Arts

Book News & Features
5:03 am
Sun March 8, 2015

Reading On The Roof? Now That's Punk Rock

Don't try this at home: Critic Juan Vidal experiments with reading on the roof.
Rheagan Vidal

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 8:46 pm

In The Savage Detectives, Roberto Bolaño invents the "visceral realists," a group of poetry-mad troublemakers who read and write incessantly. They also shoplift, sleep around, and drift from place to place — causing mayhem at workshops and picking fights with lesser poets for sport. All of them are guided by a lust for life and an unwavering devotion to literature and its discontents. One even reads in the shower, easily the most punk-rock thing this side of the Sex Pistols.

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Theater
4:05 am
Sun March 8, 2015

Helen Mirren Extends Her Elizabethan Reign In 'The Audience'

Helen Mirren (in blue) plays Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience, a play that imagines the private conversations between the queen and her prime ministers.
Joan Marcus Courtesy of Boneau/Bryan-Brown

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 11:08 am

The last time Dame Helen Mirren and author Peter Morgan collaborated, it was for the movie The Queen, and she took home an Oscar. Now the two are working together again, this time on a play called The Audience. It's about the relationship between Queen Elizabeth II and her prime ministers. A hit in London, the play is opening Sunday at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on Broadway.

The Audience begins with a Buckingham Palace officer named "The Equerry," who tells the theater audience what it's about to see.

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Movies
4:31 pm
Sat March 7, 2015

Movie Chains Balk At Netflix's Plan For Simultaneous Release

Idris Elba stars as an African warlord in the forthcoming film Beasts of No Nation. Netflix recently purchased distribution rights for the film for nearly $12 million.
Jac Cheairs Red Crown Productions/Participant Media/Netflix

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 10:58 am

Beasts of No Nation is the story of a West African child who is forced to join a unit of mercenary fighters. Actor Idris Elba portrays a brutal warlord who recruits the child soldier.

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All Tech Considered
3:36 pm
Sat March 7, 2015

Grace Hopper, 'The Queen Of Code,' Would Have Hated That Title

Grace Hopper joined the Navy during World War II and served on and off until 1986.
Courtesy of ESPN Films

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 6:45 pm

In today's male-dominated computer programming industry, it's easy to forget that a woman — Grace Hopper — helped usher in the computer revolution.

During World War II, Hopper left a teaching job at Vassar College to join the Navy Reserve. That's when she went to Harvard to work on the first programmable computer in the United States: the Mark I.

Gillian Jacobs, best known for her role as Britta Perry in the comedy television show Community, has directed a short documentary about Grace Hopper titled The Queen of Code.

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Television
3:13 pm
Sat March 7, 2015

'Kimmy Schmidt' Finds Optimism (And Jokes) In Dark Premise

Ellie Kemper, right, stars alongside Tituss Burgess in Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which follows a former doomsday cult member as she adjusts to life in New York.
Eric Liebowitz Courtesy of Netflix

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 6:45 pm

Two of the comedic minds behind 30 Rock, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, have returned to the world of half-hour comedies — this time, on Netflix.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a new 13-episode series originally developed by Fey and Carlock for NBC, debuted on the streaming service on March 6.

Actress Ellie Kemper plays the title character in the show, which shares 30 Rock's energy, but mines comedy out of a much darker premise: A group of young women escape from 15 years of captivity in an underground bunker run by a doomsday cult leader in Indiana.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
8:09 am
Sat March 7, 2015

Not My Job: Singer Robert Earl Keen Gets Quizzed On Cats

Barry Brecheisen Barry Brecheisen/Invision/AP

The last time we talked with singer Robert Earl Keen, it was 2009 in Austin, Texas, and Keen told us a story about how he woke up one day to find his wife standing in the doorway shooting at cats with a deer rifle. "I got out my guitar and wrote a song," he said.

Listeners wrote in and scolded Keen (and his wife and this show) for making light of harm to the poor kitties. So we've decided to ask Keen three questions about the more terrifying side of cats.

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Author Interviews
6:25 am
Sat March 7, 2015

'Bowling Alone' Author Tackles The American Dream

Originally published on Sat March 7, 2015 8:29 am

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

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Sat March 7, 2015

30 Seconds That Echo Through History In 'Epitaph'

Courtesy of HarperCollins

Originally published on Sat March 7, 2015 11:58 am

Three pages, and really not even that.

Really, 46 lines. In a book of nearly 600 pages total. 46 lines to describe the action of 30 seconds — which would become 30 of the best-known seconds in American history. Which would, whether true or false, become one of this country's foundational myths: The gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

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Author Interviews
3:48 am
Sat March 7, 2015

The Lusitania Mystery: Why British Codebreakers Didn't Try To Save It

A German U-boat sank the luxury ocean liner Lusitania, seen here in 1907, on May 7, 1915.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 7, 2015 8:29 am

One hundred years ago, 128 Americans died among more than a thousand in the sinking of what was then the greatest ocean liner in the world. In response, the U.S. entered World War I.

