In 1942, the legendary actor John Barrymore prowled the stage of an empty Broadway theater to prepare for an audition. He wanted to revive his first great performance as Richard III, but that night, Barrymore also opened the traveling trunk of his overstuffed, fabulous and troubled life.
Christopher Plummer won the Tony Award for best actor for his performance of this lion of the stage. Now, he's committed that performance to film.
Watching Mary Tyler Moore while he was growing up, city planner Jeff Speck saw a different view of urbanity. It stood out amongst the crime-ridden urban settings of other favorite TV series.
Millenials, Speck says, have an even broader vision of what city life means, thanks in part to Seinfeld, Friends and Sex and the City.The neighborhood coffee shops and carless characters show viewers a "walkable" city.
Randy Sprecher came to Milwaukee years ago to make beer for one of the big breweries. But he didn't like the beer he was making so he founded his own brewery ... and now, his friends keep showing up at his door all the time with lame excuses.
We've invited Sprecher to answer three questions about Carrie Nation, the famously violent prohibitionist.
Brussels sprouts — long relegated to the bottom of the culinary barrel alongside lima beans, liver and the occasional fruitcake — have enjoyed a renaissance in recent years.
But there's an enduring reason so many have wrinkled their noses at this Thanksgiving meal staple: They smell. Like broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables, Brussels sprouts are rich in hydrogen sulfide gas. When cooked, those stinky gases escape, offering a less-than-warm welcome to Thanksgiving meal guests.
Kathie Lee Gifford has had several careers - as a television personality, a singer and an actress. Now, she's added another credit to her resume. Last night, a musical she wrote opened on Broadway. It's called "Scandalous," and it's about the flamboyant controversial evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson. Jeff Lunden tells us more.
JEFF LUNDEN, BYLINE: In the 1930s, several years after her ministry was rocked by scandal, Aimee Semple McPherson brought her crusade to Broadway.
The best thing about David O. Russell is that he cultivates his disequilibrium. In Silver Linings Playbook, his hero is disturbed and his heroine possibly more so, and his other characters have a grip on reality that is only marginally more secure. Russell might have made them seem the dreaded "q" word — quirky — and OK, he does, a bit, at the end, which broadly conforms to the rom-com template. But until then, Bradley Cooper's Pat Solatano is someone you'd be less likely to dream about than get a restraining order against.
It's the sort of juxtaposition that often arises at this time of year: novel adaptations arriving in droves at movie theaters, hunting for Oscar nominations.
J.R.R. Tolkien's fantastical The Hobbit and Yann Martel's lifeboat adventure Life of Pi are coming soon, and this week Leo Tolstoy's romantic tragedy Anna Karenina goes head to head with Matthew Quick's romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook.
This interview was originally broadcast on Fresh Air on March 26, 2012. When God Talks Back was released in paperback on Nov. 13.
While attending services and small group meetings at The Vineyard, an evangelical church with 600 branches across the country, anthropologist T.M. Luhrmann noticed that several members of the congregation said God had repeatedly spoken to them and that they had heard what God wanted them to do.
It's Thanksgiving time again, and while we're very sad to be without our pal Glen Weldon this week, we're happy to be joined by the lovely Barrie Hardymon.
We start with a discussion of Thanksgiving and pop culture — and, more specifically, why there's not as much Thanksgiving-themed pop culture as you might think, particularly compared to Christmas. We explore the turkey episodes of Friends and other comedies, but talk a little about the surprising dearth of Thanksgiving movies.
At the beginning of What About Dick?, a stage performance released this week as a digital download, writer/performer Eric Idle announces that the audience will be witnessing "Aural Cinema." The story — a tangential, broadly comic yarn involving the decline of the British Empire and "the birth of a sex toy invented in Shagistan in 1898" — is to be performed in the style of a radio play, with the actors (Russell Brand, Eddie Izzard, Billy Connolly, Tim Curry and Tracey Ullman, to name five) reading their parts from scripts into
Lynne Rossetto Kasper's The Splendid Table is a show for people who love to eat. Every week, on many public radio stations, Lynne and guests give recipes, history lessons and background on various edibles. And on Thanksgiving Day, she does a live two-hour call-in show, helping listeners with the Big Meal. Sometimes Lynne gets desperate callers — but she seems able to calm them down.
"We save just about anything," Kasper says. "I'm not saying it's always the greatest save, but we give it a shot"
Leo Tolstoy's epic novel Anna Karenina has captivated readers since the 1800s — and movie directors have been among the intrigued, adapting the story over and over.
The latest is from director Joe Wright, who with Pride and Prejudice and Atonement to his credit certainly knows his way around a literary adaptation. Those films starred Keira Knightley, who has worked with Wright once again as the story's tragic heroine.
Karenin (Jude Law) tries to rein in his wife, Anna (Keira Knightley), as she pursues a flirtation and then an affair with a handsome young military officer in a new adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's iconic love story.
Credit Laurie Sparham / Focus Features
Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is a cavalry officer who ignores 19th century Russian social norms to pursue a married woman.
After he'd finished reading Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, did director Joe Wright scribble on the last page, "Needs more pep?"
