Arts

Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed March 18, 2015

'The Mechanical' Will Make Your Clockwork Pulse Pound

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 4:29 pm

One of science fiction's toughest challenges is making nonhuman characters feel human. Robots are particularly hard: SF authors have spent decades putting every conceivable spin on the concept of manmade automatons, and the results have just as often been laughable as profound. Ian Tregillis tackles this prickly puzzle — and many more — with great skill in The Mechanical.

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Fine Art
1:13 am
Wed March 18, 2015

25 Years After Art Heist, Empty Frames Still Hang In Boston's Gardner Museum

The empty frame from which thieves cut Rembrandt's The Storm on the Sea of Galilee remains on display at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The painting was one of 13 works stolen from the museum in 1990.
Josh Reynolds AP

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 10:23 am

Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum houses a world-class art collection. But in the last two decades it's been better known for the art that isn't there — half a billion dollars' worth of masterpieces that disappeared from its walls 25 years ago.

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The Salt
1:12 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Do TV Cooking Shows Make Us Fat?

Celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis during a guest appearance on ABC's The Chew last fall. She can cook rich foods and keep her trim figure, but new research suggests that's a difficult feat for amateur cooks watching along at home.
Lou Rocco ABC/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 11:37 am

If you've ever watched Giada de Laurentiis make gooey chocolate-hazelnut spread or a rich carbonara pasta dish, you may have wondered: How can she cook like this and maintain her slim figure?

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The Two-Way
6:07 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Cervantes' Remains Have Been Found In Madrid, Scientists Say

A team of archaeologists and anthropologists work on identifying remains at the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians in Madrid. They believe they've found the 400-year-old grave of the author of Don Quixote.
Daniel Ochoa de Olza AP

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 6:31 pm

Spanish investigators announced Tuesday that they believe they've found the remains of author Miguel de Cervantes.

Considered a pillar of Spanish literature, and one of the world's most important writers, Cervantes published Don Quixote in two parts, in 1605 and 1615. The novel narrates the adventures of a delusional man who has read so many stories about chivalry, he decides to become a knight himself. Don Quixote's idealistic and impractical ventures gave birth to the adjective "quixotic."

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The Salt
3:31 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Tea Tuesdays: Gift Of The Moon, Bane Of The Spanish — The Story Of Yerba Mate

A gourd of yerba mate. Legend has it that the moon gifted this infusion to the Guaraní people of South America.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 2:02 pm

In 1616, Hernando Arias de Saavedra, the governor of the Spanish province that included Buenos Aires, banned the population from drinking a green herbal drink called yerba mate.

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Author Interviews
12:11 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

WWII Novel-Memoir Explores The Blurry Line Between Fact And Fiction

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 4:33 pm

Daniel Torday's new novel, The Last Flight of Poxl West, is about how memoir and fiction can blur — and how hard it can be to convey truth.

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The Salt
11:47 am
Tue March 17, 2015

To Eat Authentically Irish This St. Patrick's Day, Go For The Butter

Butter labels from Irish creameries operating in the 1970s.
Roland Paschhoff Cork Butter Museum

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 12:11 pm

As scholarly buzzkills have long told us, corned beef isn't really Irish. So what to do if you want a taste of the Emerald Isle on St. Patrick's Day? Instead of green, maybe look for yellow — a pat of Irish butter. Although most Americans are familiar with images of Ireland's rolling green hills, few realize that those hills are the secret to a deliciously buttery empire.

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The Salt
10:43 am
Tue March 17, 2015

Meet Chef Chane, Ethiopia's Version Of The Infamous 'Soup Nazi'

Inside Chef Chane's tiny kitchen. Every few months or years, his landlord — taking note of Chane's popularity — will raise the rent, or a conniving official will demand a bribe. Then, instead of bowing to the system, Chane will disappear and set up in a new location.
Gregory Warner/NPR

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 6:17 am

I didn't travel all the way to Ethiopia just to meet a character out of the sitcom Seinfeld.

