Arts

Monkey See
7:07 am
Thu November 13, 2014

A Great Director — Who's Also A Woman — Might Direct 'Wonder Woman'

Michelle MacLaren, seen here accepting an award as a producer on Breaking Bad, may direct the upcoming Wonder Woman movie.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 10:06 am

Michelle MacLaren is a familiar name, or at least a familiar creator, to fans of high-end television: She directed episodes of Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and other series, she's worked extensively as a producer (including on Breaking Bad), and she's one of a handful of television directors whose presence behind the camera can stir enthusiasm about upcoming projects.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu November 13, 2014

'Three-Body Problem' Asks A Classic Sci-Fi Question, In Chinese

English translations of foreign-language science fiction are becoming more common, still, they face an uphill battle. The American market is already crowded with books written by native English speakers, and it takes a conscientious reader to seek out treasures that originate from other parts of the world — that is, if they're even translated in the first place.

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Television
4:08 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Farewell To Randy Jackson, An Example Of All That Ails 'American Idol'

Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell, the original judges on Fox's American Idol.
Michael Becker AP

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 5:09 pm

Look up "show business survivor" on the Google machine, and you're likely to find a picture of Randy Jackson staring back at you.

That's a curious thought, as news breaks that Jackson is leaving Fox's American Idol singing competition after 13 years as a judge and mentor — the second-to-last person from the show's inaugural season left on the show, besides host Ryan Seacrest.

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Color Decoded: Stories That Span The Spectrum
3:41 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Sacred, Sad And Salacious: With Many Meanings, What Is True Blue?

Phil Stanton (from left), Chris Wink and Matt Goldman are the founders of the theatrical performance troupe Blue Man Group.
Jemal Countess Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 7:49 pm

The color blue has meant a lot of things to a lot of different people. In medieval times, the Virgin Mary's cloak was often painted a celestial, pure, sacred blue. In the early 1900s, Pablo Picasso created somber blue paintings during a period of depression. The color has been championed by everyone from jazz musician Miles Davis and singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell to the theatrical Blue Man Group.

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Around the Nation
2:42 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Maurice Sendak's Book Collection At Heart Of Legal Dispute

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 3:10 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Parallels
2:42 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

The Rare Place Where Israelis And Iranians Play Together

What do you get when three Israelis, two Iranians and a German walk into a room? A Berlin-based world music ensemble known as Sistanagila, named after an Iranian province — Sistan and Baluchestan — and the popular Jewish folk song "Hava Nagila."
Courtesy of Sistanagila

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 6:39 pm

Like many Iranians living abroad, Babak Shafian cringed whenever Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, his country's former president, spewed hate-filled rhetoric about Israel. The 33-year-old computer scientist says the diatribes ignored thousands of years of shared history between Jews and Persians.

"The main thing which annoyed me really is that Ahmadinejad was presented in the Western media as the main voice of Iranian society," says Shafian, who moved to Germany 14 years ago.

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Author Interviews
12:30 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Author Richard Ford Says 'Let Me Be Frank' About Aging And Dying

A house on the central Jersey Shore coast collapsed after Superstorm Sandy hit in 2012. Richard Ford said he focused on houses in the wake of the storm in his new book, Let Me Be Frank With You, because they have an "almost iconic status." "A house is where you look out the window and see the world," he says.
Mike Groll AP

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 7:11 am

When Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Ford was a young man, he says, he had a cynical view of aging.

"I sort of went through life thinking that when you got to be in your 60s that basically you weren't good for much," Ford tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "That's a younger man's view. I know that the AARP phones are ringing when I say that, but now I'm 70 and I don't think that anymore, OK?"

