Arts/Life

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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Book Reviews
10:56 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Jaime Hernandez Bridges The Indie-Vs.-Cape Divide

If only Nixon could go to China, only indie-comics master Jaime Hernandez could produce God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls, the brightest, purest, most quintessentially superheroic superhero yarn in years.

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Pop Culture
10:32 am
Thu August 2, 2012

R Grammar Gaffes Ruining The Language? Maybe Not

Sharon Dominick iStockphoto.com

Good grammar may have came and went.

Maybe you've winced at the decline of the past participle. Or folks writing and saying "he had sank" and "she would have went." Perhaps it was the singer Gotye going on about "Somebody That I Used to Know" instead of "Somebody Whom I Used to Know." Or any of a number of other tramplings of traditional grammar — rules that have been force-fed to American schoolchildren for decades — in popular parlance and prose.

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New In Paperback
5:03 am
Thu August 2, 2012

New In Paperback July 30-Aug. 5

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 9:32 am

Nonfiction releases from Scott Wallace, Joshua S. Goldstein, Catherine Salmon, Katrin Schumann and Julie Salamon.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Food
3:32 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Name That (New) Grape

Researchers at Cornell University will be releasing two new wine grape varieties next year from the university's agricultural breeding program. And they're asking the public to create names for them.

Destination Art
3:32 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Marfa, Texas: An Unlikely Art Oasis In A Desert Town

In the 1970s, minimalist artist Donald Judd moved to Marfa, Texas, where he created giant works of art that bask beneath vast desert skies. In the years since, Marfa has emerged as a hot spot for art tourism.
Art (c) Judd Foundation Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 4:36 pm

This tiny town perched on the high plains of the Chihuahua desert is nothing less than an arts world station of the cross, like Art Basel in Miami, or Documenta in Germany. It's a blue-chip arts destination for the sort of glamorous scenesters who visit Amsterdam for the Rijksmuseum and the drugs.

"They speak about Marfa with the same kind of reverent tones generally reserved for the pilgrimage of the Virgin of Lourdes," notes Carolina Miranda, a writer who covers the art world.

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Poetry Games
3:18 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

'The Wrestler' Grapples With Myth, Power And Love

Ron Tanovitz

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 8:15 am

A Muslim-American poet and novelist of Indian descent, Kazim Ali's work has been featured in Best American Poetry and the American Poetry Review. He teaches at Oberlin College.

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Kitchen Window
6:10 am
Wed August 1, 2012

How To Make Your Tofu And Eat It, Too

Nicole Spiridakis for NPR

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 9:56 am

As I recently dipped a carrot slice into a fluffy, edamame-infused dip I'd made from a batch of homemade tofu, I wondered: Why haven't I done this before? The carrot was crisp, the herbs were fresh, but it was the tofu that was the real deal. It was like no store-bought tofu I'd ever encountered – light, delicate, creamy and not a bit rubbery.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Powell's Drunken Pair Prioritize Language

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 1:14 pm

With his 2009 The Interrogative Mood: A Novel?, Padgett Powell produced one of the most readable literary oddities of the past decade. In that book, a narrator — perhaps the author himself — fired off questions (and only questions) that come to read less like a novel than a personality test gone haywire: "Should a tree be pruned? Are you perplexed by what to do with underwear whose elastic is spent but which is otherwise in good shape? Do you dance?" And so on, for more than 150 pages.

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Remembrances
2:52 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Gore Vidal, American Writer And Cultural Critic, Dies

Author Gore Vidal in 1986. Vidal, whose prolific writing career spanned six decades, died Tuesday at age 86.
AP

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 5:31 am

Gore Vidal came from a generation of novelists whose fiction gave them a political platform. Norman Mailer ran for mayor of New York City; Kurt Vonnegut became an anti-war spokesman. And Vidal was an all-around critic. His novels sometimes infuriated readers with unflattering portraits of American history.

He also wrote essays and screenplays, and his play The Best Man currently has a revival on Broadway.

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Poetry Games
10:43 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

'Once More,' Passing The Torch To One And All

Ron Tanovitz

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 8:14 am

Representing Europe in NPR's Poetry Games is Slovenian poet Ales Steger. Steger's first work translated into English, The Book of Things, won last year's Best Translated Book Award for Poetry. The translator was poet Brian Henry, who also translated Steger's Olympic poem, "Once More."

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PG-13: Risky Reads
2:51 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

Grotesque Horror Through A Kid-Sized Window

cover detail

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 2:15 pm

Erin Morgenstern is the author of The Night Circus.

There are still days when rain flooding the gutters conjures a picture in my mind of a paper boat being chased by a little boy in a yellow raincoat. The boy's name is Georgie and he is about to meet a rather gruesome fate, smiling up at him from a storm drain.

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Fresh Air Interviews
11:14 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Facing The Fiscal Cliff: Congress' Next Showdown

Bill Ingalls/NASA Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 10:35 pm

In December, Congress is poised for another showdown on the deficit and taxes. If Congress doesn't act, 2013 will mark the end to Bush-era tax cuts that have been in place for a dozen years, and the beginning of automatic cuts to domestic and defense programs that would total $1.2 trillion over 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office says the combination of higher taxes and deep spending cuts could create a 4 percent reduction in economic output, a number big enough to throw the country into another recession.

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