Arts/Life

Movie Interviews
3:09 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

Daniel Day-Lewis On Creating A Voice From The Past

Day-Lewis used firsthand accounts of Abraham Lincoln's speeches, along with his personal letters, to develop a voice and a style for Steven Spielberg's biographical drama.
David James DreamWorks

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 1:29 pm

Daniel Day-Lewis has won two Academy Awards for fully immersing himself in his characters in There Will Be Blood and My Left Foot.

Now the British actor is taking on one of America's most iconic figures in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, playing the 16th president during the final months of his life. Day-Lewis tells NPR's Melissa Block that it was a daunting prospect — but that ultimately Lincoln was a surprisingly accessible figure.


Interview Highlights

On playing such an iconic figure

Read more
NewsPoet: Writing The Day In Verse
3:09 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

NewsPoet: Idra Novey Writes The Day In Verse

Idra Novey visits NPR headquarters in Washington.
Ryan Smith NPR

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 10:17 am

Today at All Things Considered, we continue a project we're calling NewsPoet. Each month, we bring in a poet to spend time in the newsroom — and at the end of the day, to compose a poem reflecting on the day's stories.

Read more
Author Interviews
11:52 am
Fri November 9, 2012

Interrupting Violence With The Message 'Don't Shoot'

David M. Kennedy is the director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control, and professor of criminal justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.

Courtesy of David M. Kennedy

This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 1, 2011. Don't Shoot is now out in paperback.

In 1985, David M. Kennedy visited Nickerson Gardens, a public housing complex in south-central Los Angeles. It was the beginning of the crack epidemic, and Nickerson Gardens was located in what was then one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in America.

Read more
Movie Reviews
9:53 am
Fri November 9, 2012

Historical, Fictional Icons Take To The Big Screen

Daniel Craig stars as the quintessential MI6 agent, James Bond, in Skyfall. The Bond franchise is 50 years old this year.
Francois Duhamel Sony Pictures

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 11:52 am

Two icons, Abraham Lincoln and James Bond, make triumphant appearances this week in movies with more in common than you'd expect. True, Lincoln is a titan of history, liberator of slaves, and as such an adversary of Western colonialism, while 007 is an outlandish stereotype embodying white male Western authoritarian power. But the makers of these films do a sterling job of testing their respective subjects in front of our eyes — before pronouncing them fit to carry on in our collective imagination.

Read more
Monkey See
9:23 am
Fri November 9, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Arcades, Nose Putty, And Lisbeth Salander's Parents

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

As you may recall, last week's storm (big hugs to those of you still dealing with that mess) left us without a show, but we have returned this week with a fully stuffed episode in which we spend a little time on what we meant talk about last week: Cloud Atlas, which Stephen and I in particular did not want to have seen at almost 10:00 at night for nothing.

Read more
The Salt
8:48 am
Fri November 9, 2012

Brothers' Original Fairy Tales Offer Up A Grimm Menu

Improbably, a girl finds strawberries in the snow to feed her stepmother in The Three Little Men in the Woods.
Arthur Rackham, Little Brother and Little Sister and other Tales by the Brothers Grimm

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:37 am

If you've only come across fairy tales courtesy of Walt Disney, or some other sweetened retelling, the dark culinary themes in the 19th-century versions told by the two German brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, may come as a shock.

Read more
Movie Interviews
1:16 am
Fri November 9, 2012

From The Theater To MI6: Sam Mendes On 'Skyfall'

Sam Mendes, best known for his Academy Award-nominated films American Beauty and Revolutionary Road, takes a turn with the action film Skyfall.
Stuart Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 10:46 am

A new James Bond movie opens this week, 50 years after the first film, Dr. No.

The latest installment, Skyfall, finds Daniel Craig once again in 007's perfectly tailored suit. And this time, Bond is battling both the bad guys and his own mortality.

