Arts/Life

Crime In The City
1:26 am
Mon August 20, 2012

Robert Crais: LA Is A 'Natural Canvas' For Nightmare

The canals in LA's Venice neighborhood serve as the scene of a murder in Robert Crais' 2011 novel, The Sentry.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 11:50 am

It's been a few decades, and many published books, but Robert Crais can tell you exactly when mystery writing first caught his attention: He was a bright 15-year-old living in Baton Rouge, La., when he read Raymond Chandler's The Little Sister, which depicted the shady side of sunny Los Angeles through the eyes of private investigator Philip Marlowe.

Since then, Crais has found huge success with his own crime novels, also set in LA. The city is the perfect canvas for a modern mystery, and Crais' eyes still grow wide when he talks about what Chandler painted on it.

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Art & Design
1:25 am
Mon August 20, 2012

Hopper's Pensive Lady In Pink Travels The World

Edward Hopper's wife, Josephine N. Hopper, served as his model for 1952's Morning Sun.
Columbus Museum of Art/Howald Fund

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 11:50 am

It's one of the ultimate images of summer: a woman in a short, pink slip sits on a bed, her knees pulled up to her chest, gazing out a window. Her hair is tucked back into a bun. Her bare arms rest lightly on her bare legs.

Edward Hopper painted her in 1952 for a work called Morning Sun. The picture has been widely reproduced for decades. But on a recent visit to its home at the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio, it was nowhere to be found.

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Around the Nation
2:37 pm
Sun August 19, 2012

Living Above The Past: Museum Opens Up To Tenants

As a living history museum, Strawbery Banke allows visitors to tour historic buildings constructed between 1695 and 1954.
Amanda Loder for NPR

Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 4:20 pm

All it takes to enter a time warp in New Hampshire is $15 and a summer afternoon. Spanning more than 250 years of American history, Strawbery Banke is the oldest neighborhood in the state's oldest city, Portsmouth.

It's kind of like Virginia's Colonial Williamsburg — lite. Stationed inside many of the 37 homes are re-enactors in different period garb. Inside a hulking white house, it's 1872.

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Author Interviews
2:32 pm
Sun August 19, 2012

Long After Katrina, New Orleans Fights For 'Home'

Alex Brandon

Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 4:20 pm

In just a few weeks, we will mark the seventh anniversary of one of the country's deadliest hurricanes. New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are still recovering from the devastating damage and loss of life caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita — the storm that would follow.

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Arts & Life
4:21 am
Sun August 19, 2012

'Gone With The Wind' Author's Estate A Windfall

Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 12:41 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC, "TARA'S THEME")

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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Author Interviews
4:21 am
Sun August 19, 2012

The 'State Of England' Is Grim In 'Lionel Asbo'

Martin Amis is the author of London Fields, Time's Arrow and The Rachel Papers.
Isabel Fonseca

Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 12:41 pm

Martin Amis' latest novel is his 15th work of fiction. His books are comical, raunchy, full of flashy language and a sense of something new being done. And in Lionel Asbo: State of England, the titular Lionel is vicious, violent and very funny.

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Sunday Puzzle
1:15 am
Sun August 19, 2012

Shuffle The Anagram, K?

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 12:41 pm

On-air challenge: This week's puzzle is called "Anagram K-pers." Every answer is a familiar word starting with the letter "K." You identify the words from their anagrams. For example, K + vane will make "knave."

Last week's challenge: Name two insects. Read the names one after the other. Insert an "H" somewhere in this string of letters, and you'll complete a familiar word that is the opposite of what either of these insects is. What word is it?

Answer: Behemoth (bee, moth)

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Author Interviews
3:01 pm
Sat August 18, 2012

Soccer Star Hope Solo On Loving Lost Parents

Goalkeeper Hope Solo competes against China in Chester, Penn., on May 27. Solo took a gold medal home from this summer's London Games.
Drew Hallowell Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 11:46 am

Hope Solo is generally regarded as the best women's goalkeeper in the world. Fresh off winning her third-straight Olympic gold medal with the U.S. national team, Solo has been as busy off the field as on it, releasing an autobiography titled Solo: A Memoir of Hope.

The memoir details her rise as an international celebrity, but it also focuses on the complicated relationship she had with her father, who taught her to play soccer.

