Arts

Movie Interviews
2:20 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Quvenzhane Wallis: "If I Have To Be Fierce, I'll Be Fierce"

Quvenzhane Wallis plays Hushpuppy in the film Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 3:38 pm

Quvenzhane Wallis was just 5 years old when she auditioned for a role in the Oscar-nominated film Beasts of the Southern Wild, and 6 when she shot the movie. Now, at age 9, she is the youngest ever to receive a best actress Oscar nomination.

In the film, Quvenzhane plays a wild child named Hushpuppy, who lives with her sick father in a ramshackle, isolated community called the Bathtub, on the fringes of the Louisiana coast.

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Poetry
10:53 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco: 'I Finally Felt Like I Was Home'

Richard Blanco reads his poem "One Today" during President Obama's second inaugural, on Jan. 21.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 9:03 pm

"I just got the phone call one day," is how poet Richard Blanco describes to Fresh Air's Terry Gross how he learned he had been selected to write and read the inaugural poem for President Obama's second swearing-in on Jan. 21.

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The Salt
8:03 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Fake Food George Washington Could've Sunk His Fake Teeth Into

Stargazy Pie, a cornish dish named for the way the fish heads poke through the crust towards the sky.
Courtesy of Sandy Levins

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 1:02 pm

If you want to see what George Washington might have munched on, then Sandy Levins is your gal. All the foods she whips up look scrumptious, but if you sneak a bite, you'll get a mouthful of plaster or clay.

Levins is one of a handful of frequently overlooked artisans who craft the replica meals you see in the kitchens and dining rooms of historic houses and museums. Adding faux food to a historical site can help visitors connect to the past, she tells The Salt.

"It's something everyone immediately identifies with, because everyone eats," she says.

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The Two-Way
5:57 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Book News: Amazon Fires German Security Firm After Claims Of Intimidation

Books in an Amazon warehouse in Bad Hersfeld, Germany.
Jens-Ulrich Koch AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 6:02 am

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

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Books
1:32 am
Mon February 18, 2013

'The Dinner' Asks: What Will You Do To Protect Your Family?

Herman Koch is a Dutch writer and actor. The Dinner is his sixth novel; it originally came out in Dutch in 2009, and has since been published in 25 countries.
Mark Kohn

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 4:42 am

Dutch author Herman Koch's new novel The Dinner is one meal you may feel a little strange after. The titular dinner is one planned by two couples — two brothers and their wives — at which they must discuss a terrible crime most likely committed by their sons. The crime is not yet public, but grainy video footage exists — and both sets of parents know it depicts their offspring.

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Author Interviews
11:59 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Days With John And Yoko: A Writer Remembers

John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, pictured above in January 1970, are the subjects of Jonathan Cott's new book Days That I'll Remember. Cott met Lennon in 1968 and was friends with the couple.
Anthony Cox Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 3:00 pm

As the European editor of Rolling Stone, Jonathan Cott spent his time interviewing legendary musicians like Mick Jagger and Pete Townshend. But in 1968, he finally got the opportunity to meet his hero, John Lennon. Cott was nervous.

"He said, 'There's nothing to be nervous about,'" Cott recalls. "'It's going to be OK, and we're doing it together, and that's what really matters.'"

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Movies I've Seen A Million Times
11:43 am
Sun February 17, 2013

The Movie Connie Britton Has 'Seen A Million Times'

Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase in the 1978 movie Foul Play.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 3:00 pm

The weekends on All Things Considered series Movies I've Seen A Million Times features filmmakers, actors, writers and directors talking about the movies that they never get tired of watching.

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Monkey See
11:33 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Man Of Tomorrow: Superman, Orson Scott Card And Me

A new version of Superman, penned by Orson Scott Card, has caused a stir in the comics world.
HO AP Photo/DC Comics

Let's make this perfectly clear at the outset: I don't work for NPR, and what I'm about to say doesn't represent NPR. I'm but a lowly freelancer they're dumb enough to publish a bunch, and what I say now I say as me, which is to say:

1. An inveterate Superman nerd, and

2. A gay dude.

DC Comics has hired Orson Scott Card to write the first two issues of a new digital-first Superman comic. I won't be reading it.

