Arts/Life

Author Interviews
3:01 pm
Sun June 3, 2012

'Shadow': New Light On Islamic History

Historian Tom Holland has adapted Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides and Virgil for BBC Radio. His other history books include Rubicon, Persian Fire and The Forge of Christendom.
Sadie Holland

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 3:11 pm

Lightning from a clear sky — that's how historians have described the rise of Islam. Stories say the Prophet Muhammad received his revelations from the Angel Gabriel deep in the Arabian desert, hundreds of miles away from any outside influences. The Prophet was even said to be illiterate and therefore free of the taint of other religious writings.

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Monkey See
6:54 am
Sun June 3, 2012

What The MTV Movie Awards Get Right That The Oscars Don't

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart accept the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss (really!) at the 2010 ceremony.
Christopher Polk Getty Images

I admit it's a bold statement, suggesting that the most glamorous and prestigious awards ceremony Americans watch all year could learn something from an event that once had a category called "Biggest Badass Star." Certainly, I wouldn't want to see the Oscars replaced with the MTV Movie Awards, given that the first Twilight movie won five of them.

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Author Interviews
6:03 am
Sun June 3, 2012

'Dinner': A Ritual Of Love

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 10:05 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Even if you're just finishing your morning cup of coffee, there's a question that you're likely to be asked by your wife or your kids or whoever turns up around 6:00 in the evening. It's harder to answer for some than others. What's for dinner? Jenny Rosenstrach says getting dinner on the table has become a source of major stress.

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Around the Nation
6:03 am
Sun June 3, 2012

After Deadly Plane Crash, Atlanta Rallied For The Arts

The crash of a chartered Air France flight near Paris on June 3, 1962, took the lives of 122 members of Atlanta's art community.
AP

Originally published on Mon June 4, 2012 6:09 am

Sunday marks 50 years since what was then the world's deadliest airplane accident: a crash that claimed 130 lives outside Paris. The most devastated community was not in France, but in the United States.

It was the worst thing that ever happened to Milton Bevington. He witnessed the crash of the Boeing 707 at Orly Airport, with his wife and mother-in-law onboard.

"The plane went up about 6 feet and came back down and bounced around, zigzagged and finally broke in half," he said.

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Author Interviews
4:21 am
Sun June 3, 2012

One Man's Case For Regulating Hate Speech

Frank Collin, head of the National Socialist Party of America, tells the press about his organization's plans to march in the predominantly Jewish town of Skokie, Ill., on June 22, 1978. The Supreme Court affirmed the neo-Nazi organization's right to march, but Jeremy Waldron says that's just the kind of speech the government should be restricting.
AP

Originally published on Sun June 3, 2012 8:37 am

Warning: This story contains language that some might find offensive.

In the late '70s, Skokie, Ill., became the epicenter of the debate over free speech in the U.S. The town was home to many Holocaust survivors, along with their families, and that made it a target for the National Socialist Party of America — a neo-Nazi group from nearby Chicago.

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Space
4:20 am
Sun June 3, 2012

Look Up, Stargazers: June 5 Is The Transit Of Venus

To learn more about the Transit of Venus and to get tips for observing this rare astronomical event, visit the NASA website.
Joerg Koch AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun June 3, 2012 8:37 am

It's been a good season for stargazers, a veritable meteor shower of astronomical goodies, from a supermoon to a solar eclipse. Next up? On Tuesday, June 5, astronomy enthusiasts can witness the Transit of Venus — one of the rarest astronomical events.

During the six-hour transit, Venus moves in between the Earth and the sun. It's a daytime phenomenon: "Instead of seeing Venus as the brightest object in the night sky, you see Venus as a tiny black dot crossing the burning disc of the sun," explains Andrea Wulf, author of Chasing Venus.

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Art & Design
4:17 am
Sun June 3, 2012

Blacksmiths Forge A New Kind Of Artisanal Future

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun June 3, 2012 5:37 pm

Adam's Forge is a dark, high-ceilinged warehouse space in Los Angeles. It's set up with anvils, medieval-looking tools and black ovens that breathe fire.

Recently, about a dozen people gathered for an advanced class taught by master blacksmith Mark Aspery.

Blacksmithing is an ancient trade that, like other crafts, saw a downturn during the Industrial Revolution, when machines took over jobs that humans once did. Now, blacksmithing is having a small revival as smiths build new ways of connecting with customers.

'This Is My Craft'

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Sunday Puzzle
10:03 pm
Sat June 2, 2012

That's Jakarta, With A Capital 'J'

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun June 3, 2012 8:37 am

On-Air Challenge: Every answer is the name of a world capital. You'll be given clues to its phonetic parts, and you name the capital. For example, given the clues "person from Bangkok" and "salary," the answer would be Taipei ("Thai" plus "pay").

Last Week's Challenge From Listener Jack Lechner: Name two different kinds of wool. Take the first five letters of one, followed by the last three letters of the other, and the result will spell the first and last name of a famous actor. Who is it?

