Arts/Life

Author Interviews
11:53 am
Sun August 5, 2012

A Story Of Ancient Power In 'The Rise of Rome'

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 2:11 pm

Over the past decade, there's been a revival in popular histories of ancient Rome; not the academic tomes once reserved for specialists and students, but books and movies designed for the rest of us.

Anthony Everitt has written three biographies about some of the major players in ancient Rome: Cicero, Augustus and Hadrian, all full of intrigue and treachery.

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Arts & Life
5:34 am
Sun August 5, 2012

Marilyn Monroe As An 'All-Around' Comedian

Marilyn Monroe died 50 years ago Sunday at the age of 36. Host Linda Wertheimer speaks with film expert Murray Horwitz about Monroe's film legacy and her comedic skills.

Author Interviews
5:34 am
Sun August 5, 2012

Murderous 'Thugs' From India To London

Guest host Linda Wertheimer talks with Tabish Khair about The Thing About Thugs, his new novel about the myths of murderous Indian cult of "thugees."

Animals
4:11 am
Sun August 5, 2012

Bat Calls Make Eerie Comeback As Techno-Like Beats

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region Flickr

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 7:04 am

For the past five years, bats have been disappearing at an alarming rate, falling prey to a mysterious disease called white-nose syndrome. But they're making an eerie comeback in a new audio exhibit at a national park in Vermont. The exhibit features manipulated recordings of bat calls that are funneled through glass vessels hanging from a studio ceiling.

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Books News & Features
4:10 am
Sun August 5, 2012

In The E-Book World, Are Book Covers A Dying Art?

Designed by Chip Kidd, the book jacket for Haruki Murakami's 1Q84, when removed, reveals a woman's face.
Courtesy of Chip Kidd/Alfred A. Knopf

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 3:01 pm

In the olden days, a reader might pick up a book because the cover was exciting, intriguing, maybe even beautiful. But in the brave new world of e-books and e-readers, the days when an artist named Chip Kidd could make us reach for a book may be gone.

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Sunday Puzzle
10:03 pm
Sat August 4, 2012

Put Two Up Front For Two New Words

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 4:26 pm

On-air challenge: You are given two five-letter words. Put the same pair of letters in front of each of them to complete two familiar seven-letter words. The letters that go in front will never be a standard prefix, like "re-." For example, given "quire" and "tress," the answer would be "ac" to make "acquire" and "actress."

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Author Interviews
2:42 pm
Sat August 4, 2012

The Thomas Eagleton Affair Haunts Candidates Today

Sens. Thomas Eagleton (left) and George McGovern celebrate their candidacy for vice president and president, respectively, at the Democratic National Convention in 1972.
AP

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 10:51 am

Sometime before the end of the month, when Republicans hold their convention in Tampa, Fla., Mitt Romney will announce his vice presidential running mate.

There's a good chance the finalists for that spot are wading through mountains of paperwork, and answering deeply personal questions about finances, past statements, friendships — and medical history.

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Destination Art
5:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Columbus, Ind.: A Midwestern Mecca Of Architecture

Architect Eliel Saarinen's First Christian Church (1942) helped launch a design revolution in Columbus, Ind. Nearly 30 years later, as part of that same movement, sculptor Henry Moore created the 20-foot-tall Large Arch as a piece of art that could be walked through and around.
Chris Smith Columbus Area Visitors Center

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

Columbus, Ind., looks like any other small town, with its small shops and restaurants. But what sets this town apart is its architecture.

The Modernist buildings — mostly geometric and made of glass and steel — are not immediately visible, interspersed as they are with old, 19th-century, gingerbread-like structures; but more than 60 public buildings in Columbus have been built by a veritable who's who of modern masters — I.M. Pei, Eero and Eliel Saarinen, Cesar Pelli, Richard Meier, Harry Weese, Robert Venturi and James Polshek, to name a few.

