Arts

Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
7:24 am
Sat May 9, 2015

Not My Job: Actor Steve Buscemi Gets Quizzed On Government Jobs

Kris Connor Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 9, 2015 8:48 am

Steve Buscemi has become one of the most beloved, busy and recognizable actors of our time, with starring roles in classics like Reservoir Dogs and Fargo. He just finished a five-year run as the sentimental gangster boss of Atlantic City on HBO's Boardwalk Empire.

We've invited Buscemi to play a game called "Complete Form B46-A and get back in line."

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Arts & Life
5:37 am
Sat May 9, 2015

TV And Hollywood Pattern-Maker Sells A Three-Decades Cache

Originally published on Sun May 10, 2015 4:29 am

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

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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The Salt
5:33 am
Sat May 9, 2015

Taking Mom Out For Brunch? It's A Feminist Tradition

The right to dine out alone in public during the day was an early victory in the women's rights movement. And as brunch took off in post-war America, for some, it became an exercise in women's lib.
Chaloner Woods Getty Images

More than a quarter of American adults will dine out this Mother's Day – and most of them will opt to fete Mom with a breakfast, lunch or brunch out. If this describes your plans, guess what? You're honoring a feminist tradition.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Sat May 9, 2015

The Martians Are Coming! 'Broadcast Hysteria' Looks At The War Over 'Worlds'

Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 7:41 am

Orson Welles thought he was ruined after the 1938 broadcast of his adaptation of H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds. The 23-year-old actor-director's star was just beginning to rise, but the panic caused by the radio show sparked an immediate backlash. Major newspapers reported on cases of mass hysteria across America. Because of The War of the Worlds, they alleged, hundreds of thousands of unassuming citizens were convinced that a real Martian invasion was taking place, starting at ground zero: The small town of Grover's Mill, New Jersey.

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Author Interviews
3:11 am
Sat May 9, 2015

For 'New Yorker' Cartoonist, '90 Percent Rejection Is Doing Great'

Unlike the comic talent stereotype, cartoonist Matthew Diffee says he had "a wonderful family to grow up with."
Courtesy of Scribner

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 1:09 pm

Matthew Diffee has been drawing cartoons for The New Yorker since 1999. When asked which comes first, the image or the words, he tells NPR's Scott Simon, "They both come at the same time. I start with words, but while I'm thinking words I'm picturing the drawing already."

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The Seams
3:09 am
Sat May 9, 2015

Shake What Your Mama Didn't Give You: Shapewear Through The Ages

Whalebone stays and pannier from France, 1740-1760. The hoops of the pannier fold up, making it easier for the wearer to climb into carriages.
Patricia Canino

Originally published on Sun May 10, 2015 4:29 am

Ah, spring. Time to head out to the great outdoors and — what's that? You gained a few extra pounds over the winter? There are those who, feeling self-conscious, might reach for Oprah's favorite undergarment: Spanx. And that's nothing new; for centuries, men and women have been shaping their silhouettes.

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The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

ABC Brings Muppets Back To Prime Time As News Emerges About Fall Shows

Kermit the Frog speaks to Gonzo the Great in a scene from ABC's The Muppets.
Eric McCandless ABC

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 4:21 pm

The long wait for Muppets fans is over: ABC is bringing back the beloved puppets in a prime-time TV series this fall for the first time in nearly 20 years.

News of the new show, called The Muppets, dropped this week as TV networks begin calling producers, stars and studio executives in advance of next week's "upfronts" — the annual ritual where broadcasters roll out their fall schedules for advertisers to score advance sales.

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The Two-Way
1:52 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

#NPRReads: Gambling In The Bible Belt

An electronic game at the Wind Creek Wetumpka casino in Wetumpka, Ala.
Dave Martin AP

Originally published on Wed May 27, 2015 10:47 am

#NPRreads is a feature we're testing out on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers throughout our newsroom will share pieces that have kept them reading. They'll share tidbits on Twitter using the #NPRreads hashtag, and on occasion we'll share a longer take here on the blog.

