Arts

Book Reviews
6:03 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Julian Barnes 'Levels' With Us On Love, Loss And Ballooning

General Photographic Agency Getty Images

"Every love story is a potential grief story," Julian Barnes writes in Levels of Life, a quirky but ultimately powerful meditation on things that uplift us — literally, as in hot air balloons, and emotionally, as in love — and things that bring us crashing to earth: to wit, that great leveler, the death of a loved one.

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Code Switch
5:07 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Ancient Jewish Tradition Meets Contemporary Design

Sukkah City finalists spread out across New York City's Union Square Park in 2010.
Babak Bryan BanG Studio

At Georgetown University this week, an outdoor religious display looks more like a public art installation than a commandment from the Torah, Judaism's holy book.

First, the basics: It's called a sukkah, a temporary dwelling — translated from Hebrew as a "booth" — where observant Jews traditionally eat and sleep during the weeklong harvest holiday of Sukkot.

The holiday, which began the night of Sept. 18, also pays homage to the 40 years during which the Israelites wandered in the desert, living in temporary structures.

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Television
5:03 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Lots Of New TV Shows Air This Fall But Not Many Are Original

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The big broadcast networks are rolling out their new fall shows right now. And how many do you count, Eric Deggans?

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: I count about 26 new shows debuting in the next few weeks.

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Arts
4:20 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Willie Nelson Cancels Springfield Show

Willie Nelson has been forced to pull out of the Southern Ground Music & Food Festival and three other shows due to a shoulder injury.  
Nelson's publicist said Wednesday that the 80-year-old country music star is under a doctor's orders to rest his shoulder for a week, meaning he'll miss shows in Carmel, Ind., Charlotte, Mich., Springfield, Ill., and Saturday's appearance at the festival hosted by Zac Brown in Nashville, Tenn. The individual dates have or will be rescheduled.  

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The Salt
2:32 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Pork Politics: Why Some Danes Want Pig Meat Required On Menus

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 5:16 pm

In Denmark, pigs outnumber people 2 to 1. No traditional Danish meal would be complete without something wrapped in, wrapped around, or topped with pork.

In 2012, the country exported close to $6 billion in pig meat, a figure that includes "carcasses" — which leads to the question: What does one do with a pig carcass?

All this is by way of explaining the hubbub that erupted following a recent headline: "Day Cares Ban Pork."

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Monkey See
1:58 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

In His Silences And His Songs, An Unmistakable Note Of Genius

McCraney in rehearsal for The Brother/Sister Plays at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, where he's a member of the ensemble.
Mark Campbell Steppenwolf Theatre

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 4:22 pm

In my memory, Tarell Alvin McCraney's plays are weighted with silence. It fills the stage like a stone, so that even when characters are talking or singing or shouting, the emptiness echoes hard and heavy.

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Disrict 186 & The Arts
12:23 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Local Benefit For The Arts In Public Schools Features Area Talent

A new local non-profit is using art, music, and comedy to help raise funds for local students. The Illinois Independent Arts Association hosts what's called a 'Springfield Renaissance' show this Saturday at Donnie's Homespun restaurant and venue in Springfield. Local musicians include Carrie Jo Stucki aka CJ Thunder Stucki, and band Lowder featuring Josie Loweder. Proceeds will benefit the band program at Washington Middle School. Rachel Otwell recently spoke with Eric Heyen and Jaimie Kelly of the group about it: 

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Music
11:52 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Syleena Johnson And Musiq Soulchild, Making Music In Nine Days

Syleena Johnson with Musiq Soulchild.
Jeremy Horton

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 8:52 am

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NPR Story
11:52 am
Wed September 25, 2013

David Dinkins: Leading New York Is The 'Greatest Job There Is'

Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins
Jenny Dossin PublicAffairs

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 3:31 pm

As New York City enters the final stretch of its latest mayoral campaign, Tell Me More host Michel Martin hears from a former Big Apple mayor who made history: David Dinkins.

Winning the office in 1989, Dinkins earned the glare of national attention not only as the mayor of one of the country's most important cities, but also as that city's first black mayor.

It was a difficult time for the city. Race relations were fractured, the economy was struggling, and many neighborhoods were gripped by a crack epidemic.

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The Protojournalist
11:46 am
Wed September 25, 2013

How It Sounds To Be 50

Nancy-Lee Mauger

Nancy-Lee Mauger, 50, lives in Needham, Mass. If you ask her, she will tell you: She has dissociative identity disorder. She used to be a professional French hornist. And she is now a visual artist.

**

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The Salt
9:48 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Rooftop Farming Is Getting Off The Ground

Stacey Kimmons and Audra Lewicki harvest lettuce at the Chicago Botanic Garden's 20,000-square-foot vegetable garden atop McCormick Place West in Chicago.
Courtesy of the Chicago Botanic Garden

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 2:03 pm

From vacant lots to vertical "pinkhouses," urban farmers are scouring cities for spaces to grow food. But their options vary widely from place to place.

