Arts

Performing Arts
10:24 am
Mon October 7, 2013

The Fat Lady Sings For New York City Opera

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. They call it The People's Opera, but after this month, the New York City Opera will exist only in the history books. The renowned company is closing after 70 years. The New York City Opera failed to raise the $7 million it needed to cover its debts and will file for bankruptcy protection.

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Arts & Life
10:24 am
Mon October 7, 2013

An Artist's Story Of The Arab Spring

Upheaval in countries like Egypt and Syria is often discussed in political terms, but how do artists see it? Guest host Celeste Headlee talks about arts and the Arab Spring with Egyptian-American poet Yahia Lababidi and Syrian-American doctor Dr. Zaher Sahloul.

Monkey See
8:15 am
Mon October 7, 2013

A Hint That J.D. Salinger Kept Writing, From A Story He Didn't Write

J.D. Salinger shown in September 1961.
AP

With J.D. Salinger in the news three years after his death (and the new documentary and biography must have that obsessively private author spinning in his grave), I'm reminded of my conversations in the 1970s about Salinger with the editor of The New Yorker, William Shawn.

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The Two-Way
5:23 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Book News: Novel By Michael Hastings To Be Published Posthumously

Michael Hastings, who wrote a candid profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal for Rolling Stone, died in June in a car crash in Los Angeles. He was 33.
Paul Morigi Getty Images for The Guardian

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

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Author Interviews
1:06 am
Mon October 7, 2013

In 'Egghead,' A New Shel: Burnham Takes On Silverstein

Chance Bone Courtesy of Grand Central Publishing

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 10:16 am

Bo Burnham posted his first video on the Internet late in 2006, when a little website called YouTube was still in its infancy. He was 17 years old then — just a high school junior singing a few funny songs on his bed at home.

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Sports
1:05 am
Mon October 7, 2013

When It Comes To Brain Injury, Authors Say NFL Is In A 'League Of Denial'

Dave Duerson (right), in 1988. Duerson committed suicide in 2011 and wrote a note that included this request: "Please see that my brain is given to the NFL's brain bank."
AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 3:41 pm

When the Pittsburgh Steelers won four Super Bowls in the 1970s, you could argue that no one played a bigger role than Mike Webster. Webster was the Steelers' center, snapping the ball to the quarterback, then waging war in the trenches, slamming his body and helmet into defensive players to halt their rush.

He was a local hero, which is why the city was stunned when his life fell apart. He lost all his money, and his marriage, and ended up spending nights in the bus terminal in Pittsburgh. Webster died of a heart attack, and on Sept. 28, 2002, came the autopsy.

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Digital Life
3:06 pm
Sun October 6, 2013

Composing Game Soundtracks That Move 'Faster Than Light'

Composer Ben Prunty creates soundtracks and sound effects for video games.
Courtesy of Ben Prunty

This weekend, independent video game developers and fans gathered for the international IndieCade Festival in Los Angeles.

One of the featured speakers Saturday was sound designer Ben Prunty, who integrates audio into some of the most popular independent video games. Prunty composed the soundtrack to the computer game Faster Than Light, which was nominated for IGN's Best Overall Music and Best PC Sound of 2012.

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Digital Life
1:47 pm
Sun October 6, 2013

Isabella Rossellini, Getting Animal Again With 'Mammas'

In her Web series, Mammas, film star Isabella Rossellini portrays animal mothers. Here, she's an oil beetle.
Courtesy Sundance Channel

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 3:06 pm

Film star Isabella Rossellini has a fish on her head.

She is a mouthbrooder, she explains, helpfully — meaning a fish who incubates her eggs in her mouth.

Rossellini's newest Web series is Mammas, an unconventional look at the natural world and our accepted notions of it.

"My films are comical films. They are made to laugh at," Rossellini tells NPR. "They are comical — and scientifically correct."

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Author Interviews
8:51 am
Sun October 6, 2013

'Book Of Matt': An Alternative Motive Behind The Infamous Murder

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 1:21 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Fifteen years ago today, a young man named Matthew Shepard was beaten and tied to a fence outside Laramie, Wyo. He later died of those injuries. The two men convicted of his murder, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, were said to have been motivated by hate because Matthew was gay. The event drew national attention. President Bill Clinton condemned it as a hate crime.

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Sunday Puzzle
8:27 am
Sun October 6, 2013

Find The Rhyme And The Reason

NPR

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 1:05 pm

On-air challenge: For each given category, name things in the category starting with the letters R, H, Y, M, E. For example, if the category were "chemical elements with names ending in -ium," you might say: radium, helium, yttrium, magnesium and einsteinium. You can give the answers in any order, and any answer that works is fine.

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Author Interviews
5:18 am
Sun October 6, 2013

An American Jewish 'Bride' Remembers Her Escape From Kabul

In her memoir, Phyllis Chesler questions whether she and her first husband, Abdul-Kareem, were ever really in love. "Were we soul mates?" she writes. "I am not sure. I dare not remember — the pain would be overwhelming and pointless."
Courtesy Palgrave Macmillan

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 9:14 am

Phyllis Chesler and Abdul-Kareem met in college. She was an 18-year-old Jewish girl from the East Coast; he was a young Muslim man from a wealthy Afghan family. They fell in love over New Wave cinema, poetry and existentialism, and eventually they married.

