Arts

Television
3:27 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

TV Offerings Are Hotter Than Usual This Summer

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 6:11 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, BYLINE: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: And I'm Melissa Block. Instead of taking their usual summer vacation, the TV networks are working to get your attention this summer. They're hoping to lure your eyes away from cable channels and online shows. To talk about some of the hot summer programming that will be on the schedule, I'm joined now by NPR TV critic Eric Deggans. And Eric, summer is usually when the networks slow down, but not this year. What's going on?

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Fine Art
1:18 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

'Degenerate' Exhibit Recalls Nazi War On Modern Art

The Neue Galerie exhibit's empty frames represent paintings that were lost or destroyed by the Nazis. They appear beside works that survived Nazi rule, like George Grosz's Portrait of the Writer Max Hermann-Neisse (lower right).
Courtesy of Hulya Kolabas for Neue Galerie New York

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 1:28 pm

One of the most unsettling rooms in an important art exhibit at New York's Neue Galerie is a room in which numerous empty frames are hanging, with guesses about which paintings might have been in them. The paintings themselves were all lost or destroyed by the Nazis. Encouraged by Hitler, most Nazis (Joseph Goebbels was the rare exception) considered everything but the most hidebound, traditionally realistic paintings and sculptures to be "degenerate," a threat to the Aryan ideals of German culture.

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Movies
11:21 am
Thu May 29, 2014

'Belle': Romance, Race And Slavery With Jane Austen Style

Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Dido Elizabeth Belle in Belle.
David Appleby Fox Searchlight

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 6:12 pm

British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw was brought up on Jane Austen adaptations. "You know, the Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle was something I watched on a weekly basis with my mum at home in Oxfordshire," she tells NPR's Michel Martin.

But as the biracial actress completed her training at Britain's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, she watched her peers win roles in "the Downton Abbeys of this world" and realized those period dramas weren't calling her. It made Mbatha-Raw ask: "Why can't I be in something like this?"

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Ask Me Another
10:20 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Master Class With John Turturro

John Turturro and Spike Lee's long-standing collaboration spans several films, including Do the Right Thing, Mo' Better Blues and He Got Game.
Bruce Bennett Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 4:00 pm

  • On directing Woody Allen, messing with Michael Bay

Jesus in the Coen brothers' The Big Lebowski, Pino in Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing, Herb Stempel in Robert Redford's Quiz Show -- actor John Turturro has performed countless memorable movie roles. Moving behind the camera, Turturro wrote, directed and starred in the new movie Fading Gigolo, which found him working alongside one of his influences, Woody Allen. It all started because the two men share the same barber.

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Ask Me Another
10:20 am
Thu May 29, 2014

John Turturro: Walken On Sunshine

John Turturro turns to his wife, actress Katherine Borowitz, for help during a quiz about the legendary Christopher Walken, on stage at The Bell House in Brooklyn, NY.
Josh Rogosin NPR

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 10:33 am

Turturro is a star in his own right, but he and his wife, actress Katherine Borowitz play a game about fellow thespian Christopher Walken. We've got a fever, and the only prescription is more trivia!

Plus, hear house musician Jonathan Coulton playfully cover Marc Cohn's "Walking in Memphis."

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Ask Me Another
10:05 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Stick To Your Day Job

Sometimes a career switch is all you need, but some celebs might have been better off not branching out. Whose acting makes him "Master and Commander," but his singing is "Les Miserables"?

Heard in Episode 318: O'Brother, Where Art Thou Quiz Show?

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Ask Me Another
10:05 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Aww-Inspiring

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 3:00 pm

The internet is good for many things, but especially pictures of dogs in tiny hats. All answers in this game contain the sound "aw." Say them like you're looking at an adorable corgi puppy.

Heard in Episode 318: O'Brother, Where Art Thou Quiz Show?

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Ask Me Another
10:05 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Fuhgeddaboutdit!

The Spice Girls are comprised of Sporty, Posh, Scary, Ginger and...? We'll tell you all the members of a certain category, except one. Give us your Brooklyn accent and call us out on the one we forgot.

Heard in Episode 318: O'Brother, Where Art Thou Quiz Show?

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Ask Me Another
10:05 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Popping The Question

Music sometimes asks big questions, like "Why Do Fools Fall In Love?" In this game, rewritten lyrics to inquisitively-titled songs make them decidedly weirder. Tell me why: why do hands fit in gloves?

Heard in Episode 318: O'Brother, Where Art Thou Quiz Show?

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Ask Me Another
10:05 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Taking A Vowel Of Poverty

In this final round, all answers are words that contain three or more of a single vowel—and only that vowel. Strap on your bikinis and muumuus, and crank up the Bananarama!

