In 1981, avant-garde theater director Andre Gregory collaborated with his friend Wallace Shawn and French filmmaker Louis Malle on an oddball project they called My Dinner with Andre.
Now enshrined as a classic — and one of the most-lampooned films in the history of American cinema — the movie is a talky two-hander in which Gregory (or someone very like him) gassed away about his globe-trotting adventures in spiritual enlightenment, while Shawn (or someone very like him) listened in disbelief, then grew entranced.
In theory, it's romantic to watch young couples struggling. We're used to seeing 'em in movies from the '30s, '40s and onward: He makes only enough money to put beans, not steak, on the table. She stretches the meager dollars he brings home by whipping up cheerful curtains patched together from fabric scraps. They may be poor, but they have love on their side, and if they work together, a comfortable and happy life — including the babies that will eventually come — will be theirs.
A team of American researchers is on a treasure hunt for jewels — of both artistic and historic value.
This month, researchers from Denver were in Russia to document the work of Vasily Konovalenko, a former ballet set designer turned sculptor, who created scenes from Russian folk life in semiprecious stones.
In the 1980s, Konovalenko emigrated from what was then the Soviet Union in search of artistic freedom. Now, his legacy is divided between the U.S. and Russia.
Well, now a more subjective study of dreams. It comes from the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, Kentucky. The festival was founded by Actors Theatre of Louisville. And each year, that theater commissions a new work for its company of apprentice actors. This year's show, a series of three one-act plays, is called "Sleep Rock Thy Brain."
Erin Keane of member station WFPL got a front row seat.
As a Mormon missionary, Ryan McIlvain spent two years ringing strangers' doorbells, even as he experienced doubts about his own faith. McIlvain left the church in his mid-20s. His debut novel, Elders, is based on the experiences he had trying to convert people to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "Elder" is the term used for a young Mormon on his mission.
And now the latest in our series, Muses and Metaphors. We are celebrating National Poetry Month by hearing poetic tweets - poems at 140 characters or less. And we've been hearing from famous poets and not so famous.
Today, we hear from freelance writer and poet Yahia Lababidi. And we'll let him tell you more.
YAHIA LABABIDI: My name is Yahia Lababidi. I live, now, in Silver Spring, Maryland. I'm from Egypt and I'm mad for short forms. Here's the tweet.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, it took a while, but you can now see women of color on the covers of so-called mainstream women's or lifestyle magazines. So now we're asking: Should it go the other way? Will there ever be a white woman on the cover of a major black or Latina magazine? We'll talk about that in a few minutes.
Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 12:36 pm
While we go on about the Johnnys, Jimmys, Daves, Jays, Conans, and additional Jimmys of the late-night wars, where was Joe? Specifically, where was the enormous media coverage of the end of Judge Joe Brown?
Netflix has announced that the new "anthology" season of Arrested Development will arrive — all 15 episodes at once — on May 26. The show, which ran on Fox from 2003 to 2006 and won an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, will bring back its entire cast, including Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Jeffrey Tambor, Michael Cera, David Cross, and many, many more.
Rachel Kushner's brilliant lightning bolt of a novel, The Flamethrowers, straddles two revolutions: the squatter-artist colonization of Manhattan's SoHo in the 1970s, and the rise of Italy's radical left during the same period. Its young artist narrator, Reno, is wistful and brutally candid at once, with a voice like a painting — lush and evocative — but also like a scythe. "Enchantment," she says, describing her dashed hopes after a one-night stand, "means to want something and also to know, somewhere inside yourself, not an obvious place, that you aren't going to get it."
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the Oscar-winning screenwriter and Booker Prize-winning novelist, has died at her home in New York. She was 85.
NPR's Bob Mondello reported on her career for NPR's Newscast Desk:
"With the films of Merchant/Ivory, you tend to think first of period-perfect costumes and settings, but it was Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's scripts that gave them substance. She was witty, cultivated and could be wonderfully precise about class and propriety in her adaptations of, say, E.M. Forster.
The middle-income housing projects Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village sit on an 80-acre patch of Lower Manhattan. In 2006, they came to epitomize the lunatic excess of the housing boom when their 11,232 apartments sold for $5.4 billion. They were bought at a competitive auction by Tishman Speyer Properties and BlackRock Realty.
