Arts

Fine Art
7:43 am
Sat January 25, 2014

The Art Of Vanity On Display In 'The History Of The Dressing Table'

This French mechanical table was intended for Madame de Pompadour. The designs depict her many interests, including gardening, painting, music and architecture.
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 9:03 am

Ever since there have been puddles of water, human beings have gazed at their reflections.

Our need to primp and preen, whether we lived in the Bronze Age or the Space Age, can be seen in a new exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York called Metropolitan Vanities: The History of the Dressing Table.

Curator Jane Adlin offers a show that reminds us that while our vanity may ultimately be in vain, the instinct goes back a long way.

An Ancient Conceit

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Theater
4:25 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Neuwirth Returns To Broadway, With More 'Class' Than Ever

Taking on her third role in the long-running revival of the musical Chicago, Bebe Neuwirth (left) plays prison matron Mama Morton. Amra-Faye Wright currently plays Velma Kelly — the part for which Neuwirth won a Tony Award in 1997.
Jeremy Daniel

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 11:14 am

Bebe Neuwirth is probably best known for her role in the hit TV show Cheers and its spinoff, Frasier, in both of which which she played Lilith, Frasier Crane's ice-blooded, uptight sometime wife.

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Around the Nation
4:23 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Artist Transforms Guns To Make Music — Literally

Mexican artist Pedro Reyes received 6,700 weapons from the Mexican government, from which he sculpted instruments.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 11:14 am

Pedro Reyes says being Mexican is like living in an apartment where an upstairs neighbor has a leaking swimming pool.

"Just what is leaking," says Reyes, "is hundreds of thousands of guns."

He wants people to think about the availability of guns in the United States, and the impact that has in Mexico.

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This Week's Must Read
4:22 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Movie Buff Or Not, There's Something 'Beautiful' About Hollywood

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 6:29 pm

Kevin Roose is a New York Magazine writer. His new book, Young Money, comes out next month.

With the Grammy Awards just two days away, the Academy Awards on the horizon and the results of the SAG and Golden Globe awards already in, we're smack in the middle of awards season.

I don't watch the Oscars. I don't even see many movies, unless you count what's on Netflix. But Jess Walter's very funny novel, Beautiful Ruins, made me want to quit my job, move to L.A. and see the Hollywood train wreck up close.

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Author Interviews
4:22 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

A Parenting Paradox: How Kids Manage To Be 'All Joy And No Fun'

As a parent, how would you rate this moment on a scale of 1 to 5? In her new book All Joy and No Fun, Jennifer Senior says parenting research sometimes fails to quantify the joy of having a child.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 6:29 pm

There's no shortage of books about how parents affect their children's lives, but what about vice versa? That's what New York Magazine contributing editor and mother Jennifer Senior sets out to investigate in All Joy and No Fun, a book about parental well-being.

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Movie Reviews
4:22 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Movie Reviews: Gloria & Stranger By The Lake

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 6:29 pm

Bob Mondello reviews two foreign films about people struggling to make connections: the Chilean drama Gloria, and the French thriller Stranger by the Lake.

Business
4:22 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

In The Super Bowl Ad Game, One Small Business Will Win Big

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 7:55 pm

Super Bowl suspense is building — for the game and the commercials. With an audience of over 100 million people, advertisers covet this space, but at a reported $4 million a spot, only the mightiest corporations can afford Super Bowl exposure. This year, though, there's an exception. One lucky little business will get one of those primo slots — free.

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The Salt
2:58 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Can Mom's Pregnancy Diet Rewire Baby's Brain For Obesity?

Choose wisely: What Mom eats during pregnancy can set the stage for obesity in her baby.
Meg Vogel NPR

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 6:07 pm

Moms-to-be are often reminded that they're eating for two. It's tempting to take this as an excuse to go for that extra scoop of the ice cream. (Believe me, I've been there.)

But a solid body of research suggests that expectant mothers should be walking away with the opposite message: Pregnancy should be a time to double-down on healthful eating if you want to avoid setting up your unborn child for a lifetime of wrestling with obesity.

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Paperback Nonfiction Bestsellers
11:02 am
Fri January 24, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Nonfiction, Week Of January 23, 2014

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 4:46 pm

At No. 4, Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter describe the recovery of stolen art in The Monuments Men.

Paperback Fiction Bestsellers
11:02 am
Fri January 24, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Fiction, Week Of January 23, 2014

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 4:49 pm

Rachel Kushner's The Flamethrowers tells the story of a young artist in love. It appears at No. 10.

Hardcover Nonfiction Bestsellers
11:02 am
Fri January 24, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Nonfiction, Week Of January 23, 2014

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 4:47 pm

In Duty, debuting at No. 1, Robert M. Gates writes about his time as Secretary of Defense.

Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
11:02 am
Fri January 24, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction, Week Of January 23, 2014

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 4:47 pm

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches, Alan Bradley's latest Flavia de Luce mystery, debuts at No. 3.

NPR Bestseller List
11:02 am
Fri January 24, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Week Of January 23, 2014

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

Monkey See
9:49 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Oscar Nominees And 'Looking'

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

The Oscar nominations are so strangely timed (for us) that we didn't get to them last week, so this is the week we take a look at what didn't make the cut that we wish had gotten through. Nothing will cast light on this discussion more than Mark Harris' terrific piece at Grantland about the effect of the expanded Best Picture field on all the other categories, which hasn't been as ...

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Movie Reviews
9:31 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Middle-Aged And Divorced, 'Gloria' Takes On Life's Uncertainties

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 3:23 pm

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. "Gloria" is a new film from Chile that centers on a late-middle-aged divorced woman whose life is full of uncertainties. She's played by Paulina Garcia, who won the top acting prize - the Silver Bear - at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival, where the movie was a surprise hit. It opens this week in New York and Los Angeles, and wider next month. Film critic David Edelstein has this review.

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The Salt
9:15 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Dry January: Giving Up Booze For A Month Does Have Benefits

Give your liver a break every now and then.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 11:37 am

As New Year's resolutions go, cutting back on food and drink are right at the top of the list. And while those resolved to change their eating habits may cut the carbohydrates or say a sweet goodbye to sugar, for regular drinkers, the tradition may involve what's known as a dry January: giving up booze for a month.

But could such a short-term breakup with alcohol really impart any measurable health benefits?

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Movie Reviews
8:55 am
Fri January 24, 2014

After A Crisis, A Long, Laborious Quest For A New Normal

Neuropsychologist Ted Fielding (Will Forte) is on hand to observe — but not necessarily to help — as Valentia (Mazine Peake) struggles to hold her family together after her husband's stroke in Run & Jump.
IFC

The face is the same, but the personality is different. It's a sobering, unfair truth that Vanetia (Maxine Peake) must confront about her husband. Again and again, in fact, once he's returned home from the hospital, after months in a coma and recovery in the wake of a rare kind of stroke.

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Monkey See
8:30 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Fix The Best New Artist Grammy: Dump It

If it's true that Lorde should be glad her Grammy nominations don't include Best New Artist, then the entire enterprise has become ridiculous.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Each year's Grammy Awards offer their own questions and controversies based on how the nominations pan out, but there are a few points of contention that come up year after year. There's the difference between Song Of The Year and Record Of The Year. How a song can be eligible for nomination this year when the album it came from was nominated last year (or vice versa). The precise eligibility requirements for Best New Artist, a category that can be (and has been) won by performers several albums into their careers.

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The Two-Way
6:29 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Book News: Amazon Says It Hopes Polish, Czech Workers Won't Unionize

Amazon shipments sit in the packet and parcel section of the Royal Mail's Swan Valley mail center in Northampton, England.
Matthew Lloyd Getty Images

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

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Poetry
6:02 am
Fri January 24, 2014

60 Years Of Poems Mix Anger, Ambivalence And Authority

detail from cover of The Poetry of Derek Walcott
Courtesy of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 10:28 am

Derek Walcott, who won the Nobel Prize in 1992, is one of the biggest living figures on the world literary scene. He is a celebrated playwright and a painter, but a new selection of his work focuses on the achievement for which he is best-known: his poetry.

Walcott's home, and the gravitational center of his writing, is the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia, which was tossed restlessly between French and English colonial overlords for hundreds of years until it finally achieved independence in 1979.

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Movie Reviews
4:32 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Sun And Water, And A Dangerous Brand Of Desire

Pierre Deladonchamps (right) and Christophe Paou anchor the dark thriller Stranger by the Lake, in which danger and desire become as tangled as in a Hitchcock classic.
Strand Releasing

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 5:49 pm

The lake in Alain Guiraudie's Stranger by the Lake is gorgeous — aquamarine, pristine, surrounded by pebbly beaches and dense woods. Families cluster on the far side of it, but on the side we see, there are only men. It's a gay cruising spot, frequented by mostly nude sunbathers and swimmers, many of whom come here often enough to know each other by sight if not by name.

