Fulcrum Acoustic engineer Rich Frembes (left) and founder Dave Gunness pose in their workshop. The company produces more than 2,000 speakers a year, often testing and tweaking the units obsessively to meet each client's specific needs.
The headquarters of Fulcrum Acoustic is only an hour outside Boston, but finding the audio company can be tricky:Its address in Whitinsville, a quaint former industrial village in Massachusetts' Blackstone Valley, doesn't register on GPS. Fulcrum's founder, Dave Gunness, opened his workshop here five years ago and says people still have trouble finding it.
On-air challenge: You're given the three-word names of famous people. For each one, you get a clue to a familiar three-word phrase or title that has the same initials as the person. Name the phrase or title. For example, singer Billy Ray Cyrus has the initials B-R-C. And B-R-C are also the initials of the phrase "Blue ribbon commission."
The bands Phish and Insane Clown Posse have spawned some of the most rabid fans in music history. Their world of obsession is not an easy one to break into, but on a warm December night in Miami back in 2009, pop culture writer Nathan Rabin went to see a concert that would inspire him to enter the orbit of these infamous groupies.
He wrote a book about them, You Don't Know Me But You Don't Like Me, and tells weekends on All Things Considered guest host Rebecca Sheir about his first-hand look at the two often-reviled sub-cultures.
With a long history of Johnny Depp collaborations — from Edward Scissorhands through the Pirates of the Caribbean films to this summer's The Lone Ranger — Joel Harlow knows that sometimes you've just gotta ignore the dead crow and get on with the job.
Credit Stephen Vaughan/Disney / AP
Joel Harlow has worked with Johnny Depp for his portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
Credit Matthew Lloyd / Getty Images for Somerset House
Catalan chef Ferran Adrià poses with plasticine models of his food on display at Somerset House in London. A new exhibit looks back at the influential modernist chef and his landmark restaurant, El Bulli.
Credit Matthew Lloyd / Getty Images for Somerset House
The man once hailed as the "Salvador Dali of the kitchen" is getting his own art exhibit.
Ferran Adrià might not be a household name, but for nearly three decades, as chef and mastermind of the acclaimed Catalan Spanish restaurant El Bulli, he moussed, foamed and otherwise re-imagined cuisine in modernist ways that have inspired many of the world's top chefs.
Filmmaker and artist Miranda July is blasting emails copied from the outboxes of some well-known names on intimate topics to anyone who signs up.
The project is called We Think Alone, and includes messages sent from a range of notable people (who agreed to participate in advance, of course). Those names include the NBA's all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul Jabar, fashion-designing siblings Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, and a Canadian-American theoretical physicist.
When novelist Mario Alberto Zambrano was a little boy, his imagination was piqued by a colorful deck of cards. Loteria is a Mexican game that's a lot like bingo, if bingo was full of vivid imagery. Instead of announcing numbers, the dealer turns over illustrated cards while calling out a riddle that corresponds with the picture — a spider, a rooster, a mermaid, a bottle.
Zambrano tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer that he used to wonder if those pictures were significant.
Many of the flowers at Hillwood are doing well despite the ever-changing local climate.
Credit Emily Files / NPR
Once the Washington, D.C., home of cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, the Hillwood Estate has a number of gardens. Like home gardeners, professionals here are trying to adapt to a changing climate.
Credit Emily Files / NPR
Credit Emily Files / NPR
To keep the flowers healthy, gardeners have to check leaves for fungus and bacteria.
At the Hillwood Estate gardens in Washington, D.C., the new norm is: "Expect the unexpected." So says volunteer coordinator Bill Johnson, who has worked on property belonging to the heiress of the Post cereal fortune for 30 years.
Like home gardeners, the horticulturalists and professional gardeners at Hillwood are confronting an unpredictable climate.
Bottles of alcohol are gathered to be smashed by Taliban authorities in Kabul in 2001.