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The Two-Way
8:50 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Book News: Isabel Allende To Be Awarded Presidential Medal Of Freedom

Isabel Allende has earned laurels for her work in both Chile and the United States.
Peter Morgan AP

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

In less than two weeks' time, Isabel Allende will add to her storied career as a storyteller — and she'll do so as part of a group of honorees who are no less illustrious. The Chilean-American author has been selected one of 19 recipients of this year's Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the U.S.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed November 12, 2014

An Artist Draws His Journey Away From War And Death, With Gratitude

Drawn & Quarterly

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 2:36 pm

Gratitude can seem like kind of a cheesy concept sometimes. In a post last month, How to Be Happy in Five Minutes a Day, the site MakeUseOf.com assumed it would take less time than that to think of three things you were grateful for. There's family, or if not family, a friend. If not a friend, a pet. If nothing else, life.

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Fine Art
1:49 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Famous Paintings Sell For Millions At Auction, But The Artist Gets Zero

Andy Warhol's Triple Elvis [Ferus Type] is set to be auctioned at Christie's, and expectations are high — but Warhol's estate won't see any of the money.
Christie's Images LTD. 2014

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 12:02 pm

It's fall auction season in New York, and two Andy Warhol silkscreens are on the block at Christie's. One is of Elvis Presley — it's called Triple Elvis; the other is Four Marlons — as in Marlon Brando. In the late 1970s, a German casino bought both works for $185,000. This time around, they're expected to fetch more than $100 million. Andy Warhol's estate won't see any of that money: Unlike musicians or novelists, visual artists don't earn future royalties. But that may be about to change.

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Television
4:24 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

A Crime Drama Crosses The Atlantic And Detective David Tennant Is On The Case

Scottish actor David Tennant stars as a grizzled detective in the BBC's Broadchurch and also the new American adaptation, Gracepoint.
Ed Araquel FOX

The name David Tennant may evoke two very different reactions: from some people, "Who?" and from others, "Doctor Who!" The Scottish actor starred as Doctor Who in the beloved, BBC science-fiction series. "It's a huge privilege to be involved in something that evokes such enthusiasm," Tennant tells NPR's Robert Siegel. But, he says, it's also nice to be known for other projects as well.

Now, he's making his American television debut in Gracepoint — an American adaptation of the BBC detective series Broadchurch.

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Television
2:17 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Despite The Dope, 'High Maintenance' Is About More Than Potheads

"The guy" (Ben Sinclair, left) delivers pot to two clients played by Tanisha Long and William Jackson Harper.
Courtesy of Janky Clown Productions

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 9:40 am

A guy on a bike making home deliveries in New York City. That might not sound like the most riveting storyline for a show, but this guy is a pot dealer in Brooklyn, and each episode of High Maintenance follows a different transaction, and then some. The show is Vimeo's first foray into original Web TV, and it's been getting raves.

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The Two-Way
10:16 am
Tue November 11, 2014

For Dyslexics, A Font And A Dictionary That Are Meant To Help

Graphic designer Christian Boer's Dyslexie font is being featured at the Istanbul Design Biennial.
Dyslexie

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 12:30 pm

A designer who has dyslexia has created a font to help dyslexic readers navigate text, designing letters in a way that avoids confusion and adds clarity. And in England, two researchers are compiling a dictionary that favors meaning over alphabetical order.

Roughly 10 percent of the world's population is dyslexic. And as NPR's Nancy Shute reported in 2012, "People with dyslexia are often bright and verbal, but have trouble with the written word."

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The Two-Way
9:59 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Book News: Battle Over Maurice Sendak's Book Collection Sparks A Lawsuit

Maurice Sendak stands with a character from his book Where the Wild Things Are in 2002.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

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

In the more than two years since Maurice Sendak died, a dispute has simmered over the celebrated author and illustrator's wishes for the works he left behind. Now, the fate of that personal library will be settled in court.

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Goats and Soda
9:04 am
Tue November 11, 2014

How 'The Hot Zone' Got It Wrong And Other Tales Of Ebola's History

David Quammen's new book is an extended excerpt of his previous one, Spillover, which explored how dangerous pathogens jump from animals to people.
Courtesy of David Quammen

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 12:13 pm

In his new book about Ebola, science writer David Quammen has some harsh words for the author of another book about the virus — Richard Preston's best-seller The Hot Zone.

