Arts

Ask Me Another
8:10 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Historical Figure, Sci-Fi Villain Or Tech Startup?

LA Johnson NPR

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 9:45 am

There's no shortage of tech startups in Silicon Valley, and since these companies are founded by people who can identify every Star Wars character at the drop of a hat, their names tend to sound pretty weird. Is Zurg a new app that analyzes your dreams, Doctor Who's nemesis, or a 12th-century warlord? For our show at San Francisco Sketchfest, we make contestants earn their nerd cred by telling us — is it a historical figure, a sci-fi villain or a tech company?

See if you measure up with our quiz!

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Book Reviews
5:27 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Renata Adler, Taking A Buzz Saw To The 'Tall Timber'

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 4:29 pm

For decades, the name Renata Adler has provoked a host of differing opinions. She's been loved, hated, feared, admired and ostracized by literary institutions for her brazen and uncompromising views on journalism and the role of the journalist. Adler has never been one to succumb to the pressures of the establishment, a fact she has proved through her work time and again — even if it means calling out her employers and colleagues by name.

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Book Reviews
5:27 am
Thu April 9, 2015

'The Only Words' Remembers Love And Science After The Apocalypse

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 1:27 pm

Rowan Van Zandt has never been alone. That's because he has lived his entire life in the company of his family: his mom, his dad, and his fraternal twin Faron. Where Faron is strong and impetuous, Rowan is bookish and quiet. The Van Zandts love each other, despite their differences, but they stick together for another reason: The America in which they live, many years in the future, is not an easy place to survive, especially if you're poor.

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Parallels
1:28 am
Thu April 9, 2015

China's 'Barefoot Lawyer' And His Great Escape

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 9:04 am

In February 2006, I traveled to the farmland of eastern Shandong province to interview blind activist Chen Guangcheng. He had been abducted from Beijing by security agents and put under house arrest for the past six months.

When I arrived, Chen was closely guarded by men armed with clubs. I couldn't get into Chen's village, so I stayed with a family of peanut farmers nearby.

Their simple farmhouse was freezing cold on that snowy day. My hosts burned peanut shells in a stove to warm the place and cook us dinner.

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The Salt
1:26 am
Thu April 9, 2015

These Vintner Monks Turn Wilderness Into The Divine Gift Of Wine

The St. James vineyard at the Abbey of New Clairvaux. The 20 brothers of the abbey belong to an order with a tradition of winemaking that dates back nearly 900 years.
Lisa Morehouse for NPR

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 5:34 am

In a tiny Northern California town called Vina, there's a winery that's definitely off the beaten track. That might be because this region's better known for olive groves and cattle ranches than grapes. For these, vintners, though, it's spiritual work.

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Arts & Life
8:20 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Grandparent Movie Database

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 9:22 am

If grandparents ran IMDB, descriptions would sound like this: "He's that one in the Grabbed movies? He has a particular set of skills." Can you guess the actors by their slightly confused bios?

Heard in Sketchfest 2015: Alex Borstein, Brad Bird and Dan Savage

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Ask Me Another VIPs: Very Important Puzzlers
8:19 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Family Guy's Alex Borstein On Her Voice, Fans And New Gig On HBO

Getting On's Alex Borstein.
Carlo Allegri Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 6:13 pm

Although she's best known as the voice of Lois, the put-upon wife of Peter Griffin on Seth MacFarlane's Family Guy, Alex Borstein is a jane-of-all-trades. She's done improv, stand-up, sketch comedy on MADTv, and wrote for the '90s cartoon Pinky and the Brain.

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Ask Me Another
4:46 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Pixar's Brad Bird Talks French Food, Animated Rats And New Film 'Tomorrowland'

Pixar's Brad Bird.
Jason Carter Rinaldi Getty Images for Disney

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 6:12 pm

Some people were born knowing what they want to be when they grow up. Brad Bird, the mastermind behind Pixar's The Incredibles and Ratatouille was one of those kids. At age thirteen, Bird finished his first animated film, a remake of The Tortoise and the Hare that ends in a five-way tie. He told Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg, "My parents told me to send it to the [most famous] person and work my way down." Luckily for Bird, the most famous person ended up being Milt Kahl, a legendary animator at Disney, who took Bird under his wing (pun intended).

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Ask Me Another
4:46 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Malady Melody

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 9:22 am

Sick of certain songs? This game features songs about being sick — we've rewritten their lyrics to be about the common illness in their titles. You give me fever!

Heard in Sketchfest 2015: Alex Borstein, Brad Bird and Dan Savage

Ask Me Another
4:46 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Sex Advice Columnist Dan Savage Still Fresh After 20 Years

Sex Advice Columnist Dan Savage
Dan Dion NPR

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 6:12 pm

It's hard to imagine someone as edgy and iconoclastic as Dan Savage as an institution, but he's written his "Savage Love" advice column for Seattle's weekly newspaper, The Stranger, for over twenty years. "I'm giving sex advice to the children of people who were childless when they were reading my column," the journalist and gay activist told Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg.

