Arts/Life

The Salt
4:31 am
Sun November 25, 2012

Real Chefs Grind It With A Mortar And Pestle

The mortar and pestle can be found in kitchens around the world, including Thailand. In the United States, chef Tanasapamon Rohman uses the tool to grind up chili paste and pulverize rice at her Thai restaurant.
Jessical Spengler Flickr

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 6:44 am

Chefs these days stock all sorts of high-tech tools, from liquid nitrogen to $500 blenders. But in kitchens throughout the world, there's one piece of technology that's been the same since the Stone Age: the mortar and pestle.

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Author Interviews
4:11 am
Sun November 25, 2012

Old Newspapers, New Perspectives On The American Revolution

Courtesy of Sourcebooks

Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 5:33 am

Time has a way of condensing major historical events into a few key moments, with one-dimensional, legendary figures at the forefront. In his new book, author and archivist Todd Andrlik gives life and depth to one such event — the American Revolution. He uses newspaper reporting from that era to provide a sense of the Revolution as it actually unfolded.

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Sunday Puzzle
10:03 pm
Sat November 24, 2012

A Puzzle More Delicious Than A Chard Shard

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 5:33 am

On-air challenge: Every answer consists of a made-up two-word phrase in which the first word starts with CH, and the second word is pronounced the same as the first except with an SH sound. (The spelling may or may not change.) For example, given the clue "some Central African fish," the answer would be "Chad shad."

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Performing Arts
3:05 pm
Sat November 24, 2012

Princess Marty Is A Smarty If She's At A Child's Party

Mary Alice LeGrow, otherwise known as "Princess Marty," hugs a young girl during a birthday party in a Philadelphia suburb. A graphic artist and "cosplay" (costume play) fanatic, LeGrow became a full-time professional party princess to make ends meet during the economic downturn.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 5:55 am

Princess Marty says the most important thing a princess has to do is smile and be in character — always.

"You can never ruin it for a child, even if you're coming home from work ... and you're in your big dress," she says. "If a child sees you, you have to be a princess for them. You can't say, 'Sorry kid, I'm off the clock.' "

Her highness — known outside the big dress as Mary Alice LeGrow — is a professional party princess. She uses her best princess voice and dresses up in full regalia to charm children.

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Author Interviews
2:57 pm
Sat November 24, 2012

A White Face With A Forgotten African Family

Free Press

Originally published on Sat November 24, 2012 4:26 pm

Growing up blond-haired and blue-eyed in Southern California, Joe Mozingo always thought his family name was Italian.

But as an adult, Mozingo became skeptical of that theory when friends and co-workers began to ask him about his unusual-sounding last name.

The journey to discover the truth about the Mozingo name took him from the libraries of Los Angeles to the courthouses and plantations of Virginia and, finally, to Africa.

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Movies I've Seen A Million Times
2:57 pm
Sat November 24, 2012

The Movie Ed Burns Has 'Seen A Million Times'

Actor Robert Duvall in the film Tender Mercies
Keystone Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 24, 2012 4:26 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.

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Book Reviews
7:57 am
Sat November 24, 2012

New 'Tune,' Same Key From Cartoonist Derek Kirk Kim

Courtesy of First Second

By the time cartoonist Derek Kirk Kim was 30 years old, his prodigious talents had already won him an Eisner award, an Ignatz award and a Harvey award, the top three honors of the comics field.

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Movie Interviews
4:34 am
Sat November 24, 2012

The Unsung Overdub Star In 'Sound Of Music'

Originally published on Sat November 24, 2012 8:30 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

We spoke with Christopher Plummer last week, and couldn't resist asking the famed stage and screen actor if he ever still sings "Edelweiss."

CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER: Of course not.

SIMON: (Laughter)

PLUMMER: Are you mad?

(LAUGHTER)

SIMON: I had to ask.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE SOUND OF MUSIC")

BILL LEE: (as Plummer's Captain Von Trapp) (Singing) Edelweiss, edelweiss, every morning you greet me...

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Author Interviews
3:48 am
Sat November 24, 2012

A Refugee's Multilayered Experience In 'Ru'

Random House Canada

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 8:31 am

Vietnamese author Kim Thuy's new novel unfolds in the way a flower casts off petals: one small scene after another. Ru is an autobiographical novel in which memories are shuffled back and forth to tell the story of a 10-year-old born in Saigon during the 1968 Tet Offensive.

