Arts

Author Interviews
1:46 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Fresh Air Remembers Literary Biographer Justin Kaplan

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. We're going to remember Justin Kaplan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer who also edited the 16th edition of "Bartlett's Familiar Quotations," published in 1992 and the 17th edition, published in 2002. Justin Kaplan died Sunday at the age 88. His first book, a 1966 biography of Mark Twain, won a National Book Award, as well as a Pulitzer Prize. He also wrote biographies of Walt Whitman and Lincoln Steffens.

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Author Interviews
1:46 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Kevin Young On Blues, Poetry And 'Laughing To Keep From Crying'

Kevin Young's 2012 essay collection The Grey Album: On The Blackness Of Blackness was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Melanie Dunea CPi

In Kevin Young's new collection, Book Of Hours, poems about the death of his father appear alongside poems about the birth of his son.

He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that, in a way, those events were the anchors of his life.

"It was a way of just writing about what had happened and also the way that the cycle of life informed my life, from death to birth to ... a kind of rebirth that I felt afterward."

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The Salt
10:22 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Our Supercomputer Overlord Is Now Running A Food Truck

Watson's culinary concoctions were served up from an IBM food truck at a tech conference in Las Vegas last week. Next stop: Austin.
IBM Research/Flickr

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 11:55 am

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Monkey See
9:14 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Oh, Donna: On Loving One Of Television's Great Women

Donna Meagle (Retta), seen with April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza), is not a lady whose Mercedes you want to bump in a parking lot.
Colleen Hayes NBC

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 5:41 pm

Parks And Recreation features one of the most impeccable collections of characters ever assembled for one comedy. To a person, they are funny, human, beautifully realized, individual, and — perhaps most important — lovingly rendered.

But as much as I love everyone on that show, I will admit that I have a favorite, particularly when it comes to the characters on this particular show who are missing from practically every other show, and that's Donna Meagle, played by Retta.

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The Two-Way
6:47 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Book News: 'Goodnight Moon' Author's Lullabies See The Light After 60 Years

If the latest compilation of works by Margaret Wise Brown, best known for the beloved children's book Goodnight Moon, puts you to sleep, that's a good thing.
Kathy Willens AP

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

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Movie Interviews
2:49 am
Tue March 4, 2014

A Psychological Game Of Casting For 'The Grand Budapest Hotel'

Ralph Fiennes portrays concierge Monsieur Gustave in The Grand Budapest Hotel, the actor' first project with director Wes Anderson.
Bob Yeoman Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 8:34 am

Watching Wes Anderson's films can often feel like a tumble down a rabbit hole. With the opening credits comes entry into a world that's both weird and wonderful. The writer and director of movies like Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and Moonrise Kingdom has long had a point of view that is completely original — even dating back to the fifth grade, when he and a friend dramatized a Kenny Rogers album.

"We built quite a nice set," Anderson recalls. "We just performed the whole album of The Gambler with puppets playing instruments."

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The Salt
2:48 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Europe Tells U.S. To Lay Off Brie And Get Its Own Cheese Names

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 8:19 am

What's in a name? It's an age-old question Juliet once asked Romeo in Shakespeare's famed play.

Today, it's a serious question between the U.S. and the European Union, which has said it wants U.S. food makers to stop using European names.

But depending on what food you're talking about, a name could be a lot, says Kyle Cherek, the producer and host of a TV show called Wisconsin Foodie.

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Author Interviews
2:48 am
Tue March 4, 2014

When War-Torn Rubble Met Royal Imagination, 'Paris Became Paris'

Le Pont Neuf, shown here in an 18th-century painting by Nicolas-Jean-Baptiste Raguenet, was completed in 1606 by Henry IV. The bridge's construction kicked off the reinvention of Paris in the 17th century. Today, it's the oldest standing bridge across the Seine.
Public Domain

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 7:04 am

Today, Paris is a city of light and romance, full of broad avenues, picturesque bridges and countless tourists visiting to soak in its charms.

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Code Switch
6:44 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

A Colorful Night At The Oscars. More Of The Same To Come?

The Mexico-born, Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o was one of several artists of color to collect awards during Sunday's Oscar ceremony. She won the accolade for best supporting actress.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

It might have been the most diverse Academy Awards telecast in recent memory.

Sunday night's broadcast was capped by British director Steve McQueen accepting a best picture Oscar for his film 12 Years a Slave — the first film directed by a black man to earn that honor. His emotional acceptance speech was dedicated to "all of the people who endured slavery and the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today."

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The Two-Way
5:33 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Teens Live 'A Dream,' Dancing With Pharrell At Oscars

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 3:37 pm

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Remembrances
3:42 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Alain Resnais, Director And Master Of Disorientation, Dies At 91

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 6:19 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

The French filmmaker who shook up European cinema and offered inspiration to directors as varied as Woody Allen and David Lynch died on Saturday. Alain Resnais caused a sensation with his films "Hiroshima Mon Amour" and "Last Year at Marienbad" in the 1950s and '60s. Critic Bob Mondello offers an appreciation.