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Ask Me Another
4:46 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

G-G-G Network

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 9:22 am

What do George Washington, egg nog and Ginger Rogers have in common? They're all part of the "3G" network. Contestants giggle, gaggle and Google their way to victory in this final round.

Heard in Sketchfest 2015: Alex Borstein, Brad Bird and Dan Savage

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Ask Me Another
4:28 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

This That or The Other

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 9:22 am

Is Bluetooth is a historical figure, a sci-fi villain or a tech startup? There's something for every kind of nerd in our Silicon Valley-themed "This, That or the Other."

Heard in Sketchfest 2015: Alex Borstein, Brad Bird and Dan Savage

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Fine Art
3:28 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Father Of Modern Iranian Sculpture Gets First U.S. Show In Nearly 40 Years

Artist Parviz Tanavoli with his sculpture Big Heech Lovers.
John Gordon Courtesy of Parviz Tanavoli

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 4:56 pm

With his head of silver hair and stylish black blazer, Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli looks younger than his 77 years. He's been called the father of modern Iranian sculpture, but he hasn't had a major museum show in the U.S. in almost four decades. Now, Wellesley College's Davis Museum is giving viewers a chance to see 175 of Tanavoli's sculptures and drawings.

While leading a tour of the Massachusetts school's gallery, Tanavoli stops in front of his curvaceous sculptures known as "Heeches."

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Movie Reviews
2:13 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Ties That Bind Meet Lies That Blind In 'About Elly'

About Elly is "perched right on the fault line between modern thinking and Islamic tradition," says NPR film critic Bob Mondello.
Courtesy of Dreamlab Films

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 4:23 pm

Most Americans don't have a clear picture of what everyday life is like in Iran for the obvious reason that Iran has been isolated from the West for more than three decades. Still, windows open occasionally. A few years ago, Asghar Farhadi's Oscar-winning Best Foreign Language film, A Separation, offered Western eyes a glimpse of a middle-class Iranian marriage under stress.

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Books
2:13 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Postal Service Slips Up With Special-Edition Stamp For Maya Angelou

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 4:23 pm

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The U.S. Postal Service just released its stamp honoring the late poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. There was a big ceremony yesterday.

(APPLAUSE)

BLOCK: Oprah was there.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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The Two-Way
2:07 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

USPS Picks Perfect Line For Maya Angelou Stamp — If Only It Were Hers

The celebrated poet Maya Angelou crafted a number of lines that have resonated with her readers — but the one on this stamp, it turns out, isn't one of them.
AP

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 4:10 pm

As Abraham Lincoln always said, "The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you never know if they're accurate."

Well, no — barring a weird rift in time, he probably didn't say that. But when it comes to the quotations of other famous figures — and, it seems, even life offline — things occasionally get far murkier.

Just ask the U.S. Postal Service.

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Shots - Health News
12:59 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

The Creepy, Crawly World Of Bedbugs And How They Have 'Infested' Homes

Brooke Borel says bedbugs were essentially wiped out after World War II thanks to DDT. It's not totally clear why they came back in the past couple of decades.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 3:36 pm

Brooke Borel admits she has become either "the worst person" or "the best person" to talk to at a cocktail party. The journalist not only has had a few experiences with bedbugs, she also has written the new book Infested about the history of bedbugs. And she's not afraid to talk about it.

"I begrudgingly respect them," Borel tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "I did not even know what I was getting myself into when I started working on this book and I really do find them endlessly fascinating."

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Television
12:59 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

'Louie' Hits Its Mark While 'The Comedians' Hasn't Yet Fully Succeeded

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 1:25 pm

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

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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Author Interviews
12:59 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

'Displacement': The Frustrations, Fears And Absurdities Of A Cruise Upended

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 1:25 pm

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

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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Book Reviews
8:03 am
Wed April 8, 2015

Love, Violence And Lou Reed, On Display In 'The Water Museum'

Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 1:30 pm

There's a telling moment in one of the stories in Luis Alberto Urrea's The Water Museum, when two high school friends are talking about their mutual love for Velvet Underground. "You like Berlin?" asks one of the boys. "Lou Reed's best album, dude!" A lot of Reed's fans (including this one) would agree, but it's a controversial record — it's certainly one of the most depressing rock albums in history, heavily suffused with references to suicide, violence and drug abuse.

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Book Reviews
5:05 am
Wed April 8, 2015

Memoir, Perfectly Punctuated In 'Between You & Me'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 9:22 am

Mary Norris has spent the past 20 years working as "a page OK'er" at The New Yorker, a position she says is unique to the magazine. Essentially, she's a highly specialized proofreader and copy editor on the publication's elaborate author-to-print assembly line. Alternate job descriptions include "prose goddess" and "comma queen."

