Arts

Movie Reviews
2:02 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

'Grand Budapest Hotel': Kitsch, Cameos And A Gloriously Stylized Europe

Ralph Fiennes plays Gustave H., a hotel concierge given to bedding his elderly guests, in Wes Anderson's latest film.
Bob Yeoman Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 2:46 pm

Wes Anderson has his share of groupies and his somewhat smaller share of skeptics who find him a tad precious. As someone who leans toward the precious view, but is open to his grace notes, I found The Grand Budapest Hotel mostly delightful.

It's a madcap comedy, but with hints of tragedy lurking outside the usual Anderson dollhouse frames. The central character is Gustave H., played by Ralph Fiennes. He's the concierge of a kitschy, opulent, high-class European hotel between World Wars I and II.

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Barbershop
10:05 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Barbershop Guys Dig Into Hollywood Beef

Screenwriter John Ridley won an Oscar for 12 Years A Slave, but he's being criticized for an old essay about black people. The barbershop guys give their own speeches on the topic.

TED Radio Hour
7:16 am
Fri March 7, 2014

How Can We All Listen Better?

Julian Treasure speaking at TED.
James Duncan Davidson TED

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Extrasensory.

About Julian Treasure's TEDTalk

Sound expert Julian Treasure says we are losing our listening in a louder world. He shares ways to re-tune our ears for conscious listening — to other people and the world around us.

About Julian Treasure

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TED Radio Hour
7:16 am
Fri March 7, 2014

How Do You Construct A Voice?

Rupal Patel speaking at TED Women.
Marla Aufmuth TED

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Extrasensory.

About Rupal Patel's TEDTalk

Speech scientist Rupal Patel creates customized synthetic voices that enable people who can't speak to communicate in a unique voice that embodies their personality.

About Rupal Patel

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TED Radio Hour
7:16 am
Fri March 7, 2014

What's It Like To Hear Color?

Artist Neil Harbisson speaking at TED Global.
James Duncan Davidson TED

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Extrasensory.

About Neil Harbisson's TEDTalk

Artist Neil Harbisson was born completely color blind. But thanks to a device attached to his head, he can now "hear" color, which allows him to experience an element that was once invisible.

About Neil Harbisson

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Monkey See
6:45 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: The Oscars, 'Drag Race' And Shut-Ins Edition

NPR

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:11 am

  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

When we taped this show on Tuesday, we had all had quite a lot of the Oscars, to be honest. And we secretly suspect that with the all-out pile-on that continues for months before the ceremony, you might not require an all-out assault on the whole thing. So this week, you'll hear a quick wrap-up of how we felt about the hosting, some of the speeches, some of the great moments of Adele Nazeem-ing it up, and then we'll bid the entire thing farewell until next year. Next year, Oscars.

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Books News & Features
5:03 am
Fri March 7, 2014

The Professionally Haunted Life Of Helen Oyeyemi

Svetlana Alyuk iStockphoto

Being haunted seems like it might be an occupational hazard for Helen Oyeyemi. Her books are re-worked fairy tales, the gruesome kind, with beheadings and wicked stepmothers and ghosts and death, death, and more death (though, once dead, her characters don't always stay that way).

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Books
3:00 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Publisher Releases Lullabies From 'Goodnight Moon' Author

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:39 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Goodnight stars. Good night air. Good night noises, everywhere.

A woman named Margaret Wise Brown wrote those words. And you probably recognize them. You've probably read them out loud many times. It's from her book, "Goodnight Moon." Margaret Wise Brown died in 1952. But much of what she wrote was never published, including her songs and poems.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

A Panicky Pianist, Playing Like His Life Depends On It

Tom Selznick (Elijah Wood) is a renowned concert pianist who's literally under the gun in Grand Piano, a Hitchcock-style thriller that plays out in real time.
Magnet Releasing

A world-renowned pianist known for cracking under the pressure of performance sits down to play a concerto before a packed hall. Then he sees the message scrawled in red on his sheet music: "Play one wrong note and you die." The movie almost writes itself.