And now the latest in our series, Muses and Metaphor. We are celebrating National Poetry Month by hearing your poetic tweets. You have already started sending us poems that are 140 characters or less. Yesterday, we kicked off this series with author, performer and our series curator, Holly Bass.
Try to put him in a box and he'll find his way out. Still working at nearly 85 years old, William Klein has gone rogue in at least four different fields: abstract painting, photography, filmmaking and commercial copy writing.
Klein now lives in Paris but I caught up with him in New York City — the place where he was born, but no longer has much affinity for. He's just here to promote a new book, William Klein ABC.
When I ask him what he thinks about the city, he says:
In 1846, Edgar Allan Poe wrote a famous essay called "The Philosophy of Composition," in which he sounds like an interior decorator. I say that because in the essay, Poe insists that all good writing must strive for what he calls "unity of effect." For Poe, it was important that everything in his short stories — characters, setting, narration — add up to one big "color-me-terrified" impact.
Why do we imprison people who are addicted to illegal drugs instead of treating them for their addiction? That question is at the heart of David Sheff's new book Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America's Greatest Tragedy. It reports the latest medical and scientific research about addiction and recovery, which, Sheff says, shows that drug addicts are gravely ill, afflicted with a chronic, progressive and often terminal disease.
For decades, when broadcast television called the shots and dominated the TV landscape, the biggest event of the year was "the fall season," when networks would unveil their new shows and return with fresh episodes of old favorites. But now, because of cable and satellite TV, the fall season isn't the only game in town.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, the New York African Film Festival is getting under way. The festival is in its 20th year now, so we're going to talk about the stories being told by a new generation of African filmmakers. That's coming up.
The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
Mackenzie Bezos, the author of the novel Traps and the wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, defended the company publicly for the first time to The Times [paywall protected], calling it "great for authors and books." She herself is not published by Amazon.
"There comes a time," James Salter writes in the epigraph for his new novel, All That Is, "when you realize that everything is a dream, and only those things preserved in writing have any possibility of being real."
Tina Brown, editor of the Daily Beast and Newsweek, joins NPR's Steve Inskeep again for an occasional feature Morning Edition likes to call Word of Mouth. She talks about what she's been reading and offers recommendations.
This month, as Brown prepares for her annual Women in the World Summit in New York City, her reading suggestions address just that: the role of women in the developing world.
Despite growing up in Virginia, I never tasted grits until I was in college. I remember that first bite vividly, because it left me with the impression that grits were truly disgusting. My freshman roommate would make them with her hot pot, and this vile, gluey goo made me swear they would never pass my lips again.
Fast-forward a couple of years, when I was once again duped into trying instant grits — this time doctored with cheddar cheese and butter. Still horrible. Twice fooled, it's a wonder I ever tried them again.
Time now for a home viewing recommendation from our critic Bob Mondello. This week, Bob is intrigued by the 40th anniversary of the film that put Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek and director Terrence Malick on the map — Badlands.
The plot's based on a notorious duo and a real-life 1950s killing spree, but when boy meets girl on-screen in Badlands, they're adorable. She's 15, twirling a baton; he's older, styles himself after James Dean, and is the handsomest guy she's ever met.
Elizabeth Strout, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Olive Kitteridge, sets much of her work in Maine, where her family has lived for eight generations. But Strout herself has lived most of her adult life in New York. In her new novel, The Burgess Boys, she writes for the first time about the city she now calls home.
You might have noticed that it is April already and here at TELL ME MORE that means we are kicking off our annual tribute to National Poetry Month. For the third year in a row, we are starting our series we call Muses and Metaphor. We combine two of our passions, poetry and social media. We would like you to go on Twitter and tweet us your original poetry using fewer than 140 characters. Poet Holly Bass is going to help us once again pick out our favorites that we will air and she is with us now to tell us more.
Born in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 1984, photographer Farzana Wahidy was only a teenager when the Taliban took over the country in 1996. At age 13 she was beaten in the street for not wearing a burqa, she recalls, and she describes those years as a "very closed, very dark time." To carry a camera would have been unthinkable.