That's the story of the Lusitania, right? But Erik Larson, one of this country's most successful narrators of nonfiction, now retells the story a lot of people think they know. His new book, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, has an appreciation for the lives that were lost and the impact the ship had on history.

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Performing Arts
3:29 am
Sat March 7, 2015

After 60 Years Of Fabulousness, Dame Edna Embarks On Her Farewell Tour

Dame Edna Everage — a character created by Australian comedian Barry Humphries — models a hat based on the Sydney Opera House. She is currently performing Dame Edna's Glorious Goodbye: The Farewell Tour.
Wesley Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 7, 2015 8:29 am

Dame Edna Everage says she's approaching 60 — but from the wrong direction. The housewife and superstar — a creation of Australian comedian Barry Humphries — has been making audiences laugh, weep, have acid reflux, and ruminate deeply on the human experience for six decades.

Now, she's embarked on Dame Edna's Glorious Goodbye: The Farewell Tour, which concludes in Washington, D.C., in April. Dame Edna tells NPR's Scott Simon that she's a "restless sprit" and it's not entirely clear what "retirement" will look like for her.

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The Salt
3:01 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

Voluptuous Veg: Can Food Porn Seed Lust For Healthy Eating?

A "ballet" of Brussels sprouts dazzles at the Food Porn Index, a site that tracks which foods are trending in social media part of an effort to heighten the appeal of healthy eating.
via Bolthouse Farms

Sorry to be so risqué, but beautiful photos of tempting foods can make our mouths water.

Think molten spoonfuls of chocolate, voluptuous layer cake or melted cheese oozing from a perfectly grilled croque monsieur.

We're awash in these types of food porn images. But, by comparison, do pictures of Brussels sprouts or beets get as much love online?

Nope. According to Bolthouse Farms, which markets baby carrots and fresh juices, of the more than 1.7 million food images posted daily, only about one-third are of fruits and vegetables.

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Movie Reviews
11:43 am
Fri March 6, 2015

In The Northern Ireland Period Thriller '71,' No One Dies Well

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

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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Monkey See
8:02 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Focus,' Con Men And Rock And Roll

NPR

On this week's show, we sit down with our good pal Gene Demby for a wide-ranging chat about movies and music.

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TED Radio Hour
7:13 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Can Math Make You A Better Musician?

Percussionist Clayton Cameron says learning the language of numbers improved his music.
Ryan Lash Courtesy of TED

Part 8 of the TED Radio Hour episode Solve For X

About Clayton Cameron's TED Talk

Drummer Clayton Cameron tells a story about how his math skills helped him impress the godfather of soul, James Brown.

About Clayton Cameron

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TED Radio Hour
7:12 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Why Is 3 A Magic Number?

"Three is like a magic number." - Clayton Cameron
Ryan Lash Courtesy of TED

Part 6 of the TED Radio Hour episode Solve For X

About Clayton Cameron's TED Talk

Percussionist Clayton Cameron continues his thoughts about the relationship between math and rhythm and why the number three "feels great."

About Clayton Cameron

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TED Radio Hour
7:11 am
Fri March 6, 2015

How Can Math Help You Imagine The Impossible?

Writer Randall Munroe answers bizarre questions with math, like what would happen if a baseball pitcher threw a ball at 90 percent the speed of light?
James Duncan Davidson Courtesy of TED

Originally published on Fri March 6, 2015 2:50 pm

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Solve For X

About Randall Munroe's TED Talk

Writer Randall Munroe doesn't love math, but has made a career out of solving equations. By answering outlandish hypotheticals, he uses numbers as a playground for the imagination.

About Randall Munroe

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TED Radio Hour
7:10 am
Fri March 6, 2015

What Are The Mathematics of Jazz?

"Numbers are beautiful." - Clayton Cameron
Ryan Lash TED

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Solve For X

About Clayton Cameron's TED Talk

Percussionist Clayton Cameron dissects the mathematics of improvisational jazz, demonstrating how numerical patterns make him a better musician.

About Clayton Cameron

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Movie Interviews
2:36 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Speed Dating For Seniors Who Aren't Interested In Slowing Down

Janice Ledtke and Pacho Lane chat during a speed dating event in The Age of Love.
Courtesy of Free Play Pictures

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 4:55 pm

The idea of speed dating for people over 70 can evoke laughs from anyone who's younger, along with reactions from "how cute" to "how silly" to "how gross." And while the documentary The Age of Love does have plenty of ha-ha moments, most of the time its subjects are reflecting on a need for intimacy that never seems to die.

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Book Reviews
12:09 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

In 'The Buried Giant,' Exhausted Medieval Travelers 'Can't Go On,' But So 'Go On'

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

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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Theater
12:09 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Larry David's First Time On Broadway: 'It's Not So Easy!'

David also co-created the NBC series Seinfeld. That show's character George Costanza is loosely based on David.
Thos Robinson Getty Images for The New Yorker

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 1:59 pm

Larry David wrote and stars in a new play that has broken the all-time record on Broadway for advance ticket sales — more than $14 million. Fish in the Dark is a comedy about a family's rivalries and dysfunction as its patriarch passes away. David tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies that the idea came to him when a friend's father died.

