Arts & Life

Book Reviews
3:32 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

These 'Miracle Cures' Are Absurd And Delightful

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 6:09 pm

César Aira's The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira is only 80 pages long, but, like many of his books, it reads with the intensity and fullness of a much longer novel. In it you'll find an eccentric flaneur, an evil archenemy, a vicious guard dog, an ambulance that goes only in a straight line.

Dr. Aira, the main character, likes to wander the streets of a town called Pringles. That this happens to be the name of the author's hometown in Argentina may or may not be significant. As he walks, he thinks up theoretical miracle cures to imagined illnesses.

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Television
2:34 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Jessica Lange, Back In Black For 'Horror Story'

Jessica Lange plays Sister Jude, a stern nun running an insane asylum, in the second season of American Horror Story.
FX

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 6:09 pm

To speak with Ryan Murphy about his show American Horror Story is to hear this declaration repeatedly: "She classes up the joint."

Murphy is referring to his star, Jessica Lange, who recently won an Emmy for her role in the show's first season. If you've been a fan of Lange's film career, from Tootsie to Frances to Blue Sky, you might wonder why this treasure of the American theater, this two-time Oscar winner, is slumming in a lurid cable TV horror show.

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Author Interviews
1:57 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

'Gershwins And Me' Tells The Stories Behind 12 Songs

Michael Feinstein (right) worked for six years as Ira Gershwin's cataloger and archivist.
Simon & Schuster

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 3:49 pm

Long before singer and pianist Michael Feinstein became famous in his own right, he had the privilege of working closely with legendary songwriter Ira Gershwin, as his archivist and cataloger. In his new book, The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs, Feinstein writes firsthand about the musical world of the American composers and brothers, George and Ira Gershwin.

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Monkey See
12:47 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

See A Clip From The Outstanding 'Brooklyn Castle,' A Film About Chess And Life

The I.S. 318 chess team, featured in Brooklyn Castle.
BrooklynCastle.com

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 10:42 am

Brooklyn Castle, which I originally saw at the South By Southwest Film Festival in March, is one of my favorite movies of the year. And starting this week, it's coming to theaters in select cities. (See a list of theaters here.)

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Arts & Life
12:23 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Athens Grease Festival Celebrates All Things Fried

Fried candy corn dropped into a deep fryer.
Maggie Martin/APR News

If you’re a fan of fried anything, the smell here can be intoxicating. Hundreds have turned out for the first ever Athens Grease Festival, with knives and forks at the ready, The celebration of all things fried is a play on the origin of the city’s name from Athens, Greece.

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Kitchen Window
10:38 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Dals: Simple Indian Comfort Food

Reem Rizvi for NPR

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 5:27 am

My first official kitchen chore, at the ripe age of 6, was to help Mom with the dal. It is one of the first dishes I learned to cook from her, and I still consider her the ultimate dal expert. Dal is sort of an umbrella term under which my family (and, I bet, most Indians) lump pulses and legumes such as lentils, beans and dried peas.

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Television
10:35 am
Wed October 17, 2012

TV Westerns Prove The West Is Still Fun

Sheriff Ralph Lamb (Dennis Quaid) and his brother, Jack Lamb (Jason O'Mara), investigate the murder of a craps dealer on Vegas.
Cliff Lipson CBS

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 7:31 am

From the first five minutes of Vegas, there's no mistaking its classic Western heritage — they even have Stetson-wearing heroes wrangling a herd of cattle on horseback.

The year is 1960, and nail-tough rancher Ralph Lamb has been talked into serving as the top cop in Las Vegas. Lamb's only problem: He's taking over just as the mob is trying to turn Vegas from a sleepy ranch town into the world's grown-up playground.

In Vegas, the white hats just want to run their ranches, while the black hats fight over money, gambling and power.

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National Security
6:26 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Court Overturns Conviction Of Bin Laden Driver

A federal appeals court on Tuesday threw out the conviction of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a former driver for Osama bin Laden, who served a prison term for material support for terrorism.
AP

A federal appeals court on Tuesday overturned the conviction of Osama bin Laden's former driver and bodyguard, Salim Ahmed Hamdan. If the name sounds familiar, it should. Hamdan was at the center of a Supreme Court case that ruled that the Bush administration's military commission system at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was unconstitutional.

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It's All Politics
5:58 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

In Battleground Nevada, Voters We Met In February Offer Few October Surprises

Jared Fisher, who runs an outdoor recreation and bicycle company, voted for Barack Obama in 2008. He says he has yet to decide who he'll vote for this year.
Becky Lettenberger NPR

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 6:54 pm

With eyes on the presidential debate in New York, we decided to turn ours to the swing state of Nevada, where President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney are battling mightily over the state's small but crucial trove of six electoral votes.

Polls show the race at a near dead heat in the Silver State, which was hit harder than any other by the recession, and still records among the highest unemployment and home foreclosure rates in the nation.

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The Two-Way
5:05 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Hilary Mantel Wins Man Booker Prize For 'Bring Up The Bodies'

Hilary Mantel, winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, poses with her prize shortly after the award ceremony in London Tuesday. Mantel, won the 50,000 British pounds (approximately $80,000) prize with her book Bring up the Bodies.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 6:21 pm

"The whittling has finished," declared the website of the Man Booker Prize.

On Tuesday, judges awarded the prestigious literary award to Hilary Mantel for her historical novel Bring up the Bodies.

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The Two-Way
4:11 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Picasso, Monet Paintings Among Those Swiped From Dutch Museum

There's an empty space today where a Henri Matisse painting had been hanging at the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Seven paintings were stolen Tuesday, including works by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet and Paul Gauguin.
Peter Dejong AP

At least the thieves had good taste.

Paintings by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet and Paul Gauguin were were among seven stolen from a museum in the Dutch city of Rotterdam before dawn on Tuesday.

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Author Interviews
3:38 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

In A 'Dream,' Lincoln Checks In On State Of The Union

Roaring Book Press

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 9:48 am

With the country mired in a civil war, Abraham Lincoln had a lot on his mind, so it's not surprising that the 16th president experienced vivid, troubling dreams.

"He was haunted by his dreams," says author and illustrator Lane Smith. In one dream, Lincoln found himself aboard an indescribable vessel moving toward an indistinct shore, Smith tells NPR's Robert Siegel. "He had these dreams apparently several times before momentous events of the Civil War, and in fact he had it the night before he was assassinated."

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Economy
2:01 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

6 Things Surnames Can Say About Social Mobility

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 3:31 pm

Using data on surnames dating back almost 1,000 years, economic historian Gregory Clark says he's found evidence that families rise and fall across generations at a much slower rate than anyone previously thought. And he says that rate remains constant across national boundaries and time periods.

Clark is writing a book about his research, and he says he's still working out some of his conclusions, but here are six possible takeaways from what he's found so far:

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Economy
2:00 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Movin' On Up? That May Depend On Your Last Name

New research suggests that success in life may be determined by ancestors from hundreds of years ago. The research finds that your chance of making it into the elite is the same in the United States as it is in South America, no matter when you were born.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 6:06 pm

Here is a question that social scientists have been pondering for years: How much of your success in life is tied to your parents, and how much do you control?

The academic term used for this is "social mobility." And a striking new finding from economic historian Gregory Clark of the University of California, Davis claims your success in life may actually be determined by ancestors who lived hundreds of years ago. That means improving opportunities across generations might be a lot harder than anyone imagined.

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Music Reviews
1:53 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

K'Naan Brings Down Walls On 'Country, God Or The Girl'

K'Naan's new album is titled Country, God or the Girl.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 6:06 pm

The Somali-born rapper and singer-songwriter K'Naan can sure pack a lot into a 3-1/2-minute pop song: clever wit, heartfelt angst, a hook you can't shake — and, in the new track "Hurt Me Tomorrow," honky-tonk piano. That's the sort of quirk that helped win K'Naan his earliest fans. All sorts of eccentricities survive on Country, God or the Girl, his most expansive and elaborately produced work to date. Mostly, though, the new album soars with pairings of sharp, confessional rap and catchy vocal hooks.

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