But when I heard Ethiopians describe a particular popular restaurant called Chane's, I couldn't help recognize a resemblance, in its owner and lead chef, to the famously brusque soup man.

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Monkey See
9:21 am
Tue March 17, 2015

'Community': No Longer A Broadcast Show, But Still A Lovable Weirdo

Joel McHale as Jeff Winger on Community.
Trae Patton Yahoo

Community, producer Dan Harmon's increasingly self-aware sitcom, has become less and less about a band of community-college misfits and more and more about being a television show. Perhaps it's fitting that a show about being a show continues its odd life with a move from NBC to Yahoo Screen, where the first two episodes are now available.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue March 17, 2015

'Escape' Is A Searing Indictment Of Nation-Building

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 1:07 pm

Very early on in Escape from Baghdad!, before we realize how many murderous forces and literary genres are about to crash into each other, two friends are holed up in a safehouse in the South Ghazaliya neighborhood. Saddam Hussein has just been deposed; outside, the Madhi Army has just finished another minor street battle with a rival militia, and our heroes Dagr and Kinza are in possession of a stash of black market weapons and a captive: one of Saddam's head torturers.

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Fine Art
3:36 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

In Detroit's Rivera And Kahlo Exhibit, A Portrait Of A Resilient City

A detail from the north wall of Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry murals shows workers on the automobile assembly line. After Detroit declared bankruptcy, the murals were at risk of being sold. Click here for a larger view.
Detroit Institute of Arts

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 6:01 pm

This weekend, visitors to the Detroit Institute of Arts buzzed with excitement over a new exhibit — it was a big moment for the once-troubled museum. The DIA spent much of the last two years under threat as its owner, the city of Detroit, looked for ways to emerge from bankruptcy.

Finally, in November, a "grand bargain" was struck. Foundations, private donors and the state of Michigan together raised more than $800 million to help rescue public employee pensions. In return, ownership of the DIA was transferred to a trust — thereby securing its future.

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Book News & Features
1:08 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

There's No Wrong Place To Start Reading Pratchett

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 2:15 pm

Whenever people talk about Terry Pratchett — as they've been doing a great deal since his death last week at age 66 — someone inevitably asks, "Where should I start reading his work?"

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Television
1:04 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Does Success Of HBO's 'The Jinx' Herald New Form Of True-Crime TV?

Robert Durst, filmed on the streets of Manhattan for HBO's The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.
HBO

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 5:25 am

It was the kind of moment true-crime TV fans live for but almost never get to see: a suspected murderer seeming to confess his guilt while the audience listens in.

That bombshell admission aired Sunday at the end of HBO's docu-series The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, capping a six-part series. It unfolded as something of a cat-and-mouse game between Durst, the scion of a wealthy New York family who is suspected of killing his wife, a best friend and a neighbor in separate crimes reaching back to 1982, and filmmaker Andrew Jarecki.

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The Salt
11:45 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Sandwich Monday: Bone-In Pork Chop Sandwich

The bone stays in, the grease goes everywhere.
NPR

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 1:09 pm

There are dangerous sandwiches out there: the Wendy's Sharpened Chicken Classic, the McRib that's always sending you emails with questionable attachments. But they pale in comparison to the famous pork chop sandwich from Jim's Original in Chicago: Jim leaves the bone in.

Eva: The bone also serves as a useful sandwich handle.

Miles: Eating a bone-in sandwich is the lazy person's equivalent of free-climbing a mountain. The danger just adds to the rush.

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It's All Politics
11:40 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Barney Frank's Journey From Closeted To An Openly Gay Member Of Congress

Michael Halsband Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 1:49 pm

In 1972, former Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., decided he would run for the state Legislature in Massachusetts — but he also explicitly decided to stay in the closet. And as he made this decision, he made a promise to himself to support LGBT rights.

"I could not live with myself if I did not oppose the discrimination," Frank tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

That year, two organizations asked candidates for the state Legislature if they would sponsor a gay rights bill. Frank says he enthusiastically agreed, expecting a senior member to take the lead.

