Arts/Life

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.

Read more
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.

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
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

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

I Want To Be Surprised With Language, Curator Says

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
Theater
6:00 am
Sun April 15, 2012

Actress In Record Books After Thousands Of Shows

Originally published on Sun April 15, 2012 11:43 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now, it's time to meet the woman People magazine has hailed as the Cal Ripken of Broadway. Her name is Catherine Russell, and since 1987, Ms. Russell has performed the role of psychiatrist and possible killer, Margaret Brent, in the Off-Broadway thriller called "Perfect Crime." That is more than 10,000 performances. And later this week, Catherine Russell - and the play - will mark a 25th anniversary. Catherine Russell joins us now from our New York bureau. Welcome to the program, Catherine.

CATHERINE RUSSELL: Thank you very much.

Read more
The Picture Show
5:01 am
Sun April 15, 2012

Late Photographer Saw The Inner Lives Of Soldiers

Specialist Tad Donoho screams with pain after being administered a "pink belly" for his birthday: Each member of the platoon struck his stomach until it bruised. July 2008.
Tim Hetherington

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:59 am

A year ago this week, photojournalist Tim Hetherington posted this message on Twitter:

Those words ended up being some of Hetherington's last; he was killed in Misrata, along with fellow photographer Chris Hondros.

Read more
Movies
4:05 am
Sun April 15, 2012

'Lazhar': In A Crisis, An Outsider Finds His Place

Algerian actor Fellag stars as Monsieur Lazhar, a man pursuing political asylum in Canada. After a school-related tragedy, Lazhar tackles the challenge of comforting mourning students with his graceful humor.
Music Box Films

Monsieur Lazhar is a French Canadian film, a bittersweet comedy about an Algerian immigrant who gently moves into the role of teacher and comforter for a grief-stricken class of middle-school children in Montreal.

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film of 2011. (It lost to Iran's A Separation.) But last month it swept the Genies, Canada's national film prizes, winning best picture, director, actor and three other awards.

Read more
Sunday Puzzle
10:01 pm
Sat April 14, 2012

A Challenge That Is Initially Famous

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sat April 28, 2012 2:23 pm

On-Air Challenge: You'll be given a two- or three-word description of a famous person. The initial letters of the description are also the initials of the person.

Read more
NPR Story
1:00 pm
Sat April 14, 2012

Three-Minute Fiction: Judge's Current Favorites

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF CLOCK TICKING)

GUY RAZ, HOST:

Read more
NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat April 14, 2012

'The Lifeboat': Who Gets Saved In Titanic Times?

Originally published on Sat April 14, 2012 9:25 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Now, a piece of fiction inspired by the Titanic's fateful voyage. In the weeks leading up to the anniversary of the famous shipwreck, a cluster of books have been released looking back on the voyage. But the book that caught the eye of NPR's Lynn Neary is invented. It's the story of a fictional shipwreck that occurred two years after the Titanic. It's called "Lifeboat." Here's her report.

Read more
Books
4:02 am
Sat April 14, 2012

'Prague Fatale': 'Downton Abbey With SS'

Penguin USA

Philip Kerr is a British novelist, born a decade after the end of World War II, who has written a series of compelling thrillers about crime in wartime Nazi Germany. His hero — mostly a hero — is a tough and cynical Berliner, a cop named Bernie Gunther. The newest book is the eighth in the series; it's called Prague Fatale.

Read more
Titanic: Voyage To The Past
4:01 am
Sat April 14, 2012

History Lost And Found: A Letter From Titanic

Surviving officers of the Titanic recalled ship's doctor John Edward Simpson as perfectly calm in the face of death, even giving his pocket flashlight to one of the lifeboat captains.
Courtesy of Kate Dornan

Originally published on Sat April 14, 2012 12:36 pm

Many famous names went down with the Titanic, like the American millionaire John Jacob Astor IV, the wealthiest person on the ship, and Macy's department store owner Isidor Straus.

But you may not know about one of the ship's doctors — John Edward Simpson. Aboard the Titanic, Simpson wrote a letter to his mother back home in Belfast. It was mailed from the great ship's last port of call before it made its disastrous turn across the North Atlantic.

