Susan Stamberg

Nationally renowned broadcast journalist Susan Stamberg is special correspondent for NPR.

Stamberg is the first woman to anchor a national nightly news program, and has won every major award in broadcasting. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame and the Radio Hall of Fame. An NPR "founding mother," Stamberg has been on staff since the network began in 1971.

Beginning in 1972, Stamberg served as co-host of NPR's award-winning newsmagazine All Things Considered for 14 years. She then hosted Weekend Edition Sunday, and now serves as guest host of NPR's Morning Edition and Weekend Edition Saturday, in addition to reporting on cultural issues for Morning Edition.

One of the most popular broadcasters in public radio, Stamberg is well known for her conversational style, intelligence, and knack for finding an interesting story. Her interviewing has been called "fresh," "friendly, down-to-earth," and (by novelist E.L. Doctorow) "the closest thing to an enlightened humanist on the radio." Her thousands of interviews include conversations with Laura Bush, Billy Crystal, Rosa Parks, Dave Brubeck, and Luciano Pavarotti.

Prior to joining NPR, she served as producer, program director, and general manager of NPR Member Station WAMU-FM/Washington, DC. Stamberg is the author of two books, and co-editor of a third. Talk: NPR's Susan Stamberg Considers All Things, chronicles her two decades with NPR. Her first book, Every Night at Five: Susan Stamberg's All Things Considered Book, was published in 1982 by Pantheon. Stamberg also co-edited The Wedding Cake in the Middle of the Road, published in 1992 by W. W. Norton. That collection grew out of a series of stories Stamberg commissioned for Weekend Edition Sunday.

In addition to her Hall of Fame inductions, other recognitions include the Armstrong and duPont Awards, the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Ohio State University's Golden Anniversary Director's Award, and the Distinguished Broadcaster Award from the American Women in Radio and Television.

A native of New York City, Stamberg earned a bachelor's degree from Barnard College, and has been awarded numerous honorary degrees including a Doctor of Humane Letters from Dartmouth College. She is a Fellow of Silliman College, Yale University, and has served on the boards of the PEN/Faulkner Fiction Award Foundation and the National Arts Journalism Program based at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

Stamberg has hosted a number of series on PBS, moderated three Fred Rogers television specials for adults, served as commentator, guest or co-host on various commercial TV programs, and appeared as a narrator in performance with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra. Her voice appeared on Broadway in the Wendy Wasserstein play An American Daughter.

In Woman in Gold, Helen Mirren plays Maria Altmann — an octogenarian Jewish refugee who fought to recover the Gustav Klimt paintings the Nazis seized from her family in Vienna at the outset of World War II. On Friday, Mirren received an award for her performance at New York's Neue Galerie, which is now home to more Klimts than anywhere else in the country.

Eight Midwestern river men — all jolly fellows — traveled from St. Louis to New York recently on a museum-to-museum voyage. George Caleb Bingham's 1846 painting The Jolly Flatboatmen is the star of a show opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Wednesday, but Bingham's painting belongs to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where it's hung, on and off, for more than 50 years.

An artist has just converted a legendary piece of 19th-century art into an utter ruin. And two Smithsonian institutions — the Freer and Sackler galleries of Asian art — have given their blessings.

The Peacock Room at the Freer Gallery is an actual dining room from London, decorated by James McNeill Whistler in 1876. Its blue-green walls are covered with golden designs and painted peacocks. Gilded shelves hold priceless Asian ceramics. It's an expensive, lavish cocoon, rich in beauty with a dab of menace.

In New York City in the 1940s, painters Willem de Kooning and his wife, Elaine, were the people you wanted at your dinner party. He was inventing abstract expressionism. She, his former student, was part of that movement, but also painting landscapes and people.

Elaine de Kooning felt that making portraits was like falling in love — "painting a portrait is a concentration on one particular person and no one else will do," she said.

Art galleries are generally quiet, hushed spaces, but at the Los Angeles County Museum a show called Islamic Art Now is sparking some heated discussions as visitors ponder the photographs, paintings and neon sculptures on display.

