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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.