KEXP's session with Japanese musician Shugo Tokumaru would be charming in any language. On his albums, the young multi-instrumentalist meticulously crafts every aspect by himself, and he's reported to have used more than 100 different instruments in his recordings. Live in the studio here, he's backed by a small army of musicians who wield a colorful arsenal of tiny plastic whistles, toy xylophones, bird whistles and more. The band even brings along a clown puppet.
It's remarkable to think that Superchunk's career has spanned four decades. The North Carolina band got its start in 1989, and here it is in 2013, with a new record called I Hate Music that demonstrates an undying passion for punk-fueled story songs with catchy phrasing.
Geography is destiny in Jhumpa Lahiri's new novel, The Lowland. Her title refers to a marshy stretch of land between two ponds in a Calcutta neighborhood where two very close brothers grow up. In monsoon season, the marsh floods and the ponds combine; in summer, the floodwater evaporates. You don't need your decoder ring to figure out that the two ponds symbolize the two brothers — at times separate; at other times inseparable. But there's still more meaning lurking in this rich landscape.
Prior to filming, director Paul Greengrass kept the pirate crew and the boat crew separate to make the hijacking scenes feel more authentic. "The hair did stand up on the back of our heads," says Tom Hanks, above.
Credit Hopper Stone, SMPSP
Director Paul Greengrass says he thought the film would feel more authentic if it was all shot at sea. He had personal motivations, too: "My father was in the Merchant Marine and was at sea all his life so I wanted to explore his world," he says.
Credit Jasin Boland / Columbia Pictures Industries
Greengrass says it was important to him to find young Somali actors to play the part of the pirates. He held auditions in Minneapolis -- where there is a large Somali community -- and hundreds of actors showed up.
In April 2009, Somali pirates boarded an American-flagged container ship and took its captain, Richard Phillips, hostage on a small lifeboat. That led to a five-day drama at sea, much of it covered on television, as a U.S. Navy destroyer tailed the lifeboat and Navy SEAL sharpshooters eventually freed the captain. In 2010 Phillips wrote a memoir called A Captain's Duty and the harrowing experience has now been adapted into a film called Captain Phillips.
A woman carries a sack of food aid on her head in Ghouta, Syria, earlier this month.
A bombed-out building in Zamalka, a neighborhood in east Ghouta, Syria. The destruction seen in this picture was caused mostly by government air raids months before the Aug. 21 chemical attack on the neighborhood.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 9:46 am
The author is a Syrian citizen in Damascus who is not being further identified for safety reasons.
The boy on the bicycle wasn't old enough to have facial hair. His feet barely reached the ground as he stopped and moved, circling the soldier manning the government checkpoint in east Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus.
"Please, just one bag of bread," the boy, lips quivering, said to the soldier. "Just one."
"I told you, no. No means no, young man," the soldier replied. "No food is allowed inside." He seemed somewhat pained at having to deprive a child of food.