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The Salt
5:18 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Tea Tuesdays: How Tea + Sugar Reshaped The British Empire

The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp by Rembrandt, 1632. Here, Tulp explains musculature matters. Elsewhere, the good doctor was promoting the health virtues of tea.
Rembrandt Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 12:30 pm

Coffee and tea both landed in the British isles in the 1600s. In fact, java even got a head start of about a decade. And yet, a century later, tea was well on its way to becoming a daily habit for millions of Britons — which it remains to this day.

So how did tea emerge as Britain's hot beverage of choice?

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Theater
3:08 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Bill Nighy And David Hare Team Up Again In 'Skylight' Revival

Bill Nighy is starring a revival of David Hare's 1995 drama Skylight. "I adore it. It's probably my favorite play," he says.
John Haynes Philip Rinaldi Publicity

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 5:54 pm

Actor Bill Nighy is best known in the U.S. for his appearances in films such as Love Actually and Pirates of the Caribbean. But in England, he's a well-known stage actor, and one of his most successful collaborations is with playwright David Hare. They're together again on Broadway in a revival of Hare's 1995 drama, Skylight.

The actor and the writer first worked together on a television movie in 1980 and they've been working on and off ever since.

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Author Interviews
1:07 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Tracing The Roots Of 'The Brothers' And The Boston Marathon Bombing

In this courtroom sketch, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (third from right) is depicted with his lawyers and U.S. District Judge George O'Toole Jr. (right) as O'Toole addresses a pool of potential jurors in a jury assembly room at the federal courthouse in January. The jury started deliberating Phase 1 of the trial on Tuesday.
Jane Flavell Collins AP

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 5:32 am

Jurors started deliberating Tuesday in the case of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The defense has acknowledged that Dzhokhar planted the bomb that killed three people and injured 264 others two years ago. Since there's no doubt about Dzhokhar's involvement, the main question is about the likely sentence: life imprisonment or the death penalty.

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The Two-Way
10:07 am
Tue April 7, 2015

Lucille Ball Sculptor Apologizes For 'By Far My Most Unsettling' Work

A bronze sculpture of Lucille Ball is displayed in Lucille Ball Memorial Park in her hometown of Celoron, N.Y. Since the sculpture was unveiled in 2009, it has been blasted by critics who say it bears little or no likeness to the popular 1950s sitcom actress and comedian.
The Post-Journal AP

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 11:34 am

Responding to complaints about a sculpture meant to honor comedian Lucille Ball in her hometown, artist Dave Poulin says he'll fix it for free. "I take full responsibility for 'Scary Lucy,' " he says, adding that he didn't mean "to disparage in any way the memories of the iconic Lucy image."

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Code Switch
10:00 am
Tue April 7, 2015

Remembering Phyllis Klotman, Who Amassed An Amazing Collection Of Black Cinema

The collection Klotman created would eventually contain more than 3,000 films.
Alvaro Barrientos AP

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 1:17 pm

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Book Reviews
8:03 am
Tue April 7, 2015

Sprawling, Soaring 'Grace Of Kings' Changes The Fantasy Landscape

Courtesy of Saga Press

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 12:16 pm

A friend once told me the story of an enormous fish, Kun, that turns into an enormous bird, Peng, so huge that it must gain thousands of feet in elevation before it can fly — but once it does, it flies so far and so fast that it crosses oceans the way sparrows flit from branch to branch.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue April 7, 2015

In 'American Warlord,' Real-Life Drama Falls Flat On The Page

American Warlord promo art
Emily Jan NPR Multimedia Department

When it came time for Chucky Taylor to propose to his girlfriend Lynn, he didn't bother with embellishments. After having spent most of their relationship an ocean apart — he in Liberia, she in Pine Hills, Florida, where they'd met — Chucky drove Lynn to a beach in Monrovia and handed her not a ring but a bag of uncut diamonds.

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Food
1:26 am
Tue April 7, 2015

Busy Chef Strives For Balanced Mix Of Home Life, Culinary Ambitions

Voltaggio sprinkles sugar on granola pancakes, a dish from his new cookbook, Home.
Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 4:24 pm

Breakfast is Bryan Voltaggio's favorite meal because it's the only time he gets to eat with his family. Most other times, the Top Chef and Top Chef Masters finalist is at one of his restaurants. That's why the recipes in his new book, Home: Recipes to Cook with Family and Friends, are centered on family and family gatherings, from Thanksgiving to Super Bowl Sunday.

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Music Interviews
1:20 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

Philip Glass On Legacy: 'The Future ... It's All Around Us'

"I'm more and more coming to the idea," composer Philip Glass says, "that it's the lineage and the connection to the past and the connection to the future — that is the real connection."
Eamonn McCabe Redferns

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 2:21 pm

When composer Philip Glass started performing his own music, a lot of people didn't know what to make of it. Some people thought it sounded like the needle of a record was stuck in a groove, repeating over and over again. Some people thought it was simplistic. Some thought it was a joke. Glass says that in the '70s, audience members threw things at him while he was performing.

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