Arts

Pop Culture
2:26 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Forget Nancy Drew: Thanks To Fans, 'Veronica Mars' Is Back On The Case

In the movie, Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) is a recent law school grad living in New York when an old flame — Logan Echolls — calls her back to her home town of Neptune, Calif.
Robert Voets Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 4:03 pm

When Rob Thomas created Veronica Mars, his show about a sharp-elbowed girl detective, he had an ulterior motive: He wanted to kill off the reigning queen of teenaged sleuths — one who's been around for more than 80 years.

"Nancy Drew," Thomas says, his soft-spoken affect barely betrayed by a trace of a snarl. "Like, I feel like she had her run."

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Movie Reviews
5:13 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

In LA's Iranian Set, A Two-Sided Love Triangle With A Side Of Clichés

Nazanin Boniadi (left) occasionally lights up the screen as the lovestruck Shirin, but in the end her performance is hemmed in by the flatness of the film she anchors.
Katrina Wan PR

There's a lot that needs forgiving if you want to enjoy the few simple pleasures offered by Shirin In Love, but the most egregious fault is perhaps too structural to overlook: The love triangle set up for the title character (Nazanin Boniadi) by writer-director Ramin Niami angles too obviously in one direction. The end result is too much of a foregone conclusion even for a predictable romantic comedy.

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The Two-Way
4:30 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Pew Study: Many Technophiles Also Love Libraries

Julie Ball at a newly renovated computer lab at Shute Park Branch Library in Hillsboro, Oregon. The new lab is set to open on Saturday.
Benjamin Brink The Oregonian/Landov

You might think that in a world of Google and Wikipedia, people who love technology wouldn't care much about the musty old local public library. But, according to a new report by the Pew Research Internet Project, you'd be wrong.

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Movie Reviews
4:27 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Twins Or 'Enemy' — And What Could It All Mean?

Jake Gyllenhaal acts with stunning control and specificity in his double role as two lookalikes.
Courtesy of A24

Strange and stylish and surpassingly dark, Denis Villeneuve's Enemy — especially paired with the same director's recent cop thriller Prisoners — makes a strong case for star Jake Gyllenhaal as maybe our most enigmatic young leading man.

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Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Middle-Aged Souls Channel Teen Rebellion, Just For A 'Week-End'

A middle-aged British couple (Lindsay Duncan and Jim Broadbent) attempts to re-create the sizzle of their Paris honeymoon in Le Week-End, from director Roger Michell.
Music Box Films

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 5:33 pm

Nick and Meg have gotten into a bit of a rut in Le Week-End, and to get out of it they're "celebrating" — if that's the word — their 30th anniversary by heading back to a city they last saw on their honeymoon. Nick has even booked a room in the same hotel — which is not, alas, quite the way Meg remembers it. "Beige," she sniffs.

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Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

With A Spelling-Bee Subversion, Jason Bateman Breaks Bad

In the central relationship of the brisk comedy Bad Words, Guy Trilby's (Bateman) sour runs up against 10-year-old competitor Chaitanya's (Rohan Chand) sweet.
Focus Features

As the star of Arrested Development, Jason Bateman became best known for being the most mature member of the emotionally stunted Bluth family; the roles that followed were largely of the same tone, casting the actor as the affable, mild-mannered, often put-upon nice guy.

Always playing the straight man amid casts of clowns must have created some built-up performance envy, because in his directorial debut he trades in Mr. Nice Guy for Mr. Guy Trilby, finally getting to play an apparent case of severely arrested development himself.

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Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Sex, Smokes, And Deneuve On The Move

In a twist of sorts on the typical male- or youth-driven road movie, Catherine Deneuve plays an older woman playing young.
Cohen Media Group

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 4:13 am

Unhinged by crises both monetary and amorous, a provincial Frenchwoman tells the employees at her restaurant, "I'll be back." Then she takes off in her ancient rattletrap with no escape plan beyond an illicit smoke and a drive to clear her addled head. Turns out she'll be gone a while.

Yes, there's a road movie in Bettie's cards. Yes, there will be formative ordeals. And yes, the payoff will be uplift, along with one of those toothsome al fresco country lunches where Mediterranean types wave their arms around and argue in friendly fashion.

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Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

'Big Men,' Doing Big Business In Africa's Oil Fields

The big men at the center of Big Men are public, private and everything in between.
Jonathan Furmanski Abramorama

There are three categories of schemers in Big Men, Rachel Boynton's illuminating documentary about the oil business in West Africa: businessmen, politicians and bandits. Sometimes, though, it's hard to tell the types apart.

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Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Boy Scouts, Bad Girls And The Hitler Youth

Teenage is composed almost entirely of archival footage, including images of American and British flappers of the 1920s.
Oscilloscope

Painted lips, slicked-back hair and pumping fists form the core of Matt Wolf's documentary Teenage, an impressionistic history of how our concept of the teenager came to be. Composed almost entirely of dazzling archival footage — young people laboring, exercising, fighting, dancing, drinking and playing — the film traces the history of the teenager from the late 19th century to 1945.

