Arts

Code Switch
1:20 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Comedian Hari Kondabolu On Diversity, Race And Burger King

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 1:20 pm

Hari Kondabolu is a brainy comedian who cuts through the polite talk around race and gender. He's made a lot of key people laugh with his incisive anecdotes, including Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O'Brien and John Oliver.

A full-time writer on the FX show Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, he recently did a comedy bit on the National Spelling Bee, or "as I like to call it," he joked, "the Indian Super Bowl."

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Arts & Life
4:14 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

For Actress Ruby Keeler, Another Opening, Another Show

Broadway performer Ruby Keeler was a source of optimism for many during the Depression era, and nostalgia hit audiences hard when she returned to the stage decades later.
General Photographic Agency Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 5:11 pm

Ruby Keeler was an unknown actress when she starred in the 1933 production of Busby Berkeley's 42nd Street.

But the movie was so popular she was able to land two more splashy musicals that same year — and seven more by the end of the decade. There was nothing extraordinary about her talents as a vocalist or as an actress, but audiences of the Depression era really bought into Keeler's "innocent" onstage persona. In fact, they craved it.

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The Fresh Air Interview
12:46 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Jason Isbell Locates His Musical Compass On 'Southeastern'

Jason Isbell was previously a member of Drive-By Truckers. His solo albums include Sirens of the Ditch and Here We Rest.
Eric England Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 8:38 am

When singer-songwriter Jason Isbell used to get drunk, he'd sometimes tell his then-girlfriend, the musician Amanda Shires, that he needed to quit the bottle — and that if it was going to take, he'd have to go to rehab. Eventually, she said the next time he told her that, she'd hold him to it. And she did. And he went. And, he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "The jury is still out on whether or not it worked, but it worked today and all the days leading up to this."

Initially, he says he was scared about what sobriety would do to his personality and his creativity.

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Ask Me Another
11:14 am
Wed July 17, 2013

First Name Basis

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 7:55 am

We live in an informal society — no one's introduced as Mr. Coulton or Ms. Eisenberg anymore. In this game, host Ophira Eisenberg talks about celebrities on a first name basis, and asks contestants to give her the full name of a famous person by combining the first names of two other famous people.

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

Transcript

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Ask Me Another
11:14 am
Wed July 17, 2013

The Meow Mix

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 7:55 am

Cats! We can't get enough of their cute, fuzzy faces and fickle personalities. Neither can musicians, apparently. In this game, Jonathan Coulton delivers some musical clues to songs that have cats in their title, or were performed by musical acts with a feline name. One song is even performed entirely in "meow."

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

Transcript

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Ask Me Another
11:14 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Put A Bjork In It

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 7:55 am

Yes, we're talking about the quirky Icelandic singer Björk, but you don't need to know anything about her. Jonathan Coulton delivers clues to words, phrases, and proper names into which you must cleverly insert "Björk." For example, a small dog that was bred to catch rats is a "Björkshire terrier." Life is just more fun when you put a Björk in it.

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Ask Me Another
11:14 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Spoiler Alert

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 1:47 pm

With the Internet, it can be hard to avoid people talking about key plot points of movies or TV programs that you haven't seen yet. "It's a sled! She's a man! The Red Wedding is not a happy occasion!" See? In this game, we're going to spoil some movies by asking you to identify them based on the very last lines spoken in the film. (Though as you'll see, the last lines of most films are quite vague and spoiler-free.)

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Ask Me Another
11:14 am
Wed July 17, 2013

As Easy As B-C-D

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 7:55 am

If we asked you to name a side dish that combines onion, celery, butter, and bread cubes stuck inside of a turkey--the answer would be "stuffing," which begins with the letters "s-t-u." Host Ophira Eisenberg leads this game in which every correct answer will begin with a string of three consecutive letters of the alphabet, like "d-e-f," or "h-I-j."

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Ask Me Another
11:14 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Our Magnum Opus

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 7:55 am

In this Ask Me Another final round, puzzle guru Art Chung quizzes the remaining contestants on phrases and proper nouns that contain the name of a musical instrument. For example, a narrow type of stemware that you might drink your Dom Perignon out of is a "champagne flute."

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

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

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Ask Me Another
11:14 am
Wed July 17, 2013

The Freaks Shall Inherit The Earth

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 12:16 pm

For those who came of age in the 90s, or went to high school in the 80s, Freaks and Geeks is a cultural touchstone. Not only because it so perfectly captured the pains and joys of adolescence, but also because its young cast would go on to do amazing things. We quiz the show's creator, Paul Feig, about what everyone in the cast has been up to since their roles in Freaks and Geeks.

