Arts

Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

'Getaway.' No, Really. Get Away From Here. Off My Lawn!

Ethan Hawke headlines the picture, along with Selena Gomez, but it's still pretty much a movie about a car. Which for some reason is largely bulletproof.
Simon Versano Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 8:24 am

Some movies can be ruined by thinking about them too much. Then there are the movies you ruin by thinking about them at all. The former can be fun exercises in effortless diversion. But when concerted effort is required not to ask any story-deflating questions about what's up on the screen, it kind of flattens the fun.

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Movie Interviews
2:51 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Rebecca Hall, Finding New Thrills In The Family Business

Chaos, panic and disorder: Rebecca Hall stars as a barrister whose assignment leads to all kinds of bad things in the security-state thriller Closed Circuit.
Jay Maidment Focus Features

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 5:22 pm

Rebecca Hall, a veteran of films like Vicky Cristina Barcelona and The Town, is the star of the new surveillance-state thriller Closed Circuit, playing an English barrister charged with monitoring top-secret, closed-to-the-public evidence hearings involving a terrorist bombing.

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Around the Nation
2:51 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Lady Houdini's Escape Act Breaks Through Not Just Handcuffs

Rochelle Fowler watches with tears on her face as Lady Houdini works to break free. Harry Houdini made the water torture cell famous more than 100 years ago.
Sadie Babits Boise State Public Radio

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 4:23 pm

Kristen Johnson is no "lovely" magician's assistant. She's Lady Houdini, an escape artist who has successfully performed thousands of public feats and has broken Harry Houdini's record for most water escapes ever.

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Parallels
11:57 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Too Weird To Be True? In China, You Never Can Tell

A zoo in central China's Henan province swapped a dog — a Tibetan mastiff like the one shown here — for a lion, in another story that recently swept Chinese cyberspace.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 3:47 pm

Here are some of the recent news stories that went viral in China that you may have missed:

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Ask Me Another
11:22 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Really Hard Edition: Part 2

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 8:06 am

The hour continues as host Ophira Eisenberg and puzzle editor Art Chung unearth notorious stumpers from the Ask Me Another archives. How well do you know your "qwertyuiop"? We ask contestants to create words using letters found on the "Top Row" of a computer keyboard. Mental math meets pop music in "Algebraic Music" (with an assist from house musician Jonathan Coulton) and the names of esteemed world leaders get reduced to animal-related puns in "Imperial Pets."

Ask Me Another
11:22 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Really Hard Edition: Part 1

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 8:06 am

This hour, revisit some of Ask Me Another's hardest games with host Ophira Eisenberg and puzzle editor Art Chung. If Nietzsche and Kierkegaard were actually hacky comedians, their jokes might sound a little like those told by puzzle guru John Chaneski in "The Philospher's Comedy Club." Find out from Art the original conceit of this game (hint: it involved people in tights), then try mashing up notable names in "Presidential Middle Names"--it may prove to be more brain-melting than enlightening.

Late Night TV Week On Fresh Air
10:22 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Seth Meyers' Prime-Time Political Parody

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 8:36 am

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

It's late-night week on FRESH AIR. One of the big late-night changes scheduled for early next year is Seth Meyers moving to NBC's "Late Night," replacing Jimmy Fallon when Fallon moves to "The Tonight Show." Seth Meyers has been the head writer and co-anchor or anchor of "Weekend Update" since the fall of 2006.

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Crime In The City
4:57 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Mystery Series' Portly P.I. Peels Back The Layers Of Delhi Society

In Tarquin Hall's novels, Vish Puri's detective office is located in Khan Market, near shops like this one.
Julie McCarthy NPR

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 3:59 pm

For an introduction to India's cultural and culinary delights, you might hop a flight to Delhi or book a trip to Mumbai. But to meet the country sans passport free of airport indignities, you could just curl up with the crime novels of Tarquin Hall.

