Arts

Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

In 'Sightseers,' A Killing Spree Gone South

Tina (Alice Lowe) and Chris (Steve Oram) in the sour social comedy Sightseers.
Ben Wheatley IFC Films

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 8:17 am

Scrub away the gore and the nastier bits of provocation, and Ben Wheatley's Sightseers belongs squarely in the tradition of British classics like Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Ruling Class — satires that transformed simmering class resentment into brittle, nasty dark comedy.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

'Gatsby's' Jazz-Age Excess, All Over The Screen

A 'Great Gatsby'? Leonardo DiCaprio suits up to play the mysterious, magnetic title character in Baz Luhrmann's exuberantly turbulent film adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 8:38 am

If anyone could pull off a multiplex-friendly adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby — a film treatment that might be capable of stepping out of the long shadow cast by the book — it's Baz Luhrmann, right? The Australian director who dragged Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers into the music-video-shaken, bullet-ridden '90s with Romeo + Juliet and compressed a century's worth of pop music and melodrama into the glorious Moulin Rouge?

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Movie Reviews
2:54 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

'Venus and Serena': Champs Atop Their Game

Serena Williams (left) and her sister Venus Williams in action during their first-round doubles match on Day 2 at Wimbledon in 2010.
Hamish Blair Getty Images via Magnolia Pictures

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 12:02 pm

What's left to know about Venus and Serena Williams? Probably not much that the tennis titans would be willing to share, given how heavily exposed they've been already, and how eager the press has been to wedge the sisters into ready-made narratives about race, celebrity and the daughters of a Svengali.

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Author Interviews
12:19 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

'The Woman Upstairs': A Saga Of Anger And Thwarted Ambition

Picture of an old attic
Minas Panagiotakis iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 12:59 pm

"How angry am I? You don't want to know. Nobody wants to know." Those are the opening lines of Claire Messud's new novel, The Woman Upstairs. The novel is about a single woman, Nora, who hasn't fulfilled her dreams of being an artist and having children. Nora's plight is complicated when she befriends a woman who has done both.

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Television
11:29 am
Thu May 9, 2013

In A Cluster Of New Sitcoms, 'Family Tree' Stands Tall

In the new HBO series Family Tree, Chris O'Dowd (above left, with the series' writer-director-producer Christopher Guest) stars as a guy who has just lost his job and girlfriend and fills the void by looking into his family genealogy.
HBO

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 12:29 pm

Christopher Guest, co-creator with Jim Piddock of the new HBO comedy series Family Tree, obviously is having a good time making this show — and it's contagious. It's several shows in one, and every element is a self-assured little delight.

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Remembrances
11:06 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Remembering Monster-Maker Ray Harryhausen

Medusa from 1981's Clash of the Titans is among legendary animator Ray Harryhausen's many creations.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 12:19 pm

Ray Harryhausen, who died Tuesday in London at age 92, became fascinated with animation after seeing King Kong in 1933. He went on to create some of the most memorable monsters of old Hollywood, from dinosaurs to mythological creatures.

His monsters, however, were never completely divorced from the real world.

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Ask Me Another
9:51 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Hahd-Cawr Pun

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 8:07 am

We kick off our road show with a game dedicated to the stereotypical Boston dialect--you know, the one that tells you to "Pahk your cah in Hahvahd Yahd"? Host Ophira Eisenberg has a little punny fun with phrases and names that take on whole new meanings when you drop the "r's" in certain words. And for the record, "Hahd-Cawr Pun" is just Boston-speak for "Hard-Core Pun."

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Ask Me Another
9:51 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Banned In Boston

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 8:07 am

It's been a great time in Boston, but we've reached the Ask Me One More final round. Puzzle guru Art Chung leads the final five contestants in a game comprised of words, phrases and names that begin with the letters B-A-N. For example, the triangular patterned cloth you might wear around your head or neck would be a "bandana," and if it doesn't bear the Red Sox logo, then you're in the wrong town.

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Ask Me Another
9:51 am
Thu May 9, 2013

I Left My Heart In Boston

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 8:07 am

Jonathan Coulton is wicked stoked to pay tribute to Boston in the best way he knows how: by substituting the names of Boston neighborhoods into the lyrics of well-known songs about other cities. For example, if Elvis had spent more time in a certain Boston neighborhood, he might have written a song called "Viva Dorchester!" Can you name the original towns? Or do you prefer a "Roslindale State of Mind"?

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Ask Me Another
9:51 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Name Brand Names

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 8:07 am

It may take a lifetime to develop your fashion sense or signature flourish, but only a few trendsetters can boast clothing items actually named in their honor.