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The Two-Way
11:27 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Elton John Leads Boycott Against Dolce & Gabbana Over 'Synthetic Children' Remarks

Stefano Gabbana (left) and Domenico Dolce, seen here during the recent Milan Fashion Week, are being criticized for remarks about same-sex families, sparking a boycott led by musician Elton John.
Daniel Dal Zennaro EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 11:43 pm

Fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are locked in a very public argument with musician Elton John over their recent remarks condemning in vitro fertilization and saying same-sex couples should not raise children.

After John called for a boycott of the designers' clothes, Gabbana defended his right to air an opinion and urged people to shun the singer, responding to John's Instagram post by commenting, "Fascist!!"

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The Salt
10:24 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Looks Matter: A Century Of Iconic Food Packaging

Ariel Zambelich/NPR

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 11:49 am

We take the packaging our food comes in for granted. Yet many of the boxes, bags and bottles that protect our edibles were once groundbreaking — both in their design and in how they changed our perception of what's inside. Sometimes, packaging is so distinctive, it transforms food from mere consumer product to cultural icon. As Stephen Heller, author of more than 100 books on design and popular culture, says, "Coca-Cola is not a bottle of soda — it's Coca-Cola."

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Television
4:08 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Documentary Filmmakers Worry About Being Squeezed Out Of PBS Prime Time

The popularity of Carson and company on the hit show Downton Abbey is tough for PBS documentary films to compete with. Some major markets — including New York — are considering moving those docs out of prime time.
WGBH/PBS

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 5:09 am

As PBS enjoys the success of shows like Downton Abbey and Antiques Roadshow, documentary filmmakers feel they're being marginalized.

Two signature documentary shows on PBS — POV and Independent Lens — air rigorous, in-depth reports about difficult issues often set in minority communities. They also enjoy a prime time slot on many stations, including New York City's WNET, one of the largest PBS member stations in the country.

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Architecture
1:09 am
Mon March 16, 2015

With Sunny, Modern Homes, Joseph Eichler Built The Suburbs In Style

After World War II, developer Joseph Eichler built well-designed and well-crafted tract homes that dotted California suburbs.
Stephen Schafer

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 1:24 pm

In Palm Springs, Calif., a $1 million home was just built — with plans resurrected from 1951. The original sold for about $15,000, and was called an Eichler, after developer Joseph Eichler, who offered well-designed, well-built tract homes to the masses a half-century ago.

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Author Interviews
3:17 pm
Sun March 15, 2015

'State Of Terror': Where ISIS Came From And How To Fight It

Heavy smoke rises following an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition aircraft in Kobani, Syria, during fighting between Syrian Kurds and the militants of the self-declared Islamic State in October 2014.
Gokhan Sahin Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 10:34 am

There have been mixed results in the fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or ISIS. Iraqi government forces and their Iranian allies are fighting to retake the central city of Tikrit, but it's unclear how much longer this will take.

Meanwhile, ISIS has established a foothold in Libya. They also recently accepted the allegiance of Boko Haram, a Nigerian terrorist organization.

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Movies
7:29 am
Sun March 15, 2015

Gather Ye Rosebuds: 'Citizen Kane' Screened At Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle, the estate of newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, hosted its first-ever screening of Citizen Kane on Friday. Hearst hated the movie, and never allowed it to be shown there during his lifetime.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 2:47 pm

Citizen Kane has been called the best film ever made. It was also at the center of an epic battle of egos.

The main character was modeled after media titan William Randolph Hearst, who in real life tried ruthlessly to keep the movie from being released.

Almost 75 years later, the family has called a truce, of sorts: This weekend, Citizen Kane was screened for the first time inside the millionaire's legendary home, the Hearst Castle.

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Sunday Puzzle
6:03 am
Sun March 15, 2015

Say Yes To The Puzzle

NPR

Originally published on Sat March 21, 2015 10:55 am

On-air challenge: "Yes" is supposed to be the most pleasing word in the English language. And if that's true, today's puzzle will be very pleasing indeed. Every answer is an anagram of "yes" plus two or three other letters.

