Every July, for one month a year, the southern French city of Avignon becomes a theater. Actors, directors and playwrights converge on the walled, medieval town, where thespians perform in every playhouse, opera house, church and even in the streets. It's all part of the Avignon Theater Festival, which was started in 1947 by renowned French actor and director Jean Vilar.
Real men eat meat. They kill it and then they grill it.
That's the stereotype, or cliche, that's about as old as time.
At a recent barbecue in Brooklyn, N.Y., a half-dozen guys who resist that particular cultural stereotype gathered together. Many of them are muscled semi-professional athletes, including triathlete Dominic Thompson, competitive bodybuilder Giacomo Marchese and mixed martial arts fighter Cornell Ward.
As the great-great-grandson of Texas slaveholders, journalist Chris Tomlinson wanted to find out what crimes his ancestors had committed to maintain power and privilege.
So he went to Tomlinson Hill, the plantation his ancestors built in the 1850s, to not only explore the slave-owning part of his family tree, but also to find the descendants of the slaves who kept the Tomlinson name after they were freed.
Mississippi's past looms large in Greg Iles' best-selling thrillers. His latest book, Natchez Burning, is the first in a trilogy thattakes readers back 50 years to chilling civil rights-era murders and conspiracies all set in Iles' hometown â€” the antebellum river city of Natchez, Miss.
Iles' hero, Penn Cage, is a former prosecutor and widowed single father who has returned to his childhood home. Once there, he finds himself confronting killers, corruption and dark secrets.
As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.
In the past year, my first in a prestigious Ph.D. program in creative writing and literature, I have often felt conspicuous as a writer of color. I have felt a responsibility to speak up when race is discussed, but I have also resented this responsibility. Lately, I have found myself burying my head. It bothers me to no end that the pressure is beating me, and yet it is.
Director George A. Romero grew up on classic movie monsters â€” and he says he never dreamed he'd be responsible for creating the modern zombie that now lurks alongside those monsters. "I never expected it. I really didn't," he tells NPR's Arun Rath. "... All I did was I took them out of 'exotica' and I made them the neighbors ... I thought there's nothing scarier than the neighbors!"
On-air challenge: Two clues will be provided. The first is for a brand name that ends in the letter S and sounds like it's plural. Change the first letter to spell a new word that is plural and answers the second clue. Example: tennis shoes, places to sleep; the answer would be Keds and beds.
Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 11:09 am
Jace Wilson is a 13-year-old boy who plans to do what many boneheaded 13-year-olds do: something dumb on a dare, to once and for all dispense with the idea that he might be a coward. But while psyching himself up to go through with the dare, he witnesses a murder â€” and before we know it, we're off. Michael Koryta's new novel, Those Who Wish Me Dead, sucks you in from the first page and doesn't let you go.
Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 10:51 am
I remember taking an intermediate Italian class in college, and to gauge our linguistic level of proficiency, the professor assigned us a short essay to write. Using the Italian I had picked up from my grandparents, I proudly wrote about my familial ancestry in Calabria. The essay came back with every other word circled in red and labeled "dialetto."
"In this class," the professor said as he picked up the paper from my desk, "we will learn the proper Italian language of Dante." At that moment, I felt at once robbed of my Italian heritage, and ashamed of my Calabrian ancestry.
The Television Critics Association is a funny animal. Its challenge, as well as its strength, is that it includes people with massively different jobs: longtime print critics (both nationally and locally oriented) who have been coming to the annual press tour for decades, reporters who cover the television industry, cultural critics whose beats extend past television, online writers who specialize in weekly criticism â€” this is a lot of people who quite reasonably look at television differently.
In 1960, Harper Lee published To Kill a Mockingbird, won the Pulitzer Prize, and overnight became one of America's most beloved writers. But Lee was overwhelmed by the media blitz that followed. She retreated from the public eye, became wary of journalists, and never published another book.
Then, in 2001, a reporter for The Chicago Tribune showed up in Lee's hometown of Monroeville, Ala., to work on a story about the town, which is the model for the fictional setting of Lee's novel.
As a critic, I read for work. Or rather, I read and then work to translate that experience into something others might read. The hope is that they'll then be compelled enough to also read, if it's any good, the thing I wrote about me reading. That's a pretty meaningful exchange for a reviewer.
We want to take a moment now to remember Elaine Stritch. She died this week at the age of 89 after a career that ran for seven decades on Broadway and the West End, movies and television. She sang about "The Ladies Who Lunch" in her signature voice - gruff, bruised, but strong.
Back in the 2008 presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama launched a media storm when he nonchalantly fist bumped his wife Michelle. "Obama's Fist-bump Rocks The Nation!: The Huffington Postexclaimed. "Is the fist bump the new high-five?" NPR's Laura Silverman asked.
Twenty years ago, chef Thomas Keller bought a little restaurant in Napa Valley called The French Laundry and transformed it into one of the finest restaurants in the country. He's inspired countless other chefs, consulted on the film Ratatouille, opened other award-winning restaurants, and convinced people to pay $100 for a corn pudding appetizer.