Arts/Life

First Reads
8:11 am
Wed September 12, 2012

Exclusive First Read: 'The Last Dragonslayer'

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 9:15 am

Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange has a lot of responsibility. In a world that's rapidly losing its magic, she's the acting director of Kazam Mystical Arts Management, riding herd on a crowd of cranky wizards who've been reduced to doing magical odd jobs to make ends meet. But change is afoot in this charming comic adventure for younger readers: Seers throughout the land have been having powerful visions of the death of the very last dragon at the hands of a destined Dragonslayer and the return of Big Magic.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed September 12, 2012

Scary Parents Both Fertile And Feral In 'Breed'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 12:23 pm

In his satirical horror novel Breed, Chase Novak has hit upon the perfect blend of terrifying real-life topics: genetic engineering and the mating habits of New York's wealthy 1 percent. The story of two rich but barren Manhattanites, the novel begins as a snarky tour of fertility treatment chic among the city's moneyed classes. But it quickly gets a lot weirder.

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Tina Brown's Must-Reads
1:39 am
Wed September 12, 2012

Tina Brown's Must Reads: The Modern Woman

Five years after suing Newsweek, Lynn Povich became the magazine's first female senior editor. Povich writes that her then-colleague Oz Elliott (right) was one of the first to say, "God, weren't we awful?"
Bernard Gotfryd Courtesy of PublicAffairs Book

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 12:43 pm

Tina Brown, editor of The Daily Beast and Newsweek, tells us what she's been reading in a feature that Morning Edition likes to call "Word of Mouth."

This month, Brown shares reading recommendations related to the changing role of women, including a book about when the women of Newsweek sued their bosses, an article about a wife becoming the primary breadwinner and another about how a woman's Facebook photo reflects her sense of identity.

'Women In Revolt'

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The Salt
1:39 am
Wed September 12, 2012

Five Ways To Spot A Fake Online Review, Restaurant Or Otherwise

One sign that a restaurant review is a fake is if it gives a very high or very low rating without many specifics.
Bill Oxford iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 12:47 pm

Thinking of going to a nice restaurant? Before you decide, you probably go online and read reviews of the place from other customers (or you listen to these actors read them to you). Online reviews of restaurants, travel deals, apps and just about anything you want to buy have become a powerful driver of consumer behavior. Unsurprisingly, they have also created a powerful incentive to cheat.

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Kitchen Window
1:39 am
Wed September 12, 2012

Sorghum Travels From The South To The Mainstream

Rina Rapuano for NPR

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 7:01 am

Growing up in a household with predominantly New England and Italian cooking, I didn't have a whole lot of exposure to sorghum syrup, the molasseslike sweetener that maintains a following in the South and in some Midwest states. To be honest, I had never even heard of it or tried it until it started popping up on Washington, D.C., restaurant menus about a year ago. I've seen sorghum chili glaze on duck at one restaurant and sorghum syrup in cocktails and desserts at another. When I noticed sorghum seed incorporated into a salad, I knew sorghum was having a moment.

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Movies
3:01 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

Toronto Film Fest Offers Hints Of Oscar Contenders

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 7:57 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The eyes of Hollywood are focused north of the border right now on the Toronto International Film Festival. More than 300 movies from 60 countries are on offer. Many of those titles are headed to theaters and possible Oscar bids later this year. Our film critic, Bob Mondello, is in Toronto, trying to see as many of them as he can. And, Bob, apparently, I'm hearing this is your first festival in almost 20 years. Please tell me how a film critic has managed to avoid film festivals.

(LAUGHTER)

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Books
1:46 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

'Breed': A Pseudonym To Pen A Tale Of Horror

Scott Spencer, writing for the first time under the pen name Chase Novak, is the best-selling author of Endless Love and A Ship Made of Paper.
Wendy Ewald

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 7:57 pm

If you're a horror fan, you're probably familiar with the trope of the demon child — you know, the sweet little kid who undergoes a horrible transformation and terrorizes everyone in his or her path (or is just born evil, like Rosemary's titular baby).

