Before Bette Midler was in movies like Beaches and Down and Out in Beverly Hills, the actress and singer wore masks and costumes on stage, playing scantily clad, scandalous characters like a wheelchair-riding mermaid and, of course, the Divine Miss M — Midler's early stage persona.
Midler wrote about her early career in A View From a Broad, a memoir she published in 1980. A new edition of that book was recently released with a brand new introduction in which Midler writes:
With sleet, snow and freezing temperatures extending through March, the National Cherry Blossom Festival — which recently kicked off in Washington, D.C. — is decidedly less pink this year. In a few weeks the Tidal Basin will be ringed by rosy, pink blossoms, but until then, we traveled north to Boston, where a show at the Museum of Fine Arts called "Think Pink" explores the history and social impact of the color.
If you smoked Colombian weed in the '70s and '80s, Tony Dokoupil would like to thank you: He says you paid for his swim lessons and kept him in the best private school in south Florida — at least for a little while.
Dokoupil's father started selling marijuana during the Nixon era, and expanded his operation until he became a partner in what his son describes as the biggest East Coast dope ring of the Reagan years, smuggling marijuana into the U.S.
Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 2:17 pm
The World Science Fiction Convention is a gathering of fans ranging from sci-fi movie buffs to gamers to comics aficionados — but at its heart, WorldCon is for lovers of literature, and it hosts the Hugo Awards, the Oscars of sci-fi and fantasy.
During the ceremony, one award is given that's not a Hugo: the John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer. The Campbell celebrates potential: Nominees are often young, just starting out in the field (though not always), and it serves as a kind of signpost for fans, pointing the way to the next great read.
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.
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.
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.
As part of a series called "My Big Break,"All Things Consideredis 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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."
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.
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.
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."