Arts

Interviews
7:16 am
Fri June 7, 2013

'The Life That Follows' Disarming IEDs In Iraq

Brian Castner served as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1999 to 2007, deploying to Iraq to command bomb disposal units in Balad and Kirkuk in 2005 and 2006.
Joey Campagna Courtesy of the author

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 12:30 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on July 8, 2012.

Brian Castner arguably had one of the most nerve-wracking jobs in the U.S. military. He commanded two Explosive Ordnance Disposal units in Iraq, where his team disabled roadside IEDs, investigated the aftermath of roadside car bombings and searched door to door to uncover bomb-makers at their homes.

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Critics' Lists: Summer 2013
5:03 am
Fri June 7, 2013

5 Books Of Poetry To Get You Through The Summer

Andrew Bannecker

A sad tale's best for winter, Shakespeare tells us. I'm wondering if perhaps poetry, both lyrical and narrative, isn't best for summer. I'm thinking of how Keats, in "Ode to a Nightingale," describes that wonderfully musical bird as singing "of summer in full-throated ease"; and how, say, in three-time Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky's poem "Ralegh's Prizes," summer "turns her head with its dark tangle / All the way toward us" and however drowsy-making the weather, we pay attention.

All this wonderful poetry, it's filled up my throat as well:

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Movie Reviews
3:01 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

A Yearly 'Purge' For A Society Working Out Its Issues

Ethan Hawke's security consultant barricades himself in his home for the annual "purge" that keeps the grimmer elements of society in check in James DeMonaco's dystopian thriller.
Daniel McFadden Universal Pictures

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 8:54 am

The best twists in The Twilight Zone weren't the ones that came at the end. The real genius of Rod Serling's classic series was how often and how effectively it twisted things up with simple but outlandish "What if?" queries in episode setups.

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Movie Reviews
3:01 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Covert Conflicts, Decried In 'Dirty Wars'

Reporter and author Jeremy Scahill, shown in Somalia, visited a range of conflict-plagued areas for the film Dirty Wars, an outgrowth of his writing on American anti-terrorism efforts abroad.
IFC

After the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011, the soldiers of the paramilitary force JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) who carried out the operation were lionized as national heroes.

They earned more ambivalent treatment in Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty. And according to Dirty Wars, a documentary based on a book by investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, their shadowy outfit has pretty much taken over America's global war on terrorism — and in flagrantly unconstitutional ways, he claims.

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Movie Reviews
3:01 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Resnais' Lively, Metatheatrical Look At Death

Sabine Azema (left) and Pierre Arditi are two of the veteran actors drawn into a convoluted retelling — and reimagining — of the Orpheus and Eurydice story in Alain Resnais' You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet.
Kino Lorber

As a relatively young man, French director Alain Resnais made films about loss, remembrance and the ghosts of a recent history that included the Holocaust, Hiroshima and the brutal Franco-Algerian war. He was 89 when he directed his latest film, You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet, which also considers the presence of the past. But the director's concern with real-life horrors has been replaced here by an outlook that's both playful and explicitly theatrical.

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Monkey See
1:48 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

When 'G' Movies Are For Kids, Do Kids Avoid 'G' Movies?

The 1939 film The Wizard Of Oz was rated G. The 2013 film Oz the Great and Powerful was rated PG. The difference? Maybe a little violence and a womanizing leading man.
AP/Walt Disney Pictures

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 3:38 pm

If you're a parent with small children, summer is traditionally a time when there's lots for them to see at the multiplex. That's not untrue this summer. But if you're specifically looking for a film with a G rating, you may just be out of luck.

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Monkey See
12:24 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Joss Whedon's 'Much Ado' As Romantic Comedy And Cop Show

Amy Acker as Beatrice eavesdrops in a scene from Joss Whedon's new film version of Much Ado About Nothing.
Roadside Attractions

If you all think back all the way to when I was in Toronto last fall, you'll recall I was very enamored with Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing, the story of the bickering lovers Beatrice and Benedick. And now, months later, this morning, he was on Morning Edition to talk about it with NPR's Renee Montagne.

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Author Interviews
12:02 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

The Patient Who Let Us Peek Inside A Brain In 'Present Tense'

In her latest book about Henry Molaison, Corkin tells the story of the amnesic man she studied for a half-century, whose brain helped teach neuroscientists about the distinctions between memory and intellect.
Basic Books

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 3:03 pm

In 1953, 27-year-old Henry Gustave Molaison underwent an experimental brain surgery in an attempt to alleviate his severe epileptic seizures. The surgery left him with a form of amnesia; he could remember many things from the past, but was unable to form new memories.

"He could tell us about where he was born, [that] his father's family was from Thibodaux, La., his mother came from Ireland," says neuroscientist Suzanne Corkin. "He talked about the towns in Hartford where he lived and about his specific neighbors. He knew the schools he attended, some of his classmates' names."

