Arts

Krulwich Wonders...
4:06 am
Sat January 5, 2013

A Very, Very, Very Delicate Balance

Stone balance art by Gravity Glue.
Courtesy of Gravity Glue

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 10:50 am

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Author Interviews
3:29 am
Sat January 5, 2013

'Death Of Bees' Captures A Grim, Gory Coming-Of-Age

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 7:59 am

The Death of Bees is a story about two young girls living in a Glasgow, Scotland, housing project. And if you believe the first sentences of a novel are often the most difficult to write, try this beginning paragraph:

"Today is Christmas Eve. Today is my birthday. Today I am fifteen. Today I buried my parents in the backyard.

"Neither of them were beloved."

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Monkey See
1:14 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Giving Horror A Bad Name: 5 Bloody Good Alternatives To 'Texas Chainsaw 3D'

It gets harder every year to identify as a horror movie fan and still hold your head up in polite company. A big part of the problem is the persistence of rabid slasher films like Texas Chainsaw 3D, opening today in theaters nationwide. Now, I haven't seen Texas Chainsaw 3D, and it would be a disservice, naturally, to pre-judge the film.

And yet somehow I feel totally comfortable concluding that it's terrible.

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Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
10:03 am
Fri January 4, 2013

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction, Week Of January 3, 2013

Yellow Birds book cover detail

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 2:35 pm

At No. 9, Kevin Powers' The Yellow Birds details the friendship between two Iraq War vets.

The Salt
9:50 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Don't Waste That Christmas Tree: Turn It Into Spruce Beer

You can keep the Christmas smell going all year long. Or, at least until you finish your spruce beer.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 10:40 am

The holidays are finally wrapping up. So after you repack the twinkly lights, and the tinsel goes into the trash, what should you do with that once beautiful spruce standing in your living room? Why not drink it?

Well, not exactly as is. The needles, shoots, light-green tips and inner bark of the popular conifer have been used for centuries to brew forest-scented tea, soft drinks and beer. And it seems that fresh evergreen flavor may be making a comeback.

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Arts & Life
9:39 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Creating Peace This Year, Easier Said Than Done?

Tell Me More asked listeners how they are hoping to bring peace into their lives in 2013. From cutting up credit cards to cleaning up friendships, life coach Gail Blanke says even small changes add up. Guest host Celeste Headlee asks Blanke for some tips on creating a peaceful year.

Author Interviews
9:33 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Frank Calabrese Jr. On Opening His 'Family Secrets'

Defendants in the "Operation Family Secrets" trial included Frank Calabrese Sr. (clockwise from left), Joey Lombardo, Anthony Doyle, Paul Shiro and James Marcello. The men are pictured during an Aug. 15, 2007, court hearing in Chicago.
Verna Sadock AP

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 10:04 am

This interview was originally broadcast on March 14, 2011. Frank Calabrese's father, the Chicago mobster Frank Calabrese Sr., died on Christmas Day.

When Frank Calabrese Jr. was a teenager, his father came home one night and took him into the bathroom for a chat.

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Monkey See
7:58 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: In Which We Make New Resolutions And Face Old Ones

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

This week's podcast is a bit more contemplative than most, as we go back to the New Year's resolutions we made last time it rolled around to January (we also made some in 2011!) and consider how we did.

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Monkey See
6:56 am
Fri January 4, 2013

In NFL Football, As In Hollywood, Does Anybody Know Anything?

Head coach Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on during a game against the Washington Redskins on Dec. 23, 2012 in Philadelphia.
Alex Trautwig Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 11:30 am

Baseball: The San Francisco Giants, in winning the 2012 World Series, participated in 16 playoff games — and they'd have had more, had they not swept Detroit 4-0 in the World Series itself.

Football: The San Francisco 49ers played 16 games in their entire regular season. Three more wins would make them Super Bowl champions.

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Author Interviews
2:04 am
Fri January 4, 2013

The 'Life And Liberation' Of A Black Female Metal Fan

The singer Skin of Skunk Anansie performs at Brixton Academy in London last month. She wrote the foreword to Laina Dawes' What Are You Doing Here?: A Black Woman's Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal.
Simone Joyner Redferns via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 8:15 am

Music writer Laina Dawes is a die-hard Judas Priest fan. She's all about the band's loud and fast guitars, the piercing vocals — and she loves to see the group perform live.

Now, a fact that shouldn't matter: Dawes is a black woman. This, she says, can make things uncomfortable on the metal scene. She says she's been verbally harassed and told she's not welcome.

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Movies
3:19 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

E-Vote Hiccups Delay Oscar Balloting

Accountants from PricewaterhouseCoopers prepare ballots for last year's Oscars mailing. Glitches in a new online voting system have prompted organizers to push back this year's balloting deadline.
Alberto E. Rodriguez Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 4:10 pm

Voting for this year's Oscar nominations was supposed to have closed today — but it's been bumped a day, in the wake of complaints about the new online voting system put in place by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Hollywood Reporter analyst Scott Feinberg tells NPR's Audie Cornish that the system was supposed to make life easier for academy members.