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Africa
3:53 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Mali's Cultural Heritage, Old And New, Faces Threats

Mali's popular Festival of the Desert, held each year near Timbuktu, attracts both local and international music stars. The festival took place in January, but the Islamists who have taken control of the area have since banned all entertainment.
Serge Daniel AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

Mali is a country rich in culture, both old and new.

The banging of hammers on silver echos through the main crafts market in Bamako, Mali's capital. It's usually teeming in a place where you can buy anything, from silver earrings to batik fabric, all of it handmade.

And despite its remote location, Mali has enhanced its cultural reputation in recent years with an annual international music and arts festival in the Sahara Desert near Timbuktu, drawing both African and Western artists.

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Americandy: Sweet Land Of Liberty
3:53 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Grand Ole Goo Goo Sweetens Fans Old And New

The Goo Goo Cluster, a classic gooey treat from Nashville, Tenn., celebrates its 100th birthday this year.
Melisa Goh NPR

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

No one's entirely sure where the Southern treat called the Goo Goo Cluster got its name.

The iconic candy from Nashville, Tenn., celebrates its 100th birthday this year. The confection of marshmallow, peanuts and caramel wrapped in milk chocolate may owe its longevity in part to another Nashville icon: the Grand Ole Opry.

Goo Goo Cluster sponsored the venue's radio broadcasts from 1966 until 2006. In one popular advertisement, stage performers crooned, "Go get a Goo Goo ... it's gooooooood!"

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
9:23 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Dax Shepard And Kristen Bell Play Not My Job

Chris Pizzello AP

Originally published on Sat August 4, 2012 10:36 am

Real-life Hollywood couple Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard are a.) famous b.) adorable c.) funny d.) the stars of Hit and Run, a new movie they made together, and e.) amazingly, all of the above.

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Movie Interviews
3:05 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Friends With Your Ex? Rashida Jones Understands

"This is a story about your first love," says Jones. "Can you take it with you, can it still be a part of your life, can you integrate it into your life? Do you have to let them go forever to move on?"
Lee Toland Krieger Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 4:06 pm

Don't be fooled by the title of Rashida Jones' new movie: It's called Celeste and Jesse Forever, but Celeste and Jesse, played by Jones and Andy Samberg, are not forever — in fact, they're getting divorced. And they have a weird way of dealing with it: They keep spending time together as if they were best friends.

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Movies
2:54 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Franchises Age, But Their Stars Stay Forever Young

Jeremy Renner stars in The Bourne Legacy, the latest in a franchise previously fronted by Matt Damon. But when an actor departs a Hollywood cash cow, it can be less a death knell than a chance for rejuvenation.
Mary Cybulski Universal Pictures

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 4:06 pm

The Bourne Legacy, which opens in theaters this week, is the fourth thriller in the series, and the first without either Jason Bourne or the star playing him, Matt Damon. They're suddenly not necessary, even though the series is named for Bourne? Why am I not surprised?

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Arts & Life
2:44 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Monroe's Legacy Is Making Fortune, But For Whom?

Marilyn Monroe's will reveals a quieter, more complicated side to her legacy.
Evening Standard Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 4:06 pm

Marilyn Monroe, a global symbol of beauty, glamour and sex, died on Aug. 5, 1962. Fifty years later, she's still in style — and making more money than ever. Monroe's come-hither expression is emblazoned on posters, T-shirts and refrigerator magnets. She's become a multimillion-dollar brand, but that may never have happened if not for the will she left behind, a document that reveals a much quieter — and more complicated — side to her legacy.

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Monkey See
11:30 am
Fri August 3, 2012

The Responsibilities Of Being The Greatest Film Of All Time

Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 film Vertigo topped this decade's Sight & Sound poll as the best movie of all time. Citizen Kane, the top film for the past 50 years, dropped to the number two spot.
Creative Commons

The internet age has only confirmed humanity's love affair with lists, not to mention multiplied how many we write. Lists simplify, they spark arguments and they establish canons. They're the least subtle form of criticism but nevertheless an important part of it. No more buts, maybes or howevers: With lists, critics have to make choices.

