Arts/Life

Around the Nation
5:19 am
Sun April 12, 2015

On Steel Horses They Ride — To Honor 19th-Century Cavalries

Reverend Jeff Moore blesses a biker at the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club rally in San Jose, Calif.
Leila Day KALW

Originally published on Sun April 12, 2015 9:01 am

In the mid- and late 1800s, the Buffalo Soldiers were all-black cavalries and regiments deployed to patrol and protect what would eventually become America's national parks.

Their moniker was said to have been given to the cavalries by Native Americans who thought the soldiers' hair resembled the woolly texture of a buffalo.

It's a name that carries a lot of pride — and one that lives on today. But instead of horses, today's Buffalo Soldiers ride bikes.

Read more
Television
3:37 am
Sun April 12, 2015

'Nurse Jackie' Ends As TV's Most Honest Depiction Of Addiction

Edie Falco stars in Showtime's "Nurse Jackie."
David M. Russell Showtime

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 2:46 pm

Even after an accident with a carload full of pills gets her arrested, Nurse Jackie Peyton can't be honest about her addictions. Especially not while explaining her sudden absence to her ex-husband Kevin.

"Where were you this past week?" Kevin asks, tensely.

"Really, you want to know where I was?" Jackie responds. "I went to a detox program."

"Is that what you call jail?" he shoots back. "I was notified of the accident. The car's still in my name."

Read more
The Salt
3:27 am
Sun April 12, 2015

Adventures In Vietnam — Street Food, Love And Taking Chances

Courtesy of Ecco Publishing

Originally published on Sun April 12, 2015 9:01 am

When English journalist Graham Holliday got tired of his office job in the U.K., he knew he wanted a change — a big one.

So he packed up and moved to Asia, first to Korea to teach English and ultimately, to the place that would be his home for nine years: Vietnam. As soon as he arrived, he was determined to immerse himself in Vietnamese culture — and for him, that meant food.

Read more
Television
4:56 pm
Sat April 11, 2015

'American Odyssey': Three Ordinary People, One Thrill-Filled Plot

In American Odyssey, Anna Friel plays Sgt. Odelle Ballard, who is stationed in Mali. After her team is killed, she finds herself running for her life — which includes disguising herself as a man.
Keith Bernstein NBC

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 8:47 pm

Action, espionage and secrets fill the new NBC show American Odyssey.

But Peter Horton, the show's co-creator and executive producer, says it's easiest to describe the show by saying what it's not. "It's not a police show, it's not an FBI show, it's not a CIA show," he tell's NPR's Arun Rath. "It's a modern-day thriller told in three story bubbles, basically, about three very ordinary people."

Read more
Author Interviews
4:09 pm
Sat April 11, 2015

A Dark, Funny — And Vietnamese — Look At The Vietnam War

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 7:04 pm

The Captain, a Communist sympathizer who's risen through the ranks of the South Vietnamese Army, has a confession:

I am a spy, a sleeper, a spook, a man of two faces. Perhaps not surprisingly, I am also a man of two minds. I am not some misunderstood mutant from a comic book or a horror movie, although some have treated me as such. I am simply able to see any issue from both sides.

So begins Viet Thanh Nguyen's new novel, The Sympathizer.

Read more
All Tech Considered
1:48 pm
Sat April 11, 2015

How Iconic: A Word Is Worth Thousands Of Pictures

The Noun Project uses crowdsourcing to gather an army of people to define words using icons. This is just a small selection of the huge icon dictionary.
Creative Stall via Noun Project

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 8:37 am

Picture a dictionary that doesn't need words to get the point across.

It started after Edward Boatman read the book The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester. The book is about Professor James Murray, the man who compiled the first Oxford English Dictionary. But Murray didn't do it alone. He had an army of people ready to help define every word in the English language.

Read more
Arts & Life
5:43 am
Sat April 11, 2015

Inside The Wild (And Hand-Drawn) World Of Bill Plympton

Jake and Ella meet cute on the bumper cars in Cheatin', but their perfect romance goes wrong after another woman starts scheming to drive them apart.
Plymptoons

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 8:54 am

Bill Plympton has come to be known as the king of indie animation — he's made seven animated features, all carefully hand-drawn. The latest has just been released — it's called Cheatin', and it's a wild tale of love, betrayal and bumper cars. Like many of Plympton's films, it has no dialogue.

