Arts

Europe
2:02 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Madrid's Street Performers Now Must Audition To Hold Out A Hat

Street musician Valentino Juanino, right, plays his bagpipe at the Conde Duque Cultural Center last month after taking a quality test to obtain official permission to perform in the streets of Madrid.
Paul White AP

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 7:03 am

On the train, in the park, on the famed medieval Plaza Mayor — the Spanish capital of Madrid is famous for its street performers.

And with more than a quarter of Spaniards out of work, more people than ever before have been crisscrossing the city with their violins and voices, for extra cash. People squeeze giant accordions onto the metro, and roll amplifiers on carts across cobblestones.

The street performers are a tourist attraction. But Madrid's mayor, Ana Botella, says the clamor has reached its limit.

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Books
4:25 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

Upcoming Books To Read In 2014

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 5:55 pm

NPR's Arun Rath talks to Daniel Alarcon, the author of At Night We Walk in Circles, about the new books he is most excited about for 2014.

Television
3:37 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

In High-Drama Parody, Will Ferrell Reveals 'Spoils Of Babylon'

Cynthia and Devon Morehouse, played by Kristen Wiig and Tobey Maguire, are caught up in a passionate romance in the IFC miniseries The Spoils of Babylon. Oh, but they're not married: They're sister and (adopted) brother, the central figures in a bizarro salute to '80s melodramas like The Thorn Birds.
Katrina Marcinowski IFC

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 5:55 pm

In The Spoils of Babylon, Will Ferrell plays a "nonexistent author of a nonexistent best-seller." His book, written in the 1970s, was supposedly made into a television miniseries that never saw the light of day — until now.

The story begins in the 1930s, and spans about 50 years, following the powerful Morehouse family.

The series is a parody of the big, bloated miniseries of the 1970s and '80s (like The Thorn Birds or The Winds of War), filled with family drama in a changing America.

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Food
9:51 am
Sun January 5, 2014

Eating Tea And Other Food Predictions For 2014

Tea leaves will be big in entrees and desserts in 2014.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 11:44 am

At the beginning of every year, we read the tea leaves to see what new food trends we'll be tasting in the coming months. This year, the tea itself is the trend.

Tea leaves will be big in entrees, desserts and, of course, cocktails. Starbucks has opened its first tea shop.

We won't be just drinking tea; Artisan distilling keeps on growing. This could be the year of gin, made with local botanicals as well as the traditional juniper berry.

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Bonus Round: Ask Me Another
9:02 am
Sun January 5, 2014

Day 12: It's A New Year, So Keep Your Brain Sharp

Puzzle guru Art Chung has a question or two for you.
Steve Petrucelli
  • Listen to 'Replacement Math'

This is the twelfth day of Ask Me Another's 12 Days of Xmas series.

What do you get when you add Jay-Z's 'Problems' to Three Dog Night's 'Loneliest Number'? In this Season One bonus round, titled "Replacement Math," puzzle guru Art Chung challenges contestants to solve simple arithmetic problems using numbers found in pop culture. Calculus is a lot less scary when it involves your favorite band.

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Author Interviews
7:59 am
Sun January 5, 2014

A Novice Reporter Begins His Journey In The Congo

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 10:13 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Anjan Sundaram had all kinds of options in the late summer of 2005. He had a master's in mathematics from Yale, a lucrative job offer from Goldman Sachs; and he was just about to begin a Ph.D. But he left all that behind and made a dramatically different choice. He headed to the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the worst conflict zones in the world, to try to start a career in journalism. At the time, the death count in that war was more than 4 million people. That number continues to rise.

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Sunday Puzzle
7:01 am
Sun January 5, 2014

Two Times Harder

NPR

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 10:13 am

On-air challenge: Every answer is a pair of two-syllable words. The first syllable of the word answering the first clue has the letters A-R, pronounced "are." Change these phonetically to "er," and you'll get a new word that answers the second clue. For example, given "hair-cutter" and "a North African," the answer would be "barber" and "Berber."

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Author Interviews
7:01 am
Sun January 5, 2014

'On Such A Full Sea': A Fable From A Fractured Future

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 10:13 am

Fast-forward to a few hundred years into the future: Resources in the United States are scarce. The government has fallen apart and most of the population has left, looking for a better life somewhere else.

Immigrant laborers — many from China — have come to fill the labor void, and life in the new America is divided into three distinct societies. First, the Charters, walled-off cities populated by the elites. Next are the working-class cities where the laborers live, and last are the lawless and wild places in between.

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Three Books...
6:02 am
Sun January 5, 2014

When Modernism Met Science Fiction: Three New Wave Classics

The original paperback cover for Joanna Russ' 1975 novel The Female Man (detail above) called the book "startling."

A fan named Peter Graham once said that the golden age of science fiction is 12. That's true for me, although like many other fans I'd insist that my first exposure to SF happened during the real golden age. The decade from 1965 to 1975 was science fiction's so-called New Wave, when the genre took on both the turmoil of the '60s and the literary techniques of high modernism. The mix of the two created spectacular results, as dozens of energized writers penned scores of wonderful books. To this day their impact is being recognized; 2014 will see Samuel R.