Moroccan photographer Lalla Essaydi has covered every inch of a reclining odalisque with graceful Arabic calligraphy. The woman is staring right at us, and viewers wonder: Is the writing protection? A shield? Imprisonment?

The first president of National Public Radio has died. Don Quayle was 84 years old. He had a long career in public broadcasting — both television and radio. NPR's Susan Stamberg reflects on his impact.

Don Quayle gave me my first radio job. It was the early '60s and he was head of the Educational Radio Network — the precursor of NPR — a skinny little network of 12 East Coast stations that developed a daily drive-time news show. He hired me to help produce it. When this national network arose, he was an obvious choice to run it.

You won't want to miss the music in this piece. Click the listen link above to hear the full story.

In Palm Springs, Calif., a $1 million home was just built — with plans resurrected from 1951. The original sold for about $15,000, and was called an Eichler, after developer Joseph Eichler, who offered well-designed, well-built tract homes to the masses a half-century ago.

British art dealer Joseph Duveen once said, rather astutely: "Europe has a great deal of art, and America has a great deal of money."

Starting in the late 1800s, in London first, later New York, the Duveen family sold precious European Old Master paintings, sculptures, tapestries, furniture to rich American collectors. For the first half of the 20th century, Duveen was arguably the world's greatest art dealer and some of the greatest works of art in America got here thanks to the Duveens.

A major star who has absolutely nothing do to with movies is having his day in Los Angeles right now. It's the 19th century French painter Edouard Manet. Not exactly an Impressionist, Manet was revolutionary enough for the Impressionists to make him their hero.

Two LA museums are now featuring two major Manet works. Several museums in the area have Manets in their permanent collections. But these two — The Railway, on loan from Washington's National Gallery of Art, and Spring, which is worth about $65 million — are new in town and getting the star treatment.

It's been 10 years since we launched the annual Hollywood Jobs series, in which we explore odd movie jobs — you know, the ones you see in the closing credits. In the last decade, producer Cindy Carpien and I have talked to key grips, animal wranglers, focus pullers, foley artists, shoemakers, slate operators, loopers, food stylists and many more. Today we check back with some folks we've profiled in the past, to ask how their jobs have changed since we last met.

When the Oscars are handed out on Sunday, the red carpet, the ceremony, the films and people who are honored, will be all about being seen. But there's a group of actors who will never be seen on screen. They're only heard — and barely.

Loopers are voice actors whose work begins after the show or film is shot and edited. Their job is to record what people in the background of a scene could be saying. Their dialogue is never really heard at full volume — and it's mostly ad-libbed.

In the parking lot of a small Los Angeles studio, food stylist Melissa McSorley is re-creating the dish that saved the day for the hero of a recent film. "The Cubano sandwich ... was the heart and soul of the movie Chef," she says.

It's been a cold winter in Washington, D.C., but over at the Smithsonian's American Art Museum, there's a flutter of exotic real and imaginary birds, created by 12 contemporary artists, in an exhibit called "The Singing and the Silence: Birds in Contemporary Art."

This Christmas, images of the Virgin Mary created over five centuries glow on the walls of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Mary's role as Woman, Mother and Idea is portrayed by Michelangelo, Botticelli, Caravaggio, Rembrandt as well as other major and lesser-known artists from the 1400s through the 1900s.

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

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

American painter Richard Estes has made a career out of fooling the eye. His canvases look like photographs — but they're not.

"You can't see my paintings in reproduction," the 82-year-old artist says. That's because, in reproduction, the paintings — especially his New York cityscapes from the late 1960s — look like photos. He's called a photo-realist, or hyper-realist — an intense observer of the built environment. But he doesn't paint the view from his apartment window.

Dripping in diamonds and shimmering in silks, the movie stars of the 1930s and '40s dazzled on the silver screen. Now, some of their costumes and jewels are on view at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. There, a film clip runs on a wall behind gorgeously gowned mannequins lit by sconces and chandeliers. The clip is from 1932's No Man of Her Own, starring Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. Nearby, co-curator Michelle Finamore points to the actual gown Lombard wore. It's long, made of slinky silk crepe and covered in teeny gold-colored glass beads.

