Arts

You Must Read This
5:03 am
Sun December 15, 2013

Surprising And Skillful, 'Yellow Dog' Deserves A Second Look

I came to Amis late. I wasn't born when he published his most esteemed book, Money, and I was a 4-year-old with no great passion for Holocaust novels when Time's Arrow was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Amis has always divided critics (all writers worth their salt do), and by the time I read him in the late-noughties the naysayers were beginning to form a grumbling consensus. I quickly found that loving Amis meant having to fight his corner.

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Author Interviews
3:25 am
Sun December 15, 2013

Satan's Naked Women, Gatsby's Cocktails, And Other Literary Fetes

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:31 pm

Throwing a perfect holiday party is no simple task. Do you want a swanky cocktail party, an intimate dinner party, or a huge New Year's bash? A whole host of decisions revolve around the menu — and don't forget your gluten-free or vegan invitees. Then there's the decor (is tinsel too much?), the music (festive, but not cheesy) and, of course, the guest list.

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Hanukkah Lights: Stories of the Season
9:13 pm
Sat December 14, 2013

Hanukkah Lights 2013

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 9:40 am

Celebrate the Jewish holiday with Hanukkah Lights — selected stories commissioned by NPR. In this edition, a young boy learns that bigger and brighter things are not necessarily better; a lonely and alienated immigrant finds hope for the future while searching for potatoes to use in her family's Hanukkah latkes; an aging couple exchange awkwardly ironic Hanukkah presents; two men engage in a lively discussion over the traditions of the menorah and discover the healing power of an argument; and a precious gift leads to the reunion of old friends and a reconciliation of ancient cultures.

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World
3:13 pm
Sat December 14, 2013

Iranian Comedian Tries The U.S., Again

British-Iranian comedian and actor Omid Djalili gained a degree of fame in the United States talking about and even joking about issues of terrorism and the Middle East following 9/11. After several years and success in Britain, he's coming back to the States.

The New And The Next
3:13 pm
Sat December 14, 2013

Science Becomes 'Sexy' With Fast Cars And Gangsta Physics

Todd Rosenberg Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 4:19 pm

The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest discoveries.

This week, Ozy co-founder Carlos Watson tells NPR's Arun Rath about a gangster-turned-astrophysicist and a race car driver working to making science "sexy" again. Plus, a look at the changing landscape of African art — no tribal masks allowed.

Music
3:13 pm
Sat December 14, 2013

The Inspiration Of Jazz Flautist Jamie Baum

Vincent Soyez Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 3:59 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Thanks again for listening. This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

RATH: That is one of the most celebrated voices the world has ever heard, the Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Khan died in 1997, but his recordings continue to inspire. Artists like jazz flautist Jamie Baum.

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Around the Nation
3:13 pm
Sat December 14, 2013

On Newtown: Poet Yusef Komunyakaa

Last year, after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., NPR reached out to Pulitzer Prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, who himself knows the grief of losing a child. The result was a poem, "Rock Me Mercy."

Books
7:03 am
Sat December 14, 2013

For The Ruling In India, Two Books To Measure Its Impact

An Indian gay rights activist looks down during an anti-Section 377 protest in New Delhi on December 11, 2013.
Manan Vatsyayana AFP/Getty Images

In a surprise move, the Indian Supreme Court this week ruled to uphold a ban on gay sex. The ban, instituted under British colonial authority more than 150 years ago, had been repealed in 2009. With its reinstatement, the law, also known as Section 377, once again makes homosexual acts punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

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Fine Art
5:23 am
Sat December 14, 2013

Sun May Set On The Collected Works Of A Western Icon

Courtesy of Harry Jackson Studios

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:31 pm

The work of the late Harry Jackson ran the gamut from abstract expressionism, inspired by his friend Jackson Pollock, to the Western art for which he was best known. His sculpture of a hard-riding John Wayne was on the cover of Time Magazine in 1969.

Most of Jackson's life work is still at his studios in Cody, Wyo. But unless a major donor steps forward, it will be sold piecemeal to pay the bills.

