Arts

Monkey See
8:11 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Essie Davis: On Playing A Sexually Liberated 'Superhero' Without Apology

Essie Davis has read about how Phryne is a "hussy." She doesn't mind.
Ben King Acorn.TV

In the first-ever episode of the Australian series Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, the central figure, Phryne Fisher, has to explain to her young, extremely Catholic new maid Dot what exactly is in the round, plastic case that Dot is holding in her hands. "Family planning," she says casually.

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Monkey See
6:42 am
Mon March 31, 2014

It's 'Mother' Time: A Show With One Last Chance To Get It Right

Cristin Milioti joined the cast of How I Met Your Mother to play the mother herself in the final season. Josh Radnor has played Ted for nine years. Tonight, they meet.
Ron P. Jaffe CBS

Kids, after nine long years, How I Met Your Mother is finally coming to an end.

That the show has been on this long is still strange to me. I remember when it was consistently almost cancelled in the first few years, and I passed around the early seasons on DVD (remember those?) trying to get my friends as hooked as I was. But here we are, nine years in, and a whole mess of fans are eagerly awaiting the show's conclusion.

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The Two-Way
5:31 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Book News: Stock Market Is 'Rigged,' Author Michael Lewis Says

Michael Lewis' latest book, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, was released Monday.
Tabitha Soren

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 7:28 am

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

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Food
1:29 am
Mon March 31, 2014

In Kitchens Around The World, Comfort Foods Bring Us Together

Hall makes the hors d'oeuvres version of spanakopita.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 11:58 am

There's nothing like a warm, home-cooked meal to bring everyone to the table. And in her new cookbook Carla's Comfort Foods, Chef Carla Hall celebrates the meals that unite us — no matter where we're from.

Hall is one of the hosts of ABC's talk show The Chew and was a finalist on the reality TV show Top Chef. She invited NPR's David Greene over to bake spanakopita — a Greek dish, and just one of the many recipes she loves from around the world.

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My Big Break
3:06 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

Cesar Millan's Long Walk To Becoming The 'Dog Whisperer'

Cesar Millan's television show Dog Whisperer on National Geographic debuted in 2004, but Millan previously spent years struggling to pursue a career as a dog trainer.
Robin Layton Courtesy of Cesar Millan

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

Long before Cesar Millan became the "Dog Whisperer," with TV shows and a best-selling series of books, he had to learn how to ask for a job in English.

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Books
3:06 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

3 Bedtime Picture Books That Won't Put Parents To Sleep

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 11:49 am

At the end of a long day, there's a phrase that parents of small children can come to dread hearing: "Read me a story!"

Though bedtime reading can be fun, reading the same book over and over and over again can be excruciating for parents.

Margaret Willison, a librarian who specializes in young readers, tells NPR's Kelly McEvers she recommends three picture books in particular that appeal to children without boring the pants off their parents.

Of course, you don't have to eschew words altogether to make repetitive reading more fun.

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Author Interviews
3:06 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

In Civilian Snapshot Of Iraq, An Artist Is A 'Corpse Washer'

Courtesy of Yale University Press

In his latest novel, Iraqi author Sinan Antoon gives readers a stark portrait of contemporary Iraq. Originally written in Arabic and translated into English by Antoon himself, The Corpse Washer was nominated for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize this year.

The book's protagonist is a young man named Jawad, an aspiring artist from a family of traditional Shiite corpse washers and shrouders in Baghdad. Jawad breaks from the family business and attends art school, where he devotes himself to the celebration of life rather than the ritual surrounding death.

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The Two-Way
12:58 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

The Ides Of March Madness: 'Who's Gonna Stop Prospero?'

Paul Edward O'Brien, a stage actor, poet, and oncologist, delivered a Game Day-style analysis of how William Shakespeare's plays would match up in a tournament bracket.
Wesley Moore

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 2:16 pm

What if William Shakespeare's plays faced off in a tournament, like basketball squads spewing Elizabethan verse? That's the idea behind a bracket that pits 32 of the bard's plays against each another, in a contest arranged by New York's New Victory Theater.

Much like the NCAA basketball tournament that inspired it, the theater has been tallying votes and updating its bracket on its road to Stratford-upon-Avon.

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Author Interviews
5:40 am
Sun March 30, 2014

'A Small Player' On The Brink Of Self-Destruction

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 3:59 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Arts & Life
5:40 am
Sun March 30, 2014

Strategic Seating: How To Elicit The Optimal Dinner Conversation

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 3:59 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Alex Cornell does not like dinner parties or overly chatty commuters who insist upon talking to him on the bus. So, he created a new app called Tickle, which helps you escape awkward public situations. By simply touching the phone, you can generate a fake phone call, allowing you to politely excuse yourself. The app isn't out yet, but it reminded us of another one of Alex Cornell's attempts to avoid awkward conversations. We spoke to the San Francisco-based blogger and designer last year.