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Arts & Life
3:47 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Amtrak Opens The Door To Writing On The Rails

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 5:35 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Things can take off fast on Twitter. And that's what happened when a couple of writers expressed how much they like riding trains, Amtrak specifically. It started with an idea: Wouldn't it be great if Amtrak would offer writers a chance to ride the rails for free and do some writing along the way? Soon, the idea was being tweeted and retweeted, and Amtrak replied: Sure.

NPR's Leah Binkovitz explains.

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Book Reviews
3:47 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

When You Befriend A Killer, You Can't Not Write About It

In addition to Blood Will Out, Walter Kirn is the author of four works of fiction and one other work of nonfiction.
Beowulf Sheehan Courtesy of Liveright Publishing

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 10:07 am

Nonfiction writers often have to go scrounging for their dream subject. They may buy themselves a ticket to some far-flung place, or join an Iditarod team, or start researching a historical figure who seems to have led a colorful life. Sometimes, writers are fortunate enough to already have a personal passion for one subject, and writing a book about it seems only natural.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
2:12 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

When Art Is Queer

Sheila Pepe, Your Granny's Not Square, 2008, Crocheted shoelaces and yarn, 84 x 144 x 48 in.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 3:48 pm

On Tuesday I visited a small public space in New York City, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. I went there to see an exhibit called Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community and to seek an answer to a question I'd pondered ever since first hearing of the museum the week before:

Is there such a thing as gay and lesbian art?

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The Salt
1:44 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Top 5 Ways Asparagus, A Rite Of Spring, Can Still Surprise

From the botanical to the economic, spring's iconic vegetable still harbors surprises.
Sharon Mollerus/Flickr

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 5:35 pm

As the snow melts, even in Minnesota, and daylight lingers into evening, people who like to eat with the seasons know what's coming: asparagus.

"Asparagus means the beginning of spring. It's spring!" says Nora Pouillon, chef and founder of Restaurant Nora in Washington, D.C. Later this month, she'll revise her menu, and it will certainly include asparagus with salmon, and asparagus soup.

It's an elegant vegetable, Pouillon says, and unique: "Sweet and bitter at the same time."

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The Protojournalist
12:11 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Forget Speed-Reading. Here's Speed-Writing

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 3:43 am

Speed-reading all rage. Suddenly many speed-reading apps. Spritz. Spreeder. Others.

Some inspired by method RSVP — rapid serial visual presentation.

"Rather than read words

from left to right,"

says Marc Slater, managing director of Spreeder parent company eReflect.

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Television
11:28 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Did Juan Pablo Galavis Bomb As 'The Bachelor'?

Some media critics and television fans hoped that casting Juan Pablo Galavis as The Bachelor would bring diversity to ABC's hit reality show. But now many are asking if his performance was a letdown.

Ask Me Another
10:22 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Outta This World

"TYLER'S HOUSE!" This will all make sense once you hear the game. Promise!
Jakub Mosur

We're going galactic with this final round. Play along as puzzle guru Art Chung quizzes contestants on some truly extraterrestrial trivia, in which the answers are all things found in outer space.

Plus, V.I.P. Danny Pudi presents the grand winner with a one-of-a-kind prize: a personalized song, sung in Pudi's native Polish.

Heard in Episode 311: Puzzlin' On The Dock Of The Bay

Ask Me Another
10:22 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Danny Pudi: What's My One-Liner?

Danny Pudi, at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, where Ask Me Another performed as part of SF Sketchfest, the comedy festival.
Jakub Mosur

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 12:09 pm

  • Danny serenades the grand winner in Polish
  • Danny talks about his documentary, "Untucked"

You might expect that the actor who's brought Community's most idiosyncratic character, Abed, to life, with such skill and empathy must relate to him in some way. Danny Pudi admits that while he's not so similar to his encyclopedically-inclined alter ego (save one incident of lighting himself on fire as a teenager), there is one area in which the actor and the character overlap: their love of film.

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Ask Me Another
10:20 am
Thu March 13, 2014

The News, According To Huey Lewis

Contestants Karen Sulkis (left) and Jocelyn Draw draw on their mutual love for 1980s pop culture for this Huey Lewis-inspired round.
Jakub Mosur

Ask Me Another: it's strong and it's sudden and it's cruel sometimes, but it might just save your life. Jonathan Coulton twists Huey Lewis & the News' "The Power of Love," into a game about the 1980s.

Heard in Episode 311: Puzzlin' On The Dock of the Bay

Ask Me Another
10:20 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Adam Savage: Bust That Myth!

