Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 2:43 pm
This week at Monkey See, we're looking at friendship in pop culture.
In the 1997 film My Best Friend's Wedding, Julianne (Julia Roberts) rushes to stop the wedding of her best friend Michael (Dermot Mulroney) to the adorable Kimmy (Cameron Diaz). (Spoilers follow, so if you haven't been paying attention to cable for the last 15 years, take heed.)
Yesterday, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by Christopher Johnson and Nathaniel Claybrooks, two black men who had auditioned for The Bachelor, who claimed that the show discriminates against people of color both in choosing the primary bachelor/ette and in choosing the people he or she will have to choose from.
I've devoted many hours in my life to reading, and among these hours many of them belong to the creations of novelist Louise Erdrich. In more than a dozen books of fiction — mostly novel length — that make up a large part of her already large body of work, Erdrich has given us a multitude of narrative voices and stories. Never before has she given us a novel with a single narrative voice so smart, rich and full of surprises as she has in The Round House. It's her latest novel, and, I would argue, her best so far.
In late summer 2010, at the end of a morning briefing, one of President Obama's security advisers said, "Mr. President, Leon and the guys at Langley think they may have come up with something." The adviser was referring to then-CIA Director Leon Panetta, and to a possible lead on the country's most wanted terrorist: Osama bin Laden.
It's not easy for John Hawkes to watch clips of himself in his new movie, The Sessions. He plays a man named Mark O'Brien, based on a real writer and poet, who spends most of his time in an iron lung as a result of childhood polio; that meant the role was hard on Hawkes' body. As he tells Melissa Block on All Things Considered, "It was a physically painful role to play." Not only did it require him to act primarily from a horizontal position, but it called for him to create the illusion of a curved spine.
Jerusalem is known for its bitter politics, a divided city where decades of religious and political strife have torn away shared spaces. But as British-Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi tells NPR's Melissa Block, if there's one place in which Jerusalemites of all stripes still stand united, it's in their love of food.
Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 1:13 pm
I didn't actually know the name "Wayne White" when I went to see the documentary Beauty Is Embarrassing at Silverdocs this summer. But as it turns out, I've certainly seen his work, and even if, like me, you're not visual-arts-oriented enough to know his marvelous word paintings, you may have, too.
Whenever Tyler Perry is in front of the camera, he's usually behind it as well. A screenwriter, director, producer and star, Perry grew up poor in New Orleans, but he has become a movie phenomenon — he was described in the New Yorker as the most financially successful black man the American film industry has ever known.
Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 12:51 pm
Welcome Salt readers! We're Sandwich Monday, a regular feature from the staff of "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me," and we're moving in here to provide an antidote to the informative and insightful posts to which you're accustomed.
Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 8:10 am
H.W. Brands is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author of The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace.
Every year, I have my graduate students read the great works of history, from classical times to the present. They gamely tackle Tacitus, ponder Plutarch, plow through Gibbon. Then they get to Thomas Carlyle and feel like Dorothy when she touched down in Technicolor Oz.
Sixty years ago, the book Charlotte's Web first appeared in print. This children's classic is often seen as a story of a spider and a pig. But when E.B. White recorded a narration of the book, he said something different: "This is a story of the barn. I wrote it for children, and to amuse myself."
Whaam! Varoom! R-rrring-g! The canvases of painter Roy Lichtenstein look as if they're lifted from the pages of comic books. Comics were a big inspiration for this pop artist, who was rich and famous when died in 1997 at age 73. But at a major Lichtenstein retrospective at Washington's National Gallery of Art, you can see that the artist found inspiration beyond comic books; he also paid his respects to the masters — Picasso, Monet and more.
Journalist Chrystia Freeland has spent years reporting on the people who've reached the pinnacle of the business world. For her new book, Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else, she traveled the world, interviewing the multimillionaires — and billionaires — who make up the world's elite super-rich. Freeland says that many of today's richest individuals gained their fortunes not from inheritance, but from actual work.
