Arts

Monkey See
2:34 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Dear Zack Snyder, Regarding Wonder Woman

Former Miss Israel and Fast & Furious actor Gal Gadot has been cast as Wonder Woman in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman movie.
Frazer Harrison Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 12:53 pm

TO: Zack Snyder, Big Time Hot Shot Hollywood Director
FROM: Glen Weldon, Nerd
IN RE: Wonder Woman

Dear Zack Snyder:

I see you've cast The Fast and the Furious' Gal Gadot as Diana of the Amazons, aka Wonder Woman.

I see, also, that the Internet has reacted as it can be counted upon to do, when such casting announcements occur. Namely, with fulsome, fulminating nerd rage.

I am here to tell you, Zack Snyder: Keep your head down. Ignore it. Make your movie.

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Monkey See
1:21 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

When 'Hit List' Got Another Shot At An Audience

Jeremy Jordan, who anchored one of Smash's storylines in Season 2, returned to the material at New York's 54 Below for a concert version of the musical his songwriter character was writing on the NBC show.
Cindy Ord Getty Images for 54 Below

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 3:19 pm

For most of its two-year run on NBC, the series Smash was pretty much a hot mess. Ostensibly about the creation of Broadway musicals, it only tangentially resembled the real thing. And its plots and characters got soapier and soapier as the show went on.

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Author Interviews
11:24 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Delia Ephron On The Closeness And Complexity Of Sisterhood

Delia Ephron is a novelist and playwright. Her essays have been published in The New York Times, O, Vogue and the Huffington Post. Her older sister, writer Nora Ephron, died in June 2012.
Elena Seibert Penguin Group

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 2:56 pm

In the opening chapter of her latest book, novelist Delia Ephron writes that losing her older sister, writer Nora Ephron, was like "losing an arm, it's that deranging." Nora, who wrote When Harry Met Sally, died of acute myeloid leukemia in June 2012. Delia and Nora were writing partners; they co-wrote the movies You've Got Mail and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants as well as the off-Broadway hit Love, Loss and What I Wore. Delia was an assistant producer on Nora's film Sleepless in Seattle.

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The Salt
10:21 am
Mon December 9, 2013

'In Meat We Trust' Argues We Got The Meat Industry We Asked For

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 8:36 am

The meat on your dinner table probably didn't come from a happy little cow that lived a wondrous life out on rolling green hills. It probably also wasn't produced by a robot animal killer hired by an evil cabal of monocle-wearing industrialists.

Truth is, the meat industry is complicated, and it's impossible to understand without a whole lot of context. That's where Maureen Ogle comes in. She's a historian and the author of In Meat We Trust: An Unexpected History of Carnivore America.

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Monkey See
9:31 am
Mon December 9, 2013

How I Didn't Quit 'Your Mother'

Robin (Cobie Smulders) and Ted (Josh Radnor) in a recent How I Met Your Mother episode.
Richard Cartwright CBS

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 12:46 pm

It's hard out here for a How I Met Your Mother fan these days.

I mean, it's always been hard. The show has had its share of ups and downs, from how often it was on the brink of cancellation to its rocky creative track record in recent years. But the ninth and final season of the show — set in the 50-odd hours before a wedding we've already seen bits and pieces of — has become downright exhausting.

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The Two-Way
5:17 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Book News: 'Stoner' Created Little Buzz In 1965, But Ignites In 2013

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 5:29 am

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

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Monkey See
4:06 am
Mon December 9, 2013

After A Full Fall, A Few New TV Choices To Tide You Over

TNT's new period drama Mob City, from The Walking Dead creator Frank Darabont, is one of several shows and miniseries premiering this month.
Scott Garfield TNT

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 6:18 am

As the holiday season approaches, the TV cupboard may seem a bit bare; the industry winds down like everything else, filling cable and broadcast networks with holiday specials, reruns and also-ran reality shows.

But there are bright gifts, too: TNT offers Mob City, a three-week, lavishly produced noir-ish TV show about cops and crooks vying for control of 1947-era Los Angeles, airing Wednesdays.

On Dec. 8 and 9, A&E presents a four-hour miniseries on Bonnie and Clyde, retelling the story of the Depression-era outlaws and lovers.