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Author Interviews
5:40 am
Sun March 30, 2014

A Libertarian With Roots In Rock Music

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 3:59 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're going to hear now how a prominent libertarian found his political voice.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: Matt Kibbe was just 13 when he fell under the spell of a certain rock band.

MATT KIBBE: Well, I was listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin, but it was the band Rush really got me starting to read and pay attention to ideas.

MARTIN: On the Rush album, "2112," the band sings of a futuristic society, in which thought and expression are controlled by a top-down autocracy.

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Around the Nation
5:40 am
Sun March 30, 2014

1,000 Farmworkers View Chavez Film, Dedicated To Them

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 3:59 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

A new feature film about the early days of Cesar Chavez opened this weekend. The story of the legendary activist who took on the powerful agricultural industry was directed by Mexican actor Diego Luna. This past week, the filmmakers treated an audience of California farm workers to an outdoor preview of the movie dubbed into Spanish.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco was there.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Sun March 30, 2014

Miss Lonelyhearts No More: Three Surprising Books of Advice

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 2:20 pm

It amazes me that those of us who bridle at advice from people we know — parents, spouses, neighbors — crave it from those strangers we call authors. Stand in front of any magazine rack and gaze upon the endless lists of promises on the covers: advice on how to publish your first novel, lose weight, or put that spark back into your love life. Think of that corner in the bookstore devoted to "Self-improvement." Books with "how to" in the title — including my latest effort — number in the thousands.

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All Tech Considered
3:11 am
Sun March 30, 2014

Printing Wikipedia Would Take 1 Million Pages, But That's Sort Of The Point

says PediaPress founder Christoph Kepper." href="/post/printing-wikipedia-would-take-1-million-pages-thats-sort-point" class="noexit lightbox">
It would take more than 1,000 1,200-page volumes to contain the content of Wikipedia, but PediaPress has made an example volume to show what it might look like. "Our goal is to allow everyone to explore the physical dimensions of Wikipedia," says PediaPress founder Christoph Kepper.
PediaPress

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 12:55 pm

A German-based group called PediaPress is trying to raise enough money to make a print copy of all of Wikipedia. That's right, Wikipedia, the ever-evolving, always-changing, inherently digital encyclopedia of information gathered by contributors all over the world. To say this would be a massive project is an understatement.

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The Protojournalist
5:13 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

Vladimir Putin Is Right Out Of A Russian Novel

Russian President Vladimir Putin stands in the shadow of the Fyodor Dostoyevsky monument in Dresden, Germany, 2006.
SEBASTIAN WILLNOW AFP/Getty Images

"Russia is a hypothetical culture. Ruled by despots for most of our history, we are used to living in fiction rather than reality," writes Nina L. Khrushcheva, who teaches international affairs at The New School. She is also the great granddaughter of the late communist leader of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev.

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Movie Interviews
3:02 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

In Biblical Blockbuster, Aronofsky Rocks Noah's Boat

The heavens open on Russell Crowe, as Noah, in the new Bible-based film.
Niko Tavernise Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 4:59 pm

The Biblical tale of Noah's Ark isn't the likeliest of big screen blockbusters. But that didn't stop Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, Black Swan) from pitching it to a Hollywood studio.

"When I first went to the studio, I said, 'Hey, what's the only boat more famous than the Titanic?' " he tells NPR's Kelly McEvers.

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Television
3:02 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

Inside 'Regular Show,' Where Every Clip Is A Big Production

J.G. Quintel is the creator of Regular Show and the voice of one of its main characters, Mordecai.
Cartoon Network

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 4:59 pm

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Movie Reviews
11:29 am
Sat March 29, 2014

'Boys Of Abu Ghraib' Focuses Too Tightly On An Army Of One

Jack Farmer (Luke Moran), a kind-hearted member of the Military Police stationed at Abu Ghraib, finds himself questioning the jail's culture.
Courtesy of

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 12:08 pm

Essentially a one-man show, writer-director-star Luke Moran's Boys of Abu Ghraib observes a soldier's deployment at the prison during its most notorious post-Saddam year, 2003. As such, the movie works pretty well. But spotlighting a single GI sidesteps the group dynamic of what happened at the U.S.-run jail, where poorly supervised guards incited each other to behave in ways that were, at the least, unprofessional.

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Author Interviews
5:59 am
Sat March 29, 2014

'Lovesongs' Examines What It Means To Come Home

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 9:27 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

How long do good friends keep growing up with each other? Leland, or Lee, is a rock star. He tours the world but keeps coming back, if not back home, to the place where he grew up - Little Wing, Wisconsin, a fictitious Midwestern town that feels as real as Eau Claire, which is where the author, Nickolas Butler grew up. His new novel, "Shotgun Lovesongs" interlaces the stories of friends who keep coming back to each other and try to get hold of where they are in the world.

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Monkey See
5:59 am
Sat March 29, 2014

Sex And The Greater 'Good Wife': Archie Panjabi On Keeping That Big Secret

Archie Panjabi plays Kalinda Sharma on CBS's The Good Wife.
Jeffrey Neira CBS

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 2:15 pm

Archie Panjabi is part of the cast of CBS's The Good Wife, which has spent much of this week hearing an earful about a major plot development on last Sunday's episode. (They discuss her feelings about the reaction, but do not specify what the development was.)

