Arts/Life

Author Interviews
3:21 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

History Inspired Travel Tales Of Donoghue's 'Astray'

Originally published on Sat October 27, 2012 4:29 am

A young mother sets sail from Ireland after the potato famine to meet her husband in Canada; two gold prospectors seek their fortune in the frozen Yukon; a slave poisons his master and the master's wife escapes with him.

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Remembrances
2:43 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Cultural Historian Jacques Barzun Dies At 104

Pioneering cultural historian Jacques Barzun was the author of dozens of books and essays on everything from philosophy to music to baseball. He died Thursday in San Antonio at the age of 104.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 3:57 pm

Jacques Barzun, one of the most influential historians, educators and thinkers of the 20th century, died Thursday, just one month shy of his 105th birthday. Barzun seemed to have a limitless capacity to understand and translate complex ideas — about the evolution of Western culture, what it means to be free, and even the value of American baseball. He shared his observations in numerous books and magazine articles and at Columbia University, where he held forth for half a century.

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Movie Reviews
12:43 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

'Cloud Atlas': You're Better Off Reading The Book

Zachry and Meronym are only two of the combined 12 characters Tom Hanks and Halle Berry play in Cloud Atlas. It is a challenge that bests both actors, according to David Edelstein.
Jay Maidment Warner Bros.

First I need to talk about the book, because it's not as if Cloud Atlas the movie came from nowhere — and if you think it's only the movie you want to know about, I think you need a context for what's onscreen.

Author David Mitchell writes exquisite pastiches, and Cloud Atlas is in the form of six distinct and enthralling novellas set in six different eras with six different literary styles.

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The Salt
12:06 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Lasagna Cupcakes, Anyone? Science Says We Can't Get Enough Mini Stuff

Five savory cupcakes: Chicken potpie, lasagna, grilled cheese, mac n' cheese and the Thanksgiving leftovers.
Courtesy of @LisaSKim

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 1:04 pm

A few weeks ago, my friend came back from Brooklyn raving about the food served at a baby shower.

"Savory cupcakes!" she exclaimed. Lasagna, grilled cheese, chicken potpies and even a mac n' cheese cupcake — all shaped like the trendy dessert and served on a cupcake tree.

Despite all the enthusiasm, my first response was quite cynical. Isn't that just baked macaroni and cheese in a muffin tin?

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Monkey See
8:59 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Halloween Stories And Very Good Taste

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

It's Halloween — or it will be soon — and that means BOO! We talk about the scariest of holidays (if you don't count Valentine's Day). Not scary at all: with Trey on vacation, we're joined by the charming Tanya Ballard Brown, who kicks off with a delightful tale of a clothes-wearing friend of hers. We get the update on what Stephen's kids are doing this year (the World's Saddest Banana is retiring!) and I once again make the case for my favorite dog photograph of all time.

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Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
7:03 am
Fri October 26, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction, Week Of October 25, 2012

Justin Cronin's tale of a world run over by vampires continues with The Twelve. It debuts at No. 3.

Television
2:18 am
Fri October 26, 2012

'Sábado Gigante' Celebrates 50 With Lots Of Variety

Mario Kreutzberger, aka Don Francisco, has served as host of Sábado Gigante since the show's debut in 1962. The variety show will mark its 50th anniversary on Saturday.
Alan Diaz AP

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 2:07 pm

For 50 years, Spanish-speaking TV viewers have tuned into the weekly variety show Sábado Gigante. Host Don Francisco commands a festive live audience in Miami, with celebrity interviews, musical performances, goofy sidekicks and scantily clad dancers. The three-hour show is broadcast throughout the Americas.

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How We Watch What We Watch
2:17 am
Fri October 26, 2012

The Future Of 'Short Attention Span Theater'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 2:36 pm

We've been looking at how technology has totally changed what it means to watch television or a movie. One of the biggest changes has been in demand — people want a baseball game — on their smartphone, wherever they are, right now. They want to pull up a video and stream it — on their laptop or phone, immediately, with no wait.

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Movie Reviews
5:46 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

A Crime Drama In Need Of A Push

In Pusher, a drug dealer's (Richard Coyle) life is on the line when a botched deal lands him in the clutches of a ruthless crime lord (Zlatko Buric).
Radius-TWC

Cinematic crooks could learn a thing or two about their profession from the movies. The last score, the double cross, the vengeful boss who wants his money back: Audiences have seen enough of these well-worn tropes that it's reasonable to expect a modern character would be casually familiar with them. In other words, even dopey dad and high school teacher Walter White in Breaking Bad and the wannabe gangster teenagers in Gomorrah have seen Scarface, no matter that they didn't take the violent story of a drug lord's rise and fall as a lesson in what not to do.

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Movie Reviews
3:33 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Mothers' Love Transcends Security Checkpoints

Jews Alon and Orith Silberg (Pascal Elbe and Emmanuelle Devos) and Palestinians Leila and Yacine Al Bezaaz (Areen Omari and Mehdi Dehbi) find out that their sons have been switched at birth.
Cohen Media

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 7:50 am

What if you woke up one day to find that you were someone other than whom you thought you were? Upping the ante, what if that someone belonged to the tribe you'd been raised to think of as Enemy No. 1?

