Arts

Fine Art
12:59 am
Thu July 11, 2013

At 90, Ellsworth Kelly Brings Joy With Colorful Canvases

In this 2007 Ellsworth Kelly piece, four separate oil-painted canvases combine to form a single work, Green Blue Black Red.
Jerry L. Thompson Courtesy of Ellsworth Kelly

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 2:52 pm

American artist Ellsworth Kelly turned 90 in May, and there's been much celebration. On Wednesday, President Obama presented Kelly with the National Medal of Arts. Meanwhile, museums around the country are showing his work: Kelly sculptures, prints and paintings are on view in New York, Philadelphia and Detroit. In Washington, D.C., the Phillips Collection is featuring his flat geometric canvases, layered to create wall sculptures.

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Code Switch
2:52 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

New Series 'The Bridge' Seeks An Audience In Two Languages

Mexican homicide detective Marco Ruiz (played by Demián Bichir) must work with his American counterpart, Sonya Cross (Diane Kruger), to solve a murder on the U.S.-Mexico border in FX's new series The Bridge.
FX Network

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 6:53 pm

The U.S.-Mexico border plays a starring role in the new FX series The Bridge.

Characters in the television crime drama, which premieres Wednesday night, regularly cross back and forth through the border between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. The show's dialogue also frequently switches between English and Spanish, setting a new standard for bilingual drama on American television.

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The Salt
2:28 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

The Science Of Twinkies: How Do They Last So Darned Long?

Unlike the dodo that sits next to it on an NPR Science Desk shelf, this year-and-a-half-old Twinkie is still around — but that doesn't mean you want to eat it.
Heather Rousseau NPR

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 10:56 am

We have to confess: When we heard that Twinkies will have nearly double the shelf life, 45 days, when they return to stores next week, our first reaction was — days? Not years?

Urban legend has long deemed Twinkies the cockroaches of the snack food world, a treat that can survive for decades, what humanity would have left to eat come the apocalypse. The true shelf life — which used to be 26 days — seems somewhat less impressive by comparison.

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Law
2:21 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Scalia V. Ginsburg: Supreme Court Sparring, Put To Music

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 10:39 am

On the day after the Supreme Court concluded its epic term in June, two of the supreme judicial antagonists, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, met over a mutual love: opera.

When it comes to constitutional interpretation, the conservative Scalia and the liberal Ginsburg are leaders of the court's two opposing wings. To make matters yet more interesting, the two have been friends for decades, since long before Scalia was named to the court by President Reagan and Ginsburg by President Clinton.

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Author Interviews
12:47 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

'Blue Plate Special': A Generous Helping Of Life

Author Kate Christensen weaves her love of food and cooking into a new memoir.
Michael Sharkey Doubleday

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 1:56 pm

When novelist Kate Christensen was just a toddler, she witnessed her father beating her mother. It was a scene that would haunt Christensen for decades.

And so it's with a description of that morning that she chooses to begin her memoir Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites. The book that unfolds is an examination of the reverberations of her father's violence in her life, and a meditation on how her love of food helped her cope.

As a child, she tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies, she refused to identify with her mother in the scenario.

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The Salt
10:32 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Do Diet Drinks Mess Up Metabolisms?

Some researchers think that artificial sweeteners, most frequently consumed in diet drinks, may confuse the body.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 3:10 pm

It may seem counterintuitive, but there's a body of evidence to suggest that the millions of Americans with a diet soda habit may not be doing their waistlines — or their blood sugar — any favors.

As the consumption of diet drinks made with artificial sweeteners continues to rise, researchers are beginning to make some uncomfortable associations with weight gain and other diseases.

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Monkey See
9:32 am
Wed July 10, 2013

A Sunny 'Camp' Kicks Back For Summer

The promotional art for NBC's Camp tells you all you need to know.
John Tsiavis NBC

We have to begin with a discussion of how Camp, NBC's new summer comedy-drama series premiering Wednesday night at 10, begins.

