Arts

Movie Reviews
3:02 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Moving Through Middle Age, With A Song In Her Heart

Paulina Garcia was awarded the Silver Bear for Best Actress at last year's Berlin International Film Festival for her role in Gloria.
Courtesy of Roadside Attractions

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 12:38 pm

The Chilean matron at the heart of the wonderfully unsettling comedy Gloria looks like any ordinary woman confronting the familiar dilemmas of late middle age. For other reasons, though, you may feel as though you've met her before.

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Movie Reviews
3:02 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

'24 Exposures': A Would-Be Erotic Thriller, Without Focus

Billy (Adam Wingard) is a photographer obsessed with making images of women who've been brutalized — and with the models, like Callie (Sophia Takal), who portray them in his shoots.
24 Frames, LCC/IFC Midnight

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 12:47 pm

There are five named female characters in Joe Swanberg's 24 Exposures, and all of them spend significant portions of the movie ... well, exposed.

Actually, most of the unnamed female characters wind up in various states of undress as well, a fact that's part of a point Swanberg seems to be trying to make about objectification of women in art. In 24 Exposures, though, he straddles the line between criticizing that objectification and engaging in it himself.

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The Salt
2:45 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Potential Carcinogen In Colas Has FDA Reviewing Data

4-MEI, a chemical created during the manufacturing of caramel color used to dye sodas brown, is under new scrutiny.
iStockphoto

A new study from Consumer Reports finds varying levels of a chemical compound classified as a possible human carcinogen in many popular brands of soda.

The findings have prompted the Food and Drug Administration to take a new look at the compound, 4-methylimidazole — or 4-MEI for short. It is found in the caramel color that soda makers use to dye the drinks brown.

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Book Reviews
2:43 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

'Speculation' Shows Good Stories Come In Small Packages, Too

Random House/Knopf

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 3:32 pm

Jenny Offill's novel Dept. of Speculation, which weighs in at 192 pages soaking wet and includes a fair amount of white space, is extremely short for a novel. It's an unusual book not only in terms of its size, but also its form. Make no mistake, this is an experimental novel. By which I mean that the narrative isn't a series of flowing scenes that keep you reassuringly grounded in plot, but a collection of vignettes, observations and quirky details that are sometimes pulled from real life.

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Found Recipes
2:43 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

From Down Under, A Paprikash To Warm You All Over

This paprikash recipe may be well-traveled — from Hungary to Australia — but its belly-warming comforts haven't changed a bit.
Courtesy of HarperCollins

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 3:32 pm

For many people, paprikash means winter. After all, it's a dish fit for cold, gray days: A belly-warming mix of meat and spices, it's the perfect cure for the doldrums of late January.

For Merelyn Chalmers, though, the classic Hungarian casserole recalls someone far dearer: her mother, Yolanda. A survivor of Auschwitz, Yolanda had rebuilt her life in Perth, Australia, after the war. "My mum was Hungarian," Chalmers explains. "We ate paprikash probably five nights a week. This was something that she just threw together when I wasn't feeling well."

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Author Interviews
10:28 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Patchett: In Bad Relationships, 'There Comes A Day When You Gotta Go'

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Ann Patchett is an award-winning novelist and memoirist. Her other books include Truth & Beauty, The Magician's Assistant and Run.
Heidi Ross Courtesy of Harper

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 2:58 pm

The title essay of Ann Patchett's latest book, This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage, isn't exactly what it sounds like. It's actually the story of an unhappy marriage that ends quickly in divorce and results in a strongly defended refusal to marry that lasts many years. But eventually, it does lead to the happy marriage.

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The Salt
8:55 am
Thu January 23, 2014

An Innovative Plan To Reel In Sport Fishermen To Feed The Hungry

Students prepare fish cakes that will be part of a free dinner offered at Parkside Neighborhood Center in Portland, Maine.
Courtesy of Samantha Laster

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 12:41 pm

Portland, Maine, native Hollis McLaughlin's recollection of his mother's fish cookery produces a wistful expression as he takes a bite of the fish cakes given to him as part of the regular Wednesday night meal he is served free of charge at the Parkside Neighborhood Center.

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Monkey See
7:22 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Thanks For The Fan Service, But What About The Story?

Benedict Cumberbatch in "The Empty Hearse."
Robert Viglasky PBS

[Caution: This piece contains information about the season premieres of Sherlock and Community, along with a little bit about a very unfortunate side trip on Lost.]

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The Two-Way
5:12 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Book News: Maker Of 3-D Printed Guns Has A Book Deal

An all-plastic gun fires a bullet in this screenshot from a video made by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
ATF

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 9:29 am

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

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Book Reviews
5:02 am
Thu January 23, 2014

All The Varieties Of Love And Madness, On Display In 'Carthage'

Ecco Books/Harper Collins

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 5:58 pm

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the publication of her first novel, Joyce Carol Oates has outdone herself. This year she will have brought out three books of fiction — a new volume of novellas this past autumn, a new book of stories coming out this spring, and just now a new novel, a feat that testifies to the prodigious nature of her imagination and the unstoppable force of her writing powers.