The request was forwarded to me from a distant (fifth floor — I'm on the fourth) division of NPR.

It came from Justin Lucas, the head of NPR's Audience and Community Relations team. He's the go-to person here for requests from listeners, for information or permissions.

He'd gotten a letter from Beth Hansen, owner of Soup and Salad, a small sandwich shop in Easton, Md., a charming old town on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

Justin read me an excerpt of the request: "I'd love to make and sell Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Chutney. A portion of the proceeds ... "

I had what the guys would call the dubious distinction of putting Tom on NPR's air. For 10 years they'd had a weekly program on WBUR in Boston. In 1987, when we were launching Weekend Edition Sunday, we asked stations for tapes of local programs that might work nationally. WBUR sent cassettes of Tom and Ray, and their five-minute spots became the hit of Sunday mornings.

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

A century-old teenager is the focus of a musical and an art exhibit in Washington, D.C., right now. The National Gallery of Art is showing Edgar Degas' statue Little Dancer Aged Fourteen in conjunction with the Kennedy Center's Oct. 25 opening of Little Dancer, a new show inspired by the sculpture.

Imagine if you could see the pen Beethoven used to write his Symphony No. 5. Or the chisel Michelangelo used to sculpt his David. Art lovers find endless fascination in the materials of artists — a pen, a brush, even a rag can become sacred objects, humanizing a work of art.

When we point smartphones at our kids or smile for a selfie, we're not necessarily thinking of photography as an art form. But in the early days of the medium, when big cameras and flashbulbs were lugged around and propped on tripods, art was often the goal. An exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles focuses on the work of one such photographer, Minor White.

There's a running joke in Los Angeles that everybody — from your dog walker to your dry cleaner — is writing a screenplay. Curt Neill is one of those aspiring screenwriters — a sketch comedian who has tried to write screenplays, but never finished one. "I've never even gotten close," he admits in Caffe Vita, an LA coffee shop where he writes.

There's an 85-year-old building on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles that has been a venue for the Dalai Lama, the LA Philharmonic and even scenes in Entourage and The West Wing. But extracurricular activities aside, the Wilshire Boulevard Temple is a house of worship. Recently refurbished, and given a preservation award by the Los Angeles Conservancy, the temple has a special place in the history of Hollywood.

Growing up in Philadelphia in the 1940s, Albert Paley played with blocks and Legos. And he loved wandering the streets, scavenging bottle caps, matchbook covers, cigar bands and "picking up pebbles that I thought were interesting," he recalls.

Now 70, the American sculptor has moved from pebbles to monumental gates. His iron and steel works adorn Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, St. Louis, Chattanooga, Tenn., and Rochester, N.Y. His gates, archways and free-standing sculptures are eye-catching landmarks.

Pablo Picasso once said that the great 19th-century French painter Paul Cezanne was "the father of us all." Cezanne's distinctive brush strokes, and the way he distorted perspective and his subjects, influenced the cubists, and most artists who came after him. In Philadelphia, the Barnes Foundation is showing a group of still-life paintings by Cezanne.

In 2009, Forbes rated designer Yves Saint Laurent the "Top-Earning Dead Celebrity" of the year. (Surely a bittersweet distinction.) Now, Saint Laurent's success — and how it was shaped and fed by his lover and manager Pierre Berge — is the subject of the new film Yves Saint Laurent. In it, their relationship is both interactive and supportive.

An artist friend, Virginia Isbell, once asked me to pose for a quick pastel sketch in her Paris studio. I was flattered — and amazed to be on that side of a work of art. Never have I been looked at so intently, except by a parent or a lover. I was being fixed, examined, absorbed. And, for all the intensity, there was absolutely nothing personal about it.

I was an object to be replicated. Her eyes went from my face to her sketchpad, my nose, my eyes, mouth, chin — sketched in pastel in 20 minutes. It was fun. But it felt as if something had been taken from me.

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