On a gorgeous night, some 4,000 people, dressed all in white, have come to dine in a public, yet secret place in New York's Bryant Park.
They have come for Diner en Blanc, an unusual pop-up event that takes place in 20 countries. The guests eat in splendor at a location they only learn about minutes before they arrive. The thousands wave white napkins to signal the beginning of the event.
Remember the first time you felt really terrified â€” and liked it? "Being scared is like sex," Stephen King says. "There's nothing like your first time."
For a lot of readers, King's 1977 horror novel The Shining may have been their first fictional scare."An awful lot of the people who read The Shining were like 14 years old, they were at summer camp, they read it under the covers with a flashlight on," King tells NPR's David Greene.
Now we pause to pay tribute to one of the victims of the attack in Nairobi: Kofi Awoonor, who was born in Ghana in 1935. In a distinguished career that spanned politics, diplomacy and teaching, Awoonor is best-known as one of Africa's most accomplished poets.
Sea urchins are considered a culinary delicacy in many parts of the world, including Japan and the United States. The market for this "foie gras of the sea" is growing rapidly â€” so fast that supply can't keep up with demand.
But a scientist in Birmingham, Ala., says he's found a solution: He's built a sea urchin farm in his lab and has even developed a food for them to make them taste better. Now, he wants to take his tasty urchins out of his farm and into restaurants across the country.
Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 3:36 pm
So many great sandwiches have been named after great directors: the reuben, named for the great Ingmar Reuben, and the cheese sandwich, named for James Cameron. The Carnegie Deli in New York created the "Woody Allen," and our own Eleven City Diner here in Chicago copied it "oh so close." It's a double-decker corned beef and pastrami on rye.
Ian: Boy, the pastrami at this place is really good. And in such large portions!
Alfre Woodard has been a familiar face on television over the course of her three-decade career. She was up for an Emmy Award on Sunday for her role in the Lifetime remake of Steel Magnolias. She didn't win that one, but she still has on her mantle previous Emmys for programs like The Practice and L.A. Law. Woodard is also a powerful presence on the big screen, as evidenced by her Oscar nomination for the 1983 film Cross Creek and roles in acclaimed features like Primal Fear and Love & Basketball.
Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 8:26 am
Awards shows aren't easy. That's partly because they're fundamentally unsympathetic affairs in which rich pretty people give each other trophies, and partly because there are only a few real things on which they can be judged: the opening by the host, the montages and features, the speeches, the assorted intangibles and â€” oh, right â€” who wins.
By almost any of these measures, Sunday night's Emmy Awards were not only merely bad but really most sincerely bad, or at best (particularly in the case of winners) a bag that's very much mixed.
Jhumpa Lahiri's new book has been nominated for the National Book Award and shortlisted for the Man Booker prize. It's an ambitious undertaking, spanning decades and continents as the author tells the story of three generations of a family in Calcutta and Rhode Island.
The story opens with brothers Udayan and Subhash sneaking into an exclusive golf club near their home in Calcutta. Udayan, the younger brother, is bold and daring; Subhash tags along, timid but unwilling to let his brother take such a risk alone.
Earlier this month, Jhumpa Lahiri rejected the idea of immigrant fiction. "I don't know what to make of the term," she toldThe New York Times. "All American fiction could be classified as immigrant fiction."
Sure, Bob Newhart may have won his first Emmy for guest-starring as Professor Proton on the hugely popular show The Big Bang Theory, about four young scientists at Caltech. But behind the scenes is a real-life professor, David Saltzberg of UCLA.
Saltzberg studies high-energy particle physics and high-energy neutrino astronomy, using radio-detection techniques when he's not working as The Big Bang Theory's science consultant.
Every year, the trade magazine Drinks International puts out a list of the top-selling alcohols in the world, and in the category of spirits, there is one brand that more than doubles the sales of its closest competitor every year. Smirnoff, Jack Daniel's and Bacardi don't even come close.
When the comedy program Mr. Show with Bob and David came on the air in 1995, there was nothing like it. Created by comedians Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, it was full of dark, subversive and riotously funny sketches tied together with bizarre and brilliant segues reminiscent of Monty Python's Flying Circus.
In March of 1977, a 13-year-old aspiring actress scored what she thought would be her big break: a magazine photo shoot with a famous movie director. What happened that day made headlines around the world: Director Roman Polanski, then 43, gave Samantha Gailey a hefty helping of champagne and Quaaludes, then raped her.
Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.
Being a professional football player can be a brutal life. Nate Jackson spent six years in the NFL, mostly as a receiver with the Denver Broncos, and while he wasn't a star â€” or even a starter â€” he did carve out life in the rarefied air of professional sports, and he got just as banged up as any big-name player. But he learned to play through the pain.
On-air challenge:You will be given two words. Think of a third word that can follow each to complete a familiar two-word phrase. The third word will rhyme with one of the given words. For example, given "blame" and "board," you would say "game," as in "blame game" and "board game."
For a seminal work of art, Twentysix Gasoline Stations doesn't look like much. It's a small, thin paperback book resembling an old industrial manual â€” just 26 black-and-white photos of gas stations that Los Angeles artist Ed Ruscha self-published 50 years ago, when he was 26.
"If I showed the book to somebody who worked in a gas station, they might be genuinely interested in it, saying, 'Oh yeah, I remember that place out on the highway.' "
Wadjda, being touted as the first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia â€” a country with no movie theaters and a relationship with cinema that's complicated at best â€” tells the story of a defiant 10-year-old pushing back against the social expectations that define her life as a young Saudi woman.
Wadjda's source of independence comes in the form of a green bicycle she wants to buy for herself. But girls in Saudi Arabia don't ride bicycles, so she has to be creative.
It might seem like the only TV serious viewers are paying attention to right now is Breaking Bad, but on Sunday night, just as Walter White's penultimate episode is unfolding on AMC, we'll be finding out over on CBS whether his show, his portrayer Bryan Cranston, or other personnel will be taking home Primetime Emmy Awards.
From NPR West, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Arun Rath.
It's one of the monuments of American literature, Herman Melville's "Moby Dick." The Los Angeles library system posed a challenge to Twitter followers recently. Send us your best 140-character summary of the novel. Among the responses they received: Epic pale whale fail, Ishmael goes fishing with Ahab who has male fish issues and: We're going to need a bigger metaphor. Those three were submitted by comedian Patton Oswalt.
Our first show from NPR West in Southern California coincides with another grand occasion, the reopening of the iconic Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. It's been refurbished and reconfigured. And as NPR's Sam Sanders reports, it has a new name too.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell...
SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: Since 1927, stars have been parading down the red carpet and making their marks here.
The motion picture Blue Caprice seems to be about a boy who's been abandoned by his mother and aches for a father. He meets a man who can no longer see his own children, and who longs for a son. They find each other â€” but what follows is anything but a happy ending.
Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 2:16 pm
Koren Zailckas' latest book is the novel Mother, Mother.
The fourth grade blessed me with "the cool teacher." I've long since forgotten his name, but I haven't forgotten the sound of him tearing into the teacher's parking lot every day on his Harley Davidson. In memory, Mr. Cool towered over me at six-foot-something, his death-metal hair offset by a wiry goatee, his Air Jordans a bright counterpoint to his spider web tie.
From Norvelt to Nowhere is a book that begins in the shadow of nuclear annihilation, during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. The first few paragraphs also disclose that nine elderly women in the town of Norvelt are dead by poison.
There's a certain kind of joy in breaking the overnight fast by biting into a bagel: crackling crust, chewy center, smooth and silky cream cheese, sharp smoked salmon. For some, capers and onions join the ritual.
But just who invented this breakfast staple, which has become as American as apple pie?
Jeff Garlin is a Chicago-born comedian who became well-known playing Larry David's manager on Curb Your Enthusiasm. He's got a new sitcom on ABC called The Goldbergs and a new film, Dealin' with Idiots, which he wrote, directed and stars in.
When somebody enters a 12-step program to deal with addiction, it's meant to be an all-encompassing, life-changing process â€” and one we don't always hear about.
But in Stuart Blumberg's romantic comedy Thanks for Sharing, which hits theaters this weekend, the 12-step program is front and center. In this case it's for people struggling day to day with sex addiction, forging bonds with their fellow addicts and sponsors.
Nicole Holofcener's Enough Said is her most conventional comedy since her 1996 debut, Walking and Talking. I don't love it as much as her scattershot ensemble movies Friends With Money and Please Give, but it has enough weird dissonances and hilarious little curlicues to remind you her voice is like no other. I love it enough.