When my nieces were small, I took them on a day trip to the Museum of the Moving Image on London's South Bank. We had fun touring a puckishly curated journey through the history of cinema, until my younger niece flushed the toilet in the noir-inflected bathroom — and set off the famous shrieking strings that amp up the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, creating the most terrifying moment in American cinema.
This Thanksgiving, as hearty aromas fill the house, take a moment to savor a different kind of nourishment — poetry about food.
The Hungry Ear, a new collection, celebrates the pleasures and the sorrows of food with poems from Pablo Neruda, Sylvia Plath and dozens more. Poet Kevin Young cooked up — or edited — this readable feast. He tells NPR's Renee Montagne that, much like the best meals, the best poems are made from scratch.
Full disclosure: The first thing I said when I saw that Rob Delaney would be talking to NPR's Audie Cornish on today's All Things Considered was that I was curious to see whether he had ever said anything on Twitter — where he has almost 670,000 followers (including me) as of this writing — that they thought they could read on the radio. It's an exaggeration. But not by that much.
If you look up the name Lyle Talbot on IMDb, you'll find dozens of films and television shows he appeared in, starting with the 1931 short The Nightingale and ending with roles on Newhart and Who's the Boss. He made a movie with Bogart before Bogart was a star. He worked with child star Shirley Temple, was featured in the Ed Wood cult classics Plan 9 from Outer Space and Glen or Glenda?, and had a recurring role on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet as Ozzie's friend and neighbor Joe Randolph.
Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 10:03 am
A devastating crime on a Native American reservation opens up questions about law, justice, and family in Louise Erdrich's latest novel, The Round House. It's the winner of this year's National Book Award for fiction. Erdrich discusses the book with guest host Celeste Headlee. Advisory: This conversation may not be comfortable for all listeners.
He may not have a Ninja Turtle named after him, but Tiziano Vecellio of Venice — Titian, to English speakers — has a claim to being the most enduringly influential painter of the Renaissance, even more than his Roman contemporaries Michelangelo and Raphael. Something about him drives his fans to excess. Peter Paul Rubens painted nearly two-dozen copies of Titian's work; Anthony van Dyck bought 19 Titians for his own collection. Velazquez and Rembrandt worshipped him.
Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 10:53 am
Three figures, each more monster than man, cast long shadows over the 19th century gothic novel: a vampiric count, seeking new hunting grounds; a wanderer, cornered after a lifetime spent avoiding damnation; and a sinister, drug-addicted uncle, intent upon securing a wealthy estate even if it means murdering a niece to do so. These three works — Charles Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer, Uncle Silas by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu and Bram Stoker's Dracula — represent the cornerstones of the Anglo-Irish gothic tradition.
Like many of us who consider ourselves food adventurers most of the year, when it comes to Thanksgiving, we just want the turkey and mashed potatoes we grew up with. Well, OK, maybe just a teensy bit better than what we grew up with, but along the same lines.
Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 5:30 am
Despite my outward 30-something appearance, deep inside my chest beats the heart of an old Jewish grandmother. I want to make my friends sweaters when it's getting cold, or throw them parades when they've mastered some feat. But mostly, I want to feed them. Especially when they need a little help.
Over the past few years, I've brought dozens of meals to friends who are nursing new babies or broken bones. And I've learned a few things about how to help when it comes to feeding people in need — specifically, that an extra meal or two for the freezer can be the best gift of all.
On June 23, 1940, the day after France signed the armistice that marked the country's official capitulation and partial occupation, Adolf Hitler toured Paris. In black-and-white footage taken on the day that opens the earnest and unconventional French docudrama La Rafle, the visiting Nazi leaders and their military escorts are more or less sightseeing.
Released during Ronald Reagan's 1984 re-election campaign, the original Red Dawn was denounced as right-wing propaganda. But while director and co-writer John Milius' fantasy of Colorado high-school students who battle Soviet and Cuban invaders was anti-communist, it was principally pro-gun and pro-youth. In spirit, it was closer to Frank Capra than to Leni Riefenstahl.
Julie Klausner's podcast, How Was Your Week?, has been featured on all manner of lists of the best shows of its kind — in Rolling Stone, in GQ, and in The New York Times. Comedy podcasting is a field growing so fast that, as NPR's Audie Cornish mentions in talking to Klausner on today's All Things Considered, comedian Colin Quinn recently commented that the only thing comedians talk about anymore is doing each other's podcasts.
When your dad owns a zoo in India, as Pi's dad does, it's perhaps natural to regard animals as your buddies. Cool if you're talking goats and turtles; less cool if the animal you decide you want to pet is a Bengal tiger.
"He's an animal, not a playmate," his terrified father shouts. "Animals have souls," the boy replies gently. "I have seen it in their eyes."
