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Culture Clashes Pop Up Over '2 Days In New York'

Aug 9, 2012

There's so little craziness today in American movies — even American independent movies. Filmmakers are so busy trying to look as if they're not trying too hard that their strained effortlessness is sometimes the only thing that comes through.

Late in The Green Wave, a soulful look back at the brief 2009 people's movement for democratic elections in Iran, a former United Nations prosecutor and human rights activist observes that the protest, despite being brutally quelled by the forces of President Ahmadinejad, was "a tidal wave" that would sweep through the Middle East.

There's a devil-may-care recklessness to Will Ferrell that sets him apart from other screen comics — a willingness to commit to the moment without fear of embarrassment, even if the comedy goes right off the rails.

How much funny family dysfunction can you pack into two days? Plenty, if you're Mingus and Marion (Chris Rock and Julie Delpy) an interracial, multinational Manhattan couple — each with kids from previous relationships — hosting Marion's family visiting from France. The film, 2 Days in New York, is a sequel to Delpy's 2007 film, 2 Days in Paris.

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now we're going to talk about an important struggle in this country. We often talk about everyday heroes, people who, with no special credentials and no recognition, do remarkable things. Our next guest found someone like that and decided to make a film about him.

When Michele Bachmann, through the most circumstantial of evidence, recently linked Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin to the Muslim Brotherhood, it wouldn't have been irrational to think immediately of Joseph McCarthy's witch hunts. Bachmann's claim was quickly dismissed, bringing a rare moment of sort-of agreement between the parties, but it serves as an important reminder. Paranoid character-smearing is a time-honored tool of totalitarian regimes.

Lynn Shelton became known as a director with 2009's Humpday, and followed that up this year with Your Sister's Sister. Both films were shaped significantly by improvisation from the actors, a method that gives Shelton's films a unique naturalism. The dialogue sounds unscripted because it often is.

Despite its dreadful English title (the Dutch title translates to the far better Old Whores), Meet the Fokkens strives mightily to be as quirky and bubbly as its portly protagonists. And it mostly succeeds, painting a warmhearted portrait of a pair of elderly twin prostitutes — they turned 70 earlier this year — one of whom, Martine, still occupies a storefront window in Amsterdam's red-light district while her sister, Louise, gave up the game two years earlier because of arthritis.

New In Paperback Aug. 6-12

Aug 8, 2012

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Adam Johnson, Ronald Kessler and Peter D. Ward.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The last time my 14-year-old daughter saw me and my wife being affectionate, she said, "Ewwww, old people kissing." Now, I'm not so old — barely half a century. But let's be frank. My daughter's no different from many people whose objects of fantasy are young and freakishly fit. So even a mild, cutesy little comedy like Hope Springs about two sexagenarians trying to have sex can seem shocking, even transgressive.

Tonight, after NBC wraps up its Olympic coverage — at a time currently listed as 11:04 p.m. — they'll be previewing Matthew Perry's new sitcom, Go On, which will then go away until its regular premiere on September 10.

Meet God, according to Simon Rich. He's a mostly nice dude — compassionate, though he gave up on listening to prayers and intervening in the lives of humans years ago. ("[H]e's really more of an ideas guy, you know?" explains an angel.) He loves golf and the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and he's not averse to enjoying a beer or two during the workday. He's easy to like, except for two things: He's planning to destroy all of humanity so he can focus on opening an Asian fusion restaurant in heaven; and even worse, he's a Yankees fan.

You Call That A Beach Book? Really?

Aug 8, 2012

A couple of years ago, on a weekend in August, I was lying on the beach, reading. The sun shone, the waves crashed, and no plans lay ahead beyond soccer, grilling, maybe a stroll to the ice cream stand. My friend, on the towel next to mine, rolled over lazily and glanced at my book. His brow wrinkled. "Are you enjoying that?" he said, laughing.

Grown-Up Ice Pops For The Young At Heart

Aug 8, 2012

My mother was never one for spending money on food that other '80s kids took for granted. Canned ravioli, boxed macaroni and cheese, animal crackers and white bread were the kinds of things my kid palate craved to the point of obsession, forbidden fruits to be enjoyed only at friends' houses.

And while other mothers were stirring up alluring, fluorescent pitchers of Kool-Aid, my mom wouldn't dream of it. She was the queen of the frozen fruit-juice concentrates.

