Arts

Ask Me Another
10:46 am
Thu May 14, 2015

The Ox Car Goes To

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 8:34 pm

The answers in this game are Oscar winners for Best Picture, except that we've changed one letter in each title. What iconic Woody Allen movie tells the story of the woman who invented the suburban shopping center? That'd be "Annie Mall."

Heard in A Mad Men Endgame

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Ask Me Another
10:46 am
Thu May 14, 2015

You Call That An Ending?

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 12:13 pm

In honor of the final episode of Mad Men, we consider some TV series that ended in very bizarre ways. For instance, which family matriarch sits with her typewriter in the basement, as a voiceover tells us that she never won the lottery?

Answer:

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Ask Me Another
10:46 am
Thu May 14, 2015

Street Smarts

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 11:32 am

In Southern California, the car is king, and traffic is queen. In this final round, every answer is a common phrase or proper name that contain a type of roadway.

Heard in A Mad Men Endgame

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Ask Me Another
10:46 am
Thu May 14, 2015

Matthew Weiner: No Longer Linda's Loser Husband

Matthew Weiner and Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg.
Josh Rogosin NPR

Originally published on Sun May 17, 2015 4:22 am

When Matthew Weiner was working as a writer on the HBO series The Sopranos, a crewman walked up to him and said, "I heard you were the son of a doctor from Hancock Park. What are you doing here?" Weiner responded, "Well, I have what they call 'an imagination.' "

More than 15 years later, that imagination landed Weiner a hit series on AMC. To date, Mad Men has earned him seven Emmy Awards, three Golden Globes, a Peabody and more.

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Ask Me Another
10:46 am
Thu May 14, 2015

Like A Confused Boss

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 11:32 am

In this game, we give a sentence with an overly literal misuse of a common business cliché, and you give us the cliché. For example, "I really need you to force the flat rectangular paper container to move forward!" is "push the envelope."

Heard in A Mad Men Endgame

The Two-Way
8:13 am
Thu May 14, 2015

Harry Shearer, Voice Of Ned Flanders And Mr. Burns, Will Leave 'The Simpsons'

Actor and writer Harry Shearer says he's leaving the cast of The Simpsons, the show he has been a part of since it first aired in 1989.
Dave J Hogan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 1:00 pm

After 26 seasons of giving life to nincompoops, do-gooders, and even God, actor Harry Shearer has announced he'll be leaving The Simpsons. A stalwart of the show, Shearer has voiced central characters such as Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, Reverend Lovejoy and Principal Seymour Skinner.

In a tweet sent in the wee hours of Thursday, Shearer said he was leaving "because I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work."

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Book Reviews
8:03 am
Thu May 14, 2015

'Millionaire' Tracks One Man's Fruitful Obsession With The Bard Of Avon

The Millionaire and the Bard promo photo option 1
Emily Bogle NPR

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 10:47 am

Senators beelining for roll call at the U.S. Capitol, protesters brandishing signs on the Supreme Court sidewalk, guides mama-ducking tourists past the Beaux-Arts splendor of the Library of Congress — they don't always stop to note the elegant Art Deco low-rise tucked in alongside those showier landmarks. Andrea Mays thinks they ought to — and in The Millionaire and the Bard, a brisk chronicle of how William Shakespeare almost vanished into obscurity and how one obsessive American created the playwright's finest modern shrine, she makes a snappy, enjoyable case for why.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu May 14, 2015

In 'Paddy Buckley' Suffering Through Four Last Days With Dark Comedy

Emily Bogle NPR

Paddy Buckley, the charming, roguish and thoroughly eff'd up main character of Jeremy Massey's debut novel The Last Four Days Of Paddy Buckley, can talk to dogs, control flies and leave his body at will in a kind of practiced self-hypnosis. This, oddly, is not the focus of the novel. It's a minor (but vital) character detail. But I'm mentioning it here because it's also the worst, weakest, most stompy-foot-of-magical-whateverishness part of what is otherwise a really great book.

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Television
1:37 am
Thu May 14, 2015

David Letterman's Top 10 Late-Night Memories (Well, Not Really)

David Letterman, seen here snapping a selfie with his replacement Stephen Colbert, will step down next week as host of the Late Show.
Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 3:05 pm

What I first noticed about David Letterman was how quickly he ditched the suit.

During a taping of the Late Show on Monday at the Ed Sullivan Theater in Manhattan, he put off donning his suit jacket as long as possible, greeting the crowd in just a shirt and tie for a pre-show Q & A session before shrugging on the coat just as recording began.

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Author Interviews
1:24 am
Thu May 14, 2015

A Fortune In Folios: One Man's Hunt For Shakespeare's First Editions

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., still has all 82 of the William Shakespeare first folios Henry Folger collected.
Courtesy of Folger Shakespeare Library

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 8:37 am

Two of the most important books in the English language were printed four centuries ago: the King James Bible and William Shakespeare's first folio. Today, that first collection of Shakespeare's plays would fetch a king's ransom; and in the early 1900s, one man was willing to spend his entire fortune to own as many of them as he could. His name was Henry Folger and he was a successful businessman who worked his way to the top of Standard Oil. Folger managed to buy 82 first folios out of only a couple of hundred that survived from the original 1623 printing.