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Author Interviews
4:13 pm
Sun December 8, 2013

'Getting Away With Murder': A Study Of Benazir Bhutto's Death

In 2007, Benazir Bhutto — twice prime minister of Pakistan and then-leader of the Pakistan People's Party — was killed in a suicide bombing attack that claimed 38 lives. The factors at play in her assassination, however, reached deeper than many imagined.

In his new book, Getting Away With Murder, Heraldo Munoz portrays the tense political climate that surrounded Bhutto's return to politics and examines the circumstances of her death.

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Code Switch
3:29 pm
Sun December 8, 2013

Don't You Dare Call Me A Hipster! I, Sir, Am A 'Hep Cat'

Jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong signs autographs in the Blue Note nightclub in Chicago in 1948.
Edward S. Kitch AP

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 7:54 am

Aside from racial and ethnic slurs, there aren't many words that prompt a more immediate and visceral response than "hipster." Many associate the term with craft beer, smugness and, of course, Brooklyn. Modern-day hipsters have inspired a huge number of Tumblrs, memes and trend pieces in the media.

It may seem like hipsters sprang up out of nowhere sometime in the late 1990s, but the original hipsters were around several generations before that. And they were strongly associated with another uniquely American phenomenon — jazz.

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Television
3:06 pm
Sun December 8, 2013

The Intended Madness Of Comic Eric Andre's 'Anti-Talk Show'

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 4:12 pm

Late-night comedy show hosts are known for opening their programs in a certain style. David Letterman takes to the stage with a wave and a smile. Jay Leno comes out and shakes hands with the audience.

Eric Andre takes quite a different approach: flying into an uncontrollable rage as soon as the band plays him on and smashing nearly everything on the set.

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Sunday Puzzle
6:03 am
Sun December 8, 2013

Noteworthy Names, In Rhyme

NPR

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 1:56 pm

On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of a famous person whose first and last names start with the same consonant or group of consonants. You're given rhymes for the two names. You name the people. For example, if given "cycle four," the answer would be "Michael Moore."

Last week's challenge: Name a dance. Change one of the letters to a U. The resulting letters can be rearranged to name an event at which this dance is done. What is it?

Answer: hula, luau

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PG-13: Risky Reads
5:03 am
Sun December 8, 2013

When Parents Refused To Talk, Angelou Explained Sex — And Healing

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 8:11 am

When I was 13, sex was something I was very interested in, but in a studious way. I wanted to know what had been done to me, as someone researches the keyhole surgery on their knee, after the event.

I had entered the second year of the six years when I didn't speak of the-thing-that-happened-to-me-when-I-was-11, and I was looking for explanations of that thing. And I was looking for ways to introduce the subject to my parents, so they would say, "Oooh, I understand," in an unemotional, chatty way, and we could get that thing out into the open.

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Movie Interviews
3:34 am
Sun December 8, 2013

Woody Harrelson Does Bad Pretty Good

Tapping into his anger and rage, Woody Harrelson plays the meth-smoking psychopath antagonizing Christian Bale in Out of the Furnace.
Kerry Hayes Relativity Media

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 9:50 am

In the new drama Out of the Furnace, a young man (Casey Affleck) gets involved with a group of criminals and then goes missing. Determined to find him, his ex-con brother (Christian Bale) grabs a shotgun and sets off.

Actor Woody Harrelson, perhaps best known for his role as the bartender on Cheers, steps away from comedy to play a member of that group of criminals, a viscous meth addict and bookie named Harlan DeGroat.

Harrelson spoke with NPR's Rachel Martin about the movie and preparing for a role that required letting loose a lot of anger.

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Author Interviews
3:33 pm
Sat December 7, 2013

'Pomegranate Lady' Depicts The Comedy And Tragedy Of Exile

iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 4:33 pm

Goli Taraghi writes about life in Iran — about love, loss, alienation and exile. She is particularly equipped to the task, as her own exile from the country began in 1980 at the outset of the Iranian Revolution.

In 1979, she was a professor living in Tehran with her two young children, and initially supported the movement.

"Of course the turmoil started, and then the executions, and the university was closed, and I thought the best thing is to go abroad and stay just one year," says Taraghi.

