Arts/Life

Author Interviews
2:17 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Should 'The Generals' Get Fired More Often?

The Penguin Press

Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 3:14 am

One issue that has received little attention in this year's presidential race is the war in Afghanistan. But according to Thomas E. Ricks, we should be paying attention — specifically to those in charge of the military there, because they can make the difference between long, expensive wars and decisive victories. That's the lesson Ricks explores in his latest book, The Generals.

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Movies I've Seen A Million Times
3:21 pm
Sun October 28, 2012

The Movie Glen Mazzara Has 'Seen A Million Times'

Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in Ridley Scott's Alien.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 4:33 pm

The weekends on All Things Considered series Movies I've Seen A Million Times features filmmakers, actors, writers and directors talking about the movies that they never get tired of watching.

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Author Interviews
3:03 pm
Sun October 28, 2012

Stories Of The Power of Language, 'Found In Translation'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 8:41 am

Translation is everywhere — that's is the crux of a new book by Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche: Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms our World.

From NASA to the U.N. to Chinese tattoo parlors, the book looks high and low for stories of the undeniable importance of language. One of those stories centers on a man named Peter Less, 91, an inspiration of sorts to interpreters and translators everywhere.

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Around the Nation
2:48 pm
Sun October 28, 2012

A Save Haven For The Printed Word Turns 200

Antiquarian Hall, the home of the American Antiquarian Society, is located in Worcester, Mass.
The American Antiquarian Society

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 12:37 pm

Back in the 1700s, there was a young printer's apprentice who lived in Boston. His name was Isaiah Thomas and he became one of the first newspaper publishers in the country. He also founded the American Antiquarian Society, which celebrates its 200th birthday this week.

Located in Worcester, Mass., the American Antiquarian Society houses the largest collection of materials printed in the United States. Its library has books, newspapers, letters, even board games dating from 1640 to 1876. Its members include some notable characters, including 14 presidents.

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Science
1:26 pm
Sun October 28, 2012

Millennia Of Stargazing At 'African Cosmos' Exhibit

Untitled, by South African artist Gavin Jantjes, is one of the works in the "African Cosmos" exhibition.
National Museum of African Art

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 4:33 pm

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Movie Interviews
3:58 am
Sun October 28, 2012

John C. Reilly Wrecks It In 'Ralph'

Academy and Grammy Award-nominated actor John C. Reilly takes his talents to the animated world of video games in Wreck-It Ralph.
Christopher Polk Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 10:18 am

Hitting theaters this week is an epic story of good and evil, love and loss, failure and redemption ... Pac-Man ghosts and Cy-Bugs? Wreck-It Ralph is about video games and the characters who live in them.

Ralph is the villain who runs around smashing windows and destroying buildings. Fix-It Felix is the good guy with the golden hammer who cleans up Ralph's mess. And after 30 years as a video-game bad guy, Ralph is fed up with his job. Actor John C. Reilly, who does Ralph's voice, says grown-up audiences may be attracted to what is, essentially, a mid-life crisis.

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Sunday Puzzle
3:50 am
Sun October 28, 2012

Answer Me These Words Three

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 2:17 pm

On-air challenge: Every answer is a three-word phrase, in which each word has four letters. All three words end in the same three letters, and they rhyme. For example, given the clue, "Series of offerings of excellent chardonnays and Rieslings," the answer would be "fine wine line."

Last week's challenge from Pierre Berloquin: What letter comes next in this series: W, L, C, N, I, T?

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Theater
3:44 am
Sun October 28, 2012

Star-Studded 'Heiress' Considers A Woman's Worth

Jessica Chastain makes her Broadway debut as Catherine Sloper in The Heiress. Chastain says she was moved by the arc of her character's story — initially defined by the men in her life, but ultimately finding strength in herself.
(c) 2012 Joan Marcus

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 8:58 am

A much-anticipated revival of The Heiress, a 1947 play based on the Henry James novella Washington Square, opens in New York on Thursday. It marks the Broadway debut of two accomplished young stars — Jessica Chastain, the Academy Award nominee from The Help, and Dan Stevens, from the hit television series Downton Abbey.

