Arts & Culture

Songs We Love
12:01 am
Wed March 7, 2012

Songs We Love: Disney Songwriters The Sherman Brothers

Robert Sherman (left) and his brother Richard in a documentary of their life and songs, The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story.
Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 2:35 pm

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The Salt
2:56 am
Tue March 6, 2012

Most Of Us Just Can't Taste The Nuances In High-Priced Wines

Research suggests that most of us don't or can't taste the subtleties of fine wines.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 3:18 pm

Have you ever splurged on a highly rated bottle of Burgundy or pinot noir, only to wonder whether a $10 or $15 bottle of red would have been just as good? The answer may depend on your biology.

A new study by researchers at Penn State and Brock University in Canada finds that when it comes to appreciating the subtleties of wine, experts can taste things many of us can't. "What we found is that the fundamental taste ability of an expert is different," says John Hayes of Penn State.

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Music Interviews
12:01 am
Tue March 6, 2012

K'Naan: A Song 'More Beautiful Than Silence'

K'Naan's new EP, More Beautiful Than Silence, was released Jan. 31.
Courtesy of the artist

The last time Morning Edition spoke with K'naan, he had just gone back to his native Somalia for the first time in 20 years to highlight the effects of the famine there.

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Music Reviews
3:54 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Bruce Springsteen's Hard-Bitten Pop Optimism

Bruce Springsteen's 17th album, Wrecking Ball, has a little taste of almost every style he's ever played, including classic E Street rock 'n' roll.
Danny Clinch

Originally published on Mon March 5, 2012 6:02 pm

Ever since The Rising in 2002 — and arguably since 1984's Born in the U.S.A.Bruce Springsteen releases have functioned as State of the Union addresses as much as pop LPs. Wrecking Ball does, too, beginning with its Occupy-era lead single "We Take Care of Our Own," an anthemic bit of wishful thinking which, like "Born in the U.S.A.," seems easy to misinterpret by 180 degrees if you don't pay attention to the verses between the chorus.

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Books News & Features
3:35 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

The Unlikely Best-Seller: 'A Wrinkle In Time' Turns 50

Originally published on Mon March 5, 2012 5:40 pm

Imagine, for a moment, that you're a publisher hearing a pitch about a children's book whose tangled plot braids together quantum physics, fractions and megaparsecs (a measure for distances in intergalactic space). The book also casually tosses out phrases in French, Italian, German and ancient Greek. Sound like the next kids' best-seller to you?

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Pop Culture
12:01 am
Mon March 5, 2012

Zumba Is A Hit, But Is It Latin?

Zumba dance classes are all the rage, but some critics say the fitness craze shouldn't be considered Latin dance.
Christopher Futcher iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 10:51 am

Zumba isn't just a fitness craze; it's an international business with more than 12 million enthusiasts in its classes. You can buy Zumba CDs, a Zumba video game and Zumba clothes. For many students — who show up in spandex to body-roll, fist-pump and booty-shake — it's their first taste of Latin music and dance steps. Now, some Latin dancers are trying to make more of a distinction between their art — and what happens in a Zumba class.

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Author Interviews
4:43 pm
Sun March 4, 2012

They're Nobody And Want To Know Everything

Two mysterious men pull up to the courthouse and head to the public records office. They're strangers, and they ask a lot of strange questions like, "I'd like to look at Mayor John Doe's property deeds." Or, "I want to see Congressman Smith's voting records."

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Around the Nation
4:10 pm
Sun March 4, 2012

(Sock) Monkey Business: A Festival For Iconic Toy

Sock Monkeys at the 8th annual Sock Monkey Madness Festival in Rockford, Ill.
Jenna Dooley WNIJ

Adele Jedynak makes monkey sounds to a group of kids who are steps away from playing Sock Monkey bowling and plush-primate parachuting. It's all part of the Sock Monkey Madness Festival, the eighth annual festival dedicated to the sock monkey in Rockford, Ill.

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Science
4:08 pm
Sun March 4, 2012

Meteorite Hunter Scours The Ground For Bits Of Sky

One of Ruben Garcia's favorite spots to go meteorite hunting is an enormous dry lake bed in southern Arizona.
Courtesy Jana Becker

Originally published on Sun March 4, 2012 7:03 pm

Every so often, pieces of heaven crash into Earth.

