Arts

Author Interviews
10:48 am
Mon January 27, 2014

'Pope And Mussolini' Tells The 'Secret History' Of Fascism And The Church

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 11:45 am

It's commonly thought that the Catholic Church fought heroically against the fascists when Benito Mussolini's party ruled over Italy in the 1920s and '30s. But in The Pope and Mussolini, David Kertzer says the historical record and a trove of recently released archives tell a very different story.

It's fascinating, Kertzer tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies, "how in a very brief period of time, Mussolini came to realize the importance of enlisting the pope's support."

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Book Reviews
10:48 am
Mon January 27, 2014

On This Spanish Slave Ship, Nothing Was As It Seemed

Detail from the cover of The Empire of Necessity.
Courtesy of Metropolitan Books

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 3:14 pm

Shortly after sunrise, on the morning of Feb. 20, 1805, sailors on an American ship called the Perseverance, anchored near an uninhabited island off the coast of Chile, spied a weird vessel drifting into view. It flew no flag and its threadbare sails were slack. The captain of the Perseverance, a man named Amasa Delano, decided to come to the aid of the ship, whose name, painted in faded white letters along its bow, was the Tryal.

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Movies
10:28 am
Mon January 27, 2014

'Dear White People' A Hit At Sundance

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Arts & Life
10:28 am
Mon January 27, 2014

New Muslim Ms. Marvel Doesn't Drink, Date Or Eat Bacon

Kamala Khan, a Muslim teenager living in New Jersey, is the latest superhero to don the Ms. Marvel mantle.
AP

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 6:24 pm

Marvel is introducing a new character: Kamala Khan. She's a 16-year-old Muslim public high school student in Jersey City. She's also the new Ms. Marvel, and the first Muslim superhero to star in her own mainstream comic book series. Author G. Willow Wilson spoke with Tell Me More host Michel Martin about her new series.


Interview Highlights

On Kamala Khan's challenges to come

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Monkey See
9:15 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Pharrell Williams And The Power Hat

Pharrell Williams wore an unexpected piece of headgear to Sunday's Grammy Awards.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

When folks first saw Pharrell Williams in this hat at the Grammy Awards, there were a couple of obvious references. Smokey The Bear was probably the one I heard the most. Well, that and Arby's. And Mounties.

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Pop Culture
3:58 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

For 'SNL' Cast Member, The Waiting Was The Hardest Part

Bobby Moynihan (left) appears on Saturday Night Live as the character "Drunk Uncle."
NBC Dana Edelson/NBC

Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 4:20 pm

As part of a new series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click and people leap forward into their careers.

For about a decade, Bobby Moynihan lived a double life. By day, Moynihan says, he tended bar at a Pizzeria Uno in New York. By night, he performed improv comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

But he says he always had one dream: to join the cast of Saturday Night Live.

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Author Interviews
10:03 am
Sun January 26, 2014

In Fragments Of A Marriage, Familiar Themes Get Experimental

iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 10:47 am

Love, parenthood, infidelity, a crumbling marriage ... these are pretty traditional themes for fiction. It's not the kind of stuff that normally makes for an experimental novel.

But in Jenny Offill's new book, Dept. of Speculation, those familiar subjects take on an unusual form. The book is short, just 46 brief chapters, and instead of forming a narrative, they're disconnected snippets of prose, poetry and anecdotes. The story centers on two characters, "the wife" and "the husband," who are never named.

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Monkey See
8:23 am
Sun January 26, 2014

Watch The Grammy Awards With Us

US singer Bruno Mars performs during the MTV Europe Music Awards (EMA) 2013 ceremony in Amsterdam in November 2013.
Sven Hoogerhuis AFP/Getty Images

You've gotta love the Grammy Awards.

They've got a zillion categories showcasing all kinds of great and interesting music (really!) in all kinds of genres (really!). But when it comes to awards night, you see a tiny selection of awards (eight or nine, maybe, in three hours), together with a bunch of performances ranging from the flawless to the weird thing that happened last year involving Frank Ocean's video legs.

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Book Reviews
7:43 am
Sun January 26, 2014

Doyle's New 'Guts' Has Plenty Of Soul

Courtesy of Viking Adult

Restless and determined young Dubliner Jimmy Rabbitte put together a neighborhood soul band in 1987. Jimmy rounded up his pal Outspan and Declan and some other folks, including soul veteran Joey The Lips on trumpet, pretty Imelda and Natalie — the Commitment-ettes — as backup, and the rest was history. That's the gospel according to Dubliner Roddy Doyle's first novel, The Commitments.

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Code Switch
6:44 am
Sun January 26, 2014

For Persian Jews, America Means 'Religious Pluralism At Its Best'

Roben Farzad and his mother in their 1978 visa photo
Courtesy of Roben Farzad

Code Switch has been writing about some overlooked cultural interactions that have helped shape what Jewish identity is today, and we continue the series with a post by Tell Me More Senior Producer Davar Ardalan on Iranian Jews.

