Arts

Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

'Little Birds': Spiraling Down On Broken Wings

Wayward Lily (Juno Temple) falls for Jesse (Kyle Gallner), the head of a nihilistic skater gang from Los Angeles, in Little Birds, a story suffused with deprivation and despair.
Millennium Entertainment

Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 10:46 am

The title of Elgin James' debut feature, Little Birds, refers to the two teenage girls at its center. But for all the sweetness and fragility that title suggests, one of those girls, Lily (Juno Temple), has a knack for destruction better suited to a charging rhino.

Lily, in fact, is the stuff of parents' worst nightmares about what their children might become as teenagers: sullen, willful, cruel, smart enough to know how to hurt those closest to her with a few well-chosen words but too dumb to know how to protect herself from harm.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

On A Gray 'Day,' One Last Post-Apocalyptic Stand

Trekking through a post-apocalyptic world in The Day, haggard survivors Adam (Shawn Ashmore), Mary (Ashley Bell), Shannon (Shannyn Sossamon), Rick (Dominic Monaghan) and Henson (Cory Hardrict) come upon a farmhouse that may provide much needed shelter and supplies — as well as hidden dangers.
Anchor Bay

In the post-apocalyptic film world, the tactic du jour for tipping off an audience that civilization and its inhabitants have all but kicked it seems to be simple color correction — specifically, zapping the frame of any lively hues and leaving behind a desolate palette of gray. Call it 50 shades of desaturated desperation.

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Movie Reviews
2:12 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

'Flying Swords': Fast, Furious And Now In 3-D

Yu Hua Tian (Chen Kun) and Chow Wai On (Jet Li) battle it out in Flying Swords, which translate's wuxia films' physics-defying action into 3-D.
CAO Kai Ping, Jupiter Wong, YIN Nan Indomina Releasing

A Tsui Hark movie in 3-D — not to mention the first wuxia film to be shot in the format — ought to serve up three times the spectacle of the usual Tsui affair. And damned if Flying Swords of Dragon Gate doesn't almost deliver.

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Performing Arts
12:13 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

Audra McDonald: Shaping 'Bess' On Broadway

Audra McDonald plays Bess in the current Broadway production of Porgy and Bess.
Michael J. Lutch Courtesy of the American Repertory Theater

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 1:46 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on May 15, 2012. Audra McDonald plays Bess in the opera Porgy and Bess, which closes on Broadway next month. Porgy and Bess won two Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical.

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Performing Arts
12:00 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

David Alan Grier's 'Sporting Life' On Broadway

In Porgy and Bess, David Alan Grier plays the drug dealer Sporting Life, a role closely associated with Sammy Davis Jr. and Cab Calloway.
Courtesy of the American Repertory Theater

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 12:14 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on May 22, 2012. David Alan Grier plays Sporting Life in the opera Porgy and Bess, which closes on Broadway next month. Porgy and Bess won two Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical.

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Book Reviews
8:26 am
Thu August 30, 2012

Haves And Have-Nots In 'NW' London

Zadie Smith is the author of White Teeth and On Beauty.
Dominique Nabokov Penguin Group

Some postal codes encapsulate a socioeconomic profile in tidy shorthand: 10021 for Manhattan's tony Upper East Side, NW6 and NW10 for London's racially mixed, resolutely ungentrified northwest quadrant. Zadie Smith's London birthplace — a major wellspring of her work — is the setting of NW, her ambitious though somewhat dilatory fourth novel, which tackles issues of fortune and failure, class and ethnicity, and the often guilt-inducing and sometimes blurry lines between them.

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New In Paperback
7:03 am
Thu August 30, 2012

New In Paperback Aug. 27-Sept. 2

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Bernard Cornwell, Hisham Matar, Madeline Miller, Sally Jacobs and Jim Steinmeyer

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Destination Art
3:17 am
Thu August 30, 2012

Hannibal, Mo.: Art Abounds In Twain's Hometown

Twain's boyhood home in Hannibal, pictured circa 1955, is now a museum.
Three Lions Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 5:56 am

Samuel Clemens, who is said to have taken his pen name Mark Twain from the cries of riverboat crewmen, found the inspiration for his classic works while growing up in the river town of Hannibal, Mo. Today, more than 125 years after the first pressing of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, there's a new set of artistic characters in Twain's boyhood home.

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Author Interviews
2:08 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

A Linguist's Serious Take On 'The A-Word'

Linguist Geoffrey Nunberg says he wants people to take his new book, Ascent of the A-Word, seriously.
Nicole Katano

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 2:04 pm

Linguist Geoffrey Nunberg wants people to take his new book, Ascent of the A-Word, seriously.

"I'd meet people when I was working on the book, and even academics — they'd say, 'What are you working on?' and they'd giggle. Or they'd say, 'You must have a lot of time on your hands,' " Nunberg tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Author Interviews
12:40 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

Victor LaValle On Mental Illness, Monsters And Survival

Victor LaValle is also the author of Slapboxing with Jesus, The Ecstatic and Big Machine.
E. Robateu Random House

Originally published on Wed August 29, 2012 1:58 pm

In Victor LaValle's new novel, The Devil in Silver, a man is mistakenly committed to a mental hospital where a buffalo-headed monster stalks patients at night.

The plausibility of a monster roaming the hospital's halls made sense, says LaValle, who has a personal connection to the mentally ill.

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