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Book Reviews
4:23 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

'Speculation' Shows Good Stories Come In Small Packages, Too

Random House/Knopf

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 4:32 pm

Jenny Offill's novel Dept. of Speculation, which weighs in at 192 pages soaking wet and includes a fair amount of white space, is extremely short for a novel. It's an unusual book not only in terms of its size, but also its form. Make no mistake, this is an experimental novel. By which I mean that the narrative isn't a series of flowing scenes that keep you reassuringly grounded in plot, but a collection of vignettes, observations and quirky details that are sometimes pulled from real life.

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Movie Reviews
4:02 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Moving Through Middle Age, With A Song In Her Heart

Paulina Garcia was awarded the Silver Bear for Best Actress at last year's Berlin International Film Festival for her role in Gloria.
Courtesy of Roadside Attractions

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 1:38 pm

The Chilean matron at the heart of the wonderfully unsettling comedy Gloria looks like any ordinary woman confronting the familiar dilemmas of late middle age. For other reasons, though, you may feel as though you've met her before.

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Movie Reviews
4:02 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

'24 Exposures': A Would-Be Erotic Thriller, Without Focus

Billy (Adam Wingard) is a photographer obsessed with making images of women who've been brutalized — and with the models, like Callie (Sophia Takal), who portray them in his shoots.
24 Frames, LCC/IFC Midnight

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 1:47 pm

There are five named female characters in Joe Swanberg's 24 Exposures, and all of them spend significant portions of the movie ... well, exposed.

Actually, most of the unnamed female characters wind up in various states of undress as well, a fact that's part of a point Swanberg seems to be trying to make about objectification of women in art. In 24 Exposures, though, he straddles the line between criticizing that objectification and engaging in it himself.

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The Salt
3:45 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Potential Carcinogen In Colas Has FDA Reviewing Data

4-MEI, a chemical created during the manufacturing of caramel color used to dye sodas brown, is under new scrutiny.
iStockphoto

A new study from Consumer Reports finds varying levels of a chemical compound classified as a possible human carcinogen in many popular brands of soda.

The findings have prompted the Food and Drug Administration to take a new look at the compound, 4-methylimidazole — or 4-MEI for short. It is found in the caramel color that soda makers use to dye the drinks brown.

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Found Recipes
2:46 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

From Down Under, A Paprikash To Warm You All Over

This paprikash recipe may be well-traveled — from Hungary to Australia — but its belly-warming comforts haven't changed a bit.
Courtesy of HarperCollins

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 4:32 pm

For many people, paprikash means winter. After all, it's a dish fit for cold, gray days: A belly-warming mix of meat and spices, it's the perfect cure for the doldrums of late January.

For Merelyn Chalmers, though, the classic Hungarian casserole recalls someone far dearer: her mother, Yolanda. A survivor of Auschwitz, Yolanda had rebuilt her life in Perth, Australia, after the war. "My mum was Hungarian," Chalmers explains. "We ate paprikash probably five nights a week. This was something that she just threw together when I wasn't feeling well."

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Parallels
1:18 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Why Kenya's Best-Known Writer Decided To Come Out

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 2:46 pm

Binyavanga Wainaina is one of Kenya's best-known writers. Now he is one of the most prominent figures in Africa to announce that he's gay.

Wainaina did so Saturday, his 43rd birthday, in a piece posted on several websites, "I Am A Homosexual, Mum."

The title comes from a conversation he imagined, but did not have, with his mother back in 2000, when she was dying in a Kenyan hospital from complications related to diabetes.

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Author Interviews
11:28 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Patchett: In Bad Relationships, 'There Comes A Day When You Gotta Go'

Ann Patchett is an award-winning novelist and memoirist. Her other books include Truth & Beauty, The Magician's Assistant and Run.
Heidi Ross Courtesy of Harper

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 3:58 pm

The title essay of Ann Patchett's latest book, This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage, isn't exactly what it sounds like. It's actually the story of an unhappy marriage that ends quickly in divorce and results in a strongly defended refusal to marry that lasts many years. But eventually, it does lead to the happy marriage.

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The Salt
9:55 am
Thu January 23, 2014

An Innovative Plan To Reel In Sport Fishermen To Feed The Hungry

Students prepare fish cakes that will be part of a free dinner offered at Parkside Neighborhood Center in Portland, Maine.
Courtesy of Samantha Laster

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 1:41 pm

Portland, Maine, native Hollis McLaughlin's recollection of his mother's fish cookery produces a wistful expression as he takes a bite of the fish cakes given to him as part of the regular Wednesday night meal he is served free of charge at the Parkside Neighborhood Center.

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Monkey See
8:22 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Thanks For The Fan Service, But What About The Story?

Benedict Cumberbatch in "The Empty Hearse."
Robert Viglasky PBS

[Caution: This piece contains information about the season premieres of Sherlock and Community, along with a little bit about a very unfortunate side trip on Lost.]

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