Arts

Ask Me Another
9:28 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Just Sit Right Back

They Might Be Giants and Jonathan Coulton believe that modern-day dramas need some theme song love, too.
Steve McFarland

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 11:30 am

It used to be that a TV theme song told an entire show's premise. Lately, all you get is a wordless ditty. In this game, we've rewritten the lyrics to classic TV tunes to be about modern-day dramas.

Plus, They Might Be Giants perform a new song, "Hate The Villanelle," live at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

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Ask Me Another
9:27 am
Thu June 26, 2014

'Wrong, Wrong, Wrong' With They Might Be Giants

John Linnell and John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants might enjoy putting our contestants through the ringer a little too much...
Steve McFarland

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 11:28 am

Musical guests They Might Be Giants treated us to a wicked game of their own invention. But be careful: don't let John Flansburgh and John Linnell's seemingly easy trivia questions leave you in the dust.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

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Ask Me Another
9:24 am
Thu June 26, 2014

It Was The Best Of Lines

Contestant Nicholas Coyne is overjoyed when host Ophira Eisenberg modernizes the first lines of literary classics like "Wuthering Heights."
Steve McFarland

Can you name these literary classics after we've modernized their opening lines with current slang? "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is cray-cray in its own way."

Heard in Episode 320: We Might Be Giant Nerds

Ask Me Another
9:24 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Shall We Dance?

Our audience at the Brooklyn Academy of Music just might bust out into the Macarena.
Steve McFarland

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 10:53 am

Lace up your boogie shoes — in this game, we achieve the unachievable and dance on the radio. We give you step-by-step instructions to a popular dance, and you give us its name. It's electric!

Heard in Episode 320: We Might Be Giant Nerds

Ask Me Another
9:24 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Rule of Three

Contestants Micaela Blei and Krissa Corbett Cavouras share a hug after a thrilling final round game.
Steve McFarland

It's said that all good things come in threes — which is why this final round is all about three-word groupings that always go together. Go! Fight! Win! Three cheers for this week's champion.

Heard in Episode 320: We Might Be Giant Nerds

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The Two-Way
5:16 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Book News: Ana Maria Matute, Who Wrote Of War-Torn Spain, Dies

Spanish novelist Ana Maria Matute is pictured in 2010 in Barcelona, Spain, after winning the Cervantes Prize.
Manu Fernandez AP

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

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu June 26, 2014

A Dentist Confronts The Gaping Maw Of Life In 'To Rise Again'

"Pessimism, skepticism, complaint, and outrage," New York dentist Paul O'Rourke explains to his devoutly religious hygienist. "That's why we were put on earth."

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Crime In The City
1:15 am
Thu June 26, 2014

In Mystery Series's W.Va. River Town, There's No Escape From Terror

Julia Keller's crime series about prosecuting attorney Bell Elkins is set in a fictional town inspired by Guyandotte, W. Va., near where she grew up.
Melissa Smith-Stanley Courtesy of The Guyandotte Improvement & Historical Association

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 12:52 pm

When writer Julia Keller talks, you notice a touch of West Virginia — it is, after all, her home state. Her accent may have faded a bit during her newspaper career in Chicago, so she says when she started thinking about writing crime novels, she was happy to hear the Appalachian voices coming out of her memory.

"I was probably the most surprised person of all when I chose to set my fiction in West Virginia," she says. "[I] hadn't lived here in a long time, didn't really know that it moved in my blood — if it did."

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The Salt
4:14 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Is It Time For Food To Get Its Own Major Museum?

The whirling, 3,200-pound puffing gun was used to produce cereals like Cheerios and Kix in the early 20th century. The Museum of Food and Drink plans to feature it in its first exhibition, on breakfast cereal.
Courtesy of MOFAD

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 6:36 am

You can thank a very large, and very strange, machine called a puffing gun for all those Cheerios you crunched on as a kid.

And if all goes according to plan, you'll be able to see one of those guns, patented in 1939 to force air into grains so they pop in your mouth and float in a bowl of milk, at a temporary exhibition in New York City next year on the history of breakfast cereal.

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The Two-Way
11:18 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Diane Sawyer's 'World News' Departure Sets Off Big Changes At ABC News

ABC News anchors (from left) David Muir, Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos meet with ABC News President James Goldston.
Heidi Gutman ABC

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 1:50 pm

Diane Sawyer will leave her job as anchor of ABC News' flagship program, World News, during the last week of August, capping a five-year run at the show and kicking off an anchor shuffle at the network.

