Arts

Author Interviews
4:05 am
Sat September 28, 2013

On Eliot's 125th, His 'Waste Land' Hasn't Lost Its Glamour

American-born British poet and playwright T.S. Eliot received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948.
Chris Bacon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 7:55 am

What do you get a Nobel Prize-winning poet for his birthday?

The poet, in this case, is T.S. Eliot, and this year he would have turned the intimidating age of 125. It's a tough question, but New Yorker poetry editor Paul Muldoon has got an answer: a new re-issue of the first edition of Eliot's groundbreaking poem, The Waste Land.

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Author Interviews
3:25 am
Sat September 28, 2013

I, Spy: Valerie Plame Makes Her Fiction Debut In CIA Thriller

Valerie Plame was outed as a covert CIA operative in a 2003 Washington Post column. Her story was depicted in the 2010 film Fair Game, starring Naomi Watts as Plame.
Dennis Cook AP

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 9:16 am

Vanessa Pierson, the heroine of Valerie Plame's first novel, is — ahem — "blonde, lithe, and nicely sexy." She is also a CIA agent, determined to lasso a nuclear arms dealer named Bhoot before he arrives at an underground nuclear facility in Iran.

But just as her informant is about to tell her where Bhoot will be, he's shot by a sniper who misses Vanessa — or does he simply overlook her? How will Vanessa Pierson halt the terrorists, protect the world and, by the way, also keep the secret of her forbidden romance with David, a fellow CIA ops officer with green-flecked hazel eyes?

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Poetry
3:24 am
Sat September 28, 2013

News From Lake Wobegon: Garrison Keillor Has A New Book Of Poetry

Garrison Keillor has been the host of A Prairie Home Companion since it began nearly four decades ago. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1994.
Courtesy of Grove Press

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 9:16 am

If you're a regular public radio listener, you may hear Garrison Keillor every morning reading other people's poems on The Writer's Almanac. Now, the Prairie Home Companion host has decided to share some of his own poems for a change.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
3:21 am
Sat September 28, 2013

Not My Job: Consultant James Carville Gets Quizzed On Couples

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 12:18 pm

James Carville is a Democratic political consultant, a TV pundit, and one half of the most famous mixed marriage in the country — his wife is Republican consultant Mary Matalin.

We've invited him to play a game called "You're like two peas in a pod!" Three questions about freakishly similar couples.

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Movie Reviews
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

'Don Jon': Smooth Move There, Mr. Gordon-Levitt

Wonder where he gets that: Gordon-Levitt's Jon, looking a lot like a chip off the old block (Tony Danza).
Relativity Media

Once a child actor on TV, then an indie sensation, then an honest-to-God movie star going head-to-head with the likes of Bruce Willis in Looper and Leo DiCaprio in Inception, Joseph Gordon-Levitt hardly needs to burnish his LinkedIn resume at this point. But that's not kept him from adding a couple of skills — writing and directing — with his latest picture.

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Movie Interviews
2:24 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

A Brutal Movie From China, Ripped From The Headlines

In one of the four intertwining storylines of the brutal Chinese drama A Touch of Sin, a young receptionist (Zhao Tao) must resort to violence to defend herself.
Kino Lorber

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 6:29 pm

If you want to see modern Chinese life at its darkest, consider A Touch of Sin.

The film is a series of loosely knit vignettes that revolve around themes of violence, greed, sex, power and crime. And there's nothing subtle about the imagery.

In one scene, a corrupt businessman tries to force a receptionist at a massage parlor to have sex with him by beating her with wads of cash — until she stabs him to death.

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Movie Reviews
9:55 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Gordon-Levitt's 'Don Jon' Is An Openhearted Directorial Debut

Joseph Gordon-Levitt --€” in his writing and directing debut --€” plays Jon, a porn addict with no interest in relationships until Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) changes things.
Relativity Media

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 12:15 pm

In phe last decade, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has worked hard to establish himself as a serious actor, and he's been so successful it's easy to forget he came of age in the '90s sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun. The guy has comedy chops, and he's exercising them again in a smart new movie he wrote and directed called Don Jon.

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Dance
9:48 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Project Plié: Bringing Color To Ballet's Corps

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 10:26 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we take a closer look at iconic public service ad campaigns like Smokey Bear and McGruff the Crime Dog. And while everyone knows the good causes they promote, do we know if they actually work? We'll hear more about that just ahead. First, though, we talk about a new initiative that's taking a leap to bring diversity to the world of ballet.

(SOUNDBITE OF "SWAN LAKE")

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Books
9:48 am
Fri September 27, 2013

The Competing Interests Behind Smokey Bear And The Crying Indian

istockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 10:26 am

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Monkey See
9:08 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Who Are You Calling A One-Hit Wonder?

Seen here in 2005: Ladies and gentlemen, The Click Five.
Brad Barket Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 9:53 am

  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

On this week's Pop Culture Happy Hour, we start by breaking down last weekend's very somber Emmy ceremony, from the repeated death announcements to the perplexing dance routines to a couple of welcome victories that put a more positive spin on the whole thing. Did the host impress? What about poor Shemar Moore? And who will defend interpretive dance?

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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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