Larry McMurtry is perhaps best known for novels like The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment and Lonesome Dove; but the author also has a career as a bookseller.

His store, Booked Up, spills across four buildings in his small hometown of Archer City, Texas, and houses nearly half a million rare and used books. But starting this Friday, McMurtry is holding an auction to whittle down that number — by a lot.

He wouldn't make the claim himself, but when it comes to comic-book writers, Mark Waid is one of the greats.

"I've pretty much hit all of the pop culture bases," Waid says, surrounded by comic-book memorabilia in his Los Angeles home. Batman, Spider-Man and even The Incredibles have all had adventures dreamed up by Waid.

"Jan. 26, 1979, was the most important day of my life," Waid says. "Because that's the day that I saw Superman: The Movie. I came out of it knowing that no matter what the rest of my life was going to be like, it had to involve Superman somehow."

The act of sharing decades of your life with one person lends itself to repetition. If you aren't careful, repetition becomes routine, routines become ruts, and then, for the terminally uncommunicative, ruts dig themselves so deep that they become the sort of soul-sucking bottomless trench in which Kay and Arnold, the married couple played by Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones in Hope Springs, find themselves.

David Grabarkewitz, Artistic and General Director of El Paso Opera previews upcoming performances and special events in the Opera’s 19th Season.

Most theaters let audiences know the show is about to start by blinking the lights. Stratford's Festival Theater in Stratford, Ontario, is a bit more festive. Four burgundy-uniformed buglers and a drummer quicken the pace of hundreds of theatergoers who've been ambling up the hill from the banks of the Avon River. When curtain time arrives, a cannon will boom.

Join KTEP this evening as we conclude our summer broadcasts of the 2011-2012 season of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra.

Tonight's broadcast features conductor candidate Mariusz Smolij and cellist Zuill Bailey performing Elgar's Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in E minor, Op. 85.

In the earliest days of the Civil War, the Union Army focused on cutting off key supply lines on the periphery of the South. The approach was designed to hurt the South's economy and convince its citizens to return to the Union.

Even though President Lincoln said slavery was unjust, in the earliest days of the war he told the Southern states that he wouldn't interfere with slavery as an institution.

Step, if you will, into my bedroom at night. (Don't worry, this is a PG-rated invitation.) At first, all is tranquil: My husband and I, exhausted by our day's labors, slumber, comatose, in our double bed. But, somewhere around 2 a.m., things begin to go bump in the night. My husband's body starts twitching, like Frankenstein's monster receiving his first animating shocks of electricity. Thrashing about, he'll kick me and steal the covers. In his dreams, he's always fighting or being chased; one night he said he dreamt Dick Cheney was gaining on him.

'Dog Stars' Dwells On The Upside Of Apocalypse

Aug 7, 2012

We're in the middle of a golden age (if that's the right term for it) of doomsday narratives.

Your Favorites: 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels

Aug 7, 2012

It's almost a cliche at this point to say that teen fiction isn't just for teens anymore. Just last year, the Association of American Publishers ranked Children's/Young Adult books as the single fastest-growing publishing category.

President Bill Clinton famously loved doughnuts on the campaign trail, and we've told you about current GOP candidate Mitt Romney's affection for serving the press corps Jimmy John's subs. But what do our past presidents and the presidential wannabes' food choices say about them?

Gabrielle Zevin's latest book is All These Things I've Done.

Forgive me, Facebook! I do not always want to tell people what I like. This flaw in my character puts me at odds with much of modern life, which is, of course, organized around a relentless cycle of recommendation.

Sandwich Monday: The Van Engelenfrozen

Aug 6, 2012

It's our intern MacKenzie Van Engelenhoven's last week, and she asked if she could bring in the sandwich on her final Sandwich Monday. We said "of course," because the only thing we love more than sandwiches is having the intern do things we should be doing ourselves.

It's an old Van Engelenhoven family recipe: Make cookies, bake them only four minutes, and freeze them. This maximizes the cookie-dough-ness when you make ice cream sandwiches out of them.

Mike: It's like cookie dough ice cream, reversed. Genius.

To lovers of the world's most odoriferous fruit, something doesn't smell right in Thailand's durian country, where a fruit breeder with the Horticulture Research Institute is in the midst of creating a line of durian varieties that lacks what some say is the most intriguing aspect of this large and spiky, creamy-fleshed tree fruit — its smell.

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