Arts/Life

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.

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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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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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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Movie Reviews
2:34 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

For Pi, A Wonderful 'Life' Finds Its Way To Film

Pi takes in the bioluminescent wonders of the sea.
Twentieth Century Fox

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

When your dad owns a zoo in India, as Pi's dad does, it's perhaps natural to regard animals as your buddies. Cool if you're talking goats and turtles; less cool if the animal you decide you want to pet is a Bengal tiger.

"He's an animal, not a playmate," his terrified father shouts. "Animals have souls," the boy replies gently. "I have seen it in their eyes."

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Book Reviews
1:00 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Hungry Hearts And Family Matters In 'Middlesteins'

iStockphoto.com

At first glance, a novel in which the main character eats herself to death may not seem like the most felicitous pick for Thanksgiving week; but The Middlesteins turns out to be a tough but affecting story about family members putting up with each other, even in their most unlovely, chewing-with-their-mouths-open life moments. If you have a Thanksgiving family reunion looming before you that doesn't exactly promise to be a Norman Rockwell painting, The Middlesteins may just be the perfect literary corrective to overindulgence in high-calorie holiday expectations.

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Author Interviews
12:30 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

A Model Career: 'Grace' Goes From Runway To Vogue

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

Grace Coddington grew up on what she calls "an island off an island," far from the fashion industry. Her new memoir, Grace, chronicles her journey from a sleepy town on the coast of Wales to her current job as the creative director of Vogue magazine.

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The Salt
10:45 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Why Americans Go Crazy For Pumpkin And Pumpkin-Flavored Stuff

Pumpkins for sale at the Mt. Rogers Pumpkin Patch in the a parking lot in Centreville, Va.
Paul J. Richards Getty

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 2:03 pm

At Thanksgiving, many of us will dig into the pointy tip of our first piece of pumpkin pie for the season. However, this Thursday, that nostalgic moment might feel a little less special.

This year, the word "pumpkin" seems to be creeping its way into hundreds of foods, drinks, and other products. As The Huffington Post noted recently, you can now find pumpkin-inspired beers, teas, marshmallows, soy milk, Pop-Tarts, and Pringles.

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Book Reviews
6:31 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Graphic Novels That Flew Under The Radar In 2012

Nishant Choksi

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

In 2012, several high-profile comics creators added landmark works to their already impressive legacies. With Building Stories, Chris Ware offered 14 volumes of comics, each with its own meticulous, anagrammatic take on despair, and stuffed them into a box.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Famous Father Had Highest 'Expectations'

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

You would think, wouldn't you, that the man who created such heartrendingly sympathetic children as Oliver Twist, Pip, Tiny Tim and poor Little Nell would be a stupendous father. Well, the Charles Dickens who emerges from Robert Gottlieb's Great Expectations, a compulsively readable if occasionally repetitive account of what happened to the great writer's brood of seven sons and three daughters, is not so wonderful.

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Movies
1:26 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Controversial Casting For A Nina Simone Biopic

Nina Simone (left) and actress Zoe Saldana are seen in this composite image. Saldana has been cast to play the late singer in a film biopic.
John Minihan/Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 9:35 am

The rumors that had been around for a couple of years have finally been confirmed: At long last, there's a film in the works about the turbulent life of Nina Simone, otherwise known as the "High Priestess of Soul."

Simone was famous from the 1950s through the '70s for her music and her civil rights activism. And although she died in 2003, her voice remains popular on TV, movie soundtracks and commercials.

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Movie Interviews
1:24 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Bradley Cooper On Getting Back To His Roots

Cooper's character, Pat Solatano, meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) while trying to get his life together after being released from a state institution.
The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 1:31 pm

Actor Bradley Cooper became famous for a bachelor party gone wrong in the hit comedy The Hangover. From that role, Cooper went on to People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive." Now there's talk of Oscar buzzing around his new movie Silver Linings Playbook, directed by David O. Russell.

In the film, Cooper plays Pat Solatano, just out of a psychiatric facility and struggling with bipolar disorder. Pat moves back home, where his parents try to manage his moods.

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