Arts/Life

Monkey See
12:11 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Breaking Bad' And A Little Sad

NPR

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 1:30 pm

  • Listen To Pop Culture Happy Hour

We've been doing PCHH for two years now, and we've never really talked in detail about Breaking Bad. That's kind of weird, but it's partly an artifact of the fact that it took us a while to develop an adequate background, since the only one of us who was a regular watcher from the beginning was Mike Katzif, our producer.

But this week, with me and Glen fully up to speed (along with Mike) and with Stephen and Trey recent experimenters who watched a few early episodes and then jumped ahead to Sunday's season premiere — heresy, I know, but they did it anyway — we dive in.

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The Salt
11:03 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Soul Food Fans Say Goodbye To 'Queen' Sylvia

Sylvia Woods moves to the music outside her restaurant in Harlem neighborhood of New York, during the restaurant's 40th anniversary celebration in 2002.
Stuart Ramson AP

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 9:11 am

Sylvia Woods, known as the Queen of Soul Food, died yesterday at age 86. She opened the legendary Sylvia's restaurant in Harlem 50 years ago, around the corner from the Apollo Theater, and it soon became a gathering place for prominent African Americans, politicians, and foodies of all ages and races.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
9:52 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Novels For The Science-Attuned Brain

Ah, New Jersey!
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 8:00 am

By the time this post goes up, I'll be vacationing in New Jersey. (No jokes please!) My destinations are Springsteen Country and the beach, or as we say in my home state, The Shore.

Novel-reading on the beach is one way I'll relax. During some future fantasy vacation, I'd love to do nothing but read, inhaling a book a day.

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Author Interviews
8:28 am
Fri July 20, 2012

When Zombies Attack Lower Manhattan

Colson Whitehead is a 2002 recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship. His writing has also appeared in Salon, The Village Voice, and The New York Times.

Erin Patrice O'Brien Doubleday

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 9:55 am

A zombie plague has wiped out 95 percent of America. Camps of survivors band together in pockets across the country, waiting for small squadrons of human "sweepers" to inch their way across major cities, destroying the remaining zombie-like creatures hiding out in office buildings and shopping malls.

But now the human sweepers have to tackle their biggest challenge yet: clearing the undead from Lower Manhattan.

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The Salt
8:13 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Long Before Social Networking, Community Cookbooks Ruled The Stove

cookbook was the first to raise funds for and disseminate information about women's suffrage." href="/post/long-social-networking-community-cookbooks-ruled-stove" class="noexit lightbox">
The Woman Suffrage Cook Book: Containing thoroughly tested and reliable recipes for cooking, directions for care of the sick, and practical suggestions. Originally sold at an 1886 fair in Boston, this cookbook was the first to raise funds for and disseminate information about women's suffrage.
Michigan State University Libraries

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 10:47 am

Millions of users share recipes, DIY projects, and household tips on the social networking site Pinterest and myriad blogs and other sites.

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Author Interviews
2:39 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Michael Connelly: From Reporter To Mystery Novelist

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 12:42 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Writer Michael Connelly hits a milestone this summer. It's been 20 years since he introduced the character that launched his bestselling books - Los Angeles homicide Detective Harry Bosch. In today's encore Crime in the City, we return to the City of Angels.

It was here, back in 2007, NPR's Mandalit Del Barco met up with Michael Connelly. He was living in Florida but still spending time on the mean streets of L.A.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRAFFIC)

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Ask Me Another
5:30 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Will Shortz: Aging Gopher Maracas

Will Shortz, puzzle master for NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday since the program's start in 1987, is also the crossword editor of The New York Times.
Mark Mainz Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 10:15 am

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Games & Humor
4:26 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

The Complete Jonathan Coulton Recordings, Season One

Ask Me Another resident musician, Jonathan Coulton, keeps audiences entertained with his offbeat lyrics and entertaining covers of popular music. JoCo quit his day job writing software in 2005 to pursue a career in music.
Bill Wadman Courtesy of Jonathan Coulton

