Back in 1995, Cheryl Strayed hiked 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail along the West Coast of the United States. After the three-month journey, she came out on the other side stronger in every way: better able to cope with her divorce, her past drug abuse and her mother's death.
Strayed described the life-changing trek in her 2012 bestselling memoir Wild, and received countless emails from readers describing how connected they felt to her story. But there was one message that stood out in particular:
How far would you go for love? In Sara Farizan's debut novel, a studious 17-year-old girl named Sahar finds herself deeply, head-over-heels in love with her childhood best friend and neighbor — another teenage girl named Nasrin.
Their story takes place in Iran, where homosexuality is illegal, making their love that much more forbidden. When Nasrin is engaged to be married to a man, Sahar is crushed. In order to openly be with Nasrin, Sahar considers gender-reassignment surgery, which is more accepted in Iran than homosexuality.
Two days into the Toronto International Film Festival, I'm 10 films in. We'll talk more about all of these later, but it seemed only fair to share some basic impressions, since I'm certainly logging the seat time to earn them. So here are the 10 I've seen so far.
This is the year of American artist James Turrell. Three major museums collaborated to give this one man thousands of square feet of exhibition space. Turrell's work is all about space, and light and perception. Indeed, the three big shows in New York, Los Angeles and Houston are kind of a tease for his major life's work — the open air spaces at a volcano crater in Arizona.
Turrell fills Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum rotunda with light that slowly changes from purple to tangerine to turquoise and more. It surrounds and washes down on the viewer.
When I was in my 20s, I used to wonder why the media ran so many stories about life-work balance, and specifically about life-work balance for women. Then I had children. Now I'm fascinated by news reports and articles about subjects such as "having it all" and "leaning in." I also like novels and memoirs about the challenges and delights of motherhood, work, and combinations therein. Here are three books I love because they acknowledge and even celebrate the messy way that most of us actually live.
Weekend Edition gets a lot of emails that start like this: "Why don't you tell the truth about ..." The Kennedy assassination, Sept. 11, the Lincoln assassination, the birthplace of Barack Obama or John McCain, Pearl Harbor, Area 51, black helicopters or the moon landing — fill in the blank however you like.
Baz Luhrmann's first movie, Strictly Ballroom, was a cheap, independent romance set in the world of ballroom dancing. The 1992 film became an international hit. Since then, the director, writer and producer has become known for his lavish operatic movies like Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge! and the recent The Great Gatsby.
If the world as we know it comes to an end, will art survive? And if it does, what kinds of stories will be told after the apocalypse? The answer might surprise you.
The lights come up on a group of people around a campfire in the woods, trying to recall all the details of the hilarious Simpsons episode "Cape Feare," a parody of the Robert Mitchum and Robert De Niro movies, in which Bart Simpson is stalked by the evil but incompetent Sideshow Bob.
YouTube Trends Manager Kevin Allocca watches and thinks about popular videos for a living. He talks about how interactive participation has become a crucial part of entertainment — and that Millennials will only demand more.
When demographer Neil Howe first coined the term Millennial back in 1991, he didn't expect it to become a loaded word for a generation some call lazy and entitled. But Howe is optimistic about this generation — and so are lots of Millennials.
Charlie Hoehn graduated college during a recession, constantly hearing the mantra, "You've got to take what you can get." But after months of rejection, he stopped following that advice. He describes how he built a career by working for free.
Psychologist Meg Jay has a message for twenty-somethings: just because marriage, work and kids happen later, doesn't mean you can't start planning now. She tells twenty-somethings how they can reclaim adulthood in the defining decade of their lives.
Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 10:26 am
"I guess every generation feels like, 'Oh, life is so different now then it was back then.' But this feels drastic." — Tavi Gevinson
Whether you call them Millennials, Generation Y, or the Me Generation, one thing's for certain: This generation of young people will change the world. But how different is this hyper-connected generation from its predecessors? And what will be its legacy? In this hour, we hear from TED speakers searching to define themselves and their generation.
As summer was giving way to fall, preseason football was giving way to actual football, and Linda Holmes' week was giving way to the Toronto International Film Festival, the Pop Culture Happy Hour gang managed to gather just long enough to look back on a divisive summer full of big, loud, robot-on-robot movies. Our own postmortem can't help but skim past other postmortems — was Man of Steel a hit or a flop?
For readers new to Daniel Woodrell's work, The Maid's Version is a perfect introduction and an invitation to read more. It's a short book — almost a novella at a mere 164 pages — but there are lifetimes captured here. Woodrell sets the story in his beloved Missouri Ozarks, and he writes with clear-eyed observation, introducing the reader to characters whose lives are shaped as much by their rural landscape as by the moral ambiguities — the collective lies, constraints and collusions — that form the necessary glue holding their community together.
Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 10:52 am
Here's a bit of news that might make you drop that chicken nugget midbite.
Just before the start of the long holiday weekend last Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture quietly announced that it was ending a ban on processed chicken imports from China. The kicker: These products can now be sold in the U.S. without a country-of-origin label.
Devotees of '50s Hollywood comedies could have a great time at Populaire, an intentionally lightweight ode to romance and, uh, typing. But the way to enjoy this French souffle is to concentrate on the scrupulously retro music, costumes and set design, not on the musty fairy-tale script.
Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 8:48 am
Overused and much misused, the word "provocative" has become a double-edged sword, especially when it's swung in the direction of independent cinema. At its best, the genuinely provocative film — off the top of my head, anything by Bunuel, Shaun of the Dead, Holy Motors -- shocks in order to expand our vision of the world it encompasses. At its most dispiriting, it's an exercise in cheap thrillage, designed to goose a presumptively stuffy bourgeois audience while positioning a director as some sort of iconoclast.
Cats have come a long way from being animals charged with catching mice to treasured, adorable creatures that snuggle with us in our beds. But this relatively new arrangement is creating issues for cats and the people who live with them.
John Bradshaw has studied the history of domesticated cats and how the relationship between people and cats has changed. He's the author of the new book Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet, which is a follow-up to his book Dog Sense.
Best Kept Secret is a film that follows a group of young adults with autism during their last year of high school. Host Michel Martin speaks with filmmaker Samantha Buck and Janet Mino, a special education teacher.
Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 2:44 pm
Monologist Mike Daisey has a new story to tell, and if you want to hear it, then you'd better settle in. It's going to take a month to get through it.
In one sense, All the Faces of the Moon, starting Sept. 5 at the Public Theater in New York, is a collection of 29 different monologues, which Daisey will perform consecutively and for one night only. Each piece has its own narrative, so even if they see just one installment, audiences can have a complete experience.
Pull back, though, and the project becomes a single massive opus — one that runs about 44 hours.