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Fine Art
3:32 am
Sun January 5, 2014

Robert Indiana: A Career Defined By 'LOVE' No Longer

Robert Indiana first emerged as a pop artist in the early 1960s, but he was quickly defined by his 1966 signature work, LOVE, shown behind Indiana in this 2013 photo.
Lauren Casselberry AP

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 10:13 am

In 1968, Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art bought a painting called LOVE — and made artist Robert Indiana famous. It became a sculpture, a stamp, greeting cards.

And it obliterated the rest of Indiana's career. The artist has been pretty much ignored by the art world for the past few decades. Not sneered at, he says – just ignored.

"I wasn't aware that I was disrespected," he says, in a raspy baritone. "I've only been neglected."

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Poetry
4:16 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

Jimmy Santiago Baca, From Prison To Poetry

When Jimmy Santiago Baca was 20, he was convicted of drug charges and sentenced to prison. He was illiterate when he arrived at the Arizona State Prison. When he got out five years later, he was well on his way to becoming one of America's most celebrated poets.

Baca writes about oppression, love and migration, and his poems range from just a few lines to many pages.

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Fine Art
4:16 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

Conserving Priceless Chinese Paintings Is An Art All Its Own

Sheep And Goat scroll is estimated to be worth $100 million." href="/post/conserving-priceless-chinese-paintings-art-all-its-own" class="noexit lightbox">
Zhao Mengfu was the preeminent painter and calligrapher of the early Yuan dynasty (1279-1368). His Sheep And Goat scroll is estimated to be worth $100 million.
Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 2:33 pm

Outside of China and Taiwan, U.S. museums hold the world's best collection of Chinese paintings. It's worth billions of dollars, but it's also fragile: Over time, these paintings fall apart. In the U.S., there are only four master conservators who know how to take care of them, and they're all approaching retirement.

The Freer and Sackler Galleries — one of the huge, stone Smithsonian buildings on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. — employ one of those masters.

Invisible Conservation

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Movies
7:19 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Theaters Hope Recliners Lure Homebodies Off Their Sofas

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 1:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Movie theatres have tried different ways over the years to combat declining ticket sales. In this encore broadcast, Topher Forhecz reports on the latest attempt to bring in audience by recreating the comforts of home.

TOPHER FORHECZ, BYLINE: When I decided to see a movie at an AMC Theatre in upper Manhattan, the first change I noticed was I had to reserve my seat when I bought my ticket beforehand. So I just walked in and there are about nine rows of leather seats and I am in D6, so I've got to go find it.

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Movies
7:19 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Revenues, But Not Profits, Soar For Hollywood In 2013

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 1:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

2013 was an up and down year at the movies. There was a crop of box office flops. "The Lone Ranger" and "After Earth" fell into that trap. Steven Spielberg went so far as to predict an implosion of the film industry. Despite all that, 2013 looks to be the most lucrative year ever at the box office, but don't get your hopes up for the movie business just yet.

Stephen Galloway, executive features editor at the Hollywood Reporter, is not impressed by breaking that particular record.

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Music News
7:19 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Hip-Hop's Aboriginal Connection

Two turntables carved from wood scratch out the sound of Beat Nation artist Jordan Bennett learning his native Mi'kmaq language.
David Sommerstein / NCPR

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 1:38 pm

At the entrance of a new exhibit at Montreal's Musée d'Art Contemporain, visitors are greeted with a red neon glow and a ping-pong of sounds. A dubstep groove thumps. A high-hat skitters. A pow-wow chant echoes from another room.

Beat Nation: Hip Hop as Indigenous Culture has become something of an art sensation in Canada. Featuring more than two dozen artists using beats, graffiti, humor and politics to challenge stereotypes, the exhibit coincides with the growth of Idle No More, an indigenous political movement in Canada.

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Code Switch
7:03 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Comic Artist Yumi Sakugawa On Friend-Love, Identity And Art

Yumi Sakugawa's book I Think I Am In Friend Love With You helps define the joys of modern friendships.
Yumi Sakugawa

About a month ago, I asked my followers on Twitter if they had any recommendations for a comic artist whose work I should check out. Person after person brought up Yumi Sakugawa, a California-based artist. And I was familiar with her work: she's the brains behind the ever-nostalgic strip, "Claudia Kishi: My Asian-American Female Role Model Of The 90s."

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Poetry
4:57 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Ice Cube Sculptures, Tulips And Death: A 2014 Poetry Preview

Matthea Harvey's upcoming collection mixes poetry with visual art — like this image. Faces drawn by Monika Zarzecna.
Matthea Harvey Graywolf Press

What's in store for us in 2014? Season 3 of Girls and Homeland sans Brody. The dawning of the smart watch. Smoother sailing for healthcare.gov? Growing tensions in Russia and Syria. It's enough to make one giddy and terrified all at once — thankfully, we have poetry to express all our powerful and conflicted feelings.

