Arts/Life

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.

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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Critics' Lists: Summer 2012
6:15 am
Tue July 31, 2012

A World On The Page: Five Great Travel Memoirs

Harriet Russell

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 11:56 am

Sartre was wrong. Hell isn't other people. Hell is tourists — specifically, other tourists. When traveling, there's nothing more dispiriting — not exchange rates or dengue season — than coming across a compatriot. Is it because we travel not so much to see how other people live, but to imagine the other lives we might have led? (Me, I'm small and rather rumpled.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue July 31, 2012

'The Chocolate Thief': A Delectable Summer Bonbon

Laura Florand's new novel concerns a romance between a French chocolatier and an American candy-bar magnate.
Nikki deGroot iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 3:03 pm

Some despair at the idea the world will end in fire or ice. To my mind, given that the earth is our only source of chocolate, it hardly matters how the supply is cut off. I think woe and joy are best addressed with chocolate, whether it is shaped into a kiss or comes from an Ecuadorian plantation.

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Poetry Games
4:25 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

'Olimpicamente': In Praise Of Feistiness And Big Feet

Ron Tanovitz

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

A poet and editor of BOMB magazine living in Brooklyn, Monica de la Torre was born in Mexico City. Her poem "Olimpicamente" is told in the voice of the Mexican taekwondo champion Maria del Rosario Espinoza, who was born in the village of La Brecha, in the state of Sinaloa, where her father was a fisherman. Though of limited means, her parents supported her passion for taekwondo, and in 2008 Espinoza fought her way to a gold medal in the Beijing Olympics. "I am," says the poet, "dumbfounded and positively moved by Maria del Rosario's improbable story."

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Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!
3:04 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Sandwich Monday: The Crunchwrap Supreme

A UFO (unidentified fattening object).
NPR

The Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme is, in the words of Taco Bell, engineered "for maximum portability." In truth, their short-lived "Back Pocket Chalupa" was more portable, but also more tragic.

MacKenzie: It looks like a frisbee. Maybe that's what the portability is about.

Robert: They need to make one in boomerang form, for people who don't want to share.

Ian: It has a tostada inside, for structural integrity.

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Monkey See
11:38 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Press Tour 2012: The View So Far, Part II

Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere speak onstage at the "Nashville" panel.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

We're in the final stretch — kind of — at the Television Critics Association press tour. We've now heard from all the major broadcast networks, and we've got a day of set visits and three days of cable to close things out after today's CW and Showtime presentations.

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Movie Interviews
11:31 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Getting Old Is Hard, Even (And Especially) For Models

In About Face, former supermodels (including Carmen Dell'Orefice shown above) talk about what it's like to grow old in an industry that is obsessed with youth.
Mark Mahaney/Greenfield-Sanders Studio Courtesy HBO

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 3:02 pm

You'll probably recognize many of the women featured in the new HBO documentary About Face: The Supermodels Then and Now. They are some of the most famous and photographed models from the 1950s through the 1980s. Carol Alt and Beverly Johnson are two of the supermodels featured in the film. They are joined by director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders to talk with Fresh Air's Terry Gross about growing up — and growing older — in an industry obsessed with youth.

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Remembrances
11:31 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Fresh Air Remembers Actress Lupe Ontiveros

Actress Lupe Ontiveros was known for her roles in the film Selena and the television series Desperate Housewives.
Alberto E. Rodriguez Getty Images

Actress Lupe Ontiveros died Thursday of cancer at the age of 69. She was most famous for her role in the 1997 film Selena, but Ontiveros also acted with Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets, played a strict mother in the independent film Real Women Have Curves and had a recurring role in the television series Desperate Housewives.

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You Must Read This
5:03 am
Mon July 30, 2012

An Existential Guide For When You're Really 'Lost'

cover detail

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 11:16 am

Adam Frank is an astrophysicist at University of Rochester and host of the 13.7: Cosmos and Culture blog on NPR.org.

