Arts

Author Interviews
3:33 am
Sun June 29, 2014

'Rogue Elephant' Asks: Is Democracy Right For India?

Over the course of the past month, some 600 million Indians went to the polls to elect a new government — the largest exercise in democracy in the world.

The results surprised few: Discontented voters tossed out the ruling Congress Party and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Congress, which has controlled India much of the time since its independence in 1947, has now been reduced to a parliamentary remnant.

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Book Reviews
3:20 pm
Sat June 28, 2014

Sorry, Europe. 'Quebert Affair' Plot Thrills, But Prose Lacks Substance

iStockphoto

Joel Dicker's breakneck thriller The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair lands stateside trumpeting international sales figures that are the stuff of a writer's wildest dreams: nearly a million copies in France alone. Naturally, our curiosity is roused. Could this be another surprise charmer like Muriel Barbery's quirky The Elegance of the Hedgehog? Or, as the publicity materials tout breathlessly, a "broadly comic" mashup of Twin Peaks, In Cold Blood, The Hotel New Hampshire and more?

Don't get your hopes up.

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Code Switch
2:59 pm
Sat June 28, 2014

'Everything I Never Told You' Exposed In Biracial Family's Loss

Everything I Never Told You is Celeste Ng's debut novel about a Chinese-American family living in 1970s Ohio. She is currently working on a second novel and a collection of short stories.
Kevin Day The Penguin Press

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 4:22 pm

It's May, 1977, in small-town Ohio, and the Lee family is sitting down at breakfast. James is Chinese-American and Marilyn is white, and they have three children — two girls and a boy. But on this day, their middle child Lydia, who is also their favorite, is nowhere to be found.

That's how Celeste Ng's new novel, Everything I Never Told You, begins.

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Author Interviews
6:02 am
Sat June 28, 2014

Life Is Tough, Says Joan Rivers, So 'You Better Laugh At Everything'

Joan Rivers' other books include I Hate Everyone ... Starting With Me and Men Are Stupid ... And They Like Big Boobs.
Charles William Bush Courtesy of Berkley Hardcover

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 10:43 am

Comedian Joan Rivers got a diary from her daughter for the holidays a while back, and at first she was upset. Then, she reflected: Maybe it's a chance for her to save and share her wisdom. Like this entry from Feb. 16:

Woke up not feeling well. I spent the entire day online on WebMD. ... I can say with 100 percent certainty that I have pleurisy, tuberculosis, brain stem cancer or an enlarged prostate. I found a great cure for whatever ails you. God bless the Internet! A coffee enema. ... The only negative: I can never go back to Starbucks.

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Music Interviews
6:02 am
Sat June 28, 2014

Classical Dub-Step Violin Finds Its Audience

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 8:44 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Lindsey Stirling's been described as a dancing-hip-hop-dub-step-classical violinist - you know, another one of those.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

SIMON: She made her mainstream debut when she auditioned for "America's Got Talent" in 2010. Made it all the way to the quarter-finals, only to be told by Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne - there just isn't a market for a dancing hip-hop violinist. Well, what a mistake that turned out to be.

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Pop Culture
6:02 am
Sat June 28, 2014

At VidCon, A Chance To See YouTube Celebrities Off The Screen

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 10:43 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The online video industry is growing up. It has its own annual conference called VidCon, now in its fifth year. VidCon wraps up today at the Anaheim Convention Center as Corey Takahashi reports. The three-day event draws producers, dealmakers and thousands of fans just who just hope to meet their favorite YouTube stars.

(SOUNDBITE OF FANS SCREAMING)

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Movie Interviews
6:02 am
Sat June 28, 2014

New York Streets Become A Recording Studio In 'Begin Again'

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 10:43 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Greta is an English woman in New York who plays guitar who's just been dumped by her lover who's become a big star. Dan is a former music producer who's been dumped by his wife, by the company he founded and is disregarded by his daughter who's 14 or 15. He's not really sure which. He even had to hawk his Grammy Awards just to pay for a couple of benders. Can anything save them? Maybe music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG FROM "BEGIN AGAIN")

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY: (As Greta, singing) And all at once, it seemed like a good way...