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Movies I've Seen A Million Times
3:01 pm
Sat August 18, 2012

The Movie Simon West Has 'Seen A Million Times'

British actors Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann posing for the cover art of the movie 'Withnail & I' in Cumbria, 1986.
Murray Close Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 18, 2012 5:14 pm

The weekends on All Things Considered series Movies I've Seen A Million Times features filmmakers, actors, writers and directors talking about the movies that they never get tired of watching.

For director Simon West, whose credits include Con Air, The Mechanic and The Expendables 2, which opened in theaters this weekend, the movie he could watch a million times is the cult British film, Withnail and I. "I instantly fell in love with it," West says.

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The Picture Show
9:59 am
Sat August 18, 2012

A Photo Homage To The Working Class ... Of Animals

Tilman, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, 2012
Charlotte Dumas Courtesy of the Corcoran Gallery of Art

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 9:01 am

There are roughly 21 funerals a day at Arlington National Cemetery. The majority are simple graveside burials. But for those soldiers who have earned "full honors," the casket is brought to the grave by a team of horses pulling a caisson.

These horses are the subject of a new series of portraits by 35-year-old Dutch photographer Charlotte Dumas now on view at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The horses seem sad, and Dumas says that's what drives her work.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
7:56 am
Sat August 18, 2012

Comedian Mike Birbiglia Plays Not My Job

Brian Friedman

Stand-up comedian Mike Birbiglia gained fame with his wry and witty monologues on This American Life. Now, along with TAL host Ira Glass, he's made one of his stories into a new movie called Sleepwalk with Me.

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Movie Interviews
4:31 am
Sat August 18, 2012

Marjane Satrapi: 'A Real Love Story Has To Finish Bad'

Nasser Ali (Mathieu Amalric) is a man who wills himself to die in the film adaptation of Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel Chicken with Plums.
Patricia Khan Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Sat August 18, 2012 7:58 am

When we first meet Nasser Ali, the protagonist of Chicken with Plums, he's a mess. He loves his children, but doesn't support them. He has never really loved his wife — though he likes a dish she makes, chicken with plums. He was an accomplished violinist, but his wife shatters his violin to hurt him; she believes his instrument is the only thing that he truly loves.

As Nasser Ali peels back his life, in 1958 Tehran, we begin to learn about the broken heart that's beneath his sadness, madness and flights of genius.

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Author Interviews
4:31 am
Sat August 18, 2012

A Novel Endeavor From Molly Ringwald

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Molly Ringwald made her name as one of the "Brat Pack" of actors who appeared in John Hughes' teen films in the '80s. She starred in The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles, among others.
Fergus Greer HarperCollins

Originally published on Sat August 18, 2012 7:58 am

Most people know Molly Ringwald from her star turns in John Hughes' signature teen comic dramas from the 1980s, including Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink.

And Ringwald is still acting — she currently plays the mother in the ABC Family series The Secret Life of the American Teenager. But she's also turned her hand to writing. Her new book — and first novel — is called When It Happens to You.

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Author Interviews
2:13 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

3 Celebrity Friendships That Weren't Meant To Be

Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and John Lennon prepare to take off for a U.S. tour on Aug. 13, 1965. Fourteen days later, they'd find themselves in a much-anticipated but very awkward meeting with Elvis Presley.
Evening Standard/Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 2, 2012 9:32 am

Years ago, when NPR's Susan Stamberg was working for the wife of an American ambassador in New Delhi, she answered the door to the ambassador's home to find the maharajah of Jaipur standing outside.

"Your highness," she said, "what gorgeous pearls you're wearing."

"Oh, thank you," the maharaja replied. "On Tuesdays I wear pearls; on Wednesdays it's emeralds; Thursday, rubies."

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Books
1:19 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

This Week's 5 Must-Read Stories From NPR Books

iStockphoto.com

1. The Healing Power Of Stories

Cambodian author Vaddey Ratner was just a child when the Khmer Rouge came banging on the doors of her aristocratic family's compound in Phnom Penh. She's fictionalized that experience — and the years of hardship that followed — in her new novel, In the Shadow of the Banyan.

She survived — and so does her heroine, Raami — in part because she remembered the poems and stories her father loved.

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Author Interviews
11:12 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Donald Ray Pollock On Finding Fiction Late In Life

This interview was originally broadcast on July 26, 2011. Donald Ray Pollock's The Devil All the Time is now out in paperback.