This week, we bring you five reads.

From NPR National Correspondent Debbie Elliott:

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Monkey See
12:28 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

'Grace And Frankie' Looks At Life Unexpectedly Alone

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in the Netflix series Grace and Frankie.
Melissa Moseley Netflix

Originally published on Sat May 9, 2015 7:48 am

The opening credits of the new Netflix comedy (maybe comedy-drama) Grace And Frankie lay out the show's high concept using the song "Stuck In The Middle With You" and a set of wedding cake toppers. You see two couples, then two couples with kids, then the husbands kissing, then the abandoned women falling through the broken cake.

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Movie Reviews
11:56 am
Fri May 8, 2015

Schwarzenegger Meets Zombies In A Haunting, Slow-Paced New Film

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

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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Interviews
11:56 am
Fri May 8, 2015

'Fresh Air' Remembers Mystery Novelist Ruth Rendell

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

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

We're remembering British mystery writer Ruth Rendell, who died last Saturday in London at the age of 85. Rendell was interviewed twice by Terry Gross, first in 1989. Terry asked her to describe her best-known character, Reg Wexford.

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Books
11:56 am
Fri May 8, 2015

Remembering Ruth Rendell, Master Of Smart And Socially Aware Suspense

Ruth Rendell wrote more than 60 books, some under the pseudonym Barbara Vine.
Max Nash AP

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 2:23 pm

When the news of Ruth Rendell's death broke last weekend, I searched for some of her novels on my mystery bookshelves. Rendell, 85, wrote more than 60 novels, so I should've been able to find a few, but no dice. I'm forever giving Rendell's novels away to people who need a good book.

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All Tech Considered
2:41 am
Fri May 8, 2015

The Unlikely Stars Of Americans' Favorite Video Games

Ellen McLain (standing fourth from left) and John Lowrie (standing in center) are unlikely celebrities in gaming culture. But they are the voices behind some of the video game world's most popular characters.
Courtesy of John Patrick Lowrie and Ellen McLain

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 9:14 am

Ellen McLain had a long career as an opera singer. But now her voice is most famous for something entirely different: video games. McLain is the voice of GLaDOS, the passive-aggressive computer in the games Portal and Portal 2.

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The Salt
5:19 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

Let's Talk About Death Over Dinner

A recent Death over Dinner party in San Francisco. From left: Tim Ferriss, Laura Deming, Luke Nosek, Eric Weinstein, Mason Hartman, and Max Hodak.
Lesley McClurg/Capital Public Radio

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 1:50 pm

On a recent evening in San Francisco, five guests gather at the home of Eric Weinstein and his wife, Pia Malaney, for a tasty dinner of seared salmon and a deep discussion of a topic that many people might find unpalatable: death.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

'The D Train' Rumbles On With Another Hunk/Schlub Comedy

Henry Zebrowski (Craig), James Marsden (Oliver Lawless), and Jack Black (Dan Landsman) in Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel's The D Train.
Hilary Bronwyn Gayle IFC

"Inappropriate," today's foremost throat-clearing adjective, is the appropriate response to The D Train. This squirm-till-you-snicker comedy is about two immature males confronted with sexual possibilities they can't handle. One of the guys is 14; the other is his father.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

'Saint Laurent,' A Radical Man Of Fashion

Gaspard Ulliel as Yves Saint Laurent.
Carole Bethuel Mandarin Cinema-EuropaCorp-Orange Studio-Arte France Cinema-Scope Pictures, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Thu May 7, 2015 4:06 pm

Early on in Bertrand Bonello's extravagantly imagined portrait of designer Yves Saint Laurent, strict orders come down from the Great One to the stressed-out sewing room, or whatever they call it in that etherized milieu. The tone is hushed but the message is clear: the stitching's all wrong; it must be put right; it must be put right now. In every other respect, Bonello's film has nothing — believe me, nothing — in common with The Devil Wears Prada.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