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Code Switch
7:35 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Michael Jackson, We Barely Knew You

Carl De Souza AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 8:08 am

Just as there are those who seek to drag Mr. Jackson's name through the mud, there are those who insist that he was a saint, an angelic figure to be put on a pedestal. He was neither. Michael Jackson was, like all of us, a complicated human being. -- "Remember The Time: Protecting Michael Jackson In His Final Days"

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The Two-Way
6:19 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Book News: Deal To Buy Perseus May Boost Hachette's Hand In Amazon Fight

Visitors walk through the Hachette Book Group's exhibition in May at BookExpo America, the annual industry convention in New York.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 6:38 am

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

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Space Chases And Explosions On A Galactic Scale In 'Cibola Burn'

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 9:44 am

Cibola Burn is a big book. Huge, really, both in terms of pages (nearly 600 in the version I got), and in pure authorial chutzpah. It is part four in the Expanse series, which has, thus far, included three books and a smattering of novellas. And it represents, for dedicated readers of James S.A. Corey (in real life, the two-man team of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) the biggest, most sprawling leap of an already sprawling tale.

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The Two-Way
5:01 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

'Star Wars' Museum Lands In Chicago

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 6:08 am

Star Wars creator George Lucas has chosen Chicago as the location of a planned museum of his art and movie memorabilia.

A spokesman for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum will be built in the Windy City.

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Code Switch
3:25 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

'Freedom Summer' And 'The Watsons': Powerful TV About A Civil Rights Journey

Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party delegates and supporters stage a demonstration on the boardwalk in front of the Atlantic City Convention Center in 1964.
Courtesy of George Ballis/Take Stock

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 2:15 pm

As part of NPR's "Book Your Trip" series, TV critic Eric Deggans looks at a different kind of summertime journey, described in two books that became TV shows: PBS's documentary Freedom Summer, debuting tonight, and The Hallmark Channel's The Watsons Go to Birmingham.

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Book Reviews
2:15 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Book Review: 'No Country'

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 5:14 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. Kalyan Ray has been busy. The Bangladesh-born writer is also a translator and actor. That may be why 10 years have passed since his first novel was released. And reviewer Alan Cheuse is happy his second is now out.

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Monkey See
1:48 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

FX's 'Tyrant' Drowns An Opportunity For Nuance In Stereotypes

Jennifer Finnegan is Molly Al-Fayeed and Adam Rayner is Bassam "Barry" Al-Fayeed, the Americanized couple at the heart of FX's Tyrant.
Patrick Harbron FX

With Iraq spiraling out of control in a conflict where everyone involved has a compromised and troubling past, there's no better time for a TV series about the son of a brutal Middle Eastern dictator who returns home from America ready to oppose his father's tactics.

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The Two-Way
5:32 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Book News: James Patterson Wants To Give Books To New York City Kids

James Patterson writes suspense and thriller novels as well as children's books. He runs the children's literacy campaign ReadKiddoRead.
Deborah Feingold Courtesy Little, Brown and Co.

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

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue June 24, 2014

'Hidden Sea': What Happens When Fantasyland Doesn't Want You?

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 12:53 pm

Usually when someone steps from our world into a fantasy world, they're one of two sorts of characters. There's the Bookish Outcast for whom the portal fantasy is a literal manifestation of the act of reading as escape — and there's the Chosen One, an otherwise unremarkable or unlikeable character who has a Destiny waiting in the other world. There are of course dozens of variations on these roles, but often portal fantasies are more or less wish fulfillment: we want to escape, to be wanted, to be important or powerful or our best selves.

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First Reads
4:45 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Exclusive First Read: You CAN Phone Home Again In 'Landline'

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 10:40 am

Rainbow Rowell turns her attention back to adult (but still young at heart) fiction in Landline, the story of Georgie, a successful sitcom writer who's not having a lot of success on the homefront. It's coming up on Christmas, and Georgie suddenly backs out of a planned holiday trip to her husband Neal's hometown — something's come up at work and she just has to stay. But when Neal packs up the kids and goes without her, she has to face up to the trouble in her marriage.

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The Salt
4:39 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Try 'I Tradizionali,' A Temporary, Culinary Tattoo

Marina Cinciripini and Sarah Richiuso.
I Tradizionali

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 6:35 am

Cooking is a messy endeavor, and few recipe books escape drips, spills and splatters. But help is at hand.

Two young Italian designers have come up with I Tradizionali, a collection of beautiful and temporary tattoos of Italian recipes that fit on your forearm.

Do the shallots go in before or after the peppers? How many eggs make the perfect frittata? Not to worry, and don't reach for the cookbook — just glance at your arm.