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The Salt
7:46 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Anthony Bourdain And Carla Hall Turbocharge D.C.'s Hunger Fighters

Celebrity chefs (from left) Jose Andres, Carla Hall and Anthony Bourdain rev up the crowd at last year's Capital Food Fight fundraising event for DC Central Kitchen. The nonprofit's fortunes have risen alongside those of its celebrity chef fans.
DC Central Kitchen Flickr

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 12:52 pm

If you're like me — I binged on an entire season of Parts Unknown during a single weekend — then you get the pull of globetrotting foodie Anthony Bourdain.

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Book Reviews
7:44 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Behind The Famous Story, A Difficult 'Wild Truth'

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 9:01 am

Jon Krakauer's 1996 book Into the Wild delved into the riveting story of Chris McCandless, a 24-year-old man from an affluent family outside Washington, D.C., who graduated with honors from Emory, then gave away the bulk of his money, burned the rest and severed all ties with his family. After tramping around the country for nearly two years, he headed into the Alaska wilderness in April 1992. His emaciated body was found a little over four months later.

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U.S.
1:35 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Veterans Voices Multitracked, Overdubbed, Amplified Through An Actor

BASETRACK Live incorporates photographs, videos and interviews to tell the story of warfare, both at home and abroad.
Courtesy of En Garde Arts

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 6:16 am

Basetrack began as a place for embedded journalists to post photos. Later it became a social media site where families could keep up with their troops in Afghanistan. Now it has transformed again, into a new way for the most recent generation of veterans to tell the story of their service and survival.

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Author Interviews
1:33 am
Tue November 11, 2014

43 On 41: A President Traces The Life Of His Father

Former President George W. Bush (right) and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, wave as they leave a family wedding in Washington, D.C., in May 2006.
Normand Blouin-Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 7:16 am

Only twice in American history has a son followed his father into the presidency. The first was John Quincy Adams. The second, George W. Bush, has now written a biography of his father, George H.W. Bush. It's called 41: A Portrait of My Father.

The 43rd president of the United States traces the life of the 41st from his youth in New England through his entry into the Texas oil business, combat during World War II, party politics, diplomacy, the White House, retirement — and skydiving.

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New Boom
1:32 am
Tue November 11, 2014

These Bookish Millennials Make Memes Worth Reading Into

via YouTube

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 11:47 am

This story is part of the New Boom series on millennials in America.

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The Salt
12:10 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Dunkin' Donuts Cronut

A look within
NPR

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 12:50 pm

The Cronut croissant-doughnut hybrid was the food phenomenon of 2013. There were long lines at the bakery where Cronuts were invented, and they were going for hundreds of dollars on the black market. They even inspired spinoffs like the doughscuit — a doughnut-biscuit hybrid — and the bronut, which was just a doughnut wearing an Ed Hardy T-shirt.

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Monkey See
12:02 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Don't Leave Me Hanging: On Difference, High-Fives, And Podcasts

I've been listening to Startup — the podcast started by Planet Money alum Alex Blumberg to talk about the establishment of his company, Gimlet Media — since it debuted in early September. It appears every other Monday, so they posted their seventh episode this morning.

I'm surprised it took me until their fourth episode, which I heard on October 10, to notice that I couldn't remember any women being heard on the show other than Blumberg's [awesome and hilarious] wife and the [less present but probably also delightful] wife of his business partner, Matt.

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Book Reviews
11:58 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Superstorm Sandy Inspires Bleak, Poetic Landscapes In 'Let Me Be Frank'

Richard Ford won the Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for his novel Independence Day. His latest book takes his beloved hero, Frank Bascombe, into his sunset years.
Greta Rybus Courtesy of Harper Collins

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 12:57 pm

It's such a goofy title. Let Me Be Frank with You is the latest installment in the odyssey of Frank Bascombe, the New Jersey Everyman Richard Ford introduced almost 30 years ago in his novel, The Sportswriter. Two more Frank Bascombe novels followed, and now this: a brilliant collection of four interconnected short stories of about 60 pages each in which Ford is indeed "being Frank" Bascombe with us once again, as well as being "frank" about all sorts of touchy topics in America, such as race, politics, the economy, old age and the oblivion that awaits us all.

