Arts

Author Interviews
3:41 am
Sun November 9, 2014

Richard III: Not Such A Bad Guy After All?

cover crop
Thames & Hudson Publishers

Originally published on Sun November 9, 2014 9:20 pm

We're going to retell you a story now. It's a story you thought you knew, a story you might have read at school — especially if you studied Shakespeare — the story of Richard III.

He was the last king from England's ruling Plantagenet family, and you probably have a mental picture of him: An evil man, limping across the stage, scheming, plotting — until finally he gets his comeuppance on a foul and muddy field, offering his kingdom for a horse.

But what if that's just Shakespearean propaganda? What if Richard III was just misunderstood?

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Movie Interviews
3:09 pm
Sat November 8, 2014

Inside The 'Life And Crimes' Of A Career Jewel Thief

Over a span of six decades, Doris Payne has stolen some $2 million in jewels. She is the subject of a new documentary called The Life & Crimes of Doris Payne: A Tale of Carats, Cons and Creating Your Own American Dream.
Courtesy of Treehouse Moving Images

Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 4:33 pm

The FBI file for Doris Payne is said to be six feet long: The criminal history for the international jewel thief dates back to the 1950s. Payne is infamous for using her charm and a specialized slight of hand to put clerks at ease and walk out with precious jewels. Over her 60-year career, she is thought to have stolen $2 million in jewelry. Now 84, she's been in and out of jail dozens of times.

The documentary The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne traces Payne's journey from an impoverished childhood in West Virginia to a lavish life on the run around the world.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
8:26 am
Sat November 8, 2014

Not My Job: 'Elementary, My Dear (Dale) Watson'

Dustin Finkelstein Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 9:48 am

Wait Wait is in Austin, Texas this week, and so we've invited country singer Dale Watson to play our quiz. Watson has that true Austin sound — not to mention his own honky-tonk bar.

We've invited Watson to play a game called, "Elementary, my dear Dale!" Three questions about the immortal detective, Sherlock Holmes.

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Author Interviews
5:48 am
Sat November 8, 2014

London's Mayor On Winston Churchill: He Saved Civilization

Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 10:33 am

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

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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Author Interviews
5:45 am
Sat November 8, 2014

McCain's 'Soldiers:' 13 Ordinary People Transformed By Battle

Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 10:33 am

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

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Arizona Senator John McCain had a really good week. When we reached him after the election, he jokingly said he was living the dream, but as Republicans prepare to take control of the Senate, McCain was also cautious.

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Arts & Life
5:41 am
Sat November 8, 2014

New York Exhibitions Dance With Death Through Victorian Mourning Culture

The Morbid Anatomy Museum's "Art of Mourning" exhibition includes post-mortem photography, spirit photography and death masks.
Shannon Taggart Courtesy of the Morbid Anatomy Museum

Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 10:33 am

People often get flummoxed around death. Some get teary, others emotionally distant from the inevitable. An exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, "Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire," embodies that tension with mourning fashion from the mid-1800s to the early 20th century. It has multi-layered fabric, tight bodices and enveloping head gear that emulates the garb of cloistered nuns.

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The Salt
5:03 am
Sat November 8, 2014

'Occupy The Farm': In Berkeley, The Revolution Will Be Irrigated

Peter Menchini

Originally published on Sun November 9, 2014 2:25 pm

In an open field on the northern edge of Berkeley, Calif., planting vegetables is the latest form of political insurrection.

On the morning of April 22, 2012, hundreds of people broke the lock on a fence surrounding the Gill Tract, a 14-acre plot of land owned by the University of California. They set about planting thousands of vegetable seedlings.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Sat November 8, 2014

Walking Through Light-Filled Rooms In 'Woman Without A Country'

Eavan Boland has authored numerous volumes of poetry, including In a Time of Violence, which was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.
Kevin Casey W.W. Norton & Company

I've said before that a good collection of poetry — unlike, say, a good novel, or a good short story — is tricky to talk about. If I love a novel, I'll describe the plot, maybe compare it to the writing of others, talk about the successes and failures of its craft. Poetry collections, though — I just want to read portions out to people, make them feel what I felt, show them concretely the details over which I marveled.

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Movie Reviews
4:29 am
Sat November 8, 2014

In 'The Theory Of Everything,' Science Takes A Back Seat

Eddie Redmayne plays astrophysicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.
Liam Daniel Focus Features

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 6:48 am

British science is having a cinematic moment, with The Theory of Everything now and The Imitation Game soon. Yet neither film has much science in it. These accounts of Stephen Hawking and Alan Turing, respectively, are engaging and well-crafted but modeled all too faithfully on old-school romantic dramas.