Read more
Monkey See
4:03 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Circus Roboticus, Or: This Actor Is A Serious Heavyweight

The cast and creative team of Sans Objet learned the hard way that a 2,800-pound robot can be a bit of a diva: Because he's run by a computer program, he never forgets his blocking.
Algae Bory

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 9:45 am

Whenever the military rolls out some revolutionary new robot, folks are quick with the Skynet jokes. But in recent years, some robotic-evolution experiments suggest that robotic rebellion might end in applause rather than annihilation.

Take, for example, the robot KUKA — the hulking star of a French nouveau-cirque performance, Sans Objet, which premieres at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Friday. It's no special effect; it's a real robot, developed by the automotive industry in the 1970s.

Read more
Author Interviews
4:02 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

What Happens When Kids Fall 'Far From The Tree'

iStockphoto.com

As the old saying goes, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. In other words, the child takes after the parent; the son is a chip off the old block.

Of course, that's often not the case. Straight parents have gay children and vice versa; autistic children are born to parents who don't have autism; and transgender kids are born to parents who are perfectly comfortable with their gender.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:42 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Bond Is Back And Living Up To His Reputation

Daniel Craig returns for a third outing as James Bond in Skyfall, the 23rd installment in the spy movie franchise, and its 50th-anniversary release.
Francois Duhamel Sony Pictures

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 4:02 pm

Istanbul: Somebody's stolen a hard drive with info sensitive enough that ... oh, who cares? Bond is giving chase, and that's all that matters — cars careening through bazaars, motorcycles flying across rooftops until Daniel Craig's 007 lands atop a speeding train.

Read more
Book Reviews
3:17 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Giving Wing To A Story Of Climate Change

Barbara Kingsolver's previous books include The Poisonwood Bible and The Lacuna.
David Wood

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 7:43 am

The mercury hit 100 for ten consecutive days in some places last summer, and the drought of 2012 may be a preview of what climate change will bring: amber waves of extremely short corn.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

'Lincoln': A Great Emancipator, But Not Quite A Saint

Daniel Day-Lewis takes on one of America's most famous presidents in Lincoln.
DreamWorks

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 9:54 am

This election season, pundits have been fond of pointing out the near-50/50 split of the electorate and talking about how the American people are as deeply divided as at any other time in our history. The opening moments of Lincoln put those hyperbolic claims in perspective, as Steven Spielberg — with his usual flair for highlighting how truly ugly war really is — shows a nation so divided that its opposing factions are killing one another in numbers so extreme that the bodies are literally piling up on top of one another.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Between Friends, Age Is Nothing But A Number

A part-time adult-film actress and a full-time burnout, Jane spends much of her time getting high with her friend Melissa (Stella Maeve).
Augusta Quirk Music Box Films

In two of her most prominent early roles — as Woody Allen's teenage girlfriend in Manhattan and as Dorothy Stratten, the slain Playboy centerfold in Bob Fosse's Star 80 — Mariel Hemingway played young women under the sway of older, more powerful men. Both characters are objects of beauty, and Hemingway's soft voice and hazy eyes reinforced their passivity, even as they hid a more introspective side. The overall effect is an innocent, almost childlike openness, like a blank slate ready for imprinting.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

'In Another Country,' A Chance To Explore The Self

In Another Country is structured as three different stories around three women named Anne — all played by Isabelle Huppert. Moon Seong-keun plays Munsoo, a filmmaker with whom one of the Annes has an affair.
Kino Lorber

It's never quite safe to trust your eyes — or your memory — when it comes to In Another Country, the latest effort from the playful and idiosyncratic Korean filmmaker Hong Sang-soo. Isabelle Huppert appears as three different characters, all apparently named Anne; she's thrice the star of a hypothetical movie within the movie, a screenplay coming together on the notepad of a young Korean woman living away from home.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

'Dangerous Liaisons' Gets A Far-East Makeover

Xie Yifan (Jang Dong-gun) sets out to seduce a young widow, Du Fenyu (Zhang Ziyi), at the behest of his former flame.
Well Go USA

Relocating Dangerous Liaisons, the 18th-century French erotic intrigue, to 1930s Shanghai is a bold move. And yet it's not especially surprising. In Chinese movies, that city in that decade frequently serves as shorthand for decadence. And what could be more decadent than two debauched ex-lovers cold-heartedly planning to destroy the innocence of not one but two virtuous women?

