Arts

Asia
3:51 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

For Working-Class Chinese, 'Picture Day' Is A Rare Treat

Zheng Jinrong poses with a portrait of herself and her grandson in a migrant village in Shanghai. She received the photographs as part of a global event to provide high-quality portraits for people who otherwise can't afford them.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 9:45 am

A holiday gift of sorts came early in more than 20 countries over the weekend, as volunteer photographers shot free, studio-quality portraits of more than 16,000 people who otherwise couldn't have afforded them.

A working-class neighborhood of Shanghai was among the more than 130 sites where the photo shoots took place, part of a global project inspired by Help-Portrait, a U.S.-based nonprofit.

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Book Reviews
3:34 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Book Review: 'Going Dark'

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 9:45 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Writer James W. Hall is remarkably prolific. For the past two decades, he's averaged nearly one new book a year. Most are taut thrillers often set in the searing South Florida heat. Reviewer Alan Cheuse says Hall's latest novel, titled "Going Dark," proves he's one of the best genre writers working today.

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Monkey See
2:28 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

When 'Hit List' Got Another Shot At An Audience

Jeremy Jordan, who anchored one of Smash's storylines in Season 2, returned to the material at New York's 54 Below for a concert version of the musical his songwriter character was writing on the NBC show.
Cindy Ord Getty Images for 54 Below

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 4:19 pm

For most of its two-year run on NBC, the series Smash was pretty much a hot mess. Ostensibly about the creation of Broadway musicals, it only tangentially resembled the real thing. And its plots and characters got soapier and soapier as the show went on.

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Shots - Health News
1:49 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Violence In PG-13 Movies Comes With Plenty Of Sex And Booze

Explosions during the filming of the PG-13 hit The Dark Knight in Chicago in 2007.
Nam Y. Huh AP

If you're looking for good role models for your teenagers, the local cineplex may not be the place to go.

PG-13 movies are awash in violence, and the violence is almost always linked with sex and drinking, according to an analysis of top-grossing movies from 1985 to 2010.

The PG-13 movies, which are supposedly OK for teenagers, had the same amount of violence as R-rated movies.

Violence took up about one-third of the movies, researchers found.

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Author Interviews
12:38 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Delia Ephron On The Closeness And Complexity Of Sisterhood

Delia Ephron is a novelist and playwright. Her essays have been published in The New York Times, O, Vogue and the Huffington Post. Her older sister, writer Nora Ephron, died in June 2012.
Elena Seibert Penguin Group

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 3:56 pm

In the opening chapter of her latest book, novelist Delia Ephron writes that losing her older sister, writer Nora Ephron, was like "losing an arm, it's that deranging." Nora, who wrote When Harry Met Sally, died of acute myeloid leukemia in June 2012. Delia and Nora were writing partners; they co-wrote the movies You've Got Mail and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants as well as the off-Broadway hit Love, Loss and What I Wore. Delia was an assistant producer on Nora's film Sleepless in Seattle.

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The Salt
11:21 am
Mon December 9, 2013

'In Meat We Trust' Argues We Got The Meat Industry We Asked For

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 9:36 am

The meat on your dinner table probably didn't come from a happy little cow that lived a wondrous life out on rolling green hills. It probably also wasn't produced by a robot animal killer hired by an evil cabal of monocle-wearing industrialists.

Truth is, the meat industry is complicated, and it's impossible to understand without a whole lot of context. That's where Maureen Ogle comes in. She's a historian and the author of In Meat We Trust: An Unexpected History of Carnivore America.

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Book Reviews
11:05 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Latino Children's Literature That Should Top Lists

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 2:44 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

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Monkey See
10:31 am
Mon December 9, 2013

How I Didn't Quit 'Your Mother'

Robin (Cobie Smulders) and Ted (Josh Radnor) in a recent How I Met Your Mother episode.
Richard Cartwright CBS

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 1:46 pm

It's hard out here for a How I Met Your Mother fan these days.

I mean, it's always been hard. The show has had its share of ups and downs, from how often it was on the brink of cancellation to its rocky creative track record in recent years. But the ninth and final season of the show — set in the 50-odd hours before a wedding we've already seen bits and pieces of — has become downright exhausting.

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Television
7:18 am
Mon December 9, 2013

American Dazzles Judges On 'Arabs Got Talent'

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In the Arab world, TV watchers were buzzing this weekend about the finals of a popular contest show, "Arab's Got Talent." Runner up was the competition's dark horse contender, Jennifer Grout, a young American. She's not an Arab. She just loves Arabic music. And the presence of a Westerner in the running for this prize caused a bit of a stir. NPR's Deborah Amos was at the finale Saturday in Beirut and she sent this postcard.

