Arts/Life

Movies
1:56 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Sundance Subsidy Stirs Conservative Pushback

Robert Redford's annual Sundance Film Festival draws thousands of filmgoers and millions of dollars to snowy Park City, Utah. But a state subsidy contributing to the event is drawing controversy from some conservatives, who say films screened at the festival don't reflect the values of the state.
Jemal Countess Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 6:48 pm

A disagreement between supporters of the Sundance Film Festival and a conservative think tank in Utah is raising questions about whether tax dollars should support the arts. The Sutherland Institute says some films screened at Sundance do not reflect Utah values.

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The Salt
12:36 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

The Inaugural Food Scene In 12 Bites

The restaurant Equinox served a Sunday brunch on Jan. 20 featuring courses inspired by President Obama and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s favorite foods, including this salad of citrus cured arctic char with watermelon radish, mache leaves and lobster vinaigrette.
Daniel M.N. Turner Daniel M.N. Turner / NPR

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 7:32 am

Uptown and downtown in D.C. this weekend, some 600,000 people or so celebrated President Obama's second inauguration. And they were hungry.

Reflecting the president's message of diversity, city chefs and caterers turned out everything from highbrow brunches featuring smoked salmon and eggs Benedict to a luau, complete with leis and a spit-roasted pig. And there were plenty of hot dogs and chicken and waffles to be found between the balls.

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Parenting
10:09 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Comedian Margaret Cho As 'Mother To The World'

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but maybe you just need a few moms in your corner. Every week, we check in with a diverse group of parents for their common sense and savvy advice.

Today, though, we're going to go in a different direction for some observations about parenthood and, unusually for us, she is actually not a parent herself, but her observations about her own mom have been a cornerstone of her career. Here she is.

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Book Reviews
10:03 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Missing Out: On The Uses Of Dissatisfaction

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 9:11 am

From Malcolm Gladwell to the Freakonomics guys to (discredited) science writer Jonah Lehrer, writers these past few years have flooded bookstores with popular nonfiction titles that purport to tell us how we think. But something has been lost amid the recent vogue for cognitive science and behavioral economics. What about the human part of human behavior — the dreams and desires that set us apart from animals and computers? Are we just assemblages of neurons and chemicals?

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Tina Brown's Must-Reads
1:39 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Tina Brown's Must-Reads: Hidden Lives

Longtime CIA agent and counterintelligence agent Jeanne Vertefeuille, pictured at center, was instrumental in uncovering undercover agents, or moles, within the organization in the 1980s and '90s.
Central Intelligence Agency

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 8:06 am

Tina Brown, editor-in-chief of Newsweek and The Daily Beast, occasionally joins Morning Edition to talk about what she's been reading for a feature we call "Word of Mouth." This month, she recommends a trio of stories on people who've led hidden and often extraordinary lives — a businesswoman and technological giant who started life in Chinese re-education camps, a billionaire investor and education reformer whose personal experiences are too big for a series of ghostwriters, and a CIA agent whose job was to find a story among piles of forgotten documents.

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Arts & Life
3:13 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Hundreds Of Thousands Gather On National Mall For Inauguration Ceremony

President Obama was ceremonially sworn in for a second term on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Monday. Melissa Block has highlights of the ceremony and the president's speech.

Television
11:43 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Kevin Bacon, Seeking A TV 'Following'

Jeannane Goossen and Kevin Bacon star as FBI special agents tracing a network of serial killers in Fox's new crime drama The Following.
Fox

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 11:46 am

In the new Fox TV series The Following, Kevin Bacon plays a former FBI agent asked to help apprehend an escaped serial killer he once put behind bars. The show is from Kevin Williamson, who also created the Scream horror-movie franchise.

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Author Interviews
11:19 am
Mon January 21, 2013

'Double V': The Fight For Civil Rights In The U.S. Military

The fight to integrate the U.S. military began with the Revolutionary War, says author Rawn James, Jr.
Bloomsbury Press

In his new book, The Double V: How Wars, Protest and Harry Truman Desegregated America's Military, author Rawn James Jr. argues that if one wants to understand the story of race in the United States, one must understand the history of African-Americans in the country's military. Since the country was founded, he tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies, the military "has continually been forced to confront what it means to segregate individuals according to race."

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New In Paperback
5:03 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Jan. 21-27: A Robbery, An Assassin And A Writer's Pilgrimage

Crown

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Richard Ford, Chris Pavone and Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts.

Copyright 2013 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

You Must Read This
5:03 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Urban Oases: Getting Lost in 'Invisible Cities'

Carlo Allegri Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 11:11 am

Eric Weiner's latest book is Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine.

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Arts & Life
1:22 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Aretha Franklin Was Already Famous, But Her Hat-Maker Wasn't

At the Jan. 20, 2009, inauguration of President Obama, Aretha Franklin's hat nearly stole the show. Her chapeau became a sensation, and made its creator, 36-year-old Luke Song, famous overnight.
Ron Edmonds AP

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 10:54 am

After the first Obama inauguration, everybody talked about three things: the historic moment, the Arctic weather — and Aretha Franklin's hat.

