Arts/Life

Sunday Puzzle
10:03 pm
Sat June 23, 2012

Finding The Common Thread

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun June 24, 2012 5:31 am

On-Air Challenge: You are given three words starting with the letter "F." The answer is a word that can follow each of those three words to complete a familiar two-word phrase. For example, if given "flag, father's and field," the answer would be "day."

Last Week's Challenge From listener Kate MacDonald of Murphys, Calif.: Think of a common French word that everyone knows. Add a "V" to the beginning and an "E" at the end. The result will be the English-language equivalent of the French word. What is it?

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Television
2:25 pm
Sat June 23, 2012

Norman Lear: 'Just Another Version Of You'

Norman Lear (center) created, developed and produced the hit show All in the Family, which ran from 1971 to 1979. The politically charged sitcom starred Jean Stapleton, Carroll O'Connor, Rob Reiner, Sally Struthers and Mike Evans.
CBS /Landov

Originally published on Sat June 23, 2012 3:42 pm

When legendary TV producer Norman Lear was young, his father gave him a do-it-yourself radio kit. Lear built it, turned it on and remembers one day hearing a fiery broadcast that spoke kindly of the Nazi movement and ranted against Jews.

"It scared the hell out of me," Lear, who is Jewish, tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz. "It was the first time that I learned that I was, quote, 'different.' I started to pay a lot more attention to people who were even more different."

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Monkey See
12:53 pm
Sat June 23, 2012

Sorkin's 'Newsroom' Is No Place For Optimism

Jeff Daniels stars in HBO's new series, The Newsroom.
Melissa Moseley HBO

Originally published on Sun June 24, 2012 6:14 am

There is a moment in Aaron Sorkin's 1995 romance The American President in which Sydney (Annette Bening) asks her boyfriend Andrew (Michael Douglas), who happens to be President of the United States, the following question: "How do you have patience for people who claim to love America but clearly can't stand Americans?"

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Critics' Lists: Summer 2012
4:24 am
Sat June 23, 2012

Rich Reads: Historical Fiction Fit For A Queen

Harriet Russell

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 9:33 am

I have always loved a great story set in the past. Give me a high-powered historical plot, and I will keep turning those pages until my eyes cross. Kings or consuls, functionaries or janissaries, it doesn't matter, only that it pounds onward to the conclusion — volcano explosion, battle or market crash. It's literary dessert, and I devour every bite.

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Movies
4:23 am
Sat June 23, 2012

Shirley Clarke's 'Connection': Will It Click At Last?

In The Connection, Leach (Warren Finnerty, right) and his friends wait around for their heroin fix, which eventually comes courtesy of Cowboy (Carl Lee). The controversial film was shut down in New York after two screenings in 1962.
Milestone Film

Originally published on Sat June 23, 2012 9:07 am

Fifty years ago, a movie called The Connection opened in New York — then closed after two showings. Police shut down the theater and arrested the projectionist.

The movie is about drug addicts, and the language is sometimes frank — too frank for 1962 standards. The director was an independent pioneer named Shirley Clarke, whose movie has been restored and is back in theaters, soon to be followed by restorations of nearly all her work.

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Author Interviews
4:23 am
Sat June 23, 2012

Lessons For Europe From 'The Second World War'

STF AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 23, 2012 10:47 am

For most people, the start of World War II means German soldiers marching into Poland. Historian Antony Beevor begins and ends his new book, The Second World War with something different: the story of a German soldier who was actually Korean, was captured in Normandy, and wound up living in Illinois.

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Around the Nation
4:03 am
Sat June 23, 2012

On This Stage, Jesus Is A Robber; The Devil's A Rapist

David Sonnier Jr., from Jeanerette, La., plays the Devil in Angola Prison's production of The Life of Jesus Christ. He was convicted of aggravated rape and is serving a life sentence.
Deborah Luster for NPR

Originally published on Sat June 23, 2012 9:07 am

There are more than 5,300 inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. Nearly 4,000 of them are serving life without parole. Last month, the Angola Prison Drama Club staged a play unlike any other in the prison's experience.

The Life of Jesus Christ featured 70 inmates, men and women acting together for the first time — in costume, with a real camel, performing for the general public. For the untrained actors, this production held special meaning as they saw pieces of their own lives revealed in the characters they played.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
11:56 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

Director Rob Reiner Plays Not My Job

Nathan Strange AP

Originally published on Sat June 23, 2012 12:08 pm

Rob Reiner is an accomplished writer, director and actor. He's directed more than 20 movies, including some undeniable classics: A Few Good Men, When Harry Met Sally, The Princess Bride and of course, the movie that many will quote until they're old and gray, This Is Spinal Tap.

Reiner has said Stand by Me is his proudest accomplishment. To celebrate that film, we're going to ask him three questions about people he definitely doesn't want to stand by.