Heard in Episode 318: O'Brother, Where Art Thou Quiz Show?

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Book Reviews
6:16 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Magic From The Margins In Long-Awaited 'Long Hidden'

Originally published on

As I was growing up, the fantasy worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis provided a way to escape a childhood I wasn't quite sure I would survive. Myth is powerful stuff; it opened doorways to alternate realities that helped me see more clearly the twisted power lines that dictated my upbringing. But that was my childhood: the childhood of a white, middle class girl who could relate to middle class white hobbits and the Pevensie children and the icky evil they encountered (which, trust me, was very icky).

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Book News & Features
4:16 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Library Of Congress Searches For Missing Jefferson Books

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 6:33 am

Staffers at the Library of Congress have been looking for 250 books that belonged to Thomas Jefferson. He gave these books and several thousand more to start the library more than 200 years ago.

Book News & Features
4:11 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Authors Angered Over Amazon's Dispute With Publisher Hachette

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 8:37 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We've reached a moment that probably shouldn't surprise us when it comes to the modern publishing industry. A lot of people are addicted to buying books online using Amazon. But Amazon is now in a pricing dispute with the publisher Hachette. The online giant is refusing to accept orders for upcoming books from Hachette, which has a heavy-hitting roster of authors. NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO: Some authors are furious at Amazon.

NINA LADEN: They don't really care. It's all about money.

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Photography
2:03 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Home Has 4 Wheels: Photos Of People Who've Broken Down Walls

"The real reason we're down here is for the art of Salvation Mountain." - Kirsten and Adam in Slab City, Calif.
Andrew Waits

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 7:56 pm

Tiny homes — you've heard of them: those cute-as-a-button, 200-square-foot, closet-sized prefabs on the covers of glossy shelter magazines, tempting us to downsize and live the eco-chic American Dream.

But what we haven't seen a lot of is the four-wheeled alternative — the life lived by many of those who go against the grain by ditching four walls altogether.

Contrary to what some may think, not everyone who lives out of a car is homeless. In fact, there's an entire population of auto dwellers out there that chooses to forgo the white picket fence for a pop-top.

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Fine Art
1:56 am
Thu May 29, 2014

As Portraits Became Passé, These Artists Redefined 'Face Value'

Joan Brown's 1970 Self-Portrait with Fish and Cat is the first image you see at the National Portrait Gallery's "Face Value" exhibit.
Estate of Joan Brown Courtesy of George Adams Gallery/National Portrait Gallery

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 12:34 pm

"Walk softly and carry a big fish" was one curator's take on a humorous self-portrait of a tall woman, holding an enormous yellow fish and a paintbrush, with a black cat lurking below.

Bay area artist Joan Brown's image is the first thing you see at a new National Portrait Gallery exhibition called "Face Value: Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction." Brown's painting, like so many in this Smithsonian show, is powerful and funny.

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Arts & Life
3:21 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou Reads 'Still I Rise'

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 5:17 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And we're going to take a moment now to listen to one of Maya Angelou's best-known poems. Here she is, reading "Still I Rise."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

MAYA ANGELOU: You may write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lies. You may trod me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I'll rise.

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Book News & Features
3:21 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Burton Calls On 'Star Trek' Fans To Bring 'Reading Rainbow' To The Next Generation

Reading Rainbow went off the air in 2009, but the show's host, LeVar Burton, is keeping the brand alive. He is raising money for an interactive website to "bring Reading Rainbow back for every child, everywhere."
GPN/Nebraska ETV Network and WNE

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 8:08 pm

What happens when you tap into the nostalgia surrounding not one, but two, beloved television franchises? LeVar Burton is about to find out.

For 26 years host Burton encouraged kids to embark on reading adventures on the PBS show Reading Rainbow. After the show went off the air in 2009, Burton acquired the rights to the brand and its library.

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Remembrances
3:06 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

The Life Of Poet Maya Angelou, From Poverty To Presidential Prizes

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 5:18 pm

Poet, performer and political activist Maya Angelou has died after a long illness at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was 86.

Author Interviews
1:45 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

'Fresh Air' Remembers Poet And Memoirist Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou's most recent autobiography, Mom & Me & Mom, looked back on her complicated relationship with her mother.
Doug Mills AP

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 2:10 pm

In her memoirs, Maya Angelou explored how race and gender affected her life. Her first memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was published in 1969 and describes growing up in the segregated South. It includes the story of how, as a child, Angelou was raped by her mother's boyfriend. After the rape, she withdrew into herself and went through a long period of not speaking.