If it is possible for a piece of millinery to steal the thunder of one of the most-watched moments in recent memory, the Queen of Soul's hat managed to do it. Her gray felt cloche was topped with a giant, matching bow, outlined in rhinestones that flashed in the chill sunlight as she sang "My Country 'Tis of Thee."

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Author Interviews
3:29 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

George Saunders On Absurdism And Ventriloquism In 'Tenth Of December'

iStockphoto.com

George Saunders has been writing short stories for decades.

Saunders, a professor at Syracuse University, was once a geological engineer who traveled the world; he now crafts stories that combine the absurd and fantastic with the mundane realities of everyday life. One story about a professional caveman inspired those Geico commercials.

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Author Interviews
2:12 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

Connecting With Nature To Reclaim Our Natural 'Birthright'

Stephen Kellert is a professor emeritus and senior research scholar at Yale University.
John Mueller Yale University Press

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 3:29 pm

"Contact with nature is not some magical elixir but the natural world is the substrate on which we must build our existence," writes Stephen Kellert in his new book Birthright: People and Nature in the Modern World.

In it, he tells stories of the environment's effect on us, and ours on it. His writing builds on the traditions of Thoreau, John Muir and Rachel Carson. Modern society, he argues, has become adversarial in its relationship to nature, having greatly undervalued the natural world beyond its narrow utility.

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You Must Read This
4:11 am
Sun January 20, 2013

Fiction Truer Than Fact: A Haunting Autobiographical Novel

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 11:28 am

Sarah Manguso's latest book is called The Guardians.

I like autobiographies that approach their subjects insidiously. My favorite ones begin as a study of someone or something else. Then, partway through, the author realizes he's the subject. And my very favorite autobiographies are the ones, in all their particularity, that might as well be about me — or you, or anyone.

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Author Interviews
4:02 am
Sun January 20, 2013

Presidents Use Bully Pulpit To Shape American Language In 'Words'

Bloomsbury

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 6:05 am

The office of the president offers a lot of responsibilities and privileges. Your actions drive the world's most powerful military, billions of dollars worth of domestic policy and, perhaps most importantly, the way the country speaks.

That's what linguist and writer Paul Dickson contends in his new book, Words From the White House. It's a look back through history at the words and phrases popularized by our presidents — including the ones they don't get credit for anymore.

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Monkey See
10:13 pm
Sat January 19, 2013

Our Royalty: Bangs Aren't All Michelle Obama And Kate Middleton Have In Common

First lady Michelle Obama waves after addressing the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 4.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 10:28 am

Ask yourself this question: How weird would it be if you changed your hair and it was on the news?

No, seriously. Pull back from everything you know about celebrity and pretend it's about you. You change your hair. You decide, "Hey, you know what? It's been long for a while; what if I went a little shorter?" And so you go a little shorter. And then it is on the news.

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Sunday Puzzle
10:03 pm
Sat January 19, 2013

What's In A Name?

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 9:25 am

On-air challenge: You will be given the first names of two famous people, past or present. The first person's last name, when you drop the initial letter, becomes the second person's last name. For example, given "Harold" and "Kingsley," the answer would be "Harold Ramis" and "Kingsley Amis."

Last week's challenge: Think of two familiar, unhyphenated, eight-letter words that contain the letters A, B, C, D, E and F, plus two others, in any order. What words are these?

Answer: feedback; boldface

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Author Interviews
3:02 pm
Sat January 19, 2013

'All We Know': Three Remarkable But Forgotten Lives

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 5:25 pm

The scene is Paris in the 1920s. The stars are three women: Esther Murphy, a product of New York high society who wrote madly but could never finish a book; Mercedes de Acosta, an insatiable collector and writer infatuated with Greta Garbo; and Madge Garland, a self-made Australian fashion editor at British Vogue. All three were lesbians.

Their histories burst onto the literary scene this summer in the biography All We Know: Three Lives by Wesleyan University professor Lisa Cohen.

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Monkey See
4:03 am
Sat January 19, 2013

A Memorized Poem 'Lives With You Forever,' So Pick Carefully

John Keats' poetry lends itself to memorization particularly well. Fortunately, you can learn his texts by heart without having to adopt his moody pose.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 3:39 pm

Take just a moment to estimate how many songs you know by heart. Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands?

Now, how many poems do you have memorized?

For most modern readers, even poetry fans, that number's pretty low. But Poetry By Heart, a new competition in the U.K., is seeking to bring the art of poetry memorization to a new generation.

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The Salt
3:53 am
Sat January 19, 2013

Inaugural Balls Where Food Isn't An Afterthought

Guests arrive for the Black Tie and Boots Inaugural Ball in Washington back in 2005 to celebrate President Bush's second term.
J. David Ake AP

Like everyone else in Washington, D.C., right now, we're gearing up for the long inaugural weekend, bracing ourselves for various events and balls around town that can be thrilling, patriotic, touristy and traffic-jamming, all at the same time.

