Arts

Monkey See
7:52 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Let's Rush To Judgment: 'Don Jon'

Tony Danza and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Don Jon.
Daniel McFadden Relativity Media

I admire Joseph Gordon-Levitt a lot, both because of his mix of performances in both big movies and little movies and because he made such a good transition from kid actor to adult actor with substantially less awkwardness than most.

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The Two-Way
7:00 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Book News: Not Everyone's A Fan Of Amazon's Fan Fiction Move

Seattle-based Amazon announced last week that it will begin selling fan fiction. CEO Jeff Bezos speaks at a 2009 event.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 7:57 am

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

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Author Interviews
1:44 am
Tue May 28, 2013

'The Son': A Texas Saga With Guilt And Gore To Go Around

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 8:16 am

The American West has always been fertile ground for writers. Now Philipp Meyer steps into that territory with his new novel The Son. It's a family saga that traces the settling of Texas from its days as a wild frontier to the oil boom — with no shortage of violence.

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Art & Design
1:39 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Plans For Smithsonian Museum 'Bubble' May Have Burst

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden proposed adding a giant, inflatable structure that would balloon out of its top and side.
Roger L. Wollenberg UPI/Landov

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 8:04 am

Call it the Smithsonian's bubble problem. One of the Smithsonian museums — the Hirshhorn museum for contemporary art — came up with an ambitious new design to add more space: Why not build a giant, inflatable structure that would be big enough for people to walk around in?

But some of the Smithsonian's trustees in Washington, D.C., haven't been blown away by the bubble.

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Theater
2:28 pm
Mon May 27, 2013

New Plays Turn Passive Audience Members Into Participants

Originally published on Mon May 27, 2013 2:57 pm

Several productions in New York's smaller theaters aren't content with providing passive experiences — the audience is asked to participate. Here Lies Love, a new David Byrne musical about Imelda Marcos at the Public Theater, is set in a disco and the audience moves around, from scene to scene, dancing all the while. Natasha, Pierre and the Comet of 1812, is an electronic pop opera based on a portion of Tolstoy's War and Peace, and is set in a Russian restaurant where audiences are served a meal and vodka as part of the performance.

Pop Culture
12:11 pm
Mon May 27, 2013

From 'Groovy' To 'Slacks,' The Words That Date You

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Cathy, a fifth-grade teacher in Stryker, Ohio, wrote to tell us that she elicited giggles when she complemented a student's footwear and called them thongs. A self-described ex-hippie named Paul emailed that he catches himself using the phrase, that's heavy. Sooner or later, once common words or phrases take on new meanings or just seem way, way out of date. Call and tell us about the term you've used that dates you.

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Author Interviews
6:33 am
Mon May 27, 2013

Questions For Barbara J. King, Author Of 'How Animals Grieve'

iStockphoto.com

Attributing human characteristics to animals makes for great cartoons, but it's not usually considered rigorous science. Now, a new book argues that animals do think and feel in ways similar to humans.

Barbara J. King is a professor of anthropology and a commentator on NPR's science blog, 13.7. And her book, How Animals Grieve, makes a powerful case for the presence of love, affection and grief in animals — from a house cat mourning her lost sister to elephants who pay respects to the bones of their matriarchs.

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Books
5:03 am
Mon May 27, 2013

Do Sit Under The Apple Tree With These Romantic Reads For Memorial Day

World War II had more than its share of horrors — but it was also a very romantic era, as this famous photograph attests.
Alfred Eisenstaedt Time

Each May we end the month and begin the summer season with a grateful nod to our veterans, especially those who gave their lives in service to our country. And this year, we mark an anniversary that may not be as obvious as Pearl Harbor or D-Day, but is certainly as important: 1943, the year WWII paused before it turned around. The year the Allies were able to stop Axis victories and advances on all fronts. It would be a few more months — well into 1944 — before the Allies seriously started pushing Hitler back, but 1943 was the beginning of the end.

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Author Interviews
2:43 am
Mon May 27, 2013

'1913': Leads A Tour Of The World A Century Ago

Originally published on Mon May 27, 2013 3:10 am

When World War I broke out in 1914, it unleashed unimaginable carnage and upheaval. By the time the war ended four years later, nearly 40 million lives had been lost, dynasties had collapsed and the global political order was shaken to its core. But what about the year prior to the war? David Greene talks to Charles Emmerson, author of 1913: In Search Of The World Before The Great War.

Movies I've Seen A Million Times
2:07 pm
Sun May 26, 2013

The Movie Gillian Anderson Has 'Seen A Million Times'

A scene from the animated film Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.
Dreamworks AP

Originally published on Sun May 26, 2013 3:25 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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Books
8:35 am
Sun May 26, 2013

The Women Who Inspired Other Women With 'Mary Tyler Moore'

The Mary Tyler Moore Show first aired in 1970.
AP

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 9:26 am

In the '60s, many of the women on television were cute, a little silly and married. A couple shows even featured women who were sweetly supernatural — think Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. Mary Richards, though, was single, sassy and filled with joy. She was practically magic to a new generation of women.

