Nigerian sculptor El Anatsui knows too well that when most people think of African art, they think of masks, something he would never ask his students to make.
"We don't even make masks in schools," he says.
Anatsui taught art for nearly 30 years in a remote Nigerian village before getting his first big break when his sculpture was shown at the 1990 Venice Biennale. His works consist of giant sheets of colorful metal that are so big he often doesn't even assemble them himself. Twelve of them are touring the U.S. through August 2014.
The financial giant is also facing civil charges and fines that could cost it $11 billion. JPMorgan is negotiating with the Justice Department over the company's handling of mortgage-backed securities leading up to the housing crisis. Host Scott Simon talks with New York Times columnist Joe Nocera about the significance of the talks.
Barry Clifford has spent the last 30 years diving in the waters off Cape Cod. He's searching for buried treasure spilled by the pirate ship Whydah, which sunk there in 1717. He's pulled a trove of artifacts out of the sea and sand over the years and this summer he learned there may be far more treasure waiting. He joins us now from Provincetown, Massachusetts. Mr. Clifford, thanks so much for being with us.
SIMON: Just a day left to the end of regular baseball season. The Cardinals clinched a playoff spot last night. Of course they were playing the Cubs. But those rampaging Cleveland Indians won their eighth game in a row to move a game closer to a wildcard spot. They're knotted up with the Tampa Bay Rays, trying to keep the Texas Rangers in the rearview mirror.
Officials from BP, formerly British Petroleum, will be back in a New Orleans courtroom next week. It's part of a complex federal case that will ultimately determine responsibility in damages for the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. And that's the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. NPR's Debbie Elliott's been following the trial and joins us. Deb, thanks for being with us.
DEBBIE ELLIOTT, BYLINE: Glad to be here.
SIMON: Remind us of what's at stake in this phase of the case.
Congress needs to approve a budget by midnight Monday — at which point the U.S. government is set to shut down. Weekend Edition Sunday host Scott Simon talks with Ramesh Ponnuru of The National Review about the GOP and looming potential government shutdown.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is an educated man. But like a lot of well-educated people who run for office, you might not detect it by the quotations he deployed over his 21 hours holding the floor of the U.S. Senate.
Al-Shabab has been around for years as a militia group fighting for territory in Somalia.
When al-Shabab militants, dressed in casual clothes, turned up in a ritzy shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, last weekend and gunned down men, women and children, the group shifted from an insurgent movement to a terrorist organization.
"A week ago, al-Shabab wasn't in the news," says Bruce Hoffman, a a terrorism expert at Georgetown University and the Rand Corporation. "Arguably, outside of Somalia, no one really cared about them."
Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 2:17 pm
Americans have a longstanding love affair with maple syrup. According to the USDA, production of the sticky stuff in the United States totaled 3.25 million gallons this year. However, it isn't the only tree syrup that's available to drizzle on your short stack or sweeten your latte.
What do you get a Nobel Prize-winning poet for his birthday?
The poet, in this case, is T.S. Eliot, and this year he would have turned the intimidating age of 125. It's a tough question, but New Yorker poetry editor Paul Muldoon has got an answer: a new re-issue of the first edition of Eliot's groundbreaking poem, The Waste Land.
Vanessa Pierson, the heroine of Valerie Plame's first novel, is — ahem — "blonde, lithe, and nicely sexy." She is also a CIA agent, determined to lasso a nuclear arms dealer named Bhoot before he arrives at an underground nuclear facility in Iran.
But just as her informant is about to tell her where Bhoot will be, he's shot by a sniper who misses Vanessa — or does he simply overlook her? How will Vanessa Pierson halt the terrorists, protect the world and, by the way, also keep the secret of her forbidden romance with David, a fellow CIA ops officer with green-flecked hazel eyes?
Saxophonist Gabe Baltazar got his big break after Stan Kenton heard him playing in a college band and invited him to join his Orchestra in 1960.
"One of my biggest highlights in Stan's band was being featured on a beautiful standard tune called 'Stairway to the Stars,'" the 83-year-old Baltazar says. "He liked that tune, and he thought it would be my signature song. And throughout my career, four years with the band, I was featured on that and it was just great."
If you're a regular public radio listener, you may hear Garrison Keillor every morning reading other people's poems on The Writer's Almanac. Now, the Prairie Home Companion host has decided to share some of his ownpoems for a change.