Read more
Author Interviews
5:43 am
Sat April 11, 2015

How Jim Grimsley Shed His 'Racist' Skin

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 10:33 am

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

Transcript

TAMARA KEITH, HOST:

Read more
Movie Interviews
5:43 am
Sat April 11, 2015

For Fans Of 'Super Troopers,' Meow They're Getting A Sequel

Super Troopers director and actor Jay Chandrasekhar (left), along with other castmates from the cult comedy film, solicit investment for a sequel in a screengrab from their IndieGogo campaign.
Broken Lizard/IndieGogo

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 12:38 pm

Vermont's fictional and utterly zany state troopers are headed to Canada in Super Troopers 2, the planned sequel to the 2001 cult comedy film.

At least, that's what the film's director and co-star Jay Chandrasekhar seemed to unintentionally reveal in an interview with NPR's Tamara Keith on Weekend Edition.

Read more
Book Reviews
5:03 am
Sat April 11, 2015

Autobiographical 'Indian' Probes A Painful Past

"How are you meant to behave?" asks Jón Gnarr in his autobiographical novel The Indian. "What are these invisible rules that I don't know? What is 'normal'?" It's possible that Gnarr, the punk rocker turned comedian turned mayor of Reykjavík has never known what normal is, and thank goodness for that.

Read more
Author Interviews
4:17 am
Sat April 11, 2015

'Born With Teeth,' Actress Kate Mulgrew On A Life Lived With Abandon

Mulgrew starred as Captain Kathryn Janeway, the first woman to command a Federation Starship, in Star Trek: Voyager.
CBS Photo Archive/Delivered By Online USA Getty Images

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 5:22 pm

Even if you don't know Kate Mulgrew's name, you know her work. She currently plays Red, the formidable prison kitchen manager in the series Orange Is the New Black. And for seven seasons she was Captain Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager.

"Nothing could be more challenging, more arduous, or more rewarding than that part on that series," Mulgrew tells NPR's Tamara Keith, referring to the role of Janeway.

Read more
Code Switch
3:04 pm
Fri April 10, 2015

Painting The 'Epic Drama' Of The Great Migration: The Work Of Jacob Lawrence

Each of the 60 paintings in Jacob Lawrence's Great Migration series is accompanied with a caption. For this panel, he wrote in 1941: "In every town Negroes were leaving by the hundreds to go North and enter into Northern industry."
Courtesy of The Phillips Collection

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 6:58 pm

There's no historical marker outside Jacob Lawrence's childhood home in New York City's Harlem neighborhood.

But Khalil Gibran Muhammad, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has an idea of what it might say: "Here lived one of the 20th century's most influential visual artists, a man named Jacob Lawrence, who was a child of southern migrants."

Read more
Author Interviews
11:30 am
Fri April 10, 2015

Practicing 'Extreme Medicine,' From Deep Sea To Outer Space

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 1:00 pm

Dr. Kevin Fong explores how humans survive extremes of heat, cold, outer space and deep sea. He compares the exploration of medicine with the "explorers of the 20th century and every age before them."

Originally broadcast Feb. 11, 2014.

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

Transcript

Read more
Movie Reviews
11:30 am
Fri April 10, 2015

In 'Clouds Of Sils Maria,' An Actress Faces Past, Present And Future In An Instant

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 1:00 pm

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

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Read more
The Salt
8:59 am
Fri April 10, 2015

Cooking With Emoji: We're Taking Eggplant Back From The Bros

Unicode/Apple

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 12:39 pm

Last week, Amanda Hess at Slate laid out the evolution of a situation truly distressing to our food-loving hearts: Over the past couple of years, it seems, the purple, elongated eggplant found on the emoji keyboard on smartphones "has risen to become America's dominant phallic fruit."

