Arts/Life

This Week's Must Read
10:03 am
Sat August 2, 2014

Albert Camus And The Search For Meaning In The Midst Of Ebola

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 9:54 am

For months now the Ebola virus has been wreaking havoc in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. More than 700 people have died, and it seems that doctors are near-powerless to help. With the threat of the disease tearing communities apart, it's hard not to think of a legendary novel from almost 70 years ago.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
9:12 am
Sat August 2, 2014

Not My Job: We Quiz Novelist Amy Tan On Tanning Techniques

Rick Smolanagainst Against All Odds Productions

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 9:51 am

Amy Tan grew up all around the Bay Area where her Chinese American family was part of a group of friends they called "The Joy Luck Club." In 1989, Amy published a book of stories by that name, which became an international bestseller. Her latest novel is The Valley of Amazement.

We've invited Tan to play a game called: "It's the bronze golden look that says, 'early death from melanoma!'" Three questions about tanning and the tanning industry.

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Author Interviews
6:34 am
Sat August 2, 2014

In 1879, Explorers Set Sail To Solve Arctic Mystery, Once And For All

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 9:25 am

It's hard for us to imagine now, but there was a time when people simply didn't know what was in the Arctic circle.

"Whether it was ice, whether it was sea, whether it was land, whether there was a civilization up there — there were a lot of weird theories about holes in the Earth," author Hampton Sides tells NPR's Scott Simon.

So in July 1879, more than 30 explorers set sail from San Francisco to find out. They were hoping to discover an unspoiled, verdant paradise at the top of the world which they could claim in the name of American exploration.

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Movie Interviews
6:34 am
Sat August 2, 2014

Syrian Conflict Isn't Just A Civil War, But 'A War On Childhood'

Kifah, 13, poses with his sister in Damascus. Kifah is one of six Syrian children profiled in a new BBC documentary.
Robin Barnwell BBC

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 9:47 am

Four years of brutal sectarian war in Syria has devastated the lives of nearly 10 million people.

But one group among them stands out: the children of Syria.

In a new documentary, Children of Syria, BBC chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet tells the stories of six young Syrians, age 8 to 14, and the extreme challenges they face, regardless of what side of the war their families are on.

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Code Switch
5:56 am
Sat August 2, 2014

James Shigeta 'Led The Way' For Asian-American Lovers On Screen

Hidenari Terasaki (James Shigeta) kisses the hand of his wife, Gwen (Carroll Baker), in the 1961 film Bridge to the Sun.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 2, 2014 1:27 pm

Actor James Shigeta had the looks, the talent — and the voice.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Sat August 2, 2014

Gorgeous 'Graveyard Book' Is A Group Effort

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 9:23 am

A pacifier and a knife: These two images open The Graveyard Book, P. Craig Russell's graphic adaptation of Neil Gaiman's 2009 novel. They're oddly complementary devices, the tool of infancy and the weapon of grownups, expressing the quixotic innocence of a kids' book (well, young-adult book) set in a place of death.

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The Two-Way
2:39 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

WWI Diaries Of Poet Siegfried Sassoon Go Public For First Time

English poet and author Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967) wearing his army uniform. His experiences in the First World War resulted in his hatred of war, which he expressed in much of his work.
George C. Beresford Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 8:58 am

Nearly two dozen diaries and notebooks of Siegfried Sassoon — among a handful of prominent soldier-poets whose artistic sensibilities were forged in the trenches of World War I — are being published online for the first time by the Cambridge University Library.

Sassoon, who served in the British Army, was a "gifted diarist [who] ... kept a journal for most of his life," the library says.

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Movie Reviews
2:19 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Sailing Through Space With 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'? Hilarious

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 8:57 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, BYLINE: This is FRESH AIR. The newest film adaptation of a Marvel comic is "Guardians of the Galaxy," which features five Motley warriors against an armada of space villains. Film critic David Edelstein has this review.

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Remembrances
2:01 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Remembering Dick Smith, Hollywood's 'Godfather of Make-up'

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 12:32 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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Movie Reviews
12:55 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

No Forgiveness, But A Kind Of Cinematic Grace In 'Calvary'

Brendan Gleeson, as tough-minded Father James, faces a death threat from an angry parishioner in the darkly comic new Calvary.
Reprisal Films

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 2:07 pm

Ireland's barrel-chested force of nature Brendan Gleeson plays a priest who has a date with murder in Calvary, John Michael McDonagh's comic but darkly existential detective story.