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Movie Interviews
1:26 am
Tue June 24, 2014

The Turbulent Love Story Behind Yves Saint Laurent's Revolutionary Rise

Yves Saint Laurent works with a model at his Paris fashion house in 1965. A new film follows the designer's rise in the fashion world.
Reg Lancaster Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 10:39 am

In 2009, Forbes rated designer Yves Saint Laurent the "Top-Earning Dead Celebrity" of the year. (Surely a bittersweet distinction.) Now, Saint Laurent's success — and how it was shaped and fed by his lover and manager Pierre Berge — is the subject of the new film Yves Saint Laurent. In it, their relationship is both interactive and supportive.

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Book Reviews
4:22 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Strange And Beautiful Love Stories Light Up 'Paper Lantern'

"iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 6:07 pm

Like Alice Munro and her small towns of Ontario, Stuart Dybek is a short story writer whose work is often closely associated with a specific place: the working-class neighborhoods of Chicago. But in both cases, referring to the geographical connection doesn't begin to get at the expansiveness of the work. I'd hardly read much Dybek before, and so my understanding of the kind of writing that interests him was limited. I imagined stories that were beautifully written, but beyond that, I didn't know about the strangeness, beauty and engagement with memory that are central to his work.

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The Salt
1:52 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Sandwich Monday: Burger King's Extra Long Cheeseburger

Do not adjust your set.
NPR

Past innovations in sandwich architecture have largely focused on height: the Big Mac, the Windows 7 Whopper, Dubai's 2,717-foot-tall Burg Dubai.

Finally, someone is thinking horizontally. Burger King has unveiled the Extra Long BBQ Cheeseburger. It's two beef patties and onion rings on a long roll.

Seth: This is great because I was really hoping to play a game of pickup after work. Wait ... that's not a football?

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History
1:14 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

50 Years Ago, Students Fought For Black Rights During 'Freedom Summer'

Fannie Lou Hamer was an activist who spoke out for black rights during Freedom Summer.
Courtesy of Ken Thompson/General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 2:50 pm

This summer marks the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, a movement to open the polls to blacks in Mississippi and end white supremacy in the state.

Freedom Summer was organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC, which recruited 700 college students — mostly white students from the North — to travel to Mississippi and help African-Americans register to vote. The organizers, the students and the black people trying to register were all risking their lives, a measure of how pervasive racism was at the time.

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Monkey See
7:07 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Building The 'Issue' Documentary: On Surveillance And South Africa

Albie Sachs is the subject of the documentary Soft Vengeance, which played at the AFI DOCS festival this weekend.
AFI DOCS

What used to be Silverdocs, the week-long documentary festival in downtown Silver Spring, Md., is now AFI DOCS, a four-day festival split between Silver Spring and a variety of D.C. venues.

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The Two-Way
5:23 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Book News: Prominent Middle East Scholar Fouad Ajami Dies

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

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Book Reviews
1:26 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Librarian Nancy Pearl Maps Out A Plan For Your Summer Reading

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 10:28 am

If you like your summer reading to take you beyond the beaten path, librarian Nancy Pearl is here to help. NPR's go-to books guru joins us once again to share "under the radar" reads — books she thinks deserve more attention than they've been getting. Pearl talks with NPR's Steve Inskeep about some of the titles she picked out for the summer reading season — several of which will make you reconsider the way you think about maps.

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Movie Interviews
3:09 pm
Sun June 22, 2014

Saving Lives And Surviving Paperwork Inside The LA County ER

Dave Pomeranz, Ryan McGarry and William Mallon are some of the real-life ER doctors depicted in Code Black.
Long Shot Release 2014

Originally published on Sun June 22, 2014 4:25 pm

LA County Hospital sees some of the worst possible medical cases. Patients suffering from gunshots, car wrecks and other severe injuries frequently pass through the doors of the Level I trauma center.

At the same time, since it's a public hospital, LA County ER doctors also often see patients who don't have life-threatening emergencies, but who otherwise lack access to health care.

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Author Interviews
2:33 pm
Sun June 22, 2014

With Memories And Online Maps, A Man Finds His 'Way Home'

Saroo Brierley was born in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh, India, and currently lives in Hobart, Tasmania.
Richard Malone Courtesy of G. P. Putnam's Sons

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 9:11 am

More than 25 years ago, Saroo Brierley was one of many poor children in rural India. At 4 years old, he couldn't read: He didn't even know the name of his hometown. His mother was raising four children on her own, and they were constantly hungry. Brierley's older brothers would hop trains to nearby towns to search for scraps to eat.

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