Arts

The Two-Way
5:18 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Book News: Apple Seeks Patent For Digital Book-Signing Technology

The Apple logo.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 8:58 am

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

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Sax, Drugs And Jazz: Charlie Parker's 'Lightning'-Fast Rise

Charlie Parker, shown here in an undated photo, was a legendary jazz saxophonist.
STF AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 5:53 am

Harlem's Savoy Ballroom, early 1942. The Jay McShann Orchestra from Kansas City, Mo., has the stage, and Charlie "Bird" Parker picks up his alto saxophone:

"The rhythm section had him by the tail, but there was no holding or cornering Bird. Disappearing acts were his specialty. Just when you thought you had him, he'd move, coming up with another idea, one that was as bold as red paint on a white sheet."

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Author Interviews
1:04 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Diane Ravitch Rebukes Education Activists' 'Reign Of Error'

Yunus Arakon iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 6:11 am

Diane Ravitch, a former assistant secretary of education, spent years advocating for an overhaul of the American education system. She supported the No Child Left Behind Act, the charter school movement and standardized testing.

But Ravitch recently — and very publicly — changed her mind. She looked at the data and decided that the kinds of changes she'd supported weren't working. Now she's a prominent critic of things like charter schools and school choice — and she's particularly opposed to privatizing schools.

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Movie Reviews
4:42 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Music Doc Packs 'Muscle' (Plus A Whole Lotta Soul)

Roger Hawkins, a member of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (also known as the Swampers), is just one among the many musicians captured in this documentary about the famous town.
Magnolia Pictures

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 8:32 am

Most fans of '60s soul know of Muscle Shoals, the tiny Alabama town that produced huge hits. But only the genre's most studious followers will be able to watch Muscle Shoals without being regularly astonished: Even if it sometimes gets lost in its byways, Greg "Freddy" Camalier's documentary tells an extraordinary story.

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The Salt
4:10 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

McDonald's Says Bye-Bye To Sugary Sodas In Happy Meals

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 6:29 pm

Fast-food giant McDonald's has made a commitment to stop marketing sodas as a beverage option in kids' Happy Meals.

Instead, the chain has committed to market and promote only milk, water and juice with the children's meals.

Now, if parents order a Coke or Sprite with their child's Happy Meal, they won't be turned down. But sodas will no longer be marketed or promoted visually in any of McDonald's advertisements or in-store visuals.

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Movie Reviews
3:39 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

'What We Are': Fresh, Grade A Horror, (Re)Made In America

In We Are What We Are, Iris (Ambyr Childers, right) must take up the responsibility of ... let's say "putting food on the table" for the Parker clan, including her younger sister Rose (Julia Garner, left).
Entertainment One

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 4:41 pm

The best advice for those looking to remake foreign horror movie hits? Don't.

At best, the results tend to be well-made but redundant copies (The Ring, Let Me In). At worst, the misbegotten rehashes that result miss capturing the originals' frights so completely that they nearly take their inspirations down with them (The Grudge, The Vanishing). Everyone's better off if you just leave these things be.

Unless you're Jim Mickle.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

'Out In The Dark,' Where Nothing Is Black Or White

Nicholas Jacob (Nimr) and Michael Aloni (Roy) are star-crossed lovers of a different stripe in the Israeli drama Out in the Dark.
Ran Aviad Breaking Glass Pictures

Originally published on Sun September 29, 2013 6:25 am

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

For Richer And For Poorer, But What Of That Vanishing Middle?

Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, now a professor at the University of California-Berkeley, takes a look at growing income disparity in Inequality for All.
Radius/TWC

The U.S. financial sector's 2007-2008 swoon hurt a lot of people, but it's been a bonanza for documentary filmmakers with an interest in economics. The last five years have seen dozens of movies about the dismal science, most of them pegged to the Great Recession.

The latest is Inequality for All, a showcase for former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich. (He served under Bill Clinton, who borrowed much of his fellow Rhodes scholar's rhetoric, if fewer of his prescriptions.)

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Theater
2:49 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

An American Masterpiece, And A 'Menagerie' Of Stars

In a Broadway transfer of the American Repertory Theatre's acclaimed production of The Glass Menagerie, Cherry Jones plays Amanda, mother to the very troubled Laura (Celia Keenan-Bolger). The play cemented Tennessee Williams' reputation as an American original when it premiered in 1945.
Michael J. Lutch

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 5:19 pm

Pop-culture aficionadoes will know Zachary Quinto as Spock in the cinematic reboot of Star Trek, and Cherry Jones as President Taylor from television's 24.

But both are accomplished stage actors as well. And tonight, they're opening on Broadway, in a revival of Tennessee Williams' classic play The Glass Menagerie.