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The Two-Way
11:43 am
Thu March 5, 2015

It's World Book Day: Time For Reading Lists And Dress-Up

Fans are celebrating World Book Day on Thursday. Here, a man browses through books at the Albertine, a French bookstore and library at the French Embassy in New York.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 3:17 pm

Put down that screen: Today's the day to celebrate holding a bound book in your hands. World Book Day celebrations include storytelling and dressing up as favorite characters. We bring you a roundup of stories and reading lists.

Many young (and less-young) readers are using the occasion to dress up as beloved characters — from pirates and the doughnut-dispensing Mr. Panda to Hermione Granger of the Harry Potter series.

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Monkey See
8:57 am
Thu March 5, 2015

'American Crime': An Ambitious And Inventive Drama With Miles To Go

Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton star in American Crime.
Felicia Graham ABC

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 6:09 pm

American Crime opens as a bedraggled, initially almost unrecognizable Timothy Hutton takes the worst possible middle-of-the-night phone call: The police need him to identify the body of what they believe is his murdered son.

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The Salt
8:51 am
Thu March 5, 2015

We're Not Taking Enough Lunch Breaks. Why That's Bad For Business

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 12:17 pm

Did you take a lunch break yesterday? Are you planning to take one today?

Chances are the answer is no. Fewer American workers are taking time for lunch. Research shows that only 1 in 5 five people steps away for a midday meal. Most workers are simply eating at their desks.

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First Reads
8:03 am
Thu March 5, 2015

Exclusive First Read: Erik Larson's 'Dead Wake'

It took just 18 minutes for the Lusitania to sink after it was hit by a German torpedo.
Charles Dixon/Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 6, 2015 12:30 pm

The luxury liner Lusitania departed New York City en route for Liverpool on May 1, 1915. World War I was raging in Europe, but the passengers on the world's fastest liner were sure they were in no danger — despite a warning from the German Embassy in Washington that "travellers sailing in the war zone on the ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk." Even the Lusitania's captain, William Turner, said his vessel was too fast for submarines to pose a threat.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu March 5, 2015

Montana's Almost Crowded Now, Thanks To The Colorful Characters Of 'Crow Fair'

I recall with a certain fondness a summer evening long ago at the Bennington Summer Writing Workshops, when Montana resident Richard Ford opened a reading from the work of Montana writer William Kittredge by saying, "Well, it's Montana Night at the workshops, and it's just like Montana. Hours will go by, and all you will see are two people."

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Television
3:06 am
Thu March 5, 2015

'It Is About Truths': John Ridley On His New TV Show, 'American Crime'

Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton play two estranged parents whose son is murdered during a home invasion in ABC's American Crime.
Felicia Graham ABC

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 8:15 am

Writer and producer John Ridley has spent a lot of his career telling stories about the history of race in America. He won an Oscar for his screenplay for 12 Years a Slave, he's written movies about the Tuskegee Airmen and Jimi Hendrix, and now he's created American Crime, a new TV series about the events surrounding a racially charged home invasion in modern-day California.

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Television
12:20 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

'American Crime' And 'The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' Highlight The TV Revolution

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

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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Pop Culture
12:20 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Friends And Favors: 'High Maintenance' Creators Share Their Secret To Success

Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld, who are married, created their Web series High Maintenance in 2012. Blichfeld is an Emmy award-winning casting director who worked on the TV show 30 Rock. Sinclair is an actor and editor.
Matt Doyle

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 4:59 pm

One of the reasons Katja Blichfeld wanted to make the Web series High Maintenance with her husband, Ben Sinclair, was so he could take on the right role for himself. She's a casting director who has worked on 30 Rock, and she knew early on that Sinclair needed to let his beard grow and act like himself.

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Monkey See
11:22 am
Wed March 4, 2015

'Mindy' And The Little Story That Just Might Work

Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) is preparing for some big changes.
Patrick McElhenney Fox

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 5:25 pm

My reaction to the initial revelation that Mindy Lahiri, the heroine (?) of Mindy Kaling's The Mindy Project, was pregnant was the same one I think a lot of people had: Oh, brother.

This was the case for two reasons. First, baby stories are notoriously difficult to make interesting, and adding babies to comedies often leads to awkwardness, as people who didn't set out to write stories about babies often like writing about birth and do not like writing about parenting, so after a while, it's like the baby never happened.

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Code Switch
10:03 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Black Bodies In White Words, Or: Why We Need Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine was nominated for a National Book Award for Citizen.
John Lucas

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 10:55 am

There is a cartoon circulating right now of two people holding protest signs — one is black, the other white. The black figure holds a sign that reads "I Can't Breathe;" the white figure holds a sign that reads "I Can't See." Recently, I have encountered many discussions reflecting the subtle wisdom of that cartoon: It's often white citizens who demand that citizens of color provide evidence that injustices exist — and sometimes, I'm the teacher in these moments.

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