Arts

Best Books Of 2012
5:03 am
Mon December 10, 2012

The Year's Outstanding 'Backseat' Reads, For Ages 9 To 14

Emily Davis for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 2:26 pm

Since this was an election year, NPR's Backseat Book Club decided to hold an informal poll to identify the best-loved children's books of 2012. We know that "kid lit" is a big category, stretching from baby-proof board books all the way to young-adult titles with fetching werewolves on the covers. But we're interested in books that hit the sweet spot for backseat readers β€” kids between 9 and 14 years of age. So we reached out to booksellers and one librarian to find out which books bowled them over this year.

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Fine Art
1:23 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Hopper's Lonely Figures Find Some Friends In Paris

Edward Hopper is well-known in the U.S. for paintings such as Nighthawks (1942) β€” pensive, lonely portraits of people sitting together yet alone. He was less well-known in France, but an exhibit of his work at the Grand Palais has drawn impressive crowds.
The Art Institute of Chicago, Friends of American Art Collection Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 9:07 am

Earlier this summer, I looked for Edward Hopper's Morning Sun at its home in the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio. In the painting, a woman sits on a bed with her knees up, gazing out a window. She's bare, but for a short pink slip. The iconic Hopper is a must-see, but on the day I visited, it was on loan to an exhibition in Madrid.

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Author Interviews
2:26 pm
Sun December 9, 2012

'Torn': Living As An Openly Gay Christian

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 10:50 am

Justin Lee was raised in a conservative Southern Baptist home. He had two loving parents, and was deeply committed to his faith. In school, classmates even referred to him as "God Boy" because of his devotion.

But, as he was entering high school, Lee's whole world began to change, as he came face-to-face with feelings that he'd tried for many years to suppress.

"I didn't know I was gay at first, because I was the kid who was preaching against folks accepting themselves as gay," he tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered.

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Author Interviews
4:16 am
Sun December 9, 2012

Sebastian Faulks: Searching For The Self In 'Possible' Lives

Courtesy of Henry Holt and Co.

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 3:37 pm

A young intelligence officer during the Second World War survives life in a Nazi concentration camp. A music producer in the 1970s falls in love with a young bohemian singer who breaks his heart. A lonely Italian neuroscientist makes a revolutionary discovery: Humans have no souls. These are some of the stories Sebastian Faulks weaves together in his latest novel, A Possible Life.

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Games & Humor
2:56 am
Sun December 9, 2012

Quick! Sneak In That 'QU'

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 12:36 pm

On-air challenge: Every answer is a six-letter word containing "QU" somewhere inside it. You'll be given anagrams of the remaining four letters. You name the words (No answer is a plural or a word formed by adding "s.").

Last week's challenge from listener Adam Cohen of Brooklyn, N.Y.: Name two articles of apparel β€” things you wear β€” which, when the words are used as verbs, are synonyms of each other. What are they?

Answer: Belt, sock

Winner: Jeanne Kelsey of Lamberton, Minn.

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Movies I've Seen A Million Times
3:04 pm
Sat December 8, 2012

The Movie Gustavo Santaolalla's 'Seen A Million Times'

Brad Pitt (left) and Laramie Eppler (right) in Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life.
Merie Wallace Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 4:51 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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Movies
3:04 pm
Sat December 8, 2012

Knightley's Anna Karenina Loses The Innocence

Keira Knightley and director Joe Wright have worked together on three film adaptations of period novels.
Laurie Sparham Focus Features

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 5:00 pm

Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina has been adapted for TV or film at least 25 times. It's a title role made great by screen legends Greta Garbo and Vivian Leigh, and now, it's Keira Knightley's turn.

Knightley reunites with Pride and Prejudice director Joe Wright in a new adaptation of the book. Here, she talks to Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered, about bringing the title character to life.


Interview Highlights

On the opening sequence

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Arts
12:00 pm
Sat December 8, 2012

STATE OF THE ARTS: Publisher Ron Kramer & Author Gus Riachi

Las Cruces Publisher, Ron Kramer, joins Lebanon-born author, Gus Riachi in discussing Riachi’s new novel titled A False Sense of Security.

Arts
12:00 pm
Sat December 8, 2012

STATE OF THE ARTS: BorderSenses Call for Submissions

Robin Scofield, Poetry Editor, and Selfa Chew, Editor of Spanish Language content invite writers and visual artists to submit for publication in Volume 19 of the BorderSenses Literary Journal.

BorderSenses Literary Journal submission deadline March 31, 2013
Information and guidelines www.bordersenses.com

Arts
12:00 pm
Sat December 8, 2012

STATE OF THE ARTS: A Christmas Carol

Two actors from UTEP’s Theater Department, Martin Camarillo and Jesse Marin, preview this year’s production of A Christmas Carol.