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Monkey See
9:14 am
Thu May 9, 2013

PBS Continues The March Into Streaming Programming

Antiques Roadshow is one of the programs available from PBS's new Roku channel.
PBS

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 9:25 am

Let's start with a brief tour of streaming television online.

For quite a while, streaming television meant sitting and watching it on your computer. It wasn't ideal, for obvious reasons. Then, it got easier to sit and watch it on your phone. That wasn't ideal, either, if you liked the living-room experience. Tablets do a better job than phones of delivering a portable but less tiny experience.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Farm Team Saga 'Class A' Hits It Out Of The Park

Cover of Class A

Is there room for another book about America's favorite pastime? Lucas Mann's Class A earns a position in a lineup that already includes Bang the Drum Slowly, The Natural, The Boys of Summer, Moneyball and The Art of Fielding because, remarkably, it offers a fresh, unexpected angle on this well-trodden game.

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The Two-Way
5:02 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Book News: Hacker Leaks Part Of 'Sex And The City' Author's New Book

Author Candace Bushnell attends the March 2010 DVF Awards at the United Nations in New York City.
Neilson Barnard Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 5:16 am

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

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Movie Interviews
12:54 am
Thu May 9, 2013

An Epic Of India Gets A Canvas Its Own Size

Parvati and Saleem (Shriya Saran and Satya Bhabha), born in tandem at the birth of independent India, are at the center of Salman Rushdie's novel Midnight's Children. Thirty years after the book's publication, filmmaker Deepa Mehta has committed the story to the big screen.
108 Media

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 4:54 am

In the 1970s, Salman Rushdie was an unknown writer living in London. He decided to return to the country of his birth and rough it across India on what he describes as "extraordinarily long 15-hour bus rides with chickens vomiting on our feet."

That trip inspired Midnight's Children, the Booker Prize-winning novel that many consider Rushdie's literary masterpiece. Now, more than 30 years after it was published, Midnight's Children arrives on the big screen in a glittering film adaptation from Oscar-nominated director Deepa Mehta.

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Monkey See
11:12 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Yippee-Kai-Yay, Mr. President: 'White House Down' Looks Very Familiar

Channing Tatum stars in White House Down.
Reiner Bajo Sony Pictures

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Author Interviews
10:56 am
Wed May 8, 2013

What's The Most Meaningful Gift Your Mom Gave You?

Editor Elizabeth Benedict received this embroidered, black wool scarf from her mother. It was the last gift she got from her mom before she died.
Amy Ta NPR

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 1:08 pm

Mother's Day is this Sunday. While some people are racking their brains to think of the perfect way to show their love and appreciation for Mom, a group of distinguished women recently flipped that script and wrote about the most profound gift their own moms gave to them. Their essays are collected in the new book What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-One Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most.

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Monkey See
10:07 am
Wed May 8, 2013

If Jeff Probst Were President

Jeff Probst, seen here in the summer of 2012, is a TV host, and is not actually the president.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 11:38 am

Note: It is 100 percent true and 51 percent relevant that this entire story was written inside my brain while I was in the dentist's chair under the influence of anesthesia. I began to think, "Jeff Probst [the host of Survivor] will not be happy until he is more important than tribal council. Until he is king of CBS. Until he is President of the United States. President Jeff Probst." So the entire thing is numbness-induced in so many ways. Make of that what you will.

President Jeff Probst's State Of The Union Address, delivered Feb. 2 [xxx]

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Europe
9:37 am
Wed May 8, 2013

In France, A Renewed Push To Return Art Looted By Nazis

A photo taken by the Nazis during World War II shows a room filled with stolen art at the Jeu de Paume museum in Paris. Using improved technology and the Internet, the French government is making a renewed push to track down the rightful owners of art looted by the Nazis.
Courtesy of Archives des Musees Nationaux A Paris

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 7:55 pm

During World War II, the Nazis plundered tens of thousands of works of art from the private collections of European Jews, many living in France. About 75 percent of the artwork that came back to France from Germany at the end of the war has been returned to their rightful owners.

But there are still approximately 2,000 art objects that remain unclaimed. The French government has now begun one of its most extensive efforts ever to find the heirs and return the art.

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Kitchen Window
6:24 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Try A Do-It-Yourself Mother's Day

T. Susan Chang for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 11:22 am

My mother didn't plant a great many spring bulbs. But over by the pachysandra patch, there was a single lovely pink tulip, and I kept my eye on it for two weeks before Mother's Day. When that Sunday morning arrived, I rushed out, snipped it and ran inside to where she lay sleeping to present it to her. "Did you pick that outside?" she inquired, her expression shifting from sleepy surprise to something more complicated. I nodded proudly. "Oh ... thank you, sweetie."