Read more
Author Interviews
4:01 am
Sat April 14, 2012

'Heretics': The Crisis Of American Christianity

iStock Photo

The United States ranks as the most religious country in the developed world. And New York Times columnist Ross Douthat says that despite our politics, debates and doubts, this country is as God-besotted today as ever.

But in his new book, Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, Douthat argues that religion has fallen into heresy (hence the feisty subtitle). Douthat recently spoke with NPR's Linda Wertheimer about why he thinks American Christianity has become distorted.


Interview Highlights

Read more
The Salt
4:00 am
Sat April 14, 2012

Revealing The Revolting Beauty Of Food Waste

Watermelon | Place of production: Pilar de la Horadada, Alicante, Spain | Transporting distance: 2.442 km | Carbon footprint (total) per kg: 0,54 kg | Water requirement (total) per kg: 1490 L
Klaus Pichler

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:52 am

Isn't rotting food beautiful?

Nobody likes to see good food go bad. But Klaus Pichler's photography series One Third, which portrays food in advanced stages of decay, is a feast for the eyes — even if it turns the stomach.

Read more
Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
3:14 am
Sat April 14, 2012

Former Yankees Pitcher Jim Bouton Plays Not My Job

Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Sun April 15, 2012 1:27 pm

Jim Bouton is a former All-Star pitcher for the New York Yankees. His classic baseball memoir Ball Four, which was first published in 1970, is just out as an e-book.

Bouton famously wrote about shenanigans in baseball, which have arguably gotten worse since then. But compared to other sports around the world, baseball players are hardly immoral at all. We're going to ask him three questions about people who really know how to cheat.

Read more
Monkey See
10:01 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

The Fourth Stooge: Memories Of 'Uncle Shemp'

Originally published on Mon April 16, 2012 8:02 am

This weekend, the Farrelly Brothers' version of The Three Stooges arrives in theaters. You'll see plenty of Larry, Moe and Curly. But who won't you see? Shemp. Or, as NPR's Sue Goodwin calls him, "Uncle Shemp."

Read more
Three Books...
3:23 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Permanent Siesta: 3 Books To Whisk You Away

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 3:55 pm

One doesn't necessarily associate spring travel with heavy reading. For one, books are bulky luggage, the weighty enemies of economical packers; even an e-reader takes up precious space in one's overflowing duffel. And two, escapist migration to mountaintops or flowery fields or seaside locales for sun worship and meditative communion with nature connotes a markedly book-free environment, an escape from the office or the solemn halls of academe.

Read more
Television
2:04 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

'Airbender' Creators Reclaim Their World In 'Korra'

Korra demonstrates fire- and water-bending in The Legend of Korra, a new series from the creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender. It premieres April 14 on Nickelodeon.
Nickelodeon

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 3:55 pm

When M. Night Shyamalan's fantasy film The Last Airbender — panned by both critics and fans of the wildly popular TV series on which it was based — flopped majestically at the box office, it looked like the end of a valuable franchise.

But now, with The Legend of Korra, which premieres Saturday on Nickelodeon, the creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender have been given a rare chance to rebuild a world that was taken away from them.

Read more
Arts & Life
10:00 am
Fri April 13, 2012

Tagalog Translator Reminisces On Rivers, Mountains

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

Television
8:40 am
Fri April 13, 2012

Lena Dunham's 'Girls' Navigate New York City Life

Girls has been compared to Sex and the City. The characters, played by Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham and Zosia Mamet, navigate the ups and downs of life in New York City.
HBO

This Sunday, HBO premieres a new comedy series that's written and directed by Lena Dunham, who grabbed the media spotlight in 2010 with her film Tiny Furniture. She's 25 years old now, and stars in this new TV series as well.

Read more
Poetry
6:52 am
Fri April 13, 2012

Poet Marie Howe Reflects On The 'Living' After Loss

Marie Howe is the author of three collections of poetry. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.

Brad Fowler courtesy of the author

This interview was originally broadcast on October 20, 2011.

A few years after her younger brother John died from AIDS-related complications in 1989, poet Marie Howe wrote him a poem in the form of a letter. Called "What the Living Do," the poem is an elegiac description of loss, and of living beyond loss.

Read more

Pages