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From The NPR Bookshelves
5:03 am
Sun February 17, 2013

5 Presidential Stories That Might Surprise You

You've probably heard the story of Washington crossing the Delaware or FDR hiding his wheelchair from the public eye; but do you know about Teddy Roosevelt's life-threatening expedition down the Amazon, or Grover Cleveland's secret surgery on a yacht? In honor of Presidents Day, NPR Books dove into the archives to find new ways of thinking about our nation's former leaders.

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Three Books...
5:03 am
Sun February 17, 2013

3 Books About House Hunting In The Gilded Age

iStockphoto.com

Interiors intrigue me. Like many New Yorkers, I am often tempted to see what is inside those great doorman-barricaded buildings that line Fifth Avenue or Park Avenue. Step into the marble lobby, ride the elevator to the penthouse and let your imagination be carried aloft. What would it be like to live in a vast suite overlooking Central Park, with its parquet floors, coffered ceilings, and handsome antiques? Surely, dwelling here means being beautiful, rich and glamorous.

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Author Interviews
4:13 am
Sun February 17, 2013

'Above All Things' Tells The Story Of A Mountain, A Marriage

George Mallory's final moments remain a haunting, hotly-disputed mystery. Did the dashing young mountaineer manage to reach the summit of Mount Everest, making him the first man to ever do so? Or did he and his climbing partner, Sandy Irvine, perish heart-breakingly close to their unfulfilled goal?

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Art & Design
3:20 am
Sun February 17, 2013

'Armory Show' That Shocked America In 1913, Celebrates 100

Marcel Duchamp's Cubist-inspired Nude Descending a Staircase was famously described by one critic as "an explosion in a shingle factory."
Philadelphia Museum of Art Copyright succession Marcel Duchamp / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2013

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 6:02 am

On Feb. 17, 1913, an art exhibition opened in New York City that shocked the country, changed our perception of beauty and had a profound effect on artists and collectors.

The International Exhibition of Modern Art — which came to be known, simply, as the Armory Show — marked the dawn of Modernism in America. It was the first time the phrase "avant-garde" was used to describe painting and sculpture.

On the evening of the show's opening, 4,000 guests milled around the makeshift galleries in the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue.

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Author Interviews
3:20 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Control The Chaos With 'Secrets Of Happy Families'

Bruce Feiler and his family; daughters Tybee and Eden Feiler, and wife Linda Rottenberg. Feiler is a New York Times columnist and the author of several books, including The Council of Dads and Walking the Bible.
Kelly Hike HarperCollins

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 9:49 am

Bruce Feiler's house was in chaos. He and his wife, Linda, have twin daughters, and every morning was a madcap rush to get everybody dressed, fed, and out the door in time. Such hectic mornings aren't unusual; the scene probably sounds familiar to many busy families. But Feiler kept wondering if things could be better — easier, smoother, happier. In addition to the daily stresses, Bruce and Linda were grappling with more fundamental questions: How could they impart values and responsibility to their girls, and still have fun as a family?

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Movie Interviews
3:06 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Jacki Weaver, Looking For Oscar Gold With 'Silver Linings'

Jackie Weaver, pictured here with costar Robert De Niro, plays the rock-solid matriarch of a troubled clan in Silver Linings Playbook.
The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 1:44 pm

To put it simply, Silver Linings Playbook, which is nominated for a handful of Oscars, is a romantic comedy about mental illness.

We peer into the life of one Philadelphia family with a son whose bipolar disorder has led him to some very troublesome outbursts — and a father, meanwhile, who lives in denial of his own untreated obsessive-compulsive disorder and gambling addiction. And when arguments break out, the mother, Dolores, has to keep things together.