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The Two-Way
10:48 pm
Fri November 23, 2012

'Dallas' Villain Larry Hagman Dies At 81

Actor Larry Hagman, star of the TV series Dallas, poses during the 2010 Monte Carlo Television Festival in Monaco on June 8, 2010.
Christian Alminana AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 24, 2012 12:22 pm

Larry Hagman, who played the villain J.R. Ewing on television's long-running, prime-time soap opera Dallas, has died. He was 81.

A source close to Hagman confirmed his passing to NPR but would not speak on the record at the request of the family.

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Movies
11:54 am
Fri November 23, 2012

What Happened To 'Baby Jane'? She's Turning 50

Bette Davis in the role of Jane Hudson in What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? The classic horror film, which has just turned 50, is being released on Blu-ray
AP

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 12:33 pm

Baby Jane Hudson is now 50 years old — or at least the strange and brilliant movie in which she's the main character is, just released as a beautifully remastered Blu-ray. Robert Aldrich's grotesque gothic tragedy is a cross between Gypsy, with its antithetical show-biz kid sisters, and Sunset Boulevard, with its decayed Hollywood glamour.

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Monkey See
6:37 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Out Of Season Entertainment And A TV Quiz

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

We know you're traveling; we're traveling, too! But we thought we'd send the show out early, just in case you have time to throw it on your iPod before you go over the river and through the woods.

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Author Interviews
1:00 am
Fri November 23, 2012

'Unorthodox' Book Of 'Jewish Jocks' Puts Stereotypes Aside

American lightweight Benny Leonard, pictured in 1925, is remembered as one of boxing's greatest.
Topical Press Agency Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 11:53 am

There have been a number of books about great Jewish athletes, starring legendary baseball players like Sandy Koufax or Hank Greenberg, the "Hebrew Hammer." But a new book doesn't focus only on Jewish players — it looks at the myriad ways Jews have contributed to the American athletic landscape. Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame is a collection of essays compiled and edited by Franklin Foer and Marc Tracy of The New Republic magazine.

Foer and Tracy join NPR's Linda Wertheimer to discuss the rise of Jews in big-league sports.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu November 22, 2012

Close To The 'Bone': A French Connection, Haltingly

Stephanie (Marion Cotillard) is a marine-mammals trainer who works with killer whales at a French water park.
Sony Pictures Classics

Jacques Audiard's Rust and Bone is an unapologetic melodrama rendered in what you might call semi-stylized neo-expressionistic realism, and it works like gangbusters. The picture takes some turns you don't expect, and some you do. But the ultimate effect is that of a filmmaker striving not to make a work of art, or a subtle drama that will win big festival prizes, or an afternoon's worth of cinema for sophisticated people. He just wants to send you home with a story and with the memory of his characters' faces. In other words, he wants to give you the world.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu November 22, 2012

Rape, Race And The Press, Entangled In 'Central Park'

Yusef Salaam, wrongly accused of rape, is escorted by police. He and four other teens were eventually found guilty of a crime they didn't commit.
Getty Images

A change of pace for PBS long-form documentarian Ken Burns, The Central Park Five revisits New York City's recent past to tell the story of a pack of ruthless predators.

Two packs, actually: Gotham's prosecutors and police officers, and its reporters and columnists. Both groups went feral in 1989 against five innocent Harlem teenagers accused and then convicted in a rape and assault.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu November 22, 2012

'Guardians' Doesn't Rise To Its Potential

Bunnymund (Hugh Jackman), Sandman, North (Alec Baldwin) and Tooth (Isla Fisher) welcome Jack Frost (Chris Pine) to a group of mythical characters sworn to protect the world's children.
DreamWorks

William Joyce's illustrated books for children are marvels of wit and wonder, rendered in softly shaded colors with an art-deco flair. In books like A Day with Wilbur Robinson and Santa Calls, winsome dinosaurs wear miniature fezzes on their tiny heads; a roly-poly Santa, complete with monocle (the better to read the names of good little boys and girls), looks as if he's just stepped off a '30s Christmas card; and modes of transport include Buck Rogers-style spaceships and locomotives of the sort Superman could stop with his bare hands.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu November 22, 2012

