Arts

Monkey See
11:33 am
Wed March 11, 2015

A Travel Show For Your Favorite Weird-Museum And Dance Enthusiast

Courtesy of Ovation

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 2:23 pm

When we get to talking about HBO and Sling, about cord-cutting and the future of television, we tend to focus on the advantages of being able to pick out only the core channels you watch most; the ones you know you love. Now and then, though, I'm glad for the vast array of channels that are trying different things with different people, serving audiences smaller than the ones for football and Cutthroat Kitchen.

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Author Interviews
11:27 am
Wed March 11, 2015

A Writer Moves To 'Bettyville' To Care For His Elderly Mom

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

The Salt
9:40 am
Wed March 11, 2015

From Ancient Sumeria To Chipotle Tacos, Cumin Has Spiced Up The World

The cuisines of the classical world made use of cumin both as a flavoring and a drug.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 9:44 am

I first encountered cumin in suburban New Jersey around 1988. Indian food was just starting to penetrate the suburbs, and a trip to the new Indian restaurant in the next town had, literally, the whiff of adventure about it.

As I took in the many new tastes and aromas from curries and kormas, one stood out: what I deemed the "the sweaty shirt spice," or cumin.

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Book Reviews
8:33 am
Wed March 11, 2015

In 'Shadow,' Change And Growth As A Story Sheds Its Scales

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 2:10 pm

I came late to Seraphina, Rachel Hartman's first book — only discovering that gorgeous story in preparation for reviewing its sequel. I fell deeply in love with it and have been pressing it into people's hands and climbing rooftops to shout about it since: half-human, half-dragon Seraphina and her wonderful voice, by turns wry and vulnerable; the rich, musical world of her country Goredd and its surrounding nations; the brilliantly original dragons and the tensions in their own society and philosophies.

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Monkey See
7:54 am
Wed March 11, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour, Small Batch Edition: 'King Of The Nerds'

Raychelle, Ben, Lily and Kaitlin are among the nerds in tight competition on TBS's King Of The Nerds.
Trae Patton TBS

In something of a companion piece to our earlier segment on nerd culture, Stephen and Glen sit down in this edition to chat about the social dynamics at work and at play on TBS's surprisingly charming competition show King Of The Nerds. Glen carefully distinguishes it from its predecessor Beauty And The Geek, then wonders whether when nerds act like reality show contestants, they're using the tactics of the enemy.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed March 11, 2015

'B & Me' Is Intelligent, Immoderate, And A Bit Belabored

Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 3:18 pm

J.C. Hallman's audacious B & Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal, is a textbook example of "creative criticism" — a highly personal form of literary response that involves "writers depicting their minds, their consciousnesses, as they think about literature." Hallman, who has championed creative criticism in two anthologies, has written a wildly intelligent, deeply personal, immoderate — and somewhat belabored — exploration of Nicholson Baker's entire oeuvre, reading in general, and the state of modern literature.

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The Two-Way
5:18 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Coming Out In A Galaxy Far Far Away: Star Wars Gets Its First LGBT Character

Star Wars Lords Of The Sith will feature the first official LGBT character.
courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 11:17 am

Star Wars is getting its first official LGBT character. Her name is Moff Delian Mors, and she's a character in Paul S. Kemp's upcoming Star Wars: Lords of the Sith novel. Penguin Random House describes Mors as

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The Two-Way
4:58 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Got To Give $7.4 Million Up: Jury Finds Pharrell And Thicke Copied Marvin Gaye Song

A jury in Los Angeles decided Tuesday that Robin Thicke (left) and Pharrell Williams lifted parts of Marvin Gaye's 1977 hit "Got To Give It Up."
Jamie McCarthy Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 6:01 pm

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The Salt
4:11 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Tea Tuesdays: The Scottish Spy Who Stole China's Tea Empire

Robert Fortune was a 19th-century Scottish botanist who helped the East India Trading Company swipe the secrets of tea production from China.
Apic/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 9:44 am

Editor's Note: A version of this story originally ran in March 2010.

In the mid-19th century, Britain was an almost unchallenged empire. It controlled about a fifth of the world's surface, and yet its weakness had everything to do with tiny leaves soaked in hot water: tea. By 1800, it was easily the most popular drink among Britons.

The problem? All the tea in the world came from China, and Britain couldn't control the quality or the price. So around 1850, a group of British businessmen set out to create a tea industry in a place they did control: India.

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Book Reviews
2:18 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Shockwaves Of A Kidnapping Echo In 'Barefoot Dogs'

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 3:07 pm

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

Architecture
2:18 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Museum Asks Visitors To Listen To New York's Buildings

Karen Van Lengen and James Welty created a multimedia installation to encourage visitors to experience buildings like Grand Central Terminal not only through their eyes, but also their ears.
Hansi Lo Wang NPR

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 5:16 pm

When you're walking around New York City, you probably won't find people looking up. Even the majestic main concourse of Grand Central Terminal can rarely stop a native New Yorker in her tracks.

