Arts

Book Reviews
6:03 am
Tue April 1, 2014

'Frog Music' Sounds A Barbaric (But Invigorating) Yawp

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 5:42 pm

San Francisco in the summer of the 1876, between the Gold Rush and the smallpox epidemic, is the setting for Emma Donoghue's boisterous new novel, Frog Music.

There's real frog music in these pages, the riveting cries of the creatures hunted by Jenny Bonnet, one of the two main characters. She's a pistol-packing, pants-wearing gal in a town where pants on women are one of the few cardinal sins, and she scratches out a living catching frogs and selling them to local restaurants.

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Author Interviews
6:00 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Post Arab Spring, Where Do Islamist Parties Stand?

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 7:23 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Here's a more immediate issue. Egypt says it will hold presidential elections in May. The likely winner is General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. He led the military coup last summer which overthrew the elected government.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Author Interviews
4:16 am
Tue April 1, 2014

In Early Memoir, Bette Midler Adorned The Truth In Sequins

Bette Midler is a Grammy Award-winning singer and Academy Award-nominated actress.
Jonathan Pushnik Simon & Schuster

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 11:51 am

Before Bette Midler was in movies like Beaches and Down and Out in Beverly Hills, the actress and singer wore masks and costumes on stage, playing scantily clad, scandalous characters like a wheelchair-riding mermaid and, of course, the Divine Miss M — Midler's early stage persona.

Midler wrote about her early career in A View From a Broad, a memoir she published in 1980. A new edition of that book was recently released with a brand new introduction in which Midler writes:

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NPR Story
4:16 am
Tue April 1, 2014

MGM Announces New 'Pink Panther' Is In The Works

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 7:23 am

The movie studio on Monday said the new Pink Panther flick would be part live-action part animated-hybrid.

Parallels
2:46 am
Tue April 1, 2014

What 'The Simpsons' Says About Ukraine's Language Divide

The Simpsons, which has been on-air longer than Ukraine has been an independent country, is popular there. Some Russian-speakers even say they find the show funnier when it is dubbed in Ukrainian rather than their native Russian.
Fox via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:06 am

Misha Kostin, a 21-year-old construction engineer in eastern Ukraine, loves The Simpsons. He's loved it for 10 years. He says the animated series "illustrates everyday life problems in humorous ways, and offers a useful moral at the end of each episode."

And though Kostin and most of the people in eastern Ukraine are native Russian speakers, he prefers to download episodes dubbed not in Russian but in his second language, Ukrainian. All his friends in the city of Donetsk prefer the version dubbed in Ukrainian.

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Animals
2:20 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Scratch That: One Cat's Struggle With Internet Stardom

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:08 am

No matter what the market's doing, a certain breed of entrepreneur tends to come out on top — or should we say, breeds? Domestic short hair, Persian, Siamese — if you have the right breed of cat, or at least one with a certain look, you may be feeding kitty treats to a potential gold mine.

Luckily, there's a road map to feline stardom — published Tuesday, it's called How to Make Your Cat an Internet Celebrity: A Guide to Financial Freedom.

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Fine Art
2:08 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Girls Are Taught To 'Think Pink,' But That Wasn't Always So

Photographer JeongMee Yoon felt her daughter's life was being overtaken by pink. She illustrated that in her 2006 portrait Seo Woo and Her Pink Things.
JeongMee Yoon Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Jenkins Johnson Gallery

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 7:23 am

With sleet, snow and freezing temperatures extending through March, the National Cherry Blossom Festival — which recently kicked off in Washington, D.C. — is decidedly less pink this year. In a few weeks the Tidal Basin will be ringed by rosy, pink blossoms, but until then, we traveled north to Boston, where a show at the Museum of Fine Arts called "Think Pink" explores the history and social impact of the color.

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Author Interviews
2:47 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Son Of A Secret Smuggler Digs Up The Truth About His Dad

Marijuana plants grow at a farm near Medellin. Tony Dokoupil's father made hundreds of thousands of dollars smuggling marijuana into the U.S. from Colombia.
Raul Arboleda AFP/Getty Images

If you smoked Colombian weed in the '70s and '80s, Tony Dokoupil would like to thank you: He says you paid for his swim lessons and kept him in the best private school in south Florida — at least for a little while.