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The Two-Way
5:47 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Book News: 'Ender's Game' Author Responds To Boycott Threats

Orson Scott Card poses at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, in 2008.
Wikimedia Commons/ Nihonjoe

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 5:08 am

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

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Rhetoric Drowns Out The Thrills In Huston's 'Skinner'

iStockphoto.com

Charlie Huston's 2010 novel, Sleepless, bowled me over. What a powerful combination of combustible plot and fiery language! At the center of that book, an insomnia plague spreads across Southern California (and the rest of the country). The illness keeps you awake all night, quite fuzzy-minded during the day, and then after a couple of months it kills you. The only thing approaching an antidote is a drug called Dreamer, which makes a little sleep possible before you die.

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Kitchen Window
10:03 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Scape Velocity: Green Garlic Takes Flight

T. Susan Chang for NPR

If you've never grown garlic, here's how you do it: On a bright cool fall afternoon, before the ground has frozen, you pry an ordinary, unpeeled clove of garlic off the bulb. You plant it in the ground, about 4 inches down and pointy side up. Maybe you cover the soil with some straw to protect it from extremes of heat, cold and drought.

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Author Interviews
3:35 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Chuck Klosterman On Batman, Bad Guys And Wearing 'The Black Hat'

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 4:00 pm

News stories can often be distilled into good guys versus bad guys, heroes versus villains. But what makes a villain? What's the difference between a garden-variety bad guy and an evil genius, besides a couple of IQ points? Those are the questions pop culture critic Chuck Klosterman grapples with in his new book, I Wear The Black Hat.

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Music Reviews
12:11 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Two New Jazz Albums Recall The Wide Open Spaces of The West

Rich Halley and his quartet play with Bobby Bradford at the Penofin Jazz Festival.
Bob Pyle Rich Halley

Portland, Ore. tenor saxophonist Rich Halley's quartet album Crossing the Passes on his Pine Eagle label commemorates a week-long trek over the Wallowa mountain range in Northeast Oregon, where Halley's been climbing since he was a boy. We could talk about his dual obsessions with music and nature as cultivating a love of wide-open improvisational spaces; he's got one band that only plays outdoors. But all that climbing also has practical benefits: It builds lung-power.

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Latin America
11:42 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Drugs, Chaos And Violence Darken Mexico's 'Midnight'

In his new book, Alfredo Corchado writes about the escalating violence in Mexico.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 12:11 pm

When Alfredo Corchado went to cover Mexico for The Dallas Morning News, he was determined not to focus on drugs and crime but rather to cover issues critical to the country's future — immigration, education and the economy.

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The Salt
10:12 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Why Micro-Gardening Could Go Big

Square Foot Gardening, makes it easy to grow 15 to 20 pounds of food in a small space with a plastic mat that serves as a garden planting guide." href="/post/why-micro-gardening-could-go-big" class="noexit lightbox">
The Nourishmat, which is inspired by Square Foot Gardening, makes it easy to grow 15 to 20 pounds of food in a small space with a plastic mat that serves as a garden planting guide.
Courtesy of Earth Starter

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 3:10 pm

Most urban consumers are happy to leave farming to the farmers, but for those with a green thumb, it is getting easier to garden in the city. That's thanks, in part, to DIYers sharing ideas for reusing old materials to garden in and a new range of tools designed to get many more people involved with growing some of their own food.

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The Two-Way
5:15 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Book News: Barnes & Noble's CEO Quits

  • Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch Jr. resigned Monday following several grim earnings reports and the company's recent announcement that it would stop manufacturing its own Nook tablets. A new chief executive wasn't named, but Michael P. Huseby has been named president of Barnes & Noble and chief executive of the Nook division.
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Critics' Lists: Summer 2013
5:03 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Best Of The Summer: 6 Books The Critics Adore

Andrew Bannecker

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 2:30 pm

There is no one definition of a summer book. It can be a 1,000-page biography, a critically acclaimed literary novel, a memoir everyone is talking about — or it might be your favorite guilty pleasure: romance, crime, science fiction. Whatever you choose, it should be able to sweep you away to another world, because there is nothing like getting totally lost in a book on summer day. Here are a few books that swept away some of our favorite critics.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue July 9, 2013

What's Eating Her? A Writer Meditates On Food And Loneliness

iStockphoto.com

These days, it's often noted that food has displaced art, sport and even sex as the literary mind's propulsive muse. The single cookie that launched poor Proust on his interior odyssey feels shockingly modest compared with the vast smorgasbord today's writers seem almost compelled to revel in.