Knockemstiff, Ohio, is a tiny hamlet in southern Ohio. In the 1950s, Knockemstiff had three stores, a bar and a population of about 450 people. Most of those people, says fiction writer Donald Ray Pollock, were "connected by blood through one godforsaken calamity or another."

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Movie Interviews
10:34 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Sacha Baron Cohen: The Fresh Air Interview

Sacha Baron Cohen plays Admiral General Aladeen, the authoritarian, anti-Semitic and unexpectedly sympathetic protagonist of The Dictator.
Melinda Sue Gordon Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 11:12 am

This interview was originally broadcast on May 21, 2012. Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator is now out on DVD.

Actor and writer Sacha Baron Cohen is famous for taking his characters — Ali G., Borat, Bruno — into the real world, interacting with people who have no idea that they're dealing with a fictional character. But his new movie, The Dictator, is a scripted comedy about a tyrant on the loose in New York.

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The Salt
8:42 am
Fri August 17, 2012

For A Better, Leaner Burger, Get To Know Your Proteins

The author's venison burgers, fired up on the grill.
Amy Blaszyk NPR

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 9:24 am

We love our hamburgers, and if you need any proof, see how quickly a recent auto-tuned fast food hamburger review featuring a happy guy eating in his car went viral.

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Monkey See
8:41 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Manifestations Of Grief And Extra Book Material

NPR

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 9:20 am

  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

What's that you say? You wanted more Barrie Hardymon? Well, this week, Stephen is in Wisconsin probably eating some cheese or something, so we have Barrie back for a second consecutive week (hooray!).

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Movie Reviews
8:29 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Love Is The Balm For Trauma In 'The Matchmaker'

Sixteen-year-old Arik (Tuval Shafir) becomes an apprentice to Yankele Bride (Adir Miller), a matchmaker with eccentric practices. Among their clients is Sylvia (Bat-El Papura), a little person who runs the local cinema.
Eyal Landesman Menemsha Films

Arik, the 16-year-old Israeli at the center of The Matchmaker, doesn't get why everyone keeps talking about love. It's the summer of 1968 in Haifa, and though the American summer of love is just a recent memory, Arik (Tuval Shafir) couldn't care less — he finds war immensely more interesting.

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The Salt
3:45 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Coffee Is The New Wine. Here's How You Taste It

Samantha Kerr prepares coffee at Artifact Coffee in Baltimore, MD.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 9:03 am

The "know your farmer" concept may soon apply to the folks growing your coffee, too.

Increasingly, specialty roasters are working directly with coffee growers around the world to produce coffees as varied in taste as wines. And how are roasters teaching their clientele to appreciate the subtle characteristics of brews? By bringing an age-old tasting ritual once limited to coffee insiders to the coffee-sipping masses.

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Movie Reviews
3:06 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

'Why Stop Now': Loose Ends, Tied Up Too Neatly

Eli (Jesse Eisenberg) and his mother, Penny (Melissa Leo), fall in with Penny's inept drug dealer, Sprinkles (Tracy Morgan), in the trite new indie drama Why Stop Now.
Jacob Hutchings IFC Entertainment

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 10:31 am

What's an American family these days? Many different things, but while television — a domestic medium to its marrow — has an affectionate finger on the pulse of the changing modern family, movies often seem stuck in a sorry dysfunction held over from the late 1960s, when we awoke to find that jolly Beaver Cleaver had morphed into miserable Benjamin Braddock, and while Mrs. Robinson tippled discreetly in the bedroom, Father, far from knowing best, went clueless or missing.

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Movies
3:03 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Out-Of-The-Ordinary Animation In 'ParaNorman'

Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) can hear the voices of the dead — which puts the pint-sized outcast in a position to save his town when zombies arrive.
LAIKA Focus Features

Even if most fans of hand-drawn animation have made peace, to a degree, with digital technology, the pleasures of old-school stop-motion animation are still rare and precious. There's something elemental about watching a movie that's been made by moving small figures around and filming them, frame by frame; even though there's always some digital technology involved in the making of a contemporary stop-motion film, the human touch always sings through the finished product.