Arnold Schwarzenegger Gets Serious About Fatherhood And Zombies

Abigail Breslin and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Maggie.
Tracy Bennett Roadside Attractions

Originally published on Thu May 7, 2015 6:18 pm

No parent should have to watch his child grow up to be a flesh-eating zombie. But if any dad ever had the stuff for the task, it's Arnold Schwarzenegger. In Maggie, the action-movie heavyweight and former governor of California plays Wade, a plaid-shirted farmer from Middle America facing a viral plague that's infected his teenage daughter along with a good chunk of the country's population.

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The Salt
12:39 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

From Cartoon Chubster To Handsome Hipster: McDonald's Revamps Hamburglar

The Hamburglar is all grown up, slimmed down — and with a family.
McDonald's AP

Originally published on Thu May 7, 2015 7:02 pm

We usually hate it when media speculate about whether a celebrity has had a nip or tuck, but it must be said: The Hamburglar has definitely had some work done.

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Book Reviews
12:32 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

Gangsters, Goons And 'Grievous Bodily Harm' In Ted Lewis' London

Ted Lewis' gritty storytelling takes readers inside London's seedier quarters.
Soho Press

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 3:29 pm

In his famous essay, "The Simple Art of Murder," Raymond Chandler put down the classic British mystery, making fun of its arcane killings and hokey air of gentility. He preferred the tough American style and praised Dashiell Hammett for, as he put it, taking murder out of the vicar's rose garden and dropping it in the alley where it belonged.

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Television
12:32 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

'Mad Men' Creator On Don Draper's Losses And The End Of The Road

Don Draper (Jon Hamm) faces personal and professional upheaval in the final season of Mad Men.
Justina Mintz AMC

Originally published on Thu May 7, 2015 3:08 pm

Editor's note: This conversation discusses plot points from the seventh season of Mad Men.

With just two episodes to go until the AMC series Mad Men wraps for good, Don Draper (Jon Hamm), the series protagonist, seems to have nothing left — no Sterling Cooper ad agency, no apartment, no wife, no lover and no family life.

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Monkey See
11:25 am
Thu May 7, 2015

'I Am Big Bird' Finds An Artist Under The Feathers

An archival photo of Caroll Spinney at work.
Courtesy of Robert Furhing

The film I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story, which focuses on the life of puppeteer Spinney, avoids a few common pitfalls in the biographical documentary. It doesn't occupy its entire running time with people saying how amazing Spinney is or with testimonials to the importance of his work. It doesn't return to the same analyses of the effects of Sesame Street on children that have been offered a million times before. It doesn't explain over and over how puppeteers merge with their characters.

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Book Reviews
8:03 am
Thu May 7, 2015

Flexible, Fluid 'Revision' Bounces From Rom-Com To Sci-Fi

Courtesy of Fireside Fiction Company

One of my earliest experiences of how astonishing a tool is Twitter came several years ago, when, seeing Californians tweeting about an earthquake, I texted my best friend in canyon country to ask if she'd felt the earthquake where she was. She said no — and then freaked out as the tremors reached her a few minutes later. The internet was literally faster than the quake.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu May 7, 2015

'The Argonauts' Is A Voyage Through Parenting, Partnership And Transition

Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Thu May 7, 2015 10:41 am

Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is, on one level, a memoir about Nelson's pregnancy with her first child, Iggy, and her partner Harry's concurrent female-to-male "transition." (The quotation marks are borrowed from Nelson, who at one point wonders "how to explain ... that for some, 'transitioning' may mean leaving one gender entirely behind, while for others — like Harry, who is happy to identify as a butch on T [testosterone] — it doesn't?")