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Movie Interviews
3:00 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

Digital Domain Grapples With Fur, Feathers

Gesundheit: Kichaa is the name of one of the animated characters causing consternation among the animators at Digital Domain. He's featured in the upcoming film The Legend of Tembo.
Digital Domain

Originally published on Mon June 25, 2012 3:42 pm

You may not have heard of the special-effects studio Digital Domain, but you've probably seen their work. They sank the Titanic for James Cameron; they aged Brad Pitt backward in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Most recently, their virtual likeness of the late Tupac Shakur performed in concert.

Having worked those wonders, they're tackling thornier challenges: fur and feathers.

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Science
11:55 am
Fri June 22, 2012

Field Trip! Can You Stomach It?

Philadelphia's Mütter Museum has a lot of heart, and other organs too. Items in this collection of medical specimens include a gangrenous hand, a wallet made of human flesh, and a colon the size of a medium suitcase. And that's just the stuff on display, imagine what's in the basement.

The Salt
11:38 am
Fri June 22, 2012

Artist Protests Death Penalty By Painting Prisoners' Final Meals

Louisiana, 7 January 2010: Fried sac-a-lait fish, topped with crawfish etouffee, a peanut butter and apple jelly sandwich and chocolate chip cookies.
Brian Forrest Julie Green

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 1:22 pm

Chefs (and the rest of us) often fantasize about what to pick for our last meal on Earth. But the answers we come up with are often extravagant and largely theoretical.

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Movie Reviews
11:29 am
Fri June 22, 2012

Pixar's Fast And 'Brave' Female Comedy: 'Delightful'

In Brave, Merida goes in search of a spell to get back at her mother, who wants to force her to marry a suitor.
Disney/Pixar

First, I hate the title, and not because it's an adjective. Notorious, Ravenous, Rabid: great titles. Brave? Generic. And with the poster of a girl with flame-red curls pulling back a bow, it looks like yet another female-warrior saga, another you-go-girl action picture suggesting the biggest injustice to women over the last millennium has been the suppression of their essential warlike natures.

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Television
9:13 am
Fri June 22, 2012

Louis C.K. On Comedy, Love, Life And Loss

Louis C.K. has written for The Late Show with David Letterman, The Chris Rock Show and Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
FX

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 11:29 am

This interview was originally broadcast on December 13, 2011. The third season of Louis C.K.'s show Louie starts Thursday, June 28 on the FX network. Season 2 just came out on DVD.

In the FX TV series Louie, comic Louis C.K. plays a divorced father of two struggling to balance his comedy career with being a single dad. The show, which has just been picked up for a third season, is often based on events that have happened to C.K. in his own life.

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Movies
8:58 am
Fri June 22, 2012

For One Man, She Had To Be Pretty And Asian

For a California man named Steven, a perfect woman had to be pretty, submissive — and Asian. In the documentary Seeking Asian Female, filmmaker Debbie Lum followed Steven as he sought out, found, and brought over Sandy, a 30-year-old woman from China, on a fiancee visa. Then reality hit. Lum talks about her film with host Michel Martin.

TED Radio Hour
7:55 am
Fri June 22, 2012

How Can Fourth-Graders Solve World Problems?

Educator John Hunter says being a teacher is like reaching through time. "You're making an effect right here, in this room today you're not even aware of, and yet decades later — maybe even generations later, the effect can become apparent."
James Duncan Davidson TED

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TED Radio Hour
7:55 am
Fri June 22, 2012

How Can Videos "Flip The Classroom"?

"In order for the teachers to get you through the next hurdle, they have to make it more memorization based. And so what we say is no, let's just to do the opposite." — Salman Khan
James Duncan Davidson TED

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TED Radio Hour
7:55 am
Fri June 22, 2012

How Do Schools Suffocate Creativity?

"There's a terrible tendency to confuse raising standards with standardizing." — Sir Ken Robinson
Robert Leslie TED

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Building A Better Classroom. Watch Sir Ken Robinson's full Talks — Schools Kill Creativity and Bring On The Learning Revolution -- on TED.com

About Sir Ken Robinson's Talks

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Cabinet of Wonders
7:48 am
Fri June 22, 2012

Cabinet Of Wonders: Episode Five

Religious Experience" to close the show." href="/post/cabinet-wonders-episode-five" class="noexit lightbox">
This week's Cabinet of Wonders lineup sing "Religious Experience" to close the show.
Patrick Monaghan Courtesy of Cabinet of Wonders

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 2:07 pm

  • Listen to this Episode

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Monkey See
6:47 am
Fri June 22, 2012

Silverdocs Catch-Up: Poets, Politics, And George Plimpton As Himself

George Plimpton plays with the Detroit Lions in Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton As Himself.
Silverdocs

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Movie Interviews
1:00 am
Fri June 22, 2012

A Timeless Story Takes A 'Brave' Female Twist

Brave's Princess Merida, like any teenager, clashes with her mother, Queen Elinor.
Disney Pixar

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 5:17 am

After movies starring the likes of Buzz Lightyear, a little robot named Wall-E, a fish called Nemo and a car named Lightning McQueen, Pixar is releasing its first film with a female lead.

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Games & Humor
4:25 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Are You Better Than Bieber?

