Arts

Book Reviews
6:03 am
Sat November 30, 2013

Emily Dickinson's Envelope Writings: 'Gorgeous' Poetry In 3-D

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 8:42 am

Readers always seem to want to get closer to Emily Dickinson, the godmother of American poetry. Paging through her poems feels like burrowing nose-deep in her 19th century backyard — where "the grass divides as with a comb," as she writes in "A narrow Fellow in the Grass."

Read more
Theater
4:41 am
Sat November 30, 2013

Around The U.S., Holiday Theater With Local Flair

Seven In One Blow, which plays at New York City's Axis Theater, is one of many recurring holiday-season productions across the U.S. that bring a distinctly local flavor and history to bear.
Dixie Sheridan

Whatever they are, our holiday traditions tend to be a mixture of the universal and the specific.

If we celebrate Christmas, for instance, we might have stockings and trees just like our neighbors, but we might also be the only ones in town who wear homemade elf hats while we open presents. It's a mix that helps us feel closer to the rest of the culture while reaffirming what's special about our own little community, family and home.

Read more
The Salt
4:40 am
Sat November 30, 2013

These Cookbook Photos Redefine What Fresh Seafood Looks Like

How to make dead fish look attractive? That's the challenge New York-based duo Shimon and Tammar Rothstein faced when they were hired to do the photography for famed French chef Eric Ripert's book On the Line.
Photos by Shimon and Tammar, Courtesy of Shimon and Tammar

Originally published on Sat November 30, 2013 10:05 am

How to make dead fish look attractive? That's the challenge New York-based duo Shimon and Tammar Rothstein faced when they were hired to do the photography for famed French chef Eric Ripert's book On the Line.

Read more
Movies
1:55 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

Finding 'Great Beauty' Amid Rome's Corruptions

In The Great Beauty, director Paolo Sorrentino surveys the city of Rome through the eyes of jaded journalist Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo), taking in the city's degeneracies alongside its eternal beauties.
Gianni Fiorito Janus Films

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 5:49 pm

Rome is often called the Eternal City, and generations of filmmakers from around the world have sought to capture its enduring beauty on screen.

The new film The Great Beauty is the latest, a picture that casts Rome itself in the title role. After playing to critical acclaim in Europe, it opens in American cinemas this month. The film is also Italy's official entry at this season's Academy Awards.

The Great Beauty is a double-edged portrait, out to capture both the beauty and the ugliness of modern Rome.

Read more
Books
1:55 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

A Poet's Advice For Unlikely Partners: Just Dance

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (second from left) shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry next to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (far left) and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (far right) after a statement on early November 24, 2013 in Geneva.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 5:49 pm

Sometime after 3 a.m. on Sunday, international negotiators emerged from a conference room in a Geneva hotel, bearing with them weary smiles and a historic agreement. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and representatives from five other world powers had come together on a deal to freeze the Iranian nuclear program temporarily.

Read more
TED Radio Hour
8:01 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Can Anyone Learn To Be A Master Memorizer?

Joshua Foer says that one past memory champion developed a technique to remember more than 4,000 binary digits in half an hour.
James Duncan Davidson

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 4:39 pm

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Memory Games.

About Joshua Foer's TEDTalk

Some people can memorize thousands of numbers, the names of dozens of strangers or the precise order of cards in a shuffled deck. Science writer and U.S. Memory Champion Joshua Foer shows how anyone can become a memory virtuoso, including him.

About Joshua Foer

Read more
TED Radio Hour
8:01 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Can Eyewitnesses Create Memories?

Forensic psychologist Scott Fraser says, "all of our memories, put simply, are reconstructed memories."
TEDxUSC

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Memory Games.

About Scott Fraser's TEDTalk

Forensic psychologist Scott Fraser studies how we remember crimes. He describes a deadly shooting and explains how eyewitnesses can create memories that they haven't seen. Why? Because the brain is always trying to fill in the blanks.

About Scott Fraser

Read more
TED Radio Hour
8:01 am
Fri November 29, 2013

How Do Experiences Become Memories?

Daniel Kahneman says, "we tend to confuse memories with the real experience that gave rise to those memories."
James Duncan Davidson TED / James Duncan Davidson

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 3:37 pm

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Memory Games.

About Daniel Kahneman's TEDTalk

Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral economics Daniel Kahneman goes through a series of examples of things we might remember, from vacations to colonoscopies. He explains how our "experiencing selves" and our "remembering selves" perceive happiness differently.

Read more
Movie Reviews
6:03 am
Fri November 29, 2013

A Korean Cult Thriller Gets A Spike Lee Makeover

After 20 years in captivity, Joe (Josh Brolin) is released into the world with a hammer and an appetite for revenge in Oldboy, a Spike Lee remake of the 2003 South Korean film.
Hilary Bronwyn Gayle FilmDistrict

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 9:04 am

Spike Lee's movies typically carry the label "A Spike Lee Joint," but Oldboy doesn't. He calls it "a Spike Lee Film," which my guess is Lee's way of saying he's a gun for hire — and that after a line of box office failures and difficulty getting financing for personal projects, he can make a fast, violent action thriller.