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Author Interviews
3:13 pm
Sat June 2, 2012

'Life Behind The Lobby' Of Indian-American Motels

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 4:20 pm

Here are three remarkable facts about motels in the U.S. that you probably don't already know:

- At least 1 out of 2 motels are owned by Indian-Americans.

- Out of those Indian-owned motels, 70 percent are owned by Gujaratis, people with roots in the western Indian state of Gujarat.

- Of those Gujaratis, three-fourths share the last name Patel. There's even a name for these overnight establishments: "Patel Motels."

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The Salt
3:05 pm
Sat June 2, 2012

Tired Of Mowing Your Lawn? Try Foodscaping It Instead

The lawn of Nashville yoga instructor James Alvarez is being taken over by buckwheat.
Blake Farmer Nashville Public Radio

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 8:14 pm

When the economy began its steep decline in 2008, almost everything related to housing hit the skids, including the lawn and garden industry. But one sector escaped the pinch: food gardening.

In fact, food gardening sales nationwide have spiked 20 percent since then, and they've stayed there. While many households started growing food to be more budget-conscious, some are deciding vegetables and fruits can be beautiful, too.

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Monkey See
4:43 am
Sat June 2, 2012

For Impressionist Jim Meskimen, The Voice Is 'A Sample Of Who We Are'

Jim Meskimen arrives at the premiere of Frost/Nixon in November 2008.
Vince Bucci Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 9:50 pm

Jim Meskimen is the only person I've ever heard open an interview with NPR's Scott Simon in the voice of NPR's Robert Siegel.

In fairness, he's the one most likely to do so, since he is a noted impressionist. He acknowledges "you don't see people doing their Robert Siegel in nightclubs much," though he's noted what he calls Siegel's "bemused kind of delivery."

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Food
4:20 am
Sat June 2, 2012

America's Gone Bananas: Here's How It Happened

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 9:01 am

Today, Americans take bananas for granted. They're cheap, they're ripe, they're everywhere. But take a moment and consider: How did a pale, fragile tropical fruit become so commonplace in America? Immigrants arriving at the South Ferry terminal, where the Ellis Island ferry landed, were once handed bananas and told, "Welcome to America."

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Books
4:09 am
Sat June 2, 2012

London's Mayor On 'The City That Made The World'

London Mayor Boris Johnson stands atop the ArcelorMittal Orbit, an observation tower in London's Olympic Park, at its unveiling on May 11. Johnson is the author of Johnson's Life of London: The People Who Made the City That Made the World.
Christopher Lee Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 9:01 am

In just a few weeks, the world will descend on London for the Olympic Games.

But the world goes to London every day, according to Boris Johnson, the former journalist who has just been re-elected mayor of London. In his new book, Johnson says people don't just visit the city, they've made their lives there for centuries now. It's a city, Johnson writes, where national soccer teams from all over the world can show up and count on crowds of thousands of fans to support them.

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Monkey See
1:03 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

Diablo III: A Sequel Worth Waiting For

Blizzard

With the exception of a few companies, the videogame industry is currently suffering from a remarkable decline in revenue, and one reason for those lackluster sales is the plethora of sequels on the market. Each year sees a new version of an old game, and that can become both tiresome and annoying when the price for just one game is $60.

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Monkey See
10:55 am
Fri June 1, 2012

Take Our Quiz On Truly Crazy Upcoming Summer Television

iStockphoto.com

On this week's episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour, our pop-culture roundtable podcast, I administered to my co-podcasters a quiz about summer television that explores not only how weird summer television is, but — arguably — how weird my brain is, since it required me to make up a lot of imaginary summer television that was designed to seem like it might be real.

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Monkey See
10:53 am
Fri June 1, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Character Makeovers And Our Summer TV Quiz

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

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Author Interviews
9:13 am
Fri June 1, 2012

A Memoir About Mothers, Memory And Loss

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 9:40 am

This interview was originally broadcast on January 11, 2011.

Writer Mira Bartok was 40 years old when a semi-trailer hurled into her car on the New York Thruway. The force of the accident whipped the inside of her brain against her skull, causing what's known as coup contrecoup, a type of traumatic brain injury that for Bartok, affected both her long- and short-term memory.

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Movie Reviews
8:41 am
Fri June 1, 2012

A 'Snow White' As Bleak As It Is Grimm

Charlize Theron plays Queen Ravenna, who literally sucks the life out of female prisoners to keep herself looking young and vibrant.
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 4:09 pm

The ads for Snow White and the Huntsman show a glum Kristen Stewart dressed for battle, obviously playing the huntsman. Hold the phone, she's Snow White. Another storybook heroine turned warrior! Just like the princess in this year's first Snow White picture, Mirror Mirror, who not only goes mano a mano with her patronizing, patriarchal prince, but tells him she's sick of stories in which damsels take their distress lying down.

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TED Radio Hour
7:58 am
Fri June 1, 2012

What Do China And The Banjo Have In Common?

