Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 6:44 am
Sheila Heti is the author of How Should a Person Be?
My father gave me The Dice Man when I was 13 years old. It's a novel narrated in the voice of Luke Rhinehart, a jaded psychoanalyst, whose home and professional life have become so boring that he decides, one night, to rule his life by the whim of a die. Starting out, he thinks: if the die turns up a one, I'll cheat on my wife. The die turns up a one.
Video game makers are rolling out their new titles — with a wide range of creativity and style — just in time for the holiday shopping season. Jamin Warren, founder of Kill Screen magazine, shares his list of video games you should keep your eye on:
In a sterile white boardroom in ABC Family's headquarters in Los Angeles, two young women are assiduously ignoring a spread of cookies in favor of two more important things: their laptops and a live broadcast of the show Pretty Little Liars playing on a large flat-screen TV.
Dalia Ganz, 28, is the show's social-media manager. She's patiently teaching one of the beautiful young actors on the show how to live-tweet this episode.
"Include #prettylittleliars in your answers," she instructs. That is a literal transcription of her words.
While most American homes still have a television in the den, how we watch, and what we watch, is changing. Computers, tablets, smartphones, DVRs and video game consoles have redefined what television is.
Viewers have officially become a multiscreen culture. And that means the TV industry is changing, as well. Consider that 36 million Americans watch video on their phones, according to the Nielsen ratings company.
About a year ago, writer Jason Sheeler was working on a story about Hermès scarves — the elaborately decorated silk squares that can cost as much as $400. He traveled to Lyon, in southern France, to visit the factory, and on his first day there he found an even more interesting story: A French woman threw out a big scarf with a turkey on it and asked Sheeler if he knew Kermit. He didn't.
Kermit, as it turns out, is Kermit Oliver. He lives in Waco, Texas, and he's the only American to ever design scarves for Hermès.
Seventy-five years ago, J.R.R Tolkien wrote a book for his children called The Hobbit. It isn't just a landmark piece of fantasy literature; it's a movement — a work that's inspired everyone from director Peter Jackson to the band Led Zeppelin to Leonard Nimoy (who recorded his own homage to the book in the late 1960s — "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins").
The countercultural revolution of the 1960s may have been all about sex drugs and rock 'n' roll, but for one young Texas singer it was all about the blues. No one sang the blues quite like Janis Joplin.
Joplin was part of a legendary line-up of musicians at Woodstock in 1969: Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Joan Baez. She wasn't on the music scene long, though. Joplin died in 1970 of a drug overdose. She was only 27 years old, but in that short time her bluesy rasp helped define the music of a generation.
In 1969, four moppy-haired musicians named John, Paul, George and Ringo walked single file on a London crosswalk and made one of the most iconic album covers of all time. Today, a steady stream of Beatles fans and London tourists are still eager to walk in the footsteps of the Fab Four on that famous stretch of asphalt.
Filmmaker Ross McElwee is a one-man crew: soundman, cameraman, narrator. He reached a wide audience with his sweet documentary Sherman's March, which chronicled his journey through the South searching for love. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 1987. He's made five documentary features since then.
McElwee's latest film is Photographic Memory — and it presents a different side of the director.
Early in Photographic Memory, we see McElwee in a small town in Brittany, France, in a state of digital disorientation.
On-air challenge: You will be given two words. Change one letter in each of them to make two new words that name things that are in the same category. (Hint: In each pair, the letter that you change to — that is, the new letter — is the same in each pair.) For example, given the words "poked" and "tummy," the answer would be "poker" and "rummy."
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
(SOUNDBITE OF CLOCK TICKING)
RAZ: For the past few weeks, we've been reading close to 4,000 stories about fictional and real presidents - stories that were submitted by you to our writing contest, Three-Minute Fiction, here on WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. That was the challenge by our judge this round, the thriller writer Brad Meltzer. Your story had to revolve around a U.S. president who could be fictional or real.
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 1:10 pm
What is the point of the best-seller list? Depends who you are. If you're a reader, it's a guide to what's popular — what's new, what your neighbors are buying, and what you might like to read next. If you're a publisher, it's a source of feedback and a sales tool: It tells you how your books compete, and gives you triumphs to crow about on paperback covers.
There was a huge art heist this week. Paintings by Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso, Monet and other artists were stolen from an exhibition hall in Rotterdam. Picasso's "Harlequin Head" and Monet's "Waterloo Bridge" were among the purloined works. And their loss is estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars.
Sidney Rittenberg went to China as an American GI at the end of World War II and fell in love with the country. He was discharged as a Chinese translator for the U.S. Army, but decided to stay there.
By the time Rittenberg came back to the United States, more than 30 years later, he had become one of only a few American citizens to join the Chinese Communist Party. He translated English for Chairman Mao Zedong, told off Madame Mao during the Cultural Revolution, and endured 16 years of solitary confinement in Chinese prisons.
In January 2007, Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California was sworn in as the speaker of the House of Representatives — and became the first woman to hold that position. She is currently the House minority leader.
We've invited Pelosi to play a game about men breaking gender barriers — three questions about men who've gone where no man has gone before.
Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 11:03 am
The practice of imparting the flavor of something heavy into a lighter liquid is centuries old. Ancient Indian healers did it with botanicals; early Christian monks did it with bitters. But the process is getting new attention as part of the craze to put all things food into all things drink.
Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 2:50 pm
You know Hallmark cards, of course. "When you care enough to send the very best." They made themselves The Company That Makes Greeting Cards, Whether You Like It Or Not, and that brand is made of iron.
This week, we're visited by the marvelous Barrie Hardymon for a show about the nature of suspense — brought on by Stephen's and my enthusiasm for the new Ben Affleck film Argo -- and about cover songs. We play a lot of music, including covers we love and the raw materials to put together covers that don't exist except in our dreams.
In 1983, Berkeley poet and journalist Mark O'Brien wrote an article about sexual surrogates — women and men trained to help people with disabilities learn to use their bodies to give themselves and others erotic pleasure.
For O'Brien, the subject wasn't academic. After a bout of childhood polio, he had spent much of his life in an iron lung. He could talk, and tap out words on a typewriter holding a stick in his mouth. He could feel things below the neck. But he couldn't move his muscles.
I have no particular wisdom about this photo; I just think it's interesting to see that the Rockettes are never not regimented. I thought maybe you'd be allowed to wear your own dance clothes, but it makes sense that they'd want to see the effect of everyone looking the same, even in practice. These women work hard.
Like the characters in this year's indie feel-good The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel — British pensioners who decide to spend their autumn years living communally and on the cheap in India — the French seniors of the charming yet melancholy All Together face aging in a time of banking crises and austerity measures.
Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 6:50 am
October is normally a time for watching movies through your fingers, knowing something grim is about to happen. Ry Russo-Young's new film, Nobody Walks, is no exception — except that at a horror movie, you're guarding against images that are sure to be terrifying. In this intimate, quietly compelling indie drama, they're mortifying.