Arts & Life

The year before he won an Academy Award for designing and building the puppet star of E.T., Italian special effects artist Carlo Rimbaldi created a much more frightening creature — minus the light-up heart, plus tentacles — to have simulated sex with Isabelle Adjani in the psychological horror film Possession, a movie that probably sold fewer lunchboxes and plush toys.

'I, Tonya,' You, Implicated

Dec 7, 2017

Tonya Harding was never supposed to be a pro figure skater. Like so many young American dreamers before her, she had it all wrong for success: born into the wrong class, raised by the wrong role model, drawn to the wrong men. And she had the wrong kind of femininity for the sport she loved, too, because those judges didn't want to see a ZZ Top routine from someone who sewed her own costume, even if it did include a flawlessly executed triple axel.

About 20 minutes into the beautiful documentary Quest, a stray bullet strikes a 13-year-old African-American girl in a neighborhood in North Philadelphia, robbing her of sight in her left eye. What's remarkable about the incident is that the documentary would have existed without it: Director Jonathan Olshefski had already committed to making a film about the girl's family, the Raineys, and the errant gunfire just happened to occur within the flow of the day.

A murder mystery narrated by a toxically self-aware teenager, Sam Munson's 2010 novel The November Criminals is the kind of book that attracts smart filmmakers and serious actors — that then, all too often, gets diluted into a bland disappointment like November Criminals.

The characters in the films of Samuel Maoz are all trapped in one way or another. His 2009 drama, Lebanon, was a blistering critique of Israel's 1982 invasion of its northern neighbor and an impressively sustained exercise in confinement: It unfolded entirely inside a tank, forcing us to see the devastation of war from the limited vantage of four young troops.

A chair is just a chair, unless it's designed as a sound-insulated "isolation sphere": a space-age, egg-shaped pod that was created by a French architect in 1971. It's the kind of unique object you can find at this year's Design Miami.

The fair features everything from vintage furniture to contemporary ceramics to handcrafted jewelry — all collectible objects from the 20th and 21st century. Rodman Primack is chief creative officer of the marketplace, where potential buyers can find unique, limited edition pieces and prototypes commissioned by 34 galleries from around the world.

The Room (2003) has been called the Citizen Kane of bad movies. Eccentric filmmaker Tommy Wiseau wrote, directed and starred in the movie, and it has since developed a cult following. Around the country, fans flock to midnight screenings.

Actor James Franco also found himself drawn to The Room. In 2014, after reading a nonfiction book about the film's creation (called The Disaster Artist) Franco knew he wanted to turn the movie's backstory story into another film.

The rage inspired by dots on plates requires us to warn readers of some rather salty language used in this story.

Dots of sauce. Scribbles of jus. Globs of honey. Plops of purée. Squiggles of sriracha. Should we go on? Schmears of chocolate. Squirts of squid ink. Trickles of coulis. You get the idea. It's Pollock on a plate. Plating at its finest — and most formulaic.

It has created a wave of awareness and brave confrontations over sexual harassment and assault, taking down powerful men in the process. And now the #MeToo movement has been named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2017.

On its cover, Time called the people behind the movement "The Silence Breakers." Its story features women and men who have spoken out — including activist Tarana Burke, who started the hashtag 10 years ago.

When you're facing a major life change, it helps to talk to someone who has already been through it. All Things Considered is connecting people on either side of a shared experience, and they're letting us eavesdrop on their conversations in our series Been There.

This summer, everything was going according to plan for Audrey Degraaf and her wife.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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The Politics Of Myanmar's Changing Tea Culture

Dec 5, 2017

Pulling low wooden stools out from under a short square table, a group of longyi-clad men sits down at an open-air tea shop in downtown Yangon, Myanmar. One man makes a kiss-kiss noise and calls out an order to the young waiter. Moments later, porcelain teacups filled with steaming laphet yay — sweet Burmese tea carefully mixed with black tea, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk — start to hit the table, and the men's conversation begins.

"I hate the term curry house," says Ranjit Mathrani, who co-owns Veeraswamy restaurant in London. "We are not a curry house."

Veeraswamy has been around since 1926 — it is London's oldest surviving Indian restaurant. Founded by Edward Palmer — the great-grandson of an English general and an Indian princess — the restaurant served not quite Indian food, but an Anglicized version of it, catering to an English clientele that craved something a bit spicy, but not overly so.