I don't read self-help books. On any given day my self seems to need so much help that 200 pages of cheerful advice and end-of-chapter exercises miss the core of my dilemma. The real question keeping me up at night is this: What the hell is a self anyway? How did I get one and why is it so damn desperate for help?

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Book Reviews
2:58 am
Mon July 30, 2012

A Portrait Of A Country Awash In 'Red Ink'

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 3:15 pm

As the federal debt balloons, reducing it would seem more and more pressing. Yet policymakers remain far apart. Debt, deficit and budget rhetoric is often accompanied by numbers cherry-picked to support a particular political view.

But a new book by Wall Street Journal economics writer David Wessel lays out the numbers that both political parties face.

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Crime In The City
2:58 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Writer Has A Down-Home Feel For Atlanta's Dark Side

Writer Karin Slaughter has seen the fallout of some of Atlanta's most gruesome crimes and most dramatic transitions.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 6:24 am

Best-selling crime novelist Karin Slaughter (yes, that's her real name) grew up just south of Atlanta in the 1970s and '80s, when the city saw some of its most gruesome crimes: A rash of child murders in which dozens of African-American children disappeared, their bodies turning up in nearby woods and rivers. The realization that horrid crimes can happen even to children changed Slaughter's life.

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Poetry Games
8:33 pm
Sun July 29, 2012

'Lifting,' And Lifted By, Words

Ron Tanovitz

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

Poet Ouyang Yu comes to NPR's Poetry Games representing two continents: Asia, where he was born (in China); and Australia, where he moved in 1991. He is a prolific writer of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, literary translation and criticism in English and Chinese.

Of his poem "Lifting," he writes: "Much as I admire weightlifting heroes or heroines, I can't help reminding myself that, however powerful a weightlifter is, he or she can't lift himself or herself up. The magic of the word is that, when well lifted, it has the power to transform."

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Movie Interviews
2:42 pm
Sun July 29, 2012

Matthew McConaughey's Year Of Acting Dangerously

Killer Joe (2012) is the latest film from William Friedkin, the director of The French Connection and The Exorcist. The movie, which stars Matthew McConaughey, earned an NC-17 rating for its violent content.
LD Entertainment

Originally published on Sun July 29, 2012 4:12 pm

This may be the year of actor Matthew McConaughey.

At the very least, fans will remember 2012 as the year that McConaughey revolutionized his career. He's starred in five different independent films, taking on smaller, character-actor parts in place of his usual roles as the sly-grinning heartthrob in romantic comedies.

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Author Interviews
5:38 am
Sun July 29, 2012

'Sorry Please Thank You': Technically, We're All Alone

Charles Yu is the author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe and Third Class Superhero.
Larry D. Moore Random House

Originally published on Sun July 29, 2012 9:58 am

Smartphones and tablets just need a flick of a finger to keep us updated about news and friends anytime, anywhere. As much as we're connected, though, we're also detached. That's a big theme in a new book of short stories by author Charles Yu.

Yu's stories are sad ones. They're techy, too. One story, "Standard Loneliness Package," is entirely about humans using technology as a way to buy detachment from the ordinary emotions of human experience — grief, heartbreak, awkwardness.

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Americandy: Sweet Land Of Liberty
3:59 am
Sun July 29, 2012

In New Mexico, A Brittle Treat That Smolders

Nut brittles from the Las Cruces Candy Company are studded with pecans, pistachios and almonds, and infused with New Mexico's signature chili peppers — both green and red.
Melisa Goh NPR

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 9:20 am

New Mexicans can get a little carried away with their chile peppers. There's chile beer, chile pizza, chile ice cream — you can find the smoldering flavors of chile peppers in just about anything.

And then there's chile brittle. Luis Flores, owner of chili brittle purveyor Las Cruces Candy Company, beats the summer heat by getting up at 3 a.m. to prepare his specialties.

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Sunday Puzzle
10:03 pm
Sat July 28, 2012

Name That (Former) Olympic Sport

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 12:21 am

On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of a former Olympic sport. Given an anagram, you name the sport. For example, "flog" becomes "golf."

