Arts/Life

Arts & Life
9:10 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Egyptian-American Poet: Bodies Are Like Poems

As part of Tell Me More's series for National Poetry Month, host Michel Martin shares a poetic tweet from freelance writer and poet Yahia Lababidi. Listeners are invited to tweet original poems of 140 characters or less to #TMMPoetry.

Animals
8:31 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Following The Lives Of Chimpanzees On Screen

Over the course of filming, Oscar (pictured above) learned how to use rudimentary tools and how to get along with the other members of his clan.
Disney

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

The new Disneynature film Chimpanzee started off the way most movies do. Co-producers and directors Mark Linfield and Alastair Fothergill, who had previously worked together on the documentary film Earth, approached Disney with a 70-page script about a group of chimpanzees living in Western Africa. There was just one problem: Chimps don't take direction — or read scripts.

So Fothergill and Linfield teased out a narrative from more than three years' worth of footage they took in Western Africa while observing a large clan of chimpanzees.

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Three Books...
4:10 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Jargon To Jabberwocky: 3 Books To Jazz Your Writing

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 6:49 am

I'm an English professor, and I spent the first 15 years of my career trying to write like one. You might be surprised by what that's like. We don't emulate the fiction writers we most admire. We too rarely practice what we preach to our composition students — namely that good writing is simple and direct. In fact, we're notorious for maze-y sentences and ugly jargon. The point seems less to attract readers with clear prose than to smack them over the head with a sign that says, "Aren't I smart?"

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Around the Nation
3:54 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Back To The Future: Seattle's Space Needle Turns 50

The Seattle Space Needle's 50th anniversary is Saturday. Though the top of the Needle has been off-white for years, it's being painted its original color, "galaxy gold," for the anniversary.
Dan Callister Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 4:45 pm

Seattle's Space Needle turns 50 on Saturday. Originally built as a tourist attraction for the city's 1962 World's Fair, the structure was meant to evoke the future. Now the future is here, and the Needle has become the city's favorite antique.

Peter Steinbrueck traces the tower's lineage to an abstract sculpture that sits in his office. Steinbrueck is an architect and former City Council member, and the sculpture used to belong to his father, Victor, also an architect.

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Movies
3:04 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

What Makes A Movie Quote Memorable?

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 3:54 pm

Researchers at Cornell University have analyzed thousands of movie quotes to figure out why some are more memorable than others. Melissa Block and Audie Cornish have more.

Remembrances
2:36 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Dick Clark, 'Bandstand' Host, Dead at 82

Pop culture icon Dick Clark died Wednesday at age 82. He started his career as a college disc jockey and went on to shape the way America viewed music, TV game shows and New Year's Eve. Here, he hosts American Bandstand in 1958.
ABC Photo Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 12:59 pm

Dick Clark, affectionately known as the "world's oldest teenager," has died. He was 82, and had suffered a heart attack while in a Santa Monica hospital for an outpatient procedure.

Richard Wagstaff Clark became a national icon with American Bandstand in the 1950s, hosting the show for more than 30 years. Clark also hosted the annual New Year's Eve special for ABC for decades. He weathered scandals, hosted game shows and renewed his Bandstand fame with a new generation by producing the nostalgic TV drama American Dreams.

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Theater
2:12 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

London Smash 'Two Guvnors' Comes To Broadway

Adapted from The Servant of Two Masters, the new comedy One Man, Two Guvnors follows the "always famished and easily confused" Francis Henshall (James Corden, left), who must combat his own befuddlement while keeping both of his employers — a local gangster and criminal-in-hiding Stanley Stubbers (Oliver Chris) — from meeting.
Tristram Kenton

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 3:54 pm

If you weren't a college theater major, you can be forgiven for not knowing much about commedia dell'arte, the 500-year-old theatrical tradition that Carlo Goldoni used for his comedy The Servant of Two Masters in 1743. Contemporary playwright Richard Bean has adapted that play into the decidedly British laugh riot One Man, Two Guvnors -- and he says all you really need to know about commedia is ... well, it's funny.

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New In Paperback
10:44 am
Wed April 18, 2012

New In Paperback April 16-22

iStockphoto

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Jo Nesbo, Albert Brooks, Jo Ann Beard, James Tate and Stephen Baker.

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

Movie Reviews
10:19 am
Wed April 18, 2012

In 'Monsieur Lazhar,' Grief Lingers In The Classroom

Fellag, an Algerian comedian, plays the title character in the Oscar-nominated Monsieur Lazhar, who steps in to teach a class of middle school students after tragedy has struck their classroom.
Music Box Films

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 10:36 am

Teacher movies tend to be more alike than unalike, but Monsieur Lazhar makes the familiar unusually strange. The note on which it opens is shocking, tragic: A Montreal middle school student, Simon, enters his classroom ahead of the other kids and finds his teacher hanging from a pipe, dead by her own hand.

