Arts

Ask Me Another
8:14 am
Thu March 19, 2015

The Best Piece of Trivia You Learned This Week: Pizza Hut Edition

What's the best piece of trivia you learned this week? Share it with us on Facebook or Twitter, and we'll figure out whether it's true or false.

True or false: before 2012, Pizza Hut was the largest purchaser of kale in the US, but they only used it as garnish for their salad bars.

Heard in Looking For Answers

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Ask Me Another
8:14 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Poetic License

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is not only a Maya Angelou book but a line from what poem? Get your AP literature on as former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky reads clues about poetic book titles.

Heard in Looking For Answers

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Ask Me Another
8:14 am
Thu March 19, 2015

More Or Less

I looked everywhere for my missing mangoes, oranges and pears, but my search was fruitless. All of the answers for this game end in "less" and clues hints to the first part of the word, more or less.

Heard in Looking For Answers

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Ask Me Another
8:14 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Hellas Ellas

"When I get a craving I can't quell-a, I'll dip my finger in that Nutella, ella, ella. Mm, mm, mm." Guess other words that end with -ella within Jonathan Coulton's version of Rihanna's "Umbrella".

Heard in Looking For Answers

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Book Reviews
8:03 am
Thu March 19, 2015

'The Only Ones' Puts A Heartbreaking Spin On Dystopia

Carola Dibbell is a veteran music journalist, and it shows. In her debut novel The Only Ones — which may or may not be named after the cult '70s band — Dibbell writes rhythmically and lyrically about New York City's outer boroughs in the latter half of the 21st century, where life in American has been radically altered by waves of populace-decimating pandemics. The economy is a shambles. People subsist partly on a manufactured foodstuff called Process that's dropped into struggling neighborhoods. The streets of the city are hosed down regularly with industrial-strength antiseptic.

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Monkey See
7:39 am
Thu March 19, 2015

The 'Empire' Touch: A Cookie By Any Other Name

Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) has been the highlight of the first season of Empire.
Chuck Hodes Fox

Empire closed out its remarkable first season on Wednesday night with a two-hour finale that proved once again one of the fundamental lessons brought to you by this show: whether this is your cup of tea or not, the people who make Empire really know what they're doing.

In the finale (and if this needs saying, we're about to talk about the finale, so don't claim you weren't warned), we finally got the answers to some of the questions asked in the pilot, while at the same time, it was only entirely clear what was going on about half the time.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu March 19, 2015

'Mountaineer' Is A Must-Read Of Soviet Sci-Fi

Arkady and Boris Strugatsky were acclaimed and beloved science fiction writers of the Soviet era. Together they wrote 25 novels, including Roadside Picnic, Snail on the Slope, Hard to Be a God, Monday Begins on Saturday and Definitely Maybe, as well as short fiction, essays, plays and film scripts.
Courtesy of Melville House Publishing

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 10:59 am

During the Stalin years, there were tight restrictions on science fiction in the Soviet Union. Writers were pressured and boxed in, urged to stick to themes of adventure, space travel and the glowing prospect of Soviet scientific and technological achievements.

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Television
3:02 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Swagger On Display At 'Empire' Season Finale Parties

Jamal (played by Jussie Smollett) and Cookie (played by Taraji P. Henson) attend the all white party in the "The Lyon's Roar" episode of Empire.
Matt Dinnerstein FOX

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 10:18 am

Last night was Empire's season finale, and at one of D.C.'s biggest Empire watch parties, a sharply dressed crowd of hundreds is huddled around every flat-screen in The Stone Fish Grill Lounge downtown.

"Here we go! Here we go! Here we go, come on everyone! Round of applause!" shouts one of the hosts for the night. "It's Empire time!"