The Book Concierge is back and bigger than ever! Explore more than 350 standout titles picked by NPR staff and critics.

Open the app now!

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Internet Archive and the University of Maryland launch such a library, and it's free to anyone with an Internet connection. Kids helped design the library, and they had final say on the books. NPR's David Kestenbaum reports.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Netflix will film eight more episodes of House of Cards, in a final season that will feature female lead Robin Wright — with former star Kevin Spacey cut out of the show completely.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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There's an unforgettable scene in the Netflix documentary Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold. Filmmaker Griffin Dunne asks Didion about the legendary moment when, while reporting a piece on the counter-culture in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, she came across a 5-year-old girl tripping on LSD.

"What was that like?" Dunne wonders. Didion pauses, and replies, "It was gold." Which is to say that the little girl was great material.

In the winter of 1949, a group of judges — including poets T.S. Eliot and Robert Lowell — met to decide the winner of the prestigious Bollingen Prize for the best book of poetry published in the United States the previous year. They gave the prize to Ezra Pound for his collection The Pisan Cantos. Then all hell broke loose.

“Sing, Unburied, Sing”

Author: Jesmyn Ward   

Publisher: Scribner

Pages: 285

Price: $26.00 (Hardcover)

I might have said in this review that “Sing, Unburied, Sing” was a powerful novel which will surely win awards. This turns out not to be necessary. While I was reading “Sing,” it was announced that Ward, who won the National Book Award in 2011 with “Salvage the Bones,” has won again with “Sing.”

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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The 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors were a chance to celebrate among others a dancer, a rapper and a TV-sitcom pioneer. Here's NPR's Elizabeth Blair.

It's that time of year — Sugar Plum fairies dancing in delight, the Mouse King, a gorgeous Christmas party, a prince, and that instantly recognizable music.

The Nutcracker ballet is a beloved holiday perennial, but Wicked author Gregory Maguire's new novel Hiddensee — which is based on the Nutcracker tale — is not exactly meant for the kiddos. It tells the backstory of the powerful toymaker, Herr Drosselmeier, who gives the Nutcracker to Clara.

If you're reading this through some kind of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi gadget, here's an interesting fact: Some ideas behind that technology can be traced back to a famous actress from the 1930s. Her name was Hedy Lamarr.

In the late 1980s, a friend gave me a T-shirt emblazoned with the words "BLACK BY POPULAR DEMAND." That gift came during a time when strong expressions and affirmations of black identity enjoyed a surge of popularity not seen since the 1960s. I've been thinking a lot about that catch phrase in the context of the recent, vibrant discussions about the place of African-Americans in today's national food scene.

Girl Meets Frog Monster In 'Mrs. Caliban'

Dec 3, 2017

This season's secret weapon in literary cocktail banter will be Mrs. Caliban, a peculiar but wonderful and long-overlooked novella by Rachel Ingalls. Originally published in 1983 and seemingly doomed to a dead end ride on the oblivion express, Mrs. Caliban was briefly rescued by an unlikely deus ex machina: The British Book Marketing Council, which in 1986 named it "one of the 20 greatest American novels since World War II." Its 15 minutes in the public eye ended quickly enough, and this strange, unlikely fable once again sank into obscurity.

In the 17th century, the poet John Dryden satirized the deep anxiety around letting women learn the Classics:

But of all Plagues, the greatest is untold;

The Book-Learn'd Wife in Greek and Latin bold.

The Critick-Dame, who at her Table sits:

Homer and Virgil quotes, and weighs their Wits;

ishane (Shane Adams) [Flickr]

Giving our pet a treat pleases us as owners.  How devastating it must be to give your dog a chew bone treat to be enjoyed, and find out that special treat made your furry buddy sick or even endangered its life.  It's up to us to keep our best friends safe!

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Angry Orchard, Strongbow, Woodchuck — these are some of the biggest national cider brands. (By the way, they're all owned by major beer companies.) But those big brands weren't what people came to drink at this fall's Rock the Core cider festival in Washington, D.C.

Greta Gerwig was already an acclaimed actor and screenwriter, famous for movies like Frances Ha. But now she's written and directed Lady Bird, already a huge hit and the best-reviewed film ever on Rotten Tomatoes. The whole awkward outsider thing is going to be a challenge to keep up after winning an Oscar.

Her new film is about a fierce young woman who calls herself "Lady Bird," so we thought we'd ask her about actual female birds.

Click the audio link above to see how she does.

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