David Sheff wrote a book in 2008 that became a kind of landmark. Beautiful Boy was a painful, personal story of the battle he tried to fight with and alongside his son, Nic, who was addicted to methamphetamines. The book became an international best-seller and made David Sheff one of the country's most prominent voices on addiction — not as a doctor, an addict or an academic expert, but as a father.
Debbie Reynolds has been in show business for more than 60 years — beginning as an ingenue chirping a novelty tune called "Aba Daba Honeymoon" in one of her first films, a Jane Powell/Ricardo Montalban vehicle called Two Weeks With Love. That was 1950. Today, she's indisputably a grand dame of show business, working with names like Matt Damon and Michael Douglas.
How do you play a character who's been depicted more than nearly any other character in all of Western civilization?
That's the challenge currently facing Irish actress Fiona Shaw, who in the past has played such well-known fictional characters as Harry Potter's Petunia Dursley and Marnie Stonebrook on HBO's True Blood -- not to mention titanic classical roles from Euripides' Medea to Shakespeare's Richard II.
The year is 1915. A beautiful young woman bicycling through sun-dappled woods passes under an effigy of a German soldier and seems entirely unfazed. World War I is raging elsewhere in Europe, but here on the French Riviera life is serene.
The cyclist, Andree, is on her way to pose for an elderly Impressionist painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Michel Bouquet), whom she somewhat startles by claiming to be an artist herself.
A New York landmark of sorts is in danger of being wiped off the map. The building now known as Broken Angel was an ordinary 19th-century brick structure until self-taught artist and sculptor Arthur Wood started building on top of it in the late 1970s. Now Wood faces eviction from his own masterpiece — a towering structure that looks like a cathedral built out of salvaged junk.
There might be a prettier voice in the world than Aaron Neville's, but if there is, it belongs to a bird, and there's no way that bird looks as good in a leather jacket. Neville has sung duets with Aretha Franklin, has a bridge in India named after him, and has had his voice prescribed by British social workers to help people with depression. He has a new album called My True Story.
Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 11:48 am
Writer-director Quentin Dupieux's last film came with its own viewing guide, a warning in the form of a to-the-camera prologue given by a flippant floppy-haired police officer: "All great films, without exception, contain an important element of no reason."
The cop's argument is too sweeping, and its examples too transparently nonsensical, to be taken seriously: Why is E.T. brown? For no reason. Why did the guy in The Pianist have to hide? For no reason!
Traditional Passover and Easter food is sacred to some. But for observers looking for something different than the same-old lamb or gefilte fish, chef Pati Jinich has some ideas to spice up your holiday table.
She's the author of a new cookbook, Pati's Mexican Table, and has a PBS show by the same name.
On this week's show, Glen and I are joined not only by our producer Jess Gitner, but also by a new face for PCHH: NPR Books editor Petra Mayer, whom you may very well know as much of the voice of our books team on social media.
Female muses have been glorified in art both old ("O lady myn, that called art Cleo," wrote Chaucer) and new ("Wake up to your girl, for now let's call her Cleopatra," sang Frank Ocean). Guest musician Julian Velard takes popular songs that have a women's name in the title, and substitutes a man's name in its place. Can you name the original lady? After, Velard pays tribute to a famous chanteuse with a cover of "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry.
All right, ready or not, we have our next two contestants. We have Liz Kash Stroppel and Barri Trott settling behind their puzzle podiums. Welcome to both of you. Liz, do you have a favorite cartoon character?
LIZ KASH STROPPEL: Let's see, I think Jessica Rabbit.
EISENBERG: Jessica Rabbit, that's a good one, yes.
EISENBERG: How about you, Barri?
BARRI TROTT: I think Wallace and Gromit, it I can do two.
EISENBERG: Sure, Wallace and Gromit. I know, delightful.
