Wallace Daniel Pennington grew up singing. His father played guitar and his mother played piano, and by the age of 9, the young man had a guitar of his own. The family attended church on Sunday and Wednesday each week, and to this day, Dan Penn says he remembers the entire Methodist congregation belting out hymns.
Ozwald Boateng was the youngest and first black tailor to have a shop on London's prestigious Savile Row, a street renowned for its fine tailoring, where the world's royalty come for their attire.
Boateng also dresses athletic and Hollywood royalty. Actor Laurence Fishburne once said, "When you wear an Ozwald Boateng suit, you become a statesman of cool." Boateng is also a statesman for something else: the future development of Africa.
He joined Tell Me More host Michel Martin to talk about style and diplomacy.
Today, the state of Florida doesn't see much in the way of revolution. The current governor is deeply unpopular, it's true, but the people of the Sunshine State are still pretty far from armed rebellion. This was not always the case. Many years before the West was won and the Monroe Doctrine proclaimed America's shores inviolable, western Florida was an international battleground where newly independent Americans fought with Spanish and French imperialists for control of valuable New World real estate.
In the late 1950s, after the Soviet Union successfully put their satellite, Sputnik 1, into orbit, American fears over the Communist threat reached a new height. The U.S. was trailing badly in a competition that would come to define the next decade – the race to space.
So on April 9, 1959, the U.S. kicked off its own space age by introducing the country to its first astronauts, known as the Mercury Seven. Their story is well known, but the story of their wives is often overlooked.
Walk into any bookstore or library, and you'll find shelves and shelves of hugely popular novels and book series for kids. But research shows that as young readers get older, they are not moving to more complex books. High-schoolers are reading books written for younger kids, and teachers aren't assigning difficult classics as much as they once did.
Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 11:40 am
I have vivid memories of my mom going out of town one weekend and my dad feeding me fried bologna sandwiches for three nights in a row. He didn't make the sandwiches because I liked them; he made them because he can't cook. He can't get around a kitchen. He doesn't know how to chop an onion. He has no idea how to roast a chicken. But the man can grill.
The novelist Tao Lin, because he is young, narcissistic and computer literate, gets the "voice of Generation Y" treatment a lot. It's a safe way of pinning down the uncontainable paradox that is Tao Lin: On the one hand, he's meek, cripplingly shy and unusually talented. But on the other, he can be remarkably alienating.
I'm surrounded here at NPR Books by people with sophisticated, grown-up tastes — happy to dive into the latest Claire Messud or Daniel Alarcon or James Salter. Meanwhile, give me — any day — a book about teenagers (and preferably dragons). A good YA novel is a polished gem of solid storytelling, but more than that, it draws us back in time to the teenagers we once were — or never were, or wanted desperately to be.
There have been several incidents, even fights, during recent New York theater performances. An argument over a woman nosily unwrapping her Twizzlers, a man throwing a Web-browsing woman's cell phone across the theater. What is going on? Are audiences less well mannered today?
We sent NPR's Margot Adler to find out.
MARGOT ADLER, BYLINE: I'm standing around the TKTS line on Broadway, where tourists and New Yorkers line up for lower priced tickets. Are audiences increasingly boorish?
Longtime readers know that one of my favorite pop-culture blogs ever invented is Smart Bitches Trashy Books, which offers a home for romance readers (who are legion) to both love their books and laugh at their books.
Summer means wedding season, and for many couples, photographing the groom lifting the bride, or the bride looking off wistfully into the distance is an essential. But what if the happy couple is a bride and a bride, or a groom and a groom?
No, you aren't imagining it: There is indeed less leg room on some airplanes than there used to be.
"Back in the old days, probably 20 years ago, the tendency was to have about 34 inches," says Mark Gerchick, a former chief counsel for the Federal Aviation Administration. "Now the standard is about 31 inches in the United States. ... Some of the low-cost airlines have tightened that up to about 28 inches, which is now approaching the limits of anatomical possibility."
If you've ever looked through a wedding album, you've seen photos of the groom removing his bride's garter or dipping her on the dance floor. But those poses could be awkward or even offensive for same-sex couples. A new book Capturing Love could help avoid problems. Host Michel Martin learns tips from co-authors Kathryn Hamm and Thea Dodds.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Here in the U.S., June is known as gay and lesbian pride month, recognizing the contributions and concerns of LGBT people in this country. Later, we'll talk with two people on the cutting edge of what's become one of the markers of LGBT progress. They are the authors of a new book about how to photograph same-sex weddings. There are some interesting similarities and differences that might surprise you.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. R&B singer Chrisette Michele burst on to the scene in 2007 with her first album, "I Am." Her melodic and unique voice caught a lot of ears and earned her a Grammy for the single, "Be Okay."
Unless you've seen every awards show since the dawn of time (which would make you The Unluckiest Person In The World), you can't really answer the question of whether last night's opener of the Tony Awards, hosted for the fourth time by Neil Patrick Harris, was the best opening ever.
"You've got spunk," Lou Grant says to Mary Richards on the very first episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. And then he adds, famously, "I hate spunk." The year is 1970, the same year in which Jeannette Walls set her new novel, The Silver Star. In the book, someone tells the 12-year-old narrator, Bean Holladay, that she's got spunk too. Maybe it's no coincidence. 1970, after all, was situated squarely in the middle of second-wave feminism. It was an era when women and girls were asserting themselves and finding their voices, which weren't always met with approval.
My summer reading preferences are so particular they have, at times, stopped me from reading at all. I need a romance for a train trip — for obvious reasons. When it's hot, I prefer something with no climate congruence at all; I've never enjoyed Anna Karenina so much as I did on the beach (that romance is a train exception — er ... for obvious reasons). When I'm on a plane trip, I like a passel of good young-adult novels, filled with cliffhangers, reversals and quick emotion. It's a mood makeover in flight.
If you walked into New York's Morgen's Restaurant in the 1950s, you'd be greeted at the door by a perfectly dressed and powdered blonde who'd smilingly show you to your table and hand over a menu. That hostess, Audrey Elaine Morgen Volk, is at the center of her daughter Patricia Volk's new memoir, Shocked: My Mother, Schiaparelli, And Me. In it, Volk describes how two vivid women helped her move into adulthood: One was the iconoclastic Italian fashion designer Elsa Luisa Maria Schiaparelli; the other was her mother, a loving, difficult and icy stunner.
At the Reborn Convention at the Creektown Holiday Inn, the women mill and mingle, fawn over mohair follicles, blue-blotched underpainting, voice-boxes uploaded with found sound. Distant crying. Summer afternoon nap meltdowns.
I'm the only man, and I sense their suspicion. I feel lost. I eat a tasteless finger sandwich. I touch a doll with the back of my hand. A pamphlet explains: Real Baby Heater Systems.
The search is over for the winner of Round 11 of Three-Minute Fiction, the contest where listeners submit original short stories that can be read in about three minutes.
We received help this round from graduate students at 16 different writing programs across the country. They poured through thousands of submissions and passed the best of the best along to our judge this round, novelist Karen Russell.
Here was your challenge for this round: A character finds something he or she has no intention of returning.
Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 10:03 am
This spring, more than in any recent year, the 2012-2013 Broadway season accelerated toward its conclusion: Nineteen productions opened between the beginning of March and April 25, the cut-off date for Tony eligibility. And many of those shows raised their curtains in the final two weeks of the season.
There was considerable mouth-dropping from publications such as The New York Times at initial reports this week that NSA programs are gathering both telephone records and information gleaned from large tech companies like Google and Microsoft. But as those reports have settled in, reactions have gotten more complex.