Arts

Monkey See
7:32 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Making Toddlers Into Nerds

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

It's been more than two and a half years since we last did a show packed with recommendations of pop culture (and other culture) for kids. We figured it was about time to do it again, for reasons we'll get into in the episode, so here we are.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Feminist, Foodie, Filmmaker — Ephron Did It All, And Wrote About It, Too

Ilona Lieberman Knopf

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 4:21 pm

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Author Interviews
4:00 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Writers Illustrated: Q&A With Jeff VanderMeer, Author Of 'Wonderbook'

When you hear the phrase, "writing guide," unpleasant things may spring to mind: sentence diagrams or even — shudder to think — your high school textbook.

Now, imagine the exact opposite, and you might get Jeff VanderMeer's Wonderbook. It's a writing guide, sure, but it's unlikely you've seen one like this before. Misbegotten fish serve as models for revision. Dragons butt in from the margins to contradict lessons. There's even a talking penguin — but don't get him started on what he thinks of the duck.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Everything At Stake, And Everything On The Table

Ender (Asa Butterfield) is a prodigy military cadet being trained by a team of adults — including Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley) — to fend off a hostile alien race in a much-discussed adaptation of Ender's Game.
Richard Foreman Jr. Summit Entertainment

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 2:33 pm

"When the war is over, we can debate the morality of what we do."

This sentiment, expressed by Harrison Ford's gruff Col. Hyrum Graff, pretty accurately sums up what director and screenwriter Gavin Hood is trying to do in his adaptation of the widely read 1985 sci-fi novel Ender's Game.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

'Tai Chi' Master: Keanu Reeves Takes The Director's Chair

Making his directorial debut with Man of Tai Chi, Keanu Reeves also appears as the film's rich, ruthless villain.
RADiUS-TWC

Keanu Reeves' directorial debut, Man of Tai Chi, is basically the anti-Kill Bill. Both movies are quilted together from their auteurs' favorite Asian action flicks, but where Tarantino's was overheated, Reeves' is elegantly iced. It's martial-arts mayhem with a touch of zen.

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Movie Interviews
2:48 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Four Decades On, 'The Exorcist' Is Still A Head-Turner

Director William Friedkin, shown here with Blair during shooting, says the film is more about questions of faith than it is about horror.
Warner Brothers/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 4:01 pm

The Exorcist was the story of one girl's demonic possession and the priest who saved her. It was engaging, terrifying and masterful — and it gave new meaning to the phrase "a real head-turner."

William Peter Blatty wrote the screenplay, adapting his own best-selling book. The film starred Ellen Burstyn and a very young Linda Blair — barely 12 years old when shooting began. William Friedkin, who had recently won an Academy Award for The French Connection, was the director.

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The Picture Show
12:59 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

On The Devil's Promenade, Searching For The Spook Light

spooklight007.jpg
Lara Shipley and Antone Dolezal

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 4:16 pm

In a certain region of the Missouri Ozarks called Devil's Promenade, there are tales of a "spook light." According to local accounts, it's a mysterious orb-like light that appears in the woods — but only on chance nights. And, as many local legends are, this one is shrouded in mystery: Is the spook light real? What is it? Is it evil? Is it good?

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Monkey See
10:44 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Attention, Neighborhood Children! A Halloween Invitation

These aren't my actual neighborhood children. These are just examples of how happy my neighborhood children could be.
iStockphoto.com

Welcome, all you ghosts and goblins! Welcome, all you cats and princesses! Welcome, Iron Man Under That Down Jacket! Welcome, Werewolf Whose Mom Is On The Phone!

I am pleased to see you at my door. I welcome always the young people in whose vicinity I reside, provided they are not so old that they pause before picking up their candy to put down a lit cigarette, which really happened to my parents once. (I will be using that anecdote in my upcoming book, Signs That You Have Outgrown Trick-Or-Treating.)

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Monkey See
8:57 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Scary Movie Night: Settle In And Unsettle Yourself

iStockphoto.com

It's Halloween again, and now that we know there will be no Game 7 of the World Series, that leaves you an open evening to enjoy running back and forth to the door to drop tiny Snickers bars into plastic bags carried by children dressed as superheroes.

But this strange ritual is not the evening's only appropriate entertainment. Perhaps you just want to scare the pants off yourself. Perhaps you just want a Scary Movie Night. Fortunately, with the proliferation of distribution methods for films both scary and less so, you've got plenty of options.

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Ask Me Another
8:38 am
Thu October 31, 2013

How Punk Is This?

Ian MacKaye: Punk rock icon, dental missionary. He joined Ask Me Another at NPR Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Steve Petrucelli

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 2:05 pm

Shake things up in our nation's capital with one of D.C.'s music legends. In this hour, recorded at the NPR Headquarters in Washington, our Very Important Puzzler is the prolific and outspoken Ian MacKaye. The front man of the D.C. punk bands Fugazi and Minor Threat shares tales from the road, and muses about what "punk" means today. Plus, try out your best Nicolas Cage impression, play a game that asks you to create new company names after imagined big-time mergers and search for National treasures.