Last week's challenge: Name a sport in two words — nine letters in the first word, six letters in the last — in which all six vowels (A, E, I, O, U and Y) are used once each. What is it?

Answer: Greyhound racing

Winner: Jim Citron of Hanover, N.H.

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Author Interviews
2:53 pm
Sat July 28, 2012

For U.K. Author, Games A 'Smoke And Circuses' Affair

In his new book, Iain Sinclair bemoans what the construction of Olympic Park and the Olympic Stadium has done to his East London neighborhood.
Streeter Lecka Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 7:55 am

Thousands of elite athletes have descended on London for the 2012 Olympic Games, and spectators the world over are tuning in to enjoy the action.

But five years' worth of development has left some locals feeling invaded, and some austerity-weary Britons resenting the bill. Between construction and security, the British government's budget has soared past $14 billion, about $10 billion over original projections.

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The Torch
9:36 am
Sat July 28, 2012

Athletes' First Olympic Competition: How Did They Look?

Members of the Finnish delegation walk in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.
Olivier Morin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 3:00 pm

We already know Spain doesn't expect to win gold for its Olympic athletic uniforms this year. But who "won" the fashion event at the opening ceremony for the London Games? In the parade of athletes during last night's ceremony, several outfits screamed for attention.

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Food
4:22 am
Sat July 28, 2012

You Won't Throw Tomatoes At These Recipes

Chef Cassy Vires uses heirloom tomatoes like these in her tomato terrine.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 10:50 am

Late July is peak tomato season in much of the country, so for some fresh and inventive twists on the fruit — and yes, it is botanically a fruit, no matter what the Supreme Court says — we're heading to Home Wine Kitchen in Maplewood, Mo.

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Author Interviews
4:21 am
Sat July 28, 2012

Before The D-Day Invasion, Double Talk And Deceit

Allied troops invade Juno Beach on D-Day. Ben MacIntyre's latest book, Double Cross, recounts the grand deception beforehand that helped make the invasion a success.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 5:52 am

Early in 1944, Southern England bristled with 150,000 American, British and Canadian soldiers gathered for an invasion the Allies hoped would end World War II.

The soldiers, pilots, sailors and Marines knew they were there to be launched into Nazi-occupied Europe. But surely the Germans knew also. It's hard to hide the largest invasion force in history. LIFE Magazine even ran photos of GIs in Piccadilly.

The question was: Where would they attack?

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
4:37 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

Economist Paul Krugman Plays Not My Job

Phil Walter Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 10:56 am

Paul Krugman — a professor at Princeton, an op-ed columnist for The New York Times and author of many books — has been called "the Mick Jagger of political/economic punditry."

Krugman is known for his direct style, so we don't think he'd do terribly well in the delicate art of diplomatic gift giving. We've invited him to play a game called "Well, it's a nice gift but we're going to invade your country and take your stuff." Three questions about diplomatic gifts.

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Monkey See
11:31 am
Fri July 27, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Of 'Dark Knight,' Summer Games And Such

NPR

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 12:47 pm

  • Listen To Pop Culture Happy Hour

With our fearless leader Linda Holmes away at the TCA summer press tour, the crew is forced to stumble haplessly into the studio, where I somehow flopped into the host's chair again, heaven help us.

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Movie Reviews
10:22 am
Fri July 27, 2012

Two Films Shoot Past Realism To Weirder Territory

A Dallas hard-luck case (Emile Hirsch, left) hires a corrupt cop (Matthew McConaughey) to kill his estranged mother when he hears about her rich insurance policy. Needless to say, the plot of Killer Joe doesn't quite work out as planned.
Skip Bolen LD Entertainment

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 1:12 pm

Amid the slapstick comedies, sequels and superhero movies that have come to define summer moviegoing, two films opening today center on disturbed and disturbing romantic ties. Ruby Sparks and Killer Joe aren't fantasy or horror pictures, but they're within screaming distance — close enough to remind you how much deeper artists go when they barrel past realism into weirder areas of the psyche.

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