In her new memoir, An American Bride in Kabul, Chesler tells her story of excitedly traveling to Afghanistan in 1961 with her new husband, who said he wanted to be a modernizing force in his country. But, as she tells NPR's Rachel Martin, her passport was almost immediately confiscated upon arrival.

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PG-13: Risky Reads
5:03 am
Sun October 6, 2013

'Spell'-Bound By A Goofy Book — And Later, United By It

Melissa de la Cruz and her husband Michael Johnston are the co-authors of Frozen.

How is this a risky read, you might ask? Piers Anthony's Xanth series is a tongue-firmly-in-cheek affair, filled with awful puns about bad dreams delivered by horses — literal "night mares" — and corny jokes about how Xanth is eerily similar to the geography of Florida, the author's home state.

Isn't this book just funny? How is it risky? Or dark? Or adult? Yet precisely because of its naughty, offhand humor, we found it risky and thrilling. Let us explain ...

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Movie Interviews
4:08 am
Sun October 6, 2013

Revisiting The Doomed On Their Quest For 'The Summit'

Pemba Gyalje Sherpa survived his August 2008 climb on K2 and was even able to help save some of the other expeditionaries. But 11 died trying to conquer the mountain that month.
Robbie Ryan IFC Films

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 5:05 pm

Mountain climbing requires stamina and skill, but at some point — especially on the world's tallest and riskiest peaks — it becomes a game of chance. In August of 2008, if you were one of the dozens of people trying to climb to the top of K2, the odds of your living to tell your story weren't good: During the last push to the summit and the immediate descent that followed, 11 people died.

In the documentary The Summit, filmmaker Nick Ryan tries to piece together what happened in what has been called the deadliest event in modern mountain climbing.

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Technology
3:56 pm
Sat October 5, 2013

Developers At Indie Game Festival Looking For Big Break

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 10:25 am

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Sales of the insanely popular video game "Grand Theft Auto V" passed the billion-dollar mark just three days after its release this month. But not everyone sees mainstream titles as the industry's game changers. When searching for the next big thing, some of the biggest gaming companies actually look to the little guys: indie game developers. And as NPR's Daniel Hajek reports, they're finding them this weekend at a Los Angeles festival that brings out the underground talent.

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Author Interviews
1:58 pm
Sat October 5, 2013

How Reddit Emerged From A Rejected (And Very Different) Idea

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 4:36 pm

Reddit calls itself "the front page of the Internet." The social news site and global discussion board has become increasingly popular since it launched in 2005. Topics range from politics and entertainment to animal videos and conspiracy theories. Many public figures have used Reddit to reach out to fans and supporters, and last year, President Obama used the site to answer voter questions live.

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Reporter's Notebook
6:03 am
Sat October 5, 2013

Does Capitalism Work? A True/False Quiz In Times Square

Steve Lambert's art installation asks people to vote in an effort to open up the discussion about capitalism. That word can be a red flag for many, Lambert says.
Jake Schlichting Times Square Arts

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 9:52 am

I'm walking through Times Square, the crossroads of the world. Just when I reach the line for cheap Broadway tickets, I see it: a giant billboard with the word "capitalism" in bright white lights and the words "works for me!" in cursive below. There's a podium and two buttons where you can vote whether the statement is "true" or "false."

Peggy Demitrack, a tourist from Cleveland, is adamant when she pushes the "true" button. She says capitalism works for anyone who strives and educates themselves.

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Author Interviews
5:58 am
Sat October 5, 2013

Spies And Novelists Both 'Accomplished Liars,' Says New Bond Author

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 9:11 am

William Boyd is one of the great living British novelists — and now he's tackling one of the great British heroes.

"I am now a James Bond pedant," Boyd tells NPR's Scott Simon. "I can bore for England on the subject of James Bond. But I knew I couldn't do it frivolously, I had to take it very seriously, however much fun I was having. And I had to make myself, you know, absolutely steeped in Bond and in Fleming and that world."

Steeped in Bond, not shaken, of course.

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Arts & Life
5:58 am
Sat October 5, 2013

At 300, Encyclopedia Pioneer May Yet Get A Hero's Burial

Denis Diderot's work on the Encyclopédie faced stiff resistance in its time, but some scholars credit it with laying the foundations of the French Revolution.
Louis-Michel con Loo Diderot Collection/Gift of M. de Vandeul to the French State in 1911

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 9:11 am

Before there was Wikipedia, there were encyclopedias — and Saturday marks the 300th birthday of the father of one of the world's most important.

Eighteenth-century French philosopher Denis Diderot was the driving force behind the Encyclopédie, one of the first compendiums of human knowledge of its time. The anniversary of his birth has prompted calls for Diderot to receive France's highest honor: have his remains reinterred in Paris' Pantheon, a mausoleum of sorts for France's national heroes.