But, tourists like Lidize Mora from Las Vegas are a different story.

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Television
12:55 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

New HBO Now Streaming Service Shows Consumer's Will Is King

Richard Plepler, CEO of HBO, talks about HBO Now during an Apple event Monday in San Francisco.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 5:40 pm

There's a lesson at the heart of the announcement Monday by HBO that it was finally starting the standalone video streaming service they have been talking about for five months, HBO Now.

In a media world fragmented by digital technology, the consumer's will is king.

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The Salt
12:25 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

'Test Kitchen': How To Make Vegetarian Dishes Pop With A Little Umami

Jack Bishop says it's the soy sauce in the Mushroom Bolognese that really makes it pop.
Joe Keller Courtesy of America's Test Kitchen

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 9:46 am

Just because a meal is vegetarian doesn't mean it can't be "meaty." One trick to heighten the depth of flavors in plant-based dishes? Use ingredients that offer a pop of umami, say Bridget Lancaster and Jack Bishop of America's Test Kitchen, who have released the new cookbook The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook.

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Monkey See
10:15 am
Tue March 10, 2015

An Interview With A Regular Watch

Not necessarily the watch being interviewed, as it chose to remain anonymous.
iStockphoto

Ever since we interviewed the Monopoly iron in 2013, we have occasionally published fever-dream interviews with newsworthy inanimate objects. In light of yesterday's Apple announcement of its smart watch — and in light of the fact that it is neither the first nor the last such watch to be developed — we thought we would check in with a regular, ordinary watch.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue March 10, 2015

A Tale Of Two Captains On A Tragic Journey In 'Dead Wake'

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 9:11 am

Pier 54 on the Hudson River in Manhattan is padlocked and forgotten now. Like whispers of the past, the engraved names of the shipping companies Cunard and White Star remain barely legible atop its rusted iron gate. Few of the present-day joggers and cyclists who pass by might recall that a century ago, on May 1, 1915, the Lusitania set sail from this berth on her last doomed voyage.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue March 10, 2015

From The Gathering Of Juggalos To Farthest Australia In 'Timid Son'

Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 10:41 am

"I am homesick most for the place I've never known," writes Kent Russell in his debut essay collection. He's referring specifically to Martins Ferry, Ohio, his father's childhood hometown — but it could be anywhere. The essays in I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son find the young author miles away from his native Florida, at a music festival in Illinois, on a small island near Australia, and other out-of-the-way locales. He never seems to feel quite at home, or maybe he hasn't yet decided what home really is to him.

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Author Interviews
3:24 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

Forget Big Sky And Cowboys: 'Crow Fair' Is Set In An Unidealized Montana

Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 6:07 pm

"I think there's only one interesting story ... and that's struggle," says writer Thomas McGuane. Loners, outcasts and malcontents fill the pages of McGuane's latest book — a collection of short stories titled Crow Fair. There's a divorced dad who takes his young son out for an ill-fated day of ice fishing; A restless cattle breeder who takes a gamble on a more lucrative and dangerous line of works; A guy who abandons his blind grandmother by the side of a river to go get drunk, and chase after a corpse he's spotted floating by.

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Book News & Features
2:38 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

Straight To Audiobook: Authors Write Original Works Meant To Be Heard

Alexandru Petrea iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 8:57 am

In recent years while e-books were plowing their way through the publishing industry like a big noisy steam engine, audiobooks were chugging along in the background like the Little Engine That Could. These days, that sometimes overlooked segment of the book business is growing at a rapid pace and the industry is looking for new ways to catch listeners' ears.

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Television
1:32 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

'Better Call Saul' Breathes New Life Into 'Breaking Bad' Characters

Jonathan Banks' character Mike Ehrmantraut (left), a hit man and fixer, was a natural to bring back to Breaking Bad's prequel Better Call Saul. Co-creator Peter Gould says he was the right contrast with Saul Goodman, played by Bob Odenkirk (right).
Ben Leuner AMC

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 5:58 pm

The new show Better Call Saul imagines what slip 'n fall lawyer turned criminal attorney Saul Goodman's life was like before he met Walter White, the main character of Breaking Bad. It tells the story of how Saul, played by Bob Odenkirk, started out as Jimmy McGill, a public defender who is so broke that his home and office are the backroom of a nail salon.

Better Call Saul co-creator Peter Gould, who also wrote for Breaking Bad, says that centering a new show on Saul Goodman was completely organic.

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Europe
3:34 am
Mon March 9, 2015

Vatican Says Ransom Sought For Missing Michelangelo Letters

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 6:20 am

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

Fine Art
1:55 am
Mon March 9, 2015

Meet Joseph Duveen, The Savvy Art Dealer Who Sold European Masterpieces

Happy Lovers (c. 1760-65) by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, is one of about 800 objects that American art collector Norton Simon purchased from Joseph Duveen. Over the years, Simon sold most of the collection off, but about 130 objects remain at the Norton Simon Museum in California.
The Norton Simon Foundation

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 1:52 pm

British art dealer Joseph Duveen once said, rather astutely: "Europe has a great deal of art, and America has a great deal of money."