Ask Me Another
8:23 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Whee!

Contestants Anne Holsinger (right) and Jonathan Bettle correctly answer questions in the game "Whee!"
Steve Petrucelli

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 10:17 am

If you are prone to motion sickness on roller coasters, have no fear — the only twists and turns in this game led by host Ophira Eisenberg are in the clues. All of the answers are words that contain double "ee"s, just like the word you would say when you're on a ride: "whee!" For example, the Fox television series that features students competing in a cappella choir competitions is "Gleeeeee!"

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Ask Me Another
8:23 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Battle Hymn Of The DCs

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 2:08 pm

House musician Jonathan Coulton decided to get a little patriotic for our stop in the nation's capital. He performs a rendition of "Battle Hymn of the Republic," in which you must salute famous individuals with the initials "D.C." Glory, glory, David Caruso!

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

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Ask Me Another
8:23 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Random Questions With: Ian MacKaye

Ian MacKaye made his mark on the D.C. punk scene with Minor Threat and Fugazi.
Becky Harlan NPR

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 3:10 pm

  • Hear Ian MacKaye's 'Saturday Night Live' story

Thirty years after launching his music career, what does it mean for Ian MacKaye to be a punk rocker? In the 1980s, MacKaye rebelled against popular culture as the front man of the influential D.C. punk bands Minor Threat and Fugazi, and founded his own label, Dischord Records. These days, he maintains the label and plays in a more stripped-down outfit, The Evens, with his wife, Amy Farina.

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Ask Me Another
8:23 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Such Characters

Contestants gather for the final round.
Steve Petrucelli

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 10:18 am

In this final round, led by puzzle guru Art Chung, contestants are given the names of two actors who have played the same role in different movies, and they must name the character. For example, Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro both played Vito Corleone from The Godfather trilogy. Who was a more convincing mob boss? We'll let you figure that out on your own.

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Ask Me Another
8:23 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Ian MacKaye: Un-Punk'd

Ian MacKaye (left) and NPR's Stephen Thompson play an Ask Me Another Challenge in Washington, D.C.
Becky Harlan NPR

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 2:08 pm

Throughout his career as a musician, Ian MacKaye has played, listened to and analyzed countless hours of music. But how will he fare in our version of "Name That Tune"? In this Ask Me Another Challenge, MacKaye teams up with Stephen Thompson, NPR Music Editor and co-host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, to identify punk songs performed acoustically by house musician Jonathan Coulton.

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Ask Me Another
8:23 am
Thu October 31, 2013

The Urge To Merge

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 2:08 pm

In this game led by host Ophira Eisenberg, you get to become a corporate executive. Trust us, it's way more fun than board meetings and conference calls. We merge two well-known businesses, and it's up to you to create the new company's name. For example, if the company that prepares one in every six U.S. tax returns merged with a struggling video rental company, they would form H&R Blockbuster, which is a combination of H&R Block and Blockbuster

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Ask Me Another
8:23 am
Thu October 31, 2013

National Treasures

Contestants Gautam Hans (left) and Sharyn Horowitz give their best Nicolas Cage impressions for "National Treasures."
Steve Petrucelli

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 10:18 am

We hope you've been practicing your Nicolas Cage impression, or have seen his 2004 action thriller National Treasure. In this game, you must name famous items found in the Smithsonian Museum's collection, as described by house musician Jonathan Coulton. We encourage you to answer in the style of Cage's immortal line, "I'm going to steal the Declaration of Independence."

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Monkey See
7:08 am
Thu October 31, 2013

It Just Isn't Halloween Without A Little 'Hocus Pocus'

Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker star in Hocus Pocus as the Sanderson sisters, three 17th-century witches who are brought back to life in Salem, Mass., in 1993.
Walt Disney

I love me some fun-size Almond Joys, and pumpkin carving is a tragically under-sung creative outlet. But my favorite Halloween tradition comes in the form of a kid's movie starring Bette Midler in a set of fake buck teeth: Walt Disney's 1993 cult classic, Hocus Pocus.

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Author Interviews
2:03 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Recurring Dream: Morpheus Returns In Gaiman's 'Sandman' Prequel

The Sandman: Overture explores the back story of the central character, Orpheus, to explain how he wound up in captivity at the start of The Sandman.
Courtesy of DC Entertainment

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 8:54 am

Neil Gaiman started writing the Sandman comic books 25 years ago. Since then, he's written acclaimed fantasy novels, children's books and screenplays — but the pale, star-eyed Lord of Dreams remains one of his most beloved characters. Over the course of 75 issues, the series captivated fans and critics alike.