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Author Interviews
2:53 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

'Nimona' Shifts Shape And Takes Names — In Sensible Armor, Of Course

Nimona

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 4:56 pm

Noelle Stevenson is making her mark in the world of comic books.

She's just 23 and already a writer and illustrator. She has co-authored a series for Boom! Studios, called Lumberjanes, and she has written for Marvel's new female Thor. But it's a tough world for women to be a part of, whether they're creators or fans.

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Author Interviews
1:00 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Tom Brokaw Reflects On Cancer, 'Nightly News' And His 'Lucky Life'

Tom Brokaw served as the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 until 2004.
Virginia Sherwood NBC

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 2:08 pm

By his own admission, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw has lived a charmed life. "In the seasons of life I have had more than my share of summers," he writes on the opening page of his new memoir, A Lucky Life Interrupted.

But two years ago, Brokaw's good fortune turned when he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that has led to bone fractures and pain unlike any he'd known.

"It was paralyzing in a way," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "There were times when I simply couldn't get out of bed."

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Book Reviews
11:55 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Misadventures And Absurdist Charm Take Root In 'George Orwell's House'

Emily Bogle NPR

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 9:31 am

In 1946, reeling from the death of his wife and seeking an escape from the demands of London literary life, Eric Blair, aka "George Orwell," moved to a cottage on the isle of Jura off the west coast of Scotland. What the place lacked in modern conveniences like electricity and running water, it perhaps made up for in misty views of the Atlantic and samplings of the local whiskey.

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Code Switch
9:00 am
Wed May 13, 2015

A Rust Belt Story Retold, Through Portraits Of The Women Who Lived It

United States Steel Mon Valley Works Edgar Thomson Plant, 2013, from The Notion of Family (Aperture, 2014).
LaToya Ruby Frazier

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 1:18 pm

Just outside Pittsburgh is the tiny borough of Braddock, Pa., best known as the birthplace of Andrew Carnegie's first steel mill. Today, it's something of a poster child for rust belt revitalization, a place where artists can buy property for pennies and even construct outdoor pizza ovens using the bricks from abandoned or demolished buildings.

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Book Reviews
8:03 am
Wed May 13, 2015

'Zombie Wars' Documents An Apocalypse Of Bad Decisions

Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 10:06 am

Joshua Levin has some great ideas. Well, some ideas, anyway. The would-be writer keeps a list of possible high-concept screenplays — everything from a script about aliens disguised as cabdrivers (Love Trek) to a treatment of a "riotous Holocaust comedy" (Righteous Lust). But in real life he's a Chicago ESL teacher who can never seem to follow through — the movies he envisions are all too esoteric, too depressing. As his Bosnian acquaintance Bega reminds him, "American movies always have happy ending. Life is tragedy: you're born, you live, you die."

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Remembering A Troubled Brother In 'Lord Fear'

Emily Bogle NPR

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 11:05 am

Lucas Mann's genre-bending first book, Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere, was about an Iowa farm team, a dying Midwestern factory town, and his own anxieties about success, and it heralded an impressive new talent in narrative nonfiction. Mann's second book, Lord Fear, reaffirms that talent. A memoir about his much older half-brother, Josh, who died of a heroin overdose when Mann was 13, it's a less alluring, more difficult book — but clearly one that Mann needed to write.

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The Salt
1:22 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Puerto Rico Wants To Grow Your Next Cup Of Specialty Coffee

Elena Biamon holds coffee berries grown on her farm near Jayuya, a town in Puerto Rico's mountainous interior.
Greg Allen NPR

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 3:48 pm

Puerto Rico used to produce some of the best coffee in the world — but that was more than a century ago.

Today, Puerto Rico's coffee crop is just a fraction of what it was then, and little is exported. But there's a movement on the island to improve quality and rebuild Puerto Rico's coffee industry.

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Fine Art
1:21 am
Wed May 13, 2015

For Artist Elaine De Kooning, Painting Was A Verb, Not A Noun

De Kooning made dozens of drawings, sketches and paintings of John F. Kennedy in 1963.
Alfred Eisenstaedt The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 11:59 am

In New York City in the 1940s, painters Willem de Kooning and his wife, Elaine, were the people you wanted at your dinner party. He was inventing abstract expressionism. She, his former student, was part of that movement, but also painting landscapes and people.

Elaine de Kooning felt that making portraits was like falling in love — "painting a portrait is a concentration on one particular person and no one else will do," she said.

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Architecture
3:46 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Whitney Museum's New Building Opens Doors (And Walls) To Outside World

The new building's window-lined hallways are in stark contrast to the brutalist design of the Whitney's former home.
Nic Lehoux Courtesy of the Whitney Museum of American Art

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 3:18 pm

The Whitney Museum of American Art has never stayed in one place for long. It has had four different homes in its 84-year history — the latest a $422 million glass-and-steel construction that recently opened in Manhattan's Meatpacking District — and each of those homes speaks to a particular moment in the evolution of American art and museum culture.