On Ranch And Canvas

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Simon Says
5:23 am
Sat December 14, 2013

Draining The Daring From A High School Production Of 'Rent'

Anthony Rapp (left) and Adam Pascal perform a scene from the New York Theatre Workshop production of Rent in 1996.
Joan Marcus AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:31 pm

Quite a show has been going on in Trumbull, Conn.

Last week, the principal of Trumbull High School canceled a student production of Rent scheduled for next March.

Rent is Jonathan Larson's 1994 rock musical about a group of colorful young people living and loving in a colorful wreck of a brownstone on New York's Lower East Side, when struggling young artists could afford the rent there.

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Monkey See
3:12 am
Sat December 14, 2013

The Case For — And Against — Loving 'Love Actually'

Karen (Emma Thompson) tries to console Daniel (Liam Neeson), whose wife has recently died.
Universal Pictures/Photofest

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Fine Art
3:10 am
Sat December 14, 2013

In The Background: Art You May Never Notice

Mountain Gorillas, one of the first dioramas on which Fred Scherer apprenticed, completed in 1936.
Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:31 pm

You've probably never heard of painter Fred F. Scherer. If you've ever been to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City, though, you may have seen his paintings — probably without realizing it.

Scherer died at age 98 a few weeks ago. His art — those big murals you see behind taxidermic animals in museum dioramas — deserves a closer look.

We visited the AMNH to photograph some of the installations containing his paintings, and spoke with Stephen C. Quinn, who recently retired as an artist from the museum, and knew Scherer well.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
5:07 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Not My Job: Actor Oscar Isaac On Folk Music Vs. Filk Music

Oscar Isaac as the titular character in Joel and Ethan Coen's Inside Llewyn Davis.
Alison Rosa Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 9:27 am

The latest movie by Joel and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis, is a lot like their other movies in which a guy endures a lot of terrible things happening to him. This one's different though, in that this time, the guy seems to deserve it. Oscar Isaac plays — and sings — the role of Llewyn Davis, a homeless, former merchant marine trying to make it in the 1960s Greenwich Village music scene.

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Poetry
2:00 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Poem: Nelson Mandela, 'An Ordinary Man'

Jonathan Blakely/NPR

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:56 pm

On Sunday, South Africans will lay to rest the remains of Nelson Mandela.

The legacy left by the activist and political prisoner who transformed a nation and became president is being remembered by politicians, historians and artists.

Among them is Thabiso Mohare, a young South African spoken word artist who performs under the name Afurakan. He wrote a poem for NPR about Mandela called "An Ordinary Man."

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Code Switch
1:13 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Screening Room: Who Might Be The Next Black Actress On 'SNL'?

Kerry Washington (with Taran Killam) recently appeared on SNL to spoof the show's lack of a black female cast member.
Dana Edelson AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 1:22 pm

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Barbershop
9:53 am
Fri December 13, 2013

If You're Rich, Can You Say You Don't Know Right From Wrong?

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 3:53 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Music
9:53 am
Fri December 13, 2013

'Wallace' Grew Up, So What's He Listening To?

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 3:53 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Movies
9:53 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Golden Globe Nominees: 'An Embarrassment Of Riches'

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 3:53 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Let's switch gears now and talk about your plans for the weekend. If you plan to head to the movies, you might be interested in the critics' picks from the Golden Globes. The nominations were announced yesterday. "12 Years a Slave" was one of the most honored films. That's the story of Solomon Northup who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. He's played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was also nominated for his role in the film. Here's a clip.

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BackTalk
9:53 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Learn From Your Grandparents, Says Listener

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 3:53 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, the Golden Globe nominations are in. We'll speak with film critic Wesley Morris about who got the nod, who was left out and why we care - if we care. But first, the envelope please - we've got your letters. It's BackTalk. That's where we hear from you about this week's stories. Editor Ahmad Omar is back with us for that. Welcome back, Ahmad. Thanks for joining us.

AHMAD OMAR, BYLINE: Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: So what's going on today, Ahmad?

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Monkey See
7:44 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Frozen' Princesses And Character Deaths

NPR

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 10:06 am

  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

First of all: WOW. We did our live show at NPR HQ this week, and it was wonderful, and all of you who attended made a fantastic audience. You'll be hearing the live show in two segments over the holidays while we take a rest, but in the meantime, we've got a brand-new show to roll out.