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Rejecting Barbie Pink For Sass Of Another Color

Bethany runs away to live with her father after growing tired of living under her mother June's (Anna Gunn) thumb.
Phase 4 Films

Early in writer-director Coley Sohn's debut feature, Sassy Pants, Bethany Pruitt (Ashley Rickards) goes into her closet for something to wear and pointedly reaches past a sea of pink items for a plain gray sweatshirt. It's a simple and evocative image that not only demonstrates her mood in that moment, but also says something about her life: This isn't a modern teen girl's closet, but that of a doll, forced into a confectioner's nightmare of girlish pink every day to satisfy some higher power's notions of sweet femininity.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

An 'Orchestra' Lacking Harmony

The real Palestine Symphony Orchestra, subject of Aronson's documentary.
Pro-Or

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 7:51 am

Near the end of the 19th century, an 8-year-old Polish Jewish violin prodigy moved to the capital of European classical music: Berlin. Bronislaw Huberman was more than accepted. He was hailed throughout the continent and endorsed by one of his favorite composers, Johannes Brahms. Yet Huberman is now best known for leading an exodus from Europe, a story told by Josh Aronson's documentary Orchestra of Exiles.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

A 'Fun Size' Dose Of Laughter, Shenanigans

When she loses her little brother in a sea of trick-or-treaters, Wren (Victoria Justice) finds him with help from her friend April (Jane Levy).
Jaimie Trueblood Paramount

The fun to be had in Fun Size, a 'tween comedy featuring Victoria Justice of the Nickelodeon TV series Victorious, is neither gigantic nor minuscule; it's just about fun size, which is probably enough. And if you think that movies aimed at young adults are automatically less sophisticated than those made for alleged grown-ups, bear in mind that Fun Size is the only comedy in recent memory to feature a Ruth Bader Ginsburg joke. You won't find any of those in the Hangover movies' bag of tricks.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Masculinity Crisis In The Caucasus Mountains

An engaged couple (Gael Garcia Bernal and Hani Furstenberg) backpacks through the Caucasus Mountains with their guide (Bidzina Gujabidze), but their bond is soon tested by fate.
IFC Films

The backpacking protagonists of The Loneliest Planet are experienced world travelers, but also wide-eyed kids. Nica (Hani Furstenberg) and Alex (Gael Garcia Bernal) have recently arrived in the foothills of Georgia's Caucasus Mountains, where they frolic with local children. Even what we see of the couple's lovemaking is mostly horseplay.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Navigating The Shift From Complex To Cineplex

Halle Berry's characters in Cloud Atlas crisscross time and space. The actress plays six roles, including German intellectual Jocasta Ayrs (above) and an Asian man.
Reiner Bajo Warner Bros.

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 3:57 pm

David Mitchell's epic philosophical novel Cloud Atlas was widely considered unfilmable — even by its author — when it came out in 2004. That's because the book's ornate structure, with stories nested inside stories across five centuries, seemed too complicated to be taken in quickly in a movie. But those complications were what attracted The Matrix's Andy and Lana (nee Larry) Wachowski, and Run Lola Run's Tom Tykwer to the project. Turning complexity into cineplexity is kind of what they do.

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Author Interviews
1:31 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

A Journalist Chronicles Lives After Guantanamo Bay

Journalist Michelle Shephard has been covering stories from the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for the Toronto Star.
Michelle Shephard AP

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 12:45 pm

The presidential candidates may not be talking much about Guantanamo Bay, but the U.S. detention center there has been at the forefront of Michelle Shephard's mind for the last decade. The national security correspondent for the Toronto Star has traveled to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, more than two dozen times; she even got enough stamps on her Guantanamo Starbucks card for a free latte.

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Book Reviews
12:08 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Portis 'Miscellany' Makes A High-'Velocity' Collection

Escape Velocity: book cover detail

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 1:31 pm

Whenever I hear someone called a "cult writer," my hackles jump toward the ceiling. It's not only that the phrase calls up images of self-congratulatory hipsters, but that writers who become cultish tend to do so because their work is steeped in bizarro sex, graphic violence, trippy weirdness or half-baked philosophy.

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Wisdom Watch
10:05 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Covering The Arts In Tumultuous Times

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And next, the Wisdom Watch conversation. That's the part of the program where we speak with those who've made a difference through their work. Today, we will meet a longtime observer of the Washington scene, former Washington Post reporter Jacqueline Trescott.

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History
10:04 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Jacqueline Kennedy's Style Legacy

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, for two decades she covered theater, museums, gallery openings and movie premiers. Now arts reporter Jacqueline Trescott sits down with us to share some of what she's learned along the way. It's our Wisdom Watch conversation and it's coming up in a few minutes.