A Christmas Carol
Wise Family Theatre, 2nd Floor, UTEP Fox Fine Arts Center
Information: (915) 747-5118
Sunday, December 16 at 2:30pm; Friday, December 21 at 8pm; Saturday, December 22 at 2:30 & 8pm

Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
8:19 am
Sat December 8, 2012

Hugh Bonneville Of 'Downton Abbey' Plays Not My Job

Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 10:42 am

America is obsessed with Downton Abbey, the British series about a family so wealthy that they can't feed, clothe or care for themselves. Hugh Bonneville plays the patriarch of the family, and we've invited His Lordship to play a game we're calling, "Welcome to America, Lord Grantham."

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Movie Interviews
4:54 am
Sat December 8, 2012

50 Years On, Sharif Looks Back At 'Lawrence'

Sherif Ali (Omar Sharif) and T.E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) fight together in the 1962 epic.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 6:26 am

In one of the greatest movies of all time, a World War I-era Englishman played by Peter O'Toole stops with his Arab guide at a well in the desert. As they drink, they look into the distance and see a lone figure in black, galloping toward them on a camel. The Arab man recognizes him and draws a gun. The lone figure brings him down with a single musket shot. Now that's an entrance.

The man on the camel was Omar Sharif as Sherif Ali.

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Movies
2:24 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Hollywood Heights: The Ups, Downs And In-Betweens

Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise at the Writer's Guild Awards in Beverly Hills in 1998.
Ron Wolfson Landov

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 9:50 pm

Hollywood can make any actor look imposing by shooting from a low angle or building sets with short door frames. But the fact is that we want our heroes big and our villains bigger, and the average male actor is about the same size as the average American male β€” roughly 5 foot 9 1/2. And some very "big" stars have been a good deal less than that.

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The Salt
11:56 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Mushroom Ice Cream, Anyone? Chefs Turning To Veggies For Dessert

A cup of pumpkin ice cream with chunks of frozen candy cap mushrooms. The candy cap variety is said to have the fragrance of maple syrup.
Jeff Moreau

Chefs at some of the most cutting edge restaurants in the country are incorporating vegetables into their desserts in ways that, at first glance, might not seem very dessert-y.

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Book Reviews
11:35 am
Fri December 7, 2012

At Home With Dickens And Louisa May Alcott

Free Press

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 10:49 am

Famous writers and their families: that's the subject of two recent biographical studies that read like novels β€” one a Gothic nightmare; the other, a romance.

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The Salt
11:22 am
Fri December 7, 2012

When It Comes To Boxed Wine, The Cooler, The Better

If you're picking a boxed wine for your party this season, be aware that temperature is everything.
AFP Getty Images

Bag-in-the-box wine doesn't have the classiest of reputations. It's usually cheap and in the past at least, has been aimed at less sophisticated consumers. But in recent years, boxed wine has tried to buck the stereotype, whether by gussying up the product packaging or simply putting higher-quality wine in the box.

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The Picture Show
10:10 am
Fri December 7, 2012

A Look At Brazil's Big Dreamer, Architect Oscar Niemeyer

A composite image shows architect Oscar Niemeyer in 1992 (left), and one of his buildings photographed circa 1955.
Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 2:27 pm

There are a number of ways to leave a legacy. Some people have kids. Some become president. Or you can build unforgettable buildings that define the landscape.

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Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
10:03 am
Fri December 7, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction, Week Of December 6, 2012

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 12:16 pm

Jim Butcher's Cold Days resurrects Harry Dresden into eternal servitude. It debuts at No. 7.

Hanukkah Lights: Stories of the Season
9:53 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Hanukkah Lights 2012

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 10:02 am

  • Hanukkah Lights 2012 full, one-hour special

In stories by four noted authors, this year's edition of Hanukkah Lights showcases some of the program's most touching and insightful moments: Two teenagers find the formula to bridge a bitter family divide; the life of a cynical young reporter is changed by a single mysterious encounter; a reluctant grade-school student stands up for his heritage, and is wounded in the line of duty; and a despairing mom reconnects with her distant yet devoted daughter. Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz bring these generation-spanning tales to life.

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Monkey See
9:05 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Second Acts And Party People, Or Not

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

Our first topic on the show this week follows indirectly from a correction we received about the current status of Andrew McCarthy: we talk about second acts (they do exist in American lives, you know), from child actors who now make cool videos and write great books to the complex question of whether going from

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Food
3:58 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

In A Family's Lost Cookie, Lots Of Love, And Molasses

NPR's Lost Recipe project helped Pavlos re-create her great-grandmother's jumble cookies.
Courtesy of Nancy Baggett

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 12:09 pm

Frederick Rickmeyer, our hats are off to you and your note-taking ways.