Credit Adem Altan / AFP/Getty Images
People toast with beer in a park in Ankara in 2011 to protest new regulations tightening alcohol sales in Muslim, but secular, Turkey.
Credit John Moore / Getty Images
A sign posted at the entrance of a French restaurant in Kabul (from February 2006) highlights one of the many vagaries of rules governing alcohol in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world.
Credit Abdullah Muhsen / Reuters /Landov
A waiter pours a drink at a bar in Dubai in 2011. In the United Arab Emirates, foreign residents may obtain permits to buy alcohol from a handful of designated stores. Booze is also available in licensed hotels and pubs. Locals, yet again, are out of luck.
Reporting in the Middle East and Afghanistan can be challenging enough between dodging the bullets and bureaucracy. But, equally as confounding can be figuring out how and where to have a cold one after a hard day's work. The range of alcohol laws in Muslim countries can be simply dizzying.
Exorcistic, a rock parody inspired by a certain1971 novel and the William Friedkin film made from it, showcases Merlin as a rapping priest inspired by Max von Sydow's Father Merrin. Above, the show poster for the musical's Los Angeles fringe production.
Credit Thomas Hargis / Steve Allen Theater
In Re-Animator: The Musical, L.A.-based actor and opera singer Jesse Merlin plays Dr. Hill, a sex-obsessed surgeon who quite literally loses his head. (And, um, comes back from the dead.)
What do a reanimated deviant surgeon, a cannibalistic serial killer and a demon-plagued, vomit-spattered priest have in common? They're all characters in camp stage musicals inspired by horror films — and they're all played by the same classically trained opera singer.
His name is Jesse Merlin, and he looks a little like a young, untanned George Hamilton. But he has a bass-baritone voice that would be perfect for Gilbert and Sullivan.
Since that's not what Hollywood's looking for, Merlin had to scare up roles elsewhere.
Tash Aw was born in Taipei, grew up in Malaysia, and now lives in London. His first book, The Harmony Silk Factory, won the Whitbread Award for First Novel and was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize.
The plot of Five Star Billionaire, with its multiple protagonists, may seem deceptively familiar: a neglected boy claws his way from rags to riches; a country girl tries to make her way in the city; a city girl tries to prove her worth in a man's world of business; a rock star falls victim to the fame machine; and a rich man tumbles from grace.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, preachers serve as spiritual guides for their flocks, but what happens when a preacher loses his own faith? We'll talk with one man who knows what that's like in just a few minutes. But first, anthropologists and archaeologists, of course, study the way that groups live throughout history.
The other day my 14-year-old asked me whether I would re-live my teen years for $1 million. The answer was a resounding "No!" Memories of searing humiliation still lurk in my (scarred) subconscious. The senior prom alone could keep me chatting with a psychiatrist for months. (Even though, from what I've heard, my date is happily out of the closet and a very successful interior decorator. All's well that ends well, right?) At this point, those memories should be a funny, rosy glow far in the distance. Ha.
World-class snowboarder Kevin Pearce suffered a severe brain injury in a brutal 2009 crash captured by cameras he and his teammates were wearing. His road to recovery — and to a new sense of self — is the central narrative thread of the documentary The Crash Reel.
Credit Christian Stadler / HBO Pictures
High-energy footage evokes the thrills viewers crave from watching extreme sports — and suggests the audience's complicity in the crashes and injuries that are the inevitable cost.
"You need to be prepared for the Kevin who comes back not to be the same Kevin."
That's what a doctor told the parents of snowboarder Kevin Pearce following the brain injury he suffered in late 2009, while training for the Vancouver Olympics.
Those words, simple but painful for a parent to hear, are essentially what Lucy Walker's moving documentary, The Crash Reel, is about: the way traumatic brain injuries — wounds that, after recovery, can seemingly be invisible — leave their victims no choice but to be different people.