Vish Puri, Hall's opinionated private investigator, is a 50-something Punjabi super sleuth with a fondness for family and food. The mustachioed detective cracks open India's underbelly with a caseload that delves into forbidden love, corruption in Indian cricket and the deadly clash between science and superstition.

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The Salt
1:33 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Move Over, Pot Stickers: China Cooks Up Hundreds Of Dumplings

A Flock of Dumpling Ducklings: What's inside? Roasted Beijing duck, of course.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 5:52 pm

All week, we've been talking about dumplings — from tortellini's sensual origins in Italy to kubbeh's tasty variations in Israel.

But perhaps no country has a longer history or greater variety of dumplings than China. Dumplings come in all shapes and with every imaginable filling. They are served at everything from a humble family meal to elaborate works of culinary art.

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Around the Nation
1:28 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Area Man Realizes He's Been Reading Fake News For 25 Years

Jan. 18-24, 2001
The Onion

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 11:47 am

Before Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert became establishments in news satire, there was The Onion. Thursday, "America's Finest News Source" turns 25.

Two college students founded the fake news organization, which began as a newspaper in Madison, Wis. "It really started as something very local that was intended mainly to ... sell pizza coupons," Editor-in-Chief Will Tracy tells Morning Edition host Renee Montagne..

It still has that Midwestern touch, he says.

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Movie Reviews
5:28 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

'Closed Circuit' Targets Big Brother, But Swings Pretty Wide

Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall play lawyerly allies with a complicated past — one that threatens to increase their present peril — in the surveillance-state thriller Closed Circuit.
Jay Maidment Focus Features

A massive explosion rocks a covered market, but Central London still looks mighty handsome in the British thriller Closed Circuit. So does the actress Rebecca Hall. Decked out in blacks, creams and grays, she and her city both are sleek, elegant and more than a little forbidding, even if they're softened by pockets of olde worlde soul.

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The Salt
3:13 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

The Latest Frontier In Gourmet Salt, From The Lowest Point On Earth

An Israeli man bathes in the Dead Sea. Spas have long touted the health benefits of the Dead Sea. So does Naked Sea Salt.
Sebastian Scheiner AP

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 6:34 am

When you go to the Dead Sea for a float in its extraordinarily buoyant waters, signs warn you not to drink a drop. "Did you swallow water?" one Dead Sea do's and don'ts list asks. "Go immediately to the lifeguard."

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Author Interviews
3:13 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Taking A Closer Look At Milgram's Shocking Obedience Study

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 4:39 pm

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Movie Reviews
11:16 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Reaching Across What's Broken, 'Short Term' Fix Or No

In Short Term 12 — named for the youth facility where it's primarily set — John Gallagher Jr. and Brie Larson play young counselors not too far removed from their own adolescent struggles.
Cinedigm

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 2:02 pm

It's easy to make fun of a certain kind of therapeutic language — the kind you hear all through the movie Short Term 12.

That title comes from the name of a group home for abused and/or unstable teens. Early on, a young counselor named Grace (Brie Larson) tells one smart-mouthed kid that "your attitude is not helping either one of us" — which would tend to make her a repressive drag in a typical Hollywood teen picture.

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Music
9:15 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Freedom Singer: 'Without Music, There Would Be No Movement'

Amy Ta NPR

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 6:32 am

"Without the songs of the movement, personally I believe that there wouldn't have been a movement," says Rutha Mae Harris, one of the original Freedom Singers.

Fifty years ago, the Freedom Singers performed along with artists like Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and Mahalia Jackson at the March on Washington.

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The Salt
8:20 am
Wed August 28, 2013

To Grow Sweeter Produce, California Farmers Turn Off The Water

At Happy Boy Farms near Santa Cruz, Calif., Early Girl tomatoes are grown using dry-farming methods. The tomatoes have become increasingly popular with chefs and wholesalers.
Courtesy Jen Lynne/Happy Boy Farms

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 10:57 am

A week without water can easily kill the average person.