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The Salt
12:27 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

Puerto Rico Is Sowing A New Generation Of Small Farmers

Dalma Cartagena teaches a class on agricultural science to elementary-school students in Orocovis, Puerto Rico. "I'm preparing them to make good decisions when it comes to the environment and healthy foods," she says.
Greg Allen NPR

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 5:55 pm

Although it's a tropical island, perhaps surprisingly, Puerto Rico produces very little of its own food. After decades of industrialization, the U.S. territory imports more than 80 percent of what's consumed on the island. There are signs, though, the trend is changing.

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Television
12:02 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

Meet The Power Couple Behind 'The Good Wife'

Julianna Marguiles plays attorney Alicia Florrick in the CBS drama The Good Wife.
CBS

Originally published on Thu May 7, 2015 7:31 am

The CBS drama series The Good Wife explores the behind-closed-doors drama of a smart female lawyer who stands by, silently supportive, as her husband admits to scandals both political and extramarital. Robert and Michelle King, the real-life husband and wife team who created the show, say that when it came to creating the series' main character, it was a question of art imitating life.

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Television
10:49 am
Wed May 6, 2015

The Allure Of Gore: 'Walking Dead' Producer On Zombies And Mean Tweets

Andrew Lincoln plays Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead.
Frank Ockenfels 3 AMC

Originally published on Thu May 7, 2015 7:31 am

The AMC series The Walking Dead, about a band of survivors in a zombie apocalypse, is known for killing off characters without much warning. But while the show's sudden plot twists keep viewers engaged, they can also create explosions of fan grief and rage on social media. Much of the audience's ire has landed on Scott M. Gimple, the series' executive producer and this season's showrunner.

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Monkey See
9:01 am
Wed May 6, 2015

Amy Schumer Puts Her Own Looks On Trial

Front row (from left): Chris Gethard, Nick DiPaolo, Vincent Kartheiser. Back row (from left): Henry Zebrowski, Paul Giamatti.
Comedy Central

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 11:59 am

On the fantastic advice podcast Judge John Hodgman, one of the things Hodgman always says in getting litigants to relay their stories is that "specificity is the soul of narrative." Specificity is also the soul of parody, as we saw Tuesday night on Inside Amy Schumer.

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Book Reviews
8:03 am
Wed May 6, 2015

In 'Subprimes,' Swiftian Satire Hits Close To Home

Courtesy of Harper

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 9:56 am

In his new novel, The Subprimes, Karl Taro Greenfeld charges in where most of us would fear to tread. Carol Burnett could have warned him. "It's almost impossible to be funnier than the people in Washington," she once said, but Greenfeld tries his darnedest. He wants to skewer a certain political mindset, and he goes at it with anger, wicked humor and verve.

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Book Reviews
5:25 am
Wed May 6, 2015

After 'Life,' 'A God In Ruins' Picks Up The Epic Tale Of The Todds

Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 8:38 am

The moment in Kate Atkinson's A God In Ruins when protagonist Teddy Todd lies to his granddaughter about an old photograph isn't a grand climax. It happens in passing, in half a sentence: She asks about the stain on an image of Teddy and his long-dead wife Nancy. It's actually the blood of one of his World War II air crew, who died in his arms after their plane was shot down. But Teddy claims it's tea, "not because she wouldn't have been interested but because it was a private thing."

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The Two-Way
3:24 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

Edison's Talking Dolls Can Now Provide The Soundtrack To Your Nightmares

Thomas Edison's talking dolls were reportedly pretty robust, but their miniature phonographs were another story.
Collection of Robin and Joan Rolfs Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park

Originally published on Thu May 7, 2015 10:47 am

Back in 1890, Thomas Edison gave us some of the world's first talking dolls. Today, the glassy-eyed cherubs that are still around stand about 2 feet tall; they have wooden limbs and a metal body; and they sound supercreepy. (If you're looking for a soundtrack to your nightmares, listen to the audio story above.) Edison built and sold about 500 of them back in 1890. Now, new technology has made hearing them possible for the first time in decades.

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