Arts/Life

Arts & Life
9:47 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Hip Hop Author Freestyles In Haiku

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 10:04 am

As part of Tell Me More's series for National Poetry Month, host Michel Martin shares a poetic tweet, in the form of a haiku, from Scott Heath. He's a professor of African-American literature and black pop culture. Listeners are invited to tweet original poems of 140 characters or less to #TMMPoetry.

Movie Interviews
9:20 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Jack Black: On Music, Mayhem And Murder

In Bernie, Jack Black plays a local mortician who murders his live-in companion after she won't stop nagging him. The movie is based on a true story.
Deana Newcomb Wind Dancer Films

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 9:59 am

Actor Jack Black is best known for his comedic performances in films like Nacho Libre and School of Rock. In his latest film, Bernie, Black goes to a darker place: He plays a serious small-town funeral director who uncharacteristically murders his live-in companion, a wealthy widow played by Shirley MacLaine.

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Monkey See
8:31 am
Mon April 23, 2012

'Mad Men': Hallucinations And Love Songs Are Often Mistaken For One And The Same

Jane Sterling (Peyton List) and Roger Sterling (John Slattery) made progress, in a way, on Sunday night's Mad Men.
Jordin Althaus AMC

Sunday night's Mad Men took 20 minutes or so to reveal its structure. We watched Peggy Olson fight with her boyfriend, flame out at the Heinz presentation, take herself to the movies, smoke a joint with a stranger, hook up with him (after a fashion) in the dark, return to the office, hear the sad story of Michael Ginsburg, and then meet up with her boyfriend again. Only a mysterious, frantic phone call from Don suggested that there were pieces missing.

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You Must Read This
5:03 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Beyond The 'Blonde': A Look At Marilyn's Inner Life

Gabriel Bouys AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 5:19 pm

Manuel Munoz's first novel is What You See in the Dark.

Think Julianne Moore's take on Sarah Palin, or Meryl Streep's depiction of Margaret Thatcher.

Actors in biopics have a major leg up on writers when it comes to developing character. Even casual viewers can judge the performance a success if it mimics what we remember of the public persona.

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Author Interviews
1:23 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Rodney King Comes To Grips With 'The Riot Within'

After suffering from injuries from the beating and struggling publicly with alcoholism, today Rodney King is contented, sober and engaged — to Cynthia Kelley, who served on the jury of King's civil trial against the city.
Morgan St. John

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 9:30 am

With a helicopter buzzing overhead, the videotape of Rodney King's encounter with police is so famous, you could say he was beaten into American history: The image of him writhing in pain as several Los Angeles police officers repeatedly beat, kicked and tasered him is, by now, world-famous — and synonymous with abuse of power.

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Author Interviews
1:22 am
Mon April 23, 2012

The Artistry Of 'Children's Picturebooks' Revealed

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 8:15 am

Children's books seem simple, but good ones are deceptively complicated to write and illustrate.

"Traditionally illustrated books are books where the text makes sense on its own. It doesn't necessarily need words," writer Martin Salisbury tells NPR's Renee Montagne, whereas with picture books, neither the text nor the images stand separately — they need each other.

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Author Interviews
12:21 pm
Sun April 22, 2012

India: A Country In The Midst Of Change

Riverhead Books

Originally published on Sun April 22, 2012 8:23 pm

Akash Kapur is the son of an Indian father and an American mother. In 2003, after working professionally in New York City for more than a decade, he decided to return to India. As he writes in his book, India Becoming: A Portrait of Life in Modern India, he arrived in a place he hardly recognized.

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Movies
5:33 am
Sun April 22, 2012

That's Not CGI: At Monsterpalooza, Monsters Are Real

Traditional monster makeup helped transform actor Chris Sarandon in the 1985 version of Fright Night.
Columbia Pictures/Photofest

Originally published on Sun April 22, 2012 9:43 am

Summer is coming, and with it comes big summer movies, stuffed full of computer-created aliens, monsters and giant explosions. Not all filmmakers want to use CGI, however, and many of them gathered to celebrate the craft of "practical effects" at a recent convention called Monsterpalooza in Burbank, Calif.