The beloved Mary Tyler Moore Show went on the air in 1970, and now, more than four decades years later, it's still a source of inspiration.

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Author Interviews
8:00 am
Sun May 26, 2013

The Women Who Inspired Other Women With 'Mary Tyler Moore'

The Mary Tyler Moore Show first aired in 1970.
AP

Originally published on Sun May 26, 2013 8:22 am

In the sixties, many of the women on television were cute, a little silly, and married. Mary Richards, though, was single, sassy, and filled with joy. A new book about the Mary Tyler Moore Show focuses on the women behind the scenes of the show that's still inspiring women today.

PG-13: Risky Reads
5:03 am
Sun May 26, 2013

'Portnoy's Complaint': A Surprisingly Therapeutic Birthday Present

Originally published on Mon May 27, 2013 9:41 am

Lucas Mann's latest book is called Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere.


ADVISORY: This essay contains sexual content and strong language that some readers may find offensive.

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From Our Listeners
5:00 am
Sun May 26, 2013

Three-Minute Fiction Readings: 'Compromise' And 'The F'

iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Sun May 26, 2013 3:25 pm

NPR's Bob Mondello and Susan Stamberg read excerpts of two of the best submissions for Round 11 of our short story contest. They read The Art of Compromise by Lindsey Appleford of Boerne, Texas, and Claudia Who Found the F by Sean Enfield of Denton, Texas. You can read their full stories below and find other stories on our Three-Minute Fiction page or on Facebook.

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Three-Minute Fiction
5:00 am
Sun May 26, 2013

The Art Of Compromise

iStockPhoto.com

"It's just not here," Erin announced as she rifled through the last cookbook. She held the book apart by its front and back covers, gave the fanned pages a shake. "If I could just remember the magazine I found the recipe in, maybe I could get a copy off the internet." Erin worried her lower lip between her teeth as she often did when trying to recollect a memory just out of mind's reach. It was a habit Jeremy still found endearing.

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Three-Minute Fiction
5:00 am
Sun May 26, 2013

Claudia Who Found The F

iStockPhoto.com

July 25th, the sun washes over Blossem, and the Texas heat seeps into my blood stream. Every day prior to this, it only beat against my flesh, turning me darker shades of tan and giving the illusion that I was actually my mother's daughter and not just a light-skinned replacement. Today, though, as I head to work, I could feel the rays moving with my blood, and I could see my skin glow.

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Author Interviews
4:55 am
Sun May 26, 2013

'Brilliant Minds' Behind 'Mary Tyler Moore'

Originally published on Sun May 26, 2013 7:08 am

In the sixties, many of the women on television were cute, a little silly, and married. A couple shows even featured women who were sweetly supernatural - think Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. Mary Richards, though, was single, sassy, and filled with joy. She was practically magic to a new generation of women.

The beloved Mary Tyler Moore Show went on the air in 1970, and now, more than 35 years later, it's still a source of inspiration.

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Sunday Puzzle
4:30 am
Sun May 26, 2013

Investigating The Crime Scene

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun May 26, 2013 1:21 pm

On-air challenge: Today's theme is "C.S.I." — as in the name of the long-running TV show. You're given three words starting with the letters C, S and I. For each set, give a fourth word that can follow each of the original words to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase.

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All Tech Considered
4:11 am
Sun May 26, 2013

Spy Novel Meets Game In Flawed (But Beautiful) New E-book

The Thirty-Nine Steps, the spy thriller that introduces the valiant, veld-trained Richard Hannay, has been reborn as an interactive. The new e-book/game is a production of The Story Mechanics.
Courtesy The Story Mechanics

Originally published on Sun May 26, 2013 4:58 am

This is the first in an occasional series of e-book reviews, co-produced by NPR Books and All Tech Considered, focusing on creative combinations of technology and literature.

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The Salt
3:39 am
Sun May 26, 2013

Picnicking Through The Ages

An illustration of noblemen enjoying a picnic, from a French edition of The Hunting Book of Gaston Phebus, 15th century.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 1:56 pm

Whether a shepherd, an explorer, a hunter or a fairgoer, people have been eating outside since the beginning of time.

"The dictionaries confirm the word 'picnic' first surfaced in the 18th century, so we were picnicking before we had the term," says research librarian and food historian Lynne Olver, who runs the Food Timeline website.

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Author Interviews
3:39 am
Sun May 26, 2013

A Spy's Son Grapples With A Lifetime Of Secrets

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun May 26, 2013 5:13 am

When Scott Johnson was a kid, he wasn't really sure what his dad did; he was either a teacher, a diplomat or a foreign service officer.

But one morning, when Johnson was 14, his father decided to tell him his real job: He was a spy for the CIA.

At first it was exciting, but as Johnson grew older, he began to wonder just how much his father was keeping from him. He tells the story of their complicated relationship in a new memoir called The Wolf and the Watchman.