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Author Interviews
4:07 am
Sat October 5, 2013

40 Years Ago, 'Fear Of Flying' Showed Women Like Sex, Too

Courtesy of Henry Holt and Co.

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 7:31 am

In 1973, Erica Jong was tired of reading about silent, seething housewifes, so she introduced a new kind of female protagonist: a frank young woman who loved sex and wasn't ashamed to admit it. Fear of Flying turns 40 this year, as does its most famous phrase: "the zipless f - - - ." Jong defines it in the novel:

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
4:36 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Not My Job: Shirley Jones Gets Quizzed On Partridge Shooting

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 9:04 am

Shirley Jones starred in some of the great movie musicals of the 1950s — Oklahoma, Carousel, The Music Man -- won an Oscar for her role in the film Elmer Gantry and then went on to be the mother in the classic sitcom The Partridge Family. She's just written a new memoir about her life onstage, on-screen and behind the scenes.

We've invited Jones to play a game called "Look, it's the partridge family! GET THEM!" Three questions about the sport of partridge shooting.

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Shots - Health News
3:24 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Want To Read Others' Thoughts? Try Reading Literary Fiction

Would time spent with Anton Chekov, famed for his subtle, flawed characters, make you a better judge of human nature?
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 7:33 am

Your ability to "read" the thoughts and feelings of others could be affected by the kind of fiction you read.

That's the conclusion of a study in the journal Science that gave tests of social perception to people who were randomly assigned to read excerpts from literary fiction, popular fiction or nonfiction.

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Books News & Features
2:05 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

New E-Book Lending Service Aims To Be Netflix For Books

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 3:24 pm

Movie lovers have Netflix, music lovers have Spotify — and book lovers (whether they read literary fiction or best-selling potboilers) now have Scribd. The document sharing website has been around since 2007, but this week it launched a subscription service for e-book lending.

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Movie Interviews
1:35 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Sandra Bullock, Boxed In On The Set Of 'Gravity'

Many of the special effects in the action-adventure film Gravity were generated by computers — but star Sandra Bullock also had to put in a good deal of work, with choreographed movements simulating weightlessness.
Warner Bros.

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 3:24 pm

The eye-popping new movie Gravity will make you very grateful you're planted on terra firma. It's a thriller directed by Alfonso Cuaron, in which shuttle astronauts on a spacewalk are stranded after a collision with a vast cloud of space debris.

And one of those astronauts — played by Sandra Bullock — is left on her own, hundreds of miles above Earth. She's running out of oxygen and tumbling untethered through the void of space.

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Movie Reviews
11:58 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Houston, We Have A Space Flick: A Sentimental Mission In Zero 'Gravity'

In Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity, Sandra Bullock plays Ryan Stone, an astronaut careening through space after an accident.
Warner Bros.

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 12:51 pm

In a season in which we're all talking about AMC's phenomenal Breaking Bad and Netflix's elating Orange Is the New Black, Hollywood needs you, your kids and everyone in Europe and China to get out from behind those TV monitors and into theaters. Movie studios are falling behind on compelling narratives. But they can give you what TV can't: absolute, total bombardment.

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The Salt
11:30 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Meat-Drenched Oktoberfest Warms To Vegans

Traditional fare at Bavarian Oktoberfest is heavy on meat, but that's changing as restaurants add more vegan and vegetarian options.
Wolfworld Flickr

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 2:22 pm

Oktoberfest, one of the world's largest festivals, is mostly about beer. And to soak up all that froth and alcohol, Bavarians have traditionally reached for meat.

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Monkey See
10:49 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Clip Job: 'Five Dances,' One Sweetly Moving Romance

Ryan Steele in Five Dances
Paladin

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 2:10 pm

Five Dances might be the least talky movie I've seen in months — but it's plenty expressive. What it says, it says silently, or at least nonverbally, in the music-and-movement language of Jonah Bokaer's haunting choreography, which speaks of solitary strivings and the brief, passionate connections that punctuate them.

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Code Switch
10:16 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Actors With Disabilities In Big Roles? 'We Don't Have A Chance'

The original Ironside starred Raymond Burr as a detective who became a paraplegic after being shot in the line of duty.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 3:43 pm

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Barbershop
9:37 am
Fri October 4, 2013

New York Road Rage Video Raises Difficult Questions

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Movies
9:37 am
Fri October 4, 2013

'The Fade': Four Barbers, Three Continents, One Film

London barber Faisal Abdu'Allah cuts director Andy Mundy-Castle's hair.
Big Bright Films

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 6:35 am

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Monkey See
8:38 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Breaking Bad,' Bad Boys, Bad Choices

This guy and his dog are doing all they can to contribute to the world of Grand Theft Auto V.
AP
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

First things first: FEAR NOT. This is a non-spoilery Breaking Bad discussion. If you don't believe me, consider that even two of the people in the room haven't seen the whole run of the series, so if there were spoilers, we'd know (and get punched). Instead, we try to put the themes of the series in the context of a bigger discussion about what kinds of protagonists we can and cannot root for, what kinds of television are growing and shrinking, and what kinds of conversations we want to have about the shows we love.

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