Shortly after the turn of the last century, Frederick started documenting his wife's recipes on the blank memoranda pages of a cookbook. He included titles like My Wife's Own Original Spanish Bun and comments like "as good as ever," along with the ingredients and dates.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

A Historical Comedy That Hangs On The Details

Franklin Roosevelt (Bill Murray) greets Britain's Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Colman) and King George VI (Samuel West).
Nicola Dove Focus Features

In Hyde Park on Hudson β€” a sly, modestly subversive dramedy about a crucial weekend meeting between England's King George VI and American President Franklin D. Roosevelt on the eve of World War II β€” the diffident young monarch (Samuel West) confides his frustration over his lifelong stutter while the two men enjoy a postprandial drink expressly forbidden by their womenfolk.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Examining The Legacy Of A Legend In 'Wagner & Me'

Stephen Fry takes in the view from Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, one of the stops on a pilgrimage to explore his complicated feelings about the life and work of Richard Wagner.
First Run Features

British actor, writer and bon vivant Stephen Fry has loved the music of Richard Wagner since he first heard it played on his father's gramophone.

"It released forces within me," he explains early on in Wagner & Me, an exuberant and deeply personal documentary about the allure and the legacy of the German composer's work.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

'Fitzgerald Family' Does Dysfunction A Disservice

Nora (Connie Britton) and Gerry (Edward Burns) pursue a fledgling romance amid a chaotic holiday homecoming in The Fitzgerald Family Christmas, another home-for-the-awkward-holidays film.
Tribeca Films

There's nothing particularly special about Edward Burns' wry family drama The Fitzgerald Family Christmas –-- but that makes it something of a relief amid the avalanche of overlong, big-ticket prestige films that comes tumbling into theaters this time of year.

You've probably seen some version of this story before: A crotchety and unreliable old man, long estranged from most of his family, attempts desperately to reconnect with them on Christmas Day. It's urgent, because he's harboring a Secret with a capital S.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

A Sin City Comedy That Comes Up Snake Eyes

Jeremy (Joshua Jackson) and Beth (Rebecca Hall) enjoy the sun and sin of Las Vegas.
Frank Masi Radius, TWC

Based on Beth Raymer's memoir, Lay the Favorite has a cheeky, double-meaning title that sets up the story and the irreverent tone with impressive efficiency; the reference is both to the gambling practice of betting for the favorite and to the heroine's generous sexual proclivities.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

'Deadfall': Sibling Mischief In The Michigan Woods

Addison (Eric Bana) and Liza (Olivia Wilde) run for the Canadian border after a casino heist gone wrong.
Jonathan Wenk Magnolia Pictures

Everyone gets roughed up pretty bad in Deadfall, a pop-Freudian thriller set in Michigan's north woods. But nobody comes off worse than the out-of-towners: Australian star Eric Bana and Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

'Playing For Keeps,' But Without Much Panache

In Gabriele Muccino's romantic comedy, a former pro soccer player (Gerard Butler) starts coaching his son's soccer team β€” and reconnects with his ex-wife (Jessica Biel).
Film District

As Hollywood movies increasingly strive for immaculate blankness, they have come to resemble Rorschach ink blots. For example, Playing for Keeps, a new movie about a divorced couple who just might reunite: Is it a heartwarming romantic drama? Or a cynical sex and sports comedy? There is no wrong answer, dear ticket buyer.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

A Relationship Drama That's A Little Too 'Cheerful'

On the day of Dolly's (Felicity Jones) wedding, a former flame returns to stir up doubts about her decision.
IFC Films

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 8:24 am

Something like deja vu takes hold during the opening shots of Donald Rice's debut feature, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding. With the insistent, urgent push of orchestral strings in the background, he offers up establishing shots of a bucolic English country manor, early 20th-century automobiles, and a bell ringing down in the servants' hall. That feeling of anticipation rising in many viewers' chests may be their hearts readying themselves for the tense post-Victorian drama of the popular TV series Downton Abbey, which is what that opening rather too directly recalls.

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Movie Interviews
10:27 am
Thu December 6, 2012

In 'This Is 40,' Family Life In All Its Glory

"Were going to blink and be 90," Debbie tells Paul. "We have to make a choice to make things different."
Suzanne Hanover Universal Studios

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 3:22 pm

Since earning a cult following for his acclaimed television show Freaks and Geeks, writer, producer, and director Judd Apatow has become a brand name. He has a new movie out this month β€” This Is 40 β€” and also guest-edits the January "Comedy Issue" of Vanity Fair.

He's an executive producer for the HBO show Girls and previously wrote, produced and directed the 2005 comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

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Theater
9:44 am
Thu December 6, 2012

'Pullman Porter Blues' Travels Back In Time

Left to right: Actors Cleavant Derricks (as Sylvester), Warner Miller (as Cephas) and Larry Marshall (as Monroe) star in Pullman Porter Blues.
Kevin Rosinbum Arena Stage

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 3:01 pm

Today, people board jets or hybrid minivans to travel cross-country. But from the late 19th to mid-20th century, people traveled by train. And that's where they met the legendary Pullman porters.

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