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Music Reviews
12:01 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Jason Isbell: Literary, But Keeping An Edge On 'Southeastern'

Jason Isbell's latest album, Southeastern, is personal and intimate.
Michael Wilson Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 1:18 pm

When Jason Isbell was part of Drive-By Truckers, his guitar contributed to the band's sometimes magnificent squall of noise, while his songwriting contributed to the eloquence that raised the band high in the Southern rock pantheon. But the group was led by two other first-rate songwriters, Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley.

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Monkey See
11:38 am
Thu June 6, 2013

The Vexing Matter Of The Summer Blockbuster

In Iron Man 3, Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), and Gwyneth Paltrow reprises hers as his girlfriend, Pepper Potts.
Paramout Pictures

On today's Here & Now from WBUR, I talked to host Robin Young about the weird situation of summer blockbusters — which can easily go the way of Iron Man 3 (hit!) or the way of After Earth (non-hit!) and it's not always easy to tell what you're going to get until it happens.

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Art & Design
11:35 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Inside The Cel: Behind The Scenes With Animators

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 12:51 pm

The highly anticipated animated films Monsters University, Despicable Me 2 and Turbo hit theaters this summer. From cel technology to full-length, computer-animated, celebrity-studded movies, animation has come a long way.

The Two-Way
11:29 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Esther Williams, Swimmer Turned Movie Star, Dies

Esther Williams in August, 1942.
AP

Esther Williams, a swimming champion who became "America's mermaid" when she starred in a series of Hollywood "aqua musicals" in the 1940s and '50s, has died.

According to The Associated Press, that word comes from her family and her publicist.

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Arts & Life
10:07 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Chef Roblé Ali On Difficult Clients And Staying Skinny

Chef Roblé Ali prepares crabs for an event with singer-songwriter John Legend.
Bravo Heidi Gutman

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 12:38 pm

Summertime means backyard barbecues and parties on the patio, and chef Roblé Ali knows all about good times and good food. The 29-year-old New Yorker has prepared meals for big names, including President Obama and entertainers Michael Jackson and Vanessa Williams.

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Ask Me Another
9:27 am
Thu June 6, 2013

This, That Or The Other V

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 8:06 am

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

We've got our next two contestants settling in, Jaime Green and Paul Griffiths, ready to play our next game.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Jaime, your hobby is astronomy. I want to know what you do with this hobby. Do you hang out with people and talk stars? Do you drive to a location?

JAIME GREEN: I write about it.

EISENBERG: You write about it?

GREEN: Yeah.

EISENBERG: Alone.

GREEN: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Okay. Paul, do you have any smart nerdy hobbies?

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Ask Me Another
9:27 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Mistransportation

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 8:06 am

Transportation alternatives are so hot right now, but house musician Jonathan Coulton has got a few innovations of his own. In this game, he's singing popular songs about travel--although he's replaced the method of transportation in the song with a different, more whimsical, type of vehicle. Can you name the original?

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Ask Me Another
9:27 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Get Me Rewrite

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 8:06 am

In this game, host Ophira Eisenberg changes the titles of some well-known movies by exactly one letter, and reworks their plots to suit. For example, Star Wars becomes Star Bars when the plot is changed thusly: A long time ago, Luke and Obi-Wan walked into Mos Eisley and went on the greatest pub crawl in the galaxy.

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Ask Me Another
9:27 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Natalie Portmantoast

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 8:06 am

Very Important Puzzler Lizz Winstead is a huge fan of the "portmanteau," a word formed by combining two other words, such as "smog" being a combination of "smoke" and "fog." But the ones Lizz makes up are much funnier. In this game, Lizz joins host Ophira Eisenberg to prompt contestants to make their own portmanteaus by combining a famous person's name with a food item.

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Ask Me Another
9:27 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Minnesotans We Have Known

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 8:06 am

Very Important Puzzler Lizz Winstead, a Minneapolis native, proves her fierce hometown pride in an Ask Me Another Challenge about famous people from her home state.

Plus, Jonathan Coulton covers the song "Kiss," by one of Minnesota's finest: Prince.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

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Ask Me Another
9:27 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Two Bee Or Not Two Bee

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 8:06 am

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Now, we're going to crown this week's grand champion. Let's bring back the winners from all of our former games. From there's an apt for that: Eileen Fitzpatrick.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: From this, that or the other: Jaime green. From Mistransportation: Joe Miscavige. From Get Me Rewrite: Amy Ruttenberg. And from Natalie Portmantoast: Dianne Nora.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: I'm going to ask our puzzle guru Will Hines to take us out.

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Ask Me Another
9:27 am
Thu June 6, 2013

There's An Apt For That

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 10:01 am

Have you ever met a baker whose last name was Baker, or a blacksmith whose last name is Smith? Then you might be familiar with the term "aptronym," a word that refers to a person's name that happens to suit her job or characteristics. In this game, host Ophira Eisenberg asks contestants about people both real and fictional whose last names are aptly suited to their professions.

Later, house musician Jonathan Coulton covers "Poisoning Pigeons In The Park," a seasonal favorite by Tom Lehrer.