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TED Radio Hour
7:28 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Is Texting Actually Advancing Language?

Linguist John McWhorter says there's much more to texting than there seems.
James Duncan Davidson TED

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 1:53 pm

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Spoken And Unspoken.

About John McWhorter's TEDTalk

Does texting mean the death of good writing skills? Linguist John McWhorter says that there's much more to texting — linguistically, culturally — than it seems, and it's all good news.

About John McWhorter

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TED Radio Hour
7:28 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Does Language Bring Us Together Or Pull Us Apart?

"It is really peculiar on the face of it that our languages exist to prevent us from communicating with each other." — Mark Pagel
James Duncan Davidson TED

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 2:45 pm

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Spoken And Unspoken.

About Mark Pagel's TEDTalk

Biologist Mark Pagel says our complex language system is a piece of "social technology" that allowed early human tribes to access a powerful new tool: cooperation.

About Mark Pagel

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NPR Story
7:28 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Spoken And Unspoken

TED speakers explore the power of how we communicate.
Thinkstock

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 1:28 pm

We communicate with each other in all sorts of ways. In this hour, TED speakers reflect on how words and methods of communication affect us, more than you might expect.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

TED Radio Hour
7:28 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Does Body Language Shape Who You Are?

James Duncan Davidson TED

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 7:23 am

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Spoken And Unspoken.

About Amy Cuddy's TEDTalk

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how "power posing" can affect our brains, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.

About Amy Cuddy

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Monkey See
6:43 am
Fri December 13, 2013

First Novels: Acquiring Minds

iStockphoto

The first in my series of posts on The First Novel Experience was called "The Romance of Agents." A couple of people wrote me after it was posted and asked if I was going to include in this series any stories of any writers who'd had a bad time with their books. I thought about it and decided no – at least not yet.

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Movie Reviews
5:30 am
Fri December 13, 2013

A 'Hustle' With Flow (And Plenty Of Flair)

A '70s con-artist couple (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) are forced to team up with an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper, right) in American Hustle, inspired by a real-life sting targeting corrupt politicians.
Francois Duhamel Columbia Pictures

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 12:46 pm

David O. Russell hovers at the top of my list of favorite directors. He captures the messy collision of self-interests that for him defines America. In American Hustle, he whips up a black comedy based on Abscam, the late-'70s FBI sting that centered on a bogus sheik and led to the bribery convictions of sundry U.S. politicians. But he doesn't tell the real Abscam story; he adapts it to fit his theme, which is that most of us are busy reinventing ourselves and conning one another.

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Poetry
2:48 am
Fri December 13, 2013

An Elegy For Mandela Looks Back In Mourning, Forward In Hope

On Dec. 8, three days after Nelson Mandela's death, a girl in Johannesburg lights a candle in his memory. Poet Mbali Vilakazi has written an elegy for Mandela that asks the next generation of South Africans to continue his legacy.
Pedro Ugarte AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 5:52 am

In his youth, Nelson Mandela cut a dashing figure. He was a revolutionary, an outlaw — by the early 1960s, he was living underground. And he had a nickname to match: he was known as the Black Pimpernel.

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Movie Interviews
2:48 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Tom Hanks And Emma Thompson On The Magic Of Disney

Chronicling the behind-the-scenes drama of the Mary Poppins film, Saving Mr. Banks stars Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson as Walt Disney and author P.L. Travers.
Francois Duhamel Walt Disney Pictures

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 1:09 pm

Before the movie Mary Poppins, there were the beloved books about the nanny who swept in on an east wind to care for the Banks children at No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane, London.

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Author Interviews
2:48 am
Fri December 13, 2013

2001 Army-Navy Game Marked By Specter Of Sept. 11

Navy players await the start of their annual game against Army, on Dec. 1, 2001.
AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 10:59 am

On Saturday, Army and Navy will take the field to renew their legendary football rivalry for the 114th time. The teams are playing in Philadelphia, which is also where they faced off in 2001, just weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks. The players that year faced a sobering new reality: The nation was at war, and they'd soon leave the football field behind for the battlefield.

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