Most people instinctively avoid conflict, but Margaret Heffernan says good disagreement is central to progress. She argues the best partners aren't echo chambers, and how great teams, relationships and businesses allow people to deeply disagree.
Shame is an unspoken epidemic, the secret behind many forms of broken behavior. Brené Brown studies vulnerability, courage, authenticity and shame. She discusses what can happen when people confront their shame head-on.
Mistakes happen — and when they do — how do we deal with being wrong? In this episode, TED speakers look at those darker moments in our lives, and consider why sometimes we need to make mistakes and face them head-on.
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
What is a mistake? By going through examples with his improvisational jazz quartet, Stefon Harris gets to a profound truth: many actions are perceived as mistakes only because we don't react to them appropriately.
How often does the family car really kill one of its regular passengers? It's a recurring trope in literary fiction — the parent's moment of inattention that changes a household's fate forever — but in Elizabeth's Strout's novel The Burgess Boys, her follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize–winning Olive Kitteridge, that accident is flipped on its head. Here, it's the father who's been killed, at the hand of a child lured by the tempting gearshift, and the lives of the children that are changed forever.
After 40 long days of Lenten abstention, Easter is a time for indulgence. And for those of us who don't observe Lent — well, who can resist all those chocolate bunnies? It's a time for sweets, with or without an excuse.
But if you're looking for Easter indulgences that are a little more refined than Peeps and jelly beans, take a cue from renowned chef Thomas Keller, whose Bouchon restaurants are as famous for their baked goods as they are for their bistro fare.
Human beings are imperfect — which is one reason we have the movies.
The Australian comedy Mental, written and directed by P.J. Hogan — the man behind the 1994 hit Muriel's Wedding — is filled with troubled people who, like most of us, strive not for perfection but at least for some understanding.
There are moments, as Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine informed us, when the barely controlled rage that is masculinity can be tempered by feelings for woman and child. But eventually the male Id will erupt, and everything will go to hell.
That happens more than once in Cianfrance's new The Place Beyond the Pines, a would-be epic that shifts from character to character and story to story to show how fury passes from fathers to sons. But too much of this seething drama is devoted not to characterization but to posturing.
What's the difference between an action figure and an action star? Very little in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which features no performances of note, even from such combat-tested thespians as Bruce Willis, Jonathan Pryce and Dwayne Johnson.
The sequel to 2009's G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the latest Joe is a near-surrealistic mashup of serious themes and juvenile humor, realistic locations and cheesy CGI. Adapted to 3-D after it was shot, the movie is also one of the most aggressive examples ever of the chucking-stuff-at-the-viewer aesthetic.
Easter brings with it many predictable foods: chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, ham, and hard-boiled eggs. But some Italians use the season to feature a surprisingly sweet vegetable dish on their tables.
It's called torta co'bischeri agli spinaci. Francine Segan calls it "Tuscany's sweet spinach pie." Segan is a food historian and author of Dolci: Italy's Sweets. She shared a recipe for the pie for All Things Considered's Found Recipe series.
In 2004, Jim McGreevey was the governor of New Jersey and a rising political star. That was until he admitted his homosexuality, and an improper relationship with a male staff member. What happened next is the subject of the new HBO documentary, Fall To Grace. Host Michel Martin speaks with McGreevy and filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi.
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 8:56 am
Last night on American Idol was Motown Night, when we all learned that Motown songs (like "I Heard It Through The Grapevine") should all be sung as seriously as possible, wearing a scowl, with all the fun sucked out. (And that was a performance that was pretty good.) It's in keeping with this season, in which melodramatic ballads have dominated even more than usual.
On a snowy night in 1910, a baby girl is born — and dies before she can take her first breath. She is born — and grows up to become an assassin who eliminates Hitler before he can take power. She is born — and lives a handful of different lives in a Britain descending into war; the book jumps from one narrative to another with a dreamy sort of logic. "Time isn't circular," she tells a therapist at one point. "It's like a ... palimpsest. ...