The countercultural revolution of the 1960s may have been all about sex drugs and rock 'n' roll, but for one young Texas singer it was all about the blues. No one sang the blues quite like Janis Joplin.
Joplin was part of a legendary line-up of musicians at Woodstock in 1969: Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Joan Baez. She wasn't on the music scene long, though. Joplin died in 1970 of a drug overdose. She was only 27 years old, but in that short time her bluesy rasp helped define the music of a generation.
Filmmaker Ross McElwee is a one-man crew: soundman, cameraman, narrator. He reached a wide audience with his sweet documentary Sherman's March, which chronicled his journey through the South searching for love. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 1987. He's made five documentary features since then.
McElwee's latest film is Photographic Memory — and it presents a different side of the director.
Early in Photographic Memory, we see McElwee in a small town in Brittany, France, in a state of digital disorientation.
On-air challenge: You will be given two words. Change one letter in each of them to make two new words that name things that are in the same category. (Hint: In each pair, the letter that you change to — that is, the new letter — is the same in each pair.) For example, given the words "poked" and "tummy," the answer would be "poker" and "rummy."
Round 9 of Three-Minute Fiction is in full swing. Readers from all over the country have made their selections, and now judge Brad Meltzer is close to making his decision. Meltzer is best-selling author of The Tenth Justice and The Inner Circle. He tells host Guy Raz about his favorite stories in Three-Minute Fiction so far. You can read the stories at www.npr.org/threeminutefiction.
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 1:10 pm
What is the point of the best-seller list? Depends who you are. If you're a reader, it's a guide to what's popular — what's new, what your neighbors are buying, and what you might like to read next. If you're a publisher, it's a source of feedback and a sales tool: It tells you how your books compete, and gives you triumphs to crow about on paperback covers.
There was a huge art heist this week. Paintings by Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso, Monet and other artists were stolen from an exhibition hall in Rotterdam. Picasso's "Harlequin Head" and Monet's "Waterloo Bridge" were among the purloined works. And their loss is estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars.
Sidney Rittenberg went to China as an American GI at the end of World War II and fell in love with the country. He was discharged as a Chinese translator for the U.S. Army, but decided to stay there.
By the time Rittenberg came back to the United States, more than 30 years later, he had become one of only a few American citizens to join the Chinese Communist Party. He translated English for Chairman Mao Zedong, told off Madame Mao during the Cultural Revolution, and endured 16 years of solitary confinement in Chinese prisons.
In January 2007, Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California was sworn in as the speaker of the House of Representatives — and became the first woman to hold that position. She is currently the House minority leader.
We've invited Pelosi to play a game about men breaking gender barriers — three questions about men who've gone where no man has gone before.
Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 11:03 am
The practice of imparting the flavor of something heavy into a lighter liquid is centuries old. Ancient Indian healers did it with botanicals; early Christian monks did it with bitters. But the process is getting new attention as part of the craze to put all things food into all things drink.
Kellie Martin and Ethan Erickson in I Married Who?
Credit Steffan Hill / Hallmark Channel
Adrian Pasdar and Amy Huberman in Chasing Leprechauns.
Credit Alexx Henry Studios / Hallmark Channel
Wisecracking Friend, Rough-Edged Dude, Helping Moppet, Straitlaced Lady, Wisecracking Friend in A Taste Of Romance. (Technically Rockmond Dunbar, James Patrick Stuart, Bailee Madison, Teri Polo and Romy Rosemont.
Credit Alexx Henry / Hallmark Channel
Bradley Snedeker is the actual name of this actor in I Married Who? He plays Kellie Martin's fiance. He is getting The Pullman, and you can tell from this photo. (See how he's on his phone all the time?)
This week, we're visited by the marvelous Barrie Hardymon for a show about the nature of suspense — brought on by Stephen's and my enthusiasm for the new Ben Affleck film Argo -- and about cover songs. We play a lot of music, including covers we love and the raw materials to put together covers that don't exist except in our dreams.
In 1983, Berkeley poet and journalist Mark O'Brien wrote an article about sexual surrogates — women and men trained to help people with disabilities learn to use their bodies to give themselves and others erotic pleasure.
For O'Brien, the subject wasn't academic. After a bout of childhood polio, he had spent much of his life in an iron lung. He could talk, and tap out words on a typewriter holding a stick in his mouth. He could feel things below the neck. But he couldn't move his muscles.
I have no particular wisdom about this photo; I just think it's interesting to see that the Rockettes are never not regimented. I thought maybe you'd be allowed to wear your own dance clothes, but it makes sense that they'd want to see the effect of everyone looking the same, even in practice. These women work hard.
Like the characters in this year's indie feel-good The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel — British pensioners who decide to spend their autumn years living communally and on the cheap in India — the French seniors of the charming yet melancholy All Together face aging in a time of banking crises and austerity measures.
Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 6:50 am
October is normally a time for watching movies through your fingers, knowing something grim is about to happen. Ry Russo-Young's new film, Nobody Walks, is no exception — except that at a horror movie, you're guarding against images that are sure to be terrifying. In this intimate, quietly compelling indie drama, they're mortifying.
With its frisky camerawork, eclectic scenario and playful stylization, the Chinese period action romp Tai Chi Zero is an impressive package. That there's not much inside the glittery wrapping is just a minor drawback.
Originally published on Thu October 18, 2012 3:25 pm
It's tempting to call Denis Cote's Bestiaire "contemplative." Its unscored 72 minutes of footage — of animals, caretakers and patrons at Quebec's Parc Safari — certainly leave a lot of room for thought.
The road to hell is paved not just with good intentions, but with movies that attempt to capture the way women really talk. Bodacious confessions about illicit nights spent in all manner of threesomes; loud coffee-shop discussions about yeast infections; repeated fretting about that possible Mr. Right who, for some reason, just hasn't gotten around to calling — all of these things figure heavily in the generally preposterous girl talk that makes up That's What She Said. Elvis Costello sure had it right: There are some things you can't cover up with lipstick and powder.
His public words have inspired millions, but for scholars, his private words and deeds generate confusion, discomfort, apologetic excuses. When the young Thomas Jefferson wrote, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal," there's compelling evidence to indicate that he indeed meant all men, not just white guys.
As soon as Sherry Turkle arrived at the studio for her Fresh Air interview, she realized she'd forgotten her phone. "I realized I'd left it behind, and I felt a moment of Oh my god ... and I felt it kind of in the pit of my stomach," she tells Terry Gross. That feeling of emotional dependence on digital devices is the focus of Turkle's research. Her book, Alone Together, explores how new technology is changing the way we communicate with one another.