When Brando Skyhorse was 5 years old, his mother said she would take him to meet his father. They took a train from California to Illinois, where, at a prison, he met Paul Skyhorse Johnson, a Native American political activist who'd been incarcerated for armed robbery.
"He looked literally like the part of a stereotypical American Indian brave," Brando tells NPR's Arun Rath. "And I thought, 'Oh good God, this is my dad? This looks great!' "
Butlers in American pop culturetend to provide comic relief — think The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air or The Birdcage. Or, like Batman's Alfred, the butler is more of a friend than an employee.
But one show has brought back the classic butler, with a vengeance. Since the British period drama Downton Abbey made its debut on PBS in 2010, the demand for butlers in some parts of the world has surged.
On a sunny Wednesday in Provo, Utah, a long line of cars spits out about 300 new arrivals to the Missionary Training Center. The facility, known as MTC, is the largest language training school for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Every year, about 36,000 students come to the center before they leave on missions around the world to spread the Mormon faith.
A couple of years ago, film director and writer John Waters decided to hitchhike alone from his Baltimore home to his apartment in San Francisco — and see what happened. The so-called Pope of Trash — the man behind the films Pink Flamingos and Cry-Baby — managed to get many rides — 21 in all. He chronicles his cross-country adventure in a new book called Carsick.
You normally hear Los Angeles Times and Morning Edition film critic Kenneth Turan reviewing new movies, but this week, we're talking about old films with him instead. That's because he's written a new book called Not to Be Missed: Fifty-Four Favorites from a Lifetime of Film. In it, he offers up tidbits of Hollywood history and behind-the-scenes drama, as well as his critical analysis of some of the world's greatest movies — some familiar, some obscure.
The American rate of juvenile incarceration is seven times that of Great Britain, and 18 times that of France. It costs, on average, $88,000 a year to keep a youth locked up — far more than the U.S. spends on a child's education.
But the biggest problem with juvenile incarceration, author Nell Bernstein tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies, is that instead of helping troubled kids get their lives back on track, detention usually makes their problems worse, and sets them in the direction of more crime and self-destructive behavior.
Ammon Shea, author of Reading the OED, has just come out with a new book about words — words like "dilapidated," "balding" and "lunch." Shea says those words were once frowned upon, as were more than 200 other words he has compiled.
A year ago this week, The Guardian and The Washington Post first published stories that came out of revelations from NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
The leaks brought new focus onto U.S. intelligence agencies themselves — and how they keep their secrets safe. The same themes come up in a new spy thriller from author and veteran Post columnist David Ignatius.
In How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking, University of Wisconsin professor Jordan Ellenberg celebrates the virtues of mathematics, especially when they're taught well. He writes that a math teacher has to be a guide to good reasoning, and "a math course that fails do so is essentially teaching the student to be a very slow, buggy version of Microsoft Excel. And, let's be frank, that really is what many of our math courses are doing."
In May, multiple people were struck or even killed by stray bullets in cities across the country, including Sacramento, Calif., and Des Moines, Iowa. In Washington, D.C., a 6-year-old is recovering from getting shot on a playground.
Thursday, Betty Howard, a 58-year-old special education teacher, was talking with friends inside a real-estate office in Chicago's South Side when she was killed by a stray bullet.
After two decades recording and performing, Meshell Ndegeocello no longer has any illusions about the way music publicity works. "You need those generalizations to create a marketing scheme," the celebrated bassist and songwriter says, "and it's hard to make a generalization about me."
For all of the novels that have been penned about dramatic kidnappings and abductions, few tell of what life is like after a loved one's return. That's where Bret Anthony Johnston's book, Remember Me Like This, begins.
It follows the Campbell family in a small town in Texas as their son Justin is returned four years after his disappearance. Rather than focusing on the details of the abduction, Johnston tells the story of a family as they struggle to rebuild.
Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.
This week marks 25 years since the massacre at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. In 1989, Chinese security forces conducted a widespread crackdown on pro-democracy protesters that left hundreds — some say thousands — dead. But months before the standoff, protesters saw no sign of coming violence.