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The Two-Way
5:37 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Book News: A.M. Homes Takes Women's Prize For Fiction

A.M. Homes, author of May We Be Forgiven, poses prior to Wednesday's awards ceremony for the Women's Prize For Fiction at the Royal Festival Hall in London.
Ben Stansall AFP/Getty Images

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

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Critics' Lists: Summer 2013
5:01 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Female Perspectives: Five Novels That Bring Outsiders In

Andrew Bannecker

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 1:04 pm

For readers in search of tales that step outside familiar viewpoints, there is an abundance of fiction by women unraveling the big themes of conflict, religion, race and love — from new and different angles. The five novels I'm recommending offer up-close-and-personal engagement with characters who are often at odds with their communities or whose lives are so far on the periphery that we can be sure history books would pass them by. They make far-flung places and faraway lives feel immediate.

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Book Reviews
5:01 am
Thu June 6, 2013

'Cinnamon And Gunpowder': Haute Cuisine On The High Seas

Food porn and rip-roaring pirate adventure are two great tastes that taste great together in Eli Brown's rollicking Cinnamon and Gunpowder. Owen Wedgwood is the brilliant but rather prissy chef to shipping magnate Lord Ramsey — until privateer captain "Mad Hannah" Mabbot shoots Ramsey at point-blank range and takes Wedgwood prisoner, charging him to earn his keep by preparing her one magnificent dinner a week, using only the ingredients he can find on her ship, the Flying Rose.

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Code Switch
3:16 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

The Force Is With The Navajo: 'Star Wars' Gets A New Translation

Star Wars has been translated into many languages — most recently, Navajo. Above, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in a scene from the 1977 classic.
20th Century Fox Film Corp. AP

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 11:30 am

If you've ever wondered how to say "May the Force be with you" in Navajo, you're in luck. On July 3, a new translation of Star Wars will be unveiled on the Navajo Nation reservation in Arizona. The 1977 classic has been translated into many languages, and the latest effort is the brainchild of Manuelito Wheeler, director of the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Ariz.

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Television
12:15 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

'Arrested' No More: Hurwitz On Why The Bluths Are Back

David Cross (left) reprises his role as Dr. Tobias Funke, the sexually ambiguous brother-in-law of Jason Bateman's character, Michael Bluth, in Netflix's new season of Arrested Development.
Netflix

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 3:05 pm

The Bluth family of the cult show Arrested Development can be oblivious, mean — to each other and anyone who enters their orbit — and eccentric. But that, says show creator Mitch Hurwitz, is in some ways the point.

"The goal with the show has always been that the Bluths are wrong," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "[They're] self-centered. They haven't had to develop. [Their] money allowed them to stop developing."

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Monkey See
9:16 am
Wed June 5, 2013

The Critic, The Viewer And The Episode Dump

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 9:28 am

I have substantial affection for both Hollywood Reporter TV critic Tim Goodman and the Fox executive who tweets as "Masked Scheduler." They're both amusing, resolute grumps at times, but great fun to follow on Twitter. So you can imagine how uncomfortable it was to see them have a testy exchange about the new episodes of Arrested Development (which, remember, was on Fox and is now not). Tim liked them, and was reacting to early criticism of the first couple of episodes.

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Monkey See
6:16 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Once Again, Elizabeth Taylor And Richard Burton Get A TV Movie

Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter in BBC America's Burton And Taylor.
BBC America

On the heels of Liz & Dick, Lifetime's campy take on the love story of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton that starred none other than Lindsay Lohan, BBC America will be delivering another made-for-TV version this fall. Because they couldn't call it Liz & Dick, this one is called ... Burton And Taylor. (Innovation!)

This one stars Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter, and the first photo was released yesterday.

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The Two-Way
5:58 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Book News: Germany's Longest Word Gets The Ax

Cuts of beef and pork lie in a display counter at a supermarket in Berlin, Germany.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

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

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Book Reviews
4:03 am
Wed June 5, 2013

For A Girl And Her Horses, A Bumpy Ride To Adulthood

iStockphoto.com

Anton DiSclafani's debut novel, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, is a painstakingly constructed ode to a young girl's sexual awakening — just ladylike enough to be more bodice unbuttoner than bodice ripper. Like Rumer Godden's classic 1958 novel, The Greengage Summer, this is perhaps one of the classier books a young teen would hide under her covers to read with a flashlight. It features a 15-year-old narrator, Theodora "Thea" Atwell, whose family banishes her to a North Carolina equestrian boarding school in 1930. There's been a scandal.

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Kitchen Window
3:44 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

We All Scream For Ice Cream

Michele Kayal for NPR

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 1:19 pm

My husband's cousin, Milind, stops the car alongside Mumbai's famous Chowpatty Beach, and I think it's because we're going to take in the scene: the cavorting clowns, the camels, the balloon sellers, the people thronging the sand as though it's noon instead of midnight. I begin walking toward the beach, but Milind pulls me in the other direction. Toward the New Kulfi Center.

"Milind, please," I moan. The ice cream stand is just the latest stop on an hours-long eating odyssey that took us from street food to a juice shop to grilled cheese.

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