At first glance, a novel in which the main character eats herself to death may not seem like the most felicitous pick for Thanksgiving week; but The Middlesteins turns out to be a tough but affecting story about family members putting up with each other, even in their most unlovely, chewing-with-their-mouths-open life moments. If you have a Thanksgiving family reunion looming before you that doesn't exactly promise to be a Norman Rockwell painting, The Middlesteins may just be the perfect literary corrective to overindulgence in high-calorie holiday expectations.
Grace Coddington grew up on what she calls "an island off an island," far from the fashion industry. Her new memoir, Grace, chronicles her journey from a sleepy town on the coast of Wales to her current job as the creative director of Vogue magazine.
Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 2:03 pm
At Thanksgiving, many of us will dig into the pointy tip of our first piece of pumpkin pie for the season. However, this Thursday, that nostalgic moment might feel a little less special.
This year, the word "pumpkin" seems to be creeping its way into hundreds of foods, drinks, and other products. As The Huffington Postnoted recently, you can now find pumpkin-inspired beers, teas, marshmallows, soy milk, Pop-Tarts, and Pringles.
In 2012, several high-profile comics creators added landmark works to their already impressive legacies. With Building Stories, Chris Ware offered 14 volumes of comics, each with its own meticulous, anagrammatic take on despair, and stuffed them into a box.
You would think, wouldn't you, that the man who created such heartrendingly sympathetic children as Oliver Twist, Pip, Tiny Tim and poor Little Nell would be a stupendous father. Well, the Charles Dickens who emerges from Robert Gottlieb's Great Expectations, a compulsively readable if occasionally repetitive account of what happened to the great writer's brood of seven sons and three daughters, is not so wonderful.
The rumors that had been around for a couple of years have finally been confirmed: At long last, there's a film in the works about the turbulent life of Nina Simone, otherwise known as the "High Priestess of Soul."
Simone was famous from the 1950s through the '70s for her music and her civil rights activism. And although she died in 2003, her voice remains popular on TV, movie soundtracks and commercials.
Actor Bradley Cooper became famous for a bachelor party gone wrong in the hit comedy The Hangover. From that role, Cooper went on to People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive." Now there's talk of Oscar buzzing around his new movie Silver Linings Playbook, directed by David O. Russell.
In the film, Cooper plays Pat Solatano, just out of a psychiatric facility and struggling with bipolar disorder. Pat moves back home, where his parents try to manage his moods.
In the introduction to his new book, Sam Sifton lays it out: "Thanksgiving is not easy." Sifton knows whereof he speaks; he's now the national editor of The New York Times, but before he took on that solemn responsibility, he was the newspaper's restaurant critic and a food columnist for its Sunday Magazine.
The centerpiece of the film Life of Pi is a boy adrift on a lifeboat with a tiger in the middle of the ocean. That's easy enough for Yann Martel to describe in his novel — but hard to make happen on the set of a movie. As it happens, Pi is in theaters with another movie based on an "unfilmable" novel: Cloud Atlas, with six different plots in six different time periods.
Some books are challenging to film because they're challenging to read. Take Ulysses, James Joyce's stream-of-consciousness masterpiece, published in 1922.
For those of you hosting a Thanksgiving meal, Monday signals the official start of crunch time. If you're cooking-challenged, or simply short on time, trying to pull together a traditional holiday meal for family and guests can be an anxiety-inducing experience.
But don't fret, says Katie Workman, author of The Mom 100 Cookbook. There's still time to impress everyone and salvage your sanity — starting with some supermarket shortcuts.
Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 11:55 am
We've been hearing a lot recently about how algorithms can predict just about anything. They find long-lost friends on Facebook and guess which books we'll buy next on Amazon. Algorithms hit the big time this month, when New York Times blogger Nate Silver used mathematical models and statistics to correctly forecast the outcome of every state in the presidential election.
You might think that actor Irrfan Khan — the co-star of the special effects-filled film Life of Pi -- performed his scenes by himself, or with inanimate objects that would later be transformed via CGI. Not so: As the older Pi in Ang Lee's new adaptation of the best-selling novel, Khan went back to the basics.
He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he thinks of scenes as being like duets: "You strike a note, and somebody responds, and then you respond accordingly," Khan says.
What did Jesus look like? The many different depictions of Christ tell a story about race and religion in America. Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey explore that history in their new book, The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America. The book traces how different races and ethnic groups claimed Christ as their own — and how depictions of Jesus have both inspired civil rights crusades, and been used to justify the violence of white supremacists.
With Thanksgiving a few days away, you have to save as much stomach room as you can. That means, of course, breathing your food. To that end: Le Whif Breathable Chocolate. They're like little plastic chocolate cigarettes, filled with some kind of chocolate powder.