The Olympic motto - Faster, Higher, Stronger - has always applied to an ideal: a young, supremely fit athlete, performing wondrous tasks. The motto means something different for athletes over 50. Thousands of them are in Cleveland for the National Senior Games. These games may be lacking in youth and buff physiques, but NPR's Tom Goldman reports the event still has great significance for those are competing and watching.
Cities sitting nervously on the edge of wars have a tendency to change very quickly. Take Pakistan's capital, for example. But some things never change, like an unexpectedly delicious Chinese restaurant.
Verlyn Klinkenborg's essays about life on his farm in upstate New York have run in The New York Times since 1997. With a long family history of farming, his agricultural roots run deep into the soil.
"All of my aunts and uncles farmed; all of my cousins still farm," he says. "The home farm where my dad was raised has been in my family since the early teens, and ... following the track of modern agriculture, has changed its character hugely over time. But it's still in the family."
Wallace Shawn (from left), Larry Pine and Deborah Eisenberg make up the cast of <em>The Designated Mourner</em>. Written by Shawn and directed by Andre Gregory, the Public Theater show is a product of one of the longest collaborations in the history of the American theater.
Credit Joan Marcus / Courtesy The Public Theater
Wallace Shawn wrote the plays <em>The Designated Mourner</em> and <em>Grasses of a Thousand Colors.</em> He also co-wrote and co-starred in <em>My Dinner with Andre.</em>
Credit Reed Saxon / AP
Wallace Shawn (bottom) appeared alongside Mandy Patinkin and Andre the Giant (top) in the 1987 cult classic <em>The Princess Bride</em>.
Wallace Shawn is famous for his career as an actor, but over the past four decades he has written a handful of plays that are intellectually demanding and rarely produced. His characters tell stories in monologues, rather than acting them out onstage, and they use cascades of words to make dizzying arguments.
His work is being showcased at New York's Public Theater this season. A revival of The Designated Mourner opened July 21 and the American premier of another Shawn play, Grasses of a Thousand Colors, will open this fall.
Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 12:11 pm
Anthony Marra is the author of A Constellation Of Vital Phenomena.
Ditie, the narrator of Bohumil Hrabal's transcendent novel, I Served the King of England, is described in the jacket copy as "a hugely ambitious but simple waiter in a deluxe Prague hotel." I first crossed paths with him when I, myself, was working as a night porter in a deluxe Edinburgh hotel.
As a black, female artist in the 1960s, Ringgold says there were "a lot of people trying to get in my way and keep me from doing what I was doing." Above, a 1965 self portrait.
Credit Jim Frank / On loan from Elizabeth A. Sackler
In 1963, Faith Ringgold began a series of 20 paintings called "The American People." She she wanted to create images that would make people really <em>look.</em> "The more they look, the more they see," she says. Above,<em> #18: The Flag Is Bleeding,</em> 1967, oil on canvas.
Credit Courtesy Faith Ringgold and ACA Galleries, New York
"It was what was going on in America and I wanted [viewers] to look at these paintings and see themselves," Ringgold says. Above, <em>American People Series #20: Die,</em> 1967, oil on canvas.
Credit Courtesy Faith Ringgold and ACA Galleries, New York
"People like stories," says Faith Ringgold. "I think I ... struck on a combination of imagery and politics that worked."
Artist Faith Ringgold is best known for what she calls her story quilts — large canvases made in the 1980s, on which she painted scenes of African-American life: sunbathing on a tar roof, a mother and her children, a quilting bee. She frames the canvases in strips of quilted fabric, carrying out an old African, and African-American quilt-making tradition.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington is showing an earlier aspect of Ringgold's art: big, strong, vivid paintings from the 1960s that reflect the violence and social upheaval of that time.
On-air challenge: This puzzle is supersonic. Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name that has the consecutive letters S-S-T. Specifically, the first word will end in S-S, and the second word will start with T. For example, given, "A situation in which people speak on top of each other," you would say, "cross talk."
Jenni Fagan was born in Livingston, Scotland. Earlier this year, she was <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/04/15/177360576/grantas-best-of-young-british-novelists-shows-a-disunited-kingdom">recognized</a> on <em>Granta</em>'s Best of Young British Novelists issue.
During the 19th century, a panopticon was a prison or asylum with an all-seeing eye. Some of the C-shaped prisons with central watchtowers still stand in the U.S. and Europe.
Jenni Fagan's new book borrows the panopticon idea as the setting for a gritty, often poetic, novel. The story is based loosely on Fagan's own experience growing up in the Scottish foster care system for 16 years.
It's summertime, and on weekend nights all across the country, that means demolition derby time - cars bashing cars for the pure thrill of it. Charles Lane from member station WSHU recently went to a demo on New York's Long Island, the legendary home of the demolition derby. He brought back this audio postcard.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Fire it up (unintelligible).
CHARLES LANE, BYLINE: A white four-door Chevy Impala. It's got graffiti writing down the side that says Misery Machine, and it's number 86.
Here's a great piece of travel writing, storytelling, mythmaking and hero worship — all rolled into one book with a near record-breakingly long title. It's by magazine writer Michael Paterniti of GQ, and it's called The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese.