Arts

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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Poetry
1:32 pm
Sun February 15, 2015

Philip Levine, Who Found Poetry On Detroit's Assembly Lines, Dies At 87

Philip Levine grew up on the outskirts of Detroit and began writing poetry when he was just 13 years old. "It was like I had never enjoyed anything in my life so much," he said. "It was utterly thrilling. I began to live for it."
Gary Kazanjian AP

Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 6:13 am

Philip Levine revealed the poetry in the lives working people, and especially the people and places of his youth — in the auto factories and working class homes of urban Detroit. In a career that spanned six decades, he was a United States Poet Laureate, and winner of two National Book Awards and a Pulitzer Prize. He died Saturday of pancreatic and liver cancer in Fresno, Calif. He was 87.

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The Salt
6:03 am
Sun February 15, 2015

Fake Food George Washington Could've Sunk His Fake Teeth Into

Stargazy Pie, a cornish dish named for the way the fish heads poke through the crust towards the sky.
Courtesy of Sandy Levins

Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 11:51 am

If you want to see what George Washington might have munched on, then Sandy Levins is your gal. All the food she whips up look scrumptious, but if you sneak a bite, you'll get a mouthful of plaster or clay.

Levins is one of a handful of frequently overlooked artisans who craft the replica meals you see in the kitchens and dining rooms of historic houses and museums. Adding faux food to a historical site can help visitors connect to the past, she tells The Salt.

"It's something everyone immediately identifies with, because everyone eats," she says.

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Sunday Puzzle
5:46 am
Sun February 15, 2015

'La La La' I Can't Hear You

NPR

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 7:42 am

On-air challenge: Today's puzzle is called "La La La." Every answer is a word or name of three or more syllables in which an interior syllable is an accented "la." Example: Family name of the former shah of Iran: Pahlavi

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Movie Interviews
5:32 am
Sun February 15, 2015

In 'Still Alice,' Director Couple Tells A Story That Mirrors Their Own

Despite his ALS diagnosis, Richard Glatzer (right) says he was on set every day during the filming of Still Alice.
Jojo Whilden Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Sun February 15, 2015 10:49 am

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Movie Interviews
5:32 am
Sun February 15, 2015

Polish Filmmaker To Bring Her Political Eye To 'House Of Cards'

Originally published on Sun February 15, 2015 10:49 am

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

Transcript

INDRIA LAKSHMANAN, HOST:

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Author Interviews
5:32 am
Sun February 15, 2015

'The Room' Offers An Escape From The Office — Or Does It?

Originally published on Sun February 15, 2015 10:49 am

Bjorn's new job is not going well. His co-workers are insufferable, his boss is constantly belittling him, and it's all keeping him from getting any work done — or climbing the ladder in his faceless bureaucracy.

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Code Switch
5:03 am
Sun February 15, 2015

How Black Lives Have Always Mattered: A Reading List

Stokely Carmichael, shown here in 1967. Historian Peniel Joseph argues Carmichael's writings on slavery and capitalism deserve more attention.
AFP/Getty Images

This year, Black History Month carries a special significance, because America is marking not just the 150th anniversary of Emancipation, but also the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. It was propelled into reality through the heroic witness of non-violent demonstrations in Selma, Alabama and across the nation.

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Movies
3:20 pm
Sat February 14, 2015

At 'The Grand Budapest,' A Banquet Of Beards And Melange Of Mustaches

Actor Tony Revolori, who plays Zero Moustafa in The Grand Budapest Hotel, paints on a mustache. The movie was full of fake mustaches — but most were made of human hair and silk, rather than paint.
Courtesy of Fox Searchlight

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 3:07 pm

Director Wes Anderson is known for his especially exacting visual style — an attention to detail that goes right down to the individual hairs on his actors' faces.

Take The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson's historical fairy tale about a luxury central European hotel on the edge of war in the 1930s. Nearly every male character in the film has some kind of painstakingly designed facial hair.

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Movie Interviews
2:57 pm
Sat February 14, 2015

Filmmaker David Cross Says It's No Wonder We All Want Fame

David Cross makes his directorial debut with the dark comedy Hits.
Larry Busacca Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 14, 2015 4:32 pm

If you know comedian David Cross, chances are you recognize him from his role as Tobias in the TV comedy Arrested Development. Now Cross is making his directorial debut with the dark comedy Hits, a film that explores how easy it is to become famous in our celebrity-obsessed culture.

The movie was released Friday on BitTorrent, an online file-sharing system that's often associated with piracy. The film's producers are asking downloaders merely to pay what they want.

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Code Switch
2:57 pm
Sat February 14, 2015

'Strange Fruit' Shares Uncelebrated, Quintessentially American Stories

Bass Reeves, depicted here in an illustration from Joel Christian Gill's Tales of the Talented Tenth, was one of the first African-American U.S. marshals. Click here for a closer look.
Courtesy of Fulcrum Publishing

Originally published on Sat February 14, 2015 4:32 pm

Illustrator and historian Joel Christian Gill is full of stories.

There's the one about Box Brown, a slave who escaped to freedom by mailing himself in a box, then became an abolitionist speaker.

And then there's the story of the first American stage magician, a black man from New Hampshire named Richard Potter.

And of course there's Spottswood Rice, a slave who escaped and then wrote two impassioned letters: a heartfelt message to his children still in slavery, and a threat to his former slavemaster.

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Three Books...
8:03 am
Sat February 14, 2015

Three Books To Light Your Fire For Valentine's Day

Anna-Mari West iStockphoto.com

So another Valentine's Day is sneaking up on us, and I have to tell you, I'm feeling a little odd. I have now been married 20 years, and while I still love my husband very much, the older I get, the more Valentine's Day seems to be for younger lovers.

There are hundreds of reasons to love romance novels, but one of them is that these love stories give us the chance to relive the joy and buoyancy of all the "firsts" of love: The first time they meet, the first electric touch, the first kiss, the first fight, the first chance to forgive and forge deeper understandings.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
7:06 am
Sat February 14, 2015

Not My Job: Three Questions About Bass (The Fish) For Lance Bass (The Singer)

Mark Davis Getty Images for TV Guide

Originally published on Sat February 14, 2015 9:01 am

Orlando, Fla., where we are taping our show this week, is known for its rich history, going all the way back to the early 1970s. Since then, it's produced some of our nation's finest pop entertainment — for example, the boy band NSYNC was engineered here, and went on to become a massively popular musical act. We've invited former NSYNC member Lance Bass to play a game called "It's all about the bass, 'bout that bass, no trouble." Three questions about bass and bass fishing.

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