And as it happens, he can — a more-than-decent one. But this is also the first time I've come out of a Spike Lee film, bad or good, and not known why it had to be made. It's brutal, effective and utterly without urgency.

Read more
Books News & Features
6:03 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Warp Your Kid's Mind With Some Great Sci-Fi This Holiday Season

Want to warp your little robots? We've got some suggestions.
Charles Taylor/iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 2:17 pm

It worried me when my daughter didn't like Star Wars. Even though I told her there was a princess in it, she was wholly unimpressed and, from the start, a little bit creeped out by Darth Vader and all the stormtroopers. Granted, she was only 6 when I first tried to bring her into the fold of my obsession, but that was twice as old as I'd been when I'd first fallen hard for the original trilogy. It was ... disconcerting.

Read more
Movies
4:21 am
Fri November 29, 2013

What Is The Best Holiday Movie Of All Time?

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 10:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK. Now that the holiday season is officially here, we at MORNING EDITION are trying to fire up an age-old debate: What is the best holiday movie of all time?

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Maybe you're partial to "It's a Wonderful Life." There will probably be lots of votes for "A Christmas Story," or even the Bruce Willis thriller "Die Hard."

GREENE: And we're making this simple: just tweet your favorite holiday movie to us @MorningEdition or @NPRGreene, and use the hashtag #nprholidaymovie.

Read more
Movie Reviews
4:10 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Dench Makes Resolution In 'Philomena' Worth Waiting For

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 10:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The actress Judi Dench is in the running for an Oscar once again. She's starring in "Philomena," which hits theaters nationwide this week. Here's our film critic Kenneth Turan.

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: "Philomena" starts with fun and games, but the more serious it becomes, the more it draws you in. The humor comes courtesy of Steve Coogan, who plays Martin, a British journalist who has lost his job and his bearings, but not his weakness for wisecracks.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "PHILOMENA")

Read more
NPR Story
3:29 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Theater Chains Upgrade To Attract Homebodies

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 10:42 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Movies theaters have tried different ways over the years to combat declining ticket sales. Topher Forhecz reports on the latest attempts to bring in audiences by recreating the comforts of home.

TOPHER FORHECZ, BYLINE: When I decided to see a movie at an AMC Theatre in upper Manhattan, the first change I noticed was I had to reserve my seat when I bought my ticket beforehand.

So I just walked in and there are about nine rows of leather seats and I am in D6, so I've got to go find it.

Read more
NPR Story
3:29 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Idris Elba Portrays Mandela In 'Long Walk To Freedom'

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 10:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Read more
Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

A 'Long Walk' With Mandela, But It Shorts His Story

Idris Elba plays Nelson Mandela in a biographical film based on the former South African president's memoir.
Keith Bernstein The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 6:10 pm

Some movies try to underscore their authenticity by flashing dates, names and locations on the screen. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom offers some dates and locations, but not much in the way of names. The result is a history of national transformation in which only two people really seem to matter.

Read more
Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Silent For Years, A Riot Grrrl Steps Back To The Mic

Musician and riot grrrl Kathleen Hanna — formerly of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, now with The Julie Ruin — is the fascinating central figure in the biographical documentary The Punk Singer.
Allison Michael Orenstein Opening Band Films

Originally published on Thu November 28, 2013 5:29 pm

To many baffled outsiders over 40, Bikini Kill frontwoman Kathleen Hanna was a weirdo riot grrrl bopping up and down onstage in her bra and panties, bellowing atonal revenge lyrics at anyone who'd keep her and her fellow women down.

To her ardent young following of 1990s Third Wave feminists, though, Hanna was an alt Messiah, hacking out a space for women in the punk-rock mosh pit and sounding an enraged alarm on behalf of victims of sexual assault.

Read more
Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

A Gospel Story, Reframed (Again) In 'Black Nativity'

Jacob Latimore (from left), Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson and Forest Whitaker power through the season in Kasi Lemmons' Black Nativity, a Christmas movie musical based on Langston Hughes' gospel oratorio.
Phil Bray Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 7:55 pm

Like Eve's Bayou, her best-known movie, Kasi Lemmons' Black Nativity presents a child's view of a troubled family. The latter film is sweeter and slenderer, but that's only to be expected: Black Nativity is a musical, after all, as well as a credible attempt at an African-American holiday perennial.

The original Black Nativity is a gospel-music oratorio, conceived by poet Langston Hughes and first performed in 1961. It pairs the Christian Nativity story with traditional spirituals and African drumming.

Read more
Arts & Life
3:35 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Tale: 'A Fountain Of Snake'

In an annual tradition, writer Bailey White spins a fictional tale of love and life. This year's entry is about a woman dying of cancer who is attended to by a series of old boyfriends, each of whom contributes some sort of minor service. The story ends with a symbolic event at an old hollow tree in the woods, where a coiled snake meets a violent end.