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The Salt
3:04 pm
Sat October 27, 2012

For The Love Of Cheese, Diners Unite In Italy

An inspector checks a wheel of Reggiano cheese at the Parmigiano-Reggiano storehouse in Bibbiano, Italy. Earthquakes rocked the region, sending the cheese toppling.
Marco Vasini AP

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 7:46 am

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Movie Interviews
3:04 pm
Sat October 27, 2012

'Lemon': From Rikers To N.Y.'s Famous Public Theater

Cinema Libre

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 10:24 am

His story begins a decade ago in Brooklyn, where he grew up fighting in New York's public housing before discovering another kind of power. After three felony convictions and time served at Rikers Island, Lemon Andersen didn't have many places to turn except to his words. Now he's a Tony Award winner with a rave-reviewed one-man show called County of Kings.

He spoke with weekends on All Things Considered guest host Jacki Lyden about his life and the new independent documentary film about it, called simply, Lemon.

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Author Interviews
5:00 am
Sat October 27, 2012

Wilder Created 'Our Town' With A Bit Of Everywhere

Thornton Wilder works in a Berlin hotel in 1931. His titles include the plays Our Town (1938) and The Skin of Our Teeth (1942), as well as the novels Heaven's My Destination (1935) and The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927).
AP

Originally published on Sat October 27, 2012 9:18 am

Thornton Wilder's Our Town is widely considered to be a classic American play: It puts plain-spoken lyricism on an empty stage with a story as simple as life and death.

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Author Interviews
5:00 am
Sat October 27, 2012

For Some, Gridiron The Only Escape From 'Muck City'

Crown Archetype

Originally published on Sat October 27, 2012 10:55 am

It's almost certain that during this NFL season, you'll see a player from a place that's called Muck City.

There are five graduates from Belle Glade, Fla., in the NFL right now. Belle Glade, on the shore of Lake Okeechobee, is surrounded by black soil, also known as the "muck" that's renowned for growing sweet corn, vegetables and sugar cane.

Over the past generation, Belle Glade Central High School has sent 30 players onto the NFL. The school is proud of that record, but it may have come at a cost.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
4:07 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

U.S. Soccer Star Abby Wambach Plays Not My Job

Doug Pensinger Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 27, 2012 9:24 am

Since Wambach sounds kind of like wombat, we figure Abby should know everything about the cuddly marsupials. We've invited her to play a game called "You're good at soccer, but can you carry your young in a pouch?" Our quiz will take about four minutes ... and will probably have more scoring than 90 minutes of soccer.

Wambach is a multiple gold medalist, holds the best goals-per-game ratio in U.S. soccer history and has just been nominated for FIFA Women's World Player of the Year.

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Author Interviews
3:21 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

History Inspired Travel Tales Of Donoghue's 'Astray'

Originally published on Sat October 27, 2012 4:29 am

A young mother sets sail from Ireland after the potato famine to meet her husband in Canada; two gold prospectors seek their fortune in the frozen Yukon; a slave poisons his master and the master's wife escapes with him.

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Remembrances
2:43 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Cultural Historian Jacques Barzun Dies At 104

Pioneering cultural historian Jacques Barzun was the author of dozens of books and essays on everything from philosophy to music to baseball. He died Thursday in San Antonio at the age of 104.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 3:57 pm

Jacques Barzun, one of the most influential historians, educators and thinkers of the 20th century, died Thursday, just one month shy of his 105th birthday. Barzun seemed to have a limitless capacity to understand and translate complex ideas — about the evolution of Western culture, what it means to be free, and even the value of American baseball. He shared his observations in numerous books and magazine articles and at Columbia University, where he held forth for half a century.

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Movie Reviews
12:43 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

'Cloud Atlas': You're Better Off Reading The Book

Zachry and Meronym are only two of the combined 12 characters Tom Hanks and Halle Berry play in Cloud Atlas. It is a challenge that bests both actors, according to David Edelstein.
Jay Maidment Warner Bros.

