Arts

Author Interviews
4:11 am
Sat September 29, 2012

'Listening In' To JFK's Secret White House Recordings

Listening In, a new book and CD set, includes more than 260 hours of transcribed conversations and 2.5 hours of audio from inside the Kennedy White House.
Evening Standard Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 5:41 pm

In the spring of 1963, as the U.S. was mired in conflicts with Vietnam and Cuba and the Soviet Union, President John F. Kennedy called his old friend David Hackett to express his frustration at the U.S. men's ice hockey team — and their miserable record overseas.

JFK: Dave, I noticed that in the paper this morning that the Swedish team beat the American hockey team 17-2.
Hackett: Yeah, I saw that.
JFK: Christ! Who are we sending over there? Girls?

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Monkey See
4:07 am
Sat September 29, 2012

Damian Lewis On The Conflicts And Complexities Of 'Homeland'

Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody in Showtime's Homeland.
Bob Leverone Showtime

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 1:17 pm

There weren't a whole lot of upset winners at last Sunday's Emmy Awards, but one of the few was Homeland star Damian Lewis, who beat out, among others, Mad Men's Jon Hamm and three-time winner Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad to take home the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Lewis' co-star, Claire Danes, won for her lead performance as well, and the show ended a four-year Mad Men streak when it was named Outstanding Drama Series.

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Performing Arts
2:50 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Ohio Arts Groups Merge To Solve Their Budget Woes

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 5:24 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Symphony orchestras have seen a lot of labor disputes recently due to financial troubles. Musicians are on strike in Chicago. In Atlanta, they've been locked out. Contracts for both the Minneapolis Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra expire Sunday with no immediate sign of settlements. Then there's the Dayton Philharmonic. As Emily McCord of member station WYSO reports, it seems to have solved its budget woes by merging with the city's opera and ballet.

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NewsPoet: Writing The Day In Verse
2:50 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

NewsPoet: Philip Schultz Writes The Day In Verse

Philip Schultz visits NPR headquarters in Washington on Monday.
Ryan Smith NPR

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 5:24 pm

Today at All Things Considered, we continue a project we're calling NewsPoet. Each month, we bring in a poet to spend time in the newsroom — and at the end of the day, to compose a poem reflecting on the day's stories.

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Monkey See
9:44 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: The State Of Television And The Tweed Set

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

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Books
8:54 am
Fri September 28, 2012

This Week's 5 Must-Read Stories From NPR Books

Guiseppe Cacace AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 9:42 am

1. Foodie Fervor

If there's one thing that trumps a great read for me, it's a great meal.

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Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
7:03 am
Fri September 28, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction, Week Of September 27, 2012

Ken Follett continues his epic, 20th century series with Winter of the World. It debuts at No. 1.

Books
2:49 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Rowling Draws On Personal Experience In 'Vacancy'

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 6:29 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

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Books
1:30 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Put Down Your E-Reader: This Book's Better In Print

"For two days and nights, Odysseus was alone in the wild water. The sea was so rough that he couldn't see beyond the nearest wave. Over and over again, he thought he was going to die."
Neil Packer Candlewick Press

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 9:28 am

Most people who read a lot have gotten used to reading on a screen, whether it's a laptop, a tablet or an e-reader. Some say they prefer it to the experience of reading a heavy, awkward print version of the book. But every now and then, a book comes along that just seems to insist on being physical — something about it simply can't be transferred to the screen.

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The Two-Way
3:29 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Renoir Found At Flea Market May Be Real, But It's Also Stolen

This weekend's auction of a flea-market find that turned out to be a work by French Impressionist master Pierre-Auguste Renoir has been put on hold, after evidence turned up the painting had been pilfered from a Baltimore museum decades ago.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 3:42 pm

Turns out there's a bigger story behind the Renoir painting purchased for $7 a couple of years ago at a West Virginia flea market — a mystery, and an alleged theft, in fact.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

'Solomon Kane,' Hellbound And Down In Old England

William Crowthorn (Pete Postlethwaite) and his Puritan family earn the respect of master warrior Solomon Kane (James Purefoy), the brooding antihero of a bleak comic-book adaptation.
RADiUS-TWC

Published mainly in the pulp magazine Weird Tales — also the preferred outlet for his most famous creation, Conan the Barbarian — the serial adventures of Robert E. Howard's Solomon Kane character provided an early model for the "sword and sorcery" subgenre, that crude yet irresistible fusion of the superpowerful and the supernatural.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

'Hotel Transylvania': Vampire Gags, Minus The Bite

Murray the Mummy (Cee-Lo Green), The Invisible Man (David Spade), Frankenstein (Kevin James), Eunice (Fran Drescher), Dracula (Adam Sandler), Wayne (Steve Buscemi) and Wanda (Molly Shannon) are only a few of the ghoulish guests in Hotel Transylvania.
Sony Pictures

