Is there room for another book about America's favorite pastime? Lucas Mann's Class A earns a position in a lineup that already includes Bang the Drum Slowly, The Natural, The Boys of Summer, Moneyball and The Art of Fielding because, remarkably, it offers a fresh, unexpected angle on this well-trodden game.
Parvati and Saleem (Shriya Saran and Satya Bhabha), born in tandem at the birth of independent India, are at the center of Salman Rushdie's novel <em>Midnight's Children. </em>Thirty years after the book's publication,<em> </em>filmmaker Deepa Mehta has committed the story to the big screen.
Credit 108 Media
Mehta and Rushdie, both Indian-born expatriate artists acclaimed in their disciplines, share an appetite for lyrical, vividly colorful storytelling.
In the 1970s, Salman Rushdie was an unknown writer living in London. He decided to return to the country of his birth and rough it across India on what he describes as "extraordinarily long 15-hour bus rides with chickens vomiting on our feet."
That trip inspired Midnight's Children, the Booker Prize-winning novel that many consider Rushdie's literary masterpiece. Now, more than 30 years after it was published, Midnight's Children arrives on the big screen in a glittering film adaptation from Oscar-nominated director Deepa Mehta.
Mother's Day is this Sunday. While some people are racking their brains to think of the perfect way to show their love and appreciation for Mom, a group of distinguished women recently flipped that script and wrote about the most profound gift their own moms gave to them. Their essays are collected in the new book What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-One Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most.
Note: It is 100 percent true and 51 percent relevant that this entire story was written inside my brain while I was in the dentist's chair under the influence of anesthesia. I began to think, "Jeff Probst [the host of Survivor] will not be happy until he is more important than tribal council. Until he is king of CBS. Until he is President of the United States. President Jeff Probst." So the entire thing is numbness-induced in so many ways. Make of that what you will.
President Jeff Probst's State Of The Union Address, delivered Feb. 2 [xxx]
A photo taken by the Nazis during World War II shows a room filled with stolen art at the Jeu de Paume museum in Paris. Using improved technology and the Internet, the French government is making a renewed push to track down the rightful owners of art looted by the Nazis.
Credit Courtesy of Archives des Musees Nationaux A Paris
American Thomas Selldorff and Austrian art historian Sophie Lillie, who helped him identify the paintings, pose for the media during a ceremony at the Culture Ministry in Paris on March 19 to return paintings taken from their Jewish owners during World War II. Selldorff, 82, was a young boy when the Nazis took the paintings from his grandfather.
During World War II, the Nazis plundered tens of thousands of works of art from the private collections of European Jews, many living in France. About 75 percent of the artwork that came back to France from Germany at the end of the war has been returned to their rightful owners.
But there are still approximately 2,000 art objects that remain unclaimed. The French government has now begun one of its most extensive efforts ever to find the heirs and return the art.
My mother didn't plant a great many spring bulbs. But over by the pachysandra patch, there was a single lovely pink tulip, and I kept my eye on it for two weeks before Mother's Day. When that Sunday morning arrived, I rushed out, snipped it and ran inside to where she lay sleeping to present it to her. "Did you pick that outside?" she inquired, her expression shifting from sleepy surprise to something more complicated. I nodded proudly. "Oh ... thank you, sweetie."
Matt Kindt is a storyteller so fully in control of his gifts that his graphic novels — 3 Story, Revolver and others — read like quietly compelling arguments for the comics medium's narrative potential.
Many high school seniors who are heading to college this fall have just paid their tuition deposits — the first real taste of what the college experience is going to cost them. These students are heading to school at a time that some consider a transformative moment for American colleges and universities. Costs are skyrocketing, and there are some real questions about what value college students are getting for their money.
A reluctant widower (Pierce Brosnan) finds himself drawn to the mother (Trine Dyrholm) of the young woman who's marrying his son in <em>Love Is All You Need, </em>a romantic comedy from Oscar-winning director Susanne Bier.
Credit Sony Pictures Classics
Brosnan's James Bond negotiates a high-speed hovercraft chase in <em>Die Another Day,</em> one of the three 007 films under the actor's belt.
Pierce Brosnan's career fits neatly into two chapters — before he played James Bond, and after.
Before, the Irish actor traded on his looks, charm and style; think Remington Steele, the arch detective show that introduced him to U.S. TV audiences in 1982. Three-piece suits never looked so good.
After he traded in Bond's dinner jacket, though, Brosnan took a left turn. He played a sad-sack hitman in The Matador, a soldier in the brutal Western Seraphim Falls. And he sang, infamously, in Mamma Mia.
When she's discovered to be a multiracial woman "passing" as white, the Cotton Blossom's star performer, Julie (Alyson Cambridge), is forced to leave the company.
Credit Scott Suchman / Washington National Opera
Joe (Morris Robinson) is the dockworker role written for the legendary bass-baritone Paul Robeson; his song "Ol' Man River" is one of the American musical theater's most enduring creations.
Credit Scott Suchman / Washington National Opera
Crowded with a cast of 100 and awash in circus-bright colors, the Washington National Opera's <em>Show Boat </em>revival is a vivid reminder that the classic is first and foremost entertainment — despite its darker themes.
It's been more than eight decades since Show Boat -- the seminal masterpiece of the American musical theater — premiered on a stage in Washington, D.C. Now the sprawling classic is back, in a lush production put on by the Washington National Opera.
Patricia Volk's mother was beautiful in a way that stopped people on the street. Strangers compared her to Lana Turner and Grace Kelly. She was stylish and vain: Her beauty and its preservation mattered to her. "She had an icy blond beauty, an imperious kind of beauty," Volk tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
Monday night was the big night for unusual dresses (you may remember a previous post about Madonna's bunny ears): the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, known as the "Met Ball." It had a loose punk theme (because the costume exhibit it's celebrating is punk-centric), but everyone got up to quite a bit of her own thing.