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Monkey See
12:09 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

TIFF '12: Billy Bob Thornton's Film That Is Not About 'Jayne Mansfield's Car'

Billy Bob Thornton and Kevin Bacon star in Jayne Mansfield's Car.
Van Redin Toronto International Film Festival

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 12:30 pm

[Monkey See will be at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) through the middle of this week. We'll be bringing you our takes on films both large and small, from people both well-known and not.]

Here's a declaration for you: I haven't seen even ten percent of the films playing at the Toronto International Film Festival, but I am convinced that Jayne Mansfield's Car has the worst title.

Let's go back to the beginning.

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Monkey See
11:17 am
Tue September 11, 2012

TIFF '12: 'Mr. Pip' And Literary Escape

Hugh Laurie and Xzannjah in Mr. Pip.
Toronto International Film Festival

[Monkey See will be at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) through the middle of this week. We'll be bringing you our takes on films both large and small, from people both well-known and not.]

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue September 11, 2012

A Supersized Slice Of Life In 'Telegraph Avenue'

Michael Chabon is the author of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and The Yiddish Policemen's Union.
Ulf Andersen Getty Images

Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue is an agreeable if ultimately frustrating shaggy-dog tale of a novel that slips its leash and lopes its discursive and distinctly unhurried way through the unkempt backyards of its characters' lives.

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Author Interviews
1:29 am
Tue September 11, 2012

Stories From A New Generation Of American Soldiers

Yellow Birds book cover detail

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 7:57 am

Iraq War veteran Brian Castner opens his new memoir, The Long Walk, with a direct and disturbing warning:

"The first thing you should know about me is that I'm Crazy," he writes. "I haven't always been. Until that one day, the day I went Crazy, I was fine. Or I thought I was. Not anymore."

More than 10 years since a new generation of Americans went into combat, the soldiers themselves are starting to write the story of war. Three recent releases show how their experiences give them the authority to describe the war, fictionalize it and even satirize it.

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Author Interviews
1:28 am
Tue September 11, 2012

Fidelity In Fiction: Junot Diaz Deconstructs A Cheater

Junot Diaz won a Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
Nina Subin Penguin Group

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 7:57 am

Yunior grew up tough in a poor neighborhood. He's Latino with African roots, an immigrant and a super nerdy kid who went on to teach at a university. He's gruff and masculine, but he's also an artist — as well as the creation of one.

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Movies
2:32 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

The Straight-To-DVD World Of 'Mockbusters'

Paul Bales, David Rimawi and David Latt of The Asylum call their films "mockbusters."
Mike Digrazia

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 7:32 am

Dreamworks' animated movie Puss in Boots was a big deal. It won an Oscar, and its swashbuckling, sloe-eyed kitty was voiced by Antonio Banderas.

The meticulous computer-generated animation took four years and something like $130 million to make. But another cartoon, Puss In Boots: A Furry Tail, was hand-drawn in six months for less than $1 million. It went straight to DVD — one of the many low-budget productions riding the coattails of Hollywood blockbusters.

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Television
11:41 am
Mon September 10, 2012

Andrew Rannells: Gay And Serious In 'New Normal'

Andrew Rannells plays Bryan Buckley, a successful TV show producer and writer, in the new comedy The New Normal.
Frederick M Brown/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 9:23 am

After Andrew Rannells pitched himself for a starring role in NBC's The New Normal, the show's creator didn't call for a month.

"I was like, 'Oh my God, I've completely overstepped — I've over-Oprah-ed this,' " Rannells tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I've ruined my chances of working with this man because I was too bold."

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Arts & Life
9:39 am
Mon September 10, 2012

NY Fashion Week, From Google Glasses To Harnesses

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 12:17 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we'll talk about how a master violin maker holds onto his art form in this struggling economy. Talk about that in just a few minutes.