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The Two-Way
6:44 am
Sat December 7, 2013

WATCH: Maya Angelou's Poem For Nelson Mandela

Poet Maya Angelou has written a poem in honor of Nelson Mandela, "on behalf of the American people."
PRNewsFoto/Forsyth Medical Center AP

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 11:35 am

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Books News & Features
6:05 am
Sat December 7, 2013

Don't Call It Fanfic: Writers Rework Their Favorite Stories

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 10:43 am

When writers finish a book, they may think they've had the last word. But sometimes another writer will decide there's more to the story. The madwoman Bertha from Jane Eyre and the father in Little Women are just two examples of secondary characters who have been given a fuller life in a new work of fiction based on a classic novel.

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Television
3:29 am
Sat December 7, 2013

Gillian Anderson On 'The Fall' And Getting Arrested In High School

Gillian Anderson plays Stella Gibson, an enigmatic police investigator, in the BBC Two series The Fall.
Steffan Hill Acorn RLJ Entertainment

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 9:39 am

There's been a string of unsolved murders in Belfast, Northern Ireland, so they have to bring in the heat from London. Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson appears to be the embodiment of what people in Belfast often don't like about London: She seems cool, correct, fiercely intelligent, but icy.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
9:39 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Not My Job: Nick Lowe Gets Quizzed On Peace, Love And Understanding

Dan Burn-Forti Courtesy of Nick Lowe

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 2:38 pm

Nick Lowe was one of the founders of the Great British rock explosion of the 1970s, writing songs like "Cruel to Be Kind and "What's So Funny 'Bout Peace Love and Understanding." He's just released a new album of Christmas songs called Quality Street — A Seasonal Selection For All The Family.

Since Lowe's lyrics would lead us to believe there isn't anything funny about peace, love or understanding, we'll quiz him on three hilarious instances of human kindness.

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The Salt
2:48 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

The Hills Were Alive With The Sound Of DiGiorno Pizza Last Night

"DOUGH a crust, an unbaked crust ...": Carrie Underwood may have played Maria in NBC's The Sound of Music Live, but on Twitter, it was @DiGiorno that stole the show.
NBC NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 3:35 pm

When big food corporations try to horn in on Twitter conversations about TV shows and other pop culture fare, it usually doesn't work.

Remember when McDonald's tried to engage customers with the hashtag #mcdstories, only to have it turn into a way to share horror-story experiences at the fast food chain? Or when Snickers got busted for paying celebrities to tweet about its brand?

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Television
12:35 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Delightful 'Six By Sondheim' Leaves You Wanting Six More

The life and work of composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim is examined in Six by Sondheim, a documentary from James Lapine, who also directed several of Sondheim's shows.
Jerry Jackson HBO

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 1:06 pm

On Monday, HBO presents the premiere of Six by Sondheim, a new TV special that's part biography, part music-appreciation lesson and part performance piece. It's all about the life and music and lyrics of Stephen Sondheim, in which he explains, among many other things, how and why he became a musical theater composer and lyricist, and the inspirations for some of his most familiar songs. If you're new to the works of Stephen Sondheim, this TV special should entice you. If you're already a fan, it should delight you.

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The Salt
12:20 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

What Separates A Healthy And Unhealthy Diet? Just $1.50 Per Day

A Safeway customer browses in the fruit and vegetable section at Safeway in Livermore, Calif.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 7:09 am

If you want to eat a more healthful diet, you're going to have to shell out more cash, right? (After all, Whole Foods didn't get the nickname "Whole Paycheck" for nothing.)

But until recently, that widely held bit of conventional wisdom hadn't really been assessed in a rigorous, systematic way, says Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health.

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Monkey See
12:05 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Needs More Alps: How Was 'The Sound Of Music Live'?

Carrie Underwood as Maria, with (back, from left) Ella Watts-Gorman as Louisa, Michael Nigro as Friedrich, Ariane Rinehart as Liesl, Joe West as Kurt and (front, from left) Grace Rundhaug as Marta, Sophia Ann Caruso as Brigitta and Peyton Ella as Gretl, in NBC's live production of The Sound Of Music.
Will Hart NBC

Much like Sharknado and most presidential debates, NBC's The Sound Of Music on Thursday night caused Twitter to explode in a frenzy of arguing and counterarguing. It was charming! It was dreadful! It was liiiiiiiive!

