Arts/Life

Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

An Aging 'Quartet,' Still Polishing Their Legends

Even after her final curtain, a diva is always a diva — as demonstrated by the flamboyant retired soprano Jean (Maggie Smith) in Quartet.
The Weinstein Co.

"Wrinklies," a widely accepted British term for elderly people, is by a generous margin more affectionate fun than the anodyne euphemisms we use here in the United States, where many of us fear crow's-feet almost as much as we do death. It's no accident that Americans have no equivalent term of endearment beyond the horribly neutered "senior citizen." Or that Hollywood movies mostly ignore the old — or consign them to the demeaning Siberia of crazy old coots (Jack Nicholson) or wacky broads (Jane Fonda, Betty White and so many more).

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Television
11:06 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Boxes Of TV Fun, Old And New, For The Holidays

The new five-DVD, one-CD box set The Incredible Mel Brooks is crammed full with comedy gold — and includes Brooks and Carl Reiner (above) doing their iconic skit "The 2,000-Year-Old Man."
William Claxton Demont Photo Management, LLC

I'm biased, of course, because I'm a television critic — but to me, giving someone a gift of a TV show you yourself enjoyed tremendously is somehow very personal. You're giving something that you love, and that in many cases will occupy many hours, if not days, of their time. And during that time, they'll occasionally be reminded of you.

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Author Interviews
11:06 am
Tue December 4, 2012

'Inventing Wine': The History Of A Very Vintage Beverage

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 11:40 am

Wine is our original alcoholic beverage. It dates back 8,000 years and, as Paul Lukacs writes in his new book, Inventing Wine: A New History of One of the World's Most Ancient Pleasures, was originally valued more because it was believed to be of divine origin than for its taste. And that's a good thing, Lukacs tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, because early wine was not particularly good.

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The Salt
10:33 am
Tue December 4, 2012

From Humors To Self Control: The Evolution Of A Well-Balanced Diet

How a wealthy table set with a second course in the month of January would look, according to Mary Smith of Newcastle, in her 1772 book, The complete house-keeper and professed cook.
British Library

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 1:11 pm

Chances are you're familiar with the phrase "a well-balanced diet." Two to three servings of meat, poultry or fish; three to five servings of vegetables — you know the drill. When we talk about being "well-balanced" today, we're usually talking about the specific nutrients we put into our body.

While this might seem like a relatively new development — a product of the past 50 years of fitness programs and diet regimes — as it turns out, this idea goes back much further.

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Monkey See
7:51 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Sundance 2013: Who Cares About Ashton Kutcher? Bring On Jesse And Celine!

Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs in jOBS, directed by Joshua Michael Stern, which will close the Sundance Film Festival in January.
Glen Wilson Sundance Film Festival

The headline out of yesterday's announcement of the films that will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2013 had to do with jOBS (if it is up to me, I will never obey that silly typography again), the Steve Jobs biopic starring Ashton Kutcher wearing '70s facial hair.

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New In Paperback
5:03 am
Tue December 4, 2012

New In Paperback Dec. 3-9

Carola van Wijk AP

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Alex Berenson, Calvin Trillin, Beth Raymer, Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Best Books Of 2012
5:03 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Recipe Rebellion: A Year Of Contrarian Cookbooks

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 2:20 pm

"Just throw the whole lemon in the food processor for lemon bars."
"Don't just soak your dried beans — brine them!"
"You don't need a whole day (or two) to make a good sauce."

Some of the things this year's cookbooks said to me as I tested them were downright contrarian. But that's the brilliant thing about cooking in a global, crowdsourced, Web-fueled world: People no longer cook according to some received wisdom handed down by a guy in a white toque. They figure it out as they go along, and if they stumble on a shortcut, it's blogged and shared in no time flat.

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Art & Design
2:25 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Street Art Brings Life To A Miami Neighborhood

Greek artist B. calls his mural "a sea of objects." It was added to Wynwood Walls in 2011.
Greg Allen NPR

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 4:08 pm

One of the nation's largest art fairs, Art Basel, opens this week in Miami. But days before the fair launches in Miami Beach, the party had already started across the bridge, in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood.

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Monkey See
2:07 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

PBS Remixes 'Reading Rainbow,' Delights Map And Book Nerds Everywhere

LeVar Burton and 7 year old Shane Ammon exploring the all Reading Rainbow adventure app at the "Reading Rainbow Relaunch" event in June.
AP

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 2:48 pm

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The Salt
1:06 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Sandwich Monday: The CBO

Cheddar*, Bacon, Onion.
NPR

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 8:05 am

Joining the McDLT in the great history of abbreviated McDonald's sandwiches is the CBO burger. "CBO" stands for Cheddar, Bacon, Onion, but as you can see below, they had to put an asterisk after "cheddar."

Peter: The asterisk should lead you to the bottom of the box where there's a little message saying TOO LATE, YOU'RE DEAD.

Mike: The asterisk really changes the menu. Not sure I want a Filet-O-F*** or a Sham**ck Shake.