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Book News & Features
5:03 am
Sat June 28, 2014

Women Are Destroying Science Fiction! (That's OK; They Created It)

This image is one of eight original illustrations commissioned for Lightspeed Magazine's special issue, "Women Destroy Science Fiction!"
Lightspeed Magazine

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 2:03 pm

This month, science fiction and fantasy magazine Lightspeed interrupted its normal publishing schedule to bring readers a special issue: "Women Destroy Science Fiction!"

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The Seams
3:31 am
Sat June 28, 2014

A Modern Twist On Mexican Tradition Hits The Runway

(Left) Mayan artisans from the Yucatan region hand-embroidered an armadillo onto this linen dress from Carla Fernández's Mayalands collection. (Right) This Fernandez dress is a traditional rebozo shape which honors the square root design of ancient patterns.
Ramiro Chaves/Courtesy Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 4:36 pm

In a small shed in Tenancingo, Mexico, partly open to the sky, about a half-dozen men stand behind huge wooden looms. They pedal side-by-side, their churning feet making a beautiful harmony as they craft handmade rebozos.

Rebozos, long rectangular shawls that came into style in Mexico in the 16th century, and the huipil, a woven and embroidered blouse or dress of pre-Columbian origin, are the main elements of Mexican traditional dress.

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Author Interviews
3:28 am
Sat June 28, 2014

Princip Pulled 'The Trigger,' But Never Meant To Start A War

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 10:43 am

It's a question that's persisted for over a century: how could a slight 19-year-old fire two shots and end up starting a war that killed millions around the world?

Tim Butcher, the well-traveled British war correspondent who covered later wars in the Balkans, went back to Sarajevo to try to learn more about Gavrilo Princip, the young Serbian revolutionary who changed the course of history in the worst way by assassinating Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, and his wife Sophie.

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This Week's Must Read
4:33 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

SCOTUS On Cellphones And The Privacy Of Poetry

Dear sweet privacy, where did you go? And where can we go to be alone with you again? Thanks to the Supreme Court, one answer is, surprisingly, our cell phones. On Wednesday, the Court ruled that, except in emergencies such as kidnappings and bomb threats, police can't search our phones without a warrant.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
4:08 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Not My Job: Scarlett Johansson Gets Quizzed On Captain Scarlet

Vittorio Zunino Celotto Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 9:59 am

Scarlett Johansson may be the most famous Scarlet(t) nowadays — she's starred in movies ranging from Lost in Translation to The Avengers. But back in the 1960s, she would have had some serious competition from "indestructible" Captain Scarlet of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, a British science fiction TV show.

We've invited Johansson to answer three questions about the other Scarlet.

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Book Reviews
2:30 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

'Warburg' Struggles For Love And Justice In Wartime Rome

St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
AP

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 2:04 pm

James Carroll, who served as a Catholic priest before his literary ambitions led him to go secular, has gathered together his knowledge of church history and his mature powers as a novelist to create Warburg in Rome, his most splendid work of fiction to date.

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Men In America
2:30 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Memphis Preteen Works To Put The 'Bazam' Back In The Bow Tie

12-year-old Moziah Bridges started his bowtie company, Mo's Bows, three years ago in Memphis. He says dressing well "helps people respect you and it makes you look good."
Annabella Charles Courtesy of Mo's Bows

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 4:33 pm

12-year-old Moziah Bridges is a bow tie aficionado and the CEO of his own company, Mo's Bows.

"I wanted to have that look — that 'bazam' look," he tells NPR's Audie Cornish.

Bridges says dressing well is a big part of growing up to be a man.

Listen to the audio above to hear the full conversation.

Author Interviews
9:58 am
Fri June 27, 2014

After The Rapture, Who Are 'The Leftovers'?

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 11:25 am

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm TV critic, David Bianculli, sitting in for Terry Gross. Our next guest, Tom Perrotta, is a novelist whose latest book, "The Leftovers," is being turned into an HBO series of the same name which premieres Sunday. Perrotta adapted it along with Damon Lindelof, one of the stars of ABC's "Lost." The story of HBO's "The Leftovers" is the same as in Perrotta's novel.