When Laura Silver's favorite knish shop in New York closed it doors, she started to investigate why it shut down. And that led to a years-long research project, she tells Weekend Edition's Rachel Martin.
Her book Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food explores the history of the baked delicacy filled with meat or vegetables and what it means to the people who love it.
In the new documentary Korengal, journalist and director Sebastian Junger again takes viewers into Afghanistan's Korengal Valley — once considered one of the military's most dangerous postings.
The film uses footage shot by Junger and the late photojournalist Tim Hetherington. Between 2007 and 2008, Junger and Hetherington spent 10 months with a platoon of about 30 men at an outpost called Restrepo.
As part of a series called "My Big Break,"All Things Consideredis collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.
In the late 1950s, when she was just 8 years old, Storm Reyes began picking fruit as a full-time farm laborer for less than $1 per hour. Storm and her family moved often, living in Native American migrant worker camps without electricity or running water.
With all that moving around, she wasn't allowed to have books growing up, Storm tells her son, Jeremy Hagquist, on a visit to StoryCorps in Tacoma, Wash.
"Books are heavy, and when you're moving a lot you have to keep things just as minimal as possible," she says.
Blue Note Records is the kind of record label that people like to call "storied" — so celebrated and impactful that no one narrative can capture its essence. From swing to bebop and hard bop, through fusion and the avant-garde, Blue Note has been telling the story of jazz in the grooves of its records since 1939 — and for its 75th anniversary, it's releasing remastered vinyl editions of some gems from its catalog. But the real legacy of the label is too big to capture on disc.
What happens when you tap into the nostalgia surrounding not one, but two, beloved television franchises? LeVar Burton is about to find out.
For 26 years host Burton encouraged kids to embark on reading adventures on the PBS show Reading Rainbow. After the show went off the air in 2009, Burton acquired the rights to the brand and its library.
In the world of cheese, much like in the world of wine, the ultimate mark of success is acceptance by the French. That's exactly what happened to Sue Conley and Peggy Smith, co-founders of Cowgirl Creamery in northern California.
In 2010, when they were inducted into the prestigious Guilde des Fromagers, they were among the first wave of American cheesemakers to join its ranks.
Cowgirl Creamery also put out its first cookbook in late 2013.
The misogynistic manifesto written by Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old who police say killed six people before taking his own life Friday, quickly led to an outpouring on Twitter under the hashtag #YesAllWomen. Women and men alike used the hashtag to share stories and statistics about harassment and sexual assault.
Many of the hit-making songwriters of the 1960s are remembered by name: Burt Bacharach, Carole King, Lennon-McCartney, Holland-Dozier-Holland. But the man who wrote (or co-wrote) classics like "Twist and Shout," "Piece of My Heart," "Hang on Sloopy," "I Want Candy" and "Here Comes the Night" remains unknown to all but the most ardent music fans.
In the world of fiction, World War II is well-trod territory. Author Anthony Doerr will freely admit that.
"There are so many books written about the war, supposedly if you drop them on Germany it would cover the whole country," he jokes. He even says that he worried about that as he was writing his new novel, All The Light We Cannot See.
Acclaimed writer Tom Robbins has a new book out, and it's as fantastical and philosophical as anything he's ever written — but this time he's made himself the main character. It's called Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life, and Robbins tells NPR's Rachel Martin that writing a memoir is like driving down a once-familiar road, "but there are potholes in it now, and some fast-food franchises sprung up along the way, and there's occasionally a blind curve that you might not remember. But it's still familiar," he says.
The Cannes Film Festival awarded of its highest prize, the Palme d'Or, to the Turkish film Winter Sleep on Saturday. Twenty years ago, Pulp Fiction took that same award and triggered writer-director Quentin Tarantino's ascent to the A-list.
The movie introduced the world to a number of now-legendary characters, including a very mysterious one: the Gimp.
Remember your childhood? Seriously, do you really remember, way back to when you were tiny? And if you do, what are those memories shaped by? Chances are, they're influenced not just by what you truly remember, but by old photos and family stories.
And those family photos are often a starting point for a narrative we're either told by older family members or that we construct in our minds. (We've been exploring some of these ideas in our series Photography and Memory.)