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Games & Humor
1:43 am
Tue July 9, 2013

A Zombie Horror Game, Inspired By ... A Nature Documentary?

In The Last of Us, a fungus called Cordyceps that commonly infects insects has jumped over to humans, creating a fungal zombie apocalypse.
Naughty Dog

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 9:20 am

The Last of Us is a new survival horror video game and it features — no big surprise — zombie-like creatures. But these are not the same old zombies that have dominated movie and TV screens in the past few years.

Neil Druckmann, creative director for The Last of Us, says he wanted a fresh new way to wipe out humanity — and he found it in a BBC documentary series called Planet Earth, which depicts the scary effects of the Cordyceps fungus.

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The Salt
1:40 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Why There Are Too Few Cooks For New York City's Elite Kitchens

A view inside the kitchen at chef Peter Hoffman's farm-to-table restaurant, Back Forty West, in New York's Soho neighborhood.
Simon Doggett Flickr

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 3:10 pm

New York City has long been considered the nation's epicenter for all things culinary. The borough of Manhattan had more than 6,000 restaurants at last count. And the city has the most three-star Michelin-starred restaurants in the country — closing in on Paris.

But lately, some cooks have begun to go elsewhere to make names for themselves.

Among the reasons for the culinary exodus: Chefs' obsession with local ingredients is making smaller communities a lot more appealing.

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Monkey See
1:38 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Pedal Power To Horsepower: Toys Point Toward Future Of Cars

Edmunds.com — but at the age of 2, the future automotive editor, like his co-worker Mike MaGrath, was more of a toy-car person." href="/post/pedal-power-horsepower-toys-point-towards-future-cars" class="noexit lightbox">
Mark Takahashi is now one of the "car people" at Edmunds.com — but at the age of 2, the future automotive editor, like his co-worker Mike MaGrath, was more of a toy-car person.
Courtesy Mark Takahashi

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 9:46 am

Morning Edition has reported that the Toyota Camry is the best-selling car in the U.S., and the Ford Focus is the world's best-seller.

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The Salt
2:35 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

France Battles Scourge Of Ready-To-Eat Meals In Restaurants

We're guessing microwavable, premade meals are not an issue in this kitchen, at the three-Michelin-star restaurant L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges near Lyon, France.
Laurent Cipriani AP

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 12:47 pm

France's vaunted culinary culture has been taking it on the chin lately.

First came the news, which we told you about in April, that the majority of France's restaurants are now fast-food joints.

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Music
11:53 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Summer Songs: Banjo Adds Bang To Old Standard

Creole Jazz Serenaders with Don Vappie
Vappielle Entertainment Enterprises

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 4:52 pm

As our population is growing and getting more diverse, so is our taste in music. And music lovers want to hear fresh ideas that reflect new realities and experiences. Yet some songs remain quintessentially American — even as they inspire constant re-interpretation.

Tell Me More is teaming up with New Orleans member station WWNO's Music Inside Out With Gwen Thompkins to showcase some fresh takes on popular American songs. Today we hear from Don Vappie of the Creole Jazz Serenaders, playing the banjo and singing, "Careless Love."