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Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Wes Anderson's New Hotel Proves Pretty Grand Indeed

Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes, with Saoirse Ronan and Tony Revolori) is a hotel concierge in an Eastern Europe falling under Hitler's shadow — a man pining for the Old World sensibility that's fading all around him.
Bob Yeoman Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 6:07 am

Chances are you've already made up your mind about Wes Anderson. Either you're willing to go with the meticulous symmetry of his dollhouse compositions, the precious tchotchke-filled design sensibility and the stilted formality of his dialogue, or you check out of his storybook worlds in the first five minutes. On the evidence of his eighth feature, The Grand Budapest Hotel, it's clear no one is more aware of his idiosyncracies than Anderson himself — and he's not apologizing.

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Book Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

'300': An Empire Rises, Dripping In Gore And Glamour

The goth-glam Artemisia (Eva Green) is one of the more memorable characters in 300: Rise of an Empire — and not just because she's commander of the Persian navy.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 7:21 am

Talk about meeting cute: The first time they're alone together, the protagonists of 300: Rise of an Empire rip each other's clothes off. But then Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) and Artemisia (Eva Green) can't decide if they want to make love or war.

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Arts & Life
2:16 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

A Lifelong Radio Man Wins New Fans With 'Big Broadcast'

The Today Show; Walker stuck with radio." href="/post/lifelong-radio-man-wins-new-fans-big-broadcast" class="noexit lightbox">
From 1952 to 1974, the "Joy Boys" — Walker (left) and Willard Scott — provided D.C. radio listeners with a daily dose of comedy. Scott went on to work in TV, where he can still be seen on The Today Show; Walker stuck with radio.
Publicity photos from the WRC Graphics Department TheJoyBoys.Com

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 5:50 pm

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Monkey See
8:40 am
Thu March 6, 2014

A First Look At Quvenzhané Wallis In The New 'Annie'

Quvenzhané Wallis in Annie.
Screenshot

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 10:23 am

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The Salt
8:14 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Moo-d Music: Do Cows Really Prefer Slow Jams?

The Ingenues, an all-girl band and vaudeville act, serenade the cows in the University of Wisconsin, Madison's dairy barn in 1930. The show was apparently part of an experiment to see whether the soothing strains of music boosted the cows' milk production.
Angus B. McVicar/Wisconsin Historical Society

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 1:46 pm

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Monkey See
7:05 am
Thu March 6, 2014

David Cameron Calls, And The Internet Answers

Patrick Stewart jumped into a quick-growing meme on Wednesday night.
@sirpatstew

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 10:25 am

Oh, Internet.

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

The Two-Way
5:30 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Book News: George Saunders Wins The Story Prize

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

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu March 6, 2014

'Black Moon' Imagines A Sleepless American Nightmare

"It was a great time for storytellers," says Matthew Biggs, the central character in Kenneth Calhoun's haunting debut novel, Black Moon. The irony of his comment comes with a horrific aftertaste: The world is suffering from a sudden, unexplainable pandemic that's made everyone a perpetual insomniac. Biggs is one of the few who can still sleep. Humanity's state of chronic wakefulness has caused mass insanity — in the noonday sun, dreams overflow and chaos reigns.

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Author Interviews
1:02 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Reminder From A Marine: Civilians And Veterans Share Ownership Of War

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 12:47 pm

"Marines and soldiers don't issue themselves orders, they don't send themselves overseas," says former Marine Phil Klay. "United States citizens elect the leaders who send us overseas."

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Books News & Features
1:00 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Re-Released Recordings Reveal Literary Titans In Their Youth

James Baldwin, shown here in 1964, was the first in a series of authors Harry and Lynne Sharon Schwartz recorded.
Jenkins Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 11:19 am

You can listen to plenty of actors performing the works of William Shakespeare. But imagine if you could hear the voice of the young playwright himself — or the older one, for that matter — reading his own writing aloud.

Well, we can't take you back that far. But in the early 1960s, when recorded readings by authors were rare, a young couple in Boston decided to be literary audio pioneers.