Animated as ever when it comes to the topic of film, director Martin Scorsese delivers the 2013 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities at the Kennedy Center on April 1.
Credit NIcholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images
<em>The Magic Box</em> (1951) made a lasting impression on Martin Scorsese when he first saw it in 1952. He says this is the film that made him think he could be a filmmaker. "The thing about that film was not just the moving image, but it was the obsession and the passion of the people at that time."
Credit Studiocanal Films Ltd.
In 1878, landscape photographer Eadweard Muybridge set up a series of still cameras side by side at a racetrack, rigging them to be triggered by threads stretched across the course as the horse passed. Considered an intermediate stage in cinematography, Muybridge's photographic experiment captured the kinetic movement of a horse at full gallop.
Credit Eadweard Muybridge / Public Domain
D.W. Griffith's <em>The Musketeers of Pig Alley</em> (1912) is thought to be the first gangster film.
Credit Public Domain
Edwin S. Porter's<strong> </strong><em>The Great Train Robbery</em> (1903) is a 12-minute film that employs one of the first known uses of the cinematic "cut."
Martin Scorsese is a legend of a director — and he's also a great film teacher, a man who balances a passion for the medium with a deep knowledge of its history. Delivering this year's installment of the National Endowment for the Humanities' prestigious Jefferson Lecture — a talk he titled "Persistence of Vision: Reading the Language of Cinema" — Scorsese demonstrated his speaking chops as well.
Let me tell you a quick story from NPR's move from our old headquarters to our new one.
When I was emptying out my old desk and workspace, in addition to all the shoes under my desk and an alarming number of vessels designed to keep coffee warm, I had quite a lot of books lying around. Some were upcoming books, most were old books, and a few were books I neither had any use for nor could bear to get rid of. One of the tests I applied was that if I picked up a book and the first page I opened to made me laugh, it survived.
The words "grossed out" evoke enough of a watery 1980s vibe that they need to be saved for the times when they really apply: movie scenes where somebody sticks something in somebody else's eye, sewage spills, and so forth.
It's generally understood that something about MTV was revolutionary. Perhaps it was the music video, perhaps it was the short attention span, perhaps it was The Real World, but something about MTV had enough cultural permanency that it made for a fine oral history from Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum, called I Want My MTV, in late 2011.
There are many things to savor about Elanor Dymott's debut suspense novel, Every Contact Leaves a Trace -- among them, its baroque narrative structure and its clever manipulation of the stock, husband-who-hasn't-got-a-clue character. But Dymott really won me over when she pulled Robert Browning out of her crime kit. Nobody reads Robert Browning anymore, do they? As far as I can tell, high schools have thrown in the towel when it comes to teaching Victorian poetry; dissertations on Browning's dramatic monologues have all but dried up.
A celebrated 19th century landscape painting by Thomas Cole is at the center of a 21st century fight: The Seward House Historic Museum in upstate New York wants to sell a painting that belonged to former Secretary of State William Seward, but on Tuesday Seward's great-great-grandson will be in court to try to block the sale.
Nicolo Zen, director of Traditional Boat Museum of Venice, launched a crowd funding project to save one of the last <em>traghetto</em> gondolas — everyday boats used by the city's locals.
Credit Christopher Livesay
Gondolas have long played a part in the Venetian tourist experience. But as tourism has grown and the local population has declined, everyday gondolas called <em>traghetti </em>have all but disappeared. Above, a group of tourists poses on a canal, circa 1900.
Even if you haven't been to Venice, you're probably familiar with the city's famous tourist gondolas: With baroque silver ornaments, shiny black lacquer, and sumptuous red seat cushions, they're unabashedly fancy, not to mention ubiquitous. A ride with a gondolier costs at least 80 euros (about $105), rain or shine (and it's 110 — $144 — more to be serenaded).
How do you write an absorbing novel about unspeakable things? It's always a tricky business, and an editor I know once described the dilemma this way: "A reader needs to want to go there." What "there" means is the self-contained world of the book. And what would make a reader want to go deeply into a world of hopelessness and seemingly perpetual war, a world of torture and intimidation and exploding land mines? There are many answers. One of the most obvious, of course, is the language.
It's strange to find a Fried Peanut Butter and Banana sandwich, famous as Elvis Presley's favorite, on a restaurant menu, given its effect on Elvis. It's like finding a store selling an Isadora Duncan commemorative scarf.
Nonetheless, freelance radio producer Melissa LaCasse and I decided to try the one offered by The Breslin in New York, listed as "fried peanut butter & banana sandwich with bourbon & vanilla."
From a young age, Laura Linney knew what she wanted to do with her life: act. There was no question.
She was a drama nerd in high school, and went onto Juilliard to study theater. But film acting was never the dream, and movie stardom definitely wasn't the goal.
"I was always completely intimidated by film," she tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "I was not the sort of person who grew up thinking, 'Oh, I want to be in the movies.' I loved movies; I just didn't think I particularly belonged there."
Gail Godwin says one of the inspirations for her new novel, called Flora, is Henry James' ghost story The Turn of the Screw. Both stories take place in isolated old houses, and both revolve around mental contests between a governess character and her young charge. There are ghosts in Flora, too: specters that arise out of what our narrator calls her "remorse." Godwin had me at that word, "remorse": It's such a great, old-fashioned word, and it suggests that there'll be a lot of awful things going on in this novel that will need to be atoned for.