Sara Karloff is the daughter of one of the most famous movie monsters of all time: Boris Karloff. She says she never saw her father's Frankenstein makeup in person. "I'm awfully glad I didn't see him in those makeups," she says. "I would have probably been a damaged child."

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Author Interviews
4:34 am
Sun April 22, 2012

Our Roaring 20s: 'The Defining Decade'

iStock Photo

Originally published on Sun April 22, 2012 9:43 am

It's almost that time of year again, when a new crop of 20-something college graduates prepares to take those first steps into the working world.

In her new book, The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter — And How to Make the Most of Them Now, University of Virginia clinical psychologist Meg Jay argues that those first years of adulthood are the most important time in a young person's life.

Jay recently joined NPR's Rachel Martin to discuss why the 20s are such a crucial age for both college grads and non-college grads.

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Monkey See
4:31 am
Sun April 22, 2012

In 'Veep,' Julia Louis-Dreyfus Plays A 'Political Animal' With Bite

Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays the frustrated vice president in the new HBO comedy, Veep.
Bill Gray HBO

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 7:42 am

Julia Louis-Dreyfus knows it must seem like she's "arrived," as NPR's Rachel Martin says during their discussion on Sunday's Weekend Edition. She's well-known from Seinfeld, of course, but she's also been on Saturday Night Live, and for five seasons held down her own CBS sitcom, The New Adventures Of Old Christine. Her new HBO comedy, Veep, in which she plays the vice president to an unseen and unknown president, premieres Sunday night.

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Author Interviews
4:03 am
Sun April 22, 2012

Wartime Translator Explores Her 'Father's Country'

Originally published on Sun April 22, 2012 9:43 am

As an Afghan-American woman, Saima Wahab straddles two worlds — disparate places that have been brought together over the past decade by war.

Wahab has literally mediated those two worlds. As a Pashto translator and cultural adviser for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, she often found herself standing between American soldiers and Afghan civilians.

In her new memoir, In My Father's Country: An Afghan Woman Defies Her Fate, Wahab writes about leaving Afghanistan as a young girl, growing up in the United States and later returning to her birth country.

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Movie Interviews
4:03 am
Sun April 22, 2012

Jason Segel: Creating Comedy With The Tone Of Life

In The Five-Year Engagement, which Jason Segel co-wrote, he plays Tom, the devoted fiance to Violet (Emily Blunt), who agrees to postpone the wedding day as life continues to throw obstacles their way.
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Sun April 22, 2012 11:25 am

More and more, audiences are getting to know Jason Segel. After featured roles in Judd Apatow projects like Freaks and Geeks and Knocked Up, Segel has gone on to star in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Muppets -- both of which he wrote — and he also plays a lead on the hit sitcom How I Met Your Mother.

But even as Segel is an increasingly leading man, his characters don't exactly fit the leading-man mold. They're more beta than alpha males — tall but unassuming, likeable and understanding.

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Sunday Puzzle
10:03 pm
Sat April 21, 2012

A Puzzle Worthy Of Don Draper

NPR Graphic

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

On-Air Challenge: You'll be given classic advertising slogans and catch phrases in which the letters of the last word are scrambled. First, unscramble the word. Then name the product or company that is the advertiser. For example, given "Get a piece of the cork," the answer would be "Get a piece of the rock," which is a slogan of the Prudential Insurance Company.

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Pop Culture
3:00 pm
Sat April 21, 2012

Pop Culture's 40-Year Itch

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

And if you're just joining us, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz. And we're going to talk about music, movies and culture now, and in particular, about something known as the 40-year rule. Adam Gopnik is with us now from New York. He's written about it for the latest issue of The New Yorker. Hello, Adam.

ADAM GOPNIK: Hey, Guy. How are you?

RAZ: I'm good. Let's explain this with a pop quiz, Adam. You know the answers. so don't give it away because this is for the listeners.

GOPNIK: All right.

