Arts

Author Interviews
4:05 am
Sun May 4, 2014

The 'Marvelous Living' Of Soprano Jessye Norman

Jessye Norman performs late on June 6, 2008 during the 14th Sacred World Music Festival.
Abdelhak Senna AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 12:32 pm

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The Two-Way
1:31 am
Sun May 4, 2014

Obama Cracks Wise At White House Correspondents Dinner

Obama has two ferns brought to the podium as a spoof of his appearance on "Between Two Ferns" for his standup at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 7:14 pm

President Obama made fun of himself at the White House Correspondents Association dinner on Saturday, the annual nerd-ball schmooze fest where Washington's media stars get comfy with a mix of political bigwigs and Hollywood beautiful people to celebrate a year of journalism.

Obama, known for his comic timing and delivery, didn't disappoint.

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Author Interviews
4:18 pm
Sat May 3, 2014

Drawing From The Experience Of 'Indolent But Relentless' Cancer

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 5:27 pm

A few years ago, the cartoonist Matt Freedman started having nagging pain around his ear. He bought mouth guards and tried pain relievers, but nothing seemed to work. Slowly, the pain got worse. In 2012, a bump appeared on his neck. It was a slow-growing, dangerous cancer that had already spread to his lungs.

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The Two-Way
10:54 am
Sat May 3, 2014

Actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr. Dies; Played Sleuths On TV Hits

Actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr., seen here at his California home in 1982, died Friday, his family announced.
Wally Fong AP

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 2:00 pm

Efrem Zimbalist Jr., an actor whose streak of leading-man success on TV stretched over three decades, has died. Zimbalist, who starred on ABC's 77 Sunset Strip and The F.B.I., was 95; his family announced his death, saying he died at home on Friday.

"We are heartbroken to announce the passing into peace of our beloved father, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., today at his Solvang ranch," the family said in a statement. "He actively enjoyed his life to the last day, showering love on his extended family, playing golf and visiting with close friends."

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Television
8:52 am
Sat May 3, 2014

'24' Returns To Live Another Action-Packed Day

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 11:33 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The world is in a terrible fix. Drones are zipping. Threats are flying. Secrets are leaking. The president of the United States is in the crosshairs of crisis. Only one person can help - Chloe O'Brian. Oh, and her friend, Jack Bauer. But not everyone's happy.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRAILER)

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Movie Interviews
8:52 am
Sat May 3, 2014

Poland's Tumultuous History Never Straightforward In 'Ida'

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 11:33 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Pawel Pawlikowski is a Polish filmmaker who gained international attention for his 2004 movie "My Summer Of Love." It's about two young women who spend an English summer together. It earned the British equivalent of an Oscar for best film and launched the career of actress Emily Blunt.

His latest movie is opening in the U.S. this weekend. It's called "Ida." And like "My Summer Of Love," it centers on two women. But as Howie Movshovitz of member station KUNC reports, it couldn't be more different.

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Author Interviews
8:52 am
Sat May 3, 2014

Ralph Nader Seeks A United Front Against Corporate America

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 11:33 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Ralph Nader has never been elected president, but his new book has a broad-based coalition of endorsements that range from Grover Norquist on the right to Robert Reich and Cornel West on the left, in which Mr. Nader finds in a partisan time the outlines of a new political force that crosses all party lines. His new book is "Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance To Dismantle The Corporate State." Ralph Nader joins us in our studios. Thanks so much for being with us.

RALPH NADER: Thank you very much, Scott.

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Author Interviews
8:52 am
Sat May 3, 2014

'The Noble Hustle': In Vegas And In Life, We Play The Cards We're Dealt

When Colson Whitehead first visited Las Vegas he thought it was kitschy and campy. Now he says he admires "this sort of great kingdom in the desert."
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 11:33 am

Poker is a favorite metaphor for life, and Colson Whitehead says it's not a bad comparison — especially for big city life. "I think you survive in New York just by having fewer bad things happen to you," he tells NPR's Scott Simon. "And I think that's true for poker as well: If you can play your good cards your bad cards decently and hope that your other player is not as adept at riding these currents of luck and circumstance, you're in good shape."

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Sports
8:52 am
Sat May 3, 2014

NBA's Ban On Sterling: Moral Justice Or Smart Business Move?