Adam Savage has the coolest, and perhaps most dangerous, job in the world.
Jakub Mosur

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 11:43 am

Adam Savage, along with partner-in-science (and snark) Jamie Hyneman, has tested over 800 myths, used 12 tons of explosives and destroyed over 100 cars on the hit TV show Mythbusters. Not only is his job incredibly cool--it's often incredibly dangerous.

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Ask Me Another
10:20 am
Thu March 13, 2014

You Can't Handle The Handle

Many will recognize the "@" or "at" symbol from its place in Twitter usernames. Here, @jonathancoulton leads a challenging word game involving a play on adding the letters "a-t" to word beginnings. @tempt it if you dare!

Heard in Episode 311: Puzzlin' On The Dock of the Bay

Ask Me Another
10:19 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Yahoo, Seriously? With Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco.
Jakub Mosur

Who's a "dead guy with crazy hair because he invented physics"? In this game, The New York Times' tech columnist Farhad Manjoo and his opponent try to identify historic figures from dubious Yahoo! Answers descriptions.

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Monkey See
8:44 am
Thu March 13, 2014

A Peek At The New Season Of 'Orange Is The New Black'

Taylor Schilling in a scene from Netflix's Orange Is The New Black.
Jessica Miglio Netflix

We don't know a whole lot about the upcoming season of Orange Is The New Black, but Netflix put out three images today that might give you something to at least chew on. It certainly appears that we'll be picking up where we left off, in a very immediate sense.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Monkey See
8:22 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Hal Douglas, The Voice Of Many, Many Movie Trailers, Dies At 89

Movie trailers have changed a lot, and if you show a teenager now a trailer from (for instance) 1997, it will seem almost comedically anachronistic and corny.

But this is how, for many years, we got excited about the movies. And these growly narrations — which were recently the subject of Lake Bell's fine comedy In A World — were a big part of that excitement.

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Monkey See
7:47 am
Thu March 13, 2014

First Novels: Under The Gavel Of A Book Auction

iStockphoto.com

This series on first novels continues with a look at the book auction: what triggers one, how one is organized, and what running one is like. Previous posts covered how agents fall in love with books and how editors acquire them.

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The Two-Way
6:24 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Book News: Former Factory Worker Wins $100,000 Poetry Prize

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

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Book Reviews
6:03 am
Thu March 13, 2014

American Jazzmen Swing Overseas In 'Shanghai'

Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The thing about historical novels is that above all else, they must stand as good fiction. If not, the reader's supposed trip back into the past isn't worth the time or the token. The writer must give the feel and flow of the time in question in a manner that seems natural; characters on a street corner shouldn't remark to themselves about all of these 1922 motor cars rolling past, nor Roman legionaries point out that an axe is bronze when it should be steel.

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NPR Story
4:05 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Wake Up And Smell The Caffeine. It's A Powerful Drug

We love our morning coffee, but what's really in that piping hot cup of java? It's a powerful drug called caffeine.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 7:31 am

Many of us can barely make it through the morning without first downing a cup of hot coffee. It's become such a big part of our daily rituals that few actually give much thought to what it is that we're putting in our bodies.

To help us break down the little-known things about caffeine, NPR's David Greene spoke with Murray Carpenter, author of Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts and Hooks Us. These are the things you probably aren't thinking about as you wait in line at your local coffee shop.

Caffeine is a drug. Treat it as such.

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Arts
5:23 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Classical Guitar Takes The Stage At Millikin

Credit Mid America Guitar Ensemble Festival

This weekend, Decatur will play host to some pretty serious guitarists.  It's the annual Mid America Classical Guitar Ensemble and it will be held at Millikin University.  It's mainly for those who study classical guitar at a college level.

While those students will have a chance to learn, they can also perform.  And there are opportunities for the public to hear some tremendous musicians.

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Theater
4:01 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Road Between Broadway And Hollywood Isn't A One-Way Street

Andy Karl stars in the musical adaptation of Rocky, the story of an underdog boxer who gets a shot at the world championship. "You have to honor, I think, the integrity of what the original film is, but not be constrained by it," says Rocky producer Bill Taylor.
Matthew Murphey Polk & Co.

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 7:14 pm

Rocky: The Musical. Really?

Producer Bill Taylor says even the show's creators didn't buy the idea at first. "If you speak to all of the authors and all of the creative team, their instinctive reaction, when first hearing about Rocky becoming a musical, ranges from incredulity to plain crazy," he says.

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The Salt
1:17 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Water-To-Wine Machine Sound Too Good To Be True? It Is

Philip James, Chairman of CustomVine, and Kevin Boyer, President and CEO of CustomVine, film a video to promote The Miracle Machine, which turns water into wine with the use of an app.
Courtesy of The Miracle Machine

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 3:01 pm

Think a machine that can turn water into wine is too good to be true? Well, it turns out, it is.

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