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Television
1:34 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

'Masters Of Sex' Get Unmasterful Treatment On Showtime

Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan portray pioneering sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson in a new Showtime series.
Craig Blankenhorn Showtime

Way back in the 1950s — before people tweeted snapshots of their privates or posted their hookup diaries online — it was considered inappropriate to talk too much about sex. The guardians of culture treated it as something better kept in the dark.

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The Salt
11:43 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Why Can't Fish Oil Supplements Keep Our Brains Sharp?

If you eat fish, rather than take a fish-oil supplement, is there more likely to be a benefit? There's more than a suggestion that this is indeed the case.
Verena J Matthew iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 12:22 pm

Lots of people think of fish as brain food. And there's good reason.

Many kinds of fish — think salmon, sardines, tuna — contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, a class of polyunsaturated fat, which have been shown to fight inflammation and improve the function of our neurons.

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Race
10:04 am
Thu September 26, 2013

The Root 100: A Who's Who Of Black America

Donna Byrd is the publisher of The Root.
Amy Ta NPR

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 1:18 pm

The online journal TheRoot.com, which focuses on African-American politics, culture and society, recently released its list of the 100 most important black influencers between the ages of 25 and 45. The list includes several known leaders and achievers, including NPR's own Audie Cornish, and Gene Demby and Matt Thompson of our Code Switch team. But there are also religious leaders, community activists and others who may not be household names ... yet.

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The Two-Way
5:26 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Book News: North Carolina County Reverses 'Invisible Man' Ban

Ralph Ellison testified at a Senate Subcommittee hearing in 1966 on the racial problems in big cities.
AP

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

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Julian Barnes 'Levels' With Us On Love, Loss And Ballooning

General Photographic Agency Getty Images

"Every love story is a potential grief story," Julian Barnes writes in Levels of Life, a quirky but ultimately powerful meditation on things that uplift us — literally, as in hot air balloons, and emotionally, as in love — and things that bring us crashing to earth: to wit, that great leveler, the death of a loved one.

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Code Switch
3:35 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Ancient Jewish Tradition Meets Contemporary Design

Sukkah City finalists spread out across New York City's Union Square Park in 2010.
Babak Bryan BanG Studio

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 4:07 pm

At Georgetown University this week, an outdoor religious display looks more like a public art installation than a commandment from the Torah, Judaism's holy book.

First, the basics: It's called a sukkah, a temporary dwelling — translated from Hebrew as a "booth" — where observant Jews traditionally eat and sleep during the weeklong harvest holiday of Sukkot.

The holiday, which began the night of Sept. 18, also pays homage to the 40 years during which the Israelites wandered in the desert, living in temporary structures.

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The Salt
1:32 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Pork Politics: Why Some Danes Want Pig Meat Required On Menus

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 4:16 pm

In Denmark, pigs outnumber people 2 to 1. No traditional Danish meal would be complete without something wrapped in, wrapped around, or topped with pork.

In 2012, the country exported close to $6 billion in pig meat, a figure that includes "carcasses" — which leads to the question: What does one do with a pig carcass?

All this is by way of explaining the hubbub that erupted following a recent headline: "Day Cares Ban Pork."

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Monkey See
12:58 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

In His Silences And His Songs, An Unmistakable Note Of Genius

McCraney in rehearsal for The Brother/Sister Plays at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, where he's a member of the ensemble.
Mark Campbell Steppenwolf Theatre

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 3:22 pm

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The Protojournalist
10:46 am
Wed September 25, 2013

How It Sounds To Be 50

Nancy-Lee Mauger

Nancy-Lee Mauger, 50, lives in Needham, Mass. If you ask her, she will tell you: She has dissociative identity disorder. She used to be a professional French hornist. And she is now a visual artist.

**

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Music
10:32 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Syleena Johnson And Musiq Soulchild, Making Music In Nine Days

Syleena Johnson with Musiq Soulchild.
Jeremy Horton

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 7:52 am

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The Salt
8:48 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Rooftop Farming Is Getting Off The Ground

Stacey Kimmons and Audra Lewicki harvest lettuce at the Chicago Botanic Garden's 20,000-square-foot vegetable garden atop McCormick Place West in Chicago.
Courtesy of the Chicago Botanic Garden

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 1:03 pm

From vacant lots to vertical "pinkhouses," urban farmers are scouring cities for spaces to grow food. But their options vary widely from place to place.

While farmers in post-industrial cities like Detroit and Cleveland are claiming unused land for cultivation, in New York and Chicago, land comes at a high premium. That's why farmers there are increasingly eyeing spaces that they might not have to wrestle from developers: rooftops that are already green.

