Arts & Life

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Alfre Woodard has been a familiar face on television over the course of her three-decade career. She was up for an Emmy Award on Sunday for her role in the Lifetime remake of Steel Magnolias. She didn't win that one, but she still has on her mantle previous Emmys for programs like The Practice and L.A. Law. Woodard is also a powerful presence on the big screen, as evidenced by her Oscar nomination for the 1983 film Cross Creek and roles in acclaimed features like Primal Fear and Love & Basketball.

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Bee-Holder

Sep 23, 2013

For a lot of people, the sight of a bee or wasp is enough to elicit some kind of visceral reaction. But a bee at 1:1 magnification becomes something a little more awe-inspiring.

"We know the average American reaction to insects," says Sam Droege, head of the U.S. Geological Survey Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab. But, he says, "At this scale, none of them are ugly."

Awards shows aren't easy. That's partly because they're fundamentally unsympathetic affairs in which rich pretty people give each other trophies, and partly because there are only a few real things on which they can be judged: the opening by the host, the montages and features, the speeches, the assorted intangibles and — oh, right — who wins.

By almost any of these measures, Sunday night's Emmy Awards were not only merely bad but really most sincerely bad, or at best (particularly in the case of winners) a bag that's very much mixed.

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

Jhumpa Lahiri's new book has been nominated for the National Book Award and shortlisted for the Man Booker prize. It's an ambitious undertaking, spanning decades and continents as the author tells the story of three generations of a family in Calcutta and Rhode Island.

The story opens with brothers Udayan and Subhash sneaking into an exclusive golf club near their home in Calcutta. Udayan, the younger brother, is bold and daring; Subhash tags along, timid but unwilling to let his brother take such a risk alone.

*Some of the language in the summaries above has been provided by publishers.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

I don't know about you, but I'm a little troubled when I hear about people who watch multiple screens. You know what I'm talking about. Maybe you're watching a movie at home while live tweeting, or while keeping track at a ballgame. At least movie theaters are a sacred space, immune to these changes.

Small-Screen Stars Honored At Emmy Awards

Sep 23, 2013

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The stars of the small screen strode down the red carpet last night, to attend the Emmy Awards.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

"How I Met Your Mother" star Neil Patrick Harris was the host. Here's how we met him.

(SOUNDBITE OF EMMY AWARDS BROADCAST)

NEIL PATRICK HARRIS: Welcome to the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards. Tonight we celebrate the best of television. For our younger audience, that's the thing you watch on your phones.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHTER)

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Formula One racing is having its moment on American movie screens. The documentary "Senna" was a hit a few years back, and now "Rush" is in theaters. Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan has this review.

Earlier this month, Jhumpa Lahiri rejected the idea of immigrant fiction. "I don't know what to make of the term," she told The New York Times. "All American fiction could be classified as immigrant fiction."

Sure, Bob Newhart may have won his first Emmy for guest-starring as Professor Proton on the hugely popular show The Big Bang Theory, about four young scientists at Caltech. But behind the scenes is a real-life professor, David Saltzberg of UCLA.

Saltzberg studies high-energy particle physics and high-energy neutrino astronomy, using radio-detection techniques when he's not working as The Big Bang Theory's science consultant.

Every year, the trade magazine Drinks International puts out a list of the top-selling alcohols in the world, and in the category of spirits, there is one brand that more than doubles the sales of its closest competitor every year. Smirnoff, Jack Daniel's and Bacardi don't even come close.

When the comedy program Mr. Show with Bob and David came on the air in 1995, there was nothing like it. Created by comedians Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, it was full of dark, subversive and riotously funny sketches tied together with bizarre and brilliant segues reminiscent of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

In March of 1977, a 13-year-old aspiring actress scored what she thought would be her big break: a magazine photo shoot with a famous movie director. What happened that day made headlines around the world: Director Roman Polanski, then 43, gave Samantha Gailey a hefty helping of champagne and Quaaludes, then raped her.

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

Being a professional football player can be a brutal life. Nate Jackson spent six years in the NFL, mostly as a receiver with the Denver Broncos, and while he wasn't a star — or even a starter — he did carve out life in the rarefied air of professional sports, and he got just as banged up as any big-name player. But he learned to play through the pain.