They can come from our own solar system, or millions of light years away. Few of us are lucky enough to get our hands on one of these space rocks. But for meteorite hunters and dealers such as Ruben Garcia, touching a piece of outer space is a daily routine.

The Best Hunting Grounds

One of Garcia's favorite spots to go meteorite hunting is an enormous dry lake bed in southern Arizona.

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Author Interviews
2:25 pm
Sun March 4, 2012

A Road Trip In Search Of America's Lost Languages

Trip of the Tongue cover detail
Bloomsbury Publishing

Originally published on Mon March 5, 2012 1:38 pm

The vast majority of the 175 indigenous languages still spoken in the United States are on the verge of extinction.

Linguist Elizabeth Little spent two years driving all over the country looking for the few remaining pockets where those languages are still spoken — from the scores of Native American tongues, to the Creole of Louisiana. The resulting book is Trip of the Tongue: Cross-Country Travels in Search of America's Lost Languages.

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Around the Nation
2:13 pm
Sun March 4, 2012

A Hollywood Writer's Second Act: Gongs

Comedy writer Andrew Borakove left California for Lincoln, Neb., to sell gongs.
Guy Raz

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 3:22 pm

There's a Mystery Machine sitting outside Andrew Borakove's nondescript warehouse on a quiet street in Lincoln, Neb.

"I can never be depressed driving around town, because there's always some 4-year-old waving to me manically," Borakove says.

The mystery about the Scooby Doo replica van starts to fade, however, once you notice the bumper stickers on the back. Black background, white font, like a "Got Milk?" ad: "Happiness Is a Warm Gong." "Gongs, Not Bongs." "My Child Is an Honor Gong Player."

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Music Interviews
11:35 pm
Sat March 3, 2012

Suzanne Ciani, Trailblazing Synth Musician, Looks Back

Suzanne Ciani's new retrospective album, Lixiviation 1969-1985, presents long-form works alongside her many commercial projects.
Courtesy of the artist

Suzanne Ciani's start in music was traditional enough. She was classically trained, majored in music at Wellesley College, and got a fellowship to study composition at UC Berkeley. But when she arrived there in the mid-1960s, just in time to witness the student protests that consumed the Bay Area during that decade, her focus shifted.

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Monkey See
3:00 pm
Sat March 3, 2012

Kristin Chenoweth On God, Comedy And Dolly Parton

Kristen Chenoweth stars in the new ABC series GCB.
Karen Neal ABC

Kristin Chenoweth talks to Jacki Lyden on today's Weekends on All Things Considered, and if the only thing you got from the interview was Chenoweth warbling a bit of the first solo she ever did in church, it would be well worth it.

The Emmy-winning actress stars on ABC's new GCB, a sort of Desperate-Housewives-ish dishy, soapy comedy-drama premiering Sunday night at 10. She's come quite a long way since, as she explains, her father negotiated her first contract.

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Monkey See
3:34 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Jennifer Lopez In 'Q'Viva': A Talent Search Goes Bilingual, With A Dash Of Drama

Q'VIVA! THE CHOSEN: Jennifer Lopez travels through 20 countries to find and showcase the most outstanding Latin singers, dancers and performers in Q'VIVA! THE CHOSEN premiering Saturday, March 3 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
Fox

Their marriage may be over, but singers Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony have come together for a new TV show that seeks out talent from throughout Latin America. It's been airing on Spanish language TV in the U.S. and in 21 countries. And as NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports on today's All Things Considered, the show will also premiere on Fox this weekend, with English subtitles.

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Movie Reviews
3:21 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

'Being Flynn': Taking In A Prodigal Father

After almost two decades of estrangement, fractious writer Jonathan Flynn (Robert De Niro, right) gets in contact with his adult son Nick (Paul Dano) when he's forced to leave his apartment.
Focus Features

Robert De Niro's last outing with director Paul Weitz was less than auspicious: The comedy Little Fockers received terrible reviews. Being Flynn, their second collaboration, is a more serious affair about the estranged relationship between a fractious father and his son.