But a garden that goes unwatered for months may produce sweeter, more flavorful fruits than anything available in most mainstream supermarkets — even in the scorching heat of a California summer. Commercial growers call it "dry farming," and throughout the state, this unconventional technique seems to be catching on among small producers of tomatoes, apples, grapes, melons and potatoes.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed August 28, 2013

'Shaman' Takes Readers Back To The Dawn Of Humankind

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 11:15 am

Big questions about the origins of consciousness and culture may not be everyone's cup of tea, but if these are things you find yourself thinking about, there's nothing like a seriously composed and compelling novel about prehistoric life — both for illumination, and for some of the most intelligent entertainment you can find.

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Kitchen Window
10:08 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Roasted Tomatoes, The Perfect Accessory For Summer Dishes

T. Susan Chang for NPR

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 1:31 am

At this time of year, we all love tomatoes. Many of us claim we'll "take a big juicy tomato and bite into it like it's an apple," although you won't often see that happen in actual fact.

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Movie Reviews
4:14 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Dark Wings Over Tokyo, With A Dash Of Feline Mystery To Finish

More than 20,000 crows, by recent estimates, live alongside the 13 million human inhabitants of Tokyo; Tokyo Waka tells their story — and meditates on the meaning of their persistence in one of the world's greatest cities.
Stylo Films

Western movies usually film Tokyo through a lens clouded by preconceived notions. California documentarians John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson sidestep that pitfall by downplaying human views. Their Tokyo Waka: A City Poem looks at the Japanese megalopolis from the vantage point of its abundant crows.

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Late Night TV Week On Fresh Air
11:53 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Conan's 'Uphill Climb' To Late-Night Throne

Conan O'Brien interviews Bruce Willis in a 2005 episode of Late Night With Conan O'Brien.
NBC Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 11:57 am

Conan O'Brien has probably had the most unusual career trajectory of any current late-night host. When he joined NBC's Late Night in 1993, replacing David Letterman, he had virtually no on-air experience. He did, however, have comedy-writing chops: O'Brien edited the humor magazine The Harvard Lampoon as a student, then wrote for Saturday Night Live and was a writer and producer for The Simpsons.

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Fresh Air Theme Week: Late Night TV
9:38 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Jay Leno: 'Tonight' Was About 'Trying To Get Johnny To Laugh'

Jay Leno delivers the opening monologue during the inauguration of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on May 25, 1992.
Craig Fujii AP

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 11:53 am

In 1992, when Jay Leno took over from Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, he was already a familiar presence, having served as one of Carson's regular substitute hosts. Despite that experience, Leno's first few years on Tonight were rocky.

"When he started, when he was up against Letterman, Letterman beat him for the first couple of years," critic David Bianculli tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "But once Leno came ahead, he was unstoppable. He never lost that audience."

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue August 27, 2013

'Cancer Chronicles' Digs Into The Complex History Of A Devastating Disease

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 9:03 am

The government's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program (SEER) tracks state cancer incidence and mortality rates. So it was only natural that George Johnson would pore over their latest data to gain some insight for his incisive new book, The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery. "Concentrating on overall cancer rates can smear over some interesting details," he writes, "and I wondered what might be lurking underneath."

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New In Paperback
5:03 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Aug. 26-Sept. 1: Fashion, Family And David Foster Wallace

After struggling with depression for much of his adult life, writer David Foster Wallace committed suicide on Sept. 12, 2008.
Giovanni Giovannetti Effigie

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 6:30 pm

* Some of the language in the summaries above has been provided by publishers.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Salt
1:00 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Tortellini, The Dumpling Inspired By Venus' Navel

Even in Sandro Botticelli's painting The Birth of Venus, the goddess's belly resembles a plump, firm tortellino.
Wikimedia.org

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 2:38 pm

Tortellini — small circles of rolled dough folded around a filling — are one of the most renowned members of the Italian pasta family. In the land of their birth, the region near the Italian city of Bologna, they're strictly served as broth-like dumplings.