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Movies
9:42 am
Wed April 18, 2012

'Think Like A Man' Gets At Games By Men, Women

The new romantic comedy Think Like a Man is based on Steve Harvey's advice book that claims to tell women how to out-maneuver men in romance. But even before hitting the box office, the film is causing a stir. Host Michel Martin discusses the movie and the controversy with critic and new Pulitzer Prize winner Wesley Morris.

Arts & Life
9:42 am
Wed April 18, 2012

California Poet Opens Up About Solitude, Aging

As part of Tell Me More's series for National Poetry Month, host Michel Martin shares a poetic tweet from land surveyor and poet Brandon Montero of Ripon, California. Listeners are invited to tweet original poems of 140 characters or less to #TMMPoetry.

Monkey See
9:22 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Nostalgia Is Anywhere But Here

Baseball-booted students jitterbugging at the Carrere night club in Paris. (Photo dated 1949)
Keystone Features Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 2:32 pm

It feels redundant, and maybe a bit solipsistic, to study the mechanics of nostalgia too closely. It means watching ourselves watch ourselves and asking why we're doing it.

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Book Reviews
8:57 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Paging Dr. Freud: A Viennese Espionage Thriller

iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 9:19 am

Waiting for Sunrise, William Boyd's 12th novel, opens on the streets of Vienna in August 1913, on the eve of World War I. Lysander Rief, a young actor, arrives in the birthplace of psychoanalysis to seek a cure for his sexual ailment, only to embark on an odyssey of sexual discovery. He begins treatment with one of Freud's disciples — and an affair with a fellow patient, the volatile Hettie Bell — all the while exploring the depths of his Oedipal relationship with his glamorous mother, Lady Anna Faulkner.

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Tina Brown's Must-Reads
1:02 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Tina Brown's Must-Reads: The Reporter's Role

Andrew Breitbart, the late editor and founder of BigGovernment.com, is shown in this file photo speaking at a rally at the conservative Americans for Prosperity "Defending the American Dream Summit" in Washington on Nov. 5.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:23 pm

Tina Brown, editor of The Daily Beast and Newsweek, tells us what she's been reading in a feature that Morning Edition likes to call "Word of Mouth." This month, Brown has been thinking about the contributions of journalists to global culture.

The Rise Of Hitler, As Seen By Americans Abroad

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Kitchen Window
2:45 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Rice: A Rainbow Of Possibilities

Courtesy of Sala Kannan

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:18 am

My first memory of rice is not of it being eaten but of it being thrown. It was during my cousin's wedding ceremony in Delhi. After the ceremony finished, she stood at the entrance of her father's home, dressed in vivid red and gold, ready to leave. Her dear friend stood beside her holding a large bag of white puffed rice. As my cousin walked away from the house, her bejeweled and hennaed hands reached into the bag of rice. With each step, she scooped handfuls of puffed rice and threw them over her head. The puffed rice rained down on the ground behind her creating a quiet, white trail.

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My Guilty Pleasure
1:08 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

The Wrong Crowd: A Tale Of Teens Behaving Badly

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 8:26 am

Meg Wolitzer is the author of a book for young readers, The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman.

In reality, I may be a middle-aged woman with two nearly grown sons, but in my heart I am a teenage girl who has found herself pregnant and doesn't know what to do. For if you came of age, as I did, reading Paul Zindel's My Darling, My Hamburger, then you probably still feel that you know what it's like to be a high school student whose life almost derails.

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Digital Life
12:29 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

What Makes Games Like 'Angry Birds' So Addictive?

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 12:31 pm

Angry Birds — a mobile phone game in which players use a slingshot to propel birds at tiny little green pigs — has been a runaway hit since its 2009 release, with more than 700 million downloads, a TV show and a feature film in the works. It isn't alone. NPR's Neal Conan talks with New York Times Magazine critic-at-large Sam Anderson about people's fascination with — and addiction to — what Anderson calls "stupid games."

Books
11:02 am
Tue April 17, 2012

On Writing A Bestseller (There's a Formula, Shhh...)

iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 1:24 pm

Like many people in the book world, I've found it impossible to ignore the phenomenon that is E.L. James' erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey and its two sequels, which morphed from Twilight fan fiction to word-of-mouth blockbuster. The books aren't to my taste, to put it tactfully, but I keep reading article after article attempting to explain their appeal.

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Art & Design
10:00 am
Tue April 17, 2012

The Challenges Of Reviving A Legendary Theatre

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 9:14 am

The Howard Theatre in Washington, DC was once teeming with top entertainers and fans, but after it closed, debris piled up, and animals took shelter in the seats. Michael Marshall and Paola Moya were later tasked with redesigning the interior. They adorned walls in walnut panels and flanked the stage with hi-definition screens. They talk with host Michel Martin.

