Arts/Life

Crime In The City
3:14 am
Mon July 23, 2012

Jo Nesbo's Fiction Explores Oslo's Jagged Edges

Crime novelist Jo Nesbo says despite Oslo's well-kept streets and sharply dressed residents, the city has a dark and seedy side.
Odd Andersen AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 12:52 pm

The sun descends reluctantly over Norway's waterside capital, but novelist Jo Nesbo is determined to show Oslo's dark side, to convince me the real city, in parts, is as dirty, twisted and seedy as his own fictional version.

It's a tough sell in this city of bike helmets, clean streets and smiling blond people.

The author has written nine successful novels about the reckless Oslo police detective Harry Hole, a nonconformist with a mercurial mind.

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Author Interviews
1:29 pm
Sun July 22, 2012

'Savages' Return In 'The Kings Of Cool'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 8:05 am

Oliver Stone's latest film, Savages, opened in theaters earlier this month. The movie centers on two young marijuana growers, Ben and Chon, who live and deal in California, alongside their girlfriend O — short for Ophelia. They find themselves thrust into a world of violence and murder when a Mexican drug cartel comes after their business. The film is based on the book by crime writer Don Winslow, who also co-wrote the screenplay.

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Monkey See
9:03 am
Sun July 22, 2012

Not Funny Enough? 'New Yorker' Gives 'Seinfeld' Cartoon A Second Chance

"I wish I was taller," was Elaine's caption in the 1998 episode of Seinfeld. Can it get funnier than that? You can try over on The New Yorker's Caption Contest page.
Courtesy The New Yorker

Originally published on Sun July 22, 2012 12:43 pm

In its final season, the TV sitcom Seinfeld did a send-up of the cartoons in The New Yorker. The magazine's comics are distinctive – short, quippy, topical, understated. Simply put, they're smart.

Maybe too smart, sometimes, and that's what the character Elaine found when she got her own cartoon published in the magazine.

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Monkey See
8:19 am
Sun July 22, 2012

'Free Bates': The Third Season Of 'Downton Abbey' And More From PBS

Hugh Bonneville, who plays the Earl of Grantham on Downton Abbey, shows his feelings during the press tour presentation Saturday night.
Rahoul Ghose PBS

Yesterday was the first day of the Television Critics Association press tour, when TV reporters and critics descend upon Beverly Hills to hear about what's to come in the next six or eight months. We'll hear from all the big broadcast networks and most of the big (and not-so-big) cable outlets, but we're starting this year with PBS.

Candidly, not all the critics are showing up for PBS — not all of them write about it very much. It's a shame, though, because yesterday may have been, on the whole, the liveliest day I've ever had at press tour.

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The Two-Way
4:56 am
Sun July 22, 2012

'Who's On First?' The Sign Language Version

A screen grab from the MLB video, "Costas and Seinfeld on Network."
MLB

Originally published on Sun July 22, 2012 12:43 pm

Abbott and Costello's famous "Who's on First?" routine still stands as one of the greatest comedy sketches of all time. It was a feat of rapid-fire dialogue, flawless comedic timing and devastating wit.

But could you do it without saying a word?

The answer appears to be yes. After Jerry Seinfeld broke down the classic skit on the MLB Network recently, NPR's Mike Pesca wound up with a peculiar email in his inbox.

It was a link to an American Sign Language (ASL) version of the skit, sent by a friend. It was amazing, Pesca says.

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Author Interviews
4:19 am
Sun July 22, 2012

New Edition Includes 39 Different Farewells To 'Arms'

Sean Hemingway, grandson of the famous novelist, authored an introduction to the new edition of Ernest Hemingway's classic A Farewell to Arms.
Bruce Schwarz Simon and Schuster

Originally published on Sun July 22, 2012 12:43 pm

Ernest Hemingway began his second novel, A Farewell to Arms, in 1928. He says, in an introduction to a later edition, that while he was writing the first draft his second son was born, and while he was rewriting the book, his father committed suicide. He goes on to say, with his famous economy, "I was not quite thirty years old when I finished the book and the day it was published was the day the stock market crashed."

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Author Interviews
4:17 am
Sun July 22, 2012

An 'Unlikely Pilgrimage' Toward Happiness

Before her debut novel, Rachel Joyce acted in London's Royal Shakespeare Company, and wrote more than 20 plays for BBC Radio 4.
Fatimah Namdar

Originally published on Sun July 22, 2012 12:43 pm

Rachel Joyce's novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is about a man who very suddenly, with no warning or planning, sets off on a pilgrimage from the very southernmost part of England to the very northernmost part. It's a old-fashioned pilgrimage: He walks all the way, talking to the people he meets, on his way to the bedside of his old friend Queenie, who is dying.

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Sunday Puzzle
10:03 pm
Sat July 21, 2012

This Puzzle Is One For The PROs

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

On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts with "P" and the second word starts with "RO." For example: For the clue, "A moving part of an automobile engine," the answer would be a "piston rod."

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Author Interviews
2:57 pm
Sat July 21, 2012

From Juvie To J.D.: The Story Of A 'Runaway Girl'

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 3:24 pm

When Carissa Phelps was 12, she dropped out of seventh grade in the small town of Coalinga, Calif. Her homelife was dysfunctional and soon, she ran away.

Her life on the streets took its toll, and before long the unthinkable happened: she was kidnapped by a pimp and forced into prostitution.

