Arts

The Salt
3:19 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Hanukkah History: Those Chocolate Coins Were Once Real Tips

Wrapped in gold and silver foil, chocolate gelt are often handed out as a little treat for children (and adults) during Hanukkah. Turns out, the tradition is rooted in real money.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 12:09 pm

Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, starts on Tuesday night. But the flickering candles won't be the only things shining on the table. Many families celebrate with gelt, chocolate coins covered in gold and silver foil. But while this treat is beloved, it's not all that delicious.

"It snaps. It's not soft and buttery — it's waxy. This is chocolate you have to chew," jokes Ariel Cohn, who runs Tree of Life, a Jewish pre-school in Portland, Ore.

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This Week's Must Read
3:26 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

The Ethics Of Torture, Explored In A Painful Fable

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 5:29 pm

We've been hearing all week about a report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee. It detailed brutal interrogation techniques used by the CIA after Sept 11. Among the questions it raised are whether these techniques are legal, effective and morally acceptable.

For our series This Week's Must Read, author Laila Lalami grapples with these questions by turning to literature.

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Television
1:07 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Even If Torture Doesn't Work In The Real World, TV Has Us Convinced It Does

Kiefer Sutherland (right) with Peter Weller and JoBeth Williams on Fox's 24.
Fox TV

As the CIA and Senate Intelligence Committee clash over whether so-called enhanced interrogation techniques are considered torture, another question arises: Have depictions of torture on TV and film helped convince us that it works?

Consider this warning that recently greeted viewers of ABC's political soap opera, Scandal:

"The following drama contains adult content. Viewer discretion is advised."

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Movie Interviews
11:32 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Filmed Over 12 Years, 'Boyhood' Follows A Kid's Coming Of Age

Writer-director Richard Linklater says picking the film's star was vital because he had to guess what he'd be like at 18. "I just went with a kid who seemed kind of the most interesting."

Originally broadcast July 10, 2014.

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

Transcript

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Movie Reviews
11:32 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Depicting An Unstable Era, 'Inherent Vice' Never Jells, But It's Addictive

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

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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Television
11:32 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Funny, Dirty, Sad: The 'Holy Trinity' For 'Transparent' Creator Jill Soloway

When writer Jill Soloway's father came out as a trans woman, Soloway says, it was a huge relief. And it helped her create the series Transparent about "boundaries, legacy, gender, family."

Originally broadcast Oct. 30, 2014.

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Monkey See
9:12 am
Fri December 12, 2014

'Top Five': A Good, Not Great, Day In New York With Chris Rock

Rosario Dawson (left) plays Chelsea Brown, a New York Times reporter who spends a day interviewing Rock's character, Andre Allen.
Ali Paige Goldstein Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Chris Rock has been on a tear — a widely shared interview with Frank Rich in New York Magazine, a widely shared guest column in The Hollywood Reporter, interviews with Audie Cornish on All Things Considered, Terry Gross on

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The Two-Way
7:51 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Book News: J.K. Rowling's Crime Novels To Step Onto The Small Screen

The second in the series, The Silkworm will soon spin its thread in pixels on TV.
Justin Tallis AFP/Getty Images

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

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Monkey See
7:41 am
Fri December 12, 2014

The Great 'Parks And Rec' Clip War Of 2014

My friend Alan Sepinwall and I have both written in the past about our affection for Parks And Recreation, the NBC comedy that is not only about to end, but is about to end in a burst of weekly back-to-back episodes that will have it over by the end of February.

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TED Radio Hour
7:28 am
Fri December 12, 2014

How Can The Rule Of Law Bring "Justness" And Not Just Justice?

"When you grow up poor in America, often you feel very invisible, and like you don't have a voice. Just like many Afghans feel." -Kimberly Motley
James Duncan Davidson James Duncan Davidson/TED

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Courage.

About Kimberley Motley's TED Talk

Sharing cases from her international legal practice, Kimberley Motley, an American litigator practicing in Afghanistan, shows how a country's own laws can bring both justice and "justness."

About Kimberley Motley

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TED Radio Hour
7:06 am
Fri December 12, 2014

What Does Everyday Courage Look Like?

"The choice to say something is risky, and the choice to say nothing is risky. So there is no safe path." - Margaret Heffernan
Mózsi Gábor TED

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Courage.

About Margaret Heffernan's TED Talk

Margaret Heffernan talks about the danger of "willful blindness" and praises ordinary people who are willing to speak up.

About Margaret Heffernan

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Monkey See
6:44 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Live From Sixth And I

NPR

On Tuesday night, December 9, we gathered at the historic Sixth & I synagogue in Washington for our biggest live show yet. Along with our great friend Barrie Hardymon, Stephen, Glen and I talked about some of our takeaways from the year, from podcasts to great books to the music that wouldn't die.

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All Tech Considered
3:18 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Please Touch! Cooper Hewitt Creates A Museum For The Internet Age

Interactive touch screens at the newly redesigned Cooper Hewitt museum let visitors sort through the catalog and create their own designs.
Cooper Hewitt

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 12:00 pm

The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City collects the beautiful and practical — vintage Eames chairs, Jimi Hendrix posters, Victorian bird cages.

