Arts

My Guilty Pleasure
6:03 am
Sun February 23, 2014

For This British Author, If It Bleeds, She Reads

iStockphoto

The first thing you need to know about my guilty pleasure is that you probably share it. George Orwell certainly did. He writes about it in his 1946 essay, Decline of the English Murder: "It is Sunday afternoon ... Your pipe is drawing sweetly, the sofa cushions are soft underneath you, the fire is well alight, the air is warm and stagnant. In these blissful circumstances, what it is that you want to read about? Naturally, about a murder."

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Music Interviews
4:41 pm
Sat February 22, 2014

Fred Armisen's Fake Bands (And Their Real Songs)

Bryan Cranston and Fred Armisen in character as The Bjelland Brothers, a sibling soft rock duo dreamed up by Armisen for a 2010 sketch on Saturday Night Live.
NBC via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 1:57 pm

A lot of obscure bands want to reach a national audience, and they send their records to NPR. Unfortunately, there's a lot of forgettable stuff in the mix, and recently the staff of All Things Considered received the kind of CD it would usually toss.

It's got a pair of singles by two bands — The Blue Jean Committee, which came out of the 1970s Massachusetts folk scene; and The Fingerlings, a British post-disco/synth band of art-school graduates. Both sound desperately tiresome.

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Author Interviews
4:00 pm
Sat February 22, 2014

Forecasting The 'Future' By Tapping Into Human Consciousness

iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat February 22, 2014 6:18 pm

Now more than ever before, we have the tools to study the mysteries of consciousness. Memory, dreams, the self are now being examined using high-tech brain scans developed by physicists on the cutting edge of their field.

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Around the Nation
3:35 pm
Sat February 22, 2014

Where Are The Heroes To Save Pittsburgh's African-American Center?

The $42-million August Wilson Center in Pittsburgh is for sale because it can't pay its bills. Some are questioning why the Center was allowed to fail.
Keith Srakocic AP

Originally published on Sat February 22, 2014 6:18 pm

In 2009 a gleaming performing arts space opened to great fanfare in downtown Pittsburgh. The distinctive $42 million-dollar building is as long as the block it occupies, and the corner of the building looks like the sail of a ship made in glass and stone.

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The Picture Show
11:47 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Beyond Sochi: Photos Of Russia By Russians

A kitten loves on an old woman in the Cossack village of Velikopetrovskaya near Cheliyabinsk.
Igor Lagunov, Magnitigorsk

The gap between how foreigners view Russia and how Russians view themselves is wide and as old as the country itself.

Russian photographer Valeriy Klamm felt that foreign photojournalists who came to work in his country arrive with the pictures they want to send back home already in their head: Bleak images of a cold and desolate place where autocrats lord over drunks.

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Books News & Features
7:03 am
Sat February 22, 2014

'The Natural' Of 1952 Holds Lessons For Today's MLB

Originally published on Sat February 22, 2014 12:06 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There's an old baseball legend about the kid out of nowhere who boards a train for a tryout in Chicago with nothing but his toothbrush and a bat he calls Wonderboy. The kid strikes out the Whammer, the best hitter in the game, but gets to his hotel and opens his door to a pretty girl. Wham, bam, she shoots him in the stomach and he doesn't make a comeback for 15 years.

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Books News & Features
7:03 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Celebrate Winnie-The-Pooh's 90th With A Rare Recording (And Hunny)

On his first birthday, Christopher Robin Milne — son of A.A. Milne — was given a teddy bear. That bear became the inspiration for the Winnie-the-Pooh tales, the first of which appeared in 1924. Father and son are pictured above in 1926.
Howard Coster Apic/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 2:43 pm

This month, A.A. Milne's beloved bear celebrates a big birthday. Winnie-the-Pooh made his first appearance as "Edward Bear" in a short poem titled "Teddy Bear" which was published in Punch magazine on Feb. 13, 1924.

In honor of Pooh's 90th, we're listening back to a rare, 1929 recording, in which Milne reads from his book, Winnie-the-Pooh.

So find a pot of your favorite "hunny" and click the audio link above to hear Milne's reading.

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Remembrances
7:03 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Writer Mavis Gallant Portrayed 'Lost Souls' Of Post-WWII Europe

More than 100 of Mavis Gallant's short stories were published in The New Yorker.
Louis Monier Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 2:43 pm

Unless you've been a devoted reader of New Yorker short stories for the last 60 years, you may not know the name Mavis Gallant. The magazine published more Gallant stories than almost any other writer, except John Updike.

She died Tuesday in Paris at age 91.