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The Two-Way
5:56 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Book News: Translators Of Dan Brown Novel Toiled In 'Bunker'

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 6:22 am

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

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Graphic-Novel Gumshoe Rounds Up Unusual Suspects

Matt Kindt is a storyteller so fully in control of his gifts that his graphic novels — 3 Story, Revolver and others — read like quietly compelling arguments for the comics medium's narrative potential.

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Author Interviews
12:46 am
Wed May 8, 2013

With Gorgeous Dorms But Little Cash, Colleges Must Adapt

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 9:43 am

Many high school seniors who are heading to college this fall have just paid their tuition deposits — the first real taste of what the college experience is going to cost them. These students are heading to school at a time that some consider a transformative moment for American colleges and universities. Costs are skyrocketing, and there are some real questions about what value college students are getting for their money.

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Movie Interviews
4:12 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

'Love' Stories: Pierce Brosnan, Then And Now

A reluctant widower (Pierce Brosnan) finds himself drawn to the mother (Trine Dyrholm) of the young woman who's marrying his son in Love Is All You Need, a romantic comedy from Oscar-winning director Susanne Bier.
Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 8:56 pm

Pierce Brosnan's career fits neatly into two chapters — before he played James Bond, and after.

Before, the Irish actor traded on his looks, charm and style; think Remington Steele, the arch detective show that introduced him to U.S. TV audiences in 1982. Three-piece suits never looked so good.

After he traded in Bond's dinner jacket, though, Brosnan took a left turn. He played a sad-sack hitman in The Matador, a soldier in the brutal Western Seraphim Falls. And he sang, infamously, in Mamma Mia.

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Theater
3:01 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

'Show Boat' Steams On, Eternally American

When she's discovered to be a multiracial woman "passing" as white, the Cotton Blossom's star performer, Julie (Alyson Cambridge), is forced to leave the company.
Scott Suchman Washington National Opera

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 12:50 pm

It's been more than eight decades since Show Boat -- the seminal masterpiece of the American musical theater — premiered on a stage in Washington, D.C. Now the sprawling classic is back, in a lush production put on by the Washington National Opera.

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The Salt
12:51 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Why Britain Has Gone Mad About Baking

Where the streets are lined with cake: This royal-themed cake was served during a street party in South London last June as part of celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.
Andrew Cowie AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 2:51 pm

The first rule of cake club is: You ONLY talk about cake.

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Author Interviews
12:33 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

'Shocked': Patricia Volk's Memoir About Beauty And Its Beholders

Patricia Volk is an essayist, novelist and memoirist. She recounts her experiences growing up in a restaurant-owning family in New York City, in her memoir Stuffed.
Random House

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 1:18 pm

Patricia Volk's mother was beautiful in a way that stopped people on the street. Strangers compared her to Lana Turner and Grace Kelly. She was stylish and vain: Her beauty and its preservation mattered to her. "She had an icy blond beauty, an imperious kind of beauty," Volk tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Monkey See
12:15 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

At The Met Ball, Those Are Some Crazy Dresses

Beyonce, complete with thigh-high boots to match.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Monday night was the big night for unusual dresses (you may remember a previous post about Madonna's bunny ears): the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, known as the "Met Ball." It had a loose punk theme (because the costume exhibit it's celebrating is punk-centric), but everyone got up to quite a bit of her own thing.

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Movies
11:20 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Scorsese Talks 'The Language of Cinema'

Animated as ever when it comes to the topic of film, director Martin Scorsese delivers the 2013 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities at the Kennedy Center on April 1.
NIcholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 12:34 pm

Martin Scorsese is a legend of a director — and he's also a great film teacher, a man who balances a passion for the medium with a deep knowledge of its history. Delivering this year's installment of the National Endowment for the Humanities' prestigious Jefferson Lecture — a talk he titled "Persistence of Vision: Reading the Language of Cinema" — Scorsese demonstrated his speaking chops as well.

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Monkey See
10:54 am
Tue May 7, 2013

These Dogs, Cats And Robots Have A Few 'Tiny Confessions'

Penguin

Let me tell you a quick story from NPR's move from our old headquarters to our new one.

When I was emptying out my old desk and workspace, in addition to all the shoes under my desk and an alarming number of vessels designed to keep coffee warm, I had quite a lot of books lying around. Some were upcoming books, most were old books, and a few were books I neither had any use for nor could bear to get rid of. One of the tests I applied was that if I picked up a book and the first page I opened to made me laugh, it survived.

Tiny Confessions survived.

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Monkey See
9:16 am
Tue May 7, 2013

So Much For Bowling Scenes: What Is And Isn't Wrong With Number-Crunching Scripts

iStockphoto.com

The words "grossed out" evoke enough of a watery 1980s vibe that they need to be saved for the times when they really apply: movie scenes where somebody sticks something in somebody else's eye, sewage spills, and so forth.

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