Arts/Life

Movie Interviews
5:32 am
Sat February 14, 2015

Hugh Grant On Smart Romantic Comedies And Standing Up To The Tabloids

In The Rewrite Grant plays a washed-up Hollywood screenwriter who takes a job teaching at a university in upstate New York.
Anne Joyce RLJE/Image Entertainment Films

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 8:12 am

Hugh Grant is a British fish out of water — again. In The Rewrite he plays Keith Michaels, a screenwriter who won an Oscar 15 years ago, but hasn't done much since. Divorced and nearly broke, he reluctantly takes a one-semester teaching job at Binghamton University in upstate New York.

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Television
4:29 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

See What 'Saturday Night Live' Looks Like The Rest Of The Week

Roseanne Roseannadanna (Gilda Radner) with Jane Curtin in 1979.
Edie Baskin Taschen

Originally published on Sat February 14, 2015 5:17 am

When Saturday Night Live went on the air 40 years ago, few would have guessed how many of the cast members would go on to become household names. But you've probably never heard of Edie Baskin and Mary Ellen Matthews. They're the official photographers on Saturday Night Live and their combined careers have spanned the life of the show. A collection of their work has been published to coincide with this year's anniversary broadcast on Sunday.

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Books
1:04 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

Sizzling-Hot Reads For Those Cold Winter Nights

A book sits in front of a fire.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 4:29 pm

The winter weather doesn't seem to be letting up — it's still cold and snowy in much of the country. For a little relief from the elements here are five ribald reads to ignite the most fiery of passions.

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

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Movie Reviews
11:57 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Love From A To Z — And Back Again — In 'The Last Five Years'

The finite romance in The Last Five Years is "haunting, bittersweet" says NPR film critic Bob Mondello.
Courtesy of RADiUS

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 4:29 pm

Movie musicals used to be box-office poison, but lately they've found ways to sing to a wider crowd. The onscreen Les Miz did away with lip-synching, Annie went multi-cultural, Into the Woods belted out revisionist fairy-tales — and combined, those three movies have taken in almost three-quarters of a billion dollars.

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Movie Reviews
11:52 am
Fri February 13, 2015

If You Strip The Bondage, '50 Shades' Is A Conventional Love Story

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

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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Monkey See
8:21 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Jupiter Ascending' And On-Screen Chemistry

NPR

You might be able to still find Jupiter Ascending at your local multiplex, if it's not entirely occupied with screenings of The Spongebob Movie and Fifty Shades Of Grey (USA! USA!). It made modest money last weekend despite (?) being a big and splashy production from the Wachowskis, who made The Matrix and, well, not really The Matrix again after that.

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Movie Interviews
2:20 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

'Fifty Shades' Director Explores Passion, Performance And Control

Sam Taylor-Johnson directs Jamie Dorn and Dakota Johnson on the set of Fifty Shades of Grey.
Chuck Zlotnick FOCUS/UNIVERSAL

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 4:26 pm

Universal Pictures put a woman in charge when it hired Sam Taylor-Johnson to direct Fifty Shades of Grey. It also got an art world star nominated for such prestigious awards as Britain's Turner Prize. Truth be told, Taylor-Johnson sounds slightly relieved to discuss her photography and videos instead of the movie she's in the thick of promoting.

"It feels so far away from me right now," she says, in her plummy London accent. "And it's so nice to talk about again — gives me a bit of a breather."

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Movie Interviews
11:35 am
Thu February 12, 2015

'Ida' Director Made Film To 'Recover The Poland' Of His Childhood

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

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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Ask Me Another
9:04 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Movies That Really Stink

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 1:55 pm

The fur flies in this final round as contestants go ape trying to guess movies that have the names of animals in their titles. Who will Chicken Run their way to victory?

Heard In The Pigeon Is On A Game Show!

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Ask Me Another
9:04 am
Thu February 12, 2015

What's Your Number?

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 1:55 pm

Who is Count Von Count's favorite rapper? Two-pac! Ah, ah, ah! Guess the Count's other favorite celebrities--they all have numbers in their names, like Ernest Borg-nine and Harrison Four-d.

Heard In The Pigeon Is On A Game Show!

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Ask Me Another
9:04 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Off The Rack

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 9:12 am

Proofreading matters! We've changed magazine titles by one letter to make them appealing to an even more niche audience. Maybe sip a margarita while browsing Lime Magazine?

Heard In The Pigeon Is On A Game Show!

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Ask Me Another
9:04 am
Thu February 12, 2015

We'll Get Together Then

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 1:55 pm

Do you reach for a tissue every time the oldies station plays Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle"? Try to hold it together when Jonathan Coulton sings rewritten lyrics about classic children's games.