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The Two-Way
8:08 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Book News: PBS Promises 'Olympic-Style' Coverage Of Miami Book Fair

Festivalgoers browse for books during the Miami Book Fair International. PBS will provide live coverage of the fair's events over the course of three days this year.
Roberto Schmidt AFP/Getty Images

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

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Monkey See
6:41 am
Mon November 10, 2014

'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Hits A Home Run With The Stupendous Andre Braugher

Sgt. Jeffords (Terry Crews, L), Capt. Holt (Andre Braugher, C) and Det. Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz, R) try and figure out why Amy is late in Sunday night's Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Eddy Chen Fox

The Fox comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine was a tiny bit uneven in its first few episodes last year, but it was always clear that it had the goods. Since then, it's become one of the most reliably funny, sharp, and — in the tradition of shows like Parks & Recreation, which creators Michael Schur and Dan Goor also worked on — big-hearted comedies in prime time.

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Book News & Features
1:05 am
Mon November 10, 2014

If Literature's Great Characters Could Text, They'd Charm Your Pantalets Off

In Mallory Ortberg's modern retelling of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, Miss Havisham texts wedding dress photos from a blocked number.
Madeline Gobbo Courtesy of Henry Holt & Company

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 3:40 pm

What if the greatest characters in literary history all carried around smartphones and typed out messages to each other? That's the conceit of the new book Texts from Jane Eyre. Author Mallory Ortberg knows it sounds gimmicky, but she loved imagining how Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester might have texted.

"It's just re-imagined dialogue that I think all of these characters would absolutely say in a slightly more familiar context," Ortberg explains.

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Color Decoded: Stories That Span The Spectrum
1:02 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Whether Green With Envy Or Tickled Pink, We Live In A Color-Coded World

An employee at a frozen foods company in eastern Germany checks carrots for quality.
Michael Urban AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 9:00 am

Red means stop; green means go. You live in a red or a blue state. You feel green with envy, or you're tickled pink. Colors alert, provoke, attract, divide and unite us.

Thinkers from Plato to Einstein to a new cottage industry of color psychologists have studied the importance of color in our daily lives. But, as Joann and Arielle Eckstut write in their book The Secret Language of Color: "Anyone who claims to be an expert on color is a liar."

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Author Interviews
3:25 pm
Sun November 9, 2014

A 3-Star General Explains 'Why We Lost' In Iraq, Afghanistan

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 5:57 am

"I am a United States Army General, and I lost the Global War on Terrorism."

Those are the frank opening words of a new book by retired Army Lt. Gen. Daniel Bolger, Why We Lost: A General's Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Bolger continues:

"It's like Alcoholics Anonymous. Step one is admitting you have a problem. Well, I have a problem. So do my peers. And thanks to our problem, now all of America has a problem. To wit: two lost campaigns and a war gone awry."

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My Big Break
3:22 pm
Sun November 9, 2014

James Earl Jones: From Stutterer To Janitor To Broadway Star

James Earl Jones was born in Mississippi and grew up in Michigan. He was adopted by his grandparents and eventually developed a stutter. "I'm still a stutterer," he says. "I just work with it."
Stephen Chernin AP

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 12:22 pm

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

From award-winning Broadway performances to the iconic voice that brought Darth Vader to life, James Earl Jones has an unmistakable presence on stage and on screen.

He's 83 years old and back on Broadway, where he stars in the comedy classic You Can't Take It with You.

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Author Interviews
3:22 pm
Sun November 9, 2014

'The Black Horn': Blowing Past Classical Music's Color Barriers

Robert Lee Watt was a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for more than three decades.
Courtesy of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 7:44 am

Robert Lee Watt fell in love with the French horn at an early age. He met a lot of resistance from people who thought his background and his race made a career with the instrument unlikely — but he went on to become the first African-American French hornist hired by a major symphony in the United States.

He became the assistant first French horn for the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1970, and stayed with the orchestra for 37 years. His memoir, The Black Horn, tells how he got there.

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