collins updated its widely used Official Scrabble Words list Thursday. The list includes tech jargon and slang, such as pwn, twerk and shizzle.

Also added: aji (the pepper), coqui (the frog) and the more old-fashioned ixnay and zowee. (See a longer list at the bottom of this post.)

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Parallels
10:36 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Rome's Cinematic 'Dream Factory' Ramps Up Production Once Again

The famous chariot race in Ben-Hur was filmed on a movie set at Cinecittà in 1958.
AP

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 6:27 pm

It's just 15 miles south of Rome, but it looks more like ancient Jerusalem.

Welcome to the vast backlot at Cinecittà, the sprawling movie metropolis where the original Ben-Hur was filmed, and a remake is currently in production.

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Book Reviews
5:18 am
Thu May 21, 2015

The World Of 'Gracekeepers' Is Immersed In Water — And Secrets

Courtesy of Crown Publishers

Kirsty Logan is no stranger to secrets. The Glasgow-based author's award-winning short-story collection, The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales, beautifully brought together myth, magic, and the muted fantasy of the everyday. It also dealt with curious topics like circuses and worldwide floods — two things that resurface in her captivating debut novel, The Gracekeepers.

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Fine Art
1:35 am
Thu May 21, 2015

'Filthy Lucre' Is A Modern Remix Of The Peacock Room's Wretched Excess

In Darren Waterston's Filthy Lucre it looks as if a wrecking ball has been slammed into Whistler's lavish work.
Hutomo Wicaksono Freer Sackler Gallery

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 1:09 pm

An artist has just converted a legendary piece of 19th-century art into an utter ruin. And two Smithsonian institutions — the Freer and Sackler galleries of Asian art — have given their blessings.

The Peacock Room at the Freer Gallery is an actual dining room from London, decorated by James McNeill Whistler in 1876. Its blue-green walls are covered with golden designs and painted peacocks. Gilded shelves hold priceless Asian ceramics. It's an expensive, lavish cocoon, rich in beauty with a dab of menace.

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U.S.
3:34 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Often The Butt Of Jokes, S.C.'s Giant Peach Is Ripe For Renovation

The restoration of the landmark, popularized by a House of Cards episode, has some fans wondering whether the giant peach will lose its giggle-inducing appearance.
Michael Tomsic WFAE

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 5:17 pm

You can't miss it as you drive down I-85. The Peachoid, as it's called, is a massive peach-shape water tower near the North Carolina border.

When maintenance crews sandblasted the paint off the water tower recently, people were furious.

Just ask Claire Huminski, with the city of Gaffney.

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Theater
3:34 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

'My Fair Lady' Couldn't Actually Dance All Night, So These Songs Had To Go

Julie Andrews starred as flower girl Eliza Doolittle in the Broadway premiere of My Fair Lady.
AP

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 5:17 pm

When a Broadway musical feels as effortlessly right as Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's did to audiences in 1956, it's easy to imagine that it simply sprang to life that way. Not My Fair Lady. The musical, based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, is filled to bursting with some of the best-known songs in Broadway history — "The Rain In Spain," "Wouldn't It Be Loverly," "On the Street Where You Live" — but it turns out the show originally had other tunes that almost nobody knows.

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Movies
2:37 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

An Indian Master Returns To Cinemas, Restored

Subir Banerjee plays the young Apu in Pather Panchali, which made its New York debut 60 years ago this month.
Courtesy of Janus Films

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 6:19 am

In the crowded field of postwar cinema, Satyajit Ray broke through barriers of language and culture to become the most celebrated Indian filmmaker in the West.

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The Two-Way
1:48 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Letterman Fills Final Show With Memories And Gratitude

David Letterman appears during the Wednesday taping of his final Late Show With David Letterman at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York.
Jeffrey R. Staab AP

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 7:04 am

Update, 1:10 a.m. ET:

David Letterman approached his final, hour-plus of late-night TV on Wednesday with the same self-deprecation he displayed in the previous 6,027 episodes, but leavened the snark with heaps of nostalgia and praise.

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Media
12:36 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Terry Gross To Marc Maron: 'Life Is Harder Than Radio'

Terry Gross and Marc Maron took the stage at WNYC's RadioLoveFest on May 6. During their conversation, Gross says, Maron "occasionally looked a little nervous or frustrated when he thought I was unforthcoming — or worse yet, being dull --€” but mostly, he looked emotionally present, curious and attentive."
Rebecca Greenfield Brooklyn Academy of Music

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 2:25 pm

Earlier this month, almost 2,000 radio fanatics gathered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) to listen in as Marc Maron, the neurotic and sometimes gruff comedian and podcast host, interviewed Fresh Air's Terry Gross. He is known for being vulnerable and bringing his personal life into his interviews; she tends to keep her personal life separate from her work. The conversation that resulted blurs those two styles and ends up revealing aspects of Gross' life that even the biggest Fresh Air fans may find surprising.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed May 20, 2015

'Seveneves' Blows Up The Moon — And That's Just The Beginning

Courtesy of William Morrow

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 10:43 am

"The moon blew up with no warning and with no apparent reason."