While farmers in post-industrial cities like Detroit and Cleveland are claiming unused land for cultivation, in New York and Chicago, land comes at a high premium. That's why farmers there are increasingly eyeing spaces that they might not have to wrestle from developers: rooftops that are already green.

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Monkey See
8:17 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Another Day, Another Reminder That Jimmy Fallon Will Make Your Day

It's been a while since we just started off by making our morning with some assorted Jimmy Fallon greatness (and I just got my cable hooked up at my new place yesterday, meaning my ability to watch late-night shows over my morning coffee is much enhanced).

So here's some good stuff from Tuesday night's show.

First, Fallon gave the follow-up to his "touchdown dance" bit with Justin Timberlake.

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The Two-Way
6:05 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Book News: Donald Antrim, Karen Russell Win 'Genius Grant' Awards

Karen Russell's debut novel, Swamplandia! was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2012. Her most recent work is a collection of short stories, Vampires in the Lemon Grove.
Michael Lionstar

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 6:25 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Book Reviews
6:03 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Richard Dawkins Opens Up In 'Appetite For Wonder'

Courtesy of Ecco

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 8:42 am

He may be the most controversial atheist on the planet today, but there was once a time when Richard Dawkins was a respectable, churchgoing Christian.

In his new memoir, An Appetite for Wonder, the Oxford scientist recalls his erstwhile pious life: "I prayed every night ...[and kneeled] at the altar, where, I believed, an angel might appear to me in a vision." When the apparition finally came it was from a man with a long beard who claimed to understand how human beings evolved. Not that guy with the beard. He was an Englishman named Charles Darwin.

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Monkey See
6:05 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

'Trophy Wife' Is More Than Just A Pretty Face On ABC

Kate (Malin Akerman) pitches in alongside husband Pete (Bradley Whitford) on her stepson's soccer practice in ABC's Trophy Wife.
Danny Feld ABC

One of the strongest new sitcoms on TV this season has the worst name, but its title, Trophy Wife, was intended to be ironic. The show's creators, Sarah Haskins and Emily Halpern, are self-professed feminists who wanted to take on a type generally scorned in popular culture.

The show's eponymous character, Kate, is a reformed party girl trying to find her place in a family that includes a much older husband, Pete, his two ex-wives and three kids. When Kate inadvertently breaks Pete's nose, the situation is expertly handled by ex No. 1, an intimidating surgeon.

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Author Interviews
4:32 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

NFL's A Nonprofit? Author Says It's Time For Football Reform

Joseph Gareri istockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 5:18 pm

Baseball may be America's pastime, but if you're counting dollar signs and eyeballs on fall TV, football takes home the trophy. Part sport, part national addiction, part cult, writer Gregg Easterbrook says, the "game that bleeds red, white and blue" could use some serious reform.

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Movies
4:17 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

States Ponder Costs, Benefits Of Film Incentives

Homeland, the CIA series starring Claire Danes, is just one of many television shows and movies that film far from their putative settings.
Kent Smith Showtime

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 5:47 pm

Showtime's critically acclaimed series Homeland starts its third season next week; the spies and terrorists who weave its tangled storyline will be back roaming the halls of CIA headquarters and the streets of D.C.

Or so you'll think. But Homeland is actually filmed in Charlotte, N.C. And it's all because of money.

About 40 states offer some sort of incentive to lure Hollywood productions to their precincts. But some have begun to wonder if they're getting their money's worth.

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The Salt
4:17 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Global Love Of Bananas May Be Hurting Costa Rica's Crocodiles

A Costa Rican banana worker carries a stalk of freshly harvested fruit on a plantation in Costa Rica, where many of the bananas that Americans eat are grown.
Kent Gilbert AP

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 1:22 pm

Americans love bananas. Each year, we eat more bananas than any other fruit. But banana growers use a lot of pesticides — and those chemicals could be hurting wildlife. As a new study shows, the pesticides are ending up in the bodies of crocodiles living near banana farms in Costa Rica, where many of the bananas we eat are grown.

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Book Reviews
4:17 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Book Review: 'The Woman Who Lost Her Soul'

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 4:52 pm

Alan Cheuse reviews The Woman Who Lost Her Soul by Bob Shacochis. The author's first novel in twenty years traverses the globe and spans decades, and is engaging for all 700-plus pages.

Television
2:52 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

TV Trips Into Fall, But These Days Who Knows Where To Look?

Capt. Ray Holt (Andre Braugher, right) leads detectives Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) on a police stakeout in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Beth Dubber Fox

We're kicking off a new fall TV season this week. A generation ago, even less, that was cause for major media focus, as new shows from the broadcast networks jockeyed for attention and position while old favorites returned with new episodes. Also back then, the Emmys were a celebration of the best, and clips from the nominated shows reminded you just why they were considered the best of the best.

But now? In 2013? All bets are off.