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Goats and Soda
11:21 am
Fri August 1, 2014

How Cultures Move Across Continents

Maximilian Schich & Mauro Martino, 2014

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 11:43 am

They may look like flight paths around North America and Europe. Or perhaps nighttime satellite photos, with cities lit up like starry constellations.

But look again.

These animations chart the movement of Western culture over the past 2,000 years, researchers report Friday in the journal Science.

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Monkey See
9:05 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Live From San Diego Comic-Con

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

This week's show is a very special event for us: it's our visit to Comic-Con.

Because Maggie Thompson (mother to PCHH regular Stephen Thompson) was a special guest at San Diego Comic-Con this year, she invited us to do a panel discussion with her. So Stephen, Glen Weldon and I — along with a crucial audio assist from our pal Petra Mayer — set up in one of the rooms upstairs in the convention center and taped a show. (We still don't know what caused the constant thumping. This is what happens when we travel without our producer, Jessica.)

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TED Radio Hour
7:10 am
Fri August 1, 2014

How Do Our Worst Moments Shape Us?

"You need to fold the worst events of your life into a narrative of triumph, evincing a better self in response to things that hurt." — Andrew Solomon
James Duncan Davidson TED

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Growing Up.

About Andrew Solomon's TEDTalk

Writer Andrew Solomon dives into his childhood to describe moments of great adversity, and how they helped him build identity.

About Andrew Solomon

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TED Radio Hour
7:10 am
Fri August 1, 2014

What Does It Mean To Be A 'Child Of The State'?

"We are our story — whether we suppress it, whether that is our nature, or we speak it. Family is a group of people who are building story for each other." — Lemn Sissay
Paul Clarke TED

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Growing Up.

About Lemn Sissay's TEDTalk

Poet Lemn Sissay was raised by the state. He talks about the empty space where his family should have been.

About Lemn Sissay

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TED Radio Hour
7:10 am
Fri August 1, 2014

What Can Kids Learn By Doing Dangerous Things?

"As the boundaries of what we determine as the safety zone grow ever smaller, we cut off our children from valuable opportunities to learn how to interact with the world around them." — Gever Tulley
TED

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Growing Up.

About Gever Tulley's TEDTalk

Tinkering School Founder Gever Tulley says that when kids are given sharp tools and matches, their imaginations take off and they become better problem-solvers.

About Gever Tulley

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TED Radio Hour
7:10 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Why Is Parenthood Filled With So Much Anxiety?

"It's one of the weird illusions we all live under: that there is a right way to parent." — Jennifer Senior
James Duncan Davidson TED

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 12:53 pm

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Growing Up.

About Jennifer Senior's TEDTalk

Journalist Jennifer Senior says the goal of raising happy children is so elusive it has put modern, middle-class parents into a panic. She says there's no right way to parent.

About Jennifer Senior

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The Two-Way
5:42 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Book News: 'Lost' Dr. Seuss Stories To Be Published

Author and illustrator Theodor Seuss Geisel, known as Dr. Seuss, reads from his book Horton Hears a Who! to 4-year-old Lucinda Bell at his home in La Jolla, Calif., in 1956.
AP

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Movie Interviews
3:00 am
Fri August 1, 2014

'Guardians' Director: This Movie Needed Me!

A raccoon and an anthropomorphic tree are among the unlikely band of galactic guardians that Marvel hopes will make its next big franchise.
Marvel

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 12:07 pm

Marvel's cinematic universe of superheroes has become one of the most successful movie franchises ever. So it's easy to forget that less than a decade ago, Iron Man and Captain America weren't even on the radar of many filmgoers.

Now, Marvel's pinning its summer blockbuster hopes on an outer-space misadventure that features heroes from one of its more obscure comic book titles: Guardians of the Galaxy. They're hoping to create a Star Wars-scale epic — with a director who's never directed anything this big: James Gunn.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

A 'Child Of God,' Or Maybe Not

Scott Haze stars in Child Of God, an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy directed by James Franco.
Well Go USA

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 6:15 am

A freewheeling yet writerly style and a fully committed lead performance distinguish Child of God, prolific actor-author-director James Franco's latest literary adaptation. Even when the movie works, however, it's hard to see past the lurid details of the Tennessee tale, adapted from Cormac McCarthy's 1973 exercise in backwoods noir.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

A 'War Story' With Big Ambitions And Mixed Results

Catherine Keener plays a traumatized journalist in War Story.
IFC Films

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 6:24 am

"You're an amazing woman who has decided to go into war zones and take pictures. You're a bit crazy to want to do that, and I think now you're too crazy to stop."