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 11:33 am

The NBA's ban on Clippers owner Donald Sterling has drawn approval all around. ESPN's Howard Bryant tells NPR's Scott Simon that with such heinous remarks, the league may not have had much choice.

Book News & Features
4:40 am
Sat May 3, 2014

One NYC Indie Bookstore Survives By Being Small And Specialized

As bookstores both large and small close across the country, Posman Books is about to open its fourth store in Manhattan.
Harry Zernike Posman Books

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 3:11 pm

New York City's Posman Books is bucking a trend. Other booksellers — both independents and big chains like Barnes & Noble — are closing stores in Manhattan, but Posman is getting ready to open its fourth store in the city. It's one sign that some independent bookstores are managing to thrive despite the problems that have beset booksellers in recent years.

On a recent day, customers browsing at Posman Books in the Chelsea Market had a variety of needs: One was killing time before work, another was looking for a Mother's Day card, and yet another needed a new sketchbook.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
6:44 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

San Diego Animal Ambassador 'ZooKeeper Rick' Plays Not My Job

Ken Bohn San Diego Zoo

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 11:33 am

Rick Schwartz is the official animal ambassador for the world famous San Diego Zoo. And because he is an ambassador, he has diplomatic immunity — if he commits a crime on our show we can only hand him back to the orangutans for punishment.

Schwartz — and his sidekick parrot Rio — may know a lot about zoos, but what do they know about Zumba? We'll ask them three questions about the Latin music-inspired exercise craze that swept the nation.

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Paperback Nonfiction Bestsellers
4:03 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Nonfiction, Week Of May 1, 2014

Comedian Jim Gaffigan's Dad is Fat describes the challenge of raising five kids in a Manhattan apartment. It appears at No. 12.

Paperback Fiction Bestsellers
4:03 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Fiction, Week Of May 1, 2014

The Circle, Dave Eggers tale of Silicon Valley power, appears at No. 8.

Hardcover Nonfiction Bestsellers
4:03 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Nonfiction, Week Of May 1, 2014

Debuting at No. 15, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens' Six Amendments suggests changes to the U.S. Constitution.

Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
4:03 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction, Week Of May 1, 2014

Maeve Binchy's Chestnut Street, a collection of stories written throughout the author's life, debuts at No. 7.

NPR Bestseller List
4:03 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Week Of May 1, 2014

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

Movie Reviews
3:41 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

In 'Belle,' A Complex Life Tangled In Class And Commerce

Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate daughter of a British admiral.
David Appleby/Fox Searchlight

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 10:17 am

Here's a unique specialty for a movie studio: slavery films. Last year, Fox Searchlight brought us an Oscar winner about a free black man hauled into 12 years of slavery. Now, in Amma Asante's Belle, the company is releasing what's essentially the reverse of that story — a similarly torn-from-life (though significantly less wrenching) tale of a slave girl who had the great good fortune to be raised as a British aristocrat.

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Monkey See
3:26 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Maintaining The IMAX Experience, From Museum To Multiplex

IMAX

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 10:17 am

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens this weekend, and some moviegoers will pay up to $6 more to see it in IMAX, where the screens are bigger and the action should be more intense. "So real you can feel it in your bones," is how IMAX puts it. But is the IMAX at the multiplex the same as the IMAX you can see at the museum?

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The Salt
2:09 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Urban Greengrocers Are Back, To Serve Big-Spending Locavores

Each Peach Market in Washington, D.C., is one of a growing breed of small, urban greengrocers.
Maanvi Singh NPR

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 9:32 am

Each Peach Market in Washington, D.C., is a far cry from the Trader Joe's where I usually shop. For one thing, it's tiny — smaller than the apartment I share with two others. And there are no lines snaking through aisles and aisles of tempting goods.

You'll find the usual staples here, and also artisanal pickles, locally grown and cured charcuterie, and yogurt from Pennsylvania's Amish country. But don't expect much selection — there are just two brands of olive oil, rather than the several shelves to choose from at Harris Teeter.

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Barbershop
11:29 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Does 'Rich Bigot' Sterling Deserve A Break?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Faith Matters
11:29 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Yiddish Culture Takes Center Stage

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 1:57 pm

An effort to preserve the Yiddish language is getting a boost from the theater world. The artistic director of the National Yiddish Theatre-Folksbiene talks about preserving the language through art.