Heard In The Pigeon Is On A Game Show!

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Ask Me Another
9:04 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Produce Samurai

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 9:11 am

Wham! Slice the word "cherry" in half to get "ch" and "erry." Can you guess which rock star's name put the pieces together? Chuck Berry! Your brain will do push-ups in this wordy round.

Heard In The Pigeon Is On A Game Show!

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Ask Me Another
9:04 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Pickup Lines Throughout History

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 1:55 pm

Is it 451 degrees Fahrenheit in here, or is it just you? Imagine pick-up lines that famous historical figures might have used at their local bar. Have your glass of water ready.

Heard In The Pigeon Is On A Game Show!

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Ask Me Another
9:04 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Mo Willems: Sunny Day

Don't Let The Author Devour The Microphone!
Eleanor Kagan NPR

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 1:55 pm

A botched job interview wound up landing Willems a gig on Sesame Street, where he stayed for a decade.

"I preferred writing for children because there are no cultural modifiers," he said. "The Eiffel Tower doesn't mean anything. Rock groups. Cars. It was easy for me to write about love and jealousy. Counting to 40 and the alphabet are my palette."

Will an Ask Me Another Challenge about the legendary show turn Willems into a giggling Ernie, or Oscar the Grouch?

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Ask Me Another
9:04 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Mo Willems: 'I Want My Books To Be Played'

"The age of five is the most philosophical age you can be." - Mo Willems. His latest Elephant and Piggie adventure is Waiting Is Not Easy!
Disney/Hyperion

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 1:55 pm

An award-winning children's fiction writer and animator, Mo Willems is best known for his book Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! and his Elephant and Piggie book series, as well as writing for Sesame Street, Sheep in the Big City and The Offbeats. Whether goofy or educational, Willems' stories appeal to people of all ages, and he aims to help young readers grapple with questions that we still try to answer throughout our adult lives.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Music Is Troublesome Magic In 'Signal To Noise'

"Magic will break your heart," warns Mama Dolores, the grandmother of Mercedes "Meche" Vega, the protagonist of Silvia Moreno-Garcia's debut novel, Signal to Noise. When it comes to magic, Mama Dolores is not speaking metaphorically: Meche, a 15-year-old girl living in Mexico City, has discovered how to practice magic, actual spells that can do actual good and actual harm.

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Television
1:41 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Miniseries Explores The Ugly Fallout Of A Disciplinary 'Slap'

Rosie (Melissa George) and barbecue hostess Aisha (Thandie Newton) comfort Rosie's 5-year-old son (Dylan Schombing) after another parent hit him.
Virginia Sherwood NBC

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 7:09 am

For a lot of parents, spanking your kids isn't an option. But not too long ago, many a child's bottom met the occasional switch. And while attitudes about corporal punishment have changed, it's still a provocative issue — one NBC is taking on in The Slap, a new miniseries that premiers Thursday.

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The Salt
3:18 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Forget Beads: Cajun Mardi Gras Means A Grand, Drunken Chicken Chase

The annual Courir de Mardi Gras in Mamou, La., in February 2008. In the Cajun country tradition, revelers go house to house, collecting ingredients for gumbo from local families. Here, the host tosses a live chicken from a rooftop for the participants to catch — which can be tricky, considering the festivities often begin with early-morning drinking.
Carol Guzy Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 4:38 pm

Mardi Gras is about ephemera, the thrill of the chase. In New Orleans, that's cajoling a strand of special glass beads or a glittered coconut from the hands of a stranger high up on a parade float. But the moment that trinket is nabbed, the recipient might think: Now what am I going to do with this?

Cajun Mardi Gras, however, in the small towns south and west of New Orleans, raises no such question. Because what you aim to catch is very useful. And edible.

It's a squawking, flapping live chicken.

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Author Interviews
3:04 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Tumultuous Relationships, But Not Much Gossip, In Langston Hughes' Letters

Langston Hughes, pictured above in 1961, was a poet, novelist, playwright and "inveterate letter writer," says editor Arnold Rampersad.
AP

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 4:27 pm

In addition to poems and plays and stories, Langston Hughes also wrote letters — a lot of letters. The letters — compiled for the first time in Selected Letters of Langston Hughes -- offer insight into a man deeply devoted to his craft, and chronicle his often tumultuous personal and professional relationships.

"He was an inveterate letter writer," Arnold Rampersad, co-editor of the compilation, tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "He would write sometimes 30 or 40 working late into the night, into the early morning. He believed in letters and he also saved them."

