Arts/Life

Sunday Puzzle
10:03 pm
Sat May 19, 2012

Initially Famous 2: Electric Boogaloo

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sat May 26, 2012 7:21 pm

On-Air Challenge: This week's challenge is a twist on "Characteristic Initials." We will gives clues for some famous people, past and present. The initial letters of the clues are also the initials of the answers. For example "Wrote Sonnets" would be "William Shakespeare."

Last Week's Challenge: Name a state capital. Change one of the vowels to another vowel and say the result phonetically. You will name a revered profession. What is it?

Answer: Madison and medicine

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Author Interviews
2:52 pm
Sat May 19, 2012

China's New Plan: A Great Leap Into The Air

Cover detail: China Airborne

Originally published on Sat May 19, 2012 4:55 pm

Right at this moment, more than two-thirds of all airport construction in the world is happening in China.

The country is in the first full year of a five-year plan to eventually make China the center of global aviation, and the Chinese government is pumping a quarter-trillion dollars into the project.

"From the American perspective, the whole idea of five-year plans is preposterous," says James Fallows, author of a new book about China's aviation boom, called China Airborne. "If you think five-year plan, you think Soviet Union, you think economic failure."

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Movies
2:52 pm
Sat May 19, 2012

The Movie Dustin Lance Black's 'Seen A Million Times'

Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in Rob Reiner's 1989 film When Harry Met Sally.
Castle Rock/Nelson/Columbia The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:53 am

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 writer-director Dustin Lance Black, whose credits include Milk, J. Edgar, and his new film, Virginia (now out in theaters), the movie he can't get enough of is Rob Reiner's When Harry Met Sally.


Interview Highlights

On why he's seen the movie so often

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The Salt
4:13 am
Sat May 19, 2012

Sacrifice Calories, Not Taste, With Skinnier Summer Cocktails

Becky Lettenberger NPR

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 9:23 am

Yes, we know the real start of summer is a month away. But c'mon, it's the weekend, and from where I sit, here at Hank's Oyster Bar in D.C., Washingtonians are already in flip-flop and halter mode.

We've come in search of mixologist Gina Chersevani's tips on skinny cocktails, and we're not disappointed when she pours her "150-ish" calorie Marg & Melon (recipe below). Think of it as margarita's lighter, perkier cousin.

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Author Interviews
3:57 am
Sat May 19, 2012

Americans: A 'Bunch Of Amateurs,' And Proud Of It

Book cover detail: Bunch of Amateurs

Originally published on Sat May 19, 2012 9:19 am

Jack Hitt says if you drill down into the American spirit to find out what makes Americans so American, you'll find it's the fact that we're all amateurs at heart. In his new book, Bunch of Amateurs: A Search for the American Character, he pinpoints the first American to use the amateur label to his advantage: Benjamin Franklin.

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Fine Art
3:57 am
Sat May 19, 2012

Barnes Foundation Changes Location, But Little Else

Barnes Foundation opens the doors of its new location in downtown Philadelphia on Saturday. Since 1922, the collection has been housed in the Philadelphia suburbs, where critics say the collection's owner would have wanted it to stay." href="/post/barnes-foundation-changes-location-little-else" class="noexit lightbox">
After years of bitter controversy, the Barnes Foundation opens the doors of its new location in downtown Philadelphia on Saturday. Since 1922, the collection has been housed in the Philadelphia suburbs, where critics say the collection's owner would have wanted it to stay.
Tom Crane The Barnes Foundation Philadelphia

Originally published on Sat May 19, 2012 9:19 am

The Barnes Foundation opens the doors of its new gallery in downtown Philadelphia on Saturday. Its collection of paintings by Matisse, Picasso, Renoir, Cezanne and many more is now hanging in galleries designed to replicate those at the Barnes' old home in suburban Merion. The move follows a decade of bitter debate over the future of this multibillion-dollar collection.

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Author Interviews
3:56 am
Sat May 19, 2012

'Never Fall Down': Surviving The Killing Fields

Arn Chorn-Pond is a human rights activist working on Cambodian reconciliation efforts and the preservation of traditional Khmer music. He is the subject of Jocelyn Glatzer's 2003 documentary, The Flute Player; the opera Where Elephants Weep; and the children's book, A Song for Cambodia by Michelle Lord.
Jocelyn Glatzer

Originally published on Sat May 19, 2012 9:19 am

Prize-winning author Patricia McCormick is known for tackling challenging — even harrowing — themes in her young adult novels. Her book Sold, a National Book Award finalist, took on child trafficking. In her new book, Never Fall Down, she describes the atrocities of the Cambodian genocide, drawing upon the experiences of Arn Chorn-Pond, a real-life survivor, who joined her and NPR's Scott Simon to discuss the novel and the lingering impact of his ordeal.