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Movie Reviews
9:58 am
Fri June 27, 2014

In The Mood For Apocalypse? Skip 'Transformers,' See 'Snowpiercer'

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 11:25 am

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Opening today, in many theaters, is the fourth in Michael Bay's "Transformer" series, "Transformers 4: Age Of Extinction." It's inspired by the Hasbro toys that turn mostly cars and trucks into robots. Another very different kind of apocalyptic, action movie that rolls out today is "Snowpiercer" by South Korean director Bong Joon-ho, who made the acclaimed giant monster film, "The Host." Film critic David Edelstein has these reviews.

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Monkey See
9:17 am
Fri June 27, 2014

'They Came Together' Is Less Than The Sum Of Its Parts

Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler play a couple, sort of, in the underwhelming rom-com parody They Came Together.
Lionsgate

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 11:21 pm

Writer-director David Wain is at the center of a loose comedy collective that's been working together (and cross-pollinating with other similar unofficial collectives) since The State, which was the name of both the original comedy troupe and the MTV sketch comedy show they held down from 1993 to 1995. The stars included Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, Thomas Lennon, Joe Lo Truglio, and Ken Marino. Much of that team got back together in 2001 for the summer-camp-movie parody Wain directed and co-wrote with Showalter called Wet Hot American Summer.

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Code Switch
9:03 am
Fri June 27, 2014

The Elusive Dave Chappelle Re-Emerges, But For How Long?

Chappelle alluded to his decision to walk away from his hit Comedy Central show only obliquely.
Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 8:50 am

Just before Dave Chappelle took the stage Monday as part of a sold-out series of shows at Radio City Music Hall, a song featuring a loop of LL Cool J's famous opening line from "Mama Said Knock You Out" blasted over the sound system.

Don't call it a comeback!

You could take it as a suggestion that Chappelle had never really gone anywhere. Or you could read it as a coy reminder that none of us should get too comfortable, because Chappelle might bounce again at any moment.

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TED Radio Hour
7:58 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Where Do Good Ideas Come From?

Steven Johnson on the TED stage.
James Duncan Davidson TED

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode What Is Original?

About Steven Johnson's TEDTalk

Earlier this year, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk decided to give away his company's patents for free. It might seem like a strange business move, but Musk said he wanted to inspire creativity and accelerate innovation. Writer Steven Johnson says this is the way great ideas have been born throughout history.

About Steven Johnson

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TED Radio Hour
7:58 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Is Everything A Remix?

Kirby Ferguson from the TED stage.
James Duncan Davidson TED

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode What Is Original?

About Kirby Ferguson's TEDTalk

Filmmaker Kirby Ferguson says nothing is original and that our most celebrated creators steal ideas — and transform them into something new.

About Kirby Ferguson

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TED Radio Hour
7:58 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Why Would More Than 500 Artists Sample The Same Song?

Mark Ronson on the TED stage.
James Duncan Davidson TED

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 8:56 am

  • Guy Raz Interview With Mark Ronson
  • Listen to the Story

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode What Is Original?

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Monkey See
7:35 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Wild Cards And More Regrettable Television

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

First, a huge thank-you to everyone who came to our live show this past week, and especially to our many special guests who helped us out on stage. We had a great time, and you'll be hearing the two shows we taped that night in a couple of weeks.

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Television
1:20 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Cory Still ♡s Topanga As A New Generation 'Meets World'

In Girl Meets World, Topanga (Danielle Fishel) and Cory (Ben Savage) have two kids — Riley and Auggie — and Cory teaches history at his daughter's middle school.
Ron Tom Disney Channel

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 1:08 am

Among that enormous demographic of people born after 1981, you'll find a major generational touchstone: the TV show Boy Meets World.

Nick Gray, 24, says, "Everybody that I know that is our age --"

"-- watched it," interrupts his girlfriend, 21-year-old Elizabeth Spivey, "and loved it!"