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Remembrances
11:09 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Fresh Air Remembers Writer And Critic Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal authored the historical novels Burr and Lincoln, wrote plays and provocative essays, ran for office twice — and lost — and frequently appeared on TV talk shows. His play The Best Man currently has a revival on Broadway.
AP

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 1:03 pm

In Gore Vidal's New York Times obituary, Charles McGrath described the writer as "the elegant, acerbic all around man of letters who presided with a certain relish over what he declared to be the end of American civilization." Vidal died Tuesday at the age of 86.

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Author Interviews
10:41 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Crum: Lee Maynard's 'Love Letter' To His Hometown

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 1:10 pm

Lee Maynard's 1988 semi-autobiographical novel Crum is set in the small, poor West Virginia town where he grew up. The people of Crum who know the book tend to love it or hate it. It was even banned for several years in a state-run store. The sequel, Screaming With the Cannibals, which came out five years later, got his protagonist Jesse Stone out of West Virginia, across the Tug River into Kentucky.

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Hardcover Nonfiction Bestsellers
9:14 am
Fri August 3, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Nonfiction, Week Of August 2, 2012

Days Of Destruction, Days Of Revolt is a scathing portrait of American poverty. It debuts at No. 4.

The Salt
8:59 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Canning History: When Propaganda Encouraged Patriotic Preserves

During World War II, the government used posters to encourage Americans to grow and preserve their own foods as a way to aid the war effort. Produced by the Office of War Information in 1943.
Northwestern University Libraries

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 9:11 am

Recently, home canning has seen a rush in popularity, and even upscale retailers like Williams-Sonoma want a share of the idea that a pint of home-canned jam is a fun gift idea. But during both world wars, canning saw another surge, this time prompted by colorful propaganda sponsored by the United States government.

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Books
3:30 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Murder And Mystery In An Idyllic Cape Cod Town

Provincetown, at the far tip of Cape Cod, would seem a perfect place to spend a summer day. In the books of author Jon Loomis, Provincetown is also the setting for mystery and murder. In our Crime in the City series, NPR's Linda Wertheimer takes us to "P-town," where she met Loomis a few years back.

Movies
3:14 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Back To The Future With 'Total Recall' Remake

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 3:30 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Look for a review of the new science fiction epic "Total Recall" and you'll see headlines ready Total Makeover. You might recall the 1990 original starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. With our review of the remake, here's Kenneth Turan.

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Poetry Games
7:37 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Against All Odds, You 'Swim Your Own Race'

Ron Tanovitz

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 8:19 am

South African poet Mbali Vilakazi is also a performer and radio producer based in Cape Town. Vilakazi's poem pays tribute to South African swimmer Natalie du Toit, the first female amputee ever to qualify for the Olympic Games.

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Movie Reviews
4:48 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

A Couple Made For Each Other, But Not For Marriage

Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) are a separated couple who continue to hang out like best friends in Celeste and Jesse Forever. Jones also co-wrote the film.
David Lanzenberg Sony Pictures Classics

The easiest way to put divorce onscreen is to slap a couple of clearly mismatched souls up there and proceed to show them bickering over money, property, the kids, the family dog. Celeste and Jesse Forever takes the harder and more honorable way, giving us two people who genuinely care for each other, who are perhaps perfect for each other in all the ways you can list on paper, and who still fall victim to some essential loneliness that seems to be hardwired into their union.