Wright is, after all, the man who put the cute little ampersand in Pride & Prejudice and gave us a giggly Lizzie Bennet rendered by Keira Knightley. Knightley is back again in the title role as the Russian chick who loves and loses and throws herself under a train.
When Parker Posey was crowned "queen of the indies" in the mid-to-late '90s, the title referred to her Sundance-dominating ubiquity. But it could just as well have applied to the Parker Posey type — powerful and wonderfully imperious, with a habit of cutting her underlings down to size.
That's the Posey who turns up in Michael Walker's tense comedy Price Check, where she plays a relentless corporate climber who shakes up a sleepy regional office. She inspires. She terrorizes. Whatever it takes to get the job done.
The titular altar boys would probably enjoy Funeral Kings. The first feature from sibling filmmakers Kevin and Matthew McManus has most everything the average adolescent boy wants: swearing, smoking, swearing, gun violence, swearing and cute girls. And swearing.
It's no secret that, in many parts of the world, children don't experience what affluent Westerners would term "childhood." Still, even the most hardened documentary buffs may be dumbfounded by Buffalo Girls, a look at two 8-year-old Thai girls who support their respective families.
They do so by hitting each other in the head.
Stam and Pet compete in Muay Thai, a form of boxing in which kicking as well as punching is allowed. As depicted in fictional action movies, Muay Thai is both graceful and brutal. Practiced by 8-year-olds, it's neither.
If David O. Russell pulls anything off in Silver Linings Playbook -- an almost-comedy about a bipolar high-school teacher who goes off the deep end and isn't sure how to climb back — it's this: He refuses to make mental illness adorable.
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God documents the claims made by four deaf men who accused a Catholic priest of sexual abuse — and in chronicling the response of the church, details the role the current pope played in such scandals earlier in his career.
By the time Father Lawrence Murphy died in 1998, it's alleged, he had sexually abused more than 200 children. Many of them must have seemed ideal victims: Students at St. John's School for the Deaf in Milwaukee between 1950 and 1974, they possessed limited ability to communicate with others. Commonly in that period, the boarding school's pupils had hearing parents who didn't know American Sign Language.
It seems that every time you turn around, you find another anniversary of some big cultural or historical event. I'm weary of the media's habit of playing all these things up, so I'm abashed to admit I'm about to do just that.
But you see, in the same three-day period I recently saw the new James Bond picture, Skyfall, and Crossfire Hurricane, a new HBO documentary about The Rolling Stones. And because the Bond movies and the Stones both turn 50 this year, I began thinking about how they might fit together.
Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 5:55 pm
My first thought when I saw Jade Doskow's photo series was: "Wait, are we still doing world's fairs?"
I mean, I guess I kind of knew the answer, since they happen pretty much every year. But still, I never really think about it. And Doskow wasn't surprised; there's been a waning interest practically since World War I.
More than a dozen short-story collections since Canada's Alice Munro published her first book, and she now seems as much an institution as any living writer. We count on her for a particular variety of short story, the sort that gives us so much life within the bounds of a single tale that it nourishes us almost as much as a novel does.
Journalist Katherine Boo won this year's National Book Award for Behind The Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death And Hope In A Mumbai Undercity. She talks with host Michel Martin about the award, and the story behind her book.
The National Book Awards announced Wednesday night honored both longtime writers and new authors, from Louise Erdrich who won for her novel The Round House to Katherine Boo, who was honored for her debut nonfiction work, Behind the Beautiful Forevers.
Erdrich has been a highly regarded author for nearly 30 years. She'd been a finalist twice before but said being honored is "all the more meaningful when you're older ... because you don't know if your years of writing at your very best are behind you."
Think Mom's same old Thanksgiving mashed potatoes are boring? Jejune? Predictable?
Debbie Lee's are anything but. And they all started with a happy accident.
Lee is the owner and operator of the Los Angeles-based Korean-American restaurant Ahn Joo, and the author of Seoultown Kitchen: Korean Pub Grub To Share With Family And Friends. While Korean by heritage, Lee didn't grow up eating traditional Korean foods.
In 2009, Susannah Cahalan was a healthy 24-year-old reporter for the New York Post, when she began to experience numbness, paranoia, sensitivity to light and erratic behavior. Grasping for an answer, Cahalan asked herself as it was happening, "Am I just bad at my job — is that why? Is the pressure of it getting to me? Is it a new relationship?"
But Cahalan only got worse — she began to experience seizures, hallucinations, increasingly psychotic behavior and even catatonia. Her symptoms frightened family members and baffled a series of doctors.
Ian McEwan's Sweet Tooth is that oddest of literary achievements: an ingenious novel that I compulsively read, intellectually admired and increasingly hated. By the time I got to McEwan's last sneer of a plot twist, I felt that reading Sweet Tooth is the closest I ever want to come to the experience of watching a snuff film. Think that's harsh? Open up Sweet Tooth and find out what McEwan thinks of you, Dear Reader, particularly if you're a woman, as most readers of fiction are.
Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 10:01 am
Over five million people in the U.S. claim some form of Native American identity, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. As part of Tell Me More's series on Native American Heritage Month, host Michel Martin speaks with author Anton Treuer about America's first people and how they're reflected in pop culture.