Arts

Author Interviews
10:32 am
Mon March 4, 2013

A Multimedia Journey Through 'The Persian Square'

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 11:51 am

You may be used to hearing about Iran in the news — about its strained relationship with the U.S., or its internal political unrest, or the possible nuclear threat Iran poses.

But you may not hear much about Iran's impact on America's culture — from poetry to Silicon Valley entrepreneurship.

That's why Tell Me More's senior producer, Iran Davar Ardalan, decided to write the new digital book The Persian Square.

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Movies
9:58 am
Mon March 4, 2013

'Bless Me, Ultima' Role A 'Gift From Heaven'

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 11:51 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Now we'd like to tell you about a film that took an unusually long and winding path to the big screen. The film is called "Bless Me, Ultima." It's based on the best-selling novel by Rudolfo Anaya. It's both one of the most loved, most popular and most controversial novels in the modern American canon.

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Monkey See
9:48 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Are Romantic Comedies Dead?

Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant in Bringing Up Baby.
AP

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 6:45 am

The March issue of The Atlantic features an essay from Christopher Orr called "Why Are Romantic Comedies So Bad?"* In it, Orr asserts that romantic comedies have been "lackluster for decades." Decades.

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The Two-Way
4:59 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Book News: 'New Yorker' Plagiarist's Book Pulled From Shelves

Jonah Lehrer attends a panel discussion in conjunction with the World Science Festival in 2008.
Thos Robinson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 11:17 am

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

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Author Interviews
1:07 pm
Sun March 3, 2013

Time Rules In Jamaica Kincaid's New Novel, 'See Now Then'

Jamaica Kincaid, author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, lives in Vermont.
Kenneth Noland Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 6:44 pm

Author Jamaica Kincaid is out with a new novel, her first in 10 years.

Kincaid is perhaps best known for her books At the Bottom of the River and The Autobiography of My Mother. Her new book, See Now Then, tackles some difficult themes.

The novel opens with a scene of a seemingly idyllic home life in small-town New England. But it is soon clear the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Sweet is anything but sweet.

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Movies I've Seen A Million Times
1:06 pm
Sun March 3, 2013

The Movie Alex Karpovsky Has 'Seen A Million Times'

Luis Guzman and Adam Sandler in Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch Drunk Love.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 2:35 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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Three Books...
4:17 am
Sun March 3, 2013

Hardly Heroic: 3 Flagrantly Flawed Main Characters

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 6:00 am

It feels so good to root for the golden-hearted guy. To imagine that in a crisis you'd be just like Harry Potter — noble, self-sacrificing, flaunting rules only in the service of Good. But most of us also harbor secret, selfish thoughts we're certain Mother Teresa never had. Those failings are what make the morally flawed heroes of these books ring uncomfortably true. And if we, the readers, refuse to empathize with these very human characters, does that make us nobler than they, or merely self-delusional?

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Sunday Puzzle
3:49 am
Sun March 3, 2013

Perfectly Puzzling

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 5:43 am

On-air challenge: You will be given two words starting with the letter P. Name a third word starting with P that can follow the first one and precede the second one, in each case to complete a familiar two-word phrase. For example, given "peer" and "point," you would say "pressure," as in "peer pressure" and "pressure point."

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The Salt
3:49 am
Sun March 3, 2013

Family Keeps Jewish Soulfood Alive At New York 'Appetizing' Store

Russ and Daughters, which opened on the Lower East Side in 1914, specializes in smoked fish.
Courtesy of Jen Snow, Russ and Daughters

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 12:28 pm

It's been more than 100 years since Joel Russ started peddling herring from a barrel on the streets of New York.

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Movie Interviews
3:49 am
Sun March 3, 2013

Film Hoists 'Hava Nagila' Up Onto A Chair, In Celebration Of Song And Dance

Jenny Jimenez Katahdin Productions/More Horses Productions

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 6:43 am

Whether you love it or you hate it, you know it: "Hava Nagila." Maybe you grew up listening to Harry Belafonte's rendition, or found yourself in a chair being hoisted into the air by a singing crowd at your wedding or bat mitzvah. The kitschy Jewish standard lends itself particularly well to group singalongs and celebrity covers — but where did it come from?

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Author Interviews
3:49 am
Sun March 3, 2013

Secretly Working To Win The War In 'Atomic City'

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 6:48 am

Before the fight to win women equal footing in the workplace, there was the fight against Hitler and Hirohito. In the depths of World War II, everyone in America had to pitch in, men and women alike. And in 1943 the government offered war jobs, lots of them, in a town called Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Where is it on a map? What do they do there? What will I do there? The government didn't give any answers to those questions — and still the recruits, many of them young women, streamed in.