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History
2:24 pm
Sat July 21, 2012

Immigration, The Gold Mountain And A Wedding Photo

Wedding photograph of Wong Lan Fong and Yee Shew Ning, 1926.
U.S. National Archives and Records

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 5:50 pm

Deep inside the National Archives in Washington, D.C., old case files tell the stories of hundreds of thousands of hopeful immigrants to the U.S. between 1880 and the end of World War II.

These stories are in the form of original documents and photographs that were often attached to immigrant case files. Many of them are part of a new exhibit at the Archives, called "Attachments."

For University of Minnesota history professor Erika Lee, one of these attachments turned out to be very special.

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Author Interviews
5:35 am
Sat July 21, 2012

'Our Kind': Unpacking Misconceptions About AIDS

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A new book about global attitudes to the AIDS epidemic in Africa, lays some of the blame at the door of Joseph Conrad. Conrad's novel "Heart of Darkness," says the author - who's Uzodinma Iweala - connected inferiority and disease with Africa and Africans, in way which is still evident today. Uzodinma Iweala was himself was born in Washington D.C., the city with the worst incidence of AIDS in the United States. His first book, a novel called "Beasts of No Nation," told the harrowing story of child soldiers in Africa.

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Around the Nation
5:35 am
Sat July 21, 2012

In Movie Theaters, How Much Security Is Enough?

The tragedy at the showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colo., has theaters around the country beefing up security this weekend. Movie theaters make their own decisions about what level of security they need. As NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports, security experts say it's usually not enough.

Books
4:06 am
Sat July 21, 2012

Get Revved Up: London Cabbie Picks Olympic Reads

Black taxis drive through London. Weekend Edition knows one London cabbie who treats reading like an Olympic sport.
Pierre-Philippe Marcou AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 5:35 am

At the end of July, thousands of visitors will descend on one of the great literary landscapes of history for the London Olympics. And if they're lucky, they may find themselves getting a ride from a man who drives for a living, but lives to read. London cabbie Will Grozier occasionally joins Weekend Edition to discuss what he's been reading. Lately, he's been thinking about books for the London Olympics visitor — reads that put both the games and the host city in context. He shares his recommendations with NPR's Scott Simon.

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Americandy: Sweet Land Of Liberty
4:06 am
Sat July 21, 2012

The Modjeska: A Star On Stage, Sweetly Remembered

The modjeska owes its name to a Victorian-era candy maker's infatuation with a Polish actress.
Melisa Goh NPR

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 8:20 am

In the back room of Muth's Candies in Louisville, Ky., Jonathon Skaggs and Bobby Masterson are busy dipping marshmallows into a copper pot.

The pot is filled with a top-secret hot caramel mixture. Skaggs and Masterson tap the excess golden caramel off each candy before placing it on a board to cool.

Masterson says it's a rhythm repeated hundreds of times each day.

"They're good ... they're a big-time seller in here in Kentucky, especially right here in Louisville," Masterson says. "There's a lot of people that come and get 'em."

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Movie Interviews
3:54 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

In New Documentary, Our Economic Fall Writ Large

Jackie Siegel poses in The Queen of Versailles. She and her husband, David, were building the largest house in the U.S. before the recession soured their plans.
Lauren Greenfield Magnolia Pictures

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 6:39 pm

The Queen of Versailles is a movie about a couple who set out to build a colossal 90,000-square-foot home — the biggest in America — inspired by the palace of Louis XIV, the Sun King.

In another time, this might have been the premise for a fictional film — a fable about hubris and material excess. But in our time, The Queen of Versailles is actually a documentary about the real life of David and Jackie Siegel of Orlando, Fla.

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Monkey See
3:35 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Catharsis In A Cape: On Comic-Book Heroes And Real-World Violence

Emotional Armor: Superheroes like Batman (Christian Bale) function as talismans when our fears are darkest — symbols of good, and of justice, when we wonder whether either exists.
Ron Phillips Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 5:02 pm

What is Batman for?

The whole idea's ridiculous, always has been. Guy dresses up like a bat to scare criminals. Shyeah. Not something that can truly chill the blood — a snake, say, or a spider — but a bat, the sight of which causes most of us to sigh and reach for a tennis racket to shoo the little guy out the nearest window.

It's an idea a kid would come up with, which is one reason it's come in for such merciless lampooning over the years: Pow. Zap. "Holy priceless collection of Etruscan snoods, Batman," et cetera.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
2:53 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

'Tollbooth' Author Norton Juster Plays Not My Job

Courtesy of Norton Juster

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 10:45 am

Fifty years ago, a young architect named Norton Juster decided to procrastinate by writing a children's book; his roommate, a young cartoonist named Jules Feiffer, did all the illustrations. The result was The Phantom Tollbooth, which has since become a beloved children's classic.

Since Juster knows enough about The Phantom Tollbooth already, we've invited him to answer three questions about The Phantom Menace.

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Television
2:43 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

MSNBC Gets Academic: Meet Host Prof. Harris-Perry

Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC's newest host, is a Tulane professor with a Ph.D. in political science from Duke. She hosts the two-hour Melissa Harris-Perry show, which airs on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Eliot Kamenitz The Times-Picayune /Landov

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 4:56 pm

Cable news channels tend to treat intellectuals gingerly — as fragile curiosities or as targets for ridicule — when they appear at all.

Not MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry. This newly anointed cable host commutes 1,300 miles each week for her eponymous program of opinionated conversation, interviews and essays that runs live for two hours each Saturday and Sunday morning.

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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

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

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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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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