Arts

The Two-Way
5:42 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Book News: Remembering Nelson Mandela, The Author

Nelson Mandela, pictured at a concert at London's Hyde Park in 2008. Mandela died Thursday in South Africa. He was 95.
Gareth Davies Getty Images

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

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Monkey See
5:03 am
Fri December 6, 2013

The Book Concierge Presents NPR Staff #FridayReads

(Clockwise, from top left)Lynn Neary, Bob Mondello, David Greene, Michel Martin, Susan Stamberg, Neda Ulaby, Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, Linda Holmes, Deborah Amos, Audie Cornish
Max Hirshfeld, Doby Photography, David Gilkey, Doby Photography, Antony Nagelmann, Doby Photography, Jacques Coughlin, Mito Habe-Evans, Steve Barrett, Doby Photography

If you follow NPR Books on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr, you may already know that #fridayreads is one of our favorite weekly Internet traditions.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Behind Great Art, The Artist's Painstaking Process

To test a theory that the Dutch master Johannes Vermeer used lenses, mirrors and other tools to create his masterpieces, inventor Tim Jenison sets out to re-create the method — and the paintings — in the dazzling documentary Tim's Vermeer.
Shane F. Kelly High Delft Pictures/Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 4:33 pm

Stephen Sondheim has written quite a few classic musicals — Company, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods — but he's had just one hit song, "Send in the Clowns" from A Little Night Music. And, as he tells an audience in Six by Sondheim, it was a tricky one to write because the star who had to sing it, Glynis Johns, wasn't a singer with a capital "s."

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Movies
3:55 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

The 'Anchorman' Legend Continues, And It's Everywhere

The massive marketing campaign for Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues has gone way beyond trailers and commercials. Some critics say the journalists are embarrassing themselves — and some say the character has become tiresomely ubiquitous.
Gemma LaMana Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 9:57 am

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Among Israeli Teens, Complicated Questions Of Consent

In S#x Acts, Gili (Sivan Levy) transfers to a new school and takes up with more than one of her fellow students, and the lines of consent and blame begin to get blurred.
Tribeca Film

It's hard to think of a social issue more certain to drive people into blinkered encampment than the question of sexual consent. There are times when "no means no" seems like an incomplete response to an enormously touchy problem — especially as it affects teenagers, a demographic not known for prudent lust management.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

A 'Furnace' Fueled By Manly Malice

When his younger brother disappears after getting entangled with a rough customer, Russell (Christian Bale) grabs a gun and heads out to hunt for him.
Kerry Hayes Relativity Media

Both literally and thematically dark, Out of the Furnace simmers with manliness like a slow-cooking pot of venison chili. This is the sort of movie where character is revealed by what the protagonist decides to hunt and possibly kill.

A noble buck in the Pennsylvania woods? Maybe not. A murderous, meth-dealing bare-knuckle-boxing promoter? Bang!

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

A Spinner Of Sad Songs, Struggling To Sing Past The Gloom

Folk singer Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac, left) is barely surviving the 1961 winter in New York, living off the proceeds of his occasional gigs — and the kindness of friends like Jim (Justin Timberlake).
Alison Rosa Long Strange Trip/CBS Films

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 1:47 pm

The title character of Inside Llewyn Davis starts and ends the film in a little Greenwich Village folk club in 1961, singing the gloomy traditional tune "Hang Me, Oh Hang Me." The song's world-weary protagonist resigns himself to his impending death, really bothered only by the eternity he'll spend trapped underground in the grave.

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The Salt
2:01 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

What's For Dinner? Try Brazilian

Brazilian fare from the restaurant D.O.M. in Sao Paulo is some of the best in the world — literally. It's currently ranked the sixth best restaurant in the world by San Pellegrino.
Rodrigo Paoletti flickr

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 9:57 am

When you think of the world's great cuisines, Brazilian food doesn't spring to mind. But that is about to change.

Outside Brazil, the South American nation is most famous for its barbecue, or churrascaria. But inside the country, a new movement celebrating regional foods is booming. And ahead of the World Cup and the Olympics, Brazilians are hoping the world will get a new taste of Brazil.

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Fine Art
12:56 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

'Pearl Earring' Is The Crown Jewel Of The Frick's Dutch Exhibit

Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring is one of 15 17th century Dutch paintings on view at New York's Frick Collection through early 2014.
AFP Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 5:48 pm

Some years ago, I wrote a poem called "Why I Love Vermeer," which ends "I've never lived in a city without a Vermeer." I could say that until 1990, when Vermeer's exquisite painting The Concert was one of the masterpieces stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. It's still missing.