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Author Interviews
1:27 am
Thu March 19, 2015

How A 1970s Fashion Faceoff Put American Designers In The Spotlight

Models show designs by Oscar de la Renta at the 1973 Versailles show. De la Renta was one of the first American designers to sign on for the catwalk competition.
Daniel Simon Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 11:48 am

On Nov. 28, 1973, France's Versailles Palace hosted an impossibly glamorous moment in fashion: a competition between five French couture designers and five up-and-coming Americans. The event was a fundraiser to help restore the palace, but it also made for a groundbreaking runway show.

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The Two-Way
1:38 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

France Considers A Ban On Overly Skinny Models

Models wear creations for Masha Ma's fall-winter 2015-2016 ready to wear fashion collection during Paris fashion week, Paris, France, on March 11. Under proposed legislation in France, models would have to get routine checkups.
Christophe Ena AP

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 3:48 pm

France is considering banning the use of anorexic models in the fashion industry.

Legislation debated Tuesday in France's Parliament would require modeling agencies to get medical certificates from models to prove that they have a body mass index of at least 18. And models would have to get routine checkups. Agencies that violate the law would be subject to fines of up to 75,000 euros ($80,968) and even prison time.

Websites and online forums that glorify anorexia and other eating disorders also would be banned.

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Around the Nation
12:10 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Released From Prison, 'Apologetic Bandit' Writes About Life Inside

Daniel Genis, son of Soviet emigre Alexander Genis, served 10 years in prison for armed robbery. He was released last year, and his essays about life in prison have been widely published.
Courtesy of Petra Szabo

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 2:48 pm

After he was arrested for robbing people at knifepoint in 2003, Daniel Genis was nicknamed the "apologetic bandit" in the press. He offered apologies to his victims as he took their cash. The money was stolen to pay off his debt to his heroin dealer.

"I really, really did not want to do this," Genis tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I had to work my nerve up every time and I was also really, really bad at it."

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Monkey See
11:55 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Small Batch Edition: On Loving Romance With Sarah Wendell

NPR

Sarah Wendell is the wrangler and editor and general mischief-maker at the site Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, which reviews and discusses romance novels and serves as a home for many devoted romance fans. She's also a fascinating speaker and writer, so when she was in town recently, we had her into the studio. First up is this Small Batch, in which Sarah and I talk about romance readers, e-reading, rating sexy books with numbers of hot peppers, and why there's an optimism at the heart of reading romance.

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Monkey See
10:36 am
Wed March 18, 2015

'The Jinx' And The Challenges of Public Curiosity

Robert Durst was the subject of the six-part HBO documentary series The Jinx.
HBO

It was hard not to compare HBO's six-part miniseries The Jinx to the hit podcast Serial. Both featured serialized storytelling from reporters unafraid to be part of the stories they were telling; both were very well received. But the similarities dissipated as the conclusions approached.

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Monkey See
9:46 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Does Fox's 'Empire' Break Or Bolster Black Stereotypes?

Terrence Howard (center) stars in Empire with (from left): Jussie Smollett, Serayah McNeill, Taraji P. Henson, Bryshere Gray, Grace Gealey, Trai Byers and Kaitlin Doubleday.
Chuck Hodes Fox TV

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 5:51 pm

As its freshman season ends Wednesday night, Fox's hip-hop family drama Empire has emerged as that rarest of birds in the broadcast TV industry: a show where the viewership is always going up.

When the series debuted Jan. 7, it drew a respectable 9.8 million viewers, according to the Nielsen company. But then the show about a family-run music empire achieved something few others have ever managed: It increased its audience every week, growing to 14.9 million viewers on March 4.

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Book Reviews
8:03 am
Wed March 18, 2015

How Self-Improvement Became Self-Destruction On 'Diamond Mountain'

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 2:17 pm

Cults and religions exist on a continuum, not in clearly delineated categories. It's even hard to claim that the distinction between the two comes down to "knowing it when you see it." For the most vulnerable people, the victims of groups that sit nebulously on the divide between cult and religion, that kind of clarity is what's often lacking.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed March 18, 2015

'The Mechanical' Will Make Your Clockwork Pulse Pound

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 4:29 pm

One of science fiction's toughest challenges is making nonhuman characters feel human. Robots are particularly hard: SF authors have spent decades putting every conceivable spin on the concept of manmade automatons, and the results have just as often been laughable as profound. Ian Tregillis tackles this prickly puzzle — and many more — with great skill in The Mechanical.