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Author Interviews
3:42 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

What Really Happened The Night Kitty Genovese Was Murdered?

The most well-known image of Kitty Genovese is her 1961 mug shot, taken after a minor gambling arrest.
The New York Times Photo Archive Courtesy of WW Norton

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 9:19 am

In March 1964, there was a heinous murder in the Kew Gardens neighborhood of Queens, N.Y. Back then, there was no 911 emergency number, there were no good Samaritan laws and, despite her cries, there was no one coming to help Catherine Genovese.

Kitty, as she was known, was a bar manager on her way home from work in the early morning hours. According to news reports at the time, she was attacked not once but three times over the course of a half-hour. What's more: There were apparently 38 witnesses.

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Monkey See
1:32 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Book Club Meeting: Come Talk About Steinbeck's 'Grapes Of Wrath'

The Grapes Of Wrath opens in Dust Bowl Oklahoma.
AP

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 3:44 pm

Late last week, an email exchange between NPR Books' team members went something like this:

Camila: OH MY GOD PIGS EAT BABIES!?!?

Nicole: YUP. But then, later, people eat pigs. So, does that make them even?

Colin: I trust this isn't a spoiler. Ahem.

Tanya: SPOILERS PEOPLE.

Camila: Not a spoiler cus it's NOT EVEN A BIG DEAL. That's the worst part. It's just like "Oh yeah, remember the time that pig ate that baby? Memories."

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The Salt
1:00 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Shamrock Shake

Michelle Obama says you should get at least five servings of green per day.
NPR

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 2:48 pm

Long ago, McDonald's chose to honor St. Patrick banishing the snakes from Ireland with its Shamrock Shake, made with real snake. It was known for its subtle flavor and powerful aphrodisiac qualities. While the recipe has changed slightly over the years, the powerful aphrodisiac qualities remain.

Peter: Sucking this up through the straw is pretty hard work just to get something that tastes like toothpaste.

Miles: Shamrocks are good luck, but I think the woman who rang us up took it too far when she said, "You're gonna need it."

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Author Interviews
12:04 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

During World War II, Even Filmmakers Reported For Duty

Maj. Frank Capra sits at his War Department desk in Washington on March 6, 1942. Capra's non-War Department films include It's A Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.
AP

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 12:35 pm

When America entered World War II, some of Hollywood's most celebrated directors enlisted and risked their lives. But they weren't fighting — they were filming combat.

Through the 1930s, Hollywood and the federal government held a mutual suspicion of each other. But after Pearl Harbor, the War Department asked Hollywood directors to make short documentaries that could be presented in theaters before the featured films. The ideas was to show Americans what was at stake, give them a glimpse of what our soldiers were going through and stir up patriotic feelings.

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Movie Interviews
11:37 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Actress Alfre Woodard On Truthful Storytelling In '12 Years A Slave'

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

As we mentioned, "12 Years a Slave" had a major impact at last night's Academy Awards. The film walked away with three awards - best picture, best supporting actress for Lupita Nyong'o and best adapted screenplay for John Ridley. The film was packed with star power, including a small but provocative role for Alfre Woodard as Harriet Shaw, the slave mistress of a nearby plantation owner.

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Movies
11:37 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Best Picture Win For '12 Years A Slave' Sends New Message To Hollywood?

The Oscars brought out the glitz, glamor and gowns in Hollywood. People Magazine's movie critic Alynda Wheat recaps the evening.

Music
11:37 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Alvin Ailey Artistic Director Moves To Missy Elliot

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 11:39 am

Robert Battle is the artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, so music is a big part of his job. He shares the songs that move him for Tell Me More's "In Your Ear" series.

Monkey See
10:54 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Stages Of Winter Rage

A man shovels snow. He's probably around the middle one of all the stages of rage, we figure. Though if he were sobbing, you couldn't see it.
Lisa Kyle Young iStockphoto

[The following is a purely speculative, hypothetical story of winter. It corresponds to no actual meteorological data.]

October 20: Eeeeeeee! Snow in the forecast! Eeeeeeee!

October 21: I saw flakes! Here's an Instagram of flakes out my window! You can't really see them, but they're there, I promise! Flakes!

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The 86th Annual Academy Awards
6:49 am
Mon March 3, 2014

John Travolta Messes Up 'Let It Go' Singer's Name

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 10:11 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

Seems bad boy Danny Zuko still doesn't do his homework. The star of "Grease" had a walk-on last night in the Oscars. John Travolta introduced Idina Menzel, calling her wickedly talented. She starred in "Wicked" on Broadway. But it quickly became clear he'd never heard of her. He introduced her as Adele Dazim. The song Ms. Menzel sang, from "Frozen," won the Oscar, anyway.

