Arts and culture

How Does Trust Happen In Music?

May 15, 2015

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Trust And Consequences

About Charles Hazlewood's TED Talk

Conductor Charles Hazlewood talks about the role of trust between conductor and orchestra, which he describes as a "miracle."

About Charles Hazlewood

How Do You Get Your Colleagues To Trust You?

May 15, 2015

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Trust And Consequences

About Simon Sinek's TED Talk

How do you create trust? Management theorist Simon Sinek says it starts with a leader who makes people feel safe.

About Simon Sinek

For decades, when most Americans thought about Detroit, they probably thought about the auto industry, or maybe the music of Aretha, Smokey or Diana Ross and the Supremes. More recently, they might have thought of Detroit as the poster child for municipal bankruptcy. But what about now, as the city faces a new chapter?

This weekend, moviegoers will return to a legendary fictional landscape, ravaged by war and desperate for water. Mad Max: Fury Road reunites the Road Warrior with original writer and director George Miller. And this time, Max is joined by some very powerful women.

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It's a rare thing in movies for a romantic comedy to focus on a woman who's in her 70s.


Every Secret Thing, a clammy little thriller about missing babies and bad family karma, bristles with heavy female artillery on both sides of the camera, most of it working unaccustomed turf. The script, adapted from a detective novel by Laura Lippman, is by Nicole Holofcener, whose usual territory is wisecracking urban comedies. The executive producer is actress Frances McDormand, who got the project off the ground and recruited documentary filmmaker Amy Berg to direct.

What's the half-life of a post-apocalyptic action film franchise? Potential ticket-buyers born the day the most recent Mad Max movie was released — summer 1985, one weekend after Back to the Future -- could be on their second marriages by now. The original Mad Max, from 1979, cost less than $1 million in 2015 money. Though an international hit, today it plays more like a scrappy curiosity than a great action picture, notable for introducing the world to 23-year-old Mel Gibson, whose personal dystopian hellscape was still decades off.

At the beginning of Forbidden Films, documentarian Felix Moeller's camera warily contemplates a fortified bunker. The contents are, a curator warns, "literally explosive" — Nazi propaganda films on highly flammable nitrocelluloid stock.

Something's different about these Bellas. Three years ago, the Anna Kendrick-led all-female a cappella group won the hearts of music nerds everywhere in the college comedy Pitch Perfect. Now they're flashing the president at the Kennedy Center.

A film critic doesn't often have to review movies about film critics — probably a good thing — but sometimes, as with Hernán Guerschuny's postmodern rom-com The Film Critic (El crítico), there's nothing to be done. That's also a good thing, as it turns out.

Former Dublin newsman Paul Lynch made his debut as a novelist a few years ago with a book called Red Sky in Morning, set in mid-19th century County Donegal, where a rage-driven farmer has committed a murder with devastating results. The Black Snow, Lynch's second novel, returns us to Donegal, though at a later date, and he's working at an even higher level of accomplishment than before.

Come Sail Away

May 14, 2015

Inspired by the waters off the coast of Santa Barbara, we rewrote the lyrics to the song "Sloop John B" so that the verses describe real or fictional sailing vessels.

Heard in A Mad Men Endgame

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Game Show Or No Game Show?

May 14, 2015

In this game, we read some real, and some made up game show descriptions from around the world. You have to yell "Game Show" if you think it's real, and "No Game Show!" if you think it's fake.

Heard in A Mad Men Endgame

The Ox Car Goes To

May 14, 2015

The answers in this game are Oscar winners for Best Picture, except that we've changed one letter in each title. What iconic Woody Allen movie tells the story of the woman who invented the suburban shopping center? That'd be "Annie Mall."

Heard in A Mad Men Endgame

You Call That An Ending?

May 14, 2015

In honor of the final episode of Mad Men, we consider some TV series that ended in very bizarre ways. For instance, which family matriarch sits with her typewriter in the basement, as a voiceover tells us that she never won the lottery?


Street Smarts

May 14, 2015

In Southern California, the car is king, and traffic is queen. In this final round, every answer is a common phrase or proper name that contain a type of roadway.

Heard in A Mad Men Endgame

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When Matthew Weiner was working as a writer on the HBO series The Sopranos, a crewman walked up to him and said, "I heard you were the son of a doctor from Hancock Park. What are you doing here?" Weiner responded, "Well, I have what they call 'an imagination.' "

More than 15 years later, that imagination landed Weiner a hit series on AMC. To date, Mad Men has earned him seven Emmy Awards, three Golden Globes, a Peabody and more.