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 10:35 am

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Movie Reviews
3:07 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

In Troubled Times, A 'Dark Knight' Returns

Christian Bale as Batman in The Dark Knight Rises. The final film in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, which began with Batman Begins in 2005, deals explicitly with our contemporary political times.
Ron Phillips Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 4:38 pm

Before a hero can rise, he must suffer a fall, and fall the Dark Knight quite spectacularly did the last time around, taking the rap for crimes he didn't commit, marking himself as a vigilante pariah and even letting Heath Ledger steal the reviews. No way that's happening in this last installment. A comic-book tale that has gotten darker than anyone thought possible is now careening toward a burst of light — possibly a nuclear blast — at the end of the tunnel.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

'Hara-Kiri': A Samurai's Bluff Hides A Revenge Plot

Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai is set in an era in which some underemployed warriors would bluff their willingness to commit ritual suicide, hoping for money or employment from wealthy families who didn't want to deal with the mess. Hanshiro's (Ebizo Ichikawa) own bluff in the film, however, goes deeper.
Tribeca Film

Japanese cinematic extremist Takashi Miike is known for movies that go too far — often because they can't figure out where else to go. So it was revealing when last year's 13 Assassins, a remake of a 1963 samurai adventure, demonstrated a traditionalist streak in Miike's tastes. But that movie is a crystal-meth freakout compared with the director's latest effort, the stately Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

A Stubborn Old Soul, Stumbling Into Modernity

Pascale (Daniel Auteuil) with his sister Nathalie (Marie-Anne Chazel, right) and daughter Patricia (Astrid Berges-Frisbey), who, to his dismay, becomes pregnant in The Well-Digger's Daughter. The film is a remake of Marcel Pagnol's 1940 movie.
Kino Lorber

At 62, the actor Daniel Auteuil is French film royalty, a Renaissance man equally at home in comedy, drama, thrillers — or, given his perennial air of faintly amused irony, some combination of all three. An off-kilter looker, Auteuil fairly oozes Gallic urbanity, so it's easy to forget that he launched his prolific career playing a conniving rustic in 1986's Jean de Florette and its sequel, Manon of the Spring, both directed by Claude Berri and adapted from novels by the writer-director Marcel Pagnol.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

After The Recession, An American Versailles On Hold

When they outgrew their 26,000-square-foot mansion, David and Jackie Siegel set out to build their dream home, which was to be the biggest in the U.S. The Queen of Versailles looks at what happened when the recession ruined that dream.
Lauren Greenfield Magnolia Pictures

When director Lauren Greenfield started filming The Queen of Versailles, a documentary about 74-year-old David Siegel, a billionaire timeshare magnate from Orlando, and Jackie, a trophy wife 30 years his junior, they had outgrown their 26,000-square-foot home.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

It's Little Guy Vs. The Man, Never Mind The Issues

In Grassroots, Seattle music critic Grant Cogswell (Joel David Moore, right) runs for city council with the help of his campaign manager, unemployed journalist Phil Campbell (Jason Biggs). Cogswell and Campbell were real-life campaign partners in Seattle.
Hilary Harris Samuel Goldwyn Films

Maybe we have Frank Capra to thank for the notion that in politics, at least as it plays out in the movies, the little guy is always the good guy. Stephen Gyllenhaal swallows that idea hook, line and sinker in Grassroots, in which an out-of-work Seattle music critic (Joel David Moore) runs for city council without bothering to think the issues through: He assumes he'll automatically change the status quo by donning a polar-bear costume and making an impassioned plea for extending the city's monorail system.

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Books
2:01 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Terrible Virus, Fascinating History In 'Rabid'

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 4:38 pm

Here's your vocabulary word for the week: zoonosis. It describes an infection that is transmitted between species. For example, the disease that the husband and wife team of Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy have written about in their new book, Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus.