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Fine Art
3:37 am
Fri March 2, 2012

In 'Ocean Park,' Gentle Portraits Of California Light

Richard Diebenkorn's 1975 work Ocean Park #79, features pastel blues, lavenders and aquas — and thin strips of deep red and green at the top to draw the viewer's gaze upward.
The Estate of Richard Diebenkorn Courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art

Originally published on Fri March 2, 2012 8:31 am

In the late 1960s, while America was in turmoil over the Vietnam War and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, a painter in Santa Monica, Calif., was creating a series of tranquil, glowing canvases that made his reputation and transfixed art lovers. Those works — the Ocean Park series — are now on view at the Orange County Museum of Art, about an hour's drive from the place where they were painted.

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Arts & Culture
12:00 am
Fri March 2, 2012

Rekindling the Del Fuegos

The Del Fuegos, in the early 80s

Boston-based band the Del Fuegos put out three critically- acclaimed albums, and had hits with the tracks “Don’t Run Wild” and “I Still Want You” in the 1980s.  Declining commercial success and in-fighting caused the original line-up to implode by the end of the decade. Now, the four original members have reunited for a short stint of dates to rekindle the fire, despite very successful careers after their band’s heyday.

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World
11:30 am
Thu March 1, 2012

An Inuit Builder Crafts His Last Canoe

Goudie's last canoe hangs next to the form used to mold the wood. The unfinished canoe is weighted down with sandbags to keep the canvas taut.
Emma Jacobs

Originally published on Mon March 5, 2012 5:25 pm

In a remote corner of northern Canada, Joe Goudie is at work on his very last boat for sale.

The Inuit community in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador once used wood and canvas canoes to navigate the rivers of Labrador.

Goudie, 72, is Inuit, but grew up as that tradition was drawing to a close.

Today, he's the last person building wooden canoes in this corner of Canada.

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Theater
12:01 am
Thu March 1, 2012

'Carrie' Creators Resurrect A Legendary Flop

Molly Ranson plays the title role in the off-Broadway reworking of Carrie, directed by Stafford Arima and written by Lawrence D. Cohen, with lyrics by Dean Pitchford and music by Michael Gore.
Joan Marcus

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 12:18 pm

Broadway history is littered with flop musicals — but if some shows are bombs, then Carrie, based on Stephen King's best-selling 1974 novel, was kind of a nuclear bomb.

The story of a teenager with telekinetic powers who wreaks bloody havoc on her small Maine town had already been successfully adapted as a film starring Sissy Spacek in 1976. But as a musical?

Frank Rich was theater critic for The New York Times when the show opened in April 1988. He called it a musical wreck that "expires with fireworks like the Hindenburg."

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The Record
3:30 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Carnaval In Uruguay: Choir Competitions In The Streets

The murga choir Los Curtidores de Hongos performes at the Teatro de Lavalleja in Minas, Uruguay, in February.
Martina Castro for NPR

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 3:00 pm

Uruguay boasts that it has the longest Carnival celebration not just in Latin America, but the world. The 40-day celebration is dotted with makeshift stages all around the capital city of Montevideo for performances of choral music called murga. Murga is both entertainment and a sociopolitical commentary that survived the military dictatorship of the 1970s.

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StateImpact
11:06 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Unlikely Jazz Venue Flourishing in Laconia

While we at StateImpact like to talk about trends and broad-brush movements in business and economics, occasionally it’s helpful to zoom-in and look at individual cases of business success.

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Race
3:26 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Through Video, Lakota Students Reject Stereotypes

Feather Rae Colombe (from left) appeared in the Lakota student video More Than That. Kim Bos is a video technology teacher who helped produce the video. Student John Whirlwind Soldier directed the video.
Jim Kent

Unhappy with portrayals of Native Americans in mainstream media, a group of students from South Dakota's Rosebud Sioux Reservation created a video to show that their community is about more than alcoholism, broken homes and crime.

The students are visiting Washington, D.C., on Monday to lobby Congress for increased funding for schools on reservations.

Filmed in black and white, the student-produced video More Than That takes viewers through the hallways, classrooms and gymnasium of the Rosebud Sioux Reservation's county high school.

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Author Interviews
3:24 am
Mon February 27, 2012

How You Can Harness 'The Power Of Habit'

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 6:52 am

The 19th century psychologist William James observed, "All our life ... is but a mass of habits."

