Arts/Life

Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed May 2, 2012

'Power': Robert Caro's Life Of Johnson Hits The '60s

Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 8:18 am

The White House has been occupied by some outsize personalities and towering figures, but Lyndon B. Johnson was as big as Texas. Six-foot-four and physically intimidating, he was the kind of man who "got bigger as he talked to you." He had a heart — sometimes — to match: Unlike many white politicians of his era, Johnson was personally infuriated by racism, and signed into law some of the most important civil rights legislation in American history.

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Arts & Life
1:24 am
Wed May 2, 2012

'Scream' Still Echoes After More Than A Century

This version of The Scream is one of four made by Edvard Munch, and the only one outside Norway. It is coming up for auction at Sotheby's in New York.
AP

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 5:59 am

It's perhaps the most reproduced piece of art ever created. It has adorned key chains and coffee mugs, and the cover of Time magazine. Andy Warhol used it, and now one of the four versions of The Scream, Edvard Munch's iconic work — the only one outside Norway — is coming up for auction at Sotheby's in New York. Sale estimates are as high as $80 million.

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Author Interviews
1:23 am
Wed May 2, 2012

Do Liberals Live Under A 'Tyranny Of Cliches'?

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 5:03 am

Conservative critic Jonah Goldberg says he's inspired to write when he gets annoyed. "Aggravation is a muse," he says. And after speaking on a number of college campuses, he grew aggravated enough to write a book. It's called The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas.

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Movies
2:54 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

Young Dancers, Aiming For 'First Position'

In First Position, dancer-turned-filmmaker Bess Kargman seeks to challenge stereotypes about ballet dancers. Kargman says she didn't fear the challenges of being a first-time director because her subjects' stories were so compelling.
IFC Films

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 8:44 am

First Position follows in the spirit of such competition documentaries as Spellbound and Mad Hot Ballroom, tracking seven young dancers as they prepare for the Youth America Grand Prix, a prestigious ballet contest.

The first competitor we meet is a mature 11-year-old named Aran Bell. His father is in the military. He likes to skateboard and jump on his pogo stick.

Aran began dancing when he was 4, and when he hits the stage, he turns and leaps with the poise and fire of a professional.

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Author Interviews
2:18 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

'Blown Covers': Not Ready For The Newsstand

Abrams Books

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:50 am

This week's cover of the New Yorker magazine is a witty drawing by artist Chris Ware of a playground full of young children and their watchful parents. One woman wheels her son in a stroller, only to see that all the other parents are men. The image is called "Mother's Day."

But for all the memorable New Yorker covers out there, an equally large number of covers didn't make it to the newsstand. They were not quite on the money — or were sometimes a little too coarsely on the money.

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Monkey See
12:22 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

DVD Picks: 'Pillow Talk'

Pillow Talk stars Doris Day (above) and Rock Hudson as a pair of strangers who butt heads and fall in love on a shared telephone line.
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 8:44 am

Time for another home-viewing recommendation from film critic Bob Mondello. This week, Bob's listening in on Rock Hudson and Doris Day as they make a bit of Pillow Talk.

What happens when the Girl Next Door meets Mr. Beefcake? It's instant chemistry, albeit of the explosive sort — think Mentos and Diet Coke.

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Book Reviews
9:56 am
Tue May 1, 2012

'The Newlyweds': A Match Made Online

Random House

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 10:38 am

There continues to be a lot of talk about gender bias in the book industry. The core argument goes that, while both male and female authors write novels about relationships and the domestic sphere, when a woman does so her books are relegated to "chic lit," and when a man (like Jonathan Franzen) does, he's lauded for serious literary achievement.

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Osama Bin Laden Killed
9:56 am
Tue May 1, 2012

The 'Manhunt' To Capture Osama Bin Laden

On May 1, 2011, Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
AP

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 10:29 am

A year ago Tuesday, Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces inside a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. When President Obama announced the news, he called the death of bin Laden "the most significant achievement to date" in the war against al-Qaida.

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Around the Nation
9:54 am
Tue May 1, 2012

What's Fun About 5? Mud And Gummy Worms

It's Tell Me More's 5th birthday. In the last few years, Tell Me More has produced more than 1,300 hours of programming that have piqued the interest of even the youngest listeners. Host Michel Martin hears from 5-year-old Hezekiah Jefferson-Glipa of Corona, California about his best memories of being five and what it means to turn six.

Monkey See
9:46 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Tony Awards Take Note Of A Little Musical That Emphatically Could

In Once, based on the cult-favorite Irish indie movie, a guy (Steve Kazee) and a girl (Cristin Milioti) fall in love during a whirlwind week of songwriting in Dublin. The show has earned 11 Tony nominations, including two for its leads.
Joan Marcus

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 10:47 am

Here's the thing about the Tony Awards: Sometimes you know what's going to clean up when the nominations are announced. (Think last year, and The Book of Mormon.)