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Fine Art
1:13 am
Wed March 18, 2015

25 Years After Art Heist, Empty Frames Still Hang In Boston's Gardner Museum

The empty frame from which thieves cut Rembrandt's The Storm on the Sea of Galilee remains on display at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The painting was one of 13 works stolen from the museum in 1990.
Josh Reynolds AP

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 10:23 am

Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum houses a world-class art collection. But in the last two decades it's been better known for the art that isn't there — half a billion dollars' worth of masterpieces that disappeared from its walls 25 years ago.

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The Salt
1:12 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Do TV Cooking Shows Make Us Fat?

Celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis during a guest appearance on ABC's The Chew last fall. She can cook rich foods and keep her trim figure, but new research suggests that's a difficult feat for amateur cooks watching along at home.
Lou Rocco ABC/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 11:37 am

If you've ever watched Giada de Laurentiis make gooey chocolate-hazelnut spread or a rich carbonara pasta dish, you may have wondered: How can she cook like this and maintain her slim figure?

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The Two-Way
6:07 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Cervantes' Remains Have Been Found In Madrid, Scientists Say

A team of archaeologists and anthropologists work on identifying remains at the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians in Madrid. They believe they've found the 400-year-old grave of the author of Don Quixote.
Daniel Ochoa de Olza AP

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 6:31 pm

Spanish investigators announced Tuesday that they believe they've found the remains of author Miguel de Cervantes.

Considered a pillar of Spanish literature, and one of the world's most important writers, Cervantes published Don Quixote in two parts, in 1605 and 1615. The novel narrates the adventures of a delusional man who has read so many stories about chivalry, he decides to become a knight himself. Don Quixote's idealistic and impractical ventures gave birth to the adjective "quixotic."

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The Salt
3:31 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Tea Tuesdays: Gift Of The Moon, Bane Of The Spanish — The Story Of Yerba Mate

A gourd of yerba mate. Legend has it that the moon gifted this infusion to the Guaraní people of South America.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 2:02 pm

In 1616, Hernando Arias de Saavedra, the governor of the Spanish province that included Buenos Aires, banned the population from drinking a green herbal drink called yerba mate.

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Author Interviews
12:11 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

WWII Novel-Memoir Explores The Blurry Line Between Fact And Fiction

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 4:33 pm

Daniel Torday's new novel, The Last Flight of Poxl West, is about how memoir and fiction can blur — and how hard it can be to convey truth.

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The Salt
11:47 am
Tue March 17, 2015

To Eat Authentically Irish This St. Patrick's Day, Go For The Butter

Butter labels from Irish creameries operating in the 1970s.
Roland Paschhoff Cork Butter Museum

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 12:11 pm

As scholarly buzzkills have long told us, corned beef isn't really Irish. So what to do if you want a taste of the Emerald Isle on St. Patrick's Day? Instead of green, maybe look for yellow — a pat of Irish butter. Although most Americans are familiar with images of Ireland's rolling green hills, few realize that those hills are the secret to a deliciously buttery empire.

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The Salt
10:43 am
Tue March 17, 2015

Meet Chef Chane, Ethiopia's Version Of The Infamous 'Soup Nazi'

Inside Chef Chane's tiny kitchen. Every few months or years, his landlord — taking note of Chane's popularity — will raise the rent, or a conniving official will demand a bribe. Then, instead of bowing to the system, Chane will disappear and set up in a new location.
Gregory Warner/NPR

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 6:17 am

I didn't travel all the way to Ethiopia just to meet a character out of the sitcom Seinfeld.

But when I heard Ethiopians describe a particular popular restaurant called Chane's, I couldn't help recognize a resemblance, in its owner and lead chef, to the famously brusque soup man.