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Author Interviews
3:00 pm
Sat April 21, 2012

'Jumped In': Love, Life And Violence In L.A. Gangs

Jorja Leap has spent time in crisis zones from Bosnia to New Orleans. As an international expert in crisis intervention, she never expected to end up doing most of her work in her own backyard.

Ten years ago, Leap returned to her hometown of Los Angeles to work with some of the toughest gangs around. A UCLA alumna with a Ph.D. in psychological anthropology, Leap works with outreach and intervention programs spanning Los Angeles' most gang-saturated territories.

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Monkey See
12:21 pm
Sat April 21, 2012

In 'Veep,' Washington Is Viewed With A Skeptical Eye

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her staff, including Tony Hale and Anna Chlumsky, in Veep.
Bill Gray HBO

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 8:16 am

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Monkey See
9:35 am
Sat April 21, 2012

What Zac Efron's Beard Means For Men And Women In Hollywood

Zac Efron plays Logan, a former Marine with all kinds of feelings, in the new film The Lucky One.
Patti Perret Warner Brothers Pictures

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 7:13 am

This is the weekend they try to make Zac Efron a grown-up movie star.

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Author Interviews
4:25 am
Sat April 21, 2012

'Steinbeck In Vietnam': A Great Writer's Last Reports

Originally published on Sat April 21, 2012 8:46 am

The last piece of published writing from one of America's greatest writers was a series of letters he sent back from the front lines of war at the age of 64.

John Steinbeck's reports shocked readers and family so much that they've never been reprinted — until now.

Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962 for a life's work writing about those who had been roughed up by history — most notably his Depression-era novels, Of Mice And Men and The Grapes of Wrath. Four years later, Steinbeck left for Vietnam to cover the war firsthand.

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Theater
4:25 am
Sat April 21, 2012

Blair Underwood On Stanley, Stella And 'Streetcar'

Stanley (Blair Underwood) and his sister-in-law, Blanche DuBois (Nicole Ari Parker), spar while Stanley's wife, Stella (Daphne Rubin-Vega), sits outside.
Ken Howard

Originally published on Sat April 21, 2012 8:46 am

There's a lot of juicy material for an actor in Tennessee Williams' landmark drama A Streetcar Named Desire. Sex, booze, class, betrayal — all set in the seething French Quarter of 1940s New Orleans.

A new Broadway revival has added another set of layers to the play: The multiracial production stars Blair Underwood in one of the most iconic roles in American theater — Stanley Kowalski.

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World
12:23 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

'Racist' Cake Episode Cuts The Wrong Way

Swedish culture minister Lena Adelson Liljeroth
Courtesy Asa Andersson

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 2:14 pm

When Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, Sweden's culture minister, cut into a cake last Sunday, she had no idea the act would spark an international incident.

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Arts & Life
9:55 am
Fri April 20, 2012

Pennsylvania Poet Delves Into Metaphors, Myths

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 12:23 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We're going to head into the Barber Shop in just a few minutes. But first, the latest in our series Muses and Metaphor.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Monkey See
9:04 am
Fri April 20, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Girls' Edition, Women's Edition

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 9:13 am

For a few months now, we've been talking about putting together a special episode where I could sit down with Parul Sehgal, Barrie Hardymon, and Tanya Ballard Brown for what some of the men on the usual panel were referring to as "Gorgeous Ladies Of Pop Culture Happy Hour." It was, believe it or not, a complete coincidence that we finally pulled it together during the week that HBO premiered Lena Dunham

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Poetry
5:03 am
Fri April 20, 2012

Grief In Greenness: Two Melancholy Poems Of Spring

Eldad Carin iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 1:58 pm

Springtime is the season of renewal, but it can also be a season of ambivalence. After all, for something to be made new and fresh, it first has to have gotten old and worn. Perhaps this is why some of the best poets of spring are masters of minor-key feelings like doubt, sadness and regret — every rebirth, as they know, contains a little death.