Chanel No. 5 is an iconic perfume, it's been around for 92 years. Marylin Monroe, Catherine Deneuve and Nicole Kidman have all endorsed the fragrance. Starting on Sunday, Brad Pitt is joining their ranks. He's the first man to endorse the perfume in its history.
He's an 80s teen heartthrob who turned to travel writing — and now soul searching. A few years ago, Andrew McCarthy decided to confront the fears that had followed him his whole life. As he prepared to marry the women he loved, he headed out around the world to find the part inside of himself that just kept saying "no" to everything good in his life.
McCarthy spoke with weekends on All Things Considered guest host Celeste Headlee about his new memoir, The Longest Way Home.
What happens to a young marriage when the one thing that once brought two people together suddenly vanishes? In Smashed, the answer isn't pretty. But neither is the alternative, because in Smashed, the thing that brings the couple together is alcohol.
The couple is played by Aaron Paul of the series Breaking Bad, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. The film also stars Nick Offerman of the TV show Parks and Recreation, Megan Mullally, best known from the TV show Will and Grace, and Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer.
Mary Oliver is a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet whose body of work is largely filled with imagery of the natural world — cats, opossums crossing the street, sunflowers and black oaks in the sunshine. Her most recent collection is entitled A Thousand Mornings.
Later this year, director Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will reintroduce moviegoers to Middle-Earth, the fictional setting for J.R.R. Tolkien's epic tales.
The high adventure and climactic battles of Tolkien's world were last seen on the big screen in 2003, in The Return of the King. The final scene featured a climactic battle between the men of the West — as well as elves, dwarves and hobbits — against the forces of evil.
On-air challenge: Every answer is a two-word phrase in which the letter "O" is added at the end of the first word to make the second word. For example, given the clue "pack animal owned by Thomas Jefferson's first vice president," the answer would be "Burr burro."
Last week's challenge: Draw a regular hexagon and connect every pair of vertices except one. The pair you don't connect are not on opposite sides of the hexagon but along a shorter diagonal. How many triangles of any size are in this figure?
The race for the Republican nomination of 1860 was one of the great political contests of American history. It was Abraham Lincoln versus Salmon Chase, versus William Seward.
Author Walter Stahr spoke with Weekends All Things Considered host Guy Raz about his new biography, Seward: Lincoln's Indispensable Man. He describes how a man who was Lincoln's fiercest and most critical opponent eventually became his most loyal and trusted adviser.
Falafel — those crispy, filling fried balls of mashed beans, herbs and spices — is found in cafes and homes all over the Middle East and parts of Africa. It's like a common language shared among sometimes fractious nations.
But until recently, I always thought falafel was made one way — garbanzo beans, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro and cumin. (That's how my Sudanese mother taught me.) But it turns out there are many recipes out there, each with a flavor distinct to its region.
The people who host NPR programs are often credited with — or accused of — being knowledgeable.
But really, the most important bit of knowledge they have is just a four digit extension that connects to Kee Malesky in the NPR Reference Library. If you want the names and contact numbers for every left-handed plumber in Kuala Lumpur, she'll fix you up. She's the longest-serving member of a stellar company of reference librarians who check, double-check and mine miles of information, urban legend and spin for cold, hard, glittering facts.
Michael Feinstein, the singer and pianist known as the "ambassador of the Great American Songbook," has a serious pedigree to back up that title: a real-life connection to one of America's greatest songwriting teams. It's the subject of Feinstein's new memoir, The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs. (A CD of Feinstein singing those songs also comes with the book.)
Ben Affleck's Argo is two-two-TWO movies in one, and while neither is especially original, by merging them Affleck pulls off a coup. First, he gives you espionage with the You Are There zing of a documentary. Then he serves up broad showbiz satire. For his final feat, he blends the two into a pulse-pounding nail-biter of a climax. And this all really happened. Most of it. Except for that climax.