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Economy
9:39 am
Mon September 10, 2012

Master Violin Maker Feels Economy's Sour Notes

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 12:17 pm

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. And today a story about the business of music.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIOLIN)

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Music
9:39 am
Mon September 10, 2012

Strawberry Fields For 'MasterChef' Christine Ha

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 12:17 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now it's time for the occasional feature we call In Your Ear. That's where guests of the program tell us the songs they're listening to for a little inspiration. Today is a very special, probably stressful day for "MasterChef" contestant Christine Ha. Why?

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "MASTERCHEF")

GARY RHODES: The person joining Josh in the "MasterChef" finale, that person is Christine.

(APPLAUSE)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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PG-13: Risky Reads
5:03 am
Mon September 10, 2012

Shatter Every Window, Crash Through Every Wall

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 6:46 am

T.C. Boyle's newest book is called San Miguel. It comes out this month.

When I was a teenager my reading was largely confined to liner notes (The Rolling Stones: England's Newest Hit Makers!), but at some point — later, rather than sooner — I stumbled across a book or two and got hooked. A whole panoply of things came rushing at me — Hemingway's stories, J.D. Salinger, Cannery Row, On the Road, Tolkien, Vonnegut — but it was Franz Kafka who really set my wheels spinning.

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Author Interviews
1:30 am
Mon September 10, 2012

'End Of Men' Heralds New Era Of Female Dominance

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 12:47 pm

Women have fought tirelessly to establish equal footing for themselves in relationships, politics and the workplace, and according to writer Hanna Rosin, they've finally arrived.

In her new book, The End of Men: And The Rise of Women, Rosin argues that the U.S. has entered an era of female dominance.


Interview Highlights

On how the rise of women is largely an economic story

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Fine Art
1:30 am
Mon September 10, 2012

For Museum, Long-Lost Picasso Is Too Costly To Keep

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 12:53 pm

In the southwestern Indiana town of Evansville, people are a bit baffled after hearing that the town's Museum of Arts, History and Science has had a rare Pablo Picasso piece in storage for almost half a century. Curator Mary Bower says the work went unnoticed because of a clerical error.

"All the documentation associated with the gift indicated that this was by an artist named Gemmaux," she says, "which really happens to be the plural of the artistic technique."

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Author Interviews
1:28 am
Mon September 10, 2012

Why Knockoffs Are Good For The Fashion Industry

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 12:48 pm

During New York Fashion Week, designers will present looks that you might find in a department store next spring ... or, as knockoffs at Forever 21. That's because copying fashion designs is perfectly legal — and that's a good thing, if you ask Kal Raustiala.

Raustiala is the co-author of a new book called The Knockoff Economy: How Imitation Sparks Innovation. He talks with NPR's Renee Montagne about who copies fashion designs, why it's legal and how copying ultimately benefits the consumer and the industry.

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Author Interviews
12:09 pm
Sun September 9, 2012

Michael Chabon Journeys Back To 'Telegraph Avenue'

Michael Chabon's books include The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, The Yiddish Policemen's Union and Manhood for Amateurs. He lives in Berkeley, Calif., with his wife, novelist Ayelet Waldman, and their children.
Jennifer Chaney

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 9:24 am

Michael Chabon's latest novel, Telegraph Avenue, is named after the famed road between Oakland and Berkeley in California.

In the book, that's also where two couples — Nat and Aviva, who are white, and Archy and Gwen, who are black — are struggling to get by. The two men are friends, partners in a vinyl record shop. Their wives work together as nurse midwives.

Over the course of a couple of weeks, the characters deal with threats to their work, to their relationships and their very way of being. Chabon delves deeply into issues of art, race and sexuality.

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Fine Art
3:47 am
Sun September 9, 2012

Are All Young Artists 'Post-9/11' Artists?