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Author Interviews
4:04 am
Sat November 8, 2014

Answering The Old Question: Who Lost China?

1945 was a momentous year in world history — particularly so in Asia, where Allied forces, having vanquished Germany, turned their attention to Japan. And in many ways, the main theater of action was China.

China at that time was divided between Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists and the Communists under Mao Zedong. Both were fighting the Japanese – but they would soon turn on each other. In the meantime, they "competed with each other for the ears of American representatives, the dominant power in Asia by far" says Richard Bernstein.

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Movie Interviews
3:53 am
Sat November 8, 2014

New Stephen Hawking Biopic Explores Love, Not Science

Eddie Redmayne plays Stephen Hawking in director James Marsh's The Theory of Everything.
Liam Daniel Focus Features

Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 10:33 am

Stephen Hawking, the British theoretical physicist and cosmologist who wrote A Brief History of Time, is getting his own brief history as told in a new movie. The film is called The Theory of Everything and it starts with Hawking, played by Eddie Redmayne, healthy, active and going to college. There, he's diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, or ALS, and given a very grim prognosis.

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The Salt
3:52 am
Sat November 8, 2014

The Ancient Art Of Cheese-Making Attracts Scientific Gawkers

Many artisan cheese producers never pasteurize their milk – it's raw. The milk's natural microbial community is still in there. This microbial festival gives cheese variety and intrigues scientists.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 10:33 am

From Swiss to cheddar, cheeses depend on the action of microbes for their flavor and aroma. But it's far from clear how these teams of microbes work together to ripen cheese.

To a cheese-maker, that's just the beauty of the art. To a scientist, it sounds like an experiment waiting to happen.

A handful of scientists who study cheese recently gathered to share their latest findings at a farm in the English county of Somerset. They know cheese well here — after all, Somerset invented cheddar.

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This Week's Must Read
4:30 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

For Political Junkies, A (Literary) Post-Election Fix

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 6:11 pm

As I watched coverage of this week's midterm elections, I couldn't help but think about Donald Antrim's surreal novel, Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World.

The book, a brilliant and wickedly funny satire on our broken politics, unfolds in an unnamed American seaside town. As the story begins, our narrator, a former third-grade teacher named Pete Robinson, sits mysteriously in his padlocked attic, observing the wreckage of his community.

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Television
4:03 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

As A New 'Doctor Who' Season Ends, Have Its Stories Matched The Hero?

Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman star in the BBC series Doctor Who.
Ray Burmiston/Ali BBC

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 6:21 pm

It was, perhaps, one of the biggest gambles on television this year. And it has worked out beautifully.

British character actor extraordinaire Peter Capaldi stepped into the shoes of the biggest character in science-fiction TV, the Doctor, alien star of the BBC's Doctor Who. And his portrayal of a morally conflicted, intensely knowledgeable, occasionally ruthless 2,000-year-old Time Lord has added new depth to television's longest-running science-fiction series.

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Movies
3:21 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Tripping Into A Black Hole In This Week's Movies

A black hole might be the key to humankind's future in Interstellar.
Courtesy of Paramount

Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 4:33 pm

I've learned a lot about physics this week at movie screenings, and let me start by saying that I've no idea how much of it is accurate. All I can swear to is that it comes vetted by (or at least associated with) some very high-powered theoretical physicists.

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Movie Reviews
2:23 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

'Viva La Libertà' Offers Harmless Electoral Fun

A jaded politician plays hooky in Viva La Libertà, so his campaign replaces him with his identical twin brother. You know where this is going, right?
Courtesy of Distrib Films US

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 6:11 pm

Whether you viewed this week's midterm elections as exhilarating or bruising, you're probably ready to move on at this point, which makes the timing problematic for Roberto Andò's lightweight election comedy, Viva La Libertà (Long Live Freedom).

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The Salt
2:04 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Can A Smell-Emitting Fork Alter How We Savor Flavor?

The "Aroma R-evolution" kit comes with four forks and 21 vials full of aromas like olive oil, mint and smoke. You drop a dab of scented liquid onto the base of the fork, and the smell is supposed to subtly flavor the food you eat while using the utensil.
Claire Eggers NPR

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 3:22 pm

The flavors we savor are never just about taste.

Our taste buds allow us to distinguish the basic characteristics of food, like sweet, salty, bitter and sour. But we use our noses to sense more subtle flavors. Our sense of smell is what allows us to savor fine wines, delicately seasoned broths and complex curries.

So is it possible to trick our brains into thinking we're tasting something, when we're only just smelling it?