Interview Highlights

On meeting Arn

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
3:25 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Gass And Black Of Tenacious D Play Not My Job

Kyle Gass (left) and Jack Black of Tenacious D.
Paul McConnell Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 19, 2012 3:37 pm

There are good bands, there are great bands, and then there is the most amazingly great band ever in the history of bands: Tenacious D, also known as Kyle Gass and Jack Black. They've just released a new album called Rize of the Fenix.

We've invited Gass and Black to play a game called "Tenacious D, Meet Tenacious P." We tried to think of the singer who was the diametrical opposite of Tenacious D, and who better than Pat Boone? We'll ask three questions about the cleanest cut guy who ever cut a record.

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Movie Interviews
2:22 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Cannes Film Festival Has American Slant This Year

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 4:34 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From Paris now to the French Riviera. The 2012 Cannes Film Festival got under way this week, and at least one thing is clear from the fare so far. The festival has long billed itself as a showcase for the world's best cinema, but this year, it looks remarkably American. Steve Zeitchik is covering Cannes for the Los Angeles Times, and he joins me now. And, Steve, what is with this American focus this year? What do you take from that?

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Movie Reviews
1:23 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Coming Soon — To A Theater Nowhere Near You

A scene from Battleship, which opens this weekend in the U.S. Thanks to earlier releases abroad, the film has already grossed $215 million worldwide.
ILM/Universal Pictures

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 4:34 pm

The movie Battleship, based on the popular board game, opens today in the U.S. In most respects, it's a typical popcorn picture — the kind of effects-laden action movie that audiences often turn into a summer blockbuster.

And while it may not be any good, it is undeniably ours — American from the water up: a Universal Studios picture about an alien invasion, crammed with special effects from Industrial Light and Magic and set largely on American warships.

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Monkey See
10:58 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: TV Season Postmortem, Old People, Young People

NPR

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 1:35 pm

  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

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Remembrances
10:26 am
Fri May 18, 2012

A Conversation With Carlos Fuentes

Mexican author Carlos Fuentes poses for a photo after a news conference in Mexico City on March 12. Fuentes died Tuesday at a hospital in Mexico City. He was 83.
Alexandre Meneghini AP

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 1:35 pm

Carlos Fuentes, one of the most influential writers in the Latin American world, died Tuesday at a hospital in Mexico City. He was 83. A prolific writer, Fuentes wrote novels, short stories and plays, as well as political nonfiction and essays that criticized the Mexican government during the 1980s and '90s.

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Remembrances
9:59 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Remembering Vidal Sassoon, An Iconic Hairdresser

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:47 am

This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 10, 2011.

The British hairdresser Vidal Sassoon, who created some of the most iconic hairstyles of the 20th century, died on May 9 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 84.

Sassoon's creations included the geometric, the Wash-and-Wear, the short bob Nancy Kwan wore in The World of Suzie Wong and Mia Farrow's famous pixie cut for Rosemary's Baby.

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TED Radio Hour
7:55 am
Fri May 18, 2012

How Do You Make A Virtual Choir?

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 8:18 am

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TED Radio Hour
7:55 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Why Do Crowds Do Absurd Things In Public?

"I like to create things that are so unusual and hopefully spectacular that it gives strangers a reason to communicate and share a smile." — Charlie Todd
parksam Flickr

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 8:05 am

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TED Radio Hour
7:55 am
Fri May 18, 2012

How Many People Can You Fit In A Star Wars Remake?

"Star Wars Uncut" let hundreds of people try their hand at directing the classic film.
Courtesy of Malcom Sutherland

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 8:04 am

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Power Of Crowds.

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TED Radio Hour
7:55 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Can Crowds Celebrate As A Form Of Protest?

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 8:04 am

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Ask Me Another
7:27 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Rhymes With Musical

Nikki M. James says she grew up listening to Andrew Lloyd Webber and admits she's seen Rent more than 30 times.
Joan Marcus Boneau/Bryan-Brown, INC.

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 12:38 pm

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Monkey See
6:43 am
Fri May 18, 2012

What To Expect When You're Expecting In A Movie

Lionsgate

Originally published on Sat May 19, 2012 6:44 am

Babies! Babies babies! Pregnancy and babies! Babies and pregnancy! Strollers full of babies!