That's what Albert (Ben Kingsley) tells photojournalist Lee (Catherine Keener) in War Story, and much of the same has been said about real-life war correspondents from Martha Gellhorn to Marie Colvin to Chris Hedges, who in an interview acknowledged that he sometimes gets urges "to live at that kind of pace again. ... But in the end it's a very unhealthy way to live."

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Television
1:09 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Maggie Gyllenhaal Is 'The Honorable Woman': A Series Both Ruthless And Rewarding

Maggie Gyllenhaal stars as Nessa Stein in the SundanceTV original series The Honorable Woman.
Des Willie Courtesy of Sundance

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 1:34 pm

Maggie Gyllenhaal stars in a new eight-part miniseries that couldn't be more timely: It's about a woman who finds herself embroiled in the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

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Ask Me Another
8:38 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Movie Math

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 9:35 am

If Pythagoras were alive today, we think he'd be a movie buff. Multiply your film knowledge by your math skills in this quiz that asks you to perform computations with the numbers in movie titles.

Heard in Episode 323: Smitten With The Mitten State

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Ask Me Another
8:38 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Can I Kick It? No, You Can't

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 9:35 am

Listen, we're not your parents. We're not about to tell you what you can and can't do. Besides, the songs in this game, all of which contain the word "can't" in the title, take care of that for us.

Heard in Episode 323: Smitten With The Mitten State

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Ask Me Another
8:38 am
Thu July 31, 2014

It's Eezy

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 9:35 am

We're spotlighting both the most common and least common English letters in this game — E and Z. Every clue points to a word or phrase containing "E-E-Z" spelled consecutively. Easy!

Heard in Episode 323: Smitten With The Mitten State

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Ask Me Another
8:38 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Can't Place The Place Name

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 9:35 am

Fame knows no geographic bounds in this game about celebrity-city name mashups. In what Florida city does the singer of "Nasty" hang out? That's "Janet Jacksonville."

Heard in Episode 323: Smitten With The Mitten State

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Ask Me Another
8:38 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Luke Song: Hat's Entertainment!

Luke Song.
Courtesy of Luke Song

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 11:01 am

Millinery seems like a brilliant career choice, right? Everybody's got a head.

But for Luke Song, the owner of Mr. Song Millinery outside Detroit, it happened by accident. "I wanted to be an artist, but I went the route of biochemistry. A typical route," he told Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg. He quit overnight and went to art school, but still never considered hat design, the chosen profession of his South Korean immigrant parents.

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Ask Me Another
8:38 am
Thu July 31, 2014

John U. Bacon: Old MacDonald Went To College

Every Friday on Michigan Radio, John U. Bacon offers commentary on sports stories in the Mitten State.
Courtesy of the guest

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 9:35 am

John U. Bacon, the author of Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football, knows a thing or two about college sports. At their core, it's all about "the community," he told Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg in their chat at the University of Michigan's Power Center in Ann Arbor.

"Bob Ufer, the old announcer here, had a great line. He said, 'Michigan football is a religion, and Saturday is the holy day of obligation.'"

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Ask Me Another
8:38 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Sem-ANN-tics

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 9:35 am

Don't get too annoyed with this final round. Like "annoyed," every answer contains the consecutive letters "A-N-N" somewhere within it. This game separates the canniest from the wannabes.

Heard in Episode 323: Smitten With The Mitten State

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Book Reviews
8:03 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Where Love's Concerned, This 'Magic Barrel' Is No Magic Bullet

Lena Finkle is a 37-year-old, twice-divorced Russian immigrant and a self-described "toddler of relationship experience" — when a friend asks how many guys she's "been with" in her life, she can only hold up three fingers. Anya Ulinich's new graphic novel, Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel is her account, told in expressive dark-inked drawings and hand-printed all-caps dialogue, of her quest to find true love — and good sex — and resuscitate what she depicts as her freeze-dried heart.

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Monkey See
7:45 am
Thu July 31, 2014

'Guardians Of The Galaxy': Let's Hear It For F.U.N.

Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) have some adventures together in the terrific new Guardians Of The Galaxy.
Jay Maidment Marvel

Originally published on Sat August 2, 2014 10:15 am

The worst thing about making a post-Avengers Marvel movie is how far ahead of the game you are when you start. Your film will be marketed with brute force, treated as arguably the biggest opening of the summer, reviewed everywhere, and very likely to land among the most commercially successful films of the year, whether or not you do anything interesting with it.

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