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Movies I've Seen A Million Times
3:21 pm
Sat March 2, 2013

The Movie David Duchovny Has 'Seen A Million Times'

Robert Duvall and Marlon Brando in The Godfather.
Mondadori Getty Images

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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Author Interviews
3:21 pm
Sat March 2, 2013

For Ireland's First Female President, 'Everybody Matters'

Mary Robinson was Ireland's first female president. A former United Nations High Commissioner and activist lawyer, she has advocated for human rights around the world.
Jurgen Frank Jurgen Frank

For seven years, Mary Robinson served as the first female president of Ireland. Yet, she also has a long record of service as a human rights advocate.

After leaving office in 1997, she was appointed as the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations. She now runs The Mary Robinson Foundation — Climate Justice. This week, she has a new book out called Everybody Matters: My Life Giving Voice.

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Arts & Life
6:11 am
Sat March 2, 2013

50 Kipling Poems Unearthed During Home Renovation

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 9:04 am

Host Scott Simon talks with scholar Thomas Pinney, who recently stumbled upon a trove of previously unpublished Rudyard Kipling poems.

Author Interviews
4:05 am
Sat March 2, 2013

'Born On A Mountaintop' Or Not, Davy Crockett's Legend Lives On

Davy Crockett represented Tennessee for three terms in Congress before moving to Texas and fighting in the Battle of the Alamo.
AP

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 9:04 am

There's a new book about an American hero that's not just about the man behind the myth, but about the myth behind that myth.

Davy Crockett really was from Tennessee, really was a skilled frontiersman and really killed American Indians in battle. (When he became a congressman, however, he opposed President Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Act.) And then, after losing a re-election campaign, Crockett really lit out for Texas and eventually died at the Battle of the Alamo — more or less

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Theater
4:05 am
Sat March 2, 2013

'Don't Underestimate The Guts' Of This Modern Leading Lady

Laura Osnes appears in the title role of a new Broadway production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. Though her career began unconventionally, she's already had considerably conventional success.
Carol Rosegg

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 9:04 am

This weekend, a new adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein television classic Cinderella opens on Broadway. It stars Laura Osnes, the ingenue of the moment. But Osnes' career path has had an unusual trajectory.

Six years ago, the then-21-year-old was newly wed and fresh out of Minnesota. She landed on Broadway in the lead role of Sandy in a revival of Grease. It's not surprising that that show, about teenagers, would cast unknowns in the leads, but how she and her co-star, Max Crumm, got there was unconventional, to say the least.

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Author Interviews
4:05 am
Sat March 2, 2013

A 'Negative' Message: Don't Just Hope, Work

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 12:50 pm

A few names come to mind when you say Hoosier basketball: Larry Bird, Gene Hackman, who was in a movie — and Bob Knight, about whom they make movies. Bob Knight coached three Indiana University teams to three NCAA championship titles and — a record of which he's equally proud — almost all of his players graduated. He left Indiana after a controversy involving his treatment of players, went on to coach at Texas Tech, and is now retired from coaching and a featured commentator for ESPN's college basketball coverage.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
3:27 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Sportscaster Jon Miller Plays Not My Job

Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 10:07 am

Jon Miller is a Hall of Fame broadcaster who did the play-by-play on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball for 20 years. He is a former radio and television announcer for the Baltimore Orioles and has been the voice of the San Francisco Giants since 1997.

We've invited Miller to play a game called "You gonna eat that?" Three questions based on science writer Mary Roach's new book, Gulp: Adventures in the Alimentary Canal.

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Movies
1:32 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Fairy Tales For Grown-Ups? More Are On The Way

Rachel Weisz plays the witch Evanora in director Sam Raimi's upcoming Oz: The Great and Powerful. The film is one of nine upcoming Oz adaptations and tackles more frightening and adult themes than those that came before it.
Walt Disney Pictures

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 6:01 pm

Adaptations of fairy tales are everywhere you look. The TV show Once Upon a Time and the police procedural Grimm are in their second seasons. Hansel and his sister Gretel are at the cineplex hunting witches with machine guns. Jack, of beanstalk fame, starts slaying giants today. And those aren't the only bedtime stories that have been redesigned to keep 20-somethings up at night.

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Ask Me Another
8:06 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Keli Goff: The One About Law And Order

Keli Goff.
Robert Calderone

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 8:03 am

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TED Radio Hour
8:06 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Are We All A Little Psychopathic?

"Being not normal is the new normal." — Jon Ronson
James Duncan Davidson/TED

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 9:50 am

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Unquiet Mind.

About Jon Ronson's Talk

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TED Radio Hour
8:06 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Where Do Mental Illness And Creativity Meet?

"Everyone is just a little bit mad. How much depends on where you fall in the spectrum. How much depends on how lucky you are." — Joshua Walters
James Duncan Davidson/TED

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 7:34 am

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Unquiet Mind.

About Joshua Walters' TED Talk

Comedian Joshua Walters, who's bipolar, walks the line between mental illness and mental "skillness." He asks: What's the right balance between medicating craziness away, and riding the manic edge of creativity and drive?

