Arts

Monkey See
9:02 am
Fri February 7, 2014

A Typewriter In The Grass And The Beat Generation On The Edge

American writer William Seward Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch.
Evening Standard Getty Images

I woke up Wednesday, drank some coffee, and learned (thank you, Frank Morris and Morning Edition) that it was the 100th anniversary of William S. Burroughs' birth. Burroughs was born in St. Louis and died in Lawrence, Kansas – improbable geographic bookends to his really out-there life.

But this post is not so much about William Burroughs as about William Burroughs' typewriter.

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Monkey See
7:54 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Watching Sports, Philip Seymour Hoffman, And Poisoned Wells

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

On this week's show, we turn to a topic near and dear to exactly half of our hearts: the wide world of sports. Glen explains how he came to feel the same way about sports that he feels about Fred Basset. Stephen envisions an actor breaking his leg and the play falling into a "clown show," and I wax rhapsodic about those great little Olympic stories about somebody's excited mom. It's the Super Bowl, the Olympics, and the nature of enthusiasm, all in one sportsy chat.

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The Two-Way
5:32 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Book News: It's The End Of The Story For Sony's E-Bookstore

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

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Book Reviews
5:02 am
Fri February 7, 2014

You'll Get Lost In The Haunted World Of 'Annihilation'

Eric Nyquist Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 9:25 am

I sat down with Jeff VanderMeer's new book, Annihilation, on a snowy afternoon, cracked it open, and hated it from word one.

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Fine Art
1:28 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Behind The Movie, Tales From The Real-Life 'Monuments Men'

Ettlinger at age 22, after his stint in the army.
Courtesy George Ettlinger

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 2:17 pm

It's not often that a big-budget Hollywood film turns its attention to art historians and curators. But that's the subject of The Monuments Men, opening this weekend at a multiplex near you.

George Clooney stars in and directs the story, about a special group of soldiers tasked with protecting the masterpieces of European culture during the chaos of World War II and its aftermath. But as you might expect, the real story of the Monuments Men — and women — is messier and less glamorous than the Hollywood version.

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Movie Reviews
5:16 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Plenty Of Heart, Not Much Art In 'Monuments Men'

Frank Stokes (George Clooney), Walter Garfield (John Goodman) and Sam Epstein (Dimitri Leonidas) are part of a World War II platoon ordered to rescue stolen art from the Nazis in The Monuments Men, directed by George Clooney.
Claudette Barius Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 7:04 pm

There's a fascinating tale to be told in The Monuments Men, George Clooney's new film based on the true story of a search for looted art stolen by the Nazis during World War II. In real life, with fighting still raging on the battlefields of Europe, a small team of art experts searched urgently for tens of thousands of missing paintings and sculptures. The movie's audience will search for something a little different.

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Movie Reviews
4:02 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

'Lego Movie': A Goofy Toy Story That Genuinely Clicks

In The Lego Movie, ordinary-guy Emmet (Chris Pratt) is expected to save the world with the help of a rebellious crew that includes Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman).
Warner Bros.

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 5:24 pm

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Book Reviews
3:55 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Book Review: 'Trieste,' by Dasa Drndic

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:55 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

It's been nearly 70 years since the end of World War II, but Croatian writer Dasa Drndic makes the war and its countless horrors feel fresh and urgent in her latest novel "Trieste." Ellen Elias-Bursac translated the book into English.

Alan Cheuse with our review.

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Author Interviews
3:55 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Perfume's Scents Of Subversion? Sweat, Musk And Patchouli

A combination of musk with a traditional floral scent made Chanel No. 5 a revolutionary fragrance.
Hiroko Masuike AP

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:55 pm

Barbara Herman has spent the better part of the past six years taking a deep nosedive into the world of vintage fragrances. Her quest has been to find the bold, sexy and downright odd smells that have defined women over the decades.

The result is a book called Scent And Subversion: Decoding A Century Of Provocative Perfume. It explains how, at the turn of the 20th century, most perfumes were still just one note, floral. Then, a now-iconic perfume came along — one that combined musk with a traditional floral scent.

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Movie Reviews
3:02 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

A Horror Comedy With 'Everything' And Then Some

Simon Pegg (Sean of the Dead, Star Trek) plays Jack, a writer gone paranoid while working on a book about 19th-century murderers.
Gaiam Vivendi

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Movie Reviews
3:02 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

The Holocaust Recalled, Again, Through The Eyes Of 'The Unjust'

In 1975, Shoah director Claude Lanzmann interviewed Benjmain Murmelstein, the last surviving Elder of the Jews of the Czech Theresienstadt ghetto, at his home in Rome. The resulting film is The Last of the Unjust.
Cohen Media Group

With a running time of more than nine hours, Claude Lanzmann's monumental 1985 documentary, Shoah, was never destined to become a mass audience draw. But this sober, taxing, utterly absorbing attempt to document the Holocaust grows ever more essential precisely as our collective memory is increasingly eroded by the reductive shorthand of emaciated bodies or piles of shoes discarded by concentration-camp inmates as they went to their terrible fate. For Lanzmann, understanding trumps empathy.