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Sunday Puzzle
6:02 am
Sun January 26, 2014

Take Synonyms For A Spin (Or Pirouette)

NPR

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 12:28 pm

On-air challenge: For each word given, name a synonym in which the first two letters are the same as the second and third letters of the given word. For example, spin and pirouette.

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Three Books...
5:02 am
Sun January 26, 2014

They Came From Inner Space: Three Books About Solitude

iStockphoto

Writers are a curious bunch, known for holding court at parties, charming their readers publicly, yet also famously — stereotypically — cranky in the daylight hours. They prefer their own quiet shuffling to any other human noise. I, too, admit a certain tendency toward this peculiar, self-inflicted isolation.

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Movie Interviews
3:08 am
Sun January 26, 2014

Take A Ride With Baltimore's Renegade Bikers, The '12 O'Clock Boys'

A new documentary follows The 12 O'Clock Boys, a gang of Baltimore dirt bikers who do dangerous stunts at top speeds on city streets." I think it's a kind of escape for these guys; it's a kind of renegade sport," says filmmaker Lotfy Nathan.
Noah Rabinowitz 12 O'Clock Boys

It doesn't take long to understand why a Baltimore gang of dirt bikers is called the 12 O'Clock Boys: Flying at top speeds down city streets, they flip precariously high wheelies, maneuvering their bikes to near vertical positions, like clock hands at high noon.

The police try to crack down on them, but that only adds to the gang's allure — especially for a young rider named Pug. "If I fall, I'm gonna hop back on my bike," Pug says. "Doesn't matter if I break my arm or anything, I'm hopping back on this bike."

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Monkey See
3:06 am
Sun January 26, 2014

8 Picture Books That Make Us Wish We Were Kids Again

Courtesy of Candlewick Press

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 9:21 am

Update: On Jan. 27, the American Library Association awarded the Caldecott Medal to Locomotive by Brian Floca. Three Caldecott Honor books were also named, including Journey by Aaron Becker and Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner.

Our original post:

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Author Interviews
3:04 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

The Mystery Of Isabel Allende: Author Explores New Genre

Courtesy of HarperCollins

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 5:53 pm

Isabel Allende planned to retire in 2011. Instead, she wrote a murder mystery.

The New York Times bestselling author is known for her unique style that blends historical reportage, memoir and literature. Her books have sold over 60 million copies and are translated into more than 35 languages.

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Author Interviews
10:26 am
Sat January 25, 2014

'Le Divorce' Author Finds Stories Closer To Home In 'Flyover'

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 7:31 am

For most of her readers, the American author Diane Johnson is wholly identified with France and especially Paris. She's the author of novels like L'Affaire, Le Marriage, and Le Divorce — the last of which was made into a film.

So it comes as something of a surprise that Johnson's new book is about her roots in the American Midwest. And not only her own roots, but the roots of a family tree going back two centuries, painstakingly reconstructed from a trove of diaries and letters passed on by her mother.

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Books News & Features
9:45 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Before He Fell To Earth, 'The Little Prince' Was Born In N.Y.

A detail of a drawing from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
Graham S. Haber Courtesy of The Morgan Library & Museum

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 11:31 am

One of the world's most beloved books is The Little Prince by Antoine Saint-Exupery. Published in 1943, almost two million copies are sold every year, in about 250 languages.

If asked where you think the book was written, you might say Paris. You'd be wrong. Try Long Island — as in Long Island, N.Y.

When the late Nikos Kefalidis bought the house on Beven Road in Northport, Long Island, in the late 1970s, he knew that 30 years before, Saint-Exupery had written and illustrated part of Le Petit Prince in that house.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
8:15 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Not My Job: How Much Does A Former Hedge Fund Manager Know About Hedges?

Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 1:07 pm

Mad Money, CNBC's daily show about the stock market, is not your typical financial show. Host Jim Cramer shouts, he throws things around, he pushes buttons to make funny noises.

Since Cramer is a former hedge fund manager, we'd like to see just how much he knows about actual hedges. We'll test him with three questions about the world of topiary.

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Arts & Life
8:04 am
Sat January 25, 2014

DIY Lip Color That's Good Enough To Eat

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 10:14 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

Something you may find on that vanity is a lipstick, so let's pucker up and head downtown to Soho.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LYDEN: There's a little bit on Prince Street where people can go to find that perfect lip color. We're at Bite, a shop that lets you come up with your own lip shade.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Singing) It's on your collar. It told the tale on you. Lipstick's on your collar, said you were untrue...

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Fine Art
6:43 am
Sat January 25, 2014

The Art Of Vanity On Display In 'The History Of The Dressing Table'

This French mechanical table was intended for Madame de Pompadour. The designs depict her many interests, including gardening, painting, music and architecture.
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 8:03 am

Ever since there have been puddles of water, human beings have gazed at their reflections.

Our need to primp and preen, whether we lived in the Bronze Age or the Space Age, can be seen in a new exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York called Metropolitan Vanities: The History of the Dressing Table.

Curator Jane Adlin offers a show that reminds us that while our vanity may ultimately be in vain, the instinct goes back a long way.