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Games & Humor
2:36 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Dear Mr. President, What's Your Name?

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 10:14 pm

On-air challenge: In honor of Presidents Day, every answer is the last name of a U.S. president. You will be given a word or phrase that is a president's last name with two letters changed. You name the president. For example, given "Carpet," the answer would be "Carter."

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Poetry
2:42 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

Pentametron Reveals Unintended Poetry of Twitter Users

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 3:03 pm

That hesitation right before a kiss

I don't remember ever learning this

I've never had a valentine before

I'm not a little baby anymore

It's poetry — rhyming couplets written in perfect iambic pentameter, those ten-syllable lines of alternating emphasis made famous by authors of sonnets and blank verse. But unlike your average metered rhyme, these lines were written by Twitter ... with some help from a program called Pentametron.

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Author Interviews
2:42 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

'Noble Savages': A Journey To Break The Mold Of Anthropology

Cover of Noble Savages

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 8:44 am

When Napoleon Chagnon first saw the isolated Yanomamo Indian tribes of the Amazon in 1964, it changed his life forever. A young anthropologist from the University of Michigan, he was starting on a journey that would last a lifetime, and take him from one of the most remote places on earth to an international controversy.

That controversy would divide his profession and impugn his reputation. Eventually he would come to redefine the nature of what it is to be human.

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Books
4:41 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Uncovering A Dead Father's Secrets In 'After Visiting Friends'

peeterv iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 1:22 pm

Michael Hainey was 6 years old when his uncle came to his house and told him and his brother that their father was dead. Bob Hainey was just 35. He was the slot man — a high-pressure, high-profile position overnight on the Chicago Sun-Times, a newspaper that in 1970 was the quintessence of roustabout Chicago journalism. Bob Hainey had died of a heart attack on a North Side street, as one of the obits put it, "while visiting friends."

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Movie Interviews
3:17 am
Sat February 16, 2013

'Argo': What Really Happened In Tehran? A CIA Agent Remembers

Ben Affleck played CIA agent Tony Mendez in Argo. The real Mendez says the movie is mostly spot on, even if the rescue at the end wasn't quite what the film depicts.
Claire Folger

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 4:43 pm

The movie Argo, up for seven Oscars at this year's Academy Awards, is based on the true story of the CIA rescue of Americans in Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis. Missing from most of the coverage of this movie? The actual guy who ran the mission, played by Ben Affleck in the movie.

Movie aficionados — and historians — know that the movie sticks pretty close to what really happened during the Iranian Revolution. In 1980, a CIA agent named Tony Mendez sneaked into Iran and spirited away six American diplomats who were hiding with Canadians.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
7:30 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Al Gore Plays Not My Job

Axel Schmidt AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 8:35 am

Since Al Gore's term as the 45th vice president of the United States ended in 2001, he has starred in an Oscar-winning documentary, won a Grammy Award and received the Nobel Peace Prize. But obviously he won't be satisfied until he wins the NPR news quiz, so we've invited him to play a game called "Maybe you can beat Bill Clinton at this."

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Book Reviews
3:52 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Tales Of Transformation Make 'Vampires In The Lemon Grove' A Stunner

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 5:54 pm

In one of the eight stories in Karen Russell's new collection, a group of dead presidents has been reincarnated as horses. Rutherford B. Hayes, a skewbald pinto, frantically licks the palm of a girl in a secret code that he's worked out, revealing his true identity and asking her to alert the authorities. "Ha-ha!" the girl laughs. "That tickles."

I know, you're probably thinking: "Dead presidents reincarnated as horses? Oh, come on, Meg, that sounds like the plot of so many short stories."

