Arts

Goats and Soda
3:21 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Will The Next 'MacGyver' Be An Indian Woman?

Richard Dean Anderson portrayed MacGyver with the perfect combination of cool and nerdy.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 8:33 am

With all his homemade gadgets and cool scientific tricks, MacGyver is an engineering superhero.

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Movie Reviews
2:16 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Argentine Oscar Nominee 'Wild Tales' Lives Up To Its Title

Wild Tales is crammed with gallows humor, says NPR film critic Bob Mondello.
Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 6:13 pm

Argentina has been in the news lately for the bizarre circumstances surrounding the death of a special prosecutor. So perhaps it makes sense that the country's Oscar nominee for best foreign language film is called Relatos salvajes, Spanish for Wild Tales. The film is an anthology — a collection of six separate and unrelated stories — every one of which lives up to that title.

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Television
12:25 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

For Host Larry Wilmore, A Year Of 'Extraordinary' Highs And 'Humbling' Lows

Larry Wilmore debuts Comedy Central's The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore on Jan. 19.
Stephen Lovekin Getty Images for Comedy Central

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 1:12 pm

Larry Wilmore has been consumed with making his new late-night show prime viewing. And he wants to make one thing clear: He has "no desire" to host The Daily Show when Jon Stewart leaves later this year.

"I'm doing my show right now," Wilmore tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I'm very happy doing it."

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Monkey See
11:27 am
Thu February 19, 2015

As CBS' 'Two And A Half Men' Ends, Questions On How It Lasted So Long

Jon Cryer, left, and Ashton Kutcher in a scene from Kutcher's 2011 debut on CBS' "Two and a Half Men."
DANNY FELD ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 2:12 pm

As CBS' Two and a Half Men airs its final episode tonight, capping its 12th season, critics like me are stuck trying to answer a single, niggling question:

How did a show like this end up as the longest-running multicamera comedy in television history?

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Book News & Features
8:03 am
Thu February 19, 2015

In These New Comics, Getting Your Wish Isn't Always Great

In Scott McCloud's The Sculptor, a young artist discovers that having the ability to sculpt anything doesn't mean he has the vision or the drive to turn that ability into success.
First Second

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 11:26 am

At heart, mainstream superhero comics are about adolescent wish-fulfillment, "a power fantasy for people who feel powerless," as Astro City author Kurt Busiek once put it. Heroes like the ones in Busiek's comics overcome obstacles and break down barriers. They revel in great power and deal with great responsibility. They fight villains as colorful and outsized as themselves. And they represent a form of escapism from the mundane world.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Creepy, Brilliant 'Touch' Will Possess You

Courtesy of Hachette Book Group

There are at least two reasons why I should hate this book.

One: I have a horror of impersonation narratives. The idea of someone looking like me but running around being a jerk to my friends and family is so profoundly unsettling that I still haven't watched more than the pilot of Orphan Black.

Two: I hate stories about memory loss.

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Hollywood Jobs
1:22 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Never Seen And Sometimes Barely Heard, Loopers Fill In Hollywood's Soundtrack

Loopers (from left) Nathalie Ciulla, Lanei Chapman, Aaron Fors and Catherine Cavadini walk through the studio lot after a looping session.
Cindy Carpien NPR

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 4:33 pm

When the Oscars are handed out on Sunday, the red carpet, the ceremony, the films and people who are honored, will be all about being seen. But there's a group of actors who will never be seen on screen. They're only heard — and barely.

Loopers are voice actors whose work begins after the show or film is shot and edited. Their job is to record what people in the background of a scene could be saying. Their dialogue is never really heard at full volume — and it's mostly ad-libbed.

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Media
1:00 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

David Remnick Looks Back On Tough Decisions As 'The New Yorker' Turns 90

David Remnick has been the editor of The New Yorker since 1998.
Courtesy of The New Yorker

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 4:21 pm

When David Remnick took the job as editor of The New Yorker in 1998, he learned quickly to make firm decisions about contentious stories. Just a few months into the position, Remnick called Si Newhouse, the magazine's owner, to tell him about a piece he was running that was accusing "all kinds of high-level chicanery."

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Book Reviews
8:03 am
Wed February 18, 2015

A Writer Expresses His 'Discontent' With Civilization

"The first requisite of civilization ... is that of justice," wrote Sigmund Freud in his 1930 book Civilization and Its Discontents. Ideally, this is true, but it often seems like some civilizations never got the message. Though maybe it depends on what you mean by justice, and how you define "civilization" — if you can at all. In his new book, novelist and essayist Mohsin Hamid expresses some doubts: "Civilizations are illusions, but these illusions are pervasive, dangerous, and powerful. They contribute to globalization's brutality. ...