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The Salt
11:23 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Fast-Food Workers Across The U.S. Cry Poverty Wages, Demand Better Pay

Fast-food workers march toward the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Similar rallies occurred in about 100 cities across the U.S.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 9:57 am

When you're making eight bucks an hour, which is pretty typical in the fast-food industry, it's tough to make ends meet.

And increasingly, the working poor are asking this question: Why am I living in poverty, even when I'm working full time?

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Food
10:02 am
Thu December 5, 2013

'King Cocktail' Serves Up Prohibition History, Hangover Cure

Dale's Holiday Old Fashioned
Michael Hnatov

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 12:18 pm

If you're going to a holiday party, there's a good chance you'll be sipping on an adult beverage of some sort. You can do that without looking over your shoulder for authorities because exactly 80 years ago today, Dec. 5, Prohibition came to an end and Americans were able to legally pick up their drinks again.

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Ask Me Another
8:10 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Not On The List

There are songs that express heartfelt emotions, telling stories of love or loss that are both universal and deeply personal. Then there are songs that are pretty much just lists of things. This game covers those songs, though house musician Jonathan Coulton and VIP Nellie McKay have cheekily swapped out some of the items. Raindrops on roses and what on what, again?

Ask Me Another
8:10 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Bad Things Come In Threes

It has been noted that many of history's notorious assassins had three names: John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, Mark David Chapman. It turns out that many other famous people with three names have committed far lesser (but still disturbing) acts, like popularizing the mullet or basically inventing cat videos. Guess the celebrities as host Ophira Eisenberg leads this game.

Ask Me Another
8:10 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Bruce Willis, Wash Your Mouth Out

You may be familiar with Bruce Willis' endlessly quotable catchphrase from the action movie franchise Die Hard, though we can't reprint it in full here. This game asks contestants to "clean up" the famous line by swapping out the offending obscenity for other words that are commonly found after the word "mother." Yippee-ki-yay, Mother Nature!

Ask Me Another
8:10 am
Thu December 5, 2013

X Marks The Spot

In this game led by host Ophira Eisenberg, we've removed the "x" sound in various words and phrases. Your job is to put the "x" back, based on the clue. For example, if she said, "Put an "x" in "hagon" to get a six-sided geometric shape, you would answer "hexagon."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Ask Me Another
8:10 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Call The Doctor

Puzzle Guru John Chaneski leads this final round in which every correct answer is the name of a real or fictional doctor, most of whom you shouldn't go to for medical advice. Except maybe Dr. Who. Bonus trivia question: On The Muppet Show, who led the house band and played the keyboards?

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Ask Me Another
8:10 am
Thu December 5, 2013

'The Very Thought Of You': Nellie McKay Channels Doris Day

Nellie McKay.
Rick Gonzalez

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 10:51 am

  • Web Extra: Hear our interview with Nellie McKay, plus a duet with Jonathan Coulton

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Ask Me Another
8:10 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Gone To The Dogs

This game is rather simple: each answer contains the name of a dog breed. For example, the Simon & Garfunkel song that begins, "I am just a poor boy though my story's seldom told," is "The Boxer." Of course, as house musician Jonathan Coulton will tell you, a boxer is a breed of dog, as well as a person who boxes. The song is not, however, about a person who puts things in boxes.

The Two-Way
5:43 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Book News: Amazon Launches An Imprint For Short Fiction

Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos speaks at a 2009 event in New York unveiling a new version of the Amazon Kindle.
Mario Tama Getty Images

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

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Code Switch
3:32 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Telemundo's 'Highly Unusual' Resurrection of 'El Señor'

Rafael Amaya plays drug lord Aurelio Casillas on El Señor de los Cielos.
Billy Coleman Telemundo/NBC Universal

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 4:22 pm

Telemundo recently announced that its telenovela El Señor de los Cielos (Lord of the Skies) will be back for a second season; production began this week in Mexico City. This resurrection sets it apart from almost every other telenovela because, unlike American soap operas, telenovelas have a clear beginning and a definitive ending, airing for a set number of episodes.

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The Salt
11:18 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Mushroom Foraging: When The Fun(gi) Hunt Gets Out Of Hand

Hank Shaw, author of Hunt, Gather, Cook, snaps the end off a mushroom in a Washington, D.C.-area park. When broken, the inside turns blue, identifying it as an inedible species of bolete.
The Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 9:26 am

The first heavy rains of the season fell two weeks ago at Salt Point State Park, on the northern California coast, and now ranger Todd Farcau is waiting anxiously for the forest floor to erupt with mushrooms.