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Television
3:07 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Medicinal Laughs: Could 'Daily Show' Sour Millennials On ACA?

Jon Stewart, shown here interviewing President Obama on The Daily Show in October 2012, has been lampooning the problems with the Affordable Care Act website in recent episodes.
Brad Barket PictureGroup

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 4:00 pm

Problems with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act have been all over the news — and the not-quite news. Comedy Central's The Daily Show With Jon Stewart has been one news-ish outlet that hasn't been too kind in its coverage.

NPR TV critic Eric Deggans spoke with All Things Considered host Audie Cornish about why negative coverage on The Daily Show might be worse for the Obama administration than negative coverage on the nightly news.

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Author Interviews
12:25 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Astronaut Chris Hadfield Brings Lessons From Space Down To Earth

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield has spent a total of six months in space. In his new book, he writes that getting to space took only "8 minutes and 42 seconds. Give or take a few thousand days of training."
NASA Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 12:30 pm

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Beauty Shop
12:13 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Jay Z Adds Another Problem To Add To His 99: Barneys

Host Michel Martin talks with the Beauty Shop ladies about the thin line between creative and offensive Halloween costumes. They also discuss claims of racially profiling by retailer Barneys.

The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Haiku In The News: Reality In Riyadh

A Saudi woman walks past vehicles stopping at a traffic light in Riyadh, where there is a government ban on women driving.
Fayez Nureldine AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 2:15 pm

Poetry is important. And the hope for this standing feature of The Protojournalist is that by searching for a poetic nugget in the constant rush of news we can slow down for a moment and contemplate what the news story really means.

Like finding a lovely pebble in a mountain stream. Or a dropped earring on a crowded sidewalk.

Haiku in the News — you can find other examples here — is not designed to be a trivial thing.

Gray Lady Poems

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The Two-Way
5:29 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Book News: Amazon's Kindle MatchBook Is Out — Will Publishers Opt In?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveils new Kindle reading devices during a 2012 news conference.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 8:25 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Medical Magic Leads To Terror In 'Parasite'

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 12:37 pm

Welcome to SymboGen, your friendly neighborhood medical company; have you stopped by for your tapeworm implant? Fair warning: There have been some unusual side effects ...

Health care has swallowed American headlines in recent years; besides the arguments over who deserves treatment to begin with, issues are emerging in pharmaceutical brand ethics, anti-vaccination activism, and the overuse of antibiotics. The war against disease is spreading against the smallest enemies of all.

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NPR Story
3:48 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Brick-And-Mortar Bookstores Play The Print Card Against Amazon

Barnes & Noble is one of several stores that have refused to carry Amazon Publishing's books.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 3:24 am

When it comes to book publishing, all we ever seem to hear about is online sales, the growth of e-books and the latest version of a digital book reader. But the fact is, only 20 percent of the book market is e-books; it's still dominated by print. And a recent standoff in the book business shows how good old-fashioned, brick-and-mortar bookstores are still trying to wield their influence in the industry. You might even call it brick-and-mortar booksellers' revenge.

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Author Interviews
12:41 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

'Hyperbole' Creator Considers All The Things

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 12:35 pm

The drawings are MS Paint-style doodles, and the stories are about everyday things like cake, poor spelling and dopey dogs. And yet each month, millions of people visit Hyperbole and a Half, the hybrid Web comic and blog created by 28-year-old Allie Brosh, who says she "tries very hard to be funny." Hyperbole has just come out in book form with a mix of old and new material featuring Brosh's absurdist take on the world and her author avatar, a stick figure with a pink dress and what might be a blond ponytail — or might not.

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Author Interviews
9:45 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Poet Nikki Giovanni On The Darker Side Of Her Life

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 11:10 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Monkey See
7:49 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Present Tense: Allie Brosh, Donald Glover, And Hurting Right Now

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 3:58 pm

There is much to praise about Allie Brosh's wonderful blog Hyperbole And A Half, perhaps the greatest gift the crude, blocky graphics of MS Paint have ever given us. Brosh's posts are hugely evocative, gut-bustingly funny, and startlingly inventive in using simple drawings in ways that allow for pauses and comic timing, not to mention things like blur effects that represent ... well, sugar-fueled madness.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Rebecca Walker Hurries Love In 'Adé'

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 1:05 pm

Rarely as the rush of romance felt so, well, rushed as it does in Rebecca Walker's maiden novel Adé: A Love Story. It's a wild ride along with an unnamed (more on that later) biracial college student who's traveling through Africa with her white best friend. Our unnamed narrator falls in love with a Swahili man she meets on an island just off the Kenyan coast, grows apart from her friend and closer to her lover's family, and must struggle with the brutal realities of life under brutal Kenyan leader Daniel arap Moi — all in 112 short pages.

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