"Is it an original idea? Or is it something where you're literally a creative collagist? You're taking pieces of the world that you see around you and that are inside of you and put them together in a way that you see fit." — Abigail Washburn
Shervil Lainez Courtesy of Abigail Washburn

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 1:37 pm

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Creative Process.

About Abigail Washburn's TEDTalk

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TED Radio Hour
7:58 am
Fri June 1, 2012

Do All Of Us Possess Genius?

"There's a courageous leap that has to happen for anybody who's working in the creative field."TED Media Executive Producer June Cohen, on working with Elizabeth Gilbert in crafting her TEDTalk.
Asa Mathat TED

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 3:01 pm

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Creative Process.

About Elizabeth Gilbert's TEDTalk

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TED Radio Hour
7:58 am
Fri June 1, 2012

When Does Creativity Start And End?

Poet Billy Collins
James Duncan Davidson TED

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 3:00 pm

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Creative Process.

About Billy Collins TEDTalk

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Monkey See
7:22 am
Fri June 1, 2012

Let's Rush To Judgment: 'Les Miserables'

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 10:44 am

Well, this is certainly not a timid way to put out your first trailer.

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My Guilty Pleasure
5:03 am
Fri June 1, 2012

A Passage To India: From The Annals Of The Raj

cover detail

Krishnadev Calamur is an editor at NPR.org. His debut novel, Murder in Mumbai, is being published in July.

J.R. Ackerley's Hindoo Holiday is like a perfect summer dessert: light, airy and with that hint of tartness which makes it truly satisfying. I feel guilty every time I read it; not because of the quality of writing, which is superb, but from the endless mirth the characters provide — in their appearances, beliefs and even in the way they speak.

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Movie Interviews
10:03 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Andrew Garfield, Disappearing Into Spidey's Suit

Andrew Garfield plays Peter Parker and his superheroic alter ego in The Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel Comics' reboot of the popular superhero film franchise, in theaters July 3.
Sony Pictures

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 7:04 am

Andrew Garfield is an actor on the verge of superstardom — and he's only 28 years old.

Although Garfield may be best known to American audiences for playing Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin in The Social Network, Garfield started acting in England, where he grew up. There, Garfield made notable turns in the critically acclaimed Red Riding Trilogy as well as in Never Let Me Go, based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro.

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NPR's Backseat Book Club
3:32 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

June Kids' Book Club Pick: 'Diary Of A Wimpy Kid'

Jeff Kinney Abrams

The next installment in NPR's Backseat Book Club heads back to where this all started: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney. It was our 2009 interview with Kinney that sparked the idea for a special book club dedicated to kids. On the day before Kinney arrived at our studios, we asked our youngest listeners to send us the questions they would put to the author of the blockbuster series. We were floored by the response. An avalanche of emails hit our inbox from kids all over the country.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

'Huntsman': Into The Woods, With Nary A Hi-Ho

Dressed To Kill: Charlize Theron is a pointedly wicked Queen Ravenna in Snow White and the Huntsman.
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 10:03 am

What Charlize Theron does for Snow White and The Huntsman in her role as the Wicked Queen is a bit like what Godzilla does for a Godzilla movie: She gives you something big and distracting to look at while a lot of thinly defined victims run around frantically trying to avoid a grisly death at her hand.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

'Pink Ribbons,' Tied Up With More Than Hope

Participants at the 2010 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, San Francisco, as seen in Pink Ribbons, Inc.
Ravida Din First Run Features

Provocative yet far from definitive, Pink Ribbons, Inc. is a critique of "breast-cancer culture." It could even be called a blitz on pink-ribbon charities and their corporate partners — though to use that term would be to emulate the war and sports metaphors the documentary rejects.

As one woman observes, describing the treatment of cancer as a "fight" or a "battle" suggests that the disease is always beatable if patients make a heroic effort. The implication is that people who die "weren't trying very hard."

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

A 'Cat' Burglar, Stealing His Way Through Paris

Out Of The Bag: Dino the titular feline eyes the dark streets of Paris from a perch atop Notre Dame Cathedral.
GKids

The Academy Award for Best Animated Feature was introduced in 2001, and throughout its brief history, it's mostly been a mechanism through which to honor whatever Pixar does every year.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

'Found Memories' Revealed With Grace And Patience

Madalena (Sonia Guedes), a baker in the fictional community of Jotuomba in Brazil's Vale do Paraiba, makes the journey each day from her impoverished rural town to the local coffee shop to sell her bread.
FilmMovement

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 3:46 pm

The minimalist Brazilian drama Found Memories has a running gag, a small chuckle that gradually morphs into something profound: Madalena (Sonia Guedes), an elderly baker in a remote hillside town, walks her fresh goods to the local coffee shop every morning, where she removes the rolls from her basket and stacks them in a cabinet to be sold. The shop owner, Antonio (Luiz Serra), barks at her to stack the bread his way. But every morning, Madalena ignores him.

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