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Author Interviews
3:39 pm
Sat May 25, 2013

A Literary Tale of Chechnya, The Horror and Whimsy

Russian soldiers take their position near the village of Shatoy, Chechnya.
Alexander Nemenov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun May 26, 2013 10:05 am

In his debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Anthony Marra transports readers to Chechnya, a war-torn Russian republic that has long sought independence.

The lyrical and heart-breaking novel begins in 2004 when a doctor watches as Russian soldiers abduct his neighbor, who has been accused of aiding Chechen rebels. He later rescues the neighbor's 8-year-old daughter, then colludes with another doctor to form an unlikely family amid the daily violence.

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Theater
3:39 pm
Sat May 25, 2013

Two Songs That Led Keith Carradine From Screen To Broadway

Keith Carradine (right) performs with the cast of Hands on a Hardbody during its spring 2013 run in New York.
Chad Batka

Originally published on Sat May 25, 2013 4:22 pm

The Broadway musical Hands on a Hardbody wasn't your typical Broadway musical; it was about a group of Texans trying to win a new truck at a local dealership.

Actor Keith Carradine played JD Drew, one of the contestants. Though the show closed in April after just 56 performances, Carradine received rave reviews and a Tony nomination for best actor.

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Books News & Features
3:39 pm
Sat May 25, 2013

A Lost And Found 'Wonder': Pearl S. Buck's Final Novel

Pearl Buck was born in West Virginia but spent much of her childhood in China, where her parents worked as missionaries.
Keystone Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 25, 2013 4:15 pm

Pearl S. Buck emerged into literary stardom in 1931 when she published a book called The Good Earth. That story of family life in a Chinese village won the novelist international acclaim, the Pulitzer and, eventually, a Nobel Prize. Her upbringing in China as the American daughter of missionaries served as inspiration for that novel and many others; by her death in 1973, Buck had written more than 100 books, including 43 novels.

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The Salt
10:40 am
Sat May 25, 2013

Meet London's Master Architects In Jell-0

Sam Bompas (left) and Harry Parr made names for themselves with spectacular gelatin creations.
Courtesy of Sam Bompas

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 11:05 am

Banana-flavored vapors? A pineapple island?

These may sound like the makings of a Roald Dahl children's book (he of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fame). But at London's Kew Gardens, visitors can now immerse themselves in such fantastic-sounding experiences like rowing down a blue-dyed boating lake to the aforementioned island, which features a 15-foot replica pineapple towering over a banana grotto.

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From Our Listeners
5:08 am
Sat May 25, 2013

Three-Minute Fiction Readings: 'Geometry' And 'Snowflake'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat May 25, 2013 3:39 pm

NPR's Bob Mondello and Susan Stamberg read excerpts of two of the best submissions for Round 11 of our short story contest. They read Snowflake by Winona Wendth of Lancaster, Mass., and Geometry by Eugenie Montague of Los Angeles. You can read their full stories below and find other stories on our Three-Minute Fiction page or on Facebook.

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Three-Minute Fiction
5:06 am
Sat May 25, 2013

Geometry

iStockphoto.com

I found your journal in my car. A slim, Moleskin, six by ten centimeters, soft cover, blue, curving upwards at the edges like an incredibly shallow bowl, or a key dish. By the concavity in its form, the book seemed to be suggesting it was capable of carrying something. Something real. Not much. A few pennies. A handful of nails. One heavy pen cradled at that depression in the center, which had dropped out of the flatness of the book from riding around in the back pocket of your jeans.

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Three-Minute Fiction
5:05 am
Sat May 25, 2013

Snowflake

iStockPhoto.com

She found the photograph early in the day, while she was cleaning for spring, pulling a winter's collection of domestic detritus out from under the bed. Ticket stubs, grimy grocery notes, coffee-stained lined paper, and dead pens. Their life: movies, food, and books. She didn't like housecleaning, but the weather had changed, and something moved her to sweep around, put things in order, clean them up.

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StoryCorps
3:55 am
Sat May 25, 2013

Prepare For Takeoff With 'Cockpit Confidential'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat May 25, 2013 11:19 am

With summer travel season just over the horizon, millions of Americans are poised to take off for family vacations. But before they reach their destinations, they'll likely endure security lines, luggage fees, tiny bags of pretzels and unexplained delays.

Patrick Smith, an airline pilot and columnist, has written a new book for curious fliers. It's called Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel: Questions, Answers and Reflections.

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Theater
3:55 am
Sat May 25, 2013

Equity At 100: More Than Just A Broadway Baby

His statue may be a Theater District landmark now, but George M. Cohan caused no small amount of trouble for Actors' Equity early in its history. The union marks its 100th anniversary this year.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 25, 2013 11:19 am

"Don't put your daughter on the stage," Noel Coward famously cautioned his imaginary Mrs. Worthington, and no wonder: Stage acting is one of the toughest professions imaginable. For all the potential triumph, there's hardly any job security — and more than a little potential for heartbreak and disappointment.

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