David Sheff wrote a book in 2008 that became a kind of landmark. Beautiful Boy was a painful, personal story of the battle he tried to fight with and alongside his son, Nic, who was addicted to methamphetamines. The book became an international best-seller and made David Sheff one of the country's most prominent voices on addiction — not as a doctor, an addict or an academic expert, but as a father.
Debbie Reynolds has been in show business for more than 60 years — beginning as an ingenue chirping a novelty tune called "Aba Daba Honeymoon" in one of her first films, a Jane Powell/Ricardo Montalban vehicle called Two Weeks With Love. That was 1950. Today, she's indisputably a grand dame of show business, working with names like Matt Damon and Michael Douglas.
How do you play a character who's been depicted more than nearly any other character in all of Western civilization?
That's the challenge currently facing Irish actress Fiona Shaw, who in the past has played such well-known fictional characters as Harry Potter's Petunia Dursley and Marnie Stonebrook on HBO's True Blood -- not to mention titanic classical roles from Euripides' Medea to Shakespeare's Richard II.
The year is 1915. A beautiful young woman bicycling through sun-dappled woods passes under an effigy of a German soldier and seems entirely unfazed. World War I is raging elsewhere in Europe, but here on the French Riviera life is serene.
The cyclist, Andree, is on her way to pose for an elderly Impressionist painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Michel Bouquet), whom she somewhat startles by claiming to be an artist herself.
There might be a prettier voice in the world than Aaron Neville's, but if there is, it belongs to a bird, and there's no way that bird looks as good in a leather jacket. Neville has sung duets with Aretha Franklin, has a bridge in India named after him, and has had his voice prescribed by British social workers to help people with depression. He has a new album called My True Story.
A New York landmark of sorts is in danger of being wiped off the map. The building now known as Broken Angel was an ordinary 19th-century brick structure until self-taught artist and sculptor Arthur Wood started building on top of it in the late 1970s. Now Wood faces eviction from his own masterpiece — a towering structure that looks like a cathedral built out of salvaged junk.
Writer-director Quentin Dupieux's last film came with its own viewing guide, a warning in the form of a to-the-camera prologue given by a flippant floppy-haired police officer: "All great films, without exception, contain an important element of no reason."
The cop's argument is too sweeping, and its examples too transparently nonsensical, to be taken seriously: Why is E.T. brown? For no reason. Why did the guy in The Pianist have to hide? For no reason!
Traditional Passover and Easter food is sacred to some. But for observers looking for something different than the same-old lamb or gefilte fish, chef Pati Jinich has some ideas to spice up your holiday table.
She's the author of a new cookbook, Pati's Mexican Table, and has a PBS show by the same name.
On this week's show, Glen and I are joined not only by our producer Jess Gitner, but also by a new face for PCHH: NPR Books editor Petra Mayer, whom you may very well know as much of the voice of our books team on social media.
Before Easter, hear five powerful and diverse musical portrayals of Jesus' last days and crucifixion, from Bach's monumental St. Matthew to Golijov's brilliant Latin American mashup to a dark and terrifying Russian vision from Sofia Gubaidulina.