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Movie Reviews
3:52 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Down In 'Virginia,' Where The Crazy Runs Deep

Single mother Virginina (Jennifer Connelly) reads with her son, Emmett (Harrison Gilbertson), who remains devoted to her even when her ill-advised affair with the married sheriff of their small Virginia town puts pressure on her family.
Entertainment One

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 4:43 pm

Dustin Lance Black, the writer-director of the swampy Southern melodrama Virginia, won an Oscar for his script for Milk, but his new film has more in common with the three seasons he served as a writer, story editor and producer for the HBO series Big Love.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

'Polisse': In Paris, A Thin Bleu Line

The documentary-style drama Polisse centers on members of Paris' Child Protection Unit.
IFC Films

As humane as it is disturbing, Polisse rifles the files of Paris' Child Protection Unit in search of successes, failures and all the shades of ambiguity in between. If the movie's jumpy edits and raw emotions jangle the nerves, that's intentional: This documentary-mimicking drama is designed to evoke the experience of working a beat that can never become routine.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Board Game + Explosions + Aliens = 'Battleship'

Beast (John Tui), Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) and Raikes (Rihanna) are stunned by the appearance of invading alien forces in the motion picture adaption of the, yes, board game Battleship.
Photo Credit: ILM/Universal Pictures ILM/Universal Pictures

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 4:13 pm

Read the comic book? Now catch the movie. OK, I get that. Comic books are practically storyboards. Natural transition.

Seen the TV show? Now catch the movie. Even better. Just make the screen bigger and beef up the storyline.

Played with the toys? Now catch the movie. Well, sure, why not let Hollywood's overgrown kids put digital oomph into playtime fantasies.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

'Elena': A Femme Fatale, In The Rubble Of Perestroika

Elena (Nadezhda Markina), a dutiful wife to her wealthy husband and a burdened mother to her layabout son, manages to balance the needs of the two, until she learns her husband plans to leave her family nothing in his will.
Zeitgeist Films

On its surface alone, Andrey Zvyagintsev's Elena is an intensely compelling slice of noir about moral rot and class warfare in post-Soviet Russia. Deeper down, the movie seethes quietly with the moody influence of other East European masters of the timeless ineffable. If Zvyagintsev were a less inscrutable filmmaker, he might have titled his new film Crime Without Punishment — but we'll get to that.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

A 'Hysteria' Epidemic, And A Notably Electric Cure

In seeking the best ways to treat his female patients' nervous conditions, forward-thinking Victorian physician Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy, left) enlists the help of his inventor friend Edmund St. John-Smythe (Rupert Everett). They soon stumble into inventing the vibrator.
Ricardo Vaz Palma Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 9:34 am

Hysteria, a disappointingly limp ode to the invention of the vibrator, plays like a Merchant Ivory Production of Portnoy's Complaint. Watching it, you'd never know that this revolutionary discovery, by allowing women to pleasure themselves, hammered a crucial nail into the coffin of 19th-century patriarchy. A boon to bluestockings and unsatisfied wives alike, the device rocked sexual politics, even if its full repercussions were not immediately understood.

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Movie Interviews
2:59 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

'Polisse' Shows Child Abuse Cases With Gritty Realism

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 5:16 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. As this year's Cannes Film Festival gets under way, the winner of the Jury Prize at last year's festival is opening here in the U.S. It's called "Polisse."

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "POLISSE")

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Opinion
2:05 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Two Gray Titles, One Sexy Mix Up

iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 2:46 pm

Ruta Sepetys is the author of Between Shades of Gray.

"You are an erotic phenomenon."

That's what the stranger seated next to me on the plane whispered. We had exchanged the basic bios of airline chitchat, and he had inquired about the title of my recent book.

"Erotic phenomenon, oh no, that's not me," I quickly tried to explain.

"Well, OK, it's not really you. It's your character. That's what you tell people," grinned the stranger.

That's not what I tell people.

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Monkey See
11:13 am
Thu May 17, 2012

Cannes Diary: Of Efrons, Cinephiles And Whale-Taming Cotillards

Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts star in Rust and Bone, a subtle and surprising drama from director Jacques Audiard.
Why Not Productions

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 2:32 pm

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New In Paperback
8:48 am
Thu May 17, 2012

New In Paperback May 14-20

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 2:49 pm

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Tayari Jones, David McCullough, Roy Blount, Bill James and Diana Henriques.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Salt
1:29 am
Thu May 17, 2012

Betting Better Fake Chicken Meat Will Be As Good As The Real Thing

Those who've tried it say fake chicken salad looks and tastes like the real thing.
Yuki Noguchi NPR

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 7:49 pm

Beyond Meat, a new company based in Maryland, has come up with an alternative to chicken meat that it claims is a dead ringer for the real thing. And unlike other meat alternatives on the market, this one aims to be cheap as well as tasty.

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Fine Art
1:00 am
Thu May 17, 2012

A Museum Visit For Art Lovers With Alzheimer's

Students and seniors discussed Claude Monet's Sunset at Pourville during a recent visit to the Kreeger Museum in Washington, D.C.
The Kreeger Museum

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 4:58 am

Many art lovers feel completely in the moment when they stroll through the galleries of a museum. That feeling was particularly true on a recent morning at the Kreeger Museum in Washington, D.C. The Kreeger runs a special program for people with Alzheimer's — seniors, their caregivers and middle school students are paired together to enjoy the art and one another's company.

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