The museum, which is housed in the Andrew Carnegie mansion, is reopening after an extensive $81 million, three-year renovation — and the redesign has turned this historic building into one of the most technologically advanced museums in the country.

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StoryCorps
3:01 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Memories Of An Ironworker On The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

An ironworker on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in the early 1960s.
©Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 12:14 pm

It's been 50 years since New York City's Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opened. It was then the longest suspension bridge in the country. Its main span still holds that title.

In 1964, author Gay Talese published a book about the construction called The Bridge. Here's an excerpt:

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Theater
4:39 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Glenn Close Ends 20-Year Broadway Hiatus With 'A Delicate Balance'

Glenn Close stars as Agnes in Edward Albee's play A Delicate Balance.
Brigitte Lacombe Philip Rinaldi Publicity

In 1995, Glenn Close won her third Tony Award for her role the Broadway musical Sunset Boulevard. Now, after 20-year hiatus, Close is back on Broadway. She's starring alongside John Lithgow in A Delicate Balance, Edward Albee's 1966 Pulitzer Prize-winning play. The story follows Agnes (Close), a suburban matron striving to keep the peace in a household she her husband (Lithgow) share with her sister, who's an alcoholic; their daughter, who's a serial divorcee; and their best friends who have fled their own home in an inexplicable terror.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

In A Serious Season, The Loose Charms Of 'Little Feet'

Nico Rockwell and Lana Rockwell star in Little Feet.
Factory Twenty Five

On Christmas, a slew of Oscar hopefuls will hit theaters, taking on the kind of important topics you might expect from such prestige pictures: corruption in contemporary Russia, the psychological aftereffects of war, the struggles of the civil rights movement. In their company, the eccentricities of Alexandre Rockwell's Little Feet, which is getting a digital release on Vimeo and Fandor as well as a theatrical run in New York, stand out even more than normal.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

The 1970s, Ugly And Adrift In 'Inherent Vice'

Joaquin Phoenix stars as Larry "Doc" Sportello — a private investigator with a pot smoking habit — in Inherent Vice, Paul Thomas Anderson's film adaptation of the novel by Thomas Pynchon.
Wilson Webb Warner Brothers Pictures

Paul Thomas Anderson probably wouldn't take kindly to being called a period filmmaker. And it's true that one of our finest pulse-takers of the American predicament is so much more than that. Anderson's movies track warped obsessives who come to define the particular times and places from which they get the tarnished American Dreams they pursue.

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Author Interviews
12:21 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Richard Pryor, A Comedy Pioneer Who Was 'Always Whittling On Dynamite'

Comedian Richard Pryor, pictured in 1977, grew up in a brothel, surrounded by violence. "He said once that it's easier for him to talk about his life in front of 2,000 people than it is to do it one on one," says Scott Saul, whose new book is Becoming Richard Pryor.
AP

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 1:14 pm

Comedian Richard Pryor's legacy still reverberates nearly 10 years after his death. Pryor took the most difficult troubling aspects of his life and turned it into comedy. He talked about being black in ways that had never been done before in mainstream entertainment. And he was fearless and hilarious talking about race relations.

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The Two-Way
8:15 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Book News: Australian Prime Minister's 'Nasty' Move Sparks Lit-Prize Furor

Prime Minister Tony Abbott rankled the judges of the Prime Minister's Literary Award with a last-minute announcement. Judge Les Murray later called Abbott's pick a "stupid and pretentious book."
Stefan Postles Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 9:11 am

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

On Monday, Australia's top literary prize picked a pair of winners in its fiction category. Steven Carroll and Richard Flanagan, who was also this year's Booker Prize winner, split the Prime Minister's Literary Award and its winnings. The decision, while unusual, didn't raise many eyebrows at the time — but the aftermath has.

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Book News & Features
2:55 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Join The Morning Edition Book Club: We're Reading 'Deep Down Dark'

Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 4:44 pm

Welcome to the first meeting of the Morning Edition Reads book club! Here's how it's going to work: A well-known writer will pick a book he or she loved. We'll all read it. Then, you'll send us your questions about the book. And about a month later, we'll reconvene to talk about the book with the author and the writer who picked it.

Ready? Here we go:

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Parallels
2:55 am
Thu December 11, 2014

The Risks, Rewards And Mysteries Of Reporting From Iran

Nazila Fathi reported from her native Iran for The New York Times. Fearing arrest, she fled in 2009 with her family and now lives in suburban Washington, D.C. Her new book, The Lonely War, describes the challenges of reporting from the country.
Hassan Sarbakhshian

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 11:53 am

Nazila Fathi covered turbulent events in her native Iran for years as The New York Times correspondent. She learned to navigate the complicated system that tolerates reporting on many topics but can also toss reporters in jail if they step across a line never explicitly defined by the country's Islamic authorities.

Fathi recalls one editor telling her what journalists could do in Iran: "We have the freedom to say whatever we want to say, but we don't know what happens afterwards."