Starting in the late 1800s, in London first, later New York, the Duveen family sold precious European Old Master paintings, sculptures, tapestries, furniture to rich American collectors. For the first half of the 20th century, Duveen was arguably the world's greatest art dealer and some of the greatest works of art in America got here thanks to the Duveens.

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Author Interviews
4:27 pm
Sun March 8, 2015

Author Explores The Ripple Effects Of A Kidnapping In Mexico

Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 7:52 am

Antonio Ruiz-Camacho's new book Barefoot Dogs is billed as a collection of short stories, but it could easily be called a novel. Each piece provides a perspective on one horrific event: the abduction of the patriarch of a wealthy Mexican family by a drug gang.

Throughout the book, readers see how this affects children, grandchildren, mistresses and others, as the tragedy follows the family through exile in the United States and Europe

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Movie Interviews
3:27 pm
Sun March 8, 2015

No Joke: Hollywood Comedy Producer Finds Career In Prison Reform

Scott Budnick (second from left) stands with (from left) Jimmy Wu, who served 16 years in prison and is now a mentor; Jesse Aguiar, former gang member and now a counselor; and Franky Carrillo, who was freed by the Innocence Project after 21 years in prison.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 8:03 pm

Los Angeles has been good to Scott Budnick. He arrived more than 15 years ago as an aspiring film producer. He found a home in comedy, and eventually became the executive producer of the Hangover trilogy — the wildly popular, profane buddy movies that are still the highest grossing comedy franchise ever made.

Now, he lives in the Hollywood Hills. He drives a fancy car, lives in a beautiful house and has lots of famous friends.

But in 2013, Budnick decided to leave Hollywood for a very different field: prison reform.

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Television
3:01 pm
Sun March 8, 2015

Cyberpsychologist: Online, 'Every Contact Leaves A Trace'

The Avery Ryan character is based on Mary Aiken (above) a real-life cyber psychologist and director of the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre.
Courtesy of CBS

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 6:25 pm

The CSI franchise has a new lead investigator: Special Agent Avery Ryan.

Oscar-winning actress Patricia Arquette plays the head of the FBI's Cyber Crime Division on CSI: Cyber, which premiered this week on CBS.

The unit is called in on cyber stalking, identity theft, even cases involving hacked baby cams and ride-sharing services.

Agent Ryan's character is based on real-life cyber psychologist Mary Aiken, the director of the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre in Dublin, Ireland. She's also a producer on the show.

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Author Interviews
6:10 am
Sun March 8, 2015

Broken Family Needs To Have A 'Man At The Helm'

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 11:08 am

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

Music Interviews
6:10 am
Sun March 8, 2015

The Seratones Rock The Tiny Desk With A Jungle Beat

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 11:08 am

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

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Sunday Puzzle
6:10 am
Sun March 8, 2015

City And Stating The Obvious

NPR

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 11:08 am

On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of a well-known U.S. city and its state. One or more letters from the start of the city's name plus one or more letters from the start of the state's name are run together to spell a word. I'll give you the word. You tell me the city and state. For example, given "latex," the answer would be "Laredo, Texas."

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Humans
6:10 am
Sun March 8, 2015

Seniors Speed-Date In 'Age Of Love'

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 11:08 am

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

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

There's a new documentary out with a very simple message - people want to find that someone special no matter their age. It's called "The Age Of Love," and it takes us to a speed dating event for seniors. NPR's Ina Jaffe has more.

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Book News & Features
5:03 am
Sun March 8, 2015

Reading On The Roof? Now That's Punk Rock

Don't try this at home: Critic Juan Vidal experiments with reading on the roof.
Rheagan Vidal

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 8:46 pm

In The Savage Detectives, Roberto Bolaño invents the "visceral realists," a group of poetry-mad troublemakers who read and write incessantly. They also shoplift, sleep around, and drift from place to place — causing mayhem at workshops and picking fights with lesser poets for sport. All of them are guided by a lust for life and an unwavering devotion to literature and its discontents. One even reads in the shower, easily the most punk-rock thing this side of the Sex Pistols.

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Theater
4:05 am
Sun March 8, 2015

Helen Mirren Extends Her Elizabethan Reign In 'The Audience'

Helen Mirren (in blue) plays Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience, a play that imagines the private conversations between the queen and her prime ministers.
Joan Marcus Courtesy of Boneau/Bryan-Brown

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 11:08 am

The last time Dame Helen Mirren and author Peter Morgan collaborated, it was for the movie The Queen, and she took home an Oscar. Now the two are working together again, this time on a play called The Audience. It's about the relationship between Queen Elizabeth II and her prime ministers. A hit in London, the play is opening Sunday at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on Broadway.

The Audience begins with a Buckingham Palace officer named "The Equerry," who tells the theater audience what it's about to see.

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