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Television
11:29 am
Mon July 8, 2013

'The Bridge:' Mayhem On The Border, With Big Issues At Stake

In the new FX series The Bridge, Diane Kruger stars as a detective investigating a murder along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Jordin Althaus FX Networks

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 1:37 pm

The FX version of the Scandinavian series The Bridge, like the Showtime version of the Israeli TV series that inspired Homeland, is a major revamp as well as a crucial relocation. With Homeland, the focus became American politics and home-soil terrorism. In The Bridge, premiering July 10, the setting is changed to the U.S.-Mexico border. This allows executive producer Meredith Stiehm, a writer-producer from Homeland, to deal with everything that relocation provides — including the white-hot issues of immigration reform and border security.

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Television
11:29 am
Mon July 8, 2013

As 'Ray Donovan,' Liev Schreiber Cleans Up Hollywood's Messes

One of the aspects that attracted Schreiber to Ray Donovan was the prospect of playing a character for whom words were relatively unimportant.
Showtime

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 6:53 am

In the new Showtime series Ray Donovan, Liev Schreiber stars in the title role as a man who knows how to handle a crisis. It's Donovan's job to clean up the messes of Hollywood's rich and powerful while trying to keep his own personal problems under wraps.

A TV series is something of a new turn for Schreiber, who's been acting onstage and in movies for two decades. But playing complicated characters is something he's earned a reputation for, with roles in films like Defiance and The Manchurian Candidate.

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On Aging
9:48 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Winning Gold In Their Golden Years

Swimmer John Tatum proudly wears his gold medals from the National Senior Olympics.
Amy Ta NPR

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 5:57 pm

John Tatum is 94 years old. He is a swimmer. And a gold medalist.

Tatum is one of thousands of the top athletes in the U.S. who run, vault and swim for the gold in the National Senior Games. All of these seniors are over age 50, and some are over 100. And they show no signs of slowing down.

"I see no end for me," Tatum says. "I would like to just compete year after year after year. You know, I'm 94, probably could be 100, I don't know. But as long as I am healthy, I can do it."

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The Salt
9:42 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Math Class Made Delicious: Learn About Cones Through Scones

If only Algebra II class had been this tasty ...
Courtesy Lenore M. Edman

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 10:19 am

Cooks use math to make beautiful food all the time: Slicing eight perfect pieces of pie or doubling a recipe requires basic knowledge of fractions, for example.

But how many cooks think about using beautiful food to illustrate the math itself?

Lenore M. Edman and Windell H. Oskay of the blog Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories do. Feast your eyes on their latest work, "Sconic Sections," pictured above.

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New In Paperback
7:51 am
Mon July 8, 2013

July 8-14: Tales Of Richard Burton, Resilience And Ray Mancini

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 9:11 am

*Some of the language in the summaries above has been provided by publishers.

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

The Two-Way
5:01 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Book News: Reading And Writing Slow Dementia, Study Says

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 5:46 am

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

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Fine Art
3:36 pm
Sun July 7, 2013

For Judd Family, Home Is Where The (Rectilinear) Art Is

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 4:35 am

The former studio and home of artist Donald Judd is in what used to be called the Cast Iron District of Manhattan. He bought the five-story building in 1968, long before the Gucci store and Ivanka Trump Boutique moved into the neighborhood. When Judd died in 1994, the house stayed in the family, with much of his stuff exactly where he left it. Now, after a three-year renovation, the general public can tour the building and see firsthand how Judd thought art and architecture could work together.

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Theater
2:58 pm
Sun July 7, 2013

Broadway's 'First Date': A Greek Chorus Of Emotional Baggage

Krysta Rodriguez played Ana Vargas in the recently canceled backstage-on-Broadway TV series Smash, and Zachary Levi earned a fervent following in the title role of NBC's Chuck. Both performers have backgrounds in the theater, and they'll be together on Broadway this summer in the premiere of the musical comedy First Date.
Matthew Murphy

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 10:37 am

Many fans of the TV show Chuck fell in love with the nerd-turned-unwitting spy at the heart of the show, but most probably didn't know that he could sing.

Zachary Levi is now rehearsing for his first role on Broadway — a new musical comedy called First Date — which also features Krysta Rodriguez, the star of another NBC program, Smash.

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