Arts & Life

The Salt
1:52 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Why Britain Has Gone Mad About Baking

Where the streets are lined with cake: This royal-themed cake was served during a street party in South London last June as part of celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.
Andrew Cowie AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 3:51 pm

The first rule of cake club is: You ONLY talk about cake.

The second rule of cake club is: Try as many cakes as possible.

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Monkey See
1:15 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

At The Met Ball, Those Are Some Crazy Dresses

Beyonce, complete with thigh-high boots to match.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Monday night was the big night for unusual dresses (you may remember a previous post about Madonna's bunny ears): the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, known as the "Met Ball." It had a loose punk theme (because the costume exhibit it's celebrating is punk-centric), but everyone got up to quite a bit of her own thing.

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Author Interviews
12:53 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

'Shocked': Patricia Volk's Memoir About Beauty And Its Beholders

Patricia Volk is an essayist, novelist and memoirist. She recounts her experiences growing up in a restaurant-owning family in New York City, in her memoir Stuffed.
Random House

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 2:18 pm

Patricia Volk's mother was beautiful in a way that stopped people on the street. Strangers compared her to Lana Turner and Grace Kelly. She was stylish and vain: Her beauty and its preservation mattered to her. "She had an icy blond beauty, an imperious kind of beauty," Volk tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Movies
12:20 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Scorsese Talks 'The Language of Cinema'

Animated as ever when it comes to the topic of film, director Martin Scorsese delivers the 2013 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities at the Kennedy Center on April 1.
NIcholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 1:34 pm

Martin Scorsese is a legend of a director — and he's also a great film teacher, a man who balances a passion for the medium with a deep knowledge of its history. Delivering this year's installment of the National Endowment for the Humanities' prestigious Jefferson Lecture — a talk he titled "Persistence of Vision: Reading the Language of Cinema" — Scorsese demonstrated his speaking chops as well.

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Monkey See
11:54 am
Tue May 7, 2013

These Dogs, Cats And Robots Have A Few 'Tiny Confessions'

Penguin

Let me tell you a quick story from NPR's move from our old headquarters to our new one.

When I was emptying out my old desk and workspace, in addition to all the shoes under my desk and an alarming number of vessels designed to keep coffee warm, I had quite a lot of books lying around. Some were upcoming books, most were old books, and a few were books I neither had any use for nor could bear to get rid of. One of the tests I applied was that if I picked up a book and the first page I opened to made me laugh, it survived.

Tiny Confessions survived.

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Monkey See
10:16 am
Tue May 7, 2013

So Much For Bowling Scenes: What Is And Isn't Wrong With Number-Crunching Scripts

iStockphoto.com

The words "grossed out" evoke enough of a watery 1980s vibe that they need to be saved for the times when they really apply: movie scenes where somebody sticks something in somebody else's eye, sewage spills, and so forth.

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Monkey See
7:25 am
Tue May 7, 2013

MTV's Musical Legacy: How 'Unplugged' Sold The Radio Star

Kurt Cobain of Nirvana during the taping of MTV Unplugged at Sony Studios in New York City in November 1993.
Frank Micelotta Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 7:30 am

It's generally understood that something about MTV was revolutionary. Perhaps it was the music video, perhaps it was the short attention span, perhaps it was The Real World, but something about MTV had enough cultural permanency that it made for a fine oral history from Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum, called I Want My MTV, in late 2011.

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The Two-Way
6:25 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Book News: Freud's Couch Succumbs To Despair, Ennui

The famous couch used by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud was on display at his former home in London in 1986.
Anne Purkiss AP

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Book Reviews
6:03 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Postgraduate Post-Mortem In A Smart, Literary Mystery

There are many things to savor about Elanor Dymott's debut suspense novel, Every Contact Leaves a Trace -- among them, its baroque narrative structure and its clever manipulation of the stock, husband-who-hasn't-got-a-clue character. But Dymott really won me over when she pulled Robert Browning out of her crime kit. Nobody reads Robert Browning anymore, do they? As far as I can tell, high schools have thrown in the towel when it comes to teaching Victorian poetry; dissertations on Browning's dramatic monologues have all but dried up.

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Europe
3:57 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Crowdfunding Effort Seeks To Save Venice's Everyday Gondolas

Nicolo Zen, director of Traditional Boat Museum of Venice, launched a crowd funding project to save one of the last traghetto gondolas — everyday boats used by the city's locals.
Christopher Livesay

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 8:00 pm

Even if you haven't been to Venice, you're probably familiar with the city's famous tourist gondolas: With baroque silver ornaments, shiny black lacquer, and sumptuous red seat cushions, they're unabashedly fancy, not to mention ubiquitous. A ride with a gondolier costs at least 80 euros (about $105), rain or shine (and it's 110 — $144 — more to be serenaded).

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Fine Art
3:57 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Family Fights Sale Of Iconic Thomas Cole Painting

Thomas Cole completed Portage Falls on the Genesee in 1839.
Courtesy Seward House Museum

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 8:00 pm

A celebrated 19th century landscape painting by Thomas Cole is at the center of a 21st century fight: The Seward House Historic Museum in upstate New York wants to sell a painting that belonged to former Secretary of State William Seward, but on Tuesday Seward's great-great-grandson will be in court to try to block the sale.

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Book Reviews
3:22 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Safety Is Relative: A Moving Account Of Life In Chechnya

Russian troops patrol Minutka square in the Chechen capital on Monday, Feb. 28, 2000.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 8:00 pm

How do you write an absorbing novel about unspeakable things? It's always a tricky business, and an editor I know once described the dilemma this way: "A reader needs to want to go there." What "there" means is the self-contained world of the book. And what would make a reader want to go deeply into a world of hopelessness and seemingly perpetual war, a world of torture and intimidation and exploding land mines? There are many answers. One of the most obvious, of course, is the language.

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The Salt
2:58 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Sandwich Monday: Fried Peanut Butter And Banana

Melissa approaches with caution.
NPR

It's strange to find a Fried Peanut Butter and Banana sandwich, famous as Elvis Presley's favorite, on a restaurant menu, given its effect on Elvis. It's like finding a store selling an Isadora Duncan commemorative scarf.

Nonetheless, freelance radio producer Melissa LaCasse and I decided to try the one offered by The Breslin in New York, listed as "fried peanut butter & banana sandwich with bourbon & vanilla."

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Television
12:54 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Linney Mines 'The Big C' For Serious Laughs

Laura Linney and Alan Alda star in The Big C, now in its fourth season on Showtime. Linney took on the role not long before her own father died of cancer.
Showtime

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 2:20 pm

From a young age, Laura Linney knew what she wanted to do with her life: act. There was no question.

She was a drama nerd in high school, and went onto Juilliard to study theater. But film acting was never the dream, and movie stardom definitely wasn't the goal.

"I was always completely intimidated by film," she tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "I was not the sort of person who grew up thinking, 'Oh, I want to be in the movies.' I loved movies; I just didn't think I particularly belonged there."

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Hobson City
12:29 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Hobson City: How Desegregation Almost Killed Ala.'s First All-Black City

Hobson City is about two miles long and sits between Oxford and Anniston in East Alabama.
nbcnews.com

2013 marks the 50th anniversary of many pivotal moments in the civil rights era in Alabama. The movement would lead to desegregation of schools and businesses in the Deep South. But, along with these victories, there were casualties along the way. Desegregation almost killed one small Alabama town.

“This used to be the main drag. The school would always have a homecoming parade, Christmas parade. So it was always kind of a celebration strip. And all these homes left and right, I knew everybody in these homes.”

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