Plus, house musician Jonathan Coulton gives Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" (also the Freaks and Geeks theme song) his own nerd-rock treatment.

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Music
9:48 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Howard Students Go From 'The Sing-Off' To Success

The a cappella group Traces of Blue joins host Michel Martin for an in-studio performance.
Amy Ta NPR

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 4:33 pm

Traces of Blue isn't quite a household name just yet, but if you're familiar with NBC's The Sing-Off, you might remember them by their old name, Afro-Blue, the a cappella jazz group hailing from Howard University in Washington, D.C.

They recently took a break from working on their debut EP to stop by NPR's D.C. studios for a special performance.

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Can I Just Tell You?
9:48 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Is It Time To See Each Other's Tears?

Rachel Jeantel, the witness who was on the phone with Trayvon Martin just before he was killed, gives her testimony during George Zimmerman's trial in Sanford, Fla., last month.
Jacob Langston AP

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 2:18 pm

As I was heading home the other day, I was thinking about a situation I encountered a while ago when I landed back in the Washington, D.C., area after a trip.

I was hungry and saw that one of my favorite lunch spots had opened an outpost at the airport. So I ducked in there and was just about to order when I realized that a young woman standing next to me was having some sort of confrontation. It was loud, and getting louder.

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Beauty Shop
9:48 am
Wed July 17, 2013

How Did Zimmerman Trial Interviewees Come Across On TV?

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 11:55 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later in the program, my regular "Can I Just Tell You?" essay, and a mid-week treat for you. The a capella singing group Traces of Blue will be here. That is coming up. But first, we take a visit to the "Beauty Shop." That's where our roundtable of women writers, journalists and commentators talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds.

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The Two-Way
5:32 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Book News: Hemingway Look-Alike Competition To Crown New 'Papa'

American writer Ernest Hemingway.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 5:13 pm

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

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Theoretical Physicist Seeks Concrete Answers In 'Genius'

Ted is a theoretical physicist facing a slew of resolutely concrete problems. His son is racing headlong into puberty. His daughter's prodigious intellect causes her to stand out at school — the very last thing the girl wants. His elderly father-in-law isn't remembering much, these days, save for the fact that he hates Ted's guts. His wife is sick and getting sicker, just as his employer, a prominent think tank, threatens to fire him for lack of productivity. To keep his job, and its health care coverage, Ted needs an idea.

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Fine Art
12:54 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Naked Or Nude? Wesselmann's Models Are A Little Bit Of Both

scandalous 1863 Olympia, Tom Wesselmann created The Great American Nude #26." href="/post/naked-or-nude-wesselmanns-models-are-little-bit-both" class="noexit lightbox">
Nearly 100 years after Edouard Manet painted his scandalous 1863 Olympia, Tom Wesselmann created The Great American Nude #26.
Estate of Tom Wesselmann/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 3:08 am

Sixties pop artist Tom Wesselmann liked women, and saluted them on his canvases — or, sometimes, just parts of them: perfect glossy red mouths with lips parted to reveal pink tongues; nipples, even on the oranges he paints. These are just a few of the images that might make you blush in a Wesselmann retrospective now on view at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.

"I don't think you could ask for a more literal interpretation of the objectification of parts of the female body," says curator Sarah Eckhardt.

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Monkey See
12:53 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Fangs And Fishnets For The Win: 'Goth Barbie' Is Monstrously Successful

Mattel executives say they did not anticipate the runaway success of the goth-influenced Monster High brand when it debuted in 2010.
Mattel

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 1:15 pm

We've got two words for you: Goth Barbie.

Not only does such a thing exist, but after Barbie, it's the best-selling doll in the world. The dolls of Monster High are bone-thin beauties all related to famous monsters. They come with books and Web episodes that follow their stories in that place where everyone feels like a freak — in high school.

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Kitchen Window
10:03 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Baking A Little Invention Into Savory Cakes

Claire Adas for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 12:29 pm

I'm a mad scientist in the kitchen. My inventions for new culinary techniques that will revolutionize the way we eat usually happen in the middle of the night during a bout of insomnia. I stumble downstairs the next morning in a sleep-deprived daze, and a quick Internet search reveals that I'm far from the first person to have invented the cookery method, and hundreds of recipes already exist.

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Author Interviews
2:31 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

A Dark Family Secret Hidden For Years In Alaska's 'Wilderness'

Before Alaska, the Pilgrim family — seen here in 1992 — lived an isolated life in New Mexico's Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Courtesy of Kurina Rose Hale

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 6:00 pm

In early 2002, a pair of battered old trucks drove through deep snow into a tiny Alaska ghost town carrying a large family that looked to be from another century.