Ad men in the 20th century took this aphorism to heart. It wasn't enough to simply sell a product; the goal was to hook consumers and keep them coming back.

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Author Interviews
5:40 pm
Sat February 25, 2012

A Theologian Has A Falling Out With God In 'Still'

HarperOne

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 11:46 am

Theologian Lauren Winner was 21 when she became a Christian.

Although she was raised in a Jewish household and had converted to Orthodox Judaism, she says she felt drawn to Christianity. Her surprising conversion is the subject of her first memoir, the bestseller Girl Meets God.

In Winner's new book, Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, she writes about a spiritual crisis.

Winner, an ordained Episcopal priest who teaches Christian spirituality at Duke University, says it happened around the time her mother died and her marriage collapsed.

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Music Interviews
7:46 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Robert Glasper: A Unified Field Theory For Black Music

Robert Glasper leads his band through experiments in jazz, hip-hop, R&B and rock on his new album, Black Radio.
Mike Schreiber

Originally published on Sat February 25, 2012 6:31 pm

When some of the biggest names in R&B and hip-hop are clamoring to be on a jazz record, you know you're dealing with a special kind of jazz musician.

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Dance
6:08 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

A Homecoming For Alvin Ailey's Artistic Director

Yannick Lebrun performs choreography from Robert Battle's Takademe. "Takademe is near and dear to me as one of my first creations," says Battle, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. "It's a work I made in the tiny living room of my old apartment in Queens."
Andrew Eccles Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

The renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is currently on a national tour, and the company has brought Robert Battle, its new artistic director, back to where he started — a public school in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Miami.

When Battle attended Northwestern Senior High in the mid-'80s, he'd walk 16 blocks to school through some of Liberty City's roughest neighborhoods. The riot-scarred area was still wracked by drugs, crime and desolation. So the former boy soprano carried some protection under his dance tights and ballet slippers.

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Around the Nation
12:07 am
Thu February 23, 2012

African-American Museum Breaks Ground In D.C.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture is expected to open in Washington, D.C., in 2015.
Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup Courtesy Nationa African Museum of African American History And Culture

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:01 am

President Obama spoke Wednesday at the formal groundbreaking for the Smithsonian's newest museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. The museum, Obama said, has been "a long time coming" and will serve "not just as a record of tragedy, but as a celebration of life."

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Movie Interviews
12:01 am
Thu February 23, 2012

Private Screening: How Hollywood Watches Its Work

At the Charles Aidikoff Screening Room on Rodeo Drive, filmmakers can screen their works in progress for an invite-only audience in the small, 57-seat theater. The screening room is also rented to show films to members of the Academy and the press.
Cindy Carpien NPR

Before they made it to the Oscars, the nominated films — not to mention all the films that didn't make the cut — were viewed by some 6,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Many of those movies were shown in small, private, rented screening rooms all over Hollywood.

The studios have their own screening rooms, of course, but often directors want a more private place to screen works in progress — with no studio suits in sight.

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Movie Interviews
3:30 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

A Pirate's Perspective In 'Fishing Without Nets'

A still from Fishing Without Nets. Writer-director Cutter Hodierene cast Somali refugees and militia fighters in his short film about a fisherman who is drawn by need into piracy.
Sundance Film Festival

A battered wooden skiff motors along the horn of East Africa. Onboard are a half-dozen men clutching AK-47s and debating whether they'll need to shoot. They are Somali pirates.

Or rather, they're actors playing Somali pirates in a short feature film titled Fishing Without Nets. It tells the story of piracy off the coast of Somalia — from the perspective of the pirates — and it won the jury prize for short filmmaking at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

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You Must Read This
5:50 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

A Depressive Diarist Chronicles His Descent

istockphoto.com

Patrick deWitt is the author of The Sisters Brothers.

"Doesn't the act of noticing matter as much as what's noticed?" So asks the narrator of Harry Mathews' masterpiece of minutia, The Journalist.

On the mend from a nervous breakdown (though it's mentioned only in passing — "the steering wheel came off in my hands," he says), he's been encouraged by his doctor to keep a journal. A seemingly benign idea, and he throws himself into the task with gusto — far too much gusto, it turns out, as the journal soon eclipses his entire life.

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