First I need to talk about the book, because it's not as if Cloud Atlas the movie came from nowhere — and if you think it's only the movie you want to know about, I think you need a context for what's onscreen.

Author David Mitchell writes exquisite pastiches, and Cloud Atlas is in the form of six distinct and enthralling novellas set in six different eras with six different literary styles.

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The Salt
12:06 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Lasagna Cupcakes, Anyone? Science Says We Can't Get Enough Mini Stuff

Five savory cupcakes: Chicken potpie, lasagna, grilled cheese, mac n' cheese and the Thanksgiving leftovers.
Courtesy of @LisaSKim

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 1:04 pm

A few weeks ago, my friend came back from Brooklyn raving about the food served at a baby shower.

"Savory cupcakes!" she exclaimed. Lasagna, grilled cheese, chicken potpies and even a mac n' cheese cupcake — all shaped like the trendy dessert and served on a cupcake tree.

Despite all the enthusiasm, my first response was quite cynical. Isn't that just baked macaroni and cheese in a muffin tin?

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Monkey See
8:59 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Halloween Stories And Very Good Taste

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

It's Halloween — or it will be soon — and that means BOO! We talk about the scariest of holidays (if you don't count Valentine's Day). Not scary at all: with Trey on vacation, we're joined by the charming Tanya Ballard Brown, who kicks off with a delightful tale of a clothes-wearing friend of hers. We get the update on what Stephen's kids are doing this year (the World's Saddest Banana is retiring!) and I once again make the case for my favorite dog photograph of all time.

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Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
7:03 am
Fri October 26, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction, Week Of October 25, 2012

Justin Cronin's tale of a world run over by vampires continues with The Twelve. It debuts at No. 3.

Television
2:18 am
Fri October 26, 2012

'Sábado Gigante' Celebrates 50 With Lots Of Variety

Mario Kreutzberger, aka Don Francisco, has served as host of Sábado Gigante since the show's debut in 1962. The variety show will mark its 50th anniversary on Saturday.
Alan Diaz AP

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 2:07 pm

For 50 years, Spanish-speaking TV viewers have tuned into the weekly variety show Sábado Gigante. Host Don Francisco commands a festive live audience in Miami, with celebrity interviews, musical performances, goofy sidekicks and scantily clad dancers. The three-hour show is broadcast throughout the Americas.

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How We Watch What We Watch
2:17 am
Fri October 26, 2012

The Future Of 'Short Attention Span Theater'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 2:36 pm

We've been looking at how technology has totally changed what it means to watch television or a movie. One of the biggest changes has been in demand — people want a baseball game — on their smartphone, wherever they are, right now. They want to pull up a video and stream it — on their laptop or phone, immediately, with no wait.

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Movie Reviews
5:46 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

A Crime Drama In Need Of A Push

In Pusher, a drug dealer's (Richard Coyle) life is on the line when a botched deal lands him in the clutches of a ruthless crime lord (Zlatko Buric).
Radius-TWC

Cinematic crooks could learn a thing or two about their profession from the movies. The last score, the double cross, the vengeful boss who wants his money back: Audiences have seen enough of these well-worn tropes that it's reasonable to expect a modern character would be casually familiar with them. In other words, even dopey dad and high school teacher Walter White in Breaking Bad and the wannabe gangster teenagers in Gomorrah have seen Scarface, no matter that they didn't take the violent story of a drug lord's rise and fall as a lesson in what not to do.

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Movie Reviews
3:33 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Mothers' Love Transcends Security Checkpoints

Jews Alon and Orith Silberg (Pascal Elbe and Emmanuelle Devos) and Palestinians Leila and Yacine Al Bezaaz (Areen Omari and Mehdi Dehbi) find out that their sons have been switched at birth.
Cohen Media

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 7:50 am

What if you woke up one day to find that you were someone other than whom you thought you were? Upping the ante, what if that someone belonged to the tribe you'd been raised to think of as Enemy No. 1?