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Book Reviews
3:14 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Even In New Hands, Detective Philip Marlowe Rings True

Courtesy of Henry Holt

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 8:02 am

My wife and I recently moved to Los Angeles. To prepare, I reread a handful of the Philip Marlowe novels by the great Raymond Chandler, from The Big Sleep to The Little Sister. Chandler, who died in 1959, was a forefather of the modern detective novel. I've been a Chandler fan for years, but I also wanted to reread him because I knew I'd be reviewing a new Chandler book — written by somebody else.

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Book Reviews
1:12 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

'Schmuck' Revisits The Golden Age Of Radio, And A Bygone Manhattan

RTimages iStockphoto

Beginning in 1952, and running through 1968, there was a legendary radio show called Klavan And Finch that was on WNEW in New York City. It was a four-hour live program featuring music and antic conversation between handsome, straight man Dee Finch and his live-wire counterpart, Gene Klavan.

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Author Interviews
1:12 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

The Case For Tammany Hall Being On The Right Side Of History

Seen here in 1935, the building that housed Manhattan's Democratic Party, known as Tammany Hall, still stands today.
AP

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 7:18 am

Back in 1900, when Americans in cities counted on ice to keep food, milk and medicines fresh, New York Mayor Robert Van Wyck's career ended when it emerged that a company given a monopoly on the ice business was doubling prices while giving the mayor and his cronies big payoffs.

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New In Paperback
10:11 am
Wed March 5, 2014

March 1-7: America's 'Unwinding,' Black Identity And Fictional Self-Help

*Some of the language in the summaries above has been provided by publishers.

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

Author Interviews
9:38 am
Wed March 5, 2014

When Loved Ones Return From The Dead

Randy Skidmore

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 4:08 pm

If someone you cared for died, you might be haunted by questions about how your life might be different had that person survived, about what you might say if you had one more chance to talk. Those questions are behind author Jason Mott's novel The Returned.

The book is now an ABC television series, Resurrection, which premieres Sunday.

Mott tells NPR's Michel Martin that the book was inspired by a dream about his mother returning to life, and how such a scenario would play out if it really happened.

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Television
9:38 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Midseason TV: What To Watch And What To Skip

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 2:00 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. So maybe the weather has kept you inside more than usual, or you're looking for a few new guilty pleasure to add to your DVR. We've got you covered. NPR television critic Eric Deggans is with us in our Washington, D.C., studios to talk about some of the midseason television debuts. And we'll even talk about a few shows that don't begin with "Scan-" and end with "-dal." Eric, welcome back.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Glad to be here.

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Africa
9:38 am
Wed March 5, 2014

A New Look At 'The Bright Continent'

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 2:00 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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The Two-Way
5:14 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Book News: Sherwin B. Nuland, Author Of 'How We Die,' Dies At 83

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 6:01 am

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

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed March 5, 2014

A Second Helping Of Retro Smooches In 'Young Romance 2'

They're the perfect couple, circa 1947. He's craggy, yet banal. She's well-coiffed and febrile. The circumstances? Dire. Always. Just as unfailingly, though, love will out for these two, for we're on familiar turf: the geometrically ordered, narratively numbing world of mid-century comic-book passion. More specifically, this is Young Romance 2: The Early Simon & Kirby Romance Comics, a collection of some of the first such comics ever produced.

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Kitchen Window
10:13 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Salt Cod: The Prosciutto Of The Sea?

The best quality salt cod typically is sold as nearly white whole fillets, 2 or more inches thick in the thickest parts, often packed in coarse salt in wooden boxes.
Tom Gilbert for NPR

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 1:09 am

Like the God of the Old Testament, salt cod goes by many names. The French call it morue, the Italians baccala' and the Portuguese bacalhau. Of course, the fish is the same — Atlantic cod — and the process is the same — drying and salting.

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Author Interviews
12:42 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Fresh Air Remembers Literary Biographer Justin Kaplan

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 12:46 pm

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. We're going to remember Justin Kaplan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer who also edited the 16th edition of "Bartlett's Familiar Quotations," published in 1992 and the 17th edition, published in 2002. Justin Kaplan died Sunday at the age 88. His first book, a 1966 biography of Mark Twain, won a National Book Award, as well as a Pulitzer Prize. He also wrote biographies of Walt Whitman and Lincoln Steffens.

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