Tom Laughlin, who invented and played the movie character "Billy Jack" â€” a half-white, half Native American Vietnam veteran who used martial arts skills to battle racists â€” died last week.
Late Sunday, The Associated Press reported that Laughlin's daughter said "he died Thursday at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Laughlin was 82 and Teresa Laughlin, who acted in the Billy Jack movies, said the cause of death was complications from pneumonia."
Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 4:14 am
Since the tragic death of actor Paul Walker in a car crash, Universal Pictures has been struggling with how to handle its billion-dollar Fast & Furious franchise. Production on the seventh movie was underway when he died. David Greene talks to reporter Kim Masters, who has been following the story for The Hollywood Reporter. Masters also hosts The Business on member station KCRW.
Comedy is a rough, cutthroat kind of business, makes no claims to be fair. But in recent months, the cry for better representation of black women on "Saturday Night Live" has grown louder.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
In its 37 years on air, NBC's flagship sketch comedy show has had just four black female cast members, and there have been none for six years now. Pop-culture watchers argue that this matters because SNL is important springboard for young comedians.
Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 4:17 am
Charter Communications Inc. is expected to announce a new merger offer for Time Warner Cable Co. this week. It will be the company's third such offer. Industry analysts don't expect this one to work any better.
Blond, blue-eyed and wearing blazing white robes in Lawrence Of Arabia, Peter O'Toole was handsome enough â€” many said beautiful enough â€” to carry off the scene in which director David Lean simultaneously made stars of both his title character and his leading man.
Kansas City residents are proud of their barbecue, their Chiefs football, their national champion soccer team and Boulevard Brewing, a local brewery that has built up quite a local following since its launch in the late 1980s.
"It's our thing. You know, like la cosa nostra, it's our thing," says Char O'Hara, a Kansas City, Mo., resident who, like thousands of other local 20-somethings, grew up with Boulevard.
But soon, it will be a Belgian thing, too. Any day now, Belgian beer maker Duvel is expected to finalize its purchase of the Kansas City brewery.
Peter O'Toole, the Hollywood legend who was made famous in his title role in Lawrence of Arabia, died on Saturday in a London hospital. The 81-year old Irishman was nominated for eight Oscars in his distinguished career, and was known as a bit of a hellraiser.
To those who hadn't seen the actor perform on the London stage, O'Toole was seemingly catapulted into fame. But it may be more accurate to say he charged into it. As T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia, O'Toole was tall, handsome and sensitive.
Fans of the writer Paul Auster know an enormous amount about him. His novels often draw on autobiographical details, and he has written five books that are explicitly about his own life.
Last year, he published a memoir called Winter Journal that tells the story of his life through the story of his own body â€” every scar and blemish. Now Auster has published a companion autobiography of his intellectual self, called Report from the Interior.
So, those are the fabulous soirees of fiction, but what about those lower-brow shindigs - the parties on our favorite TV shows that we'd love to crash? There is, of course, Elaine's epic dance fail at her office party on "Seinfeld."
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW)
JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS: (as Elaine) All right. Who's dancing? Come on, who's dancing? Want me to get it started?
If you've listened to NPR much over the past decade, you've heard StoryCorps conversations; those intimate interviews between two people that make you as a listener feel like you've been invited in to witness something special transpire. Dave Isay is the man behind StoryCorps. And he and his team have collected over 50,000 interviews over the years. The next iteration of the storytelling project is a book. It's called "Ties That Bind: Stories of Love and Gratitude from the First Ten Years of StoryCorps."
Each year, millions of people from different faiths make religious journeys. They travel far, to Mecca, Jerusalem, the Ganges River or Lourdes, France, to walk the paths of prophets, saints and martyrs.
"Pilgrimage is something built into the human condition," says George Weigel, author of Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches. "There seems to be something hardwired into us, spiritually, that the idea of a journey from A to B becomes part of the rhythm of the spiritual life."
The princess industry is lucrative: DVDs, dresses, crowns, theme parties. But the story of going to the ball and waiting for Prince Charming is outdated.
So one Southern California mom has created a new princess series with modern sensibilities. Creator Setsu Shigematsu recasts princesses as environmentally conscious and not waiting around to be rescued.
At the heart of her series, The Guardian Princess Alliance, is what animates any fairy tale: simple storytelling.
On-air challenge: Every answer is a five-letter word. You'll be given a clue for the word. Besides giving you a direct hint to the answer, the clue will also contain the answer in consecutive letters. For example, given "push over hard," you would say "shove."
I came to Amis late. I wasn't born when he published his most esteemed book, Money, and I was a 4-year-old with no great passion for Holocaust novels when Time's Arrow was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Amis has always divided critics (all writers worth their salt do), and by the time I read him in the late-noughties the naysayers were beginning to form a grumbling consensus. I quickly found that loving Amis meant having to fight his corner.
Throwing a perfect holiday party is no simple task. Do you want a swanky cocktail party, an intimate dinner party, or a huge New Year's bash? A whole host of decisions revolve around the menu â€” and don't forget your gluten-free or vegan invitees. Then there's the decor (is tinsel too much?), the music (festive, but not cheesy) and, of course, the guest list.
Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 10:40 am
Celebrate the Jewish holiday with Hanukkah Lights â€” selected stories commissioned by NPR. In this edition, a young boy learns that bigger and brighter things are not necessarily better; a lonely and alienated immigrant finds hope for the future while searching for potatoes to use in her family's Hanukkah latkes; an aging couple exchange awkwardly ironic Hanukkah presents; two men engage in a lively discussion over the traditions of the menorah and discover the healing power of an argument; and a precious gift leads to the reunion of old friends and a reconciliation of ancient cultures.
Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 5:19 pm
The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest discoveries.
This week, Ozy co-founder Carlos Watson tells NPR's Arun Rath about a gangster-turned-astrophysicist and a race car driver working to making science "sexy" again. Plus, a look at the changing landscape of African art â€” no tribal masks allowed.
Thanks again for listening. This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)
RATH: That is one of the most celebrated voices the world has ever heard, the Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Khan died in 1997, but his recordings continue to inspire. Artists like jazz flautist Jamie Baum.
Last year, after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., NPR reached out to Pulitzer Prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, who himself knows the grief of losing a child. The result was a poem, "Rock Me Mercy."
British-Iranian comedian and actor Omid Djalili gained a degree of fame in the United States talking about and even joking about issues of terrorism and the Middle East following 9/11. After several years and success in Britain, he's coming back to the States.
In a surprise move, the Indian Supreme Court this week ruled to uphold a ban on gay sex. The ban, instituted under British colonial authority more than 150 years ago, had been repealed in 2009. With its reinstatement, the law, also known as Section 377, once again makes homosexual acts punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The work of the late Harry Jackson ran the gamut from abstract expressionism, inspired by his friend Jackson Pollock, to the Western art for which he was best known. His sculpture of a hard-riding John Wayne was on the cover of Time Magazine in 1969.
Most of Jackson's life work is still at his studios in Cody, Wyo. But unless a major donor steps forward, it will be sold piecemeal to pay the bills.
Last week, the principal of Trumbull High School canceled a student production of Rent scheduled for next March.
Rent is Jonathan Larson's 1994 rock musical about a group of colorful young people living and loving in a colorful wreck of a brownstone on New York's Lower East Side, when struggling young artists could afford the rent there.