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Monkey See
7:17 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Another Day, Another Reminder That Jimmy Fallon Will Make Your Day

It's been a while since we just started off by making our morning with some assorted Jimmy Fallon greatness (and I just got my cable hooked up at my new place yesterday, meaning my ability to watch late-night shows over my morning coffee is much enhanced).

So here's some good stuff from Tuesday night's show.

First, Fallon gave the follow-up to his "touchdown dance" bit with Justin Timberlake.

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The Two-Way
5:25 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Book News: Donald Antrim, Karen Russell Win 'Genius Grant' Awards

Karen Russell's debut novel, Swamplandia! was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2012. Her most recent work is a collection of short stories, Vampires in the Lemon Grove.
Michael Lionstar

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

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Richard Dawkins Opens Up In 'Appetite For Wonder'

Courtesy of Ecco

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 7:42 am

He may be the most controversial atheist on the planet today, but there was once a time when Richard Dawkins was a respectable, churchgoing Christian.

In his new memoir, An Appetite for Wonder, the Oxford scientist recalls his erstwhile pious life: "I prayed every night ...[and kneeled] at the altar, where, I believed, an angel might appear to me in a vision." When the apparition finally came it was from a man with a long beard who claimed to understand how human beings evolved. Not that guy with the beard. He was an Englishman named Charles Darwin.

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Movies
4:47 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

States Ponder Costs, Benefits Of Film Incentives

Homeland, the CIA series starring Claire Danes, is just one of many television shows and movies that film far from their putative settings.
Kent Smith Showtime

Showtime's critically acclaimed series Homeland starts its third season next week; the spies and terrorists who weave its tangled storyline will be back roaming the halls of CIA headquarters and the streets of D.C.

Or so you'll think. But Homeland is actually filmed in Charlotte, N.C. And it's all because of money.

About 40 states offer some sort of incentive to lure Hollywood productions to their precincts. But some have begun to wonder if they're getting their money's worth.

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Author Interviews
4:18 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

NFL's A Nonprofit? Author Says It's Time For Football Reform

Joseph Gareri istockphoto.com

Baseball may be America's pastime, but if you're counting dollar signs and eyeballs on fall TV, football takes home the trophy. Part sport, part national addiction, part cult, writer Gregg Easterbrook says, the "game that bleeds red, white and blue" could use some serious reform.

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Monkey See
3:52 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

'Trophy Wife' Is More Than Just A Pretty Face On ABC

Kate (Malin Akerman) pitches in alongside husband Pete (Bradley Whitford) on her stepson's soccer practice in ABC's Trophy Wife.
Danny Feld ABC

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 5:05 pm

One of the strongest new sitcoms on TV this season has the worst name, but its title, Trophy Wife, was intended to be ironic. The show's creators, Sarah Haskins and Emily Halpern, are self-professed feminists who wanted to take on a type generally scorned in popular culture.

The show's eponymous character, Kate, is a reformed party girl trying to find her place in a family that includes a much older husband, Pete, his two ex-wives and three kids. When Kate inadvertently breaks Pete's nose, the situation is expertly handled by ex No. 1, an intimidating surgeon.

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The Salt
2:41 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Global Love Of Bananas May Be Hurting Costa Rica's Crocodiles

A Costa Rican banana worker carries a stalk of freshly harvested fruit on a plantation in Costa Rica, where many of the bananas that Americans eat are grown.
Kent Gilbert AP

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 12:22 pm

Americans love bananas. Each year, we eat more bananas than any other fruit. But banana growers use a lot of pesticides — and those chemicals could be hurting wildlife. As a new study shows, the pesticides are ending up in the bodies of crocodiles living near banana farms in Costa Rica, where many of the bananas we eat are grown.

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Television
1:41 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

TV Trips Into Fall, But These Days Who Knows Where To Look?

Capt. Ray Holt (Andre Braugher, right) leads detectives Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) on a police stakeout in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Beth Dubber Fox

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 1:52 pm

We're kicking off a new fall TV season this week. A generation ago, even less, that was cause for major media focus, as new shows from the broadcast networks jockeyed for attention and position while old favorites returned with new episodes. Also back then, the Emmys were a celebration of the best, and clips from the nominated shows reminded you just why they were considered the best of the best.

But now? In 2013? All bets are off.

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Author Interviews
1:23 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

'Reaped' Is A Reminder That No One Is Promised Tomorrow

iStockphoto.com

After winning a National Book Award for her novel Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward has written a memoir that's framed by the deaths of five young men in her life. The cause of each death was different, but she sees them all as connected to being poor and black in the rural South:

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The Two-Way
5:45 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Book News: 'Captain Underpants' Tops List Of Most-Challenged Books

Scholastic Inc.

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

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