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The Two-Way
6:13 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Book News: Phyllis Krasilovsky, Author Of 'The Very Little Girl,' Dies

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 6:14 am

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

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NPR Story
4:17 am
Mon March 3, 2014

France Mourns Filmmaker Alain Resnais

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 10:11 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The prolific French filmmaker Alain Resnais died over the weekend, at the age of 91. Resnais' films captured international awards for over seven decades. And as NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports, he was making movies up until the very end.

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: Alain Resnais cemented his reputation as a filmmaker with the 1959 classic, "Hiroshima, Mon Amour," made with author Marguerite Duras as scriptwriter.

(SOUNDBITE OF "HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR")

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Foreign language spoken)

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The 86th Annual Academy Awards
4:17 am
Mon March 3, 2014

'12 Years A Slave' Wins Oscar's Best Picture

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 10:11 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

At the Oscars, it was looking like a big night for the space thriller "Gravity." The film took one Oscar after another, seven in all - most not the headline awards, but "Gravity" did win for Best Director. By the end of the night, though, a movie some critics thought was too painful to win Best Picture did just that. The night belonged to "12 Years a Slave."

Here's NPR's Mandalit del Barco.

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NPR Story
4:17 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Conversations About Slavery Inspired By '12 Years A Slave'

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 10:11 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning.

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Monkey See
12:35 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Oscars 2014: Low On Laughs, But A Great Speech Or Two

At Sunday's Oscar ceremony, the feel-good win of the night came when 12 Years a Slave star Lupita Nyong'o took home the supporting-actress trophy.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 7:26 am

The big winner was 12 Years a Slave, but there was quite a bit of love to go around at Sunday night's Oscars. What there wasn't, as usual, was a lot of riveting television.

Sure, there was John Travolta squinting at the teleprompter and introducing Idina Menzel (to sing the Oscar-winning Best Original Song "Let It Go," from Frozen) as — no kidding — "Adele Dazeem." And there was a fun dance number featuring Pharrell Williams and his own Oscar-nominated "Happy," which he wore a formal black version of his Grammys hat to perform.

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The Two-Way
5:50 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

'12 Years A Slave,' 'Gravity' Win Big At The Oscars

Red carpet's ready: The rope line awaits at Hollywood & Highland Center.
Christopher Polk Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 9:37 am

After several days of heavy rain in Los Angeles, the sun came out just as the 86th annual Academy Awards got underway at the Dolby Theater.

The big award of the night, for Best Picture, went to 12 Years a Slave. The film tells the harrowing tale of Solomon Northup, a free black man in New York who was sold into slavery. (See the full list of winners below.)

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Books
4:12 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

Roving Literary Death Match Aims To Breathe Life Into Literature

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 6:09 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

Picture this, a group of writers - quiet, bookish, solitary - duking it out in a fight to the death. That's the idea behind Literary Death Match, a performance series that pits authors against each other - not physically but through readings from their own books. The show travels all over the country. Reporter Alex Schmidt was at a recent performance in Los Angeles and has the story.

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Movie Interviews
4:12 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

When A Lost 'Lunchbox' Leads To Love, A Mistake Becomes A Miracle

Saajan Fernandes (Irrfan Khan) is a widower whose correspondence comes in an unlikely package — a lunchbox.
Ritesh Batra Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 6:09 pm

How many ways are there to tell a love story? More than you may think — especially in Mumbai, India, a city of millions. The Lunchbox, written and directed by Ritesh Batra, is one such story — a love that blossoms from a mistaken food delivery.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:12 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

Philippe Jaroussky And The Impossibly High Male Voice

Philippe Jaroussky's new album is Farinelli: Porpora Arias.
Marc Ribes Erato/Warner Classics

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 6:09 pm

Philippe Jaroussky cuts a masculine figure on the cover of his new album, Farinelli: Porpora Arias, but you might do a double take upon hearing the music. The arias the French opera singer performs on this release were written in the 18th century for a castrato — a boy singer castrated to retain his high singing voice through adulthood.

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Code Switch
2:37 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

Latin Pride Swells For Mystery Model Behind Oscar Statuette

Hollywood legend has it the Oscar statuette was modeled after Mexican actor and director Emilio Fernandez.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 7:23 pm

The 8-pound, 24-carat-gold-plated statuette that will be handed out at the Academy Awards Sunday night is said to be modeled after a real man.

That man's name is not Oscar.

It might be Emilio, Emilio "El Indio" Fernandez. He was a famous Mexican director and actor who used to live in Hollywood in the 1920s. His nickname, "The Indian," came from the Kickapoo side of his family.

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