Movies
3:35 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Holiday Movie Preview: What's Playing From Now To New Year's

A look at the 50 or so movies — Oscar bait and just plain entertainment — that Hollywood will be offering between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve.

Books
6:03 am
Thu November 28, 2013

Get Cracking On That Novel — NaNoWriMo Is Almost Over!

National Novel Writing Month — or NaNoWriMo — ends November 30th, and writers around the world are scrambling to meet the 50,000 word goal.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 12:05 pm

The deadline is looming for "wrimos" — writers challenged to clock in a 50,000 word novel by November 30th.

"We're the largest writing event in the world," says Grant Faulkner, executive director of the Berkeley-based non-profit NaNoWriMo — short for National Novel Writing Month. "People's to-do list revolves around food and shelter, but I would say that creativity is a necessity of life, so we need to do what we can to nurture more creators in the world."

Read more
Ask Me Another
4:06 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Generically Speaking

When you hear the phrase, "I need a Band-Aid immediately!" is your instinct to reply, "Actually, it's called an 'adhesive bandage,' Band-Aid is a brand"? Don't be that person--unless you're playing along with this game. Host Ophira Eisenberg offers the generic name and description of a particular product, and you must name the specific trademarked name that commonly describes it.

Read more
Ask Me Another
4:06 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Breaking It Down

To mark the final season of the TV show Breaking Bad, we've based this game on its opening credits, in which elemental symbols for Bromine (Br) and Barium (Ba) help spell the show's title. House musician Jonathan Coulton asks contestants to spell words using more symbols from the Periodic Table.

Plus, Coulton competes this round with a cover of "Particle Man" by They Might Be Giants.

Read more
Ask Me Another
4:06 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

I'm No Doctor

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Now we're going to crown this week's grand champion. Let's bring back from Breaking It Down, Avidan Ackerson. From Generically Speaking, Erin Barker. From Algebraic Music, Diane Firstman. From Real Housewives, John Rennie. And from Hollywood Formulas Chris Kairalla.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: I want to ask our puzzle guru John Chaneski to take us out and crown a winner.

Read more
Ask Me Another
4:06 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Steven Strogatz: The Joy Of 'X'

"I started making up questions for myself that I didn't know the answer to, just for the fun of getting back into that euphoric feeling of being puzzled and wanting to solve it." — Steven Strogatz, on how his habits changed after solving a challenging word problem in grade school
Greg Kessler World Science Festival

Read more
Ask Me Another
4:06 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Hollywood Formulas

If there's actually a secret Hollywood movie formula, we want to see the proof. In a game that will take you right back to your beloved high school algebra and geometry classes, host Ophira Eisenberg asks contestants to combine the titles of well-known movies with mathematical terms. For example, "Rectangled" combines the polygon "rectangle" with the title of the film Tangled.

Read more
Ask Me Another
4:06 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Real Housewives Of Greek Mythology

What's your favorite franchise of Bravo's Real Housewives, Atlanta or New Jersey? How about The Acropolis? In this game, host Ophira Eisenberg stirs up the celestial domestic drama by performing imagined on-camera quotes from female Greek mythological figures. Can you guess the goddess?

Plus, Jonathan Coulton pays homage to another powerful lady with a cover of Bananarama's "Venus."

Read more
Ask Me Another
4:06 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Algebraic Music

Don't freak out, but this game combines one part name-that-tune, one part doing-math-in-your-head, and a dash of The Proclaimers. It'll be fun, we promise. House musician Jonathan Coulton performs songs that feature a number in their titles, but the numbers have been replaced by algebraic expressions. Contestants must solve for 'x' to make the mathematical expressions in the songs correct.

Read more
Arts & Life
3:24 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Dear Amy: How Do I Deal With My Family For The Holidays?

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 9:04 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Let's face it, while Thanksgiving get-togethers can be joyful, they can also be stressful. And if you're gearing up for a family gathering right now, you're likely awaiting the arrival of a few loved ones who may be a little hard to love sometimes.

Knowing that, we've called on Amy Dickinson, who writes the syndicated column "Ask Amy," for some advice on how to get through the holiday. Hey there, Amy.

AMY DICKINSON: Hi, Audie.

Read more
Movies
3:24 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

For Top-Flight Animators, The Gag Is An Art All Its Own

Frozen storyboard image.
Walt Disney Pictures

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 9:04 am

Watching a living creature slip, stumble, get squashed or just thwack an enemy can be a blast. Because as Charlie Chaplin said: "In the end, everything is a gag."

Read more
Monkey See
12:10 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

About 'Mystery Science Theater,' A Bold Declaration. It's Bold!

Joel Hodgson poses with Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo, two of his "robot friends."
PhotoFest

This is a big week for Mystery Science Theater 3000, or as big a week as can be had for a show that's been off the air since the waning days of the 20th century. The show first aired a quarter of a century ago this past Sunday, and the 25th-anniversary volume (XXVIII, if you're keeping Roman score of the ongoing DVD releases and not the anniversaries) hit shelves on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Thursday marks the return of an MST3K Thanksgiving tradition, the Turkey Day marathon.

Read more

Pages