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Author Interviews
2:23 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

'Reaped' Is A Reminder That No One Is Promised Tomorrow

iStockphoto.com

After winning a National Book Award for her novel Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward has written a memoir that's framed by the deaths of five young men in her life. The cause of each death was different, but she sees them all as connected to being poor and black in the rural South:

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The Two-Way
6:27 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Book News: 'Captain Underpants' Tops List Of Most-Challenged Books

Scholastic Inc.

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 6:45 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Book Reviews
6:03 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Noir Storytelling And Art Thievery In Living Color In 'RASL'

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 2:48 pm

It's drunk lightning. No, more of an Escherian stair step. Whatever you decide to call it, expect to spend a fair amount of the time you're reading Jeff Smith's RASL obsessing over the antihero's nose. Smith's dark tale of a dimension-jumping scientist, whose name is pronounced "razzle," is relayed in a jaggy style that couldn't be more different from that of the artist's Pogo-esque epic Bone. And smack in the middle of almost every panel, like a squiggle of punctuation for this comic's many idiosyncrasies, is RASL's strange schnoz.

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The Salt
2:59 am
Tue September 24, 2013

This Elegant, Whimsical Pop-Up Dinner Party Had 4,000 Guests

At Diner en Blanc ("Dinner in White"), people arrive dressed all in white. They bring their own food and, fittingly,” white wine.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 10:15 am

On a gorgeous night, some 4,000 people, dressed all in white, have come to dine in a public, yet secret place in New York's Bryant Park.

They have come for Diner en Blanc, an unusual pop-up event that takes place in 20 countries. The guests eat in splendor at a location they only learn about minutes before they arrive. The thousands wave white napkins to signal the beginning of the event.

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Author Interviews
2:58 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Stephen King On Getting Scared: 'Nothing Like Your First Time'

Stephen King is the author of more than 50 books, including The Shining, Carrie and The Dark Tower series.
Shane Leonard Courtesy of Scribner

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 10:10 am

Remember the first time you felt really terrified — and liked it? "Being scared is like sex," Stephen King says. "There's nothing like your first time."

For a lot of readers, King's 1977 horror novel The Shining may have been their first fictional scare. "An awful lot of the people who read The Shining were like 14 years old, they were at summer camp, they read it under the covers with a flashlight on," King tells NPR's David Greene.

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The Two-Way
2:50 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Bush Doesn't Fault Obama For Playing Golf

President Obama (right) with Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., on the first hole of the golf course at Andrews Air Force Base on May 6.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 11:06 am

President Obama seems to enjoy playing golf, but he's been criticized for spending too much time on the golf course.

Obama has played more than 140 rounds of golf since he first took office, according to CBS News. He's even played with Tiger Woods.

Obama's not alone — 15 of the past 18 presidents played golf while they resided in the White House.

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The Salt
5:09 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Raising Tastier Sea Urchins For Foodies And The Environment

Sea urchins are considered a culinary delicacy, but supply can't keep up with demand.
Aizat Faiz Flickr

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 6:09 pm

Sea urchins are considered a culinary delicacy in many parts of the world, including Japan and the United States. The market for this "foie gras of the sea" is growing rapidly — so fast that supply can't keep up with demand.

But a scientist in Birmingham, Ala., says he's found a solution: He's built a sea urchin farm in his lab and has even developed a food for them to make them taste better. Now, he wants to take his tasty urchins out of his farm and into restaurants across the country.

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Remembrances
3:54 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Ghanaian Poet Kofi Awoonor Among Those Slain In Nairobi Attack

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 7:38 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now we pause to pay tribute to one of the victims of the attack in Nairobi: Kofi Awoonor, who was born in Ghana in 1935. In a distinguished career that spanned politics, diplomacy and teaching, Awoonor is best-known as one of Africa's most accomplished poets.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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The Salt
1:49 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Sandwich Monday: The Woody Allen

The Woody Allen. There's a quarter in this photograph to give you a sense of scale, but it's so tiny you can't see it.
NPR

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 4:36 pm

So many great sandwiches have been named after great directors: the reuben, named for the great Ingmar Reuben, and the cheese sandwich, named for James Cameron. The Carnegie Deli in New York created the "Woody Allen," and our own Eleven City Diner here in Chicago copied it "oh so close." It's a double-decker corned beef and pastrami on rye.

Ian: Boy, the pastrami at this place is really good. And in such large portions!

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Movie Interviews
1:08 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

'12 Years' Star Alfre Woodard: 'You're Never Too Young For The Truth'

Alfre Woodard as Mistress Harriet Shaw and Lupita Nyong'o as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 6:40 pm

Alfre Woodard has been a familiar face on television over the course of her three-decade career. She was up for an Emmy Award on Sunday for her role in the Lifetime remake of Steel Magnolias. She didn't win that one, but she still has on her mantle previous Emmys for programs like The Practice and L.A. Law. Woodard is also a powerful presence on the big screen, as evidenced by her Oscar nomination for the 1983 film Cross Creek and roles in acclaimed features like Primal Fear and Love & Basketball.

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