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Movie Interviews
5:04 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

'Boyhood' And 'Happy Valley' Are Sundance Standouts So Far

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 8:02 am

The Sundance Film Festival is underway — actors, directors, studio executives and autograph hounds have converged on Park City, Utah, where dozens of independent movies and documentaries are being showcased during the 10-day event. Los Angeles Times arts and entertainment writer Steven Zeitchik, who has been binge watching films at the festival, takes a short intermission to tell NPR's Melissa Block about some of his picks.

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Media
2:34 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Does It Matter That Lena Dunham Was Photoshopped By 'Vogue'?

This screen shot shows Jezebel's breakdown of Vogue's photo of actor Lena Dunham.
Jezebel

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 3:42 pm

The latest round in the battle over body image, a dust-up between the upstart online magazine Jezebel and the Conde Nast giant Vogue, may be going to Vogue.

Jezebel accused Vogue of digitally altering images of HBO sensation Lena Dunham, who famously insists on displaying her real, somewhat rounded shoulder and chin on her own show, Girls.

Jezebel jumped on the Vogue covers, which streamlined some of those features. Jezebel offered $10,000 for the un-retouched images.

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Author Interviews
11:25 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Skeptic Takes A Tour Of Self-Help's 'Promise Land'

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 1:29 pm

A lot of self-help books have simple formulas. They promise 30 days or 10 easy steps to having thinner thighs, landing a spouse, having a great sex life, starting a new life after divorce, climbing the corporate ladder while dressed for success, and, of course, finding inner peace. And while many swear by the power of their favorite self-help philosophy, there are still a lot of skeptics.

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The Salt
11:24 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Long John Silver's Throws Trans Fats Overboard

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 2:22 pm

Long John Silver's has gained some notoriety in the past for serving up what the food police dubbed the most unhealthful meal in America. (aka heart attack on a hook.)

But the fast-food chain is out to change its reputation. One step in this new direction: a quick transition from partially hydrogenated oils that contain bedeviled trans fats. Today, the chain announced it is moving to a 100 percent soybean oil that is trans-fat free.

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Book Reviews
10:00 am
Wed January 22, 2014

New Mavis Staples Biography Will 'Take You There'

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 7:33 pm

There are vocalists, there are singers and then there are voices — the first aims for the ear, the second for the brain, the third for the heart. A voice turns a composition into an emotional experience. And each time we have that experience, it's the depth of the connection that we remember. Frank Sinatra was a voice. So too were Marvin Gaye, George Jones and Billie Holiday. Aretha Franklin is a voice. So is Bob Dylan. And so is the Staple Singers' Mavis Staples.

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The Two-Way
6:06 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Book News: Kenyan Writer Comes Out In Defiance Of Anti-Gay Laws

Binyavanga Wainaina, editor of Kwani?, in 2003 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Khalil Senosi AP

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 11:17 am

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

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Kitchen Window
5:47 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Sea Scallops: A Winter Treat From Maine's Chilly Waters

Laura McCandlish for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 7:52 am

A joy of living in Maine is year-round access to bountiful, relatively affordable, ultra-fresh seafood. Sure, there's the ubiquitous lobster, especially plentiful come summer.

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Book Reviews
5:02 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Music And Chemistry Are An Explosive Combination In 'Orfeo'

W.W. Norton

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 12:47 pm

Richard Powers, whose novels combine the wonders of science with the marvels of art, astonishes us in different ways with each new book. His 11th, Orfeo, is about a 70-year-old avant-garde composer who has sacrificed family and fortune to his relentless pursuit of immortal, transcendent music.

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Fine Art
3:41 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Which Artworks Should We Save? Cash-Strapped Italy Lets Citizens Vote

L'Arte Auita L'Arte (Art Helping Art) Italy's Ministry of Heritage and Culture and Tourism posted works of art in need of restoration on Facebook. The public was asked to vote for the art it felt was most deserving of a fix-up." href="/post/which-artworks-should-we-save-cash-strapped-italy-lets-citizens-vote" class="noexit lightbox">
In a program called L'Arte Auita L'Arte (Art Helping Art) Italy's Ministry of Heritage and Culture and Tourism posted works of art in need of restoration on Facebook. The public was asked to vote for the art it felt was most deserving of a fix-up.
Ministry of Heritage and Culture and Tourism via Facebook

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 8:37 am

When it comes to Italy's enormous art heritage, officials are often faced with an unbearable choice: Which pieces should be saved when the government can't afford to save them all? Now, thanks to an online vote, it's up to Italian citizens to answer that tough question. In the end, some art will get a new lease on life, but many works that epitomize Western civilization remain seriously in danger.