If you've ever visited the Statue of Liberty, she's no doubt loomed large above you, but gaze at the statue's pedestal and you'll find Emma Lazarus' poem "The New Colossus." Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
My colleague, Robert Siegel, is off today for the holiday. But, we're going to return with him now to a thrilling day of yesteryear. Yesteryear being five years ago. That's right it's a shameless re-run. And our excuse is the new "Lone Ranger" movie, which has opened to mixed reviews. The old TV show, which aired in the 1950s, was a favorite of Robert's when he was a boy. So, for our 2008 series, In Character, Robert marked "The Lone Ranger's" 75th anniversary.
Artisanal food fever is raging, and the latest sign is the rise in sales of old-fashioned butter churns.
Purveyor Glenda Lehman Ervin of Lehman's sells old-timey kitchen gadgets online and at her family's store in Kidron, Ohio. She says the clientele is quite diverse. "There are lots of people interested," she says.
It's not just homesteaders, hipsters and do-it-yourself-minded foodies getting in on the hands-on pursuit.
Some of the greatest summer food experiences take you outside. Whether it's shucking corn and barbecuing or spitting watermelon seeds, an outdoor setting can add a whole new dimension to food.
Bill Smith, chef at Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill, N.C., says some of his favorite summer food memories took place at picnic tables over messy bowls of his grandmother's crab stew. He shared a recipe for All Things Considered's Found Recipes series.
If you haven't heard the buzz — or maybe it's the fizz — handmade sodas have been experiencing a full-on revival over the past few years. Whether they're mixed at home with a Soda Stream-like device or made at an old-fashioned soda fountain, the rise of homemade sodas has been driven by a general shift toward less-processed foods.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are chart-topping rap sensations. In a special rebroadcast, they sat down last year with guest host Celeste Headlee to talk about their latest album 'The Heist' a few months before their fame hit its biggest heights.
Cathleen Schine can always be counted on for an enticing, smart read, and her latest novel, Fin & Lady, is no exception, but it's an odd duck, as quirky as its peculiarly named titular half-siblings. Neither as sparklingly funny as her most recent book, The Three Weissmanns of Westport, nor as brainy as her earlier Rameau's Niece, Fin & Lady is light, entertaining, and ultimately moving, butyou can't help wondering what Schine hoped to achieve with it.
Dash Shaw is a graphic novelist and animator whose previous books, including Bottomless Belly Button and Bodyworld, seethe with dark, mischievous intent. He sets out to unsettle, using the unique tools the comics medium provides to expose discomfiting truths about relationships both familial and romantic. A proud experimentalist, Shaw often shuns tidy narrative conventions in favor of raw emotion.
All over the country on Thursday, fireworks will light up the sky. In many places, those fireworks will come with a patriotic soundtrack — one that wouldn't be complete without "The Star-Spangled Banner." The song officially became America's national anthem in 1931, but it's been around since the early 19th century.
Now we continue our discussion on the history and traditions of Independence Day. Sure, there are parades and John Philip Sousa marches, but for many Americans, the grilled hot dogs and hamburgers are as important as the fireworks. Historian Kenneth C. Davis told us earlier that Fourth of July celebrations began in 1776, but the foods we now consider traditional didn't arrive until much later.
More than any other day of the year, the Fourth of July is a time to take pride in American history. Guest host Celeste Headlee speaks to author Kenneth C. Davis about what you shouldn't forget this Independence Day.
When Mad Men premiered in July 2007, the character of Peggy Olson was introduced to audiences as Don Draper's naive young secretary. In the seasons that have followed, Peggy has slowly become a talented copywriter and Don's protege, meanwhile trying constantly to create a place for herself in the male-dominated world of advertising. Her development has been a centerpiece of the series.
Elisabeth Moss, who plays Peggy, says she has learned about the character and her growth episode by episode, script by script, just like those of us who watch the show on television.
We're at the point when Johnny Depp's dumbest whims can lead to movies costing $200 million. I imagine Depp lying in a hammock on his private island and saying, "I've always wanted to play Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows!" and it's done. Then he says, "I've always wanted to do The Lone Ranger — but as Tonto!" and it, too, gets the green light.