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The Two-Way
10:15 am
Mon December 3, 2012

'Three Cups Of Tea' Co-Author Took Own Life, Medical Examiner Says

Viking Press

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 1:51 pm

David Oliver Relin, a journalist who had reported from around the world before gaining fame — and getting mired in controversy — as co-author of the best-selling Three Cups of Tea, took his own life when he died on Nov. 15 in Oregon, The New York Times reports.

It got that word from Relin's family.

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You Must Read This
5:54 am
Mon December 3, 2012

A Gruesome "Sabbath": Roth's Vile, Brilliant Masterpiece

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 8:03 am

Matthew Specktor is the author of the forthcoming novel American Dream Machine.

Some books love to be loved. They make their moves on us softly, they butter us up. Who doesn't love Atticus Finch or Franny Glass? These people resemble our better selves, and it's easy, from there, to love the books that contain them. So why is it that whenever someone asks me what they should be reading, I steer them instead toward one of the most loathsome characters in contemporary fiction, Philip Roth's Mickey Sabbath?

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Best Books Of 2012
5:03 am
Mon December 3, 2012

Finder's Keepers: 2012's Stories To Hang On To

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 10:05 am

Part of a book critic's challenge is to sift through piles of new publications, panning for literary gold. In a way that makes us what one of my favorite children's book heroines, Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking, called a "turnupstuffer" — "Somebody who finds the stuff that turns up if only you look." Or like Dickens' optimistic Mr. Micawber, who was always sure something good would turn up.

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Monkey See
1:23 am
Mon December 3, 2012

Neil deGrasse Tyson Helps His New 'Bud' Superman Get A Glimpse Of Home

From Action Comics 14, Neil deGrasse Tyson greets Superman to help him with a problem.
DC Comics

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 6:29 am

On Monday's Morning Edition, Hayden Planetarium director and pop-culture go-to science guy Neil deGrasse Tyson tells NPR's David Greene the story of how he came to lend a hand to Superman.

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Author Interviews
1:12 pm
Sun December 2, 2012

'Bartholomew Biddle': A Writer's 15-Year Adventure

Candlewick

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 3:06 pm

Gary Ross has penned and directed some big Hollywood hits like Big, Pleasantville and The Hunger Games. But for the past 15 years, his obsession has been something much more personal: a Dr. Seuss-ian children's book called Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind.

It started when Ross got a call in 1996 from fellow screenwriter David Koepp. Koepp was up against a tight budget and approaching deadline with his debut directorial effort, The Trigger Effect. Its heroine had to read an as-yet-unwritten bedtime story to her child.

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The Picture Show
10:10 am
Sun December 2, 2012

Remembering A Rock Star: Photographer Ken Regan

Photographer Ken Regan with the Rolling Stones, 1977
Courtesy of Ken Regan/Camera 5

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 2:21 pm

If you've been around longer than me, perhaps you were already familiar with Ken Regan's photography.

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Music Interviews
3:58 am
Sun December 2, 2012

Dozens Of Covers Later, 'Hallelujah' Endures

In 1994, a cover by the late Jeff Buckley helped save "Hallelujah" from musical obscurity.

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 9:55 am

There are songs, and then there are anthems.

One of those anthems is the subject of music journalist Alan Light's new book, The Holy Or The Broken.

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Monkey See
3:58 am
Sun December 2, 2012

The High And The Low In Holiday Movies

Matchmaker Santa is only one of many cornball films in which Santa (Donovan Scott) helps a woman (Lacey Chabert) find a boyfriend (Adam Mayfield). This is the one where the vanilla extract was key.
Carin Baer Hallmark Channel

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 3:59 am

My well-documented weird affection for Hallmark movies brings me — along with NPR.org movies editor Trey Graham — to Weekend Edition on Sunday to talk to NPR's Rachel Martin about the high-profile theatrical holiday film as well as the corny basic-cable incarnations that are appropriate to this season.

Trey was in charge of the high parts.

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Sunday Puzzle
12:53 am
Sun December 2, 2012

Untangle An 'Act Of God'

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 7:42 am

On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar three-word phrase in the form "____ of ____." The letters in the first and last words of each phrase are rearranged. You give the phrases. For example, "Cat of Dog" becomes "Act of God."

Last week's challenge from listener Henry Hook of Brooklyn, N.Y.: In a few weeks something will happen that hasn't happened since 1987. What is it?

Answer: A year with no repeat digits (1987, 2013)

Winner: Darren Dunham of Santa Clara, Calif.

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Author Interviews
3:14 pm
Sat December 1, 2012

'Cross Roads': A Writing Career Built On Faith

Courtesy of FaithWords

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 1:41 pm

Five years ago, Paul Young was working three jobs outside Portland, Ore., when he decided to write a Christian tale of redemption for friends and family. He went down to an Office Depot and printed off 15 copies of the story he called The Shack.

The manuscript was never intended for broad publication, but it eventually caught the attention of two California-based pastors. They took it to 26 different publishers but got rejected each time. So the pastors set up their own publishing company and started a whispering campaign among churches.