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Monkey See
12:05 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

As NBC Prepares For A Late-Night Transition, Everyone Is On Message (So Far)

Producer Josh Lieb (L) and host Jimmy Fallon talk to critics on Sunday about what's to come.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

It felt like a rerun from a long-ago time, with a twist.

Once again, an NBC executive was facing a crowd of TV critic and reporters, saying nice things about Jay Leno just as he was leaving as host of The Tonight Show.

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Movie Interviews
11:11 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Phoenix To Self: 'Why Am I Talking About This? ... Joaquin, Shut Up'

Joaquin Phoenix's Her character, Theodore, has a job writing intimate — and sometimes erotic — cards and letters on behalf of other people.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 3:56 pm

Joaquin Phoenix started his acting career in 1982, when he was about 8, on an episode of the TV series Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. (His brother, the late River Phoenix, was a regular in the series.) He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he still vividly remembers his first time on a set.

"I remember feeling like I was buzzing, like my whole body was vibrating, because it was just so exciting to experience this thing that wasn't real but at moments felt like it was real," he says. "It's basically the feeling that I've been chasing ever since."

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Food
6:07 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Soba: More Than Just Noodles, It's A Cultural Heritage ... And An Art Form

Genuine soba noodles are difficult to find in the U.S.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 10:10 am

Traditional Japanese cuisine, known as washoku, is now an intangible cultural heritage, according to the United Nations.

Tofu, mochi and miso are a few examples, but it's the buckwheat noodle, or soba, that many consider the humble jewel of Japanese cuisine. It's not easy to find in the U.S., but one Los Angeles woman is helping preserve the craft of making soba.

In a cooking classroom off a busy street in L.A., Sonoko Sakai is teaching about the simplicity of making buckwheat noodles.

"Basically, soba is only two things: flour and water," Sakai explains.

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The Two-Way
5:15 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Book News: Billy Collins' Papers Sold To The University Of Texas

Poet Billy Collins is pictured in February 2013 in New York City.
Slaven Vlasic Getty Images

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

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Book Reviews
5:02 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Here, Kitty, Kitty: Even Dog Lovers Should Read 'The Guest Cat'

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 9:06 am

The best novels are often the ones that change us. They speak to a void, sometimes quietly, other times loudly from the proverbial rooftop. When done right, they bring to the surface important questions and compel us to look inward. Over time, they stay with us — like small miracles.

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First Reads
5:02 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Exclusive First Read (And Listen!): B.J. Novak's 'One More Thing'

B.J. Novak is a writer and actor best known for his work on NBC's Emmy Award-winning comedy series The Office. One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories is his first collection.
Jennifer Rocholl

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 10:23 am

You may recognize the name B.J. Novak from the credit sequence of The Office — he was a writer and executive producer. He also played the entertainingly amoral Ryan Howard. Now, Novak is expanding his scope beyond the walls of Dunder Mifflin and taking on a range of human experience in this quirky new story collection, which ranges from linked vignettes to two-line miniplays about carrot cake.

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Book Reviews
3:25 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Book Review: 'Starting Over,' By Elizabeth Spencer

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 5:44 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The Mississippi-born novelist and storywriter Elizabeth Spencer turned 92 last summer. Best known for her novella turned musical drama "The Light in the Piazza," Spencer has just published her 15th work of fiction. It's a collection of stories set in the South called "Starting Over." And we have a review from Alan Cheuse.

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Movie Interviews
3:25 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

'The Hunt' Turns 'Enormous Love' To Fear, Hate

Mads Mikkelsen plays Lucas, a schoolteacher accused of sexual abuse, in Thomas Vinterberg's latest film, The Hunt.
Magnolia

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 5:44 pm

Nominations are in for this year's Academy Awards, and among those up for Best Foreign Language film is The Hunt. It's the latest from Danish director Thomas Vinterberg, who made his reputation in 1998 with The Celebration, which won the Jury Prize at Cannes and went on to become an international success. Both that film and this more recent one depict the aftermath of allegations of sexual abuse.

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Author Interviews
10:02 am
Mon January 20, 2014

The Politics Of Passing 1964's Civil Rights Act

Demonstrators march down Constitution Avenue during the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 4:35 pm

Martin Luther King may not have had a vote in Congress, but he and the movement he helped lead were integral to getting the civil rights bill introduced. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of that bill, now known as the Civil Rights Act.

Among other things, the act outlawed discrimination in public accommodations — including restaurants, hotels and motels — ending the era of legal segregation in those places.

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The Two-Way
5:21 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Book News: Amazon Wants To Ship Products Before You Even Buy Them

An employee prepares an order at Amazon's fulfillment center in San Bernardino, Calif.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 11:34 am

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

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New In Paperback
5:02 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Jan. 19-25: A Twitter Star, An Infamous Murder And Arab World Intimacy

Jeffrey MacDonald before a hearing on July 7, 1970, on the murder charges against him. Errol Morris' book suggests that, despite his conviction, MacDonald was not guilty.
AP

*Some of the language in the summaries above has been provided by publishers.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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