Dokoupil's father started selling marijuana during the Nixon era, and expanded his operation until he became a partner in what his son describes as the biggest East Coast dope ring of the Reagan years, smuggling marijuana into the U.S.

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The Salt
2:15 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Waffle Taco From Taco Bell

Taco and waffle go together even better than Terry Gross and Gene Simmons.
NPR

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 1:05 pm

For most people, the morning goes like this: Wake up, take a shower and wait six hours in painful agony until it's an appropriate time to eat Taco Bell.

But, finally, times have changed: Taco Bell has introduced a breakfast menu. The centerpiece is unquestionably The Waffle Taco.

Peter: I was driving in after picking them up, and I was terrified of getting in a fatal car crash. "Local radio host found dead next to bag of four Taco Bell Waffle Tacos."

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Book News & Features
1:03 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

We Read The Year's Best New Sci-Fi — So You Don't Have To

The 2014 Campbellian Anthology is a free download.

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 3:17 pm

The World Science Fiction Convention is a gathering of fans ranging from sci-fi movie buffs to gamers to comics aficionados — but at its heart, WorldCon is for lovers of literature, and it hosts the Hugo Awards, the Oscars of sci-fi and fantasy.

During the ceremony, one award is given that's not a Hugo: the John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer. The Campbell celebrates potential: Nominees are often young, just starting out in the field (though not always), and it serves as a kind of signpost for fans, pointing the way to the next great read.

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Monkey See
8:50 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Essie Davis: On Playing A Sexually Liberated 'Superhero' Without Apology

Essie Davis has read about how Phryne is a "hussy." She doesn't mind.
Ben King Acorn.TV

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 9:11 am

In the first-ever episode of the Australian series Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, the central figure, Phryne Fisher, has to explain to her young, extremely Catholic new maid Dot what exactly is in the round, plastic case that Dot is holding in her hands. "Family planning," she says casually.

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Monkey See
7:42 am
Mon March 31, 2014

It's 'Mother' Time: A Show With One Last Chance To Get It Right

Cristin Milioti joined the cast of How I Met Your Mother to play the mother herself in the final season. Josh Radnor has played Ted for nine years. Tonight, they meet.
Ron P. Jaffe CBS

Kids, after nine long years, How I Met Your Mother is finally coming to an end.

That the show has been on this long is still strange to me. I remember when it was consistently almost cancelled in the first few years, and I passed around the early seasons on DVD (remember those?) trying to get my friends as hooked as I was. But here we are, nine years in, and a whole mess of fans are eagerly awaiting the show's conclusion.

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The Two-Way
6:31 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Book News: Stock Market Is 'Rigged,' Author Michael Lewis Says

Michael Lewis' latest book, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, was released Monday.
Tabitha Soren

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 8:28 am

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

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Food
2:29 am
Mon March 31, 2014

In Kitchens Around The World, Comfort Foods Bring Us Together

Hall makes the hors d'oeuvres version of spanakopita.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 12:58 pm

There's nothing like a warm, home-cooked meal to bring everyone to the table. And in her new cookbook Carla's Comfort Foods, Chef Carla Hall celebrates the meals that unite us — no matter where we're from.

Hall is one of the hosts of ABC's talk show The Chew and was a finalist on the reality TV show Top Chef. She invited NPR's David Greene over to bake spanakopita — a Greek dish, and just one of the many recipes she loves from around the world.

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My Big Break
4:06 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

Cesar Millan's Long Walk To Becoming The 'Dog Whisperer'

Cesar Millan's television show Dog Whisperer on National Geographic debuted in 2004, but Millan previously spent years struggling to pursue a career as a dog trainer.
Robin Layton Courtesy of Cesar Millan

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.

Long before Cesar Millan became the "Dog Whisperer," with TV shows and a best-selling series of books, he had to learn how to ask for a job in English.

