Arts/Life

Movie Interviews
3:36 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

In 'The Sessions,' A Different View Of The World

John Hawkes plays Mark O'Brien, a man who spends most of his life in an iron lung after suffering from polio, in The Sessions.
Sarah M. Golonka Fox Searchlight

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 4:46 pm

It's not easy for John Hawkes to watch clips of himself in his new movie, The Sessions. He plays a man named Mark O'Brien, based on a real writer and poet, who spends most of his time in an iron lung as a result of childhood polio; that meant the role was hard on Hawkes' body. As he tells Melissa Block on All Things Considered, "It was a physically painful role to play." Not only did it require him to act primarily from a horizontal position, but it called for him to create the illusion of a curved spine.

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The Salt
1:33 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

Jerusalem: A Love Letter To Food And Memories Of Home

A boy chooses fruit from a stall as Jerusalem market vendors swirl around him.
Jonathan Lovekin Ten Speed Press

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 4:46 pm

Jerusalem is known for its bitter politics, a divided city where decades of religious and political strife have torn away shared spaces. But as British-Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi tells NPR's Melissa Block, if there's one place in which Jerusalemites of all stripes still stand united, it's in their love of food.

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Monkey See
12:32 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

'Beauty Is Embarrassing': Giant Puppets, Painted Words, And What Art Is All About

A giant LBJ puppet head is one of Wayne White's creations in the documentary Beauty Is Embarrassing.
Beauty Is Embarrassing

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 1:13 pm

I didn't actually know the name "Wayne White" when I went to see the documentary Beauty Is Embarrassing at Silverdocs this summer. But as it turns out, I've certainly seen his work, and even if, like me, you're not visual-arts-oriented enough to know his marvelous word paintings, you may have, too.

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Movie Interviews
12:32 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

Tyler Perry Transforms: From Madea To Family Man

Tyler Perry is currently starring in the new action thriller Alex Cross, which opens in theaters on Friday.
Sidney Baldwin 2012 Summit Entertainment LLC

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 12:40 pm

Whenever Tyler Perry is in front of the camera, he's usually behind it as well. A screenwriter, director, producer and star, Perry grew up poor in New Orleans, but he has become a movie phenomenon — he was described in the New Yorker as the most financially successful black man the American film industry has ever known.

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Monkey See
11:40 am
Mon October 15, 2012

Money Is The Object And The Subject In History's 'The Men Who Built America'

History identifies these men in its press materials as "Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and J.P. Morgan." They are committing to the bit.
Zach Dilgard History

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The Salt
11:17 am
Mon October 15, 2012

Sandwich Monday: The Candwich

And for the Holidays, try Thanksgiving In A Bucket.
NPR

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 12:51 pm

Welcome Salt readers! We're Sandwich Monday, a regular feature from the staff of "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me," and we're moving in here to provide an antidote to the informative and insightful posts to which you're accustomed.

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Monkey See
10:03 am
Mon October 15, 2012

You've Got To Have Friends: How Curated Families Shook Up TV Comedy

From Friends: Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry and Courteney Cox. But you knew that.
AP

This week at Monkey See, we're looking at friendship in pop culture. We begin with a consideration of how half-hour comedies shifted away from being almost exclusively family- or work-focused.

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You Must Read This
5:03 am
Mon October 15, 2012

A Historical Account Of Revolution In Present Tense

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 8:10 am

H.W. Brands is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author of The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace.

Every year, I have my graduate students read the great works of history, from classical times to the present. They gamely tackle Tacitus, ponder Plutarch, plow through Gibbon. Then they get to Thomas Carlyle and feel like Dorothy when she touched down in Technicolor Oz.

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New In Paperback
5:03 am
Mon October 15, 2012

New In Paperback Oct. 15-21

Faber & Faber

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Aatish Taseer, Naomi Benaron, Glenn L. Carle, Jonathan Lethem and David Bellos.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Books
1:28 am
Mon October 15, 2012

Some Book! 'Charlotte's Web' Turns 60

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 8:20 am

Sixty years ago, the book Charlotte's Web first appeared in print. This children's classic is often seen as a story of a spider and a pig. But when E.B. White recorded a narration of the book, he said something different: "This is a story of the barn. I wrote it for children, and to amuse myself."

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Fine Art
1:27 am
Mon October 15, 2012

One Dot At A Time, Lichtenstein Made Art Pop

Roy Lichtenstein leaves it up to the viewers to decide what has just transpired in his 1964 painting of a tense phone call titled Ohhh ... Alright ...
Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 5:59 am

Whaam! Varoom! R-rrring-g! The canvases of painter Roy Lichtenstein look as if they're lifted from the pages of comic books. Comics were a big inspiration for this pop artist, who was rich and famous when died in 1997 at age 73. But at a major Lichtenstein retrospective at Washington's National Gallery of Art, you can see that the artist found inspiration beyond comic books; he also paid his respects to the masters — Picasso, Monet and more.