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Author Interviews
11:26 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Anjelica Huston Tells Her 'Story' Of Growing Up With A Director Dad

The actor's new memoir, A Story Lately Told, ends just as her Hollywood career is taking off. It covers her early life growing up in Ireland, the daughter of Maltese Falcon director John Huston. The two first collaborated on 1969's Walk With Love And Death, a project that proved disastrous for their relationship.

Originally broadcast Nov. 19, 2013.

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Monkey See
9:07 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Interstellar' And Other Space Movies

NPR

Interstellar, directed by Christopher Nolan, is the live-action behemoth arriving in theaters this weekend, and we brought in our pal Chris Klimek to chat about its highs and lows, its big sound (literally) and gorgeous visuals. You'll find that we had mixed reactions once you count the emotional beats, technical accomplishments, structure, editing, and — as Chris points out — high saline budget.

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The Two-Way
8:49 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Book News: John Steinbeck Story Resurfaces After 70 Years

John Steinbeck, here seen as a young man, sits for his portrait. Years later, his story "With Your Wings" would be read on air — then disappear for decades.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 12:43 pm

Updated at 2:40 p.m. ET:

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

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All Tech Considered
1:26 am
Fri November 7, 2014

The Challenge Of 'Big Hero 6': How To Make A Huggable Robot

Disney

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 2:27 pm

"Dude, you had me at 'inflatable,' " is what Disney director Don Hall told Chris Atkeson, a robotics expert at Carnegie Mellon University, back in 2011. Hall was doing research for Big Hero 6, the movie that Disney executives hope will be a worthy follow-up to the mega-blockbuster Frozen. That's no small feat for Hall and his co-director, Chris Williams.

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Author Interviews
1:24 am
Fri November 7, 2014

George Clinton's Musical Life, From The Barbershop To Hip-Hop

In addition to his work with bands Parliament and Funkadelic, George Clinton has produced music as a solo artist since the 1980s.
William Thoren Simon & Schuster

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 2:27 pm

The emperor of intergalactic funk is out with a new memoir, and he has stories to tell.

George Clinton's life in music spans six decades, from doo-wop to hip-hop. Along the way, Clinton turned two bands — Parliament and Funkadelic — into a caravan of funkified soul, rock, science fiction and showbiz at its most outrageous, complete with a spaceship that lands onstage.

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The Two-Way
6:19 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Donor Gives Los Angeles Museum Art Worth $500 Million

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 6:38 pm

In a gift the Los Angeles County Museum of Art says is the largest in its history, billionaire Jerry Perenchio is donating art worth an estimated $500 million to the museum.

From member station KPCC in Los Angeles:

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Book Reviews
2:23 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Actress Anjelica Huston's Memoir Has Glitz, But Lacks Depth

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 5:08 pm

Last year, when I heard that Anjelica Huston's memoir A Story Lately Told was about to come out, I was excited. I imagined that it would include a lot of inside stuff about the '70s and Hollywood and the actress' long relationship with Jack Nicholson. As it turned out, that book's subtitle was Coming of Age in Ireland, London and New York, and it ended with Huston arriving in California. But I didn't miss the glitz. The story she had to tell was original.

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Ask Me Another
8:32 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Load Of B.S.

Don't worry, this is a G-rated game. The answers will be people and things with the initials B.S., like "baby shower." Then, VIP Ethan Hawke serenades the winner live on the Ask Me Another stage.

Heard in Episode 401: Puzzlehood

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Ask Me Another
8:32 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Cinema Snacks

If you think the best part of going to the movies is the popcorn and candy, this game is for you! All the answers are mash-ups of movie titles and names of foods, like "Children of the Corned Beef."

Heard in Episode 401: Puzzlehood

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Ask Me Another
8:32 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Rick Rolling

House musician Jonathan Coulton gives Rick Astley a run for his money. Donning a turtleneck and trench coat, he sings "Never Gonna Give You Up" with the lyrics changed to be about other famous Ricks.

Heard in Episode 401: Puzzlehood

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Ask Me Another
8:32 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Backwards Logic

These sentences contain a word that becomes another word when spelled backwards. Use the clues to find the backwards word and reverse it! If we said "It's not a tuber!" the answer would be "rebut."

Heard in Episode 401: Puzzlehood

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Ask Me Another
8:32 am
Thu November 6, 2014

The Game Room

Hope you're in the mood for game night. In this round, all the answers contain the name of a popular board game. Who will use their Craniums and emerge numero Uno?

Heard in Episode 401: Puzzlehood

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

Transcript

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Ask Me Another
8:32 am
Thu November 6, 2014

To Be Or Not To Be

To bedazzle, or not to bedazzle? In the spirit of Hamlet's famous soliloquy, all the answers in this game begin with the letters "B-E." Now give us your best dramatic read.

Heard in Episode 401: Puzzlehood

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