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Television
2:29 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Laughs And Drama Behind Bars With 'Orange Is The New Black'

Taylor Schilling and Lin Tucci in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black.
Jessica Miglio Netflix

Netflix's original series Orange Is the New Black has two important TV predecessors. One is HBO's Oz, the 1997 men-in-prison drama from Tom Fontana that paved the way for HBO's The Sopranos. The other is Showtime's Weeds, which in the fourth season put one of its central characters behind bars.

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All Tech Considered
12:42 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

A Bedding Innovation For People Who Hate Making Their Beds

Smart Bedding demo photo.
Courtesy of Smart Bedding

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 2:51 pm

In a blog series we're calling "Weekly Innovation," we'll explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Last week we featured the sink-urinal. (Do you have an innovation to share? Use this quick form.)

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The Picture Show
12:00 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Cheers To That! A Photo Exhibit All About Drinking

Patron #1
Henry Horenstein Courtesy of Sasha Wolf Gallery

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 3:40 pm

It's exactly what it sounds like.

"I wish I could tell you there was some really profound reasoning," says curator Sasha Wolf, owner of the eponymous gallery.

But, as good ideas often do, this one came over a glass of bourbon, as Wolf was brainstorming summer show ideas.

Oftentimes in the quiet summer months, she explains, galleries will curate group shows on a seasonal topic — like flowers or beaches. But Wolf wanted to do something "a little bit more quirky."

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Music Reviews
11:40 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Sylvester: 'Mighty Real' Disco Star Deserves A Modern Spotlight

Sylvester's 1978 album Step II resulted in a couple of smash singles, "Dance (Disco Heat)" and "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)."
Fantasy Archives

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 2:29 pm

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The Salt
10:44 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Local Sake: America's Craft Brewers Look East For Inspiration

Yoed Anis, president of the Texas Sake Company, says "the only constraint holding us back" from faster growth is the absence of a sufficient and consistent rice supply.
Courtesy Texas Sake Company

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 11:29 am

Most of us are familiar with that hot, musky-smelling, cloudy drink served in teacups at sushi bars and sometimes called, erroneously, "rice wine." In other words, most of us have had bad sake.

But finally, Americans are learning to love the good stuff.

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Monkey See
9:13 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Morning Shots: In Which Kristin Wiig Gets Very Silly

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 10:37 am

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The Two-Way
5:29 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Book News: Zimmerman Juror Drops Book Plans

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 6:40 am

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

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue July 16, 2013

For The Love Of The Game: How Cricket Transformed India

Cricket Game
iStockphoto.com

The English language and cricket were Britain's two largest colonial legacies in India, says journalist James Astill, but it is the second of these bequests that is the subject of his important and incisive new book, The Great Tamasha: Cricket, Corruption, And the Turbulent Rise of Modern India. Astill is a former bureau chief for the Economist in New Delhi, and he notes the parallels between the country's control of cricket and its dramatic economic rise.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Last Words: An Author's Rhymed Farewell

David Rakoff was a radio essayist for public radio's This American Life.
Deirdre Dolan

What a loss. That's the thought that kept running through my head as I flagged one inspired rhyme after another in David Rakoff's risky (though hardly risqué) posthumous first novel. Why risky? For starters, Rakoff, who died of cancer last summer, at 47, chose to write this last book in verse — albeit an accessible, delightful iambic tetrameter that is more akin to Dr. Seuss than T.S. Eliot.

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Critics' Lists: Summer 2013
5:03 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Lost And Found: 5 Forgotten Classics Worth Revisiting

Andrew Bannecker

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 2:25 pm

I don't remember when I first realized that books could go away, that they could — and did — pass into obscurity or out of print. Myra Breckinridge by Gore Vidal, All About H. Hatterr by G.V. Desani, Speedboat by Renata Adler, the sublime An Armful of Warm Girl by W.M. Spackman. Each of them, snuffed out. It seemed a scandal. But I vividly recall becoming aware that particular books were prone. To take chances with language or form was to court extinction.

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Books News & Features
3:58 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Aparecium! J.K. Rowling Revealed As 'Cuckoo' Mystery Author

Rowling says writing under a pseudonym was a "liberating experience."
Debra Hurford Brown

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 4:54 pm

It's a detective story — about a detective story. The book in question is The Cuckoo's Calling, a debut novel released earlier this year by a former British military man named Robert Galbraith.

The reviews were excellent — especially for a first novel. There was just one hitch: The Cuckoo's Calling wasn't a debut at all. Nor was it by Robert Galbraith. As The Sunday Times revealed this weekend, Galbraith is a pseudonym for one of the best-known writers working today: Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling.

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