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Author Interviews
12:44 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Twice Kidnapped, Photographer Returns To War Zone: 'It's What I Do'

Lynsey Addario is a photojournalist who has worked in war zones for well over a decade.
Kursat Bayhan Courtesy of Penguin Press

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 7:07 am

In March 2011, photojournalist Lynsey Addario was kidnapped in Libya while covering the fighting between dictator Moammar Gadhafi's troops and rebel forces. She was with Anthony Shadid, Tyler Hicks and Stephen Farrell in the town of Ajdabiya, all on assignment for The New York Times.

Looking back, Addario says she had a premonition that something bad would happen.

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Monkey See
12:23 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

The Morning After 'The Daily Show' Began To Look To The Future

It took us a few hours to gather our thoughts, but Stephen Thompson and I sat down this morning for a talk about what might come next once Jon Stewart leaves The Daily Show. To promote from within or to try something more emphatically new? And are they wishing right now that the John Oliver timing had been different? We catch up about these questions and take a moment to remind each other that with a stable of strong writers comes the potential for a strong future, no matter who's in the host chair.

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Book Reviews
9:03 am
Wed February 11, 2015

'Displacement' Floats Too Close To The Surface

Is buoyancy boring? It's certainly an underrated quality in the literary world. We value tragic ranters and ironic brooders, people who put on a show and really make the pages fly by. Sturdy resilience, on the other hand, always seems to be asking for a fall.

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Books
8:03 am
Wed February 11, 2015

'Finn Fancy' Is Urban Fantasy With A Pop Culture Sweet Tooth

Fantasy's turn toward the grim has not lessened lately, nor should it. The success of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire not only justifies all that brooding darkness, it's opened the doors for many other excellent and similarly grim books. Randy Henderson, however, has something else in mind entirely with his debut novel, Finn Fancy Necromancy. Strictly speaking, it's an urban fantasy, one that takes place in and around present-day Seattle.

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The Two-Way
4:58 am
Wed February 11, 2015

Watch Jon Stewart Break The News Of His Departure To An Audience

Jon Stewart taped an episode of The Daily Show on Tuesday, hours before the news broke that he plans to leave the show.
Comedy Central

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 7:18 am

Taping last night's show shortly before the news of his departure became public, The Daily Show host Jon Stewart faced an awkward task: telling a studio audience that he's leaving the show.

In the process, Stewart couldn't resist making fun of himself.

"Seventeen years is the longest I have ever in my life held a job," he said, "by 16 years and 5 months."

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Book Reviews
1:10 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

Ignoring The Rules, Kelly Link Traffics In Wonder, Irony And Teenage Longings

Kelly Link's work also includes Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners, and Pretty Monsters.
Sharona Jacobs Courtesy of Sharona Jacobs Photography LLC

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 5:58 am

As a writer Kelly Link is possessed of many magical powers, but to me what's most notable about her new collection, Get in Trouble, is its astonishing freedom. It's one thing to put demon lovers and ghost boyfriends and spaceships in your stories, but it's something else to allow yourself to explore broad and unusual territory without worrying whether the reader will follow you closely. Link's fiction may be strange, but so, it seems, are all of us, each with our own highly particular inner lives.

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Book Reviews
12:45 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

Funny If It Weren't So True: A Farce About 'The Importance Of Beauty'

Amanda Filipacchi is also the author of the novels Nude Men, Vapor and Love Creeps.
Marion Ettlinger Courtesy of W. W. Norton & Company

Originally published on Tue February 10, 2015 2:54 pm

"Does this obituary make me look fat?"

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Politics
12:23 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

David Axelrod Recounts His Years As Obama's Adviser And 'Believer'

President Obama talks with senior adviser David Axelrod at the airport in New Orleans following a meeting on the response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
Pete Souza The White House

David Axelrod recalls the first time he met Barack Obama in 1992 when they had lunch: "I was really impressed by him," he says.

The veteran political consultant was struck that Obama, who had been the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review and was highly sought after by big law firms, instead decided to put together a voter registration drive and practice civil rights law at a little firm in Chicago.

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Television
12:07 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

New Comedy 'Schitt's Creek' From Canada Is A Reboot Of 'Green Acres'

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

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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Code Switch
10:42 am
Tue February 10, 2015

'Stop Telling Women To Smile': Denouncing 'Jackals' And Catcalling In Mexico

Magali, 33, describes the worst catcall she received from a soldier in Mexico City.
Courtesy of Fusion

Originally published on Tue February 10, 2015 5:36 pm

Note: This post contains language that some people may find offensive.

Brooklyn-based artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh recently went to Mexico City to talk with women who've gotten unwanted "piropos," as catcalling is known in Mexico. Here are some of the things they recalled hearing:

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