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Author Interviews
4:06 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

In Civilian Snapshot Of Iraq, An Artist Is A 'Corpse Washer'

Courtesy of Yale University Press

In his latest novel, Iraqi author Sinan Antoon gives readers a stark portrait of contemporary Iraq. Originally written in Arabic and translated into English by Antoon himself, The Corpse Washer was nominated for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize this year.

The book's protagonist is a young man named Jawad, an aspiring artist from a family of traditional Shiite corpse washers and shrouders in Baghdad. Jawad breaks from the family business and attends art school, where he devotes himself to the celebration of life rather than the ritual surrounding death.

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Books
4:06 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

3 Bedtime Picture Books That Won't Put Parents To Sleep

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 12:49 pm

At the end of a long day, there's a phrase that parents of small children can come to dread hearing: "Read me a story!"

Though bedtime reading can be fun, reading the same book over and over and over again can be excruciating for parents.

Margaret Willison, a librarian who specializes in young readers, tells NPR's Kelly McEvers she recommends three picture books in particular that appeal to children without boring the pants off their parents.

Of course, you don't have to eschew words altogether to make repetitive reading more fun.

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The Two-Way
2:08 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

The Ides Of March Madness: 'Who's Gonna Stop Prospero?'

Paul Edward O'Brien, a stage actor, poet, and oncologist, delivered a Game Day-style analysis of how William Shakespeare's plays would match up in a tournament bracket.
Wesley Moore

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 3:16 pm

What if William Shakespeare's plays faced off in a tournament, like basketball squads spewing Elizabethan verse? That's the idea behind a bracket that pits 32 of the bard's plays against each another, in a contest arranged by New York's New Victory Theater.

Much like the NCAA basketball tournament that inspired it, the theater has been tallying votes and updating its bracket on its road to Stratford-upon-Avon.

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Author Interviews
6:40 am
Sun March 30, 2014

'A Small Player' On The Brink Of Self-Destruction

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 4:59 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Arts & Life
6:40 am
Sun March 30, 2014

Strategic Seating: How To Elicit The Optimal Dinner Conversation

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 4:59 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Alex Cornell does not like dinner parties or overly chatty commuters who insist upon talking to him on the bus. So, he created a new app called Tickle, which helps you escape awkward public situations. By simply touching the phone, you can generate a fake phone call, allowing you to politely excuse yourself. The app isn't out yet, but it reminded us of another one of Alex Cornell's attempts to avoid awkward conversations. We spoke to the San Francisco-based blogger and designer last year.

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Author Interviews
6:40 am
Sun March 30, 2014

A Libertarian With Roots In Rock Music

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 4:59 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're going to hear now how a prominent libertarian found his political voice.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: Matt Kibbe was just 13 when he fell under the spell of a certain rock band.

MATT KIBBE: Well, I was listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin, but it was the band Rush really got me starting to read and pay attention to ideas.

MARTIN: On the Rush album, "2112," the band sings of a futuristic society, in which thought and expression are controlled by a top-down autocracy.

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Around the Nation
6:40 am
Sun March 30, 2014

1,000 Farmworkers View Chavez Film, Dedicated To Them

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 4:59 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

A new feature film about the early days of Cesar Chavez opened this weekend. The story of the legendary activist who took on the powerful agricultural industry was directed by Mexican actor Diego Luna. This past week, the filmmakers treated an audience of California farm workers to an outdoor preview of the movie dubbed into Spanish.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco was there.

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Book Reviews
6:03 am
Sun March 30, 2014

Miss Lonelyhearts No More: Three Surprising Books of Advice

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 3:20 pm

It amazes me that those of us who bridle at advice from people we know — parents, spouses, neighbors — crave it from those strangers we call authors. Stand in front of any magazine rack and gaze upon the endless lists of promises on the covers: advice on how to publish your first novel, lose weight, or put that spark back into your love life. Think of that corner in the bookstore devoted to "Self-improvement." Books with "how to" in the title — including my latest effort — number in the thousands.