Read more
Monkey See
8:13 am
Fri April 10, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'The Comedians' And Cameo Appearances

NPR

This week, paired with the return of Louie, FX introduced a comedy series called The Comedians, which features Billy Crystal and Josh Gad as ... well, as Bizarro Billy Crystal and Josh Gad, forced to work together on a fictional FX sketch comedy show.

Does that make sense?

Read more
Television
6:04 am
Fri April 10, 2015

'Game Of Thrones' And 'Veep' Anchor HBO's Killer Sunday Lineup

As the new season of Game of Thrones begins, Tyrion Lannister (played by Peter Dinklage) is on the run after killing his manipulative father.
HBO

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 6:26 pm

(Spoiler alert: Details from the new seasons of several shows follow below.)

HBO's hit fantasy drama Game of Thrones ended last year with the most shocking death of the season: Tywin Lannister's.

Lannister, the most influential power broker in the fictional, medieval-style continent of Westeros, was killed by his son, the tortured alcoholic dwarf Tyrion.

When the show returns with a new episode Sunday night, Tyrion is on the run. The man who is helping him, a scheming spymaster named Varys, wants Tyrion's help.

But Tyrion isn't having it.

Read more
Theater
3:07 am
Fri April 10, 2015

'Grand Illusion' Exhibit Lifts Curtain On The Secrets Of Setting The Stage

Oliver Smith (1918–1994). Scenic design for Jerome Robbins' Broadway. Watercolor and pen and ink drawing.
Music Division, Library of Congress

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 5:56 am

You won't want to miss the music in this piece. Click the listen link above to hear the full story.

Read more
Author Interviews
3:07 am
Fri April 10, 2015

Meet The 'Capital Dames,' Civil War Washington's Secret Power Brokers

According to Roberts, Mary Todd Lincoln could have "tremendous flare-ups of temper," but she was also smart and politically savvy.
Library of Congress AP

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 8:52 am

It's an overcast morning outside President Lincoln's Cottage, a national historic site in Washington, D.C., and Erin Carlson Mast is struggling to open a pair of huge, historic wooden pocket doors.

"When we began the restoration these had been closed for over 100 years," Carlson Mast, the site's executive director, tells NPR's Steve Inskeep.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Listening To The Ho-Hum Of The Machine

Sonoya Mizuno and Alicia Vikander in Ex-Machina.
A24 Films

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 3:41 pm

The latest British movie to play the imitation game, Ex Machina, is the directorial debut of novelist-screenwriter Alex Garland. This time, the stakes are higher than the Nazi conquest of Europe. The talky sci-fi puzzler turns on nothing less than the potential displacement of humans by artificially intelligent cyborgs.

Then again, maybe the film is just another riff on the battle of the sexes.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

'The Sisterhood Of Night' Wonders What These Girls Are Up To

Olivia DeJonge, Georgie Henley, Willa Cuthrell, and Kara Hayward in The Sisterhood Of Night.
Olivia Bee The Sisterhood Of Night

For a while The Sisterhood of Night, a spry, heartfelt first feature about teenage girls doing strange things in woods by night, appears to traffic in every easy cliché we adults use to bind female adolescents into knowable aliens. Led by charismatic underachiever Mary (played by former Narnia child Georgie Henley, all grown into a slightly unsettling resemblance to the young Eileen Brennan), a growing band of girls in a small Hudson Valley town take to the forest after dark, apparently to grow a satanic cult or something.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Bloody Yet Unsatisfying, 'Kill Me Three Times' Disappoints But Once

Simon Pegg in Kill Me Three Times.
David Dare Parker Magnet Releasing

The Australian crime caper Kill Me Three Times feels like a throwback to the country's "Ozploitation" genre films of the 1970s: bloody, low-budget romps through the commonwealth's seedier side. But in its half-hearted attempt to weave a tricky narrative structure, the film also has shades of the mid-'90s Pulp Fiction knockoffs that soured the landscape of bloody, low-budget romps.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Women Ascend With Uncertainty In 'Clouds Of Sils Maria'

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche in Olivier Assayas' Clouds Of Sils Maria.
Carole Bethuel / CG Cinema

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 2:03 pm

"The play is an object," Val (Kristen Stewart) tells actress Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) in Clouds of Sils Maria while helping her rehearse for a role. "It changes depending how you look at it."