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Masculinity Crisis In The Caucasus Mountains

An engaged couple (Gael Garcia Bernal and Hani Furstenberg) backpacks through the Caucasus Mountains with their guide (Bidzina Gujabidze), but their bond is soon tested by fate.
IFC Films

The backpacking protagonists of The Loneliest Planet are experienced world travelers, but also wide-eyed kids. Nica (Hani Furstenberg) and Alex (Gael Garcia Bernal) have recently arrived in the foothills of Georgia's Caucasus Mountains, where they frolic with local children. Even what we see of the couple's lovemaking is mostly horseplay.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Navigating The Shift From Complex To Cineplex

Halle Berry's characters in Cloud Atlas crisscross time and space. The actress plays six roles, including German intellectual Jocasta Ayrs (above) and an Asian man.
Reiner Bajo Warner Bros.

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 3:57 pm

David Mitchell's epic philosophical novel Cloud Atlas was widely considered unfilmable — even by its author — when it came out in 2004. That's because the book's ornate structure, with stories nested inside stories across five centuries, seemed too complicated to be taken in quickly in a movie. But those complications were what attracted The Matrix's Andy and Lana (nee Larry) Wachowski, and Run Lola Run's Tom Tykwer to the project. Turning complexity into cineplexity is kind of what they do.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Rejecting Barbie Pink For Sass Of Another Color

Bethany runs away to live with her father after growing tired of living under her mother June's (Anna Gunn) thumb.
Phase 4 Films

Early in writer-director Coley Sohn's debut feature, Sassy Pants, Bethany Pruitt (Ashley Rickards) goes into her closet for something to wear and pointedly reaches past a sea of pink items for a plain gray sweatshirt. It's a simple and evocative image that not only demonstrates her mood in that moment, but also says something about her life: This isn't a modern teen girl's closet, but that of a doll, forced into a confectioner's nightmare of girlish pink every day to satisfy some higher power's notions of sweet femininity.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

An 'Orchestra' Lacking Harmony

The real Palestine Symphony Orchestra, subject of Aronson's documentary.
Pro-Or

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 7:51 am

Near the end of the 19th century, an 8-year-old Polish Jewish violin prodigy moved to the capital of European classical music: Berlin. Bronislaw Huberman was more than accepted. He was hailed throughout the continent and endorsed by one of his favorite composers, Johannes Brahms. Yet Huberman is now best known for leading an exodus from Europe, a story told by Josh Aronson's documentary Orchestra of Exiles.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

A 'Fun Size' Dose Of Laughter, Shenanigans

When she loses her little brother in a sea of trick-or-treaters, Wren (Victoria Justice) finds him with help from her friend April (Jane Levy).
Jaimie Trueblood Paramount

The fun to be had in Fun Size, a 'tween comedy featuring Victoria Justice of the Nickelodeon TV series Victorious, is neither gigantic nor minuscule; it's just about fun size, which is probably enough. And if you think that movies aimed at young adults are automatically less sophisticated than those made for alleged grown-ups, bear in mind that Fun Size is the only comedy in recent memory to feature a Ruth Bader Ginsburg joke. You won't find any of those in the Hangover movies' bag of tricks.

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Author Interviews
1:31 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

A Journalist Chronicles Lives After Guantanamo Bay

Journalist Michelle Shephard has been covering stories from the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for the Toronto Star.
Michelle Shephard AP

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 12:45 pm

The presidential candidates may not be talking much about Guantanamo Bay, but the U.S. detention center there has been at the forefront of Michelle Shephard's mind for the last decade. The national security correspondent for the Toronto Star has traveled to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, more than two dozen times; she even got enough stamps on her Guantanamo Starbucks card for a free latte.

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Book Reviews
12:08 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Portis 'Miscellany' Makes A High-'Velocity' Collection

Escape Velocity: book cover detail

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 1:31 pm

Whenever I hear someone called a "cult writer," my hackles jump toward the ceiling. It's not only that the phrase calls up images of self-congratulatory hipsters, but that writers who become cultish tend to do so because their work is steeped in bizarro sex, graphic violence, trippy weirdness or half-baked philosophy.

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