One of the better jokes in Hotel Transylvania comes when Dracula (Adam Sandler) happens to see a clip of one of the Twilight movies. As Edward sparkles in the sunlight, Drac is even more offended at this bastardized representation of his kind than he is by the people constantly imitating his Transylvanian accent by appending the nonsense words "Bluh, bluh bluh!" to the end of any sentence.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

'Vulgaria': Raunch Comedy With An Asian Accent

Guangxi gangster Brother Tyrannosaurus (Ronald Cheng, left) agrees to back a film for producer To Wai-Cheung (Chapman To) — with a few conditions.
China Lion Entertainment

Some men, it's said, think about only one thing. Hong Kong movie producer To Wai-Cheung, for example, is absolutely obsessive about film. Yet when he discusses it, he always seems to be talking about something else that's often on men's minds.

To (Chapman To) is the protagonist of Vulgaria, a Hong Kong movie-biz satire and sex comedy. Directed by Pang Ho-Cheung, the film boasts the spontaneity of a French New Wave romp, while including raunchy gags worthy of The Hangover and Clerks II.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

'Pitch Perfect': In Tune Where It Counts Most

The Bellas, an all-female a cappella group, battle the boys to sing their way to the top in Pitch Perfect.
Universal Pictures

When it's done right, there's nothing so miraculous as the sound of human voices blending into a creamy swirl of color, with neither the help nor the distraction of musical accompaniment. Pitch Perfect banks on that magic — the purely human wizardry of a cappella singing — though it also attempts to be several other things: a mild gross-out comedy, a paean to the awkward early stages of new love, a Mean Girls-style riff on campus hierarchies. That may be too much for one modest comedy to carry, but one thing's for sure: Pitch Perfect doesn't skimp on the singing.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Time And Crime, Thoroughly Crossed Up In 'Looper'

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis star as present and future versions of the same man in Looper.
Alan Markfield Sony Pictures

The main problem with time-travel movies is the many black holes that the plot can stumble into; for a certain kind of viewer, they can be more than a little distracting. While the story presses forward, we're stuck wondering, for instance, how a character can safely hang out with his future self in the same time period — an anomaly that, despite Spock's shenanigans in the 2009 Star Trek reboot, aficionados of Doctor Who know is a Very Bad Thing.

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Movie Reviews
2:12 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

'Looper': Time-Travel Nonsense, Winningly Played

Old Joe (Bruce Willis) and his younger self (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), two iterations of the same assassin, play a particularly personal game of cat and mouse in the time-travel thriller Looper.
Alan Markfield Sony Pictures

I adore time-travel pictures like Looper no matter how idiotic, especially when they feature a Love That Transcends Time. I love Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour, The Time Traveler's Wife, even The Lake House with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock in different years sending letters through a magic mailbox. So terrible. So good. See, everyone wants to correct mistakes in hindsight, and it's the one thing we cannot do. Except vicariously, in movies.

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Author Interviews
12:07 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

British Scientist Driven To Find 'Spark Of Life'

W. W. Norton & Company

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 1:47 pm

One night in 1984, British scientist Frances Ashcroft was studying electricity in the body and discovered the protein that causes neonatal diabetes. She says she felt so "over the moon" that she couldn't sleep.

By the next morning, she says, she thought it was a mistake.

But luckily, that feeling was wrong, and Ashcroft's revelation led to a medical breakthrough decades later, which now enables people born with diabetes to take pills instead of injecting insulin.

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Movie Interviews
11:22 am
Thu September 27, 2012

From Sweet To Steely: Amy Adams In 'The Master'

Adams is also currently starring in Trouble with the Curve as a lawyer with the makings of a pro baseball scout.
Warner Brothers

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 10:58 am

When Amy Adams read the script for Paul Thomas Anderson's new movie, The Master, she saw an opportunity to play a character type she'd never played before.

"Somebody who on the surface was very, very mothering, almost genteel, and then underneath, there was this boiling almost rage," Adams tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Monkey See
10:47 am
Thu September 27, 2012

Women, Men And Fiction: Notes On How Not To Answer Hard Questions

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 11:32 am

Nothing is more vexing than a question where 10 percent of the public discussion is spent trying to answer it and 90 percent is spent arguing about whether it matters.

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The Two-Way
9:55 am
Thu September 27, 2012

Is This An Early 'Mona Lisa?'

A closeup from the portrait that a Swiss foundation says is an early "Mona Lisa" by Leonard Da Vinci.
Denis Balibouse Landov

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 12:41 pm

  • Listen to Elizabeth Blair's report

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Sports
9:43 am
Thu September 27, 2012

Eric LeGrand Tackling Life's Obstacles

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 11:54 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we're talking with Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas. We'll ask the flying squirrel how it feels in that white hot spotlight and what kind of sacrifices she made to get there.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu September 27, 2012

'May We Be Forgiven' Blames The Online World

Courtesy of Viking Penguin

"I am guilty," admits Harold Silver, the protagonist of A.M. Homes' new novel, May We Be Forgiven. "I am guilty of even more than I realized I could be guilty of."