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Local Music
7:00 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Epsom Offers Music Scene Shock Rock & Sarcasm

Local band Epsom is Steven Sgro on vocals and guitar, Scott Faingold on vocals, Timothy Harte on drums, and Kristopher Zander on guitar. The group describes their music as "gratuitous shock rock." They joined us recently in the Suggs Studio for this set of performances and an interview: 

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The Two-Way
6:29 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Book News: 'Stoner' Created Little Buzz In 1965, But Ignites In 2013

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

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Monkey See
5:49 am
Mon December 9, 2013

After A Full Fall, A Few New TV Choices To Tide You Over

TNT's new period drama Mob City, from The Walking Dead creator Frank Darabont, is one of several shows and miniseries premiering this month.
Scott Garfield TNT

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 7:18 am

As the holiday season approaches, the TV cupboard may seem a bit bare; the industry winds down like everything else, filling cable and broadcast networks with holiday specials, reruns and also-ran reality shows.

But there are bright gifts, too: TNT offers Mob City, a three-week, lavishly produced noir-ish TV show about cops and crooks vying for control of 1947-era Los Angeles, airing Wednesdays.

On Dec. 8 and 9, A&E presents a four-hour miniseries on Bonnie and Clyde, retelling the story of the Depression-era outlaws and lovers.

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Author Interviews
5:13 pm
Sun December 8, 2013

'Getting Away With Murder': A Study Of Benazir Bhutto's Death

In 2007, Benazir Bhutto — twice prime minister of Pakistan and then-leader of the Pakistan People's Party — was killed in a suicide bombing attack that claimed 38 lives. The factors at play in her assassination, however, reached deeper than many imagined.

In his new book, Getting Away With Murder, Heraldo Munoz portrays the tense political climate that surrounded Bhutto's return to politics and examines the circumstances of her death.

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Code Switch
4:29 pm
Sun December 8, 2013

Don't You Dare Call Me A Hipster! I, Sir, Am A 'Hep Cat'

Jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong signs autographs in the Blue Note nightclub in Chicago in 1948.
Edward S. Kitch AP

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 8:54 am

Aside from racial and ethnic slurs, there aren't many words that prompt a more immediate and visceral response than "hipster." Many associate the term with craft beer, smugness and, of course, Brooklyn. Modern-day hipsters have inspired a huge number of Tumblrs, memes and trend pieces in the media.

It may seem like hipsters sprang up out of nowhere sometime in the late 1990s, but the original hipsters were around several generations before that. And they were strongly associated with another uniquely American phenomenon — jazz.

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Television
4:06 pm
Sun December 8, 2013

The Intended Madness Of Comic Eric Andre's 'Anti-Talk Show'

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 5:12 pm

Late-night comedy show hosts are known for opening their programs in a certain style. David Letterman takes to the stage with a wave and a smile. Jay Leno comes out and shakes hands with the audience.

Eric Andre takes quite a different approach: flying into an uncontrollable rage as soon as the band plays him on and smashing nearly everything on the set.

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Sunday Puzzle
7:03 am
Sun December 8, 2013

Noteworthy Names, In Rhyme

NPR

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 2:56 pm

On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of a famous person whose first and last names start with the same consonant or group of consonants. You're given rhymes for the two names. You name the people. For example, if given "cycle four," the answer would be "Michael Moore."

Last week's challenge: Name a dance. Change one of the letters to a U. The resulting letters can be rearranged to name an event at which this dance is done. What is it?

Answer: hula, luau

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Author Interviews
6:58 am
Sun December 8, 2013

Tackling Race Head-On To Expose A 'Dreadful Deceit'

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 10:50 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Race is a delicate and complicated subject in this country. Jacqueline Jones confronts it head on in her new book " A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama's America." Jones, who teaches history at the University of Texas, uses the stories of six Americans to illustrate her point - that race is just that, a myth.

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NPR Story
6:40 am
Sun December 8, 2013

Rick Warren Writes A Faith-Based Diet Book

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 10:50 am

While baptizing 827 adults one day, evangelical pastor Rick Warren says he literally felt the weight of America's obesity problem. Host Rachel Martin speaks with Warren and psychiatrist and physician Daniel Amen about getting healthy and their new book, The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life.

PG-13: Risky Reads
6:03 am
Sun December 8, 2013

When Parents Refused To Talk, Angelou Explained Sex — And Healing

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 9:11 am

When I was 13, sex was something I was very interested in, but in a studious way. I wanted to know what had been done to me, as someone researches the keyhole surgery on their knee, after the event.

I had entered the second year of the six years when I didn't speak of the-thing-that-happened-to-me-when-I-was-11, and I was looking for explanations of that thing. And I was looking for ways to introduce the subject to my parents, so they would say, "Oooh, I understand," in an unemotional, chatty way, and we could get that thing out into the open.