And sometimes it's hard to get excited about the shows that get tapped — remember when Sunset Boulevard's only competition for Best Musical was the jukebox show Smokey Joe's Cafe?

Not this year: There's a real race. The bittersweet Irish romance Once — an absurdly appealing stage adaptation of the 2006 indie film — leads the pack with 11 nods.

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Monkey See
8:16 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Let's Rush To Judgment: 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Tom Hardy and Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Rises.
Ron Phillips Warner Brothers Pictures

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue May 1, 2012

'Mother' Dearest: Alison Bechdel's Graphic Memoir

It's a lot easier to write about a dead parent than a living one. Alison Bechdel's new "comic drama," Are You My Mother?, makes this abundantly clear. Fun Home, her amazing 2006 graphic memoir, was about her difficult, closeted gay father, who died shortly after she came out as a lesbian in college. This fascinating but demanding followup volume explores her uneasy relationship with her emotionally distant mother — who is not only alive but openly critical of Bechdel's work.

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Monkey See
2:54 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Can The Networks Ever Create Another Night Of 'Must-See TV'?

Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer appear in the baby birth episode of NBC's Friends.
AP

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 3:34 pm

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Author Interviews
10:05 am
Mon April 30, 2012

Sissy Spacek's 'Extraordinary Ordinary Life'

Sissy Spacek received the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner's Daughter.
Courtesy of the author

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 10:45 am

When Sissy Spacek started her film career, she was told to lose her heavy Texas accent. But her famous drawl became one of her greatest assets when Terrence Malick cast her in his 1973 crime drama Badlands.

Spacek played Holly, a teenage girl from South Dakota who became an accomplice on a cross-country murder spree. The film, which also starred Martin Sheen, was narrated in Spacek's distinctive Southern voice.

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Arts & Life
10:03 am
Mon April 30, 2012

A Bittersweet Goodbye To A Month Of Poetic Tweets

Writer and poet Holly Bass joins host Michel Martin to wrap up Tell Me More's poetry series, Muses and Metaphor. In celebration of National Poetry Month, listeners and friends of the program were invited to tweet poems no longer than 140 characters, via Twitter.

My Guilty Pleasure
4:36 am
Mon April 30, 2012

'The Magus': A Thrilling, Chilling Guilty Pleasure

cover detail

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 4:23 pm

Nick Dybek is the author of When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man.

The sinister face sneering from the cover is reason enough to keep John Fowles' The Magus tucked discreetly away. Then there's the 600 or so pages inside, which are filled with pretentious riffs on psychoanalysis, metaphysics, fascism and the occult.

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Author Interviews
1:37 am
Mon April 30, 2012

Caro's 'Passage of Power': LBJ's Political Genius

Keystone Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 8:26 am

Robert Caro writes obsessively about power. Fittingly, it's Lyndon Johnson — catapulted suddenly into the presidency "in the crack of a gunshot" — who consumes him.

The Passage of Power, the fourth volume of Caro's massive biography of Lyndon Johnson, is released this week. Caro has dedicated decades to meticulously researching Johnson's life, and the previous books in the series have been almost universally hailed as a significant achievement in American letters.

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Author Interviews
1:33 am
Mon April 30, 2012

Extremism In Congress: 'Even Worse Than It Looks'?

Mladen Antonov Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 8:53 am

Congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein are no strangers to D.C. politics. The two of them have been in Washington for more than 40 years — and they're renowned for their carefully nonpartisan positions.

But now, they say, Congress is more dysfunctional than it has been since the Civil War, and they aren't hesitating to point a finger at who they think is to blame.

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Books
3:09 pm
Sun April 29, 2012

Three-Minute Fiction Update: Judge's Favorites

Originally published on Sun April 29, 2012 3:48 pm

Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz checks-in with Three-Minute Fiction judge Luis Alberto Urrea to hear how the reading process is going and to hear some of his favorite stories thus far.

Author Interviews
3:09 pm
Sun April 29, 2012

'Teachers Make' A Difference, What About You?

iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 8:45 am

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Author Interviews
8:02 am
Sun April 29, 2012

Single-Handedly Pitching Through An 'Imperfect' Life

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 10:31 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In the history of Major League Baseball, one of the most emotional moments came in the summer of 1993. The week didn't begin well for New York Yankees pitcher Jim Abbott. He was pitching terribly against the Cleveland Indians. His manager took him out, so...

JIM ABBOTT: I ripped off my Yankee jersey, put on my running shorts and shirt and shoes. And I left the stadium. I just went for a long kind of get-it-out run, as far and as fast as I could, to kind of get rid of some of the anger and disappointment of that start.

