From Warsaw to Wuhan, people around the world love dumplings. They're tasty little packages that can be made of any grain and stuffed with whatever the locals crave. But where did they come from?
No one knows for sure, but Ken Albala, a food historian at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., thinks dumplings have been around for a very long time. "Almost without doubt, there are prehistoric dumplings," he says.
On her 7th birthday, a little girl named Claire disappears in a seaside Haitian village. Through Claire's fictional journey, award-winning author Edwidge Danticat shares glimmers of her own childhood in Haiti.
In Claire of the Sea Light, the protagonist's mother died during childbirth, and her father is a poor fisherman, struggling to make ends meet. Just moments before his daughter disappears, Claire's father had agreed to let a local woman adopt her in hopes of giving his daughter a better life.
Patricia Polacco has written and illustrated more than 90 picture books. Her young readers are drawn to her stories about family and growing up. She has won many awards for her illustrations, which are done in gorgeous, full watercolor. Polacco's latest book is called The Blessing Cup.
Polacco tells NPR's Jacki Lyden that early life had a profound effect on her work. Many of her books feature her grandmother, called "Babushka" in Yiddish, and take place on her grandmother's farm in Michigan.
Just after he graduated from college, Tony Danza was working out at a boxing gym when somebody said to him: you ever think about being on TV? Since then, he's been a fixture on TV with the hit series Taxi and Who's the Boss?, not to mention his own talk show, his own song and dance stage show, and now a new movie called Don Jon.
We've invited Danza to play a game called "Who's The Boss?": We'll tell him about three companies and three people who might be the head of those companies. He'll have to guess who's the boss.
Aimee Bender is no longer the whiz kid of the American short story. The Color Master is her fifth work of fiction, and along with the idiosyncratic George Saunders she now stands as one of the reigning masters of the eccentric American short story. Fortunately, she's showing no signs of growing up. This latest collection offers a goodly number of one-of-a-kind stories, beautiful in their dreaminess and imaginative vision, a vision that ranges — you'll discover as you read — from stories about the origin of things to stories with an apocalyptic flavor.
Naomi and Sally Durance are heroes of the Great War, that war which was supposed to end all wars. It didn't, but it did help these two Australian sisters overcome sibling suspicion and grow closer to each other.
In a time when recollections can be reduced to just a few words, Jean Shepherd delivered monologues, soliloquies and musings. He was a raconteur.
Shepherd served in the Army during World War II — that same Army that stormed the beaches on D-Day, though Shepherd and his unit would never see the front lines. They were the homefront Army: stocking, re-stocking, sending, schlepping and training for a war they helped win — but only at a distance.
If you've been to a fancy restaurant, you've probably seen a sommelier — those wine experts who make sure you get the best possible match for your meal. But what if you don't want a chardonnay or pinot? What if you want a nice cold beer?
A new program is working to bring this same level of knowledge to the world of malt and hops by turning out batches of certified beer experts known as Cicerones.
Bread and Puppet Theater performs during a protest in New York in June 1982.
Credit Mark Dannenhauer / Bread And Puppet Theater
The Bread and Puppet Theater, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, performs "The Total This & That Circus" on Sundays this summer.
Credit Massimo Schuster / Bread And Puppet Theater
In honor of its 50th anniversary, Bread and Puppet staged a revival of a show they first performed in 1971 called "Birdcatcher in Hell." Forty-two years after the first performance, the revival starred many of the original actors.
Credit Toby Talbot / AP
Bread and Puppet performs during a rally on the Statehouse lawn on Aug. 24, 2011 in Montpelier, Vt.
Bread and Puppet Theater has been a familiar presence at political demonstrations since the anti-war protests of the 1960s. Its giant puppets and raucous brass band also marched against wars in Central America, Afghanistan and Iraq. In 1982, Bread and Puppet led a parade in New York that, according to police estimates, consisted of more than a half-million anti-nuclear protesters. Though massive street protests may be a thing of the past, Bread and Puppet's work is still unapologetically political as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.
The World's End is a world-shaking, genre-bending, sci-fi comedy, and a splendid capper to what British writer-director Edgar Wright and actor-writer Simon Pegg call their "Cornetto trilogy," for an ice cream they eat on their side of the Atlantic. This one's arguably the best of the three, but who wants to argue over gorgeous satires like Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End? It's like ice cream flavors: Have them all.