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Books
1:27 am
Mon October 15, 2012

A Startling Gap Between Us And Them In 'Plutocrats'

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 8:27 am

Journalist Chrystia Freeland has spent years reporting on the people who've reached the pinnacle of the business world. For her new book, Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else, she traveled the world, interviewing the multimillionaires — and billionaires — who make up the world's elite super-rich. Freeland says that many of today's richest individuals gained their fortunes not from inheritance, but from actual work.

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Pop Culture
3:02 pm
Sun October 14, 2012

Brad Pitt Helps Chanel Shake Up Iconic Perfume

Chanel No. 5 is an iconic perfume, it's been around for 92 years. Marylin Monroe, Catherine Deneuve and Nicole Kidman have all endorsed the fragrance. Starting on Sunday, Brad Pitt is joining their ranks. He's the first man to endorse the perfume in its history.

Author Interviews
2:08 pm
Sun October 14, 2012

Traveling The World Brings Andrew McCarthy Home

Originally published on Sun October 14, 2012 3:02 pm

He's an 80s teen heartthrob who turned to travel writing — and now soul searching. A few years ago, Andrew McCarthy decided to confront the fears that had followed him his whole life. As he prepared to marry the women he loved, he headed out around the world to find the part inside of himself that just kept saying "no" to everything good in his life.

McCarthy spoke with weekends on All Things Considered guest host Celeste Headlee about his new memoir, The Longest Way Home.

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Movies
1:36 pm
Sun October 14, 2012

'Smashed': A Love Story Minus The Alcohol

Kate Hannah (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Charlie (Aaron Paul) in Smashed.
Oana Marian Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Sun October 14, 2012 3:02 pm

What happens to a young marriage when the one thing that once brought two people together suddenly vanishes? In Smashed, the answer isn't pretty. But neither is the alternative, because in Smashed, the thing that brings the couple together is alcohol.

The couple is played by Aaron Paul of the series Breaking Bad, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. The film also stars Nick Offerman of the TV show Parks and Recreation, Megan Mullally, best known from the TV show Will and Grace, and Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer.

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Strange News
4:45 am
Sun October 14, 2012

For Middle-Earth, One Family Tree To Rule Them All

Originally published on Sun October 14, 2012 12:14 pm

Later this year, director Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will reintroduce moviegoers to Middle-Earth, the fictional setting for J.R.R. Tolkien's epic tales.

The high adventure and climactic battles of Tolkien's world were last seen on the big screen in 2003, in The Return of the King. The final scene featured a climactic battle between the men of the West — as well as elves, dwarves and hobbits — against the forces of evil.

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Theater
4:45 am
Sun October 14, 2012

'Beat Generation,' Kerouac's Lost Play, Hits Stage

The cast rehearses a scene from Jack Kerouac's only play, The Beat Generation.
Courtesy of the Merrimack Repertory Theater

Originally published on Sat October 20, 2012 1:55 pm

Jack Kerouac shot to fame after his jazz- and drug-infused book, On the Road, hit stores in 1957. During that hot period the autobiographical novelist also wrote his only play, The Beat Generation.

The play was never produced and all but forgotten. The lost work, however, was rediscovered in 2004 and is now set to premiere in the writer's hometown of Lowell, Mass.

Charles Towers, artistic director at the Merrimack Repertory Theater, remembers exactly what he thought after Kerouac's lost play was uncovered.

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Poetry
4:45 am
Sun October 14, 2012

'A Thousand Mornings' With Poet Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver has won a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.
Rachel Giese Brown

Originally published on Sun October 14, 2012 12:14 pm

Mary Oliver is a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet whose body of work is largely filled with imagery of the natural world — cats, opossums crossing the street, sunflowers and black oaks in the sunshine. Her most recent collection is entitled A Thousand Mornings.

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Sunday Puzzle
2:32 am
Sun October 14, 2012

Where, 'O' Where Shall I Put You?

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun October 14, 2012 12:14 pm

On-air challenge: Every answer is a two-word phrase in which the letter "O" is added at the end of the first word to make the second word. For example, given the clue "pack animal owned by Thomas Jefferson's first vice president," the answer would be "Burr burro."

Last week's challenge: Draw a regular hexagon and connect every pair of vertices except one. The pair you don't connect are not on opposite sides of the hexagon but along a shorter diagonal. How many triangles of any size are in this figure?

Answer: 82 triangles

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Movies I've Seen A Million Times
1:23 pm
Sat October 13, 2012

The Movie Callie Khouri Has 'Seen A Million Times'

Andy Griffith playing guitar as Patricia Neal watches in a scene from the Elia Kazan's A Face In The Crowd.
Warner Brothers Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 14, 2012 9:07 am

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
1:17 pm
Sat October 13, 2012

How Lincoln's Fiercest Rival Became His Close Ally

President Lincoln appointed William Henry Seward secretary of state in 1861. He served until 1869.
Henry Guttmann Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 14, 2012 9:07 am

The race for the Republican nomination of 1860 was one of the great political contests of American history. It was Abraham Lincoln versus Salmon Chase, versus William Seward.