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Movie Reviews
3:02 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Family Matters, With A Dose Of Pharmaceuticals

Josiane Balasko and Michel Blanc
A BORREL Courtesy of Rialto

Josiane Balasko's Demi-Soeur suggests that modern pharmaceuticals can abet the storytelling in an old-fashioned sentimental farce: A dose of Ecstasy is all that's required to activate the relationship between Nenette (Balasko), a 60-year-old with the understanding of a first-grader, and her previously unknown half-brother Paul (Michel Blanc).

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Book Reviews
1:02 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

'Day Job' Aims For Romance In Real Life

Dutton/The Penguin Group

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:19 pm

A long time ago, in a world before email, cellphones and the World Wide Web, my girlfriends and I had a mantra: "Life is too short for annoying boys."

I was lucky. I met my own Mr. Perfect-For-Me when I was young enough to not feel desperate to find him, but old enough to have already lived a pretty interesting life. I had traveled. I had a college degree. I had a few "lessons learned" relationships in my back pocket.

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The Salt
10:51 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Subway Phasing Out Bread Additive After Blogger Flags Health Concerns

Sandwich chain Subway has announced plans to drop the additive azodicarbonamide from its fresh-baked breads. Above, Subway founder Fred DeLuca poses carrying bread for sandwiches.
Jonathan Nackstrand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 2:19 pm

Food industry, beware of the power of the online petition.

Just a few days after food blogger Vani Hari, known as Food Babe, created a buzz with an online petition raising questions about the safety of a food additive commonly used in commercial baking, sandwich giant Subway has announced plans to phase it out of its fresh-baked breads.

The additive, azodicarbonamide, is used by the commercial baking industry to bleach flour and condition dough.

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Performing Arts
9:49 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Kicks Off New Tour

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 10:29 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Monkey See
8:46 am
Thu February 6, 2014

The Two Kinds Of Fairness, As Explained By 'Top Chef'

In the Top Chef finale, it was Nina versus Nick.
David Moir Bravo

Reality shows, at their best, give you little flashes of understanding, often in spite of themselves. A great example came around Wednesday night, as Top Chef crowned its winner.

[Hey: INFORMATION ABOUT THE FINALE AHEAD, in case that wasn't obvious. Stop reading if you're still planning on watching and you'd like to be surprised.]

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The Two-Way
5:17 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Book News: Hundreds Of Writers Denounce 'Chokehold' Russian Laws

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 7:53 am

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

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All Tech Considered
5:07 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Sensory Fiction: Books That Let You Feel What The Characters Do

Changes in a book protagonist's emotional or physical state trigger discrete feedback in this wearable device.
MIT Media Lab

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 10:45 am

In our "Weekly Innovation" blog series, we explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Do you have an innovation to share? Use this quick form.

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Books News & Features
1:53 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

'Possessed By Genius': A Centennial Tribute To William S. Burroughs

William S. Burroughs' cult novel Naked Lunch has sold more than 1 million copies since its publication in 1959.
Evening Standard Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 8:23 pm

William S. Burroughs was a counterculture icon: In more than two dozen books, including the landmark novel Naked Lunch, he laid down an original vision that influenced everyone from political activists to punk rockers, filmmakers to sci-fi writers.

In 1962, writer Norman Mailer described him as "the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genius."

Burroughs was born 100years ago Wednesday.

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The Salt
11:51 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Ladies: Good Bacteria In Yogurt May Be Good For Waistlines, Too

A probiotic commonly found in yogurt seems to help women lose more weight and fat, a recent study finds. But you still have to eat healthy to see an effect.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 11:49 am

Ladies, if that Super Bowl Sunday pitch from '90s heartthrob John Stamos didn't leave you craving more yogurt, here's some science that might do the trick: There's tantalizing new research suggesting that some friendly bacteria commonly found in yogurts may help women shed more weight while on a diet and keep it off.

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Arts & Life
11:47 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Tim Gunn: On And Off The Runway, 'Life Is A Big Collaboration'

"The term 'vegan leather' makes me think that you peeled a carrot and took the skin and made a jacket out of it," says Tim Gunn, pictured above at the Under the Gunn finale fashion show.
Alberto E. Rodriguez Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 3:19 pm

"Make it work," fashion guru Tim Gunn tells young designers on Project Runway. But life hasn't always "worked" for Gunn. "I can't even recite the number of schools I went to as a kid because I was constantly running away from them," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It's so ironic that I would become a career educator because I hated school so profoundly. It wasn't the learning experience that I hated. I hated the social aspects."