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The Salt
4:39 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

More Drinking, Less Buzz: Session Beers Gain Fans

Chris Lohring founded Notch Brewing in 2010. The company's lineup includes a Czech pilsner, a Belgian saison and an India pale ale. All of the brews are session beers — meaning their alcohol by volume, or A.B.V., is less than 5 percent.
Courtesy of Notch Brewing

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 1:13 pm

Tailgating, camping trips and wedding receptions are just some of the occasions when many Americans down a few beers in one sitting. For those who prefer high-alcohol microbrews and other craft beers, that can lead to trouble.

But a growing trend is offering another option: Session beers emphasize craft-beer taste with alcohol as low as or lower than big-brand light beers.

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The Salt
3:52 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

From Potatoes To Salty Fries In School: Congress Tweaks Food Rules

When it comes to salty french fries or pizza served at lunch, schools may get more time to dial back sodium content, thanks to a provision in the federal spending bill headed for a vote on Capitol Hill.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 9:00 am

The gargantuan budget bill that lawmakers on Capitol Hill are expected to vote on Thursday does more than dole out federal dollars to keep the government running.

It also tweaks federal nutrition rules.

For starters, the bill — aka, the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill — includes a provision that will give school food directors more flexibility when it comes to adopting 100 percent whole grain items, such as pasta and biscuits, in school breakfast and lunch meals.

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Code Switch
12:38 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Jacqueline Woodson On Growing Up, Coming Out And Saying Hi To Strangers

Jacqueline Woodson has published 30 books, and won three Newbery honors and a Coretta Scott King Book Award for her young adult book Miracle's Boys.
Marty Umans Courtesy of Penguin Group USA

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 1:01 pm

When author Jacqueline Woodson was growing up in Greenville, S.C., in the '60s and '70s, she was keenly aware of segregation.

"We knew our place," Woodson tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "We knew our place was with our family. We knew where it was safest to be. There wasn't a lot of talk about the white world and what was going on in it; it didn't really have a lot to do with us, except in situations where there was the talk of resistance."

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The Two-Way
8:16 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Book News: The Elusive Elena Ferrante Finally Speaks — Sort Of

When it comes to picturing Elena Ferrante, readers have even less material than they do on Thomas Pynchon. They'll have to continue to settle for stock photography such as this, a shot of her native Naples, Italy.
Angelafoto iStockphoto

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

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Author Interviews
2:54 am
Wed December 10, 2014

WWII By The Books: The Pocket-Size Editions That Kept Soldiers Reading

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 9:11 am

This week in 1941, Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor. Over the next few years, millions of Americans would leave home to fight in Europe and the Pacific. They had few comforts and little in the way of escape or entertainment — at least not until American publishers got involved.

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Movies
2:54 am
Wed December 10, 2014

'Pelo Malo' Is A Rare Look Into Latin American Race Relations

Actor Samuel Lange Zambrano plays Junior, a boy who becomes obsessed with relaxing his hair.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 11:23 am

"Pelo Malo" means "bad hair" in Spanish. It's a term that is commonly used in Latin America, and it's also the title of a new Venezuelan film that tackles racism and homophobia.

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Food
1:30 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Best Cookbooks Of 2014 Offer Tastes And Tales From Around The Globe

Andrea Nguyen's Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches is the perfect gift for your friend who has an app tracing the routes of half a dozen food trucks on her phone.
Ten Speed Press

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 7:30 am

2014 was a year for faraway cuisines to take up residence in U.S. kitchens — cookbook authors cast their nets for flavors from Paris, the Middle East and Southeast Asia; from the ancient spice routes and every point in between.

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Code Switch
3:16 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

The Annie Of Tomorrow Has The Same Hard Knocks, But Different Hair

Quvenzhané Wallis, who was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Beasts of the Southern Wild, plays little orphan Annie in the new film adaptation of the 1977 musical.
Barry Wetcher Sony Pictures Entertainment

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 12:09 pm

When you think about the musical Annie, what associations come to mind? Probably the song "Tomorrow," right? And Annie's bright red, curly hair? Red hair comes with its own cultural mythology. In this case, it underscores Annie's plucky, independent spirit.

As it turns out, hair is almost a character in this trailer for the new version of Annie coming out Dec. 19, says Noliwe Rooks, a professor at Cornell University. In just 2:19 minutes, you'll see three or four jokes about or references to hair.

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Television
2:26 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

'Sons Of Anarchy' Ends As A Macho Soap Opera Often Anchored By Women

Charlie Hunnam co-stars with Katey Sagal (center) and Drea De Matteo on FX's biker drama Sons of Anarchy.
Prashant Gupta FX Network

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 4:47 pm

Sons of Anarchy is probably the most macho drama on television, featuring a gang of gun-running, porn-making bikers.

But the biggest moment of the final season has featured a woman: Gemma Teller (played by Katey Sagal), mother to biker club president Jax Teller. Gemma admitted killing Jax's wife, Tara, and lying about it, which started a gang war.

When Gemma finally came clean, Jax insisted she pay the ultimate price.

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