That's the beginning of Neal Stephenson's newest epic, Seveneves. And in terms of opening hooks, it's up there. I mean, he isn't destroying LA or merely reducing some single nation to slag. No, Stephenson goes old-school mad scientist — straight for the pulp main vein and buried Saturday morning memories of Thundarr the Barbarian still ticking along in the heads of his audience, and blows up the moon.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed May 20, 2015

The Science Of 'Collected Fiction' Is Pure Magic

Courtesy of Tachyon Publications

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 10:51 am

I have just finished Hannu Rajaniemi's Collected Fiction and I am still recovering.

My mind feels constellated. I am keenly, weirdly, expansively aware of explosions still taking place inside my head. The world has shifted while I read, and the quartz in the necklace I wear is full of super computers breathing sentience against my skin. There are eyes threaded through scarves over the windowsill. I want to learn everything.

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The Salt
4:39 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Tea Tuesdays: Cold Weather, Gogol And The Rise Of The Russian Samovar

A late 19th-century samovar made in Tula, Russia, a metalworking town south of Moscow. The very first samovar factory opened in Tula in 1778. As demand for samovars grew, the town became almost synonymous with the production of the giant hot-water urns.
Sheldon Luskin Collection The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 4:17 pm

There are two drinks most people associate with Russia — vodka and tea, prepared in a giant hot-water urn known as a samovar.

Yet while vodka may have actually originated in Russia (Poland is another contender), tea is a thoroughly foreign product.

Most historians believe the Chinese first brought tea to Russia sometime in the 1600s. As for the samovar? "The origins are shrouded in mystery," says Maria Zavilova, curator at the Museum of Russian Art in Minnesota.

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Author Interviews
4:09 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

In 'Out Of Line,' The Many, Many Acts Of Jules Feiffer

Jules Feiffer Courtesy of ABRAMS Books

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 5:22 pm

A critic once called Jules Feiffer "one of the best cartoonists now writing" and "the best writer now cartooning." That quote is in Out of Line, a new book about Feiffer, a man who does both words and pictures.

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The Salt
11:03 am
Tue May 19, 2015

Saving The Sweetest Watermelon The South Has Ever Known

Nat Bradford holds a Bradford watermelon, known for its sweet, fragrant red flesh. The melon was created by Bradford's forefathers around 1840 and was once one of the most important and coveted melons of the South.
Heather Grilliot Courtesy of Bradford Watermelons

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 1:44 pm

The most luscious watermelon the Deep South has ever produced was once so coveted, 19th-century growers used poison or electrocuting wires to thwart potential thieves, or simply stood guard with guns in the thick of night. The legendary Bradford was delectable — but the melon didn't ship well, and it all but disappeared by the 1920s. Now, eight generations later, a great-great-great-grandson of its creator is bringing it back.

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Book Reviews
8:03 am
Tue May 19, 2015

Fun, Fast-Moving 'Nimona' Is A Perpetual Surprise

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 3:48 pm

Over the course of the collected Nimona, it's possible to watch artist Noelle Stevenson blossom from a student to a superstar. Nimona originated as a two-page art-school experiment that expanded into a webcomic, published biweekly on Stevenson's website over the course of two years. What began in a visually and narratively simple style in June 2012 rapidly became more elaborate and sophisticated, expanding into a showcase for Stevenson's rapidly evolving talents.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue May 19, 2015

'Sophie Stark' Finds It Hard To Learn How To Be Human

Ariel Zambelich NPR

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 7:40 am

Toward the beginning of The Life and Death of Sophie Stark, an actress reflects on her decision to leave West Virginia for New York City. Her first few days in the city are disastrous; she moves from bad job to bad job while living in a basement apartment with a dirt floor. "I felt like I'd come to a place for people who didn't know how to be people," she says, "and if I was there I must not really know how to be a person either."

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Parallels
1:23 am
Tue May 19, 2015

How Heroin Made Its Way From Rural Mexico To Small-Town America

Courtesy of Bloomsbury Press

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 3:58 am

To understand how heroin took hold in rural America, you need to go back two decades and look at the surge of prescription drug use in Portsmouth, Ohio, according to journalist Sam Quinones.

A Rust Belt town that had fallen on hard times by the 1990s, Portsmouth became a place where doctors dispensed prescription drugs more freely than anywhere else in the country, Quinones writes in his new book, Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic.

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Author Interviews
1:22 am
Tue May 19, 2015

Cherokee Chief John Ross Is The Unsung Hero Of 'Jacksonland'

Cherokee chief John Ross battled the U.S. government for decades on behalf of his people.
The Art Archive

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 10:23 am

The nation's seventh president was a man of legendary toughness who made his name in America's second war against the British — and he's someone NPR's Steve Inskeep has come to know well: Andrew Jackson.

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