Tituss Burgess gained fameasthescene-stealing sidekick D'Fwan on the NBC Comedy 30 Rock. But he's also a singer who has performed on Broadway in big hits like The Little Mermaid and Guys & Dolls. Now, he's making a name for himself as in the world of R&B. His latest album is called "Comfortable." He told guest host Celeste Headlee about his transition from the stage to the recording studio.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Many thousands of people are expected to attend a commemoration of the March on Washington this weekend. It's the 50th anniversary of the iconic moment in civil rights history when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Coming up, we'll talk to one writer who explains how Asian-Americans have benefited from the struggle for civil rights of African-Americans.
The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
N.B. — Book News is going on vacation next week. Your faithful correspondent will be in California sans laptop and praying that Jonathan Franzen doesn't choose this week to reignite any feuds with daytime talk show hosts. In the meantime, as always, leave your hot tips, scurrilous attacks and existential questions in the comments section or direct them to @annalisa_quinn on Twitter.
On this week's roundtable podcast, we open with Lake Bell's movie In A World, which takes place in the world of voiceovers. We chat about the movie itself, and about Bell, but also about where voiceovers stand right now. Are they still important? As important as they used to be?
Then, we take a reader suggestion and talk about reconstituted bands — replaced singers, replaced drummers, and sometimes entire new versions of bands you thought you knew. This takes us into the story of Journey, the matter of The Beach Boys, and much more.
If you believe in magic, then this week's show is for you. See how well you know your creatures of the supernatural variety, play a word game based on Missy Elliott song lyrics and hear what happens when trivia meets TED talks. This week's Very Important Puzzler is podcast- and pop culture-maven Julie Klausner, who dishes on Real Housewives and her abiding love for The Monkees.
Jerry "Swamp Dogg" Williams, Jr. Charles Hughes quotes the songwriter and performer as saying, "Everything I write and sing comes out country, and that's why I have to take so much time in arrangements and instrumentation, because — if not — I'd just be cutting a bunch of country records with black people. And we know that black people are not makin' it in country."
Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 9:17 am
In a recent book, Hidden in the Mix: The African American Presence in Country Music, editor Diane Pecknold rounds up some of the better music writers in academia in order to put a light on country's many black roots and the country's unease with said roots. It's not perfect, but what's good here makes the collection indispensable.
The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
N.B. — Book News is going on vacation next week. Your faithful correspondent will be in California sans laptop and praying that Jonathan Franzen doesn't choose that week to reignite any feuds with daytime talk show hosts. In the meantime, as always, leave your hot tips, scurrilous attacks and existential questions in the comments section or direct them to @annalisa_quinn on Twitter.
"I was born a colored man and don't you forget it," announces Henry Shackleford in the opening pages of musician and author James McBride's novel, The Good Lord Bird. A manuscript, supposedly discovered after a church fire cleanup, offers the first person account of Henry, a young slave living in the Kansas Territories in 1857, as he becomes involved – reluctantly – with the anti-slavery forces led by John Brown.
Forty years after his death, there's a name that's become practically synonymous with Chinese kung fu films.
And no, it's not Bruce Lee.
It's actually his teacher, Ip Man.
The late kung fu master's life story has inspired more movie releases than Spider-Man. The five films so far include Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmaster, which opens Friday in New York and Los Angeles.
The difference between a provocative film and a challenging one can be difficult to parse. Yet it's essential to understanding the success and occasional missteps of Ulrich Seidl's Paradise: Faith, the second part in a trilogy that, so far, has excelled at exploring the depths of human misery.
Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 1:07 pm
"She's so pretty, she could be in any movie," a fan gushed after a screening of Joe Swanberg's Drinking Buddies. There's a lot more to Olivia Wilde than her feline loveliness, which, combined with a challenging stare that dares you to dismiss her as fluff, reminds me of a young Michelle Pfeiffer. But not much of that is allowed out to play in this strained comic drama about two young couples struggling to answer universal questions in particular ways.
A group foster home + abused and at-risk kids + tough love + junior staff nearly as troubled as their charges: The potential for cliche is everywhere in Destin Cretton's enormously engaging Short Term 12, and — happily — is everywhere avoided. What might seem on paper a cloyingly sentimental heartwarmer becomes, in Cretton's hands, a briskly believable, often funny, always invigorating and ultimately wrenching story of emotional fortitude.
When Raymond Chandler first set Philip Marlowe walking down the mean streets of L.A., he couldn't have imagined that eventually every city, from ancient Athens to 21st century Bangkok, would have its own detective series. Of course, they're not all equally good.