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed February 18, 2015

'Tales Of The Marvellous' Is Indeed Very Strange

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 7:01 am

"I have come in search of a gazelle with white feet or a man in a shirt."

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The Salt
2:35 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Hollywood Food Stylists Know: You Can't Film Styrofoam Cake And Eat It, Too

Food stylist Melissa McSorley demonstrates how she prepared the Cubano sandwich from the movie Chef.
Cindy Carpien NPR

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 1:13 pm

In the parking lot of a small Los Angeles studio, food stylist Melissa McSorley is re-creating the dish that saved the day for the hero of a recent film. "The Cubano sandwich ... was the heart and soul of the movie Chef," she says.

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The Two-Way
4:55 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Popular Mexican Actress Lorena Rojas Dies

Actress Lorena Rojas died on Monday in Miami, after years of battling cancer.
Peter Kramer AP

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 12:57 am

Popular Mexican actress Lorena Rojas has died of cancer at age 44.

Rojas was born Seydi Lorena Rojas González in Mexico City and got her big break in the 1990s with the telenovela Alcanzar Una Estrella. She later starred in Azul Tequila, El Cuerpo del Deseo and Pecados Ajenos. Her most recent telenovela was Rosario.

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The Salt
2:03 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Swiss Village + West Virginia + Mardi Gras Feast = Fasnacht

(Left) Sauerkraut and sausage (foreground) cook on the stove at the Hutte Restaurant. (Right) Diners Roxanne Singhisen and Nick Lockyer of Pittsburgh chat at the Hutte.
Pat Jarrett for NPR

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 5:31 pm

On Saturday evening, I found myself in a white-out blizzard, driving up steep and curvy West Virginia back roads. Normally, I would have admitted defeat and turned back. But I kept going, propelled up the mountain by thoughts of the unique Mardi Gras foods and festivities that awaited me in an improbable-seeming Swiss village at top.

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First Reads
1:03 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Exclusive First Read: Anna Lyndsey's 'Girl In The Dark'

Courtesy Doubleday

Anna Lyndsey — a pseudonym — was once an enviably ordinary woman. She had a good career working for the British government, a loving partner, and most importantly, she could walk outside, under the sun, whenever she wanted to. But then she developed a rare disorder: even the faintest light causes an agonizing burning sensation in her skin, making her a virtual prisoner in darkened rooms and smothering clothes.

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Author Interviews
12:07 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

In Richard Price's New Novel, Haunted Cops And Cases They Couldn't Close

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 12:28 pm

Richard Price used a pseudonym for his new novel, The Whites, but in retrospect, he wishes he hadn't. "It was going to be different from my other books and I wanted to signal that," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. But by the time he realized it was just "another damn book by me" it was too late to withdraw the pen name.

Price is the author of Clockers, the novel about police detectives and drug dealers that Price and Spike Lee adapted into a film. He also wrote for the HBO series The Wire, which was about police detectives and drug dealers.

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Monkey See
10:45 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Making Peace With Peace: Snow Days And Seasons

iStockphoto

So here we are, many of us in the D.C. area, doing what many in the Northeast — particularly New England — have been doing lately: looking out the window.

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The Salt
9:36 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Fat Tuesday Nordic-Style Means Big, Sweet Buns

Semlor served at FIKA in New York City. "The interest [in semlor] is huge," says Lena Khoury, the Swedish cafe chain's director of strategy and communications.
Courtesy of FIKA

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 10:22 am

Forget the all-night boozing, the spicy jambalaya and the gaudy-colored king cake. And definitely forget the scantily clad debauchery that is Mardi Gras.

Like the setup of a Garrison Keillor joke, I'm here to tell you about Lutherans and their sweet February buns. Welcome to Fat Tuesday, Nordic-style.

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Book Reviews
8:03 am
Tue February 17, 2015

'Find Me' Gets Lost Along The Way

America's recent tussle with Ebola — and the current resurgence of measles — has made pandemics a major issue, and a major fear. Not that you'd know it from Laura Van Den Berg's Find Me. In it, a haunted young woman named Joy winds up in a hospital in rural Kansas, following the onset of a mysterious, fatal disease, one that erases people's memories.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Black Slugs And 'Black Holes,' An Artful Portrait Of Depression

There's a small subgenre of young-adult novels that treat suicide as a mystery left behind for the survivors. From John Green's 2006 debut Looking For Alaska and Jay Asher's 2007 bestseller Thirteen Reasons Why to more recent titles like Michelle Falkoff's Playlist For The Dead, survivors try to unravel the causes and meaning of a purposeful death, through clues the victim left behind.