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Movies
3:03 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

A Song-And-Dance Show About Dark Realities

Catherine Deneuve and Chiara Mastroianni — mother and daughter in real life — portray two generations of romantics in Christophe Honore's second musical.
IFC Entertainment

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 10:53 am

With Love Songs, his 2007 musical, French writer-director Christophe Honore updated such 1960s bonbons as The Umbrellas of Cherbourg for our age of expanded erotic frankness and possibility. Beloved, Honore's second musical, goes even farther, layering death, AIDS and Sept. 11 among the merry melodies.

This stylish film is enormous fun, whirling and warbling across four decades of amour. But it stumbles a few times in its last half-hour and ultimately seems a little too frisky for the graver issues it addresses.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Chilling Realities, Beggaring Belief In 'Compliance'

Compliance." href="/post/chilling-realities-beggaring-belief-compliance" class="noexit lightbox">
Fast-food employee Becky (Dreama Walker) finds herself the victim of a cruel "prank call" scam in Compliance.
Magnolia Pictures

The words "inspired by true events" are the first things to appear on screen in Compliance, Craig Zobel's queasy thriller of discomfort. I knew that this was the case going in, and had heard the basic facts of the "strip-search prank-call scam" that serves as the movie's inspiration. But I didn't know the full details — and as an ever-increasing load of humiliation and indignity was piled on the teenage fast-food worker at its center, I found myself getting angry with the film, assuming that Zobel was amping up the severity of real events for dramatic effect.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

In Tehran, A Vivid Parable About The Ends Of Things

Irane (Golshifteh Farahani) is the one who got away from violinist Nasser Ali (Mathieu Amalric) — and her loss consumes the musician in Chicken with Plums, a new film from Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud.
Patricia Khan Sony Pictures Classics

A parable of art and love, and a political allegory to boot, Chicken with Plums centers on an Iranian musician who wills himself to die. Yet the story that then unfolds, mostly in flashback, could hardly be more vital and engaging.

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Movies
3:03 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

'Cosmopolis' Captures Decadent Spirit Of The Age

Robert Pattinson's weird, inhuman beauty is used to full effect as billionaire Eric Packer in David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis.
Entertainment One

A matinee idol for the age of HDTVs and "retina displays," Robert Pattinson has a face that seems to require a higher resolution — glossy and ghostly pale, all sleek lines and alabaster skin. As Edward Cullen, the emo vampire in the Twilight saga, Pattinson plays a creature so immaculately inhuman that he literally sparkles in the sunlight. Edward may be over a century old, but Pattinson has become a thoroughly modern, even futuristic teen heartthrob, looking at all times as airbrushed as his many Entertainment Weekly covers.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Aging Ungracefully, But Still Kicking (And Shooting)

Yu Nan (front left), Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews (back left) and Randy Couture are most of the hard-charging team in The Expendables 2.
Frank Masi Lionsgate Films

The monosyllables fly fast and furious in The Expendables 2. It's the joints that are a little creaky, but what would you expect from this sequel to the 2010 blockbuster in which a cadre of aged action stars, led by Sylvester Stallone, gathered to fire guns, blow things up and beat the living daylights out of assorted baddies?

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Movie Interviews
11:39 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Frank Langella Embodies Wicked In 'Robot & Frank'

In Robot & Frank, a robot cares for an aging ex-burglar who has dementia. Frank Langella, who plays the burglar, says his character "becomes fond of the robot only because it is a tool for his wicked, wicked ways."
Samuel Goldwyn Films and Stage 6 Films

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 8:07 am

Frank Langella's career has not been an upward trajectory of success — and he likes it that way. He's had memorable roles on stage and screen, and times when he couldn't find work, or even an agent.

Now at 74, Langella is as busy as ever, and, as he tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies, he's never been hungrier to act.

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The Salt
8:43 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Peaches, Beautiful And Fleeting, Thanks To Fuzzy Thin Skin

Shopper reaches for donut peaches at the Penn Quarter farmers' market in Washington, D.C.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 9:25 am

If lately you've noticed the farmers' market flooded with signs that say "donut," "cling," "whiteflesh" and "freestone," you won't be surprised to learn that August is National Peach Month. Though the juicy fruits pack the produce aisles now, in a few short months a good peach might be hard to find.

Many fruits, though harvested in other parts of the world, are available in the United States all year long. So why are peaches so seasonal, and in the winter, either difficult to find or hard as a rock?

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