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Romance, Scandal And 'A Royal Affair' Of The Heart

The titular affair takes place between the Queen of Denmark (Alicia Vikander) and her ailing husband's physician (Mads Mikkelsen).
Magnolia Films

The Oscar race for best foreign-language film rarely comes without a helping of muslin-and-bonnet dramas stuffed with misbehaving royals, masked balls and burgeoning job opportunities for food stylists. As heritage cinema goes, however, the year's Academy Award entry from Denmark is a firecracker.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

'Chasing Ice,' And Capturing Climate Change On Film

Environmental photographer James Balog captures a multiyear record of the world's glaciers in Chasing Ice.
Adam LeWinter Extreme Ice Survey

Two decades ago, James Balog was one of the people who couldn't wrap his head around the prospect of global warming. The threat seemed too abstract, and the science too linked to the sort of computer-model analysis he disdained.

But the geographer-turned-photographer (principally for National Geographic) doesn't think that way any more. Neither will most of the viewers of Chasing Ice, the documentary that observes Balog's efforts to chronicle the planet's shrinking glaciers.

Read more
The Salt
1:52 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

J.R. Ewing And A Found Recipe For Poppy Seed Cookies

Poppy seed cookies bring back memories of watching Dallas with Aunt Ida, the Brass Sisters say.
Maren Caruso Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 4:44 pm

During the holidays, family kitchens are ground zero for intense craziness: mixers whirling, timers buzzing, knives flying. So yes, it's understandable that many of us just stay out of way of the experienced cook. Especially when the knives come out and Mama is talking under her breath.

But by staying out, you're missing out.

Read more
Author Interviews
1:16 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

'Crushing Eastern Europe' Behind The 'Iron Curtain'

Courtesy of Doubleday

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 2:47 pm

If you read Anne Applebaum's Iron Curtain as a manual on how to take over a state and turn it totalitarian, the first lesson, she says, would be on targeted violence. Applebaum's book, which was recently nominated for a National Book Award, describes how after World War II, the Soviet Union found potential dissidents everywhere.

"It really meant anybody who had a leadership role in society," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "This included priests, people who had been politicians, people who had been merchants before the war, and people who ran youth groups."

Read more
Monkey See
10:40 am
Thu November 8, 2012

The Love You Save: Lessons On Water And Stuff

This is the poster from my mom. As you can see, I was very into writing about reality shows.
Linda Holmes

On Monday morning at about 5:30 (I'm an early riser), I woke up, swung my legs out of bed, and stepped into water.

I live in a basement apartment where I've been for four years, and almost exactly a week after I was blessedly lucky to avoid the superstorm — and at a time when some of my New York and New Jersey friends were still in the dark — a freaky plumbing/heating mishap wound up filling my entire apartment with about an inch of water.

Read more
Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Going 'Marbles': From Manic Highs To Oceanic Lows

Gotham

Marbles, cartoonist Ellen Forney's excellent graphic memoir about being bipolar, opens with her in the middle of a 5 1/2-hour session in a tattoo parlor. Every time the needle traces a line, Forney writes, she can "see the sensation — a bright white light, an electrical charge." Those opening words are a perfect description of her book. From the very first page, Forney allows us to see sensation — to inhabit, as closely as possible, her bipolar world, from its manic, exhilarating highs to its oceanic, debilitating lows.

Read more
Author Interviews
1:04 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Ornstein: Could A Second Term Mean More Gridlock?

Basic Books

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 11:00 am

President Obama has been re-elected. Democrats and Republicans have maintained their respective majorities in the Senate and in the House. So does this mean there will be more partisan gridlock?

Norm Ornstein, a writer for Roll Call and a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that it's a mixed message.

Read more
The Salt
11:37 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Meet 4 African Women Who Are Changing The Face Of Coffee

Fatima Aziz Faraji is one of four women who is at the forefront of empowering women in the coffee sector.
Karen Castillo Farfán NPR

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 1:39 pm

If you're a coffee drinker, chances are the cup of java you drank this morning was made from beans that were produced or harvested by women. Women's handprints can be found at every point in coffee production.