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Opinion
1:56 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Wish You Were Here: Sunrise In Laos

A sunrise ritual draws Pam Houston to Luang Prabang, Laos.
Allie Caulfield

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 4:38 pm

Pam Houston directs the Creative Writing Program at U.C. Davis. Her most recent novel is Contents May Have Shifted.

Luang Prabang, Laos, is so close to the equator that daybreak happens at the same time each day. Also each day, a few dozen women set up rice cookers on small collapsible tables on street corners next to the more than 30 monasteries that grace this riverside town. If you get up with them and walk the silent streets in the misty Mekong predawn, you smell, under the sweetness of the frangipani blossoms, the thick odor of cooked starch.

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Books
1:52 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Staying Up Late: 5 Picks For The Ravenous Reader

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 6:47 am

It's late. The clock is ticking. You have to be awake again in 6 hours. You're exhausted.

But you just really want to finish this one chapter.

One of your eyes starts to close — that's OK, you'll rest it for a minute, and then you'll rest the other one. You just want to stay awake to finish the next couple of pages.

This book is too good. You can't stop; you must know what happens.

Sometimes a book is better than sleep. Here are five recommendations for reads that will keep you up late.

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Deceptive Cadence
12:07 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Cartoonist Misha Dichter (He Plays Piano, Too)

Misha Dichter's sketch of a pianist at work.
courtesy of Misha Dichter

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 1:19 pm

Misha Dichter is a man of many talents, though you probably know him as the gifted pianist who won the silver medal at 1966 Tchaikovsky Competition, spurring an international career that has lasted more than 40 years.

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Joe's Big Idea
10:48 am
Thu July 19, 2012

When Art Meets Science, You'll Get The Picture

Student scientist Araw Akram discovered that fruit flies that eat nonorganic produce have lower reproduction rates than insects that eat organic food.
Manuel Guzman Intel

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 11:15 am

Scientists often struggle to explain their work to us nonscientists. Art to the rescue!

In a new collaboration, artists are taking the inventions of teenage scientists and turning them into posters. Science inspires art. And the art inspires questions.

Why are umbrellas shimmering under the stars?

Because a teenager in Sri Lanka figured out how to use the positions of the starts to accurately predict rainfall.

Why is paint slithering across the canvas in a sinuous brushstroke?

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Remembrances
10:34 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Fresh Air Remembers Actress Celeste Holm

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 11:44 am

Celeste Holm, the actress of stage and screen, passed away of a heart attack on July 15. She was 95 years old.

Made famous on Broadway for her role as Ado Annie in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, Holm earned more fans for her performances in All About Eve (1950), The Tender Trap (1955) and High Society (1956).

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Arts & Life
9:38 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Bill Bellamy: Full Throttle Family Man, Funny Man

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 7:53 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We're continuing our series called Make Me Laugh. All summer long we're talking to some of the country's most popular entertainers, who have brought their unique comedy styles to film, television and standup.

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The Fresh Air Interview
9:21 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Sigourney Weaver's Stately Role In 'Political Animals'

Sigourney Weaver stars as Secretary of State Elaine Barrish in the USA Network miniseries Political Animals.
Andrew Eccles USA Network

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 3:56 pm

In the new USA Network miniseries Political Animals, Sigourney Weaver plays smart, tough Secretary of State Elaine Barrish. It's a role many critics have likened to current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but Weaver says the show's creators were thinking beyond Clinton when they devised the role.

"We've had three remarkable women who've been our secretaries of state in our last three administrations, but somehow we're not willing as a country to elect a woman president," she says. "And I think this show partially investigates what that's about."

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The Picture Show
8:20 am
Thu July 19, 2012

This Is Not A Composite Photo

Palindromo Meszaros

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 9:20 am

This photo looks like two images stitched together; above is a normal forest, and below, a strange, Martian one. But it's a single image from a single place and time — the hills of western Hungary, six months after a devastating industrial accident.