Arts & Life
10:00 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Zombies Capture Author's Imagination

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 9:14 am

As part of Tell Me More's series for National Poetry Month, host Michel Martin shares another poetic tweet. Tuesday's tweet comes from author Stacey Graham of Bluemont, Va. Listeners are invited to tweet original poems of 140 characters or less to #TMMPoetry.

Theater
10:00 am
Tue April 17, 2012

The Historic Howard Theater: Past And Future

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 9:14 am

The Howard Theatre in Washington, DC was built in 1910, and just about every top black entertainer performed on its stage. But it had to shut its doors once the neighborhood fell on hard times. Now it has reopened, and host Michel Martin talks with Jimi Smooth, a musician who was an usher at the Howard in the early '60s.

Arts & Life
2:00 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Alec Baldwin Campaigns For More Arts Funding

Actor Alec Baldwin speaks at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., on Monday.
Paul Morigi Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 6:52 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The actor Alec Baldwin is in Washington, speaking in favor of the National Endowment for the Arts. The government-funded arts organization long ago supported the Sundance Film Festival and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. In more recent years, the NEA has supported writers, arts education for kids, and everything from jazz musicians to urban design. It has also faced political controversy; most notably in the 1990s, when its funding was slashed.

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Arts & Life
1:23 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Poetry Match Game

Walt Whitman in 1887.
Library of Congress

We asked some NPR personalities to tell us what poems they might recite to a friend during Poetry Month.

Around the Nation
1:01 am
Tue April 17, 2012

A Poem Store Open For Business, In The Open Air

Poet-for-hire Zach Houston works at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco. Houston says he is paid about $2 to $20 for each poem.
Ralph Wiedemeier NPR

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 7:43 am

Zach Houston runs his Poem Store (on any given sidewalk) with these items: a manual typewriter, a wooden folding chair, scraps of paper, and a white poster board that reads: "POEMS — Your Topic, Your Price."

Houston usually gets from $2 to $20 for a poem, he says. He's received a $100 bill more than once. The Oakland, Calif., resident has been composing spontaneous street poems in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2005. Five years ago, it became his main source of income.

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Monkey See
12:38 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

Let's Rush To Judgment: 'Looper'

Joseph Gordon-Levitt's in the midst of a hot streak. Actually, by anyone's count, he's been in one for a while, but now it looks like he's officially expanding the JGL oeuvre of quirky comedies and indie dramas to make room for JGL, Action Star.

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Arts & Life
10:00 am
Mon April 16, 2012

I Want To Be Surprised With Language, Curator Says

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Religion
9:26 am
Mon April 16, 2012

Interpreting Shariah Law Across The Centuries

promo image of Mecca
iStockphoto.com

Sadakat Kadri is an English barrister, a Muslim by birth and a historian. His first book, The Trial, was an extensive survey of the Western criminal judicial system, detailing more than 4,000 years of courtroom antics.

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Three Books...
5:00 am
Mon April 16, 2012

Snark And Sass: 3 Books On The True Nature Of Paris

cover detail
cover

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 3:23 pm

Bien sur, Paris is a city of sophistication, romance and beauty. But if you've ever lived there, you know it can also be impossibly frustrating, judgmental, monotonous and maddening. From nonsensical lines and impassive clerks at the prefecture to the eye rolling and insincere smiles of cafe waiters to indecipherable office politics, these three books delve into the less than sweet side of Paris living.

History
2:19 pm
Sun April 15, 2012

Lost And Found: Rare Paul Revere Print Rediscovered

A rare engraving by Paul Revere surfaced recently in a library at Brown University, where it had been nestled in the pages of a book for centuries.
Brown University

The 237th anniversary of Paul Revere's famous midnight ride during the Revolutionary War falls on Wednesday. But long before Henry Wadsworth Longfellow made him famous, Revere was known as an engraver and a silversmith in Boston.

Brown University announced this week that it had found a rare engraved print by Revere, one of only five in existence. The print was tucked inside an old medical book that had been donated by physician Solomon Drowne, a member of Brown University's class of 1773.

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News
12:56 pm
Sun April 15, 2012

A Father And Son Go On Their Last 'Odyssey' Together

Author Daniel Mendelsohn, left, and his father, Jay, on the Odysseus-inspired cruise.
Andrea Wyner Travel + Leisure - April 2012

A few years ago, author, critic, and translator Daniel Mendelsohn was teaching the epic Greek poem The Odyssey when his father decided to take his class.

Jay Mendelsohn, a retired research scientist, wanted to understand his son better, and understand his life's work. When Daniel decided he wanted to retrace one of the most epic journeys of Greek literature, Jay became his travel partner.

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