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Author Interviews
3:56 am
Sat December 1, 2012

A Compelling, Chutzpadik History Of 'Jews And Words'

Scott Rothstein iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 6:42 am

For thousands of years the Jewish people have been forced to move around — fleeing bigotry, slavery, pogroms, famines and tyrants. But words are portable, and to Jews — who are among those known as "the People of the Book" — they are precious possessions. As Amos Oz and his daughter, Fania Oz-Salzberger, write in their new book, Jews and Words, "Ours is not a bloodline, but a text line."

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Performing Arts
3:43 am
Sat December 1, 2012

Hispanics Call For Kennedy Center Honors

Honorees (from left) James Levine, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Simon, Chita Rivera and James Earl Jones stand beside first lady Laura Bush and President George W. Bush during the 25th Kennedy Center Honors in 2002. Rivera was the last Hispanic recipient of the award.
Shawn Thew AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 8:41 am

This weekend, some big names are coming to Washington for a red-carpet event. Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, ballerina Natalia Makarova, blues guitarist Buddy Guy and the British rock band Led Zeppelin will be receiving the annual Kennedy Center Honors.

It's a prestigious award given to only a handful of performers each year. But over the past few months there's been controversy surrounding the awards. In its 35-year history, only two honorees have been Hispanic, despite the fact that Hispanics are the largest minority in the United States.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
2:52 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Jake Tapper Of ABC News Plays Not My Job

Ely Brown Little, Brown and Company

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 9:31 am

Jake Tapper is the longtime chief White House correspondent for ABC News and has just written a new book called The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor.

We've invited him to play a game called "It's Mr. Bojangles to you." Three questions for a guy named Tapper about an actual tapper: Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, who some say was one of the greatest tap dancers of all time.

Pop Culture
1:22 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

That's So Random: The Evolution Of An Odd Word

The use of the word random as slang found its way into Amy Heckerling's 1995 hit film, Clueless, starring Alicia Silverstone.
Paramount/The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 4:44 pm

Random is a fighting word for young Spencer Thompson. The comedian posted a video to a Facebook page entitled I Hate When People Misuse the Word Random.

"The word random is the most misused word of our generation — by far," he proclaims to a tittering audience of 20-somethings. "Like, girls will say, 'Oh, God, I met this random on the way home.' First of all, it's not a noun."

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Science
12:17 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

SciFri Book Club Has 'The Right Stuff'

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 2:15 pm

This month the book club takes to the skies with the Tom Wolfe classic The Right Stuff, a behind-the-curtain look at the 20th century's most famous test pilots--including Chuck Yeager. Yeager joins the club to talk about his long career, and what he considers "the right stuff."

Science
12:14 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Glacier Photographer James Balog on 'Chasing Ice'

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 2:15 pm

Photographer James Balog on Climate Change and 'Chasing Ice' — In the new documentary "Chasing Ice," photographer James Balog attempts to capture how the world's glaciers are being affected by climate change. As the film debuts across the country, Balog discusses the project, and what needs to be done to save Earth's shrinking glaciers.

Monkey See
9:23 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: This Is Your Life, And TV Pool Knockouts

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

Fortunately, Glen is back this week after two weeks away, and if you don't check out his mother's ceramic goose dressed up for Thanksgiving, you're just not living right.

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The Salt
7:56 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Mark Rice-Ko: Where Food and Rothko Meet In Delicious Harmony

Chef/Stylist Caitlin Levin and photographer Henry Hargreaves create an interpretation of Mark Rothko's paintings using colored rice.
Henry Hargreaves

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:36 am

Back in 1958, when Mark Rothko was commissioned to do a series of murals for The Four Seasons restaurant in New York — a place he believed was "where the richest bastards in New York will come to feed and show off" — his acceptance of the assignment was subversive at best. He hoped his art would "ruin the appetite of every son of a [beep] who ever eats in that room," according to a Harper's magazine article, "Mark Rothko: Portrait Of The Artist As An Angry Man."

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Hardcover Nonfiction Bestsellers
7:03 am
Fri November 30, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Nonfiction, Week Of November 29, 2012

David Nasaw's The Patriarch offers insight into the life of Joseph P. Kennedy. It debuts at No. 12.

Television
3:04 am
Fri November 30, 2012

The NFL's New Target Demographic: Kids

Eleven-year-old Ish Taylor is charged with protecting the NFL — and the world — from a scheming supervillain in NFL Rush Zone: Season of the Guardians.
Nickelodeon

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 5:05 am

When the NFL wants to make a play for a particular demographic, they go long. To attract Latinos, it forged partnerships with Univision and Telemundo. To keep women happy, it came out with a clothing line featuring shirts that actually fit better than those boxy jerseys.

Now, to engage children, the NFL is going where kids go: Nickelodeon. NFL Rush Zone: Season of the Guardians is a new series rolling out Friday, co-branded by the NFL and Nicktoons.

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