When Jason Isbell was part of Drive-By Truckers, his guitar contributed to the band's sometimes magnificent squall of noise, while his songwriting contributed to the eloquence that raised the band high in the Southern rock pantheon. But the group was led by two other first-rate songwriters, Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley.
On today's Here & Now from WBUR, I talked to host Robin Young about the weird situation of summer blockbusters — which can easily go the way of Iron Man 3 (hit!) or the way of After Earth (non-hit!) and it's not always easy to tell what you're going to get until it happens.
The highly anticipated animated films Monsters University, Despicable Me 2 and Turbo hit theaters this summer. From cel technology to full-length, computer-animated, celebrity-studded movies, animation has come a long way.
Transportation alternatives are so hot right now, but house musician Jonathan Coulton has got a few innovations of his own. In this game, he's singing popular songs about travel--although he's replaced the method of transportation in the song with a different, more whimsical, type of vehicle. Can you name the original?
Have you ever met a baker whose last name was Baker, or a blacksmith whose last name is Smith? Then you might be familiar with the term "aptronym," a word that refers to a person's name that happens to suit her job or characteristics. In this game, host Ophira Eisenberg asks contestants about people both real and fictional whose last names are aptly suited to their professions.
Later, house musician Jonathan Coulton covers "Poisoning Pigeons In The Park," a seasonal favorite by Tom Lehrer.
Very Important Puzzler Lizz Winstead is a huge fan of the "portmanteau," a word formed by combining two other words, such as "smog" being a combination of "smoke" and "fog." But the ones Lizz makes up are much funnier. In this game, Lizz joins host Ophira Eisenberg to prompt contestants to make their own portmanteaus by combining a famous person's name with a food item.
In this game, host Ophira Eisenberg changes the titles of some well-known movies by exactly one letter, and reworks their plots to suit. For example, Star Wars becomes Star Bars when the plot is changed thusly: A long time ago, Luke and Obi-Wan walked into Mos Eisley and went on the greatest pub crawl in the galaxy.
For readers in search of tales that step outside familiar viewpoints, there is an abundance of fiction by women unraveling the big themes of conflict, religion, race and love — from new and different angles. The five novels I'm recommending offer up-close-and-personal engagement with characters who are often at odds with their communities or whose lives are so far on the periphery that we can be sure history books would pass them by. They make far-flung places and faraway lives feel immediate.
Food porn and rip-roaring pirate adventure are two great tastes that taste great together in Eli Brown's rollicking Cinnamon and Gunpowder. Owen Wedgwood is the brilliant but rather prissy chef to shipping magnate Lord Ramsey — until privateer captain "Mad Hannah" Mabbot shoots Ramsey at point-blank range and takes Wedgwood prisoner, charging him to earn his keep by preparing her one magnificent dinner a week, using only the ingredients he can find on her ship, the Flying Rose.
If you've ever wondered how to say "May the Force be with you" in Navajo, you're in luck. On July 3, a new translation of Star Wars will be unveiled on the Navajo Nation reservation in Arizona. The 1977 classic has been translated into many languages, and the latest effort is the brainchild of Manuelito Wheeler, director of the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Ariz.
The Bluth family of the cult show Arrested Development can be oblivious, mean — to each other and anyone who enters their orbit — and eccentric. But that, says show creator Mitch Hurwitz, is in some ways the point.
"The goal with the show has always been that the Bluths are wrong," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "[They're] self-centered. They haven't had to develop. [Their] money allowed them to stop developing."
I have substantial affection for both Hollywood Reporter TV critic Tim Goodman and the Fox executive who tweets as "Masked Scheduler." They're both amusing, resolute grumps at times, but great fun to follow on Twitter. So you can imagine how uncomfortable it was to see them have a testy exchange about the new episodes of Arrested Development (which, remember, was on Fox and is now not). Tim liked them, and was reacting to early criticism of the first couple of episodes.
On the heels of Liz & Dick, Lifetime's campy take on the love story of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton that starred none other than Lindsay Lohan, BBC America will be delivering another made-for-TV version this fall. Because they couldn't call it Liz & Dick, this one is called ... Burton And Taylor. (Innovation!)
This one stars Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter, and the first photo was released yesterday.
Anton DiSclafani's debut novel, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, is a painstakingly constructed ode to a young girl's sexual awakening — just ladylike enough to be more bodice unbuttoner than bodice ripper. Like Rumer Godden's classic 1958 novel, The Greengage Summer, this is perhaps one of the classier books a young teen would hide under her covers to read with a flashlight. It features a 15-year-old narrator, Theodora "Thea" Atwell, whose family banishes her to a North Carolina equestrian boarding school in 1930. There's been a scandal.
My husband's cousin, Milind, stops the car alongside Mumbai's famous Chowpatty Beach, and I think it's because we're going to take in the scene: the cavorting clowns, the camels, the balloon sellers, the people thronging the sand as though it's noon instead of midnight. I begin walking toward the beach, but Milind pulls me in the other direction. Toward the New Kulfi Center.
"Milind, please," I moan. The ice cream stand is just the latest stop on an hours-long eating odyssey that took us from street food to a juice shop to grilled cheese.
About five years ago, Colum McCann stumbled upon a small piece of history he had never known: In 1845, Frederick Douglass, then an escaped slave who was already famous for his anti-slavery writings and speeches, visited Ireland to raise money and support for his cause. McCann says he knew almost immediately that he wanted to turn this historical fact into fiction: "This intersection between history and fiction, between what is real and what is not real, fascinates me," he says.
When Mitch Hurwitz and his collaborators began making the Fox sitcom Arrested Development 10 years ago, it was loaded with jokes — in-jokes, recurring jokes and just plain bizarre jokes — that rewarded viewers who watched more than once. But even though it won the Emmy for best comedy series one year, not enough viewers bothered to watch it even once, so the show was canceled in 2006 after three seasons. And that would have been it, except for a loyal cult following that built up once the show was released on DVD and the Internet.
Sixty years on, this retro dish is still a favorite with Her Majesty.
Cheers For The Queen ... And The Chicken: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, greet supporters from the balcony at Buckingham Palace, following her coronation, June 2, 1953.
If you want to eat like a queen, maybe it's time to break out the cold chicken, curry and cream sauce.
Queen Elizabeth II celebrated the 60th anniversary of her coronation in a ceremony Tuesday at Westminster Abbey. But the event also marks the anniversary of a dish as resilient as the British monarch herself: Coronation Chicken.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We want to continue the conversation we just started about the new poll, African-American Lives Today. It is a survey conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which is one of NPR's funders, and the Harvard School of Public Health. For a closer look at the survey itself, you can check it out on the Code Switch page of NPR.org. And we shared the poll with some guests on the program who've been thinking about or writing about a lot of the issues touched on by the poll.