Arts and culture

Macaw And More

Jun 29, 2012

Got an idea for a classical cartoon, or a reaction to this one? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with sculpture, drawing, photography and performance. You can see more of his work at Artworld Salon and on his own site.

NPR Bestsellers: Week Of June 28, 2012

Jun 29, 2012

Compiled from weekly surveys of close to 500 independent bookstores nationwide.

A Hologram for the King, Dave Eggers' tale of adventure and economic hardship, debuts at No. 5.

The Price of Inequality, one economist's take on "today's divided society," debuts at No. 14.

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic '20s novel, resurfaces this week at No. 15.

Erik Larson's true crime book, The Devil in the White City, is on the list for a 208th week.

This interview was originally broadcast on April 10, 2012. Since it aired, R.A. Dickey has pitched two consecutive one-hitters.

Most pitchers in the majors stick to fastballs, curveballs, sliders and change-ups when facing batters at the plate.

Chef April Bloomfield appears on the cover of her new cookbook, A Girl and Her Pig, glowing in her neat chef's whites, with a dead pig slung over her shoulders.

"I adore pigs, and I love eating them and cooking them, and I love using the whole animal," Bloomfield tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer. There are all kinds of recipes in her cookbook, for salads and baked goods ... but meat takes center stage.

In the crowded heart of the Mexican capital, a fictional one-eyed private investigator shares a dingy flat with a flock of ducks and a rotating cast of lovers.

The central character in Paco Ignacio Taibo II's crime novels is Hector Belascoaran Shayne, a former engineer who got a "certificate in detection" through a correspondence course. Belascoaran is a cynical, bumbling private eye who marvels at the chaotic street life unfolding around him in Mexico City.

The 'Other Audubon': A Family's Passion

Jun 28, 2012



In 1827, John James Audubon published the first part of his book, "Birds of America." The realism of his illustrations in that book led to a new understanding of bird anatomy and behavior.

Well, a couple of decades later, a little girl in Ohio named Genevieve Jones was on a nature outing with her father and she identified where Audubon fell short.

Seventy-five years ago, an American institution was born: Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a cultural mecca to arts lovers and the musical refuge for generations of young artists.

Marcus Samuelsson: On Becoming A Top 'Chef'

Jun 28, 2012

Marcus Samuelsson owns two restaurants in New York City and two restaurants in Sweden. He's cooked for President Obama and prime ministers, served as a judge on Top Chef and Chopped, and recently competed against 21 other chefs on Top Chef Masters. (He won.) He's the youngest chef ever to receive two three-star ratings from The New York Times.



This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Viviana Hurtado. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, a recent report looks at violence against women in Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. We'll take a look at the findings and how some victims are actually challenging this violence.

Personal Essays Engage Power Of Poetry

Jun 28, 2012

Ralph Waldo Emerson tells us that poets are the beholders of ideas and the announcers of human experience's necessary and casual details. Poets sing the songs of their selves and of nations. Even Emily Dickinson tells us she sings "to use the Waiting."

Last week, we broke the news of our Washington Desk Editor's stealthy side: NPR's Ron Elving kept his PG-13 reading indulgence purposefully hidden from his father (it's just more fun that way!).

Today, NPR Librarian Kee Malesky looks back on the YA novel – and its strong, female protagonist and fellow Brooklynite – which inspired her to grow self-reliant and to pursue her passions:

After the airline industry was deregulated in 1978, flying changed considerably.

Some of those changes have improved commercial flying, but others have made the skies much less friendly, says journalist and airline veteran William J. McGee.

McGee's new book, Attention All Passengers, details how airlines are cutting costs through regional carriers, outsourcing airline maintenance, mishandling baggage and overbooking airplanes.

One day, Beth Howard got a phone call everyone dreads — she learned her husband passed away. Overwhelmed by grief and regret, she decided she needed something sweet in her life, so she began traveling the country, sampling and making pies. Howard speaks with guest host Viviana Hurtado about her book, Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie.