Last week's challenge: Take a familiar phrase in the form "[blank] and [blank]." Put the second word in front of the first, and you'll name a common part of a large company. What is it?

Answer: "Room and board," boardroom

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Food
5:53 am
Sun March 15, 2015

The Elixir Du Jour: Bone Broth

Originally published on Sun March 15, 2015 9:03 am

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

Author Interviews
5:53 am
Sun March 15, 2015

A Mystery 'Bullet' Reveals Long-Kept Family Secrets

Originally published on Sun March 15, 2015 9:03 am

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

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

As an NPR correspondent, Mary Louise Kelly followed some pretty crazy tales. But her newest novel, a thriller called

"The Bullet," was inspired by one of the strangest stories she had ever come across.

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Author Interviews
5:53 am
Sun March 15, 2015

Change Your Habits And You'll Be 'Better Than Before'

Originally published on Sun March 15, 2015 9:03 am

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

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Movies
3:19 pm
Sat March 14, 2015

People With Disabilities, On Screen And Sans Clichés

From left, Bastian Wurbs (as Titus), Joel Basman (as Valentin) and Nikki Rappl (as Lukas) star in Keep Rollin', a coming-of-age drama featured in the seventh annual Reelabilities film festival.
Courtesy of EastWest Film Distribution

Originally published on Sat March 14, 2015 8:43 pm

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Poetry
3:19 pm
Sat March 14, 2015

'Windows' That Transform The World: Jane Hirshfield On Poetry

Originally published on Sat March 14, 2015 7:23 pm

Jane Hirshfield is one of our country's most celebrated poets. She's been a Guggenheim fellow. The Academy of American Poets bestowed her a fellowship for her "distinguished poetic achievement," an honor shared with Robert Frost and Ezra Pound.

Oh, and she's an ordained lay practitioner of Zen.

"I'm [also] a Universal Life minister, but that was just so I could marry some friends," she laughs.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
7:28 am
Sat March 14, 2015

Not My Job: Trombone Shorty Gets Quizzed On Obscure Musical Instruments

Mike Coppola Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 6:54 am

This week, we've brought the show to New Orleans, where Troy Andrews — better known as Trombone Shorty — began playing music at age 4. He was touring with his brother's band by age 6, and went to the same performing arts academy as Harry Connick Jr., Terence Blanchard and the Marsalis brothers. Now, just shy of 30, he's doing his part to spread New Orleans music around the world.

We've invited him to answer three questions about obscure musical instruments.

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Code Switch
6:25 am
Sat March 14, 2015

These Nightclub Entertainers Paved The Way For Asian-Americans In Showbiz

Mai Tai Sing dances with her husband, Wilbur Tai Sing, in 1942.
Courtesy DeepFocus Productions Inc.

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 12:27 pm

As a kid growing up in San Francisco, filmmaker Arthur Dong often walked by a nightclub just outside of Chinatown. "I remember distinctly looking at the marquee and looking at the glass display case [with] all these wonderful black and white photos of Chinese people, but dressed in zoot suits and 1940s kind of gowns and tuxedos," he says. "And I had never seen Chinese dressed like that."

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The Salt
6:25 am
Sat March 14, 2015

The Family Peach Farm That Became A Symbol Of The Food Revolution

Mas Masumoto grew up on his family farm southeast of Fresno, Calif. His 1987 essay "Epitaph for A Peach," in which he bemoaned the loss of heirloom flavors, captured his changing philosophy as a farmer. It also helped turn his farm into a landmark in the local-food movement.
Dan Charles/NPR

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 11:50 am

In the heart of California's Central Valley, a vast expanse of orchards, vineyards, and vegetable fields, lies a small collection of aging peach trees. Farmer Mas Masumoto's decision to preserve those trees, and then to write about it, became a symbol of resistance to machine-driven food production.

Yet the Masumoto farm's story isn't just one of saving peaches. It's become a father-daughter saga of claiming, abandoning, and then re-claiming a piece of America's agricultural heritage.

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