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Poetry
5:03 am
Sat March 29, 2014

Dark, Remarkable Poems Show 'How To Dance' Amid Economic Despair

Courtesy of Greywolf Press

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 2:18 pm

Nick Lantz speaks from the failed and fallen heart of middle-class Americans, the everyday folks whose lives and bank accounts were gutted when the housing bubble burst. What does that heartbreak look like? Deeper and uglier than plunging stock market charts and foreclosure signs, and more personal. Welcome to an America in which ambition is turned upside down, where someone is likely to say, when asked what he's doing for work these days, "you know those cracks people fall through?/ We're the crack regulators, we keep/ those cracks up to code."

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Author Interviews
3:39 am
Sat March 29, 2014

A Grand Tradition Of Family Drama In 'Cavendon Hall'

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:33 am

Barbara Taylor Bradford is one of the best-selling authors in the world — and, proudly, a working stiff. She's written 29 novels, beginning with A Woman of Substance in 1979, which became one of the best-selling novels of all time. Her books have been published in more than 90 countries and 40 languages.

Her latest is Cavendon Hall, which takes its title from the great old Edwardian home shared by two families: the aristocratic Inghams and the Swanns, who've served the Inghams since time immemorial.

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Movie Reviews
6:02 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

For Two Brothers, Life Creeps Into The Paradise Of Summer Break

Brothers Tommy (Ryan Jones) and Eric (Nathan Varnson), and their group of friends spend much of their summer hanging out in the woods and abandoned buildings near their small New Jersey town.
Courtesy of Tribeca Film

For parents dreading the prospect of their kids spending summer locked in air-conditioned basements with nothing but the glow of computer, TV, and tablet screens to keep them company, the opening scenes of Hide Your Smiling Faces will surely inspire wistful sighs.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
5:37 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Violinist Itzhak Perlman Gets Quizzed On Ron Perlman

Dr. Scott M. Lieberman AP

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 9:25 am

Violinist Itzhak Perlman has played for presidents and the Queen of England, but the high point of his career is obviously for him to be right here, playing the NPR news quiz.

We've invited him to play a game called "You're no Hellboy." Three questions for Izhak Perlman about actor Ron Perlman from Hellboy, Beauty and the Beast and Sons of Anarchy.

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This Week's Must Read
4:01 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

An Ode To Our Newest Neighbor: Biden, The Pink Dwarf Planet

two planets
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 4:34 pm

This week, astronomers discovered a new dwarf planet at the outer reaches of our solar system. It's a pink, icy ball that's beyond Pluto's orbit. Its official name is 2012 VP113, but scientists have given it the nickname "Biden."

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Author Interviews
4:01 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

In 'Storied Life,' Characters Come With A Reading List

Jan Sandvik iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 4:34 pm

Thirty-nine year old widower A.J. Fikry is an unlikely romantic hero: He's cranky, he drinks too much, his bookstore is failing and don't get him started on the state of publishing. He's also at the center of Gabrielle Zevin's new novel, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.

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Movie Reviews
4:01 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Send Out The Doves: 'Noah' Lands On Solid Ground

Ila (Emma Watson) and her husband, Shem, are two passengers aboard the ark built by Noah to escape God's flood in Noah, Darren Aronofsky's imagining of the biblical tale.
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 4:42 pm

The story of Noah's Ark is getting blockbuster treatment in Hollywood's new biblical epic Noah. Darren Aronofsky's film about the Old Testament shipbuilder has been sparking controversy — but there's no denying that the Great Flood, digitized, is a pretty great flood.

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Movie Reviews
9:11 am
Fri March 28, 2014

In 'Noah,' Earth And The Bible Get A Computer-Generated Reboot

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 12:20 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Darren Aronofsky had a surprise hit in 2010 with "Black Swan," which won an Oscar for its star, Natalie Portman. His latest film, "Noah," is a big budget Bible epic based on the story of Noah's Ark. Russell Crowe plays the title character, and the movie also features Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson.

Film critic David Edelstein has this review.

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Television
9:11 am
Fri March 28, 2014

'The Good Wife' Delivers A Game-Changing Stunner

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 12:20 pm

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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Monkey See
8:48 am
Fri March 28, 2014

The Tyranny Of Release Dates, Part II: 'The Lunchbox'

Saajan Fernandes (Irrfan Khan) is a widower whose correspondence comes in an unlikely package — a lunchbox.
Ritesh Batra Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 2:16 pm

The romantic comedy-drama is not dead; it's just being platformed.

I saw The Lunchbox, the first feature from director Ritesh Batra, at the Toronto International Film Festival in September of last year. Starring Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur, it takes as its jumping-off point the dabbawalas of Mumbai, guys on bikes who run a lunchbox-delivery system that brings hot, delicious lunches to people working in offices. (Spoiler alert: you will envy this system by film's end.)

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