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All Tech Considered
4:11 am
Sun March 30, 2014

Printing Wikipedia Would Take 1 Million Pages, But That's Sort Of The Point

It would take more than 1,000 1,200-page volumes to contain the content of Wikipedia, but PediaPress has made an example volume to show what it might look like. "Our goal is to allow everyone to explore the physical dimensions of Wikipedia," says PediaPress founder Christoph Kepper.
PediaPress

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 1:55 pm

A German-based group called PediaPress is trying to raise enough money to make a print copy of all of Wikipedia. That's right, Wikipedia, the ever-evolving, always-changing, inherently digital encyclopedia of information gathered by contributors all over the world. To say this would be a massive project is an understatement.

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Movie Interviews
4:11 am
Sun March 30, 2014

One Documentary Later, Rumsfeld's Inner World Remains 'Unknown'

Donald Rumsfeld, shown here on a 2006 visit to Iraq, was the Secretary of Defense during the beginning of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Errol Morris spent over 30 hours interviewing Rumsfeld for his latest documentary.
USMC Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 3:03 pm

Filmmaker Errol Morris is famous for trying to get inside other people's minds and understand the motivations behind the choices they've made. In his most famous film, The Fog of War, Morris sat down one-on-one with former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara to talk about the decisions McNamara made in Vietnam. During the course of the conversation, McNamara makes the stunning admission that some of his actions amounted to war crimes.

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Movie Interviews
4:10 am
Sun March 30, 2014

Cambodia's 'Missing Pictures' Molded From Director's Own Life

In The Missing Picture, director Rithy Panh uses clay figurines to recall his experience of the genocide in Cambodia at the hands of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s.
Strand Releasing

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 4:59 pm

The genocide in Cambodia in the 1970s at the hands of the Khmer Rouge has inspired many books and movies, most famously the 1984 Oscar-winner The Killing Fields. But the most unusual might be this year's Oscar-nominated film The Missing Picture. In it, filmmaker Rithy Panh uses clay figurines to recall his experience of genocide.

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The Protojournalist
6:13 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

Vladimir Putin Is Right Out Of A Russian Novel

Russian President Vladimir Putin stands in the shadow of the Fyodor Dostoyevsky monument in Dresden, Germany, 2006.
SEBASTIAN WILLNOW AFP/Getty Images

"Russia is a hypothetical culture. Ruled by despots for most of our history, we are used to living in fiction rather than reality," writes Nina L. Khrushcheva, who teaches international affairs at The New School. She is also the great granddaughter of the late communist leader of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev.

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The New And The Next
4:05 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

Right-Leaning Political Satire Show Shoots Back At Liberals

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 5:59 pm

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

From NPR West, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Kelly McEvers, in for Arun Rath.

It's time now for The New and The Next.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MCEVERS: Each week, we talk with Carlos Watson, the co-founder of the online magazine Ozy. But this week, we have a fill-in. Eugene Robinson is the deputy editor for Ozy, and he's here with us to talk about what's new and what's next. Welcome to the program, Eugene.

EUGENE ROBINSON: Hey, thanks for having me, Kelly.

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Movie Interviews
4:02 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

In Biblical Blockbuster, Aronofsky Rocks Noah's Boat

The heavens open on Russell Crowe, as Noah, in the new Bible-based film.
Niko Tavernise Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 5:59 pm

The Biblical tale of Noah's Ark isn't the likeliest of big screen blockbusters. But that didn't stop Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, Black Swan) from pitching it to a Hollywood studio.

"When I first went to the studio, I said, 'Hey, what's the only boat more famous than the Titanic?' " he tells NPR's Kelly McEvers.

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Television
4:02 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

Inside 'Regular Show,' Where Every Clip Is A Big Production

J.G. Quintel is the creator of Regular Show and the voice of one of its main characters, Mordecai.
Cartoon Network

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 5:59 pm

In its fifth season, Cartoon Network's Regular Show has gained fans of all ages. Each 11-minute episode of the Emmy-winning series starts with pencils and Post-it notes.

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