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Author Interviews
7:03 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Hollywood Goes To War In 'Five Came Back'

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 2:43 pm

Hollywood helped win World War II — and by that, we don't mean John Wayne, but five of the country's most celebrated film directors, who went to work making films for the War Department that showed Americans at war, overseas and in the skies, living, fighting, bleeding and dying. Those films changed America — and deepened the men who made them, including John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, George Stevens, and Frank Capra.

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The Salt
7:03 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Cholent: The Original Slow-Cooked Dish

While traditional cholents feature meat and beans cooked for a whole day, some modern versions, like this one, use vegetable protein and a quick braise.
rusvaplauke/Flickr

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 2:06 pm

This chilly winter, many of us have warmed ourselves — and our kitchens — with long-cooked meals. Roasts, beans, and stews have been in heavy rotation. But there's a dish called cholent that isn't just cooked for a few hours — it's cooked for a full day.

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Book Reviews
6:03 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Love And Whiskers In 'On Loving Women'

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 9:08 am

True love isn't usually associated with minimalism. It isn't usually associated with little animal heads, either, and yet Montreal artist Diane "Obom" Obomsawin manages to make all three work together just splendidly in her graphic novel On Loving Women. It's more like a graphic collection of short stories, actually: Obomsawin illustrates a dozen or so different women's accounts of how they first fell in love with other women, or girls — all of whom have, you guessed it, little animal heads.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
4:17 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Look Out! Not My Job Guest Sen. Mark Warner Gets Quizzed On Warnings

Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 22, 2014 11:03 am

Mark Warner says that he got off to a good start, making it to Harvard Law School, but then promptly failed at everything he tried. No wonder, then, that he had to settle for a career in the U.S. Senate, where he's currently a democratic senator from Virginia.

We've invited Warner to play a game called "Danger! Get Away! Ahhhhh!" Three questions about warnings.

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This Week's Must Read
3:42 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

A Cure For Sochi Fatigue, Shaken, Not Stirred

George Lazenby takes aim at his pursuers in a scene from the 1969 film On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
United Artist Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 8:47 am

The Sochi Winter Olympics haven't been short on drama: The Russians upset the South Koreans in figure skating; the Dutch upset us in speed-skating; everybody got upset about Bob Costas's eye infection. But after two weeks and a great deal of curling, a certain amount of Sochi fatigue is setting in. So it might be refreshing to look back at one of the iconic heroes of winter sports: Agent 007 himself, James Bond.

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Movie Reviews
12:14 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

'Wind Rises' Is Exquisite, And Likely To Be Hayao Miyazaki's Last

In the film, which Miyazaki says is his last, the wind carries off the parasol of a fragile girl, Nahoko, into the hands of Jiro — who will fall in love with her.
Studio Ghibli Nibariki

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 5:57 pm

The 73-year-old Japanese animation titan Hayao Miyazaki says The Wind Rises is his final film, and if that's true — and I hope it's not but fear it is, since he's not the type to make rash declarations — he's going out on a high.

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The Salt
11:47 am
Fri February 21, 2014

What Sbarro's Woes Say About Where We Get Our Fast Food Now

Customers at a Sbarro in Chicago on April 4, 2011, the day that the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 6:23 pm

In 1985, Joe Sbarro declared that he had high hopes for his cafeteria-style pizza chain, founded in 1956.

"Sbarro's dream is to be another McDonald's," he told Newsday.

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Paperback Nonfiction Bestsellers
11:04 am
Fri February 21, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Nonfiction, Week Of February 20, 2014

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 9:05 am

Experts share their fears in What Should We Be Worried About?, edited by John Brockman. It appears at No. 14.

Paperback Fiction Bestsellers
11:04 am
Fri February 21, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Fiction, Week Of February 20, 2014

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 9:03 am

Appearing at No. 4, Cockroaches, by Jo Nesbo, is the second Harry Hole novel — translated into English for the first time.

Hardcover Nonfiction Bestsellers
11:04 am
Fri February 21, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Nonfiction, Week Of February 20, 2014

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 9:05 am

In The Sixth Extinction, debuting at No. 1, Elizabeth Kolbert describes how human activity is driving species loss.

Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
11:04 am
Fri February 21, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction, Week Of February 20, 2014

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 9:02 am

Andy Weir's The Martian is the harrowing tale of an astronaut stranded on the red planet. It debuts at No. 6.

NPR Bestseller List
11:04 am
Fri February 21, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Week Of February 20, 2014

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 9:01 am

The lists are compiled from weekly surveys of close to 500 independent bookstores nationwide.

Monkey See
10:59 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Who Killed The New 'RoboCop'?

Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is a Detroit cop brought back from the brink of death — as a cyborg supercop built for reducing crime and increasing profit.
Kerry Hayes Sony Pictures

The Retouchables is a column examining the recycling of pop-cultural properties. Future installments will discuss remakes in development, or that should be, or that were made but should not have been, or for which I have written several script treatments. Did you not get them? Call me.

Our inaugural dispatch deconstructs a long-in-development remake that has finally come to semi-sweet fruition.

The Past Of The Future Of Law Enforcement

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Barbershop
10:59 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Are The Barbershop Guys Sorry They Are Not Idris Elba?

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 11:11 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Faith Matters
10:59 am
Fri February 21, 2014

From Buddhism to Baha'i: Black Faith Spreads Across All Religions

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 11:11 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Let's turn to Faith Matters now. That's the part of the program where we talk about matters of religion, faith and spirituality. It's Black History Month so that got us thinking about the importance of faith to African-Americans throughout history and to this day. But a recent piece in the Huffington Post's religion section also got us thinking about how that faith practice is much more diverse than many people might realize.

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This I Believe 2014
7:35 am
Fri February 21, 2014

I Believe in Dirt

Abagail Perrero - Southeast HS
Credit Randy Eccles / WUIS

I believe in Saturday mornings with my mother. Waking up in the morning, the sun just barely peeking in through my curtains. Struggling into last night’s jeans, eyes still glued shut with sleep. Bad TV dramas while both of us avoid our homework in the winter, but in the summer we skip breakfast and take bumpy car rides. We walk hand in hand past a pockmarked brick road and a green bar door, down and over one block from a parking meter left unpaid. A skip over the train tracks and we are at the Farmers’ Market. A right turn for home-made bread rolls and our favorite salad guys.

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The Two-Way
6:48 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Book News: Year's Oddest Title? 'Pie-ography,' 'Working Class Cats' In Running

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

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Movies
6:17 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Analysis: Who Oscar-Winning Actors Thank

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 4:31 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. We finally have analysis of actors giving thanks at the Oscars. You know, I want to thank my director or some inspiring figure. Twice in recent years, winning actors thanked Oprah; twice, they thanked Sidney Poitier. Three actors name-checked God; four thanked Meryl Streep - and that was the headline: Meryl Streep gets thanked more often than God.

Poetry
6:03 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Wise, Funny Poems, Saved From The Trash Bin In The Nick Of 'Time'

iStockphoto

It always feels good to see a poet rescued from oblivion. Michael Benedikt (1935-2007), a prominent figure in the poetry scene of the 1960s and 70s, was not exactly an important poet, but he was — and in his work, he remains — a deeply enjoyable one.

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Movie Reviews
5:58 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

One Conflict, One Wall, Two Sides Of The Arab-Israeli World

Omar (Adam Bakri) is a Palestinian baker and secret informant who braves the wall that splits his community to visit his lover, Nadia (Leem Lubany) in the Oscar-nominated film Omar.
Adopt Films

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 4:27 pm

American art-house audiences are being offered an intriguing exercise in double vision over the next couple of weeks: two movies about Palestinian informants and their complicated relationships with Israel's secret service, one directed by a Palestinian, the other by an Israeli. Their similarities turn out to be nearly as intriguing as their differences.

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Movie Reviews
5:33 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

'Pompeii': In Ancient Rome, A Hot 3-D Mess

Game of Thrones' Kit Harington plays a gladiator who finds love, friendship and vengeance — all in one fateful weekend — in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius.
Sony Pictures

You can say this for director Paul W.S. Anderson: He gets the basic purpose of 3-D movies. While the current renaissance in cinematic stereoscopy is touted as a method for creating more "immersive" experiences for audiences, the list of movies that achieve that lofty goal can be counted on one hand: Gravity, Hugo, Life of Pi. Most 3-D exists to bilk customers out of a few extra bucks.

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Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Zola's Scandalous Raquin Clan, Sordid 'Secret' And All

Therese (Elizabeth Olsen) and Laurent (Oscar Issac) have a scandalous affair — and some real chemistry. But the unevenness of In Secret, adapted from Emile Zola's novel Therese Raquin, moves their plotline away from center.
Phil Bray Roadside Attractions

Emile Zola was one of the founders of naturalism, and his first major work, 1867's Therese Raquin, is full of precise physical description. The novel's plot is utter melodrama, though, and that's the aspect emphasized by In Secret, the latest in a century-long string of film and TV adaptations.

With its small cast of characters and limited number of locations, the book does lend itself to dramatization. In fact, writer-director Charlie Stratton's retelling of Zola's shocker was derived in part from the stage version by Neal Bell.

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