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The Two-Way
10:09 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Norman Rockwell's 'Saying Grace' Sells For $46 Million At Auction

Norman Rockwell's 1951 painting Saying Grace sold for $46 million Wednesday — a record for the artist.
AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:06 pm

Three Norman Rockwell paintings sold for a combined total of nearly $58 million at a Sotheby's auction Wednesday. The three paintings, which had long been displayed in a Massachusetts museum named for the artist, were among 10 Rockwell works sold at auction today.

By far, the star of the bunch was the 1951 masterpiece Saying Grace, which sold for $46 million — a record for Rockwell's art. The price includes a buyer's premium. The AP says the artist's previous record of $15 million had been set by Breaking Home Ties at a 2006 Sotheby's auction.

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The Two-Way
5:22 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Book News: Manil Suri Takes Bad Sex In Fiction Award

Author Manil Suri missed his chance to meet Joan Collins, who presented this year's Bad Sex in Fiction Award at a ceremony in London.
Courtesy of Nina Subin

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

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Monkey See
3:06 am
Wed December 4, 2013

The Top 5 Reasons We're Taking A Break From Lists

This Christmas, NPR Books would like to find something other than lists in our stockings.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 9:30 am

You love lists. We love lists. Everyone loves lists. And in the past five years, NPR has brought you more than 80 year-end book lists — the best book club books, the best cookbooks, the best gift books, the best guilty pleasures. We listed. You clicked. Everyone was happy.

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Author Interviews
1:22 am
Wed December 4, 2013

A Holiday Photo Book That Puts Families In An 'Awkward' Position

Someone has earned a spot on the naughty list this year.
Courtesy of Three Rivers Press

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 10:06 am

In 2009, Mike Bender was horrified to find that his mother had hung a particularly embarrassing family photo.

"It was a vacation photo. It was my dad's 50th birthday. I was 13," he says. "My dad had my brother and I do a Rockette's kick with our skis. We were on top of a mountain, right by the lift, and I just remember feeling, you know, stuck in that pose: This. Is. Awkward."

But as an adult he realized that the photo was not only awkward — it was hilarious.

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The Salt
1:05 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Why $7-Per-Gallon Milk Looms Once Again

Sticker shock in the dairy aisle? If the government fails to pass the farm bill, milk prices could spike sometime after the first of the year.
George Frey Landov

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 11:29 am

The leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees are meeting Wednesday as they continue to try to work out the differences between their respective farm bills. If they fail, the country faces what's being called the "dairy cliff" — with milk prices potentially shooting up to about $7 a gallon sometime after the first of the year.

Here's why: The nation's farm policy would be legally required to revert back to what's called permanent law. In the case of dairy, that would be the 1949 farm bill.

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Kitchen Window
12:32 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Get Freshly Minted This Holiday Season

Emily Hilliard for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 1:03 pm

When I was growing up, my uncle Richard farmed mint. In the late summer, he and his crew would mow the mint fields like hay and collect the leaves in enclosed wagons, then drive them down to the still, where they would seal them and pump them full of steam. The steam caused the oil in the leaves to turn to vapor, which re-liquefied when pushed through a condenser.

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The Salt
1:03 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Cookie-Baking Chemistry: How To Engineer Your Perfect Sweet Treat

Engineering the perfect cookie: You can control the diameter and thickness of your favorite chocolate chip cookies by changing the temperature of the butter and the amount of flour in the dough.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 11:38 am

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Author Interviews
11:25 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Underground Cities And 'Ghost' Miners: What Some People Do For Gold

The price of gold rose dramatically after Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008.
David Paul Morris Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 12:41 pm

Gold is assumed to have eternal, inherent value, but what makes it valuable? And what determines its value now that it's no longer the basis of our currency? In the book Gold: The Race for the World's Most Seductive Metal, journalist Matthew Hart examines the new gold rush driven by investors. He travels to gold mines — including the Mponeng mine in South Africa, where he descended into the deepest man-made hole on Earth — and investigates why gold and crime sometimes go hand in hand.

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Author Interviews
11:25 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Ted Williams: A Perfectionist Ballplayer With Many Demons

Ted Williams, pictured here in 1941, was deeply marked by his parents' absence while he and his brother were growing up.
AP

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 12:16 pm

There are great ballplayers, and then there's Ted Williams. In a 22-year career, Williams accomplished things that give him a legitimate claim to being the greatest hitter who ever lived; but he was also a tormented soul who hurt a lot of people, including himself.

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