Author Interviews
11:04 am
Fri May 2, 2014

The Making Of 'Godzilla,' Japan's Favorite 'Mon-Star'

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 1:23 pm

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

We're celebrating Godzilla's 60th anniversary today on FRESH AIR. When the film was first shown in America, about 40 minutes were deleted from the original Japanese version to make it shorter and to make way for new footage that was added to make the movie more marketable to American audiences. The new footage featured an American wire service reporter whose reports provided the narration for the story.

The reporter was played by Raymond Burr, who went on to play TV lawyer Perry Mason. Here's how Burr opened the film.

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Movie Reviews
11:04 am
Fri May 2, 2014

'Ida': A Coming-Of-Age Story With An Eerie Luster

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 1:23 pm

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

The Polish-born director Polish-born director Pawel Pawlikowski's is best known for the English-language movie "My Summer of Love," a lesbian coming-of-age film that was a breakthrough for actress Emily Blunt. His new film is called "Ida," spelled I-D-A and centers on an orphan who learns the secret of her past when she's on the brink of becoming a nun. Film critic David Edelstein has this review.

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Remembrances
11:04 am
Fri May 2, 2014

'Fresh Air' Remembers British Actor Bob Hoskins

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 1:23 pm

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

British actor Bob Hoskins, who played a human detective in a world of cartoon characters in the acclaimed movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," died this week after contracting pneumonia. He was 71 years old.

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Movies
10:07 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Movie Monsters, Monster Movies And Why 'Godzilla' Endures

Critic John Powers writes, "There's an amoral pleasure to be had in watching Godzilla reduce Tokyo to fiery rubble."
Toho The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 8:59 am

There have been hundreds of monster movies over the years, but only a handful of enduringly great movie monsters. Of those, only two were created for the screen: King Kong, the giant ape atop the Empire State Building, and his Japanese heir, Godzilla, the city-flattening sea monster who's a genuinely terrific pop icon. He not only stars in movies — Hollywood is bringing out a new Godzilla on May 16 — but he's even played basketball with Charles Barkley in a commercial for Nike.

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Monkey See
8:09 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Posthumous Projects And People We're Pulling For

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

This week's show finds us chatting with our pal Gene Demby of NPR's Code Switch about, among other things, posthumous projects. There are still films coming out from Paul Walker and Philip Seymour Hoffman, there's an upcoming release of Michael Jackson recordings, and life after death for musicians is practically a tradition. We talk about Kafka, J Dilla, David Foster Wallace, and the ethics of piecing together work that was unfinished or perhaps even abandoned when the artist is no longer around to say yes or no.

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Monkey See
7:19 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Cyborgs, Simpsons And Ticks: All About Free Comic Book Day

The cover of The Tick, one of many --€” 57, in fact --€” comics you may be able to snag at no charge on Saturday, Free Comic Book Day.
Fantagraphics

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 2:25 pm

Here's the drill: This Saturday, May 3rd, is Free Comic Book Day. Walk into a comics shop (you can find the one nearest you at www.freecomicbookday.com/storelocator), and they will hand you some free comics.

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The Two-Way
6:58 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Book News: New 'Princess Diaries' Books Coming Out — One For Adults

Actress Anne Hathaway, who plays Princess Mia Thermopolis, arrives at the 2004 premiere of the movie The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.
Frazer Harrison Getty Images

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

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Movie Interviews
2:44 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Behind 'Belle': An 18th Century Portrait Ahead Of Its Time

Johann Zoffany's 18th century painting portrays Dido Elizabeth Belle and her cousin Elizabeth Murray.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 8:47 am

Director Amma Asante found the story behind her new movie, Belle, in a painting: artist Johann Zoffany's 18th century portrait of two beautiful, young English ladies, draped in silks and pearls. The twist? One is biracial.

Belle is based on the real-life story of that woman, Dido Elizabeth Belle, who was the daughter of a Royal Navy captain and the slave he met after capturing a Spanish ship.

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Movie Reviews
4:04 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Travel And Discovery, For 'Ida' And The Filmmaker Who Watches Her

Ida/Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) in Ida.
Music Box Films

Everyone is on a voyage of self-discovery in Ida — the two central characters certainly, but also Poland-born, Britain-based director Pawel Pawlikowski, making his first film in the homeland he left at 14.

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