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Author Interviews
4:53 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Lovebirds + String + Watering Can + Dog = Rube Goldberg Magic

Colliers magazine between 1929 and 1931." href="/post/lovebirds-string-watering-can-dog-rube-goldberg-magic" class="noexit lightbox">
Rube Goldberg drew many of his devices, like this one for a machine that disposes of cigarette ashes, for his series, "The Inventions of Professor Lucifer G. Butts, A.K," published in Colliers magazine between 1929 and 1931.
Copyright Heirs of Rube Goldberg Abrams ComicArts

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 1:38 pm

Many people know Rube Goldberg as an adjective — a shorthand description for a convoluted device or contraption. But Rube Goldberg was a real person — one who earned a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning and who captivated imaginations with drawings of complex chain reactions that completed the simplest of tasks.

Goldberg died in 1970, but Jennifer George, his granddaughter, has collected the zany world he created in a coffee table book, The Art of Rube Goldberg: (A) Inventive (B) Cartoon (C) Genius.

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Arts & Life
3:29 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

'Playboy' Gets Pranked: Group Flips The Script On Sex

You can't buy these panties at your local Victoria's Secret. While they mimic the look of that brand's Pink line, they're actually part of a project by FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture.
Courtesy of FORCE

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:43 pm

Rebecca Nagle sometimes finds herself asking the question: What would Hugh Hefner say?

"The only sex that is good is when it's good for everyone," she says, laughing. "And I've only ever had good sex."

Hefner didn't actually say that. Nagle wrote it.

"But you can really imagine Hugh Hefner saying that," she insists.

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This Week's Must Read
3:26 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Tough Commute This Morning? Your 'Journey' Could Have Been Worse

Members of Robert Falcon Scott expedition's at the South Pole pose for the camera: Robert F. Scott, Lawrence Oates, Henry R. Bowers, Edward A. Wilson, and Edgar Evans.
Herbert George Ponting Library of Congress

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 8:10 pm

Jynne Martin is a poet who recently served as Antarctica's writer in residence.

If like many East Coasters, you had a miserable commute today through the blinding snow, just remember that it could be worse. You could've been one of the 74 passengers and crew aboard the ship trapped in Antarctica sea ice on Christmas Eve, who waited a week to be rescued, then got stuck again, enduring high winds, freezing cold, and what must have been a painful number of Crazy Eights games.

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Book Reviews
1:40 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

A Critic Tours 'Echo Spring,' Home Of Beloved Boozy Writers

nito100 iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 3:19 pm

It's the quintessential "dog bites man" story. I'm talking about a new book I just read about a group of famous writers who — get this -- drank too much! I know, right? That's pretty much the equivalent of saying I just read a book about a group of famous writers who used commas in their sentences.

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Hardcover Nonfiction Bestsellers
12:27 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Nonfiction, Week Of January 2, 2014

In One Summer, at No. 5, Bill Bryson tells the true story of a few fascinating months of 1927.

The Salt
11:15 am
Fri January 3, 2014

'Cut Food': Take A Peek At The Beauty Inside Everyday Edibles

A hotdog and ice cream cone from Beth Galton and Charlotte Omnes' "Cut Food" series.
Courtesy of Beth Galton

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 10:18 am

Let's assume you've got a beautiful stuffed turkey, some time to kill and a hacksaw just itching to slice things apart. This could be the ingredient list for a real culinary disaster. But if you're Beth Galton and Charlotte Omnes, what you get is a peek inside the beauty baked into everyday foods.

They're the duo behind "Cut Food," a photo series that literally cleaves into edibles — hot dogs, ice cream, fried chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy — to reveal gorgeous geometric patterns tucked within.

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Paperback Nonfiction Bestsellers
11:03 am
Fri January 3, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Nonfiction, Week Of January 2, 2014

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 12:17 pm

Outliers, at No. 10, presents Malcolm Gladwell's theories about the nature of unusual success.

Paperback Fiction Bestsellers
11:03 am
Fri January 3, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Fiction, Week Of January 2, 2014

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 10:56 am

Junot Diaz chronicles the philandering adventures of Yunior in This Is How You Lose Her, at No. 14.

Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
11:03 am
Fri January 3, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction, Week Of January 2, 2014

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 12:32 pm

At No. 2, Dog Songs collects some of Mary Oliver's favorite poems about her canine companions.

NPR Bestseller List
11:03 am
Fri January 3, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Week Of January 2, 2014

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

TED Radio Hour
9:48 am
Fri January 3, 2014

What's It Like To Be Young And Bullied?

"I can't let my life be this. Because if I give up now, that's what my life will be. I'll never walk out the front door." — Shane Koyczan
James Duncan Davidson TED

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 1:48 pm

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Overcoming.

About Shane Koyczan's TEDTalk

Shane Koyczan describes growing up endlessly tormented by bullies. When he turned to spoken-word poetry to cope, he found that millions related to his anti-bullying message.

About Shane Koyczan

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TED Radio Hour
9:48 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Can Autism Be An Asset?

"People just don't see things, this is where you need visual thinkers like me ... we need the different kinds of minds." — Temple Grandin
James Duncan Davidson TED

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 1:48 pm

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Overcoming.

About Temple Grandin's TEDTalk

Temple Grandin struggled with autism until she realized her ability to "think in pictures" allows her to solve problems that others can't.

About Temple Grandin

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