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Games & Humor
5:46 am
Sun April 29, 2012

Blasts From The Past: The Art Of Video Games

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, 2006, Shigeru Miyamoto, Executive Producer; Eiji Aonuma, Director; Satoru Takizawa, Art Director; Eiji Aonuma, Satoru Iwata, Producers, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo of America, Inc.
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:50 am

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Monkey See
5:38 am
Sun April 29, 2012

Chris Colfer Goes From 'Glee' Singer To 'Struck' Screenwriter

Chris Colfer, writer and star of Struck By Lightning, at the Tribeca Film Festival, where the film is playing.
Larry Busacca Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 9:39 am

Chris Colfer, one of the stars of the hit TV show Glee, is known for his portrayal of Kurt, a confident and openly gay high school student (who also possesses pipes like a diva). In the new film Struck By Lightning, which Colfer wrote, he plays a very different character: Carson Phillips, an ambitious high school student who starts a literary magazine in order to get into Northwestern University. The character is arrogant and not exactly well-liked, so how does he collect submissions? By blackmailing the popular kids, of course.

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Author Interviews
4:32 am
Sun April 29, 2012

'Hot Dog' Meets 'Bun': Famous Food Discoveries

iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 10:31 am

If you're watching a sports game at home, at a bar or at an arena, what better way to enjoy it than with some nachos, pretzels or hot dogs?

As a former baseball player, Josh Chetwynd knows a thing or two about stadium grub. His new book, How the Hot Dog Found Its Bun: Accidental Discoveries and Unexpected Inspirations That Shape What We Eat and Drink, features 75 short essays that trace the history of popular food and dispel common misconceptions.

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Sunday Puzzle
10:03 pm
Sat April 28, 2012

To Cross This Puzzle Safely, Look Left And Right

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sat May 12, 2012 4:11 pm

On-Air Challenge: Every answer today is a familiar three-word phrase in which the second word is "and" and the first word starts with the letter L. You'll be given the last word of the phrase, and you must identify the first word, starting with "L." For example, given "master," the answer would be "lord," as in "lord and master."

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Monkey See
7:56 am
Sat April 28, 2012

My '70s Show — Remembering 'Ecotopia' Author Ernest Callenbach

Sustainability advocate and author Ernest Callenbach in 2005.
Courtesy Heyday Books

There was news this week that Ernest "Chick" Callenbach had died. His 1975 cult-classic, Ecotopia, was beloved by environmentalists and science fiction fans. Originally self-published, it went on to sell more than a million copies in many languages. The utopian novel, which imagined a new nation made up of Northern California, Oregon and Washington state, is told from the point of view of a visiting reporter from the United States.

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Movies
4:13 am
Sat April 28, 2012

A Creative Collaboration With A 'Darling Companion'

Beth (Diane Keaton) and her daughter (Elisabeth Moss) rescue an injured dog from the side of the highway. Beth's husband (Kevin Kline) later loses the beloved pet, an event co-writer Meg Kasdan says is inspired by a real-life incident.
Wilson Webb Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Sat April 28, 2012 10:22 am

Lawrence Kasdan became famous for writing the blockbusters The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark, but he went on to a successful directing career with high-profile films like Body Heat, The Big Chill and Grand Canyon.

His latest film, and his first in nine years, is Darling Companion, which Kasdan wrote with his wife, Meg. The film was her idea.

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Author Interviews
4:04 am
Sat April 28, 2012

'The Art Of The Sale': Life's A Pitch

iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat April 28, 2012 10:22 am

Salesmen are rarely heroic figures in American culture. They're often shown as slick, unscrupulous charlatans like Ricky Roma in David Mamet's play Glengarry Glen Ross. And then there are sad, defeated characters like Willy Loman in Death Of A Salesman, who shortly before taking his life says, "After all the highways, and the trains, and the appointments, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive."

Yet sales drive the economy. The cleverest invention or product will disappear — creating no income, no employment — unless someone can sell it.

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Movie Interviews
4:04 am
Sat April 28, 2012

Michelle Yeoh: Portraying An Icon In 'The Lady'

Michelle Yeoh plays pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi in The Lady. Yeoh says it was important that the film portrayed Suu Kyi's struggles realistically, including how her 15-year house arrest kept her from her husband and sons.
Cohen Media Group

Originally published on Sat April 28, 2012 10:22 am

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters at a recent film premiere that she'd told Aung San Suu Kyi that she was moving from being an icon to being a politician.

The film Clinton saw is The Lady, starring Michelle Yeoh as the pro-democracy activist who spent 15 years under house arrest in Myanmar (also known as Burma), and who won the Nobel Peace Prize before being freed in 2010.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
1:55 am
Sat April 28, 2012

Director Barry Sonnenfeld Plays Not My Job

Alexandre Meneghini AP

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 11:26 pm

Barry Sonnenfeld either directed or shot some of the best movies of the '80s and '90s. He was the cinematographer on the Coen Brother's first movies and directed the Men in Black movies and Get Shorty, among other works of dark genius. His movie Men in Black III is coming out in May.

He plays a game called "Men in White," where he will answer three questions about people who play cricket.

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