Play The Blame Game

Sep 22, 2013

On-air challenge: You will be given two words. Think of a third word that can follow each to complete a familiar two-word phrase. The third word will rhyme with one of the given words. For example, given "blame" and "board," you would say "game," as in "blame game" and "board game."

In Ed Ruscha's Work, A City Sits For Its Portrait

Sep 22, 2013

For a seminal work of art, Twentysix Gasoline Stations doesn't look like much. It's a small, thin paperback book resembling an old industrial manual — just 26 black-and-white photos of gas stations that Los Angeles artist Ed Ruscha self-published 50 years ago, when he was 26.

"If I showed the book to somebody who worked in a gas station, they might be genuinely interested in it, saying, 'Oh yeah, I remember that place out on the highway.' "

As Banned Books Week begins, it's a good time to examine one genre that frequently falls afoul of censors: romance.

'Wadjda' Director: 'It Is Time To Open Up'

Sep 22, 2013

Wadjda, being touted as the first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia — a country with no movie theaters and a relationship with cinema that's complicated at best — tells the story of a defiant 10-year-old pushing back against the social expectations that define her life as a young Saudi woman.

Wadjda's source of independence comes in the form of a green bicycle she wants to buy for herself. But girls in Saudi Arabia don't ride bicycles, so she has to be creative.

It might seem like the only TV serious viewers are paying attention to right now is Breaking Bad, but on Sunday night, just as Walter White's penultimate episode is unfolding on AMC, we'll be finding out over on CBS whether his show, his portrayer Bryan Cranston, or other personnel will be taking home Primetime Emmy Awards.

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ARUN RATH, HOST:

From NPR West, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Arun Rath.

It's one of the monuments of American literature, Herman Melville's "Moby Dick." The Los Angeles library system posed a challenge to Twitter followers recently. Send us your best 140-character summary of the novel. Among the responses they received: Epic pale whale fail, Ishmael goes fishing with Ahab who has male fish issues and: We're going to need a bigger metaphor. Those three were submitted by comedian Patton Oswalt.

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

JENNIFER LUDDEN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Jennifer Ludden.

The motion picture Blue Caprice seems to be about a boy who's been abandoned by his mother and aches for a father. He meets a man who can no longer see his own children, and who longs for a son. They find each other — but what follows is anything but a happy ending.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. This week, an art dealer named Glafira Rosales pleaded guilty to wire fraud, money laundering and tax evasion after she admitted that she sold paintings that she claimed were by Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning to a couple of Manhattan galleries.

They were actually painted by an artist living in Queens. Those paintings sold for $80 million. I'm joined now from New York by Jerry Saltz, senior art critic for New York magazine. Thanks very much for being with us.

Koren Zailckas' latest book is the novel Mother, Mother.

The fourth grade blessed me with "the cool teacher." I've long since forgotten his name, but I haven't forgotten the sound of him tearing into the teacher's parking lot every day on his Harley Davidson. In memory, Mr. Cool towered over me at six-foot-something, his death-metal hair offset by a wiry goatee, his Air Jordans a bright counterpoint to his spider web tie.

From Norvelt to Nowhere is a book that begins in the shadow of nuclear annihilation, during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. The first few paragraphs also disclose that nine elderly women in the town of Norvelt are dead by poison.

Did we mention it's a kids' book, too?

There's a certain kind of joy in breaking the overnight fast by biting into a bagel: crackling crust, chewy center, smooth and silky cream cheese, sharp smoked salmon. For some, capers and onions join the ritual.

But just who invented this breakfast staple, which has become as American as apple pie?

Jeff Garlin is a Chicago-born comedian who became well-known playing Larry David's manager on Curb Your Enthusiasm. He's got a new sitcom on ABC called The Goldbergs and a new film, Dealin' with Idiots, which he wrote, directed and stars in.

When somebody enters a 12-step program to deal with addiction, it's meant to be an all-encompassing, life-changing process — and one we don't always hear about.

But in Stuart Blumberg's romantic comedy Thanks for Sharing, which hits theaters this weekend, the 12-step program is front and center. In this case it's for people struggling day to day with sex addiction, forging bonds with their fellow addicts and sponsors.

Brazil is known for its music and distinctive dances, not necessarily for its paintings or photography. But that is changing. Not only are Brazilian artists now getting big play in major museums around the world, but something new is happening inside Brazil: There's a burgeoning appetite for art.

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