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Remembrances
11:12 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Nikki Giovanni Honors Her Late Friend Maya Angelou

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 11:24 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We'd like to pay tribute now to the legendary author and poet Maya Angelou. She died this morning at the age of 86. Here is a clip of her reading part of one of her most beloved poems "Phenomenal Woman."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Beauty Shop
11:12 am
Wed May 28, 2014

#YesAllWomen Puts Spotlight On Misogyny

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 11:24 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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The Two-Way
10:33 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Book News: Amazon Defends Tough Negotiating Tactics

Amazon is "not optimistic that this will be resolved soon," speaking about its dispute with the publisher Hachette. The retailer is not allowing customers to pre-order Hachette's books.
Philippe Merle AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 12:17 pm

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

Note: This post was written before news of writer Maya Angelou's death emerged. Annalisa will be away until early next week, but feel free to send her your bookish thoughts and questions on Twitter at @annalisa_quinn.

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The Two-Way
9:06 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou, Poet, Activist And Singular Storyteller, Dies At 86

Angelou became Hollywood's first black female movie director on Nov. 3, 1971. She also wrote the script and music for Caged Bird, which was based on her best-selling 1969 autobiography. She had been a professional singer, dancer, writer, composer, poet, lecturer, editor and San Francisco streetcar conductor.
AP

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 11:58 am

Poet, performer and political activist Maya Angelou has died after a long illness at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was 86. Born in St. Louis in 1928, Angelou grew up in a segregated society that she worked to change during the civil rights era. Angelou, who refused to speak for much of her childhood, revealed the scars of her past in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the first of a series of memoirs.

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Book Reviews
6:03 am
Wed May 28, 2014

'Gottland': A Short Book About Stalin's Long Shadow

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 1:03 pm

It was 50 feet high and 70 feet long, more than 37 million pounds of granite and concrete. It dominated Letná Park in Prague for the seven years it stood. But in 1962, the biggest monument to Josef Stalin in the world was destroyed, after the dictator fell out of ideological favor in Czechoslovakia.

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Book Reviews
4:05 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

McMurtry Takes Aim At A Legend In 'Last Kind Words Saloon'

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 8:04 pm

In a prefatory note to The Last Kind Words Saloon, his first novel in five years, Western writer supreme Larry McMurtry states that he wants to create a "ballad in prose." And he borrows a line from great moviemaker John Ford: "When legend becomes fact, print the legend."

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Economy
3:17 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

'Financial Times' Picks Apart Picketty, Sparking An Argument

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 6:58 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The feeling among the super-rich that capitalism is under siege may be heightened by the release of the book "Capital In The Twenty-First Century." It's by the French economist, Thomas Piketty. The book, which deals with growing inequality, has been a publishing phenomenon. It currently tops many non-fiction best seller lists. But late last week, The Financial Times published a story citing errors in the book and suggesting that some of its conclusions are mistaken. NPR's John Ydstie reports.

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Books
1:54 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

China Turns To Africa For Resources, Jobs And Future Customers

Over the next few years China will build a multi-billion dollar railway linking the Kenyan port of Mombasa to Nairobi (shown here), based on an agreement signed earlier this month by East African and Chinese officials. It's one of many examples of China's increasing economic engagement with African countries.
Tony Karumba AFP/Getty Images

China's economic engagement in Africa can be measured in dollars — for instance, the $71 million airport expansion contract in Mali, funded by American foreign aid, that went to a Chinese construction firm.

More remarkably, it can be measured in people: More than a million Chinese citizens have permanently moved to Africa, buying land, starting businesses and settling among local populations.

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Music Videos
11:52 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Mark Stewart On Q2 Music's 'Spaces'

Q2 Music

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 10:06 am

In his own words, Mark Stewart makes a living playing a little bit of popular music, quite a bit of semi-popular music and an enormous amount of unpopular music — the last being all the music you probably haven't heard.

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Monkey See
10:03 am
Tue May 27, 2014

'Mad Men' Pauses At The Half-Season With A Song And Dance

Jon Hamm as Don Draper, who ended the first half of Mad Men's last season in a state of uncertainty — as always.
Justina Mintz AMC

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 3:38 pm

A death, a divorce, a song and dance number and a sale; must be the end of another Mad Men season.

Creator Matt Weiner has a reputation for ending seasons on a melodramatic note. And even though this year's run of Mad Men episodes was cut in half by AMC to set the series finale next year, Sunday's "Waterloo" still managed to close 2014's seven-episode run with a jolt.

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The Two-Way
7:33 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Book News: U.K. Plan To Cut American Lit From Tests Prompts Fierce Backlash

Britain's Education Secretary Michael Gove, seen here in 2013, has been forced to respond to critics of his plan to pull classic American novels from a major British standardized test.
Alastair Grant AP

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

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