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Monkey See
9:21 am
Tue March 17, 2015

'Community': No Longer A Broadcast Show, But Still A Lovable Weirdo

Joel McHale as Jeff Winger on Community.
Trae Patton Yahoo

Community, producer Dan Harmon's increasingly self-aware sitcom, has become less and less about a band of community-college misfits and more and more about being a television show. Perhaps it's fitting that a show about being a show continues its odd life with a move from NBC to Yahoo Screen, where the first two episodes are now available.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue March 17, 2015

'Escape' Is A Searing Indictment Of Nation-Building

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 1:07 pm

Very early on in Escape from Baghdad!, before we realize how many murderous forces and literary genres are about to crash into each other, two friends are holed up in a safehouse in the South Ghazaliya neighborhood. Saddam Hussein has just been deposed; outside, the Madhi Army has just finished another minor street battle with a rival militia, and our heroes Dagr and Kinza are in possession of a stash of black market weapons and a captive: one of Saddam's head torturers.

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Fine Art
3:36 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

In Detroit's Rivera And Kahlo Exhibit, A Portrait Of A Resilient City

A detail from the north wall of Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry murals shows workers on the automobile assembly line. After Detroit declared bankruptcy, the murals were at risk of being sold. Click here for a larger view.
Detroit Institute of Arts

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 6:01 pm

This weekend, visitors to the Detroit Institute of Arts buzzed with excitement over a new exhibit — it was a big moment for the once-troubled museum. The DIA spent much of the last two years under threat as its owner, the city of Detroit, looked for ways to emerge from bankruptcy.

Finally, in November, a "grand bargain" was struck. Foundations, private donors and the state of Michigan together raised more than $800 million to help rescue public employee pensions. In return, ownership of the DIA was transferred to a trust — thereby securing its future.

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Book News & Features
1:08 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

There's No Wrong Place To Start Reading Pratchett

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 2:15 pm

Whenever people talk about Terry Pratchett — as they've been doing a great deal since his death last week at age 66 — someone inevitably asks, "Where should I start reading his work?"

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Television
1:04 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Does Success Of HBO's 'The Jinx' Herald New Form Of True-Crime TV?

Robert Durst, filmed on the streets of Manhattan for HBO's The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.
HBO

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 5:25 am

It was the kind of moment true-crime TV fans live for but almost never get to see: a suspected murderer seeming to confess his guilt while the audience listens in.

That bombshell admission aired Sunday at the end of HBO's docu-series The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, capping a six-part series. It unfolded as something of a cat-and-mouse game between Durst, the scion of a wealthy New York family who is suspected of killing his wife, a best friend and a neighbor in separate crimes reaching back to 1982, and filmmaker Andrew Jarecki.

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The Salt
11:45 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Sandwich Monday: Bone-In Pork Chop Sandwich

The bone stays in, the grease goes everywhere.
NPR

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 1:09 pm

There are dangerous sandwiches out there: the Wendy's Sharpened Chicken Classic, the McRib that's always sending you emails with questionable attachments. But they pale in comparison to the famous pork chop sandwich from Jim's Original in Chicago: Jim leaves the bone in.

Eva: The bone also serves as a useful sandwich handle.

Miles: Eating a bone-in sandwich is the lazy person's equivalent of free-climbing a mountain. The danger just adds to the rush.

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It's All Politics
11:40 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Barney Frank's Journey From Closeted To An Openly Gay Member Of Congress

Michael Halsband Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 1:49 pm

In 1972, former Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., decided he would run for the state Legislature in Massachusetts — but he also explicitly decided to stay in the closet. And as he made this decision, he made a promise to himself to support LGBT rights.

"I could not live with myself if I did not oppose the discrimination," Frank tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

That year, two organizations asked candidates for the state Legislature if they would sponsor a gay rights bill. Frank says he enthusiastically agreed, expecting a senior member to take the lead.

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