For New York Polyphony, it's location, location, location. The four-man vocal ensemble thrives on music from the Renaissance, much of it designed for cavernous, reverberant spaces. Think voices soaring through arched cathedrals. But madrigals by Flemish composer Orlando di Lasso, with their more intimate storytelling vibe, are suited for smaller venues — like, say, the living room of New York Polyphony bass Craig Phillips.

Joshua Henkin opens his third novel with a dramatic setup. Leo Frankel has been killed while reporting from Iraq for Newsday. He was kidnapped and videotaped in a way reminiscent of how American journalist Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter, was killed in Pakistan in 2002. Over the past decade, dozens of newspeople have been killed each year in war zones, making this a timely subject for fiction. But Henkin places Leo's dramatic death offstage, telling it in sketchy snippets.

New In Paperback: June 25-July 1

Jun 27, 2012

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Amor Towles, George Pelecanos, Sapphire, Penn Jillette and Jane Gross.

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5 NPR Books Stories You Must Read This Week

Jun 27, 2012

The food's not very good at my favorite coffee shop. The couches are old. They have the impressions of other people's butts, and the occasional spring sticks through the fabric. But on warm days, the storefront windows open so you can sit half inside and half out, with the wind cooling your cappuccino. Plus, next-door is a used bookstore.

So if you're like me — and the most perfect day you can imagine is one spent on a couch in a cafe with some great reading material — NPR Books has some ideas for you. Here are the five best stories about books from the past week.

Nora Ephron brought us two of the most indelible scenes in contemporary cinema — and they're startlingly different.

There's the infamous "Silkwood shower," from the 1983 movie, with Meryl Streep as a terrified worker at a nuclear power plant, being frantically scrubbed after exposure to radiation.

Then there's the scene in which Meg Ryan drives home a point to Billy Crystal at Katz's Deli, in 1989's When Harry Met Sally. You know — the one that ends with "I'll have what she's having."

When Colum McCann came to the U.S. from Ireland in the early 1980s, he set out on a cross-country bicycle trip to get to know his new country and its stories. He's spent the years since telling those tales through prose. With his project, Story Swap, he's helping diverse communities better understand each other by sharing their own stories.



Now, we turn to the ongoing fight for civil rights for LGBT Americans. June is recognized by millions of Americans as Gay Pride Month and, for the first time ever, the Pentagon is holding a gay pride event today. It comes less than a year after the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell", the policy banning gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

Here's a clip of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's Gay Pride Month message.

Exposing the Hilarity of Gay Parenting

Jun 26, 2012



I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we recently met Lisa Dolan. She is a fashion designer and the owner of a plus-size clothing store who starred in TLC's reality program "Big Brooklyn Style." Now, she's going to tell us about the music that gets her creative juices flowing. It's our Inner Ear segment and it's coming up.

Like the music of his good friend Béla Bartók, Scottish composer Erik Chisholm's two piano concertos rely heavily on folk sources. But in Chisholm's case, the influences come from Scotland and India rather than Bartók's beloved Eastern Europe.

I grew up in a house full of poetry and the classics. Slim, gloomy volumes filled the bookshelves and piled up on the tables. My father, Robert Bly, recited anti-war poetry at the supper table; my mother, Carol Bly, preferred lugubrious Russian novelists and would counter with ethical advice gleaned from Turgenev.

America is a nation of fans. And though you might not know it by whichever forgettable pop singers are currently shooting up the Top 40 chart, we're serious about our music. "You can dispute folks' politics or theology and still drink with them," as Anthony Heilbut writes in his entertaining new essay collection, The Fan Who Knew Too Much. "But [tell me], for example ... that Bob Dylan's music is 'worthless' and, well, you're on your own." This is true.

The term "Chicago politics" gets bandied about whenever people complain about what they see as corruption and abuse of power.

Republicans often apply the concept to President Obama, who calls Chicago home. Earlier this year, presidential candidate Mitt Romney called one of the president's appointments "Chicago-style politics at its worst," and Illinois Republican Aaron Schock once described Obama's team as "the Chicago machine apparatus."

But what does that mean? And what are Chicago politics really like?