Alexander Payne directed and co-wrote the films Election, About Schmidt, Sideways and The Descendants. He's directed Jack Nicholson and George Clooney in starring roles and has won two Oscars for best adapted screenplay.
After a brief career on Wall Street, veteran designer B Michael followed his calling to the world of fashion. He got his start as a millinery designer for the '80s soap opera Dynasty. Soon after, he began designing couture gowns leading him to work with an extensive client list that includes Cicely Tyson, Angela Basset, Lena Horne, Whitney Houston, and Cate Blanchett — to name a few.
After spending decades in the business B Michael says, "Every successful story will tell you they've had to reinvent themselves."
It's movie-binge time — that month-long surge of Oscar hopefuls and would-be blockbusters Hollywood always winds up the year with. On All Things Considered, I talked about some of the big tent-pole pictures: Anchorman 2, The Wolf of Wall Street, the second Hobbit installment and so on.
But here, let's winnow the list down a bit to three films you might want to keep an eye out for if you're intrigued by the artistic process — how artists think and work.
Jon Taffer is the king of the bar business. Over the past three decades, he has managed dozens of bars and nightclubs, and is a consultant for bar owners all over the country.
Most recently, he has put his expertise to use as the host of the popular reality show Bar Rescue. Bar and nightclub owners with failing businesses ask Taffer for his help. In return, Taffer brings a team of bartenders, chefs and designers with him to revamp every part of the operation. On the show, as in person, Taffer is a tough, no-nonsense guy.
A native of Yorkshire, England, Nicola Griffith was a self-defense instructor until a multiple sclerosis diagnosis led her to a career in writing. Her most recent novel is <a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/11/14/240301047/with-nuanced-beauty-hild-destroys-myths-of-medieval-womanhood">Hild</a>.
When I saw that the actress Anjelica Huston had written a memoir, I thought, "Oh, good, I'll read that." I assumed it would be filled with wild stories from '70s and '80s Hollywood and her relationship with Jack Nicholson. What it was like to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. General movie-star debauchery, carried out in the wedge shoes and oversized sunglasses of that era.
In addition to Hodgman's work on <em>Judge John Hodgman</em>, he has contributed pieces toÂ <em>This American LifeÂ </em>andÂ <em>Wiretap</em>. His most recent book,Â <em>That Is All</em>, was published in 2011.
Credit Brantley Gutierrez / Courtesy of Maximum Fun
John Hodgman, left, presides over a live taping of the <em>Judge John Hodgman</em> podcast, as Jesse Thorn looks on.
Credit Liezl Estipona / Courtesy of Maximum Fun
Jesse Thorn plays the bailiff on <em>Judge John Hodgman.</em> "I'm the guy who hosts the <em>People's Court</em> who's not Judge Wapner," says Thorn, "And I'm also sort of Roz from <em>Night Court</em>."
A group of people inspired by a book on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy are creating theater around the idea that his death could have been part of a conspiracy. And the questions don't stop there.