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Books
1:25 am
Fri April 20, 2012

The St. Cuthbert Gospel: Looking Pretty Good At 1300

The Gospel, buried with St. Cuthbert in 698, was recovered from his grave in 1104. Its beautiful red leather binding is original.
Courtesy of the British Library

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 9:04 am

How much would you pay for a very rare book?

The British Library in London has just paid about $14 million to purchase Europe's oldest intact book, known as the St. Cuthbert Gospel. It's a copy of the Gospel of St. John, thought to have been produced in northeastern England sometime during the seventh century.

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Movies
1:20 am
Fri April 20, 2012

Italian Critics Don't 'Love' Allen's Roman Holiday

Woody Allen at the Italian-language premiere of To Rome With Love, in Rome, April 13.
Andrew Medichini AP

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 4:46 am

After shooting in London, Barcelona and Paris, Woody Allen made his latest European backdrop Rome. To Rome With Love opens Friday in Italy — in Italian.

The movie is a magnificent postcard of the eternal city — a carefree romp along cobblestone streets nestled between ancient ruins and Renaissance palaces. A soft yellow glow pervades every scene. It projects an image of the sweet life with all the charms under the Italian sun, set to the tune of old standbys like "Volare" and "Arrivederci Roma."

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Movie Reviews
3:33 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Documentary Seeks The 'Marley' Behind The Myth

Bob Marley's phenomenal popularity introduced much of the world to both reggae music and the Rastafarian faith.
Magnolia Pictures

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 6:40 am

In the three decades since his 1981 death from cancer, Bob Marley's legacy has only grown. His recordings still dominate reggae sales charts, and his face is still emblazoned on T-shirts and dorm-room walls — an image as ubiquitous and iconic as Che Guevara, with less militant or overtly political connotations.

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Movie Reviews
3:08 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

'Goodbye First Love': Heartbreak, Recovery, Relapse

Camille (Lola Creton) and Sullivan (Sebastian Urzendowsky) are caught in a complicated tangle of feelings in Mia Hansen-Love's Goodbye First Love.
Carole Bethuel IFC Films

There's nothing like the intensity of young love, but that descriptor cuts in many ways at once. Feelings so pure and intoxicating can never be repeated, but they cannot be controlled, either, by the wisdom and maturity that enrich and sustain a relationship in the long term. Intensity can curdle just as quickly into jealousy, possessiveness and depression; when a heartsick teenager uses a phrase like "I'll die without him," adults may roll their eyes, but it's just barely a figure of speech.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

'Glory' Days: Intimate Experiences, But At A Price?

A man eyes some of the women working at the upscale Fish Tank brothel in Bangkok. The documentary Whores' Glory chronicles the experiences of sex workers in relatively clean establishments — and some living in de facto slavery.
Vinai Dithajohn Lotus Films

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 8:30 am

The world's oldest profession is one of cinema's oldest subjects, sometimes employed for pathos or political metaphor, but often glamorized. Austrian documentarian Michael Glawogger's Whores' Glory is no Pretty Woman. But neither does it qualify as an expose.

The movie, which shifts from Thailand to Bangladesh to Mexico, aspires to a cinema-verite style. Yet it's unusually well-lighted and -composed for on-the-fly footage, and includes scenes that appear to be staged.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

'Think Like A Man,' And We'll See What Happens

Mya (Meagan Good), while dating Zeke (Romany Malco), follows the do's and don't's of dating advice from comedian Steve Harvey's real-world self-help book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.
Alan Markfield Sony Pictures

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 4:06 pm

Oy, the things daters have to worry about these days. Not just how to dress, act and turn "no" into "go," but how not to become a chirp-chirp girl.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

'Chimpanzee': Oh, The Humanity!

Nicknamed "Oscar" by Chimpanzee's filmmakers, the young chimp at the center of the film is adopted by an older male chimp — a rare occurrence — after his mother is killed.
Disneynature

It's a classic scenario in sentimental fiction: An adorable orphan humanizes a crusty old codger. "Humanize" might not seem the obvious verb for what happens in Chimpanzee, Disneynature's latest kiddie documentary. But it's dead on; this escape to the planet of the apes is anthropomorphic to a fault.

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