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New In Paperback
3:03 am
Thu July 19, 2012

New In Paperback July 16-22

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 9:49 am

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Cheryl Strayed, Elaine Sciolino and Elissa Schappell.

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

Books
1:08 am
Thu July 19, 2012

A Network Head Reflects In 'Interview'

David Westin was the president of ABC News from 1997 to 2010.
Rene Macura AP

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 8:10 am

On Nov. 7, 2000, producers and editors at ABC News prepared to make a very public decision.

It was election night, with George W. Bush facing off against Al Gore. And it was, memorably, undecided until the early hours of the following morning, when other TV networks began calling the election for Bush.

David Westin, then the president of ABC News, recalls the agony as his network's elaborate election unit was beaten on the call — they had held back.

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Movie Reviews
3:55 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

As Class Warfare Brews, A 'Dark Knight Rises'

The Dark Knight Rises begins eight years after The Dark Knight, with Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) living a reclusive life at his mansion alongside Alfred (Michael Caine). The movie is the finale of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy.
Ron Phillips Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 9:54 am

The canvas is epic, the themes are profound, the execution is ... clunky. Welcome to Christopher Nolan's third and allegedly final Batman picture, The Dark Knight Rises — that so-called rising taking hours, by the way. No Batman film ever had less Batman.

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Arts & Life
1:48 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Seinfeld Hits The Web, Still Talking About Nothing

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 5:30 pm

Jerry Seinfeld's new series is called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and the promos promise exactly that. The comic toodles around in his vintage wheels, drinking java with his pals Alec Baldwin, Michael Richards and Larry David, and discussing (among other things) the effrontery of ordering herbal tea when invited out for coffee.

But the next act from the man behind the most popular sitcom on television won't be on television. It's a webseries.

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The Salt
1:42 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Discarded Food Cans Turn Into Canvas For British Street Artist

mydogsighs

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 1:32 am

Those eyes grab you first. Only after a couple of beats do you realize you're looking at the painted bottom of a flattened metal can left on the street, and not some mysterious fairy.

These can art people come from the imagination of a British artist known as My Dog Sighs, who has left a piece of art on the street for someone to find every Friday for the last 10 years.

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Monkey See
11:52 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Emmy Nominations Are Tomorrow, So Let's Overanalyze Our Favorites

Bryan Cranston as Walter White in AMC's Breaking Bad.
Gregory Peters AMC

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 12:27 pm

Thursday morning, TV critics will report, with a little (in the case of east coast critics) or a lot (particularly in the case of west coast critics up at 5:00 in the morning) of grumpiness, who's gotten Emmy nominations. Some of my thoughts about the Emmys came out in a chat I recently had with several of my critic colleagues, graciously hosted by The Hollywood Reporter, which has posted the unedited chat.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Inside America's 30-Year Conflict with Iran

David Crist's father, George (left), discusses operations against Iranian attack boats with Navy Lt. Paul Hillenbrand. George Crist, a Marine Corps general, was commander of CENTCOM from 1985-1988.
Courtesy of David Crist

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:27 am

Iran Says It Has Plan To Close Strait Of Hormuz. Iran Reports Long-Range Missile Launch Exercise. New Sanctions Targeting Iranian Oil. All these headlines appeared on NPR.org over the past month, but if they give you a sense of deja vu, there's a reason.

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Books
5:03 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Exclusive First Read: 'The Dog Stars'

istockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 8:28 am

  • Listen To Chapters Four And Five Of 'The Dog Stars'

Set in the Rocky Mountains after an epidemic has killed off most of society, The Dog Stars, by outdoor-adventure writer Peter Heller, casts an unusual mood as it alternates between elegiac reflection, lyrical nature writing and intense, high-caliber action. In a world where isolated survivors must fend off attacks from marauding bands, our heroes are an odd couple whose complementary skills have, so far, kept them alive. Hig, an amateur pilot, maintains the perimeter, flying patrols in his Cessna with Jasper, his dog, as co-pilot.

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