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Book Reviews
2:16 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

A Midcentury Romance, With 'Sunlight' And 'Shadow'

John Craven Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 3:54 pm

New York, New York, it's a wonderful town! And Mark Helprin's new near-epic novel makes it all the more marvelous. It's got great polarized motifs — war and peace, heroism and cowardice, crime and civility, pleasure and business, love and hate, bias and acceptance — which the gifted novelist weaves into a grand, old-fashioned romance, a New York love story that begins with a Hollywoodish meet-cute on the Staten Island Ferry.

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Pop Culture
1:29 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Pow, Crash, Boom! Marvel Thrashes DC On Screen

The Avengers has brought in more money than any other movie this year — upwards of $600,000,000 domestically. Based on characters in Marvel comics, The Avengers was released on DVD on Tuesday.
Walt Disney

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 3:54 pm

The Avengers has brought in more money than any other movie this year — more than $600 million domestically. And it's only going to make more, especially with the DVD release this week.

The Avengers features characters from Marvel Comics, but the No. 2 movie of the year was based on a character from rival DC Comics — Batman. It's just the latest skirmish in a long, long, long-running battle between Marvel fans and DC fans.

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Books
12:45 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Poverty Informs J.K. Rowling's New Novel For Adults

Author J.K. Rowling arrives at the world premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in Leicester Square in central London.
Matt Crossick PA Photos/Landov

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 10:00 am

  • Listen to Part One of the Interview
  • Hear the Extended Interview

The extended interview above includes parts one and two of the Morning Edition interview, plus additional material.


J.K. Rowling has a new novel. She's moved away from Harry Potter, the boy wizard whose stories prompted millions of kids to obsess over books big enough to serve as doorstops. Having concluded that series, she's written a novel for grown-ups called The Casual Vacancy, a story of troubled teenagers and their even more troubled parents.

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Author Interviews
12:12 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

'Sutton': America's 1920s, Bank-Robbing 'Robin Hood'

Hyperion

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 12:49 pm

After the global financial crisis hit in 2008, Pulitzer Prize winner J.R. Moehringer was so angry at banks, he says, he decided to write about the people who rob them — in the form of fiction, since he's not an economist.

"I thought it would be healthy to live vicariously through a bank robber at that moment that bankers were ruining the world," Moehringer tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

In his first historical novel, Sutton, Moehringer writes from the point of view of Willie Sutton, whom he calls the "greatest American bank robber."

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Movie Interviews
10:10 am
Wed September 26, 2012

A Day In The Life Of An Oakland Emergency Room

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 11:49 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. On television and in movies, the emergency rooms of big city hospitals are places of high drama, with doctors working furiously to save gunshot victims, those hurt in car accidents and people who are suffering a medical crisis, like a heart attack.

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Movie Reviews
7:03 am
Wed September 26, 2012

'Won't Back Down' Takes A Too-Easy Way Out

Nona (Viola Davis), a well-meaning teacher, teams up with warrior mom Jamie (Maggie Gyllenhaal) to fix the education system that failed their children.
Kerry Hayes Twentieth Century Fox

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 9:49 am

Among the many remedies we have flung at our foundering inner-city schools is a force we have reckoned without: Maggie Gyllenhaal, raising hell in the feistily titled Won't Back Down as a harried single mother eking out a living selling cars in a proletarian city, nobly represented under lowering skies by Pittsburgh.

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Kitchen Window
5:42 am
Wed September 26, 2012

A Roll For All Seasons, Wrapped In Rice Paper

T. Susan Chang for NPR

It all started several months ago, when I was fishing around for something not-too-unhealthy for lunch. Spring was over — the once-tender lettuces now milky-hearted and stiff-leaved — and I was bored with salad. I love sandwiches, but every time I gorged on bread I stepped a little heavier onto the scale. "If you're going to eat constantly," I said to myself, knowing that I would, "you simply can't afford to pack on that many carbs at a time."

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My Guilty Pleasure
5:03 am
Wed September 26, 2012

Bad Sheriff: Murder, Lies And Southern Fried Catfish

Stephen Marche's latest book is How Shakespeare Changed Everything.

Just as the fanciest chefs will happily eat simple cheese and toast so long as it's prepared properly, literary writers will happily read genre fiction, as long as it's prepared properly. And the best preparer of hard-boiled crime fiction, or at least my favorite, was Jim Thompson. Though he was the pulpiest of pulp writers, he was also the densest and most intense and most complicated. His cheese on toast is like melted Gruyere over crusty fresh baguette.

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