Knitting Is for Pus**** is a work by crochet sculptor Olek. He has created an entire apartment blanketed in brightly colored, crocheted camouflage.
Olek Courtesy Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York, N.Y.

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 1:52 am

When museum curator Nicholas Bell was putting together the show Craft Futures: 40 Under 40 at the Smithsonian Institution's Renwick Gallery, he realized the artists had something in common besides their under-40 status. Because of their youth, he felt that each of them could be classified as "post 9/11" artists.

"Their worldview is defined by the angst, the unease, the trepidation of the difficulties of the 21st century," he says.

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Author Interviews
3:44 am
Sun September 9, 2012

'Good Girls Revolt': Story Of A Newsroom Uprising

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 6:42 am

In the 1960s, Lynn Povich worked at Newsweek — where she became part of a revolution.

"At Newsweek, women were hired on the mail desk to deliver mail, then to clip newspapers, and, if they were lucky, became researchers or fact checkers," Povich tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer, whom she knows personally. "All of the writers and reporters were men, and everyone accepted it as that was the way the world was — until we didn't."

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Europe
3:39 am
Sun September 9, 2012

Istanbul, A City Of Spies In Fact And Fiction

Though not the capital, Istanbul is the cultural, economic and financial heart of Turkey. Situated on the Bosporus strait, this metropolis spans Europe and Asia — and has a storied history as a gathering place for spies.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 9, 2012 11:43 am

Headlines today in Turkey feature stories of alleged Iranian spies, gathering information about Kurdish militants who are responsible for many deaths in Turkey this summer.

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Sunday Puzzle
10:03 pm
Sat September 8, 2012

Drawing A Blank (Or Two)

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sat September 15, 2012 11:50 am

On-air challenge: You are given sentences with two blanks. Put a word starting with R in the first blank. Then move that R to the end to make a new word that goes in the second blank to complete the sentence. For example, given the sentence, "The door of the Indian ___ was left slightly ___," the answers would be "raja" and "ajar."

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Movies I've Seen A Million Times
3:04 pm
Sat September 8, 2012

The Movie Jon Favreau Has 'Seen A Million Times'

Robert De Niro leaning against a wall in a scene from Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Sat September 8, 2012 6:55 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 actor-writer-director Jon Favreau, whose credits include Swingers, Rocky Marciano, The Replacements and Iron Man, the movie he could watch a million times is Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets.


INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

On when he first saw the film

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Monkey See
12:03 pm
Sat September 8, 2012

TIFF '12: Stomp Your Feet For 'The Sapphires'

Chris O'Dowd, Deborah Mailman, Shari Sebbins, Jessica Mauboy, and Miranda Tapsell in The Sapphires.
Toronto International Film Festival

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 3:13 pm

[Monkey See will be at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) through the middle of next week. We'll be bringing you our takes on films both large and small, from people both well-known and not.]

Film festival fare can be thrilling and moving and challenging and gorgeous, but here's the thing: it can also be dark and depressing. There's nothing more welcome, then, than a very good film that also happens to incorporate a lot of soul music and dancing, and The Sapphires is that very good film.

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Monkey See
9:43 am
Sat September 8, 2012

TIFF '12: Sex, Kindness, And Polio In 'The Sessions'

John Hawkes and Helen Hunt star in The Sessions.
Red Camera Pulls Toronto International Film Festival

[Monkey See will be at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) through the middle of next week. We'll be bringing you our takes on films both large and small, from people both well-known and not.]

I'll say this: The Sessions is probably the most lighthearted movie about sex and polio you'll see this year.

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Monkey See
7:33 am
Sat September 8, 2012

TIFF '12: 'The Central Park Five' Revisits A Storm Of Fear

Yusef Salaam is escorted by police.
New York Daily News Archive NY Daily News via Getty Images

Do you remember the case of the Central Park jogger, from 1989? Do you know who was convicted, what the evidence was, what supposedly happened? Do you know how long they served, or whether and when they were released? Do you know what eventually became of their convictions?

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