In fact, on family-owned coffee farms in Africa, about 70 percent of maintenance and harvesting work is done by women, according to an analysis by the International Trade Centre, but only rarely do women own the land or have financial control.

Read more
PG-13: Risky Reads
5:03 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Reading 'Dune,' My Junior-High Survival Guide

cover promo

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 10:10 am

Leigh Bardugo is the author of Shadow and Bone.

Frank Herbert's Dune was the first coming-of-age story that resonated with me: drugs, destiny, messiah complexes — it had everything. But what really shook me was its scale. At age 12, my life was the tiny, miserable cycle of home, school and the mall. Dune cracked it all open. There was a hell of a good universe next door, several in fact, and that made my little world a lot more bearable.

Read more
Author Interviews
11:25 am
Tue November 6, 2012

Oliver Sacks, Exploring How Hallucinations Happen

Oliver Sacks is a physician, author and professor of neurology at NYU School of Medicine. He also frequently contributes to The New Yorker.
Elena Seibert Knopf

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 10:58 am

In Oliver Sacks' book The Mind's Eye, the neurologist included an interesting footnote in a chapter about losing vision in one eye because of cancer that said: "In the '60s, during a period of experimenting with large doses of amphetamines, I experienced a different sort of vivid mental imagery."

He expands on this footnote in his new book, Hallucinations, where he writes about various types of hallucinations — visions triggered by grief, brain injury, migraines, medications and neurological disorders.

Read more
Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue November 6, 2012

'Flight Behavior' Weds Issues To A Butterfly Narrative

Luis Acosta AFP/Getty Images

Barbara Kingsolver's commitment to literature promoting social justice runs so deep that in 1998 she established the Bellwether Prize (now the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction) to encourage it.

Read more
Movies
2:43 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Lincoln's Screen Legacy, Decidedly Larger Than Life

Lincoln's life has been adapted for the screen so often that there's room for the artistic liberties of films like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Twentieth Century Fox

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 3:49 pm

He's a statue in many a monument, a profile on the penny, a face on the $5 bill, and an animatronic robot at Disneyland. He's even carved into a mountain in South Dakota. So, of course, Abe Lincoln has been a character in the movies — more than 300 of them, in fact.

Read more
The Salt
1:46 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Sandwich Monday: The Angry Whopper

Angry Whopper, Angry Peter.
NPR

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 1:26 pm

Burger King's Angry Whopper is a burger with bacon, jalapenos and something called Angry Onions, topped with something called Angry Sauce. It's got the best name of the three new items on the BK menu now appearing "for a limited time" to celebrate the Whopper's 55th Anniversary.

Read more
Author Interviews
12:52 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

An 'Oddly Normal' Outcome For A Singular Child

Courtesy of Gotham

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 10:59 am

John Schwartz and Jeanne Mixon first suspected that their son, Joe, was gay when he was 3 years old — and they wanted to be as supportive and helpful as they could.

"As parents you love kids," Schwartz tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "As parents, you want your kid to be happy."

Schwartz and Mixon drew on the experiences they had raising their other two children and by asking their gay friends about the best way to talk to Joe about his sexuality.

Read more
Book Reviews
12:52 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Caring For Mom, Dreaming Of 'Elsewhere'

Richard Russo was awarded the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for Empire Falls. His other novels include Mohawk and The Risk Pool.
Elena Seibert Courtesy of Knopf

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 1:11 pm

Something must have been in the tap water in Gloversville, N.Y., during the 1950s when Richard Russo was growing up there — something, that is, besides the formaldehyde, chlorine, lime, lead, sulfuric acid and other toxic byproducts that the town's tanneries leaked out daily.

But one day, a droplet of mead must have fallen into the local reservoir and Russo gulped it down, because, boy, does he have the poet's gift. In a paragraph or even a phrase, Russo can summon up a whole world, and the world he writes most poignantly about is that of the industrial white working class.

Read more

Pages