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Movie Reviews
10:50 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Great Soundtrack Aside, 'Inside Llewyn Davis' Hits A Sour Note

In the Coen brothers' latest film, down and out Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is trying to make ends meet as a folk singer in New York in the early 1960s.
Alison Rosa Long Strange Trip/CBS Films

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 1:05 pm

The films of Joel and Ethan Coen pose a challenge: How do we reconcile their wildly disparate tones? Consider O Brother, Where Art Thou?, a burlesque of Homer's Odyssey centering on three stumblebums — but with a soundtrack assembled by T Bone Burnett of heartfelt historical gospel and country music. Ditto The Ladykillers: venal idiot characters, soaring African-American spirituals. The ridiculous and the sublime sit side by side, with no spillover.

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Theater
10:03 am
Fri December 6, 2013

'On Sondheim': The Musical-Theater Legend At 80

Sondheim, shown here in 1974, won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for Sunday in the Park with George. He has also received eight Tony Awards, eight Grammy awards and a Kennedy Center Honor.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 1:05 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on April 21, 2010.

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Monkey See
9:36 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Live Shows And The Return Of Regrettable Television

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour: Live Shows And Regrettable TV
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour: Catching Fire And Gifts

Taped in the run-up to Thursday night's Sound Of Music performance, this week's round-table podcast is not a review of it, but a consideration of the live event in general. Are we all just performance ghouls, waiting around for people to fail? What is it fair to ask from a live performance? And what happens if a horse has an unfortunate moment in a theater?

Our second segment brings back one of our favorite things (har har), the Regrettable Television Pop Quiz. Thrill to extravagantly bleeped cursing! Wonder about the appropriate and safe temperature for raw chicken!

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The Salt
7:08 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Meat And Booze With A Side Of Still Life: American Painters On Food

tk

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 3:29 pm

In the age of celebrity chef fetishism and competitive ingredient sourcing, it can be hard to remember that there was a time when restaurants didn't exist in America.

Before the Civil War, most people ate at home, consuming mostly what they could forage, barter, butcher or grow in the backyard. But just because food choices were simpler back then doesn't mean our relationship to what we ate was any less complicated.

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The Two-Way
5:42 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Book News: Remembering Nelson Mandela, The Author

Nelson Mandela, pictured at a concert at London's Hyde Park in 2008. Mandela died Thursday in South Africa. He was 95.
Gareth Davies Getty Images

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

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Monkey See
5:03 am
Fri December 6, 2013

The Book Concierge Presents NPR Staff #FridayReads

(Clockwise, from top left)Lynn Neary, Bob Mondello, David Greene, Michel Martin, Susan Stamberg, Neda Ulaby, Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, Linda Holmes, Deborah Amos, Audie Cornish
Max Hirshfeld, Doby Photography, David Gilkey, Doby Photography, Antony Nagelmann, Doby Photography, Jacques Coughlin, Mito Habe-Evans, Steve Barrett, Doby Photography

If you follow NPR Books on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr, you may already know that #fridayreads is one of our favorite weekly Internet traditions.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Behind Great Art, The Artist's Painstaking Process

To test a theory that the Dutch master Johannes Vermeer used lenses, mirrors and other tools to create his masterpieces, inventor Tim Jenison sets out to re-create the method — and the paintings — in the dazzling documentary Tim's Vermeer.
Shane F. Kelly High Delft Pictures/Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 4:33 pm

Stephen Sondheim has written quite a few classic musicals — Company, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods — but he's had just one hit song, "Send in the Clowns" from A Little Night Music. And, as he tells an audience in Six by Sondheim, it was a tricky one to write because the star who had to sing it, Glynis Johns, wasn't a singer with a capital "s."

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Movies
3:55 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

The 'Anchorman' Legend Continues, And It's Everywhere

The massive marketing campaign for Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues has gone way beyond trailers and commercials. Some critics say the journalists are embarrassing themselves — and some say the character has become tiresomely ubiquitous.
Gemma LaMana Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 9:57 am

Way back in March, actor Will Ferrell took the stage on Conan O'Brien's talk show in full character as Ron Burgundy, the '70s-vintage, dopily misogynistic hero of the 2004 movie Anchorman. Lapels flaring, jazz flute in hand, he announced that the world would have to wait another nine months for the sequel, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

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