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Movie Reviews
3:30 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

In The Scottish Dunes, It's David Versus The Donald

Director Anthony Baxter (left) with Michael Forbes, whose property borders Donald Trump's contentious luxury golf resort. The fight over the resort is the focus of Baxter's documentary You've Been Trumped.
International Film Circuit

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 5:53 pm

In the red corner, a leering Donald Trump, brandishing plans to build a luxury golf resort on one of Britain's last remaining wilderness areas. In the blue, a small group of dignified local homeowners trying to stop him. The setup is a documentary filmmaker's dream, and Anthony Baxter's You've Been Trumped fully exploits the conflict's inherent gifts — including Mr. Trump's incautious mouth — with the kind of gleeful umbrage popularized by Michael Moore and eaten up by audiences.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

The 'Global Catch' In Our Insatiable Taste For Sushi

Polish sushi chef Marcin Korzeniewski in Sushi: The Global Catch, a documentary that looks at the environmental repercussions of sushi's increasing worldwide popularity.
Kino Lorber

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 5:05 pm

Sushi: The Global Catch, a shrewdly constructed documentary on the challenges of the modern sushi industry, functions like a densely packed information delivery system — heavy on content, spare on style. Yet it offers a few striking images that speak for themselves: a commercial fishing vessel netting thousands of pounds of bluefin tuna, buyers for clients all over the world inspecting hundreds of tuna laid out in Tokyo's Tsukiji Market, a statue in the small fishing town of Oma depicting a large bluefin rising from the waves and, opposite, a pair of fists advancing to meet it.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

In A Decrepit Future, An Identity Crisis Multiplies

Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell) visits Rekall, a company that implants memories in its customers, in an attempt to explain a series of recurring dreams. Farrell plays the role originally portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1990 film of the same name.
Michael Gibson Columbia Pictures

Set in a high-tech yet shabby future, the remake of Total Recall is a fully realized piece of production design. But its script, credited to six authors, is more like a preliminary sketch.

Directed by Underworld franchise veteran Len Wiseman, the movie retains some elements of Paul Verhoeven's friskier (and more graphically violent) 1990 original. Yet it also makes lots of changes, notably by downplaying the brain-bending aspects of the scenario in favor of thought-free action. (Also, it never leaves a devastated Earth for Mars.)

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

'360': Intertwined Lives In A Connected Europe

Michael (Jude Law) and Rose (Rachel Weisz) are two of the many characters in 360, a film about interconnected European lives from the director of City of God and The Constant Gardener.
Phil Fisk Magnolia Pictures

For all the glum punditry about our brave new world of connected disconnection, there are endless possibilities for free play — though you'd never know it from the sorry crew of malcontents in 360, an ambitious post-millennial take on Arthur Schnitzler's La Ronde.

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Theater
2:07 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Playwright Fugard Bucked South Africa's 'Racist Ideas'

South African playwright, actor and director Athol Fugard was a thorn in the apartheid regime's side. Now 80, he calls any suggestion that he would slow down "nonsense."
Gregory Costanzo

South African playwright, actor and director Athol Fugard describes the time Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990 as "a period of euphoria that was the most extraordinary experience of my life."

He says he was also convinced he would be the country's "first literary redundancy."

"My life had been defined by the apartheid years," he tells Michel Martin, host of NPR's Tell Me More. "Now we were going into an era of democracy ... and I believed that I didn't really have a function as a useful artist in that anymore."

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Author Interviews
12:11 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Not A Feminist? Caitlin Moran Asks, Why Not?

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 7:03 pm

Writer Caitlin Moran believes most women who don't want to be called feminists don't really understand what feminism is. In her book How to Be a Woman, Moran poses these questions to women who are hesitant to identify as feminists:

What part of liberation for women is not for you? Is it the freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man that you marry? The campaign for equal pay? Vogue by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that stuff just get on your nerves?

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Book Reviews
11:32 am
Thu August 2, 2012

A Moody Tale Of Murder In A 'Broken' Dublin Suburb

Broken window.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 2:18 pm

Mid-20th-century mystery master Ross MacDonald is credited with moving hard-boiled crime off the mean streets of American cities and smack into the suburbs. In MacDonald's mythical California town of Santa Teresa, modeled on Santa Barbara, evil noses its way into gated communities, schools and shopping centers that have been built expressly to escape the dirt and danger of the city.

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