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Book Reviews
11:31 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Triumph Of The Bookworms: Two Novels To Cure Your Winter Blues

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 3:19 pm

In the opening paragraph of Moby-Dick, Ishmael tells us he takes to sea whenever he feels the onset of "a damp, drizzly November in [his] soul." I know how he feels. Whenever the frigid funk of February settles in, I, too, yearn to get out of town. This year I have, thanks to two exquisite vehicles of escape fiction. Both Rachel Pastan's Alena and Katherine Pancol's The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles are smart entertainments perfect for curling up with on a winter's night.

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Monkey See
7:36 am
Wed February 5, 2014

What Are Indie Booksellers Like At Parties?

Stacks of books on a store table.
iStockphoto

Martha Woodroof has been writing about the First Novel Experience. For this post, she reports on her travels to the American Booksellers Association's Winter Institute in January.

The American Booksellers Association Winter Institute was billed as providing independent booksellers with a chance to get together "...in vibrant Seattle for three-plus days of networking, special events, and professional development."

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The Salt
7:20 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Electronic Tongues Are The Beer Snobs Of The Future

Personally, we're most looking forward to having robot drinking buddies.
Bongo Entertainment Inc.

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 3:01 pm

If beer is the new wine, robots are the new beer snobs. Well, sort of.

Researchers in Barcelona have developed an electronic tongue that really knows the difference between a pilsner and a bock.

For now, it looks less like a slick, futuristic robot and more like a big of clump sensors. It's still a prototype, but its creators say it could some day replace human taste testers.

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The Two-Way
5:32 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Book News: Charlie Chaplin's Only Known Novel Is Unveiled

Actor Charlie Chaplin (right) is seen in the 1952 film Limelight with his son Charles Chaplin Jr.
AP

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 10:43 am

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

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The Edge
5:02 am
Wed February 5, 2014

An Olympic Preview, From The Canon Of Russian Literature

The Krasnaya Polyana mountain range, viewed from the Olympic host city of Sochi, shows off the stunning landscape of southern Russia.
Richard Heathcote Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 9:45 am

It is fitting that the Winter Olympics, one of the world's fiercest competitions, is taking place amid the breathtaking beauty of the Caucasus.

For centuries, Russia's greatest writers have been inspired by this volatile region full of not only immense natural beauty but also human misery. No matter how or why these writers came to the area, they found a land full of possibility and pain, rich in beauty, yet rife with violence: in short, a concentrated microcosm of the contradictions of life itself.

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Around the Nation
4:24 am
Wed February 5, 2014

100 Years Ago, Writer William S. Burroughs Was Born

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 5:19 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

William S. Burroughs was born 100 years ago today. His books included "Naked Lunch." He was a member of the Beat Generation, writers who rose to prominence in the 1950s for the most part and had a huge influence questioning society's standards and traditions. Burroughs was openly gay and wrestled with heroin addiction much of his life.

He lived all over the world, but spent his last years in Lawrence, Kansas where we go next. Frank Morris of member station KCUR reports on his odd but enduring place in a Midwestern city.

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Movies
1:29 am
Wed February 5, 2014

An Oscar Nominee, But Unwelcome At Home In Cairo

Khalid Abdalla, an activist and actor (The Kite Runner, Green Zone and United 93), and Ahmed Hassan protest in Jehane Noujaim's Oscar-nominated documentary, The Square.
Netflix

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 3:47 pm

On a cool Cairo evening, the cast and crew of The Square put on an informal screening of the film for their friends. Many of them are in the documentary, which chronicles three years of political unrest and revolution centered on this city's now-iconic Tahrir Square; all of them experienced some part of the events that unfolded there.

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Kitchen Window
10:02 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

A Meal To Honor Early African-American Cookbook Authors

David Betts/Metropolitan Photography

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 9:24 am

The earliest African-American cookbook authors brought me back to a food career I thought I had left behind. Years ago, I was a pastry chef, but I changed course and went to graduate school for a doctorate in American history. Lately, I've been drawn back into the food world thanks to these authors and their determined pursuit of independence and equality through their cooking and writing.

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Book Reviews
3:26 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

A Widow's Quiet Life Leaves Room For Sex, Guns And Literature

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 6:00 pm

As of last week, what I knew about Beirut could fit in a sandwich bag. What I knew about being a blue-haired, 72-year-old woman, never mind a widow and a shut-in, was a whole lot less. Now, one week later, I'm much more informed, and I'm happy to encourage you to become so, too.

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