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Poetry
3:38 am
Sat January 19, 2013

U.K. Asks Students To Learn Poetry 'By Heart,' Not By Rote

Emily Musette Hays performs in the 2012 Poetry Out Loud finals in Washington, D.C. The U.S. competition served as a model for the U.K.'s Poetry By Heart contest.
James Kegley The Poetry Foundation

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 5:13 am

When the Internet offers a superabundance of material to read, watch, listen to and play, it's easy to skim over text and half-listen to broadcasts. But the British government is inviting schoolchildren to put down their cellphones, turn off their news feeds and spend a long time lingering over a poem — so long that they learn it by heart.

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Books
3:38 am
Sat January 19, 2013

'Art Of Betrayal': A History Of MI6 That Reads Like A Spy Novel

Pegasus Books

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 5:13 am

For an organization that's supposed to be "secret," the British Secret Service, MI6, is awfully famous. MI6 agents turned novelists include Ian Fleming, Graham Greene and John LeCarre, and their books — together with the film franchise starring Fleming's James Bond — have made the intelligence organization a global brand.

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Author Interviews
3:38 am
Sat January 19, 2013

Former Sox Manager Reflects On Turbulent Tenure

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 5:13 am

Terry Francona probably never has to buy his own drink in Boston. He's the manager who helped steer the Red Sox to the World Series in 2004 and then again in 2007, turning the franchise from a kind of national sob story into a sleek, rich and successful sports enterprise.

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Author Interviews
3:38 am
Sat January 19, 2013

After 30 Years, Neil Jordan Returns To 'The Past'

Courtesy Soft Skull Press

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 5:13 am

Neil Jordan is best known as a filmmaker — he directed The Crying Game, Michael Collins, Interview with the Vampire and the Showtime series The Borgias — but he began his career as a writer. His first novel, The Past, was published in Ireland in 1980 to great acclaim.

The novel follows an enigmatic protagonist on his search for his family's secrets in a Cornish seaside town. Jordan joins NPR's Scott Simon to talk about The Past, which has been reissued in the United States by Soft Skull Press.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
4:44 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

Melinda Gates Plays Not My Job

Courtesy Melinda Gates

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 10:19 am

Back in the early 1990s, Melinda French was a rising star at a software company when the boss asked her out on a date. This was complicated because he was her boss, and frankly, he was kind of a nerd. But they fell in love and got married, and decided to raise a family, retire from the business, and in their spare time give away more money to charity than anyone else in the history of the world.

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Monkey See
12:45 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

I've Heard That Somewhere: 'Glee' Covers 'Baby Got Back,' And It Sounds ... Familiar

The cast of Glee, which is in its fourth season on Fox.
Kwaku Alston Fox

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Movies
10:32 am
Fri January 18, 2013

'Mama': A Good Old-Fashioned Horror Movie

Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and her sister, Lilly (Isabelle Nelisse), are near-feral orphans in the horror thriller Mama.
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 11:29 am

I was weaned on horror movies and love them inordinately, but the genre has gone to the dogs — and to the muscle-bound werewolves, hormonal vampires, flesh-eating zombies, machete-wielding psychos, etc. It's also depressing how most modern horror pictures have unhappy nihilist endings in which everyone dies and the demons pop back up, unvanquished — partly because studios think happy endings are too soft, but mostly because they need their monsters for so-called franchises.

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Opinion
9:44 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Lance Armstrong, Tragic Hero? Not Exactly

Lance Armstrong admits to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs. The first part of the interview aired Thursday night.
Getty Images

Annalisa Quinn is a freelance writer for NPR Books.

Lance Armstrong, in the interview Thursday night with Oprah Winfrey in which he admitted to doping, understood the role that storytelling played in his fall: "You win the Tour de France seven times, you have a happy marriage, you have children. It's just this mythic, perfect story. And it wasn't true."

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Author Interviews
8:49 am
Fri January 18, 2013

The Inquisition: A Model For Modern Interrogators

An illustration shows heretics being tortured and nailed to wooden posts during the first Inquisition.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 11:41 am

This interview was originally broadcast on Jan. 23, 2012.

The individuals who participated in the first Inquisition 800 years ago kept detailed records of their activities. Vast archival collections at the Vatican, in France and in Spain contain accounts of torture victims' cries, descriptions of funeral pyres and even meticulous financial records about the price of torture equipment.

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From The NPR Bookshelves
7:53 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Brush Up For The Inauguration With Books By And About The Obamas

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk in the Inaugural Parade on Jan. 20, 2009 in Washington, D.C.
Ron Sachs-Pool Getty Images

As the nation gears up for the second inauguration of President Obama, NPR Books dove into the archives to find some of our favorite interviews with biographers of the first family. Here, you'll find profiles of the president's mother and father, an exploration of Michelle Obama's ancestral roots, and a portrait of the president and first lady's relationship. You'll also find books written by the Obamas themselves.

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