Are You Better Than Bieber?
Stephen Lovekin Getty Images Entertainment

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 10:04 am

  • Listen to 'Better Than Bieber' from Ask Me Another
  • Listen to 'Pen It Like Porter' from Ask Me Another

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Pop Culture
3:19 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Branding 'Brave': The Cultural Capital Of Princesses

In Brave, the character of Merida is a skilled archer and sword fighter who rebels against what is expected of her as a princess.
Disney/Pixar

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 11:42 am

For little girls, princesses hold roughly the same value that tulips did for the Dutch back in the 1500s, and that princess mania is sure to get a boost with the new Pixar movie Brave, which stars a Scottish princess named Merida.

For a keyhole glimpse into the pink and glittery world of pre-K princess culture, consider the scene at a recent princess-themed birthday party in a suburb of Washington, D.C.

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Movie Reviews
3:19 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Time In 'To Rome With Love': It Doesn't Make Sense

Antonio the newlywed (Alessandro Tiberi, left), Uncle Paolo (Roberto Della Casa) and Anna the prostitute (Penelope Cruz) in one of To Rome With Love's four independent stories. This one features Anna attempting to teach Antonio something about love.
Philippe Antonello Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 4:19 pm

For four decades, Woody Allen's been churning out movies at a rate of almost exactly one film per year, a phenomenon that I'd describe as being "like clockwork" if my whole sense of time hadn't been scrambled by his latest comedy, To Rome With Love.

Pleasantly scrambled, but still.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

The Visible Costs Of The Military's 'Invisible War'

Kori Cioca is the linking thread among many stories in The Invisible War. Kirby Dick's documentary reveals a shocking culture of sexual assault in the U.S. military.
Cinedigm/Docurama Films

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 9:55 am

In documentaries, showing is almost always more effective than telling. But The Invisible War, an expose of sexual assault in the U.S. military, is compelling despite being all talk. Footage of the many crimes recounted in the film is, of course, nonexistent — and would be nearly unwatchable if available.

So director Kirby Dick addresses the subject directly, without gimmicks or gambits. Stylistically, The Invisible War is conventional and plainspoken, from its opening clips of vintage recruitment ads for women to its closing updates on the central characters.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Hank Williams Takes A Back Seat In 'The Last Ride'

In The Last Ride, Silas (Jesse James, right) is hired to drive Hank Williams (Henry Thomas) to his New Year's gigs and must learn to stand up to the country singer's hectoring behavior.
Melody Gaither Mozark Productions

The Last Ride recounts the final days of country-music legend Hank Williams, but it's strangely short on actual information about the singer. We only sparingly hear snippets of his music on the radio, and we learn almost nothing of his past. In fact, no one ever refers to the man by his proper name.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Two Couples Bunk Up For 'A Burning Hot Summer'

in Philippe Garrel's A Burning Hot Summer, Angele (Monica Bellucci) and Frederic (Louis Garrel) make up the more tempestuous of two couples living together in Rome.
IFC Films

Lovely people, beautiful places, a suicide attempt and echoes of a French New Wave classic — these ingredients seem to promise lots of passion in A Burning Hot Summer. But this existential-romantic roundelay barely simmers, and certainly doesn't scorch.

Veteran director Philippe Garrel's latest film opens with apparently parallel events: a woman reclines naked, alone in a room, as a man guns his car, heading straight for a tree.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Lincoln's Life, Stylized (And Somewhat Embellished)

Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) and Will Johnson (Anthony Mackie) in one of the slick action sequences from Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Lincoln's weapon of choice in the film is a silver-plated ax.
20th Century Fox

Two films into his English-language directing career, and already Timur Bekmambetov is spinning his wheels. But at least when the Kazakh director does so, the wheels have glistening silver rims and spin in hyperdetailed, superslow motion, all while the car is spinning through the air in a graceful, arcing corkscrew.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

In 'Brave,' A Pixar Princess At Odds With Her Place

Merida, the heroine in Pixar's Brave, causes much family drama by refusing to get married — and acting more like her father, King Fergus, than a "proper princess."
Disney/Pixar

Not since Walt Disney's heyday has an animation company enjoyed a creative — and technically innovative — run like Pixar, now on a two-decade stretch that started with Toy Story in 1995 and continued with modern classics like Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., The Incredibles, WALL-E, Ratatouille and two Toy Story sequels that took on improbable depth and complexity. Over the years, the only persistent knock against Pixar is its lack of one thing Disney movies had in spades: female heroines.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Sharing Small Moments While Waiting For A Big Bang

In Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Penny (Keira Knightley) and Dodge (Steve Carell) help each other reconnect with distant family and an old love before an asteroid destroys life on Earth.
Darren Michaels Focus Features

Like the romance it portrays, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is brief, sweet, funny and sad. It's also tonally uncertain and occasionally foolish, but somehow these flaws never derail the story's wistful pleasures, not the least of which — if we ignore an unpleasant speech by Patton Oswalt — is its pleasing lack of the frat-boy vulgarity that has come to define so much of the genre.

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