Author Walter Stahr spoke with Weekends All Things Considered host Guy Raz about his new biography, Seward: Lincoln's Indispensable Man. He describes how a man who was Lincoln's fiercest and most critical opponent eventually became his most loyal and trusted adviser.


Interview Highlights

On Seward losing the election

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The Salt
4:17 am
Sat October 13, 2012

When It Comes To Falafel, The Flavors Of Home Can Vary

The reporter's mother, Nawal Elbager, of Khartoum, Sudan, shows off her falafel.
Rashad Baba Courtesy Nawal Elbager

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 3:38 pm

Falafel — those crispy, filling fried balls of mashed beans, herbs and spices — is found in cafes and homes all over the Middle East and parts of Africa. It's like a common language shared among sometimes fractious nations.

But until recently, I always thought falafel was made one way — garbanzo beans, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro and cumin. (That's how my Sudanese mother taught me.) But it turns out there are many recipes out there, each with a flavor distinct to its region.

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Author Interviews
4:17 am
Sat October 13, 2012

A Year's Worth Of Facts From An NPR Librarian

Courtesy of John Wiley & Sons

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 8:15 am

The people who host NPR programs are often credited with — or accused of — being knowledgeable.

But really, the most important bit of knowledge they have is just a four digit extension that connects to Kee Malesky in the NPR Reference Library. If you want the names and contact numbers for every left-handed plumber in Kuala Lumpur, she'll fix you up. She's the longest-serving member of a stellar company of reference librarians who check, double-check and mine miles of information, urban legend and spin for cold, hard, glittering facts.

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Author Interviews
12:03 am
Sat October 13, 2012

Michael Feinstein: What I Learned From The Gershwins

Composer and educator Michael Feinstein's new memoir is called The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs.
Gilles Toucas Courtesy of the author

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 9:38 am

Michael Feinstein, the singer and pianist known as the "ambassador of the Great American Songbook," has a serious pedigree to back up that title: a real-life connection to one of America's greatest songwriting teams. It's the subject of Feinstein's new memoir, The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs. (A CD of Feinstein singing those songs also comes with the book.)

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Movie Reviews
10:38 am
Fri October 12, 2012

'Argo': Too Good To Be True, Because It Isn't

CIA agents Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) and Jack O'Donnell (Bryan Cranston) plan a risky mission to save six Americans trapped in Iran.
Claire Folger Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 11:01 am

Ben Affleck's Argo is two-two-TWO movies in one, and while neither is especially original, by merging them Affleck pulls off a coup. First, he gives you espionage with the You Are There zing of a documentary. Then he serves up broad showbiz satire. For his final feat, he blends the two into a pulse-pounding nail-biter of a climax. And this all really happened. Most of it. Except for that climax.

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Author Interviews
8:45 am
Fri October 12, 2012

The Man Who Tracks Viruses Before They Spread

H1N1 virus virons appear in a tissue sample.

C. Goldsmith and D. Rollin CDC Public Health Image Library

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 10:53 am

This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 11, 2011. The Viral Storm will be published in paperback on Oct. 16.

The New Yorker once called virologist Nathan Wolfe "the world's most prominent virus hunter." Wolfe, the director of the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative, spends his days tracking emerging infectious diseases before they turn into deadly pandemics.

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Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
7:03 am
Fri October 12, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction, Week Of October 11, 2012

Knopf

In Jo Nesbo's Phantom, Harry Hole investigates Oslo's most virulent street drug. It debuts at No. 6.

Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

A 'Big Picture' Intently Focused On The Details

Paul (Romain Duris), an aspiring photographer, assumes another man's identity to escape his job, marriage and dull life.
MPI Media Group

The original French title of The Big Picture — an adaptation of a novel by American expatriate writer Douglas Kennedy — means "the man who wanted to live his life." That's pointedly ironic, since this existential thriller is about a person who seeks personal freedom by becoming somebody else.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

A Hollywood Noir Starring 'Seven Psychopaths' (Or So)

Crazy Funny: Seven Psychopaths centers on Marty (Colin Farrell), Hans (Christopher Walken) and Billy (Sam Rockwell), three Tinseltown oddballs with a sideline in dognapping.
CBS Films

If you do the math, the number of true psychopaths in Seven Psychopaths may not quite add up. Perhaps writer-director Martin McDonagh didn't want to go overboard with the murderous crazies. As it is, he's peopled his whimsically brutal comic thriller with — to name just three — an Amish throat-slasher, a dynamite-packing Buddhist and a serial killer who's fond of white bunny rabbits. That's probably enough.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Two Films, Two Takes On Living With Genocide

Simon and the Oaks serves as a rather too cozy consideration of Nazi sympathies in Sweden during the early years of World War II.
The Film Arcade

Simon and the Oaks, a handsomely upholstered Swedish drama about two troubled families trying to survive World War II, is based on a runaway best-selling novel by Marianne Fredriksson. The film was made with money from several Scandinavian countries once occupied by the Nazis, as well as from Germany itself. It won a truckload of Swedish Oscars, and in the accolades heaped upon the movie, the word "epic" is thrown around with abandon.

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