Read more
Monkey See
1:51 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Small Batch Edition: 'Wolf Hall' On PBS

Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell in Masterpiece's Wolf Hall.
Giles Keyte Playground & Company Pictures for MASTERPIECE/BBC/PBS

It's always a pleasure to welcome Barrie Hardymon to any Pop Culture Happy Hour, even a short one. So this week, we sat down to chat about Wolf Hall, the prizewinning novel an adaptation of which just started airing on PBS. Barrie and I talk sweating sickness, intrigue, kings, sad stories, and the fact that she is available for all your "what's going on in this scene" needs. Seriously. You can tweet at her. She thinks about Henry's wives a lot.

Read more
Parallels
1:50 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Cultural Revolution-Meets-Aliens: Chinese Writer Takes On Sci-Fi

Best-selling author Liu Cixin's science fiction books are breaking new ground in China's literary world.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 10:37 am

China may have surged ahead in scientific prowess in recent decades, but it still lags behind other countries in science fiction.

Author Liu Cixin is starting to change that. The books in a popular trilogy published in China have each sold more than half a million copies. He has won nine Galaxy Awards, the Chinese equivalent of the Hugo Award. And a recent English-language translation is bringing his science-packed, futuristic vision to new audiences.

Read more
Movie Interviews
1:27 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Former Marine Adam Driver On What Acting And The Military Have In Common

Driver is best known for his role as Hannah's boyfriend on the HBO series Girls.
Craig Blankenhorn Courtesy of HBO

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 1:35 pm

A year after Sept. 11, actor Adam Driver joined the Marine Corps. He was working odd jobs, selling vacuum cleaners and paying rent to live in his parents' house — and he says, like many other Americans, he felt a sense of patriotism and he wanted retribution.

"I wanted to 'test my manhood' and serve my country and just get even and ... get away from home and everything I didn't like about it," Driver tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "In retrospect, it was actually pretty great."

Read more
Ask Me Another
8:10 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Historical Figure, Sci-Fi Villain Or Tech Startup?

LA Johnson NPR

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 9:45 am

There's no shortage of tech startups in Silicon Valley, and since these companies are founded by people who can identify every Star Wars character at the drop of a hat, their names tend to sound pretty weird. Is Zurg a new app that analyzes your dreams, Doctor Who's nemesis, or a 12th-century warlord? For our show at San Francisco Sketchfest, we make contestants earn their nerd cred by telling us — is it a historical figure, a sci-fi villain or a tech company?

See if you measure up with our quiz!

Read more
Book Reviews
5:25 am
Thu April 9, 2015

'The Only Words' Remembers Love And Science After The Apocalypse

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 1:27 pm

Rowan Van Zandt has never been alone. That's because he has lived his entire life in the company of his family: his mom, his dad, and his fraternal twin Faron. Where Faron is strong and impetuous, Rowan is bookish and quiet. The Van Zandts love each other, despite their differences, but they stick together for another reason: The America in which they live, many years in the future, is not an easy place to survive, especially if you're poor.

Read more
Book Reviews
5:25 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Renata Adler, Taking A Buzz Saw To The 'Tall Timber'

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 4:29 pm

For decades, the name Renata Adler has provoked a host of differing opinions. She's been loved, hated, feared, admired and ostracized by literary institutions for her brazen and uncompromising views on journalism and the role of the journalist. Adler has never been one to succumb to the pressures of the establishment, a fact she has proved through her work time and again — even if it means calling out her employers and colleagues by name.

Read more
Parallels
1:28 am
Thu April 9, 2015

China's 'Barefoot Lawyer' And His Great Escape

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 9:04 am

In February 2006, I traveled to the farmland of eastern Shandong province to interview blind activist Chen Guangcheng. He had been abducted from Beijing by security agents and put under house arrest for the past six months.

When I arrived, Chen was closely guarded by men armed with clubs. I couldn't get into Chen's village, so I stayed with a family of peanut farmers nearby.

Their simple farmhouse was freezing cold on that snowy day. My hosts burned peanut shells in a stove to warm the place and cook us dinner.

Read more

Pages