About Joshua Walters

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NPR Story
8:04 am
Fri March 1, 2013

The Unquiet Mind

"Being not normal is the new normal." — Jon Ronson
TED

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 12:21 pm

We've all had that moment where you might see or hear something and you wonder: am I going crazy? In this hour, TED speakers share their experiences straddling that line between madness and sanity — and question if we're all in the gray area between the two.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Fine Art
12:38 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Vermeer's 'Woman In Blue' Brings Her Mystery, Allure To L.A.

The Getty Museum is the last€” and only U.S. stop on the world tour of Woman in Blue Reading a Letter.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. On loan from the City of Amsterdam (A. van der Hoop Bequest) Courtesy of the J. Paul Getty Trust

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 3:41 am

Johannes Vermeer's Girl With a Pearl Earring is easy to fall in love with — she's young, dewy, beautiful (Scarlett Johansson played her in the 2003 movie about the painting), and she looks right at you. But the 17th-century Dutch master's Woman in Blue Reading a Letter is different — her face is shadowed and she stands in profile, totally absorbed in her letter.

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Movie Reviews
3:13 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

'Jack The Giant Slayer': A Fun, Fractured Fairy Tale

Nicholas Hoult plays the young Jack, who must wage battle against an ancient race of giants in Jack the Giant Slayer.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Great deeds start out as current events, move on to history, and eventually, with some craft and embellishment, become folklore and legend. This process is central to the structure of Bryan Singer's Jack the Giant Slayer, which merges elements of the familiar folktale of "Jack and the Beanstalk" with the less ubiquitous "Jack the Giant Killer." It sets the story as a kind of midpoint between one "true" story that has become a legend for Jack, just as the events of Jack's "true" story have supposedly passed into the realm of a simple folk story.

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Movie Reviews
3:12 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Adolescent Angst Turns Deadly In 'Stoker'

Evelyn and India Stoker (Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska) slowly descend into icy paranoia after their family patriarch dies through suspicious circumstances in the horror thriller Stoker.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

It's a mark of a great filmmaker when a movie is felt first and understood later, allowing audiences to intuit their way through a fog of mystery and sensuality before finally getting a clear view of the landscape. Best known for an operatic trio of revenge thrillers — the second, Oldboy, won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2004 and a fervent cult following — South Korean genre maestro Park Chan-wook expresses florid emotion in cool, impeccable, gothic language.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

'Hava Nagila: The Movie' Pays Homage To Unlikely Jewish Touchstone

Young newlyweds are serenaded with the strains of "Hava Nagila." The unlikely origins of the popular Jewish standard are explored in Roberta Grossman's documentary feature Hava Nagila: The Movie.
International Film Circuit

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 6:47 am

I grew up on "Hava Nagila," and I'll admit it's not the catchiest of tunes. The ingenuous Hebrew lyrics ("Come! Let us rejoice and be happy!") don't wear well in our age of knowing irony and ennui.

Hip young Israelis wince at the very mention of the song, and for many Diaspora Jews, a few bars of the tune are all it takes to recall that excruciating moment late in a fancy wedding or bar mitzvah, when the band invites all remaining guests (tipsy uncles included) to kick up their heels — and then go home already.

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Movies
3:03 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Soviet Ghosts Resurface In Soggy 'Phantom'

Grizzled Soviet submarine captain Demi (Ed Harris) fights crew subversion and personal pain in a losing Cold War struggle against American opponents.
RCR Distribution

Explosions rattle the crew. The air is turning fetid. And the captain has ordered a descent toward "crush depth." Yet everything is on course in Phantom, the newest model of the old submarine-from-hell picture.

But the predictability of writer-director Todd Robinson's film is, well, predictable. There are only so many things that can happen in the close quarters of an imperiled sub. What Robinson purports to do is show those familiar undersea events from a different vantage point. All the characters in Phantom serve in the Soviet navy of the 1960s.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

'Leviathan': Of Fish And Men, Without Chats

The dingy commercial fishing boats that dot the waters off the Atlantic coast of the U.S. and Canada have lives all their own in the new documentary Leviathan.
The Cinema Guild

Undersea things — iridescent creatures, mossy rocks, silky-slimy plants — are just weird. They're fascinating by their very nature, often barely resembling anything we have on land. Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel's half doc, half art project Leviathan capitalizes on that strangeness while linking it to the more prosaic world of commercial fishermen plying their trade off the coast of New Bedford, Mass.

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NPR's Backseat Book Club
3:01 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

March Kids' Book Club Pick: 'The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz'

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 6:50 am

Our next book club adventure takes us on a journey that is familiar to people across generations: We will be taking a trip down the yellow brick road with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, first published in 1900. It is one of the most beloved stories in popular American culture, but over the decades, the book has taken a back seat to the wildly successful Wizard of Oz film.

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