Arts

This Week's Must Read
6:27 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

As Zamata Joins 'SNL,' A Look At — And Beyond — The Prism Of Race

iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:19 pm

This week the long-running comedy show Saturday Night Live hired Sasheer Zamata as a new cast member. The show had come under criticism for its lack of diversity, especially its lack of black women; Zamata will be the show's first female African-American cast member in six years.

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The Salt
5:09 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

American Beer Fans, Praise The Heavens: A Trappist Brewery In U.S.

Spencer Trappist Ale, made by the first official Trappist brewery outside Europe, will go on sale next week in Massachusetts.
Nick Hiller The Spencer Brewery

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 4:27 pm

The town of Spencer, in central Massachusetts, isn't well known for ... well, anything, really. But it's about to become internationally famous — at least in beer-drinking circles.

Spencer is home to St. Joseph's Abbey, where robed monks are busy brewing the first American Trappist beer. If all goes as planned, Spencer Trappist Ale will be available in Massachusetts retail stores by the middle of next week.

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Movie Interviews
5:09 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Cate Blanchett Finds Humor In The Painfully Absurd

Laugh Riot: Blanchett, pictured here at a Hollywood screening of Blue Jasmine on Jan. 9, tells NPR's Robert Siegel that she read the film as a black comedy. It wasn't until three weeks into filming that director Woody Allen told her it was meant to be a serious drama.
Valerie Macon Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:19 pm

The actress Cate Blanchett is in the States this week; it's summer vacation time for her kids in Australia, where she and her husband are artistic directors of the Sydney Theatre Company.

It's also awards season, and Blanchett makes a compelling claim for one: She plays the title role in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, for which she's earned near-unanimous acclaim.

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Remembrances
2:48 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Remembering Activist Poet Amiri Baraka

Playwright, poet and activist LeRoi Jones on June 30, 1964. Jones later changed his name to Amiri Baraka.
AP

The influential and controversial poet, playwright and essayist Amiri Baraka, formerly known as LeRoi Jones, was one of the key black literary voices of the 1960s. The political and social views that inspired his writing changed over the years, from his bohemian days as a young man in Greenwich Village, to black nationalism and later years as a Marxist.

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Movie Reviews
1:59 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

'Invisible Woman' Charts Charles Dickens' Hidden Relationship

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 2:30 pm

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross. The new film, "The Invisible Woman," charts the hidden relationship between Charles Dickens and a young actress for whom left his wife, but who for years never showed up in biographies of Dickens. It's the second film directed by Ralph Fiennes, who also plays Dickens and features Felicity Jones as the actress, Nelly Ternan.

Film critic David Edelstein has this review.

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Monkey See
1:39 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

HBO's 'True Detective' Brings Big Stars To Tell A Brutal Tale

Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey star in HBO's series True Detective.
JIm Bridges HBO

Woody Harrelson has a simple explanation for how he handled playing the same detective over a 17-year span of time for HBO's newest foray into quality TV, True Detective.

"I just took off my wig," joked Harrelson, sporting a beard and his naturally receding hairline for a press conference here Thursday to tell a roomful of TV critics about HBO's attempt to reinvent the buddy cop story.

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The Salt
12:19 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

A Green-Movement Website Shakes Up The Debate Over GMOs

After Grist's six-month-long series on genetically modified foods, some loyal readers accused the site of changing directions in the debate.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 12:52 pm

A 26-part series on genetically modified food was not Nathanael Johnson's idea. And he didn't realize it would take six months, either.

Last year, Johnson was hired as the new food writer for Grist, a website for environmental news and opinion. Grist's editor, Scott Rosenberg, was waiting with an assignment: Dig into the controversy over GMOs.

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Monkey See
11:30 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: In One Year And Out The Other

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

Every year at this time, we at Pop Culture Happy Hour sit down to make some resolutions and predictions for the coming year. And, of course, we engage in the sometimes painful exercise of seeing how last year's resolutions and predictions turned out.

Well.

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The Two-Way
7:53 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Book News: Will Your Book Sell? There's An Algorithm For That

The study "reveals an intriguing and unexpected observation on the connection between readability and the literary success — that they correlate into the opposite directions."
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 8:38 am

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

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StoryCorps
3:02 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Spalding Gray's Family Remembers A Man Who Was 'Never Boring'

Kathleen Russo (right) and daughter Marissa Maier visited StoryCorps to remember Russo's late husband, writer Spalding Gray.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 12:45 pm

It's been 10 years since the writer and monologist Spalding Gray went missing from his home in New York. Two months later, his body was found in the East River in an apparent suicide.

The day he disappeared, his wife, Kathleen Russo, was leaving for work when Gray told her, "OK, goodbye, Honey."

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