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Arts & Life
1:33 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Watch This: The Akils On Black Film And TV You Can't Miss

Mara Brock Akil and her husband, Salim, are a Hollywood power couple. Mara's behind several of BET's hit shows, and Salim's a movie producer and director.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 5:58 am

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Author Interviews
1:31 am
Tue February 17, 2015

King, Tyrant, Beheaded Traitor: The Many Trials Of Charles I

King Charles I was sentenced to death on Jan. 27, 1649, and executed three days later.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 8:10 am

In 1642, England became a country torn apart by civil war. Tens of thousands would die as King Charles I and his royalist supporters battled Parliament and its army.

Over the course of the conflict, Charles I came to be perceived as a traitor and was blamed for the bloodshed. After he and his supporters were defeated, Charles I was seized, tried for treason and sentenced to death.

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Code Switch
2:03 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

One Playwright's 'Obligation' To Confront Race And Identity In The U.S.

Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 5:35 pm

Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins may be only 30 years old, but he's already compiled an impressive resume. His theatrical works, which look at race and identity in America, have been performed in New York and around the country. Last year, Jacobs-Jenkins won the best new American play Obie Award for two of his works, Appropriate and An Octoroon.

An Octoroon is currently playing at Theater for a New Audience in New York.

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Book Reviews
2:00 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Book Review: 'The Evening Chorus'

Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 5:35 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

If you like dark and lyrical love stories, Alan Cheuse has a suggestion for you. It's a novel by the Canadian writer Helen Humphreys, set during World War II and its aftermath. It's called "The Evening Chorus."

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Books
2:00 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Philip Levine Reads 'What Work Is'

Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 5:35 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Today is a holiday for many of you, but not for all of you. For everyone still on the clock, we have a poem from Philip Levine. The former U.S. poet laureate died Saturday at the age of 87.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Mon February 16, 2015

Ten Hearts For The Country — And Language — Of 'Ice Cream Star'

Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 6:25 am

I love arguing about books. Tell me Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is the best modern American novel ever written and I'll fight you. Tell me it wasn't and I'll fight you, too. I'm just scrappy that way.

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The Salt
1:43 am
Mon February 16, 2015

'Party Like A President' Recalls Mixology, Mischief Inside Oval Office

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt drinks a glass of wine at a fundraising dinner in 1938. FDR fancied himself quite the skilled mixologist; many of his colleagues disagreed.
Thomas D. McAvoy The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 5:57 am

While they're often called political animals, many of America's presidents had a bit of the party animal in them, too.

So says author Brian Abrams. In his new book, Party Like a President: True Tales of Inebriation, Lechery and Mischief from the Oval Office, Abrams chronicles the drinking habits and debauchery of former presidents.

Known as the president who repealed Prohibition, Franklin D. Roosevelt fancied himself the mixologist-in-chief, Abrams says, but many of his colleagues disagreed.

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Theater
3:01 pm
Sun February 15, 2015

'Shesh Yak' Explores A Society Torn Apart By The Syrian Civil War

Originally published on Sun February 15, 2015 4:20 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

The rise of ISIS complicated an already horrendous civil war in Syria. The conflict there has been raging five years. Now a Syrian playwright has brought a slice of that war to an off-Broadway stage. NPR's Deborah Amos reports from New York.

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World
3:01 pm
Sun February 15, 2015

Thrilled By Chills? Take A Look At The World's Coldest City

Yakutsk, Russia is the world's coldest city: average winter temperatures hit -30 degrees. It's also the largest city built on permafrost.
Amos Chapple

Originally published on Sun February 15, 2015 7:53 pm

New Zealand-born photographer Amos Chapple was a long, long way from home. Out in the middle of Russia's vast Sakha Republic, an area that spans over 1 million square miles, he was heading towards the world's coldest city.

And he was alone.

In these far reaches of northeast Russia, Chapple says, "If people don't need to be outside, they won't be outside. So in the smaller towns, they all look abandoned. And if you see somebody, they're racing between doors with mitts clasped over faces hurrying to get inside again."

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Author Interviews
3:01 pm
Sun February 15, 2015

In His Latest Book, Neil Gaiman Offers Readers A 'Trigger Warning'

Neil Gaiman's other books include The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Stardust.
Kimberly Butler Courtesy of HarperCollins

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 5:06 pm

Trigger Warning is a term used to warn someone about potentially harmful reading material. It's also the title of Neil Gaiman's newest collection of short-fiction.

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Games & Humor
3:01 pm
Sun February 15, 2015

Comedian Bill Burr Says Stand-Up In Asia In Its 'Lenny Bruce Years'

Comedian Bill Burr performs at the Bud Light Presents Wild West Comedy Festival in 2014.
Terry Wyatt Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 15, 2015 4:20 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

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