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Movie Interviews
4:34 am
Sun December 8, 2013

Woody Harrelson Does Bad Pretty Good

Tapping into his anger and rage, Woody Harrelson plays the meth-smoking psychopath antagonizing Christian Bale in Out of the Furnace.
Kerry Hayes Relativity Media

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 10:50 am

In the new drama Out of the Furnace, a young man (Casey Affleck) gets involved with a group of criminals and then goes missing. Determined to find him, his ex-con brother (Christian Bale) grabs a shotgun and sets off.

Actor Woody Harrelson, perhaps best known for his role as the bartender on Cheers, steps away from comedy to play a member of that group of criminals, a viscous meth addict and bookie named Harlan DeGroat.

Harrelson spoke with NPR's Rachel Martin about the movie and preparing for a role that required letting loose a lot of anger.

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Author Interviews
4:33 pm
Sat December 7, 2013

'Pomegranate Lady' Depicts The Comedy And Tragedy Of Exile

iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 5:33 pm

Goli Taraghi writes about life in Iran — about love, loss, alienation and exile. She is particularly equipped to the task, as her own exile from the country began in 1980 at the outset of the Iranian Revolution.

In 1979, she was a professor living in Tehran with her two young children, and initially supported the movement.

"Of course the turmoil started, and then the executions, and the university was closed, and I thought the best thing is to go abroad and stay just one year," says Taraghi.

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Africa
4:33 pm
Sat December 7, 2013

To Better Remember Nelson Mandela, Get To Know This 'Country'

A file photo dated 1961 of South African anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela.
STF/AFP Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 10:02 am

Since the death of anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela, tributes and memorials have poured in from around the globe. Mourners count among their number leaders from dozens of countries, including American presidents and Iran's Hassan Rouhani.

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The Two-Way
7:44 am
Sat December 7, 2013

WATCH: Maya Angelou's Poem For Nelson Mandela

Poet Maya Angelou has written a poem in honor of Nelson Mandela, "on behalf of the American people."
PRNewsFoto/Forsyth Medical Center AP

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 12:35 pm

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Books News & Features
7:05 am
Sat December 7, 2013

Don't Call It Fanfic: Writers Rework Their Favorite Stories

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 11:43 am

When writers finish a book, they may think they've had the last word. But sometimes another writer will decide there's more to the story. The madwoman Bertha from Jane Eyre and the father in Little Women are just two examples of secondary characters who have been given a fuller life in a new work of fiction based on a classic novel.

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Author Interviews
7:05 am
Sat December 7, 2013

Teddy Roosevelt, An Early Urban President

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 10:39 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And before President Obama, the most urban president in U.S. history was a big game hunter and a rough rider, a man who knew how to shoot an elk and tame stallions. But...

EDWARD P. KOHN: His masculinity wasn't necessarily forged in the west as a cowboy, but actually much more so in the contact sport that was New York politics back in the 1880s.

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Television
4:29 am
Sat December 7, 2013

Gillian Anderson On 'The Fall' And Getting Arrested In High School

Gillian Anderson plays Stella Gibson, an enigmatic police investigator, in the BBC Two series The Fall.
Steffan Hill Acorn RLJ Entertainment

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 10:39 am

There's been a string of unsolved murders in Belfast, Northern Ireland, so they have to bring in the heat from London. Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson appears to be the embodiment of what people in Belfast often don't like about London: She seems cool, correct, fiercely intelligent, but icy.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
10:39 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Not My Job: Nick Lowe Gets Quizzed On Peace, Love And Understanding

Dan Burn-Forti Courtesy of Nick Lowe

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 3:38 pm

Nick Lowe was one of the founders of the Great British rock explosion of the 1970s, writing songs like "Cruel to Be Kind and "What's So Funny 'Bout Peace Love and Understanding." He's just released a new album of Christmas songs called Quality Street — A Seasonal Selection For All The Family.

Since Lowe's lyrics would lead us to believe there isn't anything funny about peace, love or understanding, we'll quiz him on three hilarious instances of human kindness.

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Three Books...
4:18 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

The Man, The Myth, The Reading List: Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela, with his wife, Winnie, walks to freedom after 27 years in prison on Feb. 11, 1990, in Cape Town.
AP

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 6:35 pm

Growing up in apartheid South Africa with widespread state censorship, it was hard to get to know our political leaders. The first time I actually saw a photograph of Nelson Mandela was in high school in the mid-1980s.

A braver classmate had managed to sneak a few grainy images into our school — a full-face, younger Mandela, his fellow Robben Island inmate Walter Sisulu and the South African Communist Party leader Joe Slovo.

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Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
3:03 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction, Week Of December 5, 2013

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 8:25 am

National Book Award winner James McBride tells a slave's story in The Good Lord Bird, at No. 14.

NPR Bestseller List
3:03 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

NPR Bestsellers: Week Of December 5, 2013

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

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