Possibly no foodstuff in Italian cuisine is surrounded by so much history and lore.

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The Salt
3:26 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

'Braai Day' Aims To Bring S. Africans Together Over Barbecue

Jan Scannell, former accountant, has taken on a new identity as "Jan Braai," a South African TV show host and media personality promoting the idea of National Braai (barbecuing) Day, celebrated each year on Sept. 24.
Courtesy of Stephanus Rabie

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 3:30 pm

Nelson Mandela is officially "improving," though still in critical condition at a South African hospital. His long battle with a lung infection has South Africans anxiously contemplating their "post-Mandela" future in a still racially divided country. In a unique strategy, one man is hoping to help heal those divisions with a pair of barbecue tongs.

Jan Scannell is a 32-year-old former accountant with a dream: To establish a national holiday in South Africa like July 4 called Braai Day.

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The Salt
12:15 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Sandwich Monday: A Hot Dog Cookoff

The entry from Kuma's. There's a hot dog hiding in there somewhere.
Jamie Bernstein

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 1:33 pm

There is still debate as to whether the hot dog evolved from lesser sandwich forms or is the work of an intelligent designer, but everyone can agree it's a marvel of simplicity. At the Gapers Block Hot Dog Cookoff earlier this summer in Chicago, though, five chefs were challenged to reinterpret the humble tube steak, and we were challenged to eat them all.

The chefs were told to "start with Vienna Beef hot dogs" and "use them in any way imaginable." Those instructions, when you think about it, are frighteningly open to interpretation.

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The Salt
11:43 am
Mon August 26, 2013

The Great Dumpling Debate: What Makes The Cut?

When we first started thinking about dumplings for NPR's Dumpling Week, we presumed that there wasn't much to the little balls of dough. They seemed simple, universally beloved and unencumbered by controversy.

But the semantics of the dumpling turns out to be far more fraught that we imagined. This became clear when we started wondering whether tamales, or samosas, counted as dumplings. The deeper we waded into the pool of quasi-dumpling snacks, the more we realized we needed some expert input to set us straight.

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Television
11:19 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Letterman And 'Tonight' Vet Go Behind The Scenes Of Late Night

David Letterman, pictured here in January 1982, premiered Late Night With David Letterman just a few months after his Fresh Air interview.
AP

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 8:43 am

Imagine David Letterman sitting in the reception area where you work, going virtually unrecognized. That's how it was in 1981 when Letterman visited WHYY in Philadelphia to be interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air, then a local program.

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Theater
9:54 am
Mon August 26, 2013

'Pippin' Star Patina Miller Soars On Broadway

Patina Miller portrays Leading Player in the Broadway revival of Pippin.
Joan Marcus

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 10:39 am

Patina Miller first got noticed on the theater scene in 2009 as the star of Sister Act: A Divine Musical Comedy. She earned rave reviews for playing the accidental nun who led a choir to stardom. Now she's center stage again in the Broadway revival of Pippin, the musical first launched in 1972. Miller takes on the role of Leading Player, the circus artist who guides a young prince in finding meaning and magic in his life. She won this year's Tony Award for best leading actress in a musical. You can also hear her on the newly released CD of the show's songs.

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The Two-Way
8:51 am
Mon August 26, 2013

New Salinger Books Will Arrive In 2015, Authors Say

A new biography claims that unpublished fiction is on the way from late author J.D. Salinger, seen here at right posing with a friend, Donald Hartog, in 1989.
AP

A stream of fiction and stories written by reclusive author J.D. Salinger will be published between 2015 and 2020, according to a new biography about the writer of The Catcher in the Rye, who died in 2010. Some of the books will reportedly revisit beloved Salinger characters such as Holden Caulfield.

The claims come from David Shields and Shane Salerno, co-authors of the biography Salinger, which will be published next week. Days later, Salerno's documentary film of the same name will be released (and in January, it will air on PBS).

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