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Pop Culture
3:02 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Just How Do 'Thomas & Friends' Drive Sodor's Economy?

Sir Topham Hatt: benevolent CEO or robber baron?
HIT Entertainment

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 7:14 am

Is Sir Topham Hatt a robber baron or a paternalistic CEO? Are Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends part of a union? How does anyone make money on the Island of Sodor?

Turns out, these are some of the serious issues that have perplexed more than one grown-up forced to read or watch Thomas & Friends for the umpteenth time with their kids. On the 70th anniversary of the Railway Series, the books by Reverend Wilbert Awdry that spawned the shiny engines, we explore this elaborate train of thought.

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Arts & Life
2:59 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Picasso Painting Breaks Record For Most Expensive Artwork Sold At Auction

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 10:31 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
1:37 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

'Unsettling' Lucille Ball Sculpture Will Move To New Home In N.Y.

A bronze sculpture of Lucille Ball is displayed in her hometown of Celoron, N.Y. Since the sculpture was unveiled in 2009, it has been blasted by critics — and now there are plans to move it.
The Post-Journal AP

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 3:19 pm

Instead of being destroyed or altered, the notoriously scary statue of Lucille Ball that graces her hometown in New York will be moved to a new National Comedy Center that's being built nearby.

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Author Interviews
12:47 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Making Art Out Of Bodies: Sally Mann Reflects On Life And Photography

Photographer Sally Mann drives with her greyhound, Honey, in the early 2000s.
Michael S. Williamson Courtesy of Michael S. Williamson

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 2:30 pm

Photographer Sally Mann is fascinated by bodies. In the early 1990s, she became famous — or notorious — for her book Immediate Family, which featured photographs of her young children naked. Critics claimed Mann's work eroticized the children, but Mann says the photos were misinterpreted.

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The Salt
11:46 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Tea Tuesdays: Matcha-maker, Matcha-maker, Make Me Some Tea

Matcha tea powder comes in two grades: ingredient and drinking. The drinking grade comes from the leaves at the top of the tea plant.
Courtesy of Alissa White

Just like flared jeans, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and thighs without a gap, matcha tea powder is in fashion in America.

You can grab a matcha latte at Starbucks. Whole Foods stocks the green tea powder on its shelves. Or now that warm weather is here, maybe you'll order a Matcha Green Tea Blast smoothie from Jamba Juice.

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Book Reviews
11:03 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Myth, Fantasy And Sci-Fi Dovetail In 'Archivist Wasp'

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 1:36 pm

Some of the best (and worst) novels in speculative fiction stick to a basic, tried-and-true approach: Lay out the rules of your imaginary world, then throw your protagonist against those rules. Nicole Kornher-Stace does exactly this, winningly, in her latest novel, Archivist Wasp.

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Monkey See
10:14 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Black Widow, Scarce Resources And High-Stakes Stories

Scarlett Johansson plays Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff in Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron.
Jay Maidment Marvel

[This post about the plot and characters in Avengers: Age Of Ultron discusses the plot and characters in Avengers: Age Of Ultron.]

We were never going to avoid gender politics with a character named "Black Widow."

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Book Reviews
8:03 am
Tue May 12, 2015

The Artistry Fails In 'Trompe L'Oeil'

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 4:15 pm

Even for the most talented artists, the trompe l'oeil is one of the most difficult techniques to master. The painter has to create three dimensions out of two, constructing an illusion, tricking the eye of the viewer. If it works, the results can be stunning; if it doesn't, the artwork looks forced and confusing.

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First Reads
5:03 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Exclusive First Read: Naomi Novik's 'Uprooted'

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 4:39 pm

Naomi Novik is best known for the Temeraire series — rousing adventure tales of a man and his dragon, set in an alternate-universe version of the Napoleonic Wars where France and England battle it out across land, sea and sky with the help of dragons.

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The Salt
1:40 am
Tue May 12, 2015

In 'Organic Life,' The Making Of America's First Certified Organic Restaurant

Chef, cookbook author and owner of Washington, D.C.'s Restaurant Nora, Nora Pouillon, in the restaurant's garden.
Courtesy of Noras.com

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 am

When restaurateur Nora Pouillon moved to the United States from Austria in the 1960s, she was surprised by how hard it was to get really fresh food. Everything was packaged and processed. Pouillon set out to find the find the best ingredients possible to cook for her family and friends. She brought that same sensibility to her Restaurant Nora, which eventually became the first certified organic restaurant in the country.

Pouillon writes about her lifelong devotion to food in a new memoir, My Organic Life: How A Pioneering Chef Helped Shape The Way We Eat Today.

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Parallels
1:36 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Still Playing: The Theater That Saw The Birth Of Cinema

The world's oldest operating cinema, the Eden, in La Ciotat, southern France, screened some of the first films of the Lumiere brothers in 1895.
Anne-Christine Poujoulat AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 11:22 am

Not far from the glitzy Mediterranean film festival venue of Cannes lies another town with a connection to cinema. There are no stars or red carpet, but La Ciotat has an even longer relationship with film, and boasts the world's oldest surviving movie theater.

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