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Monkey See
6:54 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Morning Shots: The Books You Like Are Probably Bad, And World Series News

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 10:13 am

I feel very much like the radio lady at the beginning of Singin' In The Rain when I say "rumor has it," but rumor has it that Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone might be starring in something written and directed by Cameron Crowe, and that's actually good enough news if true to make me want to put aside those worries. (Dignity, always dignity.) [Deadline]

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu October 25, 2012

BBC Arts Editor Allays Your Art Fears In 'Looking'

Courtesy of Dutton Adult

Before his 2010 installation for the Tate Modern's Unilever Series, in which the former London power station-turned-art museum annually commissions a work for its cavernous Turbine Hall, Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei said, "I try not to see art as a secret code." He then filled the hall with 100 million handmade porcelain sunflower seeds.

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Author Interviews
2:37 am
Thu October 25, 2012

From Ship To Sherlock: Doyle's 'Arctic' Diary

On Thursday, July 29, 1880, Doyle wrote, "Came across a most extraordinary natural snow house, about 12 feet high, shaped like a beehive with a door and a fine room inside in which I sat. Traveled a considerable distance, and would have gone to the Pole, but my matches ran short and I couldn't get a smoke."
Courtesy of University of Chicago Press

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 5:05 am

On June 15, 1880, Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a vivid sentence in his diary. It read, "The only difference in the weather is that the fog is thicker and the wind more utterly odious and depraved."

Knowing that he was the creator of Sherlock Holmes, you might think Doyle is referring to the thick London fog drifting outside the windows of 221B Baker Street. But this sentence was written years before the first Holmes novel and it describes a considerably harsher environment — the thick fog and depraved wind of the Arctic, where Doyle traveled when he was 20.

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Book Reviews
2:14 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

'Middlesteins' Digs Into The Dark Side Of Food

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 3:53 pm

Food appears so often and takes on so much importance in Jami Attenberg's novel The Middlesteins, that while reading it I sometimes felt like I was on a kind of literary cruise ship. But excess isn't presented here wantonly; instead, it's laid out and explored with sympathy, thought and depth. Early on, the parents of the main character think, "Food was made of love, and was what made love, and they could never deny themselves a bite of anything they desired." And so the novel takes off from the evocative starting point known as appetite.

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Author Interviews
12:44 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Tom Wolfe Takes Miami's Pulse In 'Back To Blood'

Author and journalist Tom Wolfe's books include The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Bonfire of the Vanities and I Am Charlotte Simmons, among others.
Jim Cooper AP

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 7:37 am

Tom Wolfe wrote his new novel, Back to Blood, entirely by hand. But the author of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and The Bonfire of the Vanities also says that wasn't entirely by choice — he'd rather have used a typewriter.

"Unfortunately, you can't keep typewriters going today — you have to take the ribbons back to be re-inked," Wolfe tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "There's a horrible search to try to find missing parts."

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Food
9:55 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Fine Dining Turns To Familiar Favorites

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 10:03 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now, it's time to open up the pages of the Washington Post Magazine. That's something we do just about every week for interesting stories about the way we live now. The Post's Fall Dining Guide is out this week and that means food critic Tom Sietsema has been going all over town, eating and drinking up a storm, trying to narrow down his list of favorite restaurants.

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Monkey See
9:11 am
Wed October 24, 2012

"Take This Job and Planet!": Why Clark Kent Quit His Day Job

DC Comics

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 2:42 pm

By now you've likely heard that in the pages of Superman #13, on stands today, Clark Kent quits his once-beloved great metropolitan newspaper.

Disillusioned by his employer's increasing predilection for glitzy infotainment over hard-hitting news, Clark takes a principled stand and abandons print journalism for the web, a medium blissfully free of petty, frivolous, celebrity-driven content OH WAIT

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First Reads
8:03 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Exclusive First Read: 'Hallucinations,' By Oliver Sacks

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 8:38 am

Hallucinations can be terrifying, enlightening, amusing or just plain strange. They're thought to be at the root of fairy tales, religious experiences and some kinds of art. Neurologist Oliver Sacks has been mapping the oddities of the human brain for decades, and his latest book, Hallucinations, is a thoughtful and compassionate look at the phantoms our brains can produce — which he calls "an essential part of the human condition." In this chapter, Sacks examines auditory hallucinations.

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Monkey See
6:40 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Morning Shots: Are You Planning On Dressing Up Like Thor? You're Not Alone

iStockphoto.com

A Fandango poll says that The Avengers is leading the pack for Halloween costume choice, and then goes on to explain that most of the top picks across the board are action heroes. Which does make some sense, as dressing up like a rom-com heroine would make it hard for people to tell who you are. [The Hollywood Reporter]

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My Guilty Pleasure
5:03 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Rewriting Homer, With Some Lurid Twists

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 7:49 am

Annalisa Quinn is the Books intern at NPR.

During my senior year of college, I plowed through all 27,803 lines of the Iliad and the Odyssey in Greek, with a lot of coffee and a reasonable amount of crying in library cubicles.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed October 24, 2012

¡No Más! 'Back To Blood' Is Much Too Much

Little, Brown and Company

It took cojones for Tom Wolfe to write about Miami for his latest novel, Back to Blood. In the "Republic of Fluba" where Florida, Cuba and the rest of Latin America are shaken and mezclado, truth trumps fiction each day of every year. This is the city where, a few months ago, a man ate another man's face on a downtown causeway in broad daylight. Police shot and killed the wannabe zombie.

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