A Boy, A Boat, A Tiger: Reflecting On 'Life Of Pi'

Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma) begins a journey of personal growth and spiritual discovery after being lost at sea.
20th Century Fox

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 11:54 am

Director Ang Lee has a surprising affinity for the Indian hero of Life of Pi — that's his name, Pi, and he's seen at several ages but principally as a 17-year-old boy adrift on a lifeboat in the South Pacific. He's the lone survivor of a shipwreck that killed the crew, his family and a variety of zoo animals his father was transporting to North America for sale.

Actually, Pi is the lone human survivor. He shares his boat and its dwindling food supplies with a man-eating Bengal tiger.

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Arts & Life
1:48 pm
Thu November 22, 2012

Bill Connolly's Funny, But Not Clever Comedy

Comedian Billy Connolly received that Outstanding Contribution to Television and Film Award at the 2012 BAFTA Awards in Scotland.
Tony Lyon

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 11:33 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Scottish comedian and actor Billy Connolly has been performing for over 50 years now. His TV credits include the sitcom "Head of the Class." He co-starred with Judi Dench in the movie "Mrs. Brown." New projects include Dustin Hoffmann's directorial debut, "Quartet," with, among others, Maggie Smith. And he plays a dwarf king in "The Hobbit." But what he does, as he puts it, is standup comedy.

(SOUNDBITE OF STANDUP SHOW)

BILLY CONNOLLY: Algebra was a mystery to me.

Connolly, 1A plus 1B?

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Movie Reviews
10:03 am
Thu November 22, 2012

'Hitchcock': Mr. And Mrs. 'Master Of Suspense'

Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) and his wife, Alma Reville (Helen Mirren), work together to produce Psycho.
Fox Searchlight

When my nieces were small, I took them on a day trip to the Museum of the Moving Image on London's South Bank. We had fun touring a puckishly curated journey through the history of cinema, until my younger niece flushed the toilet in the noir-inflected bathroom — and set off the famous shrieking strings that amp up the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, creating the most terrifying moment in American cinema.

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The Salt
1:49 am
Thu November 22, 2012

A Readable Feast: Poems To Feed 'The Hungry Ear'

Still Life with Fruit and Nuts, by Robert Seldon Duncanson
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 2:45 am

This Thanksgiving, as hearty aromas fill the house, take a moment to savor a different kind of nourishment — poetry about food.

The Hungry Ear, a new collection, celebrates the pleasures and the sorrows of food with poems from Pablo Neruda, Sylvia Plath and dozens more. Poet Kevin Young cooked up — or edited — this readable feast. He tells NPR's Renee Montagne that, much like the best meals, the best poems are made from scratch.

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Movie Interviews
10:03 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

We Ask A Historian: Just How Accurate Is 'Lincoln'?

Lincoln biographer Ronald White lauds the accuracy of Daniel Day-Lewis' depiction of the 16th president.
DreamWorks

Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 8:20 pm

A great many families going to the movies over this Thanksgiving weekend will probably see Lincoln, Steven Spielberg's new film starring Daniel Day-Lewis and an impressive cast.

Based on a biography by Doris Kearns Goodwin, but scripted by playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner, it's been very well-reviewed, but here's a question: How true to history is it?

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Monkey See
3:01 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

Rob Delaney Talks About Gratitude, Perspective, Spaceships And A Career With Teeth

A screenshot from Rob Delaney's standup special, "Live At The Bowery Ballroom."

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 3:57 pm

Full disclosure: The first thing I said when I saw that Rob Delaney would be talking to NPR's Audie Cornish on today's All Things Considered was that I was curious to see whether he had ever said anything on Twitter — where he has almost 670,000 followers (including me) as of this writing — that they thought they could read on the radio. It's an exaggeration. But not by that much.

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Author Interviews
9:34 am
Wed November 21, 2012

National Book Award Winner Inspired By Tragedy

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 10:03 am

A devastating crime on a Native American reservation opens up questions about law, justice, and family in Louise Erdrich's latest novel, The Round House. It's the winner of this year's National Book Award for fiction. Erdrich discusses the book with guest host Celeste Headlee. Advisory: This conversation may not be comfortable for all listeners.

Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed November 21, 2012

In 'Titian,' New Perspective On An Italian Master

Agostino Carracci Library of Congress

He may not have a Ninja Turtle named after him, but Tiziano Vecellio of Venice — Titian, to English speakers — has a claim to being the most enduringly influential painter of the Renaissance, even more than his Roman contemporaries Michelangelo and Raphael. Something about him drives his fans to excess. Peter Paul Rubens painted nearly two-dozen copies of Titian's work; Anthony van Dyck bought 19 Titians for his own collection. Velazquez and Rembrandt worshipped him.

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Three Books...
5:03 am
Wed November 21, 2012

Bend Sinister: Three Tales Of Gothic Terror

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 10:53 am

Three figures, each more monster than man, cast long shadows over the 19th century gothic novel: a vampiric count, seeking new hunting grounds; a wanderer, cornered after a lifetime spent avoiding damnation; and a sinister, drug-addicted uncle, intent upon securing a wealthy estate even if it means murdering a niece to do so. These three works — Charles Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer, Uncle Silas by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu and Bram Stoker's Dracula — represent the cornerstones of the Anglo-Irish gothic tradition.

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The Salt
1:19 am
Wed November 21, 2012

Comfort And Joy: Making The 'Morning Edition' Julia Child Thanksgiving

Julia Child's reassembled Thanksgiving turkey.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 7:49 am

Like many of us who consider ourselves food adventurers most of the year, when it comes to Thanksgiving, we just want the turkey and mashed potatoes we grew up with. Well, OK, maybe just a teensy bit better than what we grew up with, but along the same lines.

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Kitchen Window
1:17 am
Wed November 21, 2012

Frozen Meals Soothe The Sick And Shut-In

Deena Prichep for NPR

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 5:30 am

Despite my outward 30-something appearance, deep inside my chest beats the heart of an old Jewish grandmother. I want to make my friends sweaters when it's getting cold, or throw them parades when they've mastered some feat. But mostly, I want to feed them. Especially when they need a little help.

Over the past few years, I've brought dozens of meals to friends who are nursing new babies or broken bones. And I've learned a few things about how to help when it comes to feeding people in need — specifically, that an extra meal or two for the freezer can be the best gift of all.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

A Nazi Roundup, Chaotically Evoked In 'La Rafle'

Annette Monod (Melanie Laurent), a Protestant nurse, volunteers to help a Jewish doctor during World War II.
Menemsha Films

On June 23, 1940, the day after France signed the armistice that marked the country's official capitulation and partial occupation, Adolf Hitler toured Paris. In black-and-white footage taken on the day that opens the earnest and unconventional French docudrama La Rafle, the visiting Nazi leaders and their military escorts are more or less sightseeing.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

A Remake That Will Leave Fans Seeing 'Red'

From left: Matt Eckert (Josh Peck) and his friend Robert (Josh Hutcherson) join Matt's Marine brother Jed (Chris Hemsworth) on a mission to stop North Korean invaders.
Ron Phillips Open Road Films

Released during Ronald Reagan's 1984 re-election campaign, the original Red Dawn was denounced as right-wing propaganda. But while director and co-writer John Milius' fantasy of Colorado high-school students who battle Soviet and Cuban invaders was anti-communist, it was principally pro-gun and pro-youth. In spirit, it was closer to Frank Capra than to Leni Riefenstahl.

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Monkey See
2:53 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Making The Comedy Podcast: Julie Klausner's Life Of Conversation

Julie Klausner has written for television, traditional media, new media, and Joan Rivers. But she's also a very popular comedy podcaster — a job that, only a few years ago, barely existed.
Ari Scott Julie Klausner

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 4:14 pm

Julie Klausner's podcast, How Was Your Week?, has been featured on all manner of lists of the best shows of its kind — in Rolling Stone, in GQ, and in The New York Times. Comedy podcasting is a field growing so fast that, as NPR's Audie Cornish mentions in talking to Klausner on today's All Things Considered, comedian Colin Quinn recently commented that the only thing comedians talk about anymore is doing each other's podcasts.

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