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Movie Reviews
3:10 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

'Begin Again,' A Music Fantasy Both Sticky And Sweet

After hearing Greta singing in a New York City bar, Dan, a record label executive played by Mark Ruffalo in Begin Again, helps her record her first big album.
Andrew Schwartz The Weinstein Company

You can be the scrappy newcomer only, well, once. That's a problem for Once writer-director John Carney, who has refashioned his low-budget 2006 hit as the slicker, cornier Begin Again. The new film excels as a pop-music fairy tale, but its real-world notes are seriously off-key.

The movie originally traveled the film-fest circuit under an unfortunate title, Can A Song Save Your Life? As in Carney's earlier effort, the life to be saved is that of a struggling man, and the rescuer is a young woman. This time, though, the intimacy is entirely musical.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Brutality And Faith Tangle In A Young Man's Story

Initially appearing to be the ideal father figure, Benno, played by German actor Sascha Alexander Gersak in Nothing Bad Can Happen, shows his dark side as he mocks and violently tests a young boy's religious faith.
Drafthouse Films

Tore (Julius Feldmeier), Nothing Bad Can Happen's young, born-again Christian protagonist, wears his faith like a security blanket. "Your belief is based on fear," says Benno (Sascha Alexander Gersak), his surrogate father later turned tormentor, and Tore certainly uses his Christianity — which he preaches to the world through his membership in a youth group called the Jesus Freaks — as both assurance that good will ultimate prevail in the world and as a tool with which to avoid the more uncomfortable elements of adolescence, namely girls.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

The Satisfying Chill Of The Audacious 'Snowpiercer'

In Snowpiercer, the children of the wealthy who inhabit the front of the train are offered luxuries such as education, while the people who dwell in the train's rear — (from right) Curtis (Chris Evans), Grey (Luke Pasqualino), Yona (Ah-sung Ko) and Namgoong Minsoo (Song Kang-ho) — survive in squalor.
Radius TWC

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 11:10 am

"All things flow from the sacred engine. ... The engine is forever." The passengers on the titular train in Bong Joon-ho's grim, post-apocalyptic sci-fi tale essentially deify the locomotive that is their salvation. This "rattling ark" carries the last remainders of humanity, after an attempt to reverse global warming goes terribly awry, plunging the planet into an extinction-event deep freeze. Extinction for all but those on this endlessly circling, perpetual-motion-driven train that can't stop, or else these few survivors will meet the same fate.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

A Not-Quite-Satisfying Look At A Notorious Career In Crime

In 2013, James "Whitey" Bulger was found guilty of racketeering, drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion, and participation in 11 murders. He was sentenced to two lifetime sentences in prison plus five years.
Magnolia Pictures

Many years ago I taught a course in the sociology of deviance to a class of fledgling Boston-Irish policemen. I enjoyed them enormously because they didn't write down everything I said and cough it back up on the test. A waggish friend called them "your heroic coplets."

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Art & Design
2:20 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

After Decades On VHS, Graffiti's Golden Age Returns To Big Screen

The 1981 film Stations of the Elevated follows graffiti-covered trains in New York City. The film is being reissued in New York this week and the rest of the country this fall.
Artists Public Domain

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 9:03 am

The first film to point a camera at the graffiti movement in New York City was Stations of the Elevated, which debuted at the New York Film Festival in 1981.

The film hasn't been seen much since, except by generations of graffiti fans and writers who watched it on VHS tapes. Now it's being re-released on the big screen, with a showing Friday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It will hit screens around the country this fall.

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Book Reviews
12:09 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

'Most Dangerous Book': A Rich Treasury Charting James Joyce's 'Ulysses'

There are many heroes in the tale of how James Joyce's masterpiece, Ulysses, which was banned for over 10 years throughout the English-speaking world, finally won its long battle to be legally published, sold and read. Kevin Birmingham tells that extraordinary story in his new book about Ulysses, called The Most Dangerous Book.

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Interviews
11:47 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Lupita Nyong'o's Father On His 'Wise' Daughter, Her Rising Fame

Peter Anyang Nyong'o is a Kenyan senator. He's also the father of Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o. He talks to host Michel Martin about his own history and his family's newfound fame.

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