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The Salt
11:18 am
Fri February 15, 2013

How To Make A Chinese New Year-Worthy Potsticker

The finished dumplings, properly fried to a light crisp. The half-moon shape was meant to resemble ancient Chinese currency. Eating the dumplings was believed to bring fortune and prosperity.
Daniel M.N. Turner NPR

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 12:59 pm

Even though he estimates he's made hundreds of thousands of them, Scott Drewno says pork potstickers never get old. In fact, they are the food the executive chef of The Source by Wolfgang Puck, a fine dining Asian fusion restaurant in Washington, D.C., says he would take to a desert island.

"They're everything you want in a dish — salty, savory, filling," says Drewno, as he lovingly holds up one of three bowls of ground pork he planned to season and stuff into dumplings before our eyes.

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Movie Interviews
11:11 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Kushner's 'Lincoln' Is Strange, But Also Savvy

Tony Kushner based his screenplay for Lincoln in part on Doris Kearns Goodwin's biography of the president, Team of Rivals — but he read many other histories and biographies, in addition to Lincoln's own writings.
DreamWorks/Twentieth Century Fox

This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 15, 2012.

Tony Kushner spent years writing the screenplay for Steven Spielberg's film Lincoln, but that wasn't the only heavy lifting he had to do. It also took some effort to overcome Daniel Day-Lewis' reluctance to play the title role.

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Movie Interviews
11:11 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Wes Anderson, Creating A Singular 'Kingdom'

Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton and Bruce Willis star in the film — the story of a 12-year-old girl and boy who merge their imaginative worlds on an island off the coast of New England.
Focus Features

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 8:38 am

This interview was originally broadcast on May 29, 2012.

Director Wes Anderson has many credits to his name — The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited, Bottle Rocket and Fantastic Mr. Fox among them — but Moonrise Kingdom was his first film to open the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

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Theater
11:03 am
Fri February 15, 2013

A New View Of Newton In 'Isaac's Eye'

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 5:14 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Anyone who's taken a high school science class knows the name Isaac Newton. You remember this tale: He's sitting under a tree, an apple falls on his head, he figures out gravity, or so the story goes. Not really true.

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Food
10:16 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Sometimes, Food Additives Are Pretty Innocuous

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 11:03 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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Author Interviews
10:16 am
Fri February 15, 2013

How To 'Thrive': Short Commutes, More Happy Hours

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"Many of us spend more than half our waking hours at work," writes Buettner. So he recommends you find the right job, limit your workweek to 40 hours, take vacations and go to happy hour for some satisfying socializing.

Richard Hume

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 11:03 am

This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 19, 2011.

Many people believe that happiness comes from money or youth or beauty, but Dan Buettner would respectfully disagree. Buettner visited some of the happiest places on Earth and argues that the real keys to happiness lie in fundamental, permanent changes to the way we live.

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Author Interviews
10:16 am
Fri February 15, 2013

'Immortal' Cells Of Henrietta Lacks Live On In Labs

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 11:03 am

This interview was originally broadcast on Dec. 13, 2010.

The HeLa cell line — one of the most revolutionary tools of biomedical research — has played a part in some of the world's most important medical advances, from the polio vaccine to in vitro fertilization.

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Monkey See
8:12 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Justin Timberlake, LL Cool J And The Presidency

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

This week's show was taped while Stephen and I were still recovering from live-blogging the Grammy Awards on Sunday night, so that was still fresh in our minds. Trey and Glen saw the show as well, so we spend some time this week talking about the awards, the performances, and whether we learned anything. You will experience my new way of tormenting Stephen, and perhaps you'll want to join in!

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First Reads
5:03 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Questions For Alaya Dawn Johnson, Author Of 'The Summer Prince'

Alaya Dawn Johnson lives and writes in New York City.
Alden Ford

Alaya Dawn Johnson has written a number of novels for adults (including the delightful Zephyr Hollis series), and now she's venturing onto the young adult shelves with The Summer Prince, a complex science-fiction narrative set in post-apocalyptic Brazil. The action takes place in the city of Palmares Tres, which is entirely contained in a giant pyramidal structure on a bay, surrounded and fed by giant algae vats.

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