An Ancient Conceit

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Theater
3:47 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Neuwirth Returns To Broadway, With More 'Class' Than Ever

Taking on her third role in the long-running revival of the musical Chicago, Bebe Neuwirth (left) plays prison matron Mama Morton. Amra-Faye Wright currently plays Velma Kelly — the part for which Neuwirth won a Tony Award in 1997.
Jeremy Daniel

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 10:14 am

Bebe Neuwirth is probably best known for her role in the hit TV show Cheers and its spinoff, Frasier, in both of which which she played Lilith, Frasier Crane's ice-blooded, uptight sometime wife.

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Around the Nation
3:23 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Artist Transforms Guns To Make Music — Literally

Mexican artist Pedro Reyes received 6,700 weapons from the Mexican government, from which he sculpted instruments.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 10:14 am

Pedro Reyes says being Mexican is like living in an apartment where an upstairs neighbor has a leaking swimming pool.

"Just what is leaking," says Reyes, "is hundreds of thousands of guns."

He wants people to think about the availability of guns in the United States, and the impact that has in Mexico.

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This Week's Must Read
4:04 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Movie Buff Or Not, There's Something 'Beautiful' About Hollywood

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 5:29 pm

Kevin Roose is a New York Magazine writer. His new book, Young Money, comes out next month.

With the Grammy Awards just two days away, the Academy Awards on the horizon and the results of the SAG and Golden Globe awards already in, we're smack in the middle of awards season.

I don't watch the Oscars. I don't even see many movies, unless you count what's on Netflix. But Jess Walter's very funny novel, Beautiful Ruins, made me want to quit my job, move to L.A. and see the Hollywood train wreck up close.

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Author Interviews
4:04 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

A Parenting Paradox: How Kids Manage To Be 'All Joy And No Fun'

As a parent, how would you rate this moment on a scale of 1 to 5? In her new book All Joy and No Fun, Jennifer Senior says parenting research sometimes fails to quantify the joy of having a child.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 5:29 pm

There's no shortage of books about how parents affect their children's lives, but what about vice versa? That's what New York Magazine contributing editor and mother Jennifer Senior sets out to investigate in All Joy and No Fun, a book about parental well-being.

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The Salt
12:21 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Can Mom's Pregnancy Diet Rewire Baby's Brain For Obesity?

Choose wisely: What Mom eats during pregnancy can set the stage for obesity in her baby.
Meg Vogel NPR

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 5:07 pm

Moms-to-be are often reminded that they're eating for two. It's tempting to take this as an excuse to go for that extra scoop of the ice cream. (Believe me, I've been there.)

But a solid body of research suggests that expectant mothers should be walking away with the opposite message: Pregnancy should be a time to double-down on healthful eating if you want to avoid setting up your unborn child for a lifetime of wrestling with obesity.

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Monkey See
8:49 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Oscar Nominees And 'Looking'

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

The Oscar nominations are so strangely timed (for us) that we didn't get to them last week, so this is the week we take a look at what didn't make the cut that we wish had gotten through. Nothing will cast light on this discussion more than Mark Harris' terrific piece at Grantland about the effect of the expanded Best Picture field on all the other categories, which hasn't been as ...

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Movie Reviews
8:31 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Middle-Aged And Divorced, 'Gloria' Takes On Life's Uncertainties

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 2:23 pm

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. "Gloria" is a new film from Chile that centers on a late-middle-aged divorced woman whose life is full of uncertainties. She's played by Paulina Garcia, who won the top acting prize - the Silver Bear - at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival, where the movie was a surprise hit. It opens this week in New York and Los Angeles, and wider next month. Film critic David Edelstein has this review.

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The Salt
8:15 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Dry January: Giving Up Booze For A Month Does Have Benefits

Give your liver a break every now and then.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 10:37 am

As New Year's resolutions go, cutting back on food and drink are right at the top of the list. And while those resolved to change their eating habits may cut the carbohydrates or say a sweet goodbye to sugar, for regular drinkers, the tradition may involve what's known as a dry January: giving up booze for a month.

But could such a short-term breakup with alcohol really impart any measurable health benefits?

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Movie Reviews
7:55 am
Fri January 24, 2014

After A Crisis, A Long, Laborious Quest For A New Normal

Neuropsychologist Ted Fielding (Will Forte) is on hand to observe — but not necessarily to help — as Valentia (Mazine Peake) struggles to hold her family together after her husband's stroke in Run & Jump.
IFC

The face is the same, but the personality is different. It's a sobering, unfair truth that Vanetia (Maxine Peake) must confront about her husband. Again and again, in fact, once he's returned home from the hospital, after months in a coma and recovery in the wake of a rare kind of stroke.

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Monkey See
7:30 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Fix The Best New Artist Grammy: Dump It

If it's true that Lorde should be glad her Grammy nominations don't include Best New Artist, then the entire enterprise has become ridiculous.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Each year's Grammy Awards offer their own questions and controversies based on how the nominations pan out, but there are a few points of contention that come up year after year. There's the difference between Song Of The Year and Record Of The Year. How a song can be eligible for nomination this year when the album it came from was nominated last year (or vice versa). The precise eligibility requirements for Best New Artist, a category that can be (and has been) won by performers several albums into their careers.

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