Like A Confused Boss

May 14, 2015

In this game, we give a sentence with an overly literal misuse of a common business cliché, and you give us the cliché. For example, "I really need you to force the flat rectangular paper container to move forward!" is "push the envelope."

Heard in A Mad Men Endgame

After 26 seasons of giving life to nincompoops, do-gooders, and even God, actor Harry Shearer has announced he'll be leaving The Simpsons. A stalwart of the show, Shearer has voiced central characters such as Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, Reverend Lovejoy and Principal Seymour Skinner.

In a tweet sent in the wee hours of Thursday, Shearer said he was leaving "because I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work."

Senators beelining for roll call at the U.S. Capitol, protesters brandishing signs on the Supreme Court sidewalk, guides mama-ducking tourists past the Beaux-Arts splendor of the Library of Congress — they don't always stop to note the elegant Art Deco low-rise tucked in alongside those showier landmarks. Andrea Mays thinks they ought to — and in The Millionaire and the Bard, a brisk chronicle of how William Shakespeare almost vanished into obscurity and how one obsessive American created the playwright's finest modern shrine, she makes a snappy, enjoyable case for why.

Paddy Buckley, the charming, roguish and thoroughly eff'd up main character of Jeremy Massey's debut novel The Last Four Days Of Paddy Buckley, can talk to dogs, control flies and leave his body at will in a kind of practiced self-hypnosis. This, oddly, is not the focus of the novel. It's a minor (but vital) character detail. But I'm mentioning it here because it's also the worst, weakest, most stompy-foot-of-magical-whateverishness part of what is otherwise a really great book.

What I first noticed about David Letterman was how quickly he ditched the suit.

During a taping of the Late Show on Monday at the Ed Sullivan Theater in Manhattan, he put off donning his suit jacket as long as possible, greeting the crowd in just a shirt and tie for a pre-show Q & A session before shrugging on the coat just as recording began.

Two of the most important books in the English language were printed four centuries ago: the King James Bible and William Shakespeare's first folio. Today, that first collection of Shakespeare's plays would fetch a king's ransom; and in the early 1900s, one man was willing to spend his entire fortune to own as many of them as he could. His name was Henry Folger and he was a successful businessman who worked his way to the top of Standard Oil. Folger managed to buy 82 first folios out of only a couple of hundred that survived from the original 1623 printing.

Noelle Stevenson is making her mark in the world of comic books.

She's just 23 and already a writer and illustrator. She has co-authored a series for Boom! Studios, called Lumberjanes, and she has written for Marvel's new female Thor. But it's a tough world for women to be a part of, whether they're creators or fans.

By his own admission, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw has lived a charmed life. "In the seasons of life I have had more than my share of summers," he writes on the opening page of his new memoir, A Lucky Life Interrupted.

But two years ago, Brokaw's good fortune turned when he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that has led to bone fractures and pain unlike any he'd known.

"It was paralyzing in a way," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "There were times when I simply couldn't get out of bed."

In 1946, reeling from the death of his wife and seeking an escape from the demands of London literary life, Eric Blair, aka "George Orwell," moved to a cottage on the isle of Jura off the west coast of Scotland. What the place lacked in modern conveniences like electricity and running water, it perhaps made up for in misty views of the Atlantic and samplings of the local whiskey.

Just outside Pittsburgh is the tiny borough of Braddock, Pa., best known as the birthplace of Andrew Carnegie's first steel mill. Today, it's something of a poster child for rust belt revitalization, a place where artists can buy property for pennies and even construct outdoor pizza ovens using the bricks from abandoned or demolished buildings.

Joshua Levin has some great ideas. Well, some ideas, anyway. The would-be writer keeps a list of possible high-concept screenplays — everything from a script about aliens disguised as cabdrivers (Love Trek) to a treatment of a "riotous Holocaust comedy" (Righteous Lust). But in real life he's a Chicago ESL teacher who can never seem to follow through — the movies he envisions are all too esoteric, too depressing. As his Bosnian acquaintance Bega reminds him, "American movies always have happy ending. Life is tragedy: you're born, you live, you die."

Lucas Mann's genre-bending first book, Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere, was about an Iowa farm team, a dying Midwestern factory town, and his own anxieties about success, and it heralded an impressive new talent in narrative nonfiction. Mann's second book, Lord Fear, reaffirms that talent. A memoir about his much older half-brother, Josh, who died of a heroin overdose when Mann was 13, it's a less alluring, more difficult book — but clearly one that Mann needed to write.

Puerto Rico used to produce some of the best coffee in the world — but that was more than a century ago.

Today, Puerto Rico's coffee crop is just a fraction of what it was then, and little is exported. But there's a movement on the island to improve quality and rebuild Puerto Rico's coffee industry.