"Going to e-voting would allow voters to vote from anywhere in the world, if they're on vacation or whatever during the holidays, and just make the process itself more streamlined and efficient."

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Checking In Again With The '7 Up' Kids

Peter Davies, age 56, and his Good Intentions bandmates Gabi (left) and Francesco Roskel appear in the latest installment of the Up documentary series, inspired by the Jesuit saying, "Give me the child until he is 7 and I will show you the man."
Harriet Gill First Run Features

The participants in 56 Up, the eighth installment in a series that began in 1964, want to talk mostly about two things: family and the documentary itself.

The project, which checks in periodically with 14 kids who were once deemed representative British 7-year-olds, is "a complete fraud," says John, and based on assumptions that "were outmoded even in 1964."

And yet here they are again: the working class and the posh, the aimless and the motivated, the emigrants and the stay-at-homes, most of them now grandparents.

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Television
11:58 am
Thu January 3, 2013

'Downton' Returns With Aristocratic Class And Clash

Social changes, romantic intrigues and financial crises grip the English country estate in the third season of Downton Abbey, starting Sunday on PBS. Shirley MacLaine joins the cast as Cora's wealthy American mother, Martha Levinson.
Nick Briggs Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 for Masterpiece

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 12:16 pm

Downton Abbey, the drama series about the residents and servants at a grand estate in early 20th-century England, has done for PBS what the commercial broadcast networks couldn't achieve last year. It generated a hit show — one with an audience that increased over its run and left fans hungry for more. And that's a lot of hunger because when the second season was televised here in the states, it averaged 7 million viewers, more than most TV shows on any network, cable or broadcast.

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Music Interviews
9:54 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Ozomatli Turns To A New Cool: Kids' Music

Band members (from left) Justin Poree, Ulises Bella, Jiro Yamaguchi, Raul Pacheco, Asdru Sierra and Wil-Dog Abers.
Christian Lantry

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 10:05 am

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Ask Me Another VIPs: Very Important Puzzlers
8:03 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Dr. Ruth: Let's Talk About Sex

Dr. Ruth Westheimer.
Marianne Rafter

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Best Books Of 2012
5:03 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Well-Versed: Five Poets With Punch

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 7:58 am

Looking over this past year, it may help to think of this list less as a "best of" than a shoutout to five poets whose work you may know — or should if you don't. All these recent books seem to me deeply personal, but not simply so — they manage to make metaphor from what happened, which is after all one of the poet's chief jobs. Here are five books of transformation, channeling love, loss, history and language.

Television
1:24 am
Thu January 3, 2013

'Downton Abbey' Cast: It's More Fun Downstairs

Hugh Bonneville (left) stars as Lord Grantham and Jim Carter as Mr. Carson, the formidable butler of Downton Abbey.
Joss Barratt Carnival Films

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 2:41 pm

With the third season of the sumptuously upholstered period drama Downton Abbey coming to PBS Masterpiece Classic on Jan. 6, Morning Edition's David Greene sat down with a half-dozen members of the cast to talk about what's in store.

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Wisdom Watch
10:00 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Dyn-O-Mite! Comedian Jimmie Walker Talks Showbiz

Comedian Jimmie Walker is best known for his Good Times sitcom character J.J. Evans. But there's more to Walker than just laughs. For Tell Me More's Wisdom Watch series, host Michel Martin talks with Walker about his long career in showbiz, detailed in his memoir, Dyn-O-Mite: Good Times, Bad Times, Our Times.

Movie Interviews
9:48 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Quentin Tarantino, 'Unchained' And Unruly

Writer-director Quentin Tarantino, seen here at a 2009 screening of Inglourious Basterds, tells Terry Gross that the only film violence that truly disturbs him involves actual harm to animals.
Evan Agostini AP

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 10:46 am

Quentin Tarantino's film Django Unchained is a spaghetti western-inspired revenge film set in the antebellum South; it's about a former slave who teams up with a bounty hunter to target the plantation owner who owns his wife.

The cinematic violence that has come to characterize Tarantino's work as a screenwriter and director — from Reservoir Dogs at the start of his career in 1992 to 2009's Inglourious Basterds -- is front and center again in Django. And he's making no apologies.

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Monkey See
8:55 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Bonus Q&A Session!

NPR

After our recent live show, we hung around and took a few questions about the show, our own tastes, what it's like to work in a room where concerts happen, and more.

Glen will explore the question of voice similarity between himself and Trey, Trey and I will speak about our impressions of one of the year's big epics, and Glen will hear a public plea for a repeat of a popular series of tweets. And once again, we prove that we are probably the only podcast you listen to where "German art song" is a running joke.

