Arts/Life

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 clichΓ© 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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 β€” 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."

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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 β€” is it a historical figure, a sci-fi villain or a tech company?

See if you measure up with our quiz!

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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.

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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 β€” even if it means calling out her employers and colleagues by name.

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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.

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The Salt
1:26 am
Thu April 9, 2015

These Vintner Monks Turn Wilderness Into The Divine Gift Of Wine

The St. James vineyard at the Abbey of New Clairvaux. The 20 brothers of the abbey belong to an order with a tradition of winemaking that dates back nearly 900 years.
Lisa Morehouse for NPR

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 5:34 am

In a tiny Northern California town called Vina, there's a winery that's definitely off the beaten track. That might be because this region's better known for olive groves and cattle ranches than grapes. For these, vintners, though, it's spiritual work.

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Arts & Life
8:20 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Grandparent Movie Database

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 9:22 am

If grandparents ran IMDB, descriptions would sound like this: "He's that one in the Grabbed movies? He has a particular set of skills." Can you guess the actors by their slightly confused bios?

Heard in Sketchfest 2015: Alex Borstein, Brad Bird and Dan Savage

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Ask Me Another VIPs: Very Important Puzzlers
8:19 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Family Guy's Alex Borstein On Her Voice, Fans And New Gig On HBO

Getting On's Alex Borstein.
Carlo Allegri Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 6:13 pm

Although she's best known as the voice of Lois, the put-upon wife of Peter Griffin on Seth MacFarlane's Family Guy, Alex Borstein is a jane-of-all-trades. She's done improv, stand-up, sketch comedy on MADTv, and wrote for the '90s cartoon Pinky and the Brain.

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Ask Me Another
4:46 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Pixar's Brad Bird Talks French Food, Animated Rats And New Film 'Tomorrowland'

Pixar's Brad Bird.
Jason Carter Rinaldi Getty Images for Disney

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 6:12 pm

Some people were born knowing what they want to be when they grow up. Brad Bird, the mastermind behind Pixar's The Incredibles and Ratatouille was one of those kids. At age thirteen, Bird finished his first animated film, a remake of The Tortoise and the Hare that ends in a five-way tie. He told Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg, "My parents told me to send it to the [most famous] person and work my way down." Luckily for Bird, the most famous person ended up being Milt Kahl, a legendary animator at Disney, who took Bird under his wing (pun intended).

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Ask Me Another
4:46 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Malady Melody

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 9:22 am

Sick of certain songs? This game features songs about being sick β€” we've rewritten their lyrics to be about the common illness in their titles. You give me fever!

Heard in Sketchfest 2015: Alex Borstein, Brad Bird and Dan Savage

Ask Me Another
4:46 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Sex Advice Columnist Dan Savage Still Fresh After 20 Years

Sex Advice Columnist Dan Savage
Dan Dion NPR

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 6:12 pm

It's hard to imagine someone as edgy and iconoclastic as Dan Savage as an institution, but he's written his "Savage Love" advice column for Seattle's weekly newspaper, The Stranger, for over twenty years. "I'm giving sex advice to the children of people who were childless when they were reading my column," the journalist and gay activist told Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg.

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Ask Me Another
4:46 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

G-G-G Network

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 9:22 am

What do George Washington, egg nog and Ginger Rogers have in common? They're all part of the "3G" network. Contestants giggle, gaggle and Google their way to victory in this final round.

Heard in Sketchfest 2015: Alex Borstein, Brad Bird and Dan Savage

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Ask Me Another
4:28 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

This That or The Other

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 9:22 am

Is Bluetooth is a historical figure, a sci-fi villain or a tech startup? There's something for every kind of nerd in our Silicon Valley-themed "This, That or the Other."

Heard in Sketchfest 2015: Alex Borstein, Brad Bird and Dan Savage

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Fine Art
3:28 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Father Of Modern Iranian Sculpture Gets First U.S. Show In Nearly 40 Years

Artist Parviz Tanavoli with his sculpture Big Heech Lovers.
John Gordon Courtesy of Parviz Tanavoli

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 4:16 pm

With his head of silver hair and stylish black blazer, Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli looks younger than his 77 years. He's been called the father of modern Iranian sculpture, but he hasn't had a major museum show in the U.S. in almost four decades. Now, Wellesley College's Davis Museum is giving viewers a chance to see 175 of Tanavoli's sculptures and drawings.

While leading a tour of the Massachusetts school's gallery, Tanavoli stops in front of his curvaceous sculptures known as "Heeches."

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Movie Reviews
2:13 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Ties That Bind Meet Lies That Blind In 'About Elly'

About Elly is "perched right on the fault line between modern thinking and Islamic tradition," says NPR film critic Bob Mondello.
Courtesy of Dreamlab Films

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 4:23 pm

Most Americans don't have a clear picture of what everyday life is like in Iran for the obvious reason that Iran has been isolated from the West for more than three decades. Still, windows open occasionally. A few years ago, Asghar Farhadi's Oscar-winning Best Foreign Language film, A Separation, offered Western eyes a glimpse of a middle-class Iranian marriage under stress.

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Books
2:13 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Postal Service Slips Up With Special-Edition Stamp For Maya Angelou

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 4:23 pm

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The U.S. Postal Service just released its stamp honoring the late poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. There was a big ceremony yesterday.

(APPLAUSE)

BLOCK: Oprah was there.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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The Two-Way
2:07 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

USPS Picks Perfect Line For Maya Angelou Stamp β€” If Only It Were Hers

The celebrated poet Maya Angelou crafted a number of lines that have resonated with her readers β€” but the one on this stamp, it turns out, isn't one of them.
AP

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 4:10 pm

As Abraham Lincoln always said, "The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you never know if they're accurate."

Well, no β€” barring a weird rift in time, he probably didn't say that. But when it comes to the quotations of other famous figures β€” and, it seems, even life offline β€” things occasionally get far murkier.

Just ask the U.S. Postal Service.

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Author Interviews
12:59 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

'Displacement': The Frustrations, Fears And Absurdities Of A Cruise Upended

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 1:25 pm

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

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
12:59 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

The Creepy, Crawly World Of Bedbugs And How They Have 'Infested' Homes

Brooke Borel says bedbugs were essentially wiped out after World War II thanks to DDT. It's not totally clear why they came back in the past couple of decades.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 3:36 pm

Brooke Borel admits she has become either "the worst person" or "the best person" to talk to at a cocktail party. The journalist not only has had a few experiences with bedbugs, she also has written the new book Infested about the history of bedbugs. And she's not afraid to talk about it.

"I begrudgingly respect them," Borel tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "I did not even know what I was getting myself into when I started working on this book and I really do find them endlessly fascinating."

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Television
12:59 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

'Louie' Hits Its Mark While 'The Comedians' Hasn't Yet Fully Succeeded

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 1:25 pm

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

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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Book Reviews
8:03 am
Wed April 8, 2015

Love, Violence And Lou Reed, On Display In 'The Water Museum'

Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 1:30 pm

There's a telling moment in one of the stories in Luis Alberto Urrea's The Water Museum, when two high school friends are talking about their mutual love for Velvet Underground. "You like Berlin?" asks one of the boys. "Lou Reed's best album, dude!" A lot of Reed's fans (including this one) would agree, but it's a controversial record β€” it's certainly one of the most depressing rock albums in history, heavily suffused with references to suicide, violence and drug abuse.

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