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Television
8:27 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Who's Gay On TV? Dads, Journalists, Investigators And Footmen

Partners Bryan (Andrew Rannells) and David (Justin Bartha) decide to use a surrogate to expand their family in The New Normal.
Trae Patton AP

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 6:24 pm

The pop culture gay flavor of the minute? White gay dads.

"We're having a baby, Bri!" croons one of the leads on NBC's The New Normal. "This is our family. You, me and that kid forever."

It's a mini-boomlet, says real-life white gay dad and sociology professor Joshua Gamson. Not too long ago, he says, pop culture mainly defined gay men as promiscuous and deviant, rather than monogamous and devoted to their families.

"It does seem like a strong counter-stereotype of how gay men have been portrayed over the past, whatever, 50 years," he says.

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Kitchen Window
7:13 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Tame Wild Game In The Kitchen

Peter Ogburn for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 12:32 pm

Growing up in the South, I always felt out of place because we never went hunting. Most of my friends went. All of my extended family went. But in my family, my father was more of a fisherman than a hunter.

I was in the fifth grade when one of my dad's co-workers showed up at our house with a venison roast. I pounced at the opportunity to freak my sister out by eating Bambi. As I recall, my mother made a delicious pot roast in the slow cooker and served it with rice and gravy. I had seconds, maybe thirds, while my sister cried and ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed January 2, 2013

New History Puts Cartographers' Art 'On The Map'

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 10:13 am

The fight for mapping supremacy between two tech giants blew up this fall when Apple, in revising its mobile operating system, dumped the Google Maps app overboard. To Google's delight, no doubt, Apple's own maps app wobbled badly out of the gate, and amid a consumer outcry, a public apology and quiet firings, all of us caught a glimpse of just how high the stakes are in today's mapping game.

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Book Reviews
2:24 pm
Tue January 1, 2013

A Story Of Slavery, Loss And Hope In 1850s Ohio

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 12:19 pm

In the aftermath of the Compromise of 1850, a controversial bill that included the Fugitive Slave Act, the journey to freedom became increasingly difficult for enslaved people. In Tracy Chevalier's newest novel, Ohio and its intricate network of Underground Railroad activity provides a rich background for this period.

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Monkey See
2:24 pm
Tue January 1, 2013

Home Video Review: 'Looper'

Joe (Bruce Willis) fights a younger version of himself in Looper.
Alan Markfield Sony Pictures

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 12:19 pm

Welcome to a future when time travel has been outlawed, meaning only outlaws like Joe, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, travel through time. Joe's an assassin for a crime syndicate that sends folks it wants erased back from 30 years hence.

Gordon-Levitt's been made up to look like a young Bruce Willis, and when Willis shows up as one of the folks he's supposed to kill — well, that's called closing the loop — and there you have director Rian Johnson's nifty premise.

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Monkey See
7:55 am
Tue January 1, 2013

2012 In Review: 50 Wonderful Things From The Year In Pop Culture

Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) in the pivotal Mad Men episode, "The Other Woman."
AMC

Originally published on Tue January 1, 2013 8:08 am

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The Salt
7:03 am
Tue January 1, 2013

Drinks, Diets And Meat: Hits Of 2012, Predictions For 2013

Some of The Salt's most popular posts of 2012 included coffee, pink slime and Downton Abbey.
Daniel Acker/Landov; Carnival Film & Television Limited 2011/Masterpiece; Adam Cole/NPR; Robyn Mackenzie/iStockphoto.com; Lass/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 6:19 am

As the new year begins, we here at The Salt are looking back at the food topics that got you talking in 2012, and pondering which conversations will continue in 2013. (And, like many of you, we're also firmly swearing off the holiday cookies.) So, instead, feast your eyes on this roundup of our top stories from the past 12 months:

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Southword
1:17 am
Tue January 1, 2013

Coming Home — And Out — In The South

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, based in Washington, D.C.
Dave Anderson Oxford American magazine

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 3:17 pm

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Monkey See
2:12 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

Bob Mondello's Best Movies Of 2012

Cousin Ben (Jason Schwartzman), Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) show that nothing can stand in the way of young love in Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom.
Niko Tavernise Focus Features

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 10:41 am

A lot of movie box-office records fell in 2012. The comic-book blockbuster The Avengers had the biggest opening weekend in Hollywood history. Skyfall will be the first James Bond film to top $1 billion worldwide. And the box-office year as a whole is easily the movie industry's biggest ever. But what about quality? Perhaps surprisingly, the news is good there, too.

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Arts & Life
10:04 am
Mon December 31, 2012

Why Black Men Tend To Be Fashion Kings

Tell Me More intern Azmi Abusam
Amy Ta NPR

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 3:38 pm

For many, style is much deeper than articles of clothing; it's a statement of identity. Black men have a unique relationship with fashion, one that can be traced all the way back to the 17th and 18th centuries.

Monica L. Miller, the author of Slaves to Fashion: Black Dandyism and the Styling of Black Diasporic Identity, spoke with Tell Me More's Michel Martin about the past, present and future of black men's fashion.

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