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Susan Stamberg

Nationally renowned broadcast journalist Susan Stamberg is a special correspondent for NPR.

Stamberg is the first woman to anchor a national nightly news program, and has won every major award in broadcasting. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame and the Radio Hall of Fame. An NPR "founding mother," Stamberg has been on staff since the network began in 1971.

Beginning in 1972, Stamberg served as co-host of NPR's award-winning newsmagazine All Things Considered for 14 years. She then hosted Weekend Edition Sunday, and now reports on cultural issues for Morning Edition and Weekend Edition Saturday.

One of the most popular broadcasters in public radio, Stamberg is well known for her conversational style, intelligence, and knack for finding an interesting story. Her interviewing has been called "fresh," "friendly, down-to-earth," and (by novelist E.L. Doctorow) "the closest thing to an enlightened humanist on the radio." Her thousands of interviews include conversations with Laura Bush, Billy Crystal, Rosa Parks, Dave Brubeck, and Luciano Pavarotti.

Prior to joining NPR, she served as producer, program director, and general manager of NPR Member Station WAMU-FM/Washington, DC. Stamberg is the author of two books, and co-editor of a third. Talk: NPR's Susan Stamberg Considers All Things, chronicles her two decades with NPR. Her first book, Every Night at Five: Susan Stamberg's All Things Considered Book, was published in 1982 by Pantheon. Stamberg also co-edited The Wedding Cake in the Middle of the Road, published in 1992 by W. W. Norton. That collection grew out of a series of stories Stamberg commissioned for Weekend Edition Sunday.

In addition to her Hall of Fame inductions, other recognitions include the Armstrong and duPont Awards, the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Ohio State University's Golden Anniversary Director's Award, and the Distinguished Broadcaster Award from the American Women in Radio and Television.

A native of New York City, Stamberg earned a bachelor's degree from Barnard College, and has been awarded numerous honorary degrees including a Doctor of Humane Letters from Dartmouth College. She is a Fellow of Silliman College, Yale University, and has served on the boards of the PEN/Faulkner Fiction Award Foundation and the National Arts Journalism Program based at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Stamberg has hosted a number of series on PBS, moderated three Fred Rogers television specials for adults, served as commentator, guest or co-host on various commercial TV programs, and appeared as a narrator in performance with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra. Her voice appeared on Broadway in the Wendy Wasserstein play An American Daughter.

Her late husband Louis Stamberg had his career with the State Department's agency for international development. Her son, Josh Stamberg, an actor, appears in various television series, films, and plays.

In the Old Normal, you bought a new shirt, wore it to work and people noticed. "Oh, new blouse!" Or, "Mmmm, new shirt." These Now Normal pandemic days, working at home means wearing the same thing (in my case an old T-shirt and ancient huge blue shorts that are fitting better day after imprisonment day). The only thing people comment on when you go out — if you go out — is your face mask. And if the comment is positive, they can't even see you smile.

Dwight David Eisenhower was one of the towering figures of the 20th century: A five-star general, he led the D-Day invasion and helped defeat the Nazis. A two-term president, he brought stability to postwar America.

Since his death in 1969, memories of the man called Ike have faded. But this week, the dedication of an Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C., will bring him vividly back to mind.

This memorial is not like any other presidential monument in Washington. No sky-piercing white obelisk (George Washington), no massive, looming statue (Abraham Lincoln.)

I begged her. But Ann Hoenigswald was resolute. The National Gallery of Art's Senior Conservator of Paintings (now retired) is a dedicated museum professional. Also she knew I'd blab it to everyone. So, firmly and very sweetly, she smiled and said, "No."

A guy in his 30s, handsome behind his mask (this is pre-pandemic), carries a chisel, drills, jigsaws, sometimes explosives, and walks up to a dilapidated wall. Looks like trouble. What's going on? Is he on a march toward destruction? Yup. Sorta. About to create graffiti? Nope. Make something beautiful? Yup.

I'm a New Yorker. Trees in Manhattan grow with little metal fences around their bottoms. So I didn't learn about lying under trees until I had a backyard in Washington, D.C. That delay surely stunted my growth. But this tree, at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Neb., has recuperative powers for anything that ails you.

Click the video below and watch what happens when the tree moves. (Just watch. Turn off the sound. I'll tell you what the curator says after you ... just ... look.)

I'm a little uncomfortable about this essay. Texas is surging with COVID-19, and I'm transfixed by a painting at the Dallas Museum of Art. But if, like me, you crave something beautiful right now, then perhaps this will help.

It's a painting wrapped in politics, romance and mystery. The Dallas Museum of Art (closed now, but with online offerings that exhibit its treasures) is making this picture the centerpiece of a show called "Flores Mexicanas: Women in Modern Mexican Art."

Sometimes it's good to be irrelevant. Too much relevance can get you down. Especially in these days of virus, economic pressures, racial discord. We need a break. In that spirit I offer something that has nothing — and as you'll see everything — to do with our turmoiled lives and times:

It's raining statues all across America. Artworks that have stood in public places for generations are being defaced or deposed, destroyed or relocated, as Americans confront attitudes on race and stereotyping.

Just after Sept. 11, I went to my favorite Washington, D.C., museum — The Phillips Collection — to look at still lifes. The one I remember best was a small oil by Édouard Manet, painted as he was dying. Peonies. So richly textured you could almost smell the flowers.

For Los Angeles sculptor Alison Saar, art came from both sides of the family. Her mother, Betye Saar, 93, is a well-known artist. Her father, Richard Saar, was a conservator and ceramicist. The sculptures and prints Saar makes echo themes her mother has touched for decades. Betye Saar's collages reflect the anger of the civil rights generation; her daughter builds on that history.

German sculptor Katharina Fritsch has a thing for roosters. She's responsible for the giant blue one perched atop the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., overlooking Constitution Avenue. "It brings joy, you know, to the capital," she says.

Why roosters? They intrigue her; she finds them interesting and sociable. "They have a language — they have 30 sounds for food," she explains.

Between 1871 and 1914, Paris enjoyed a long stretch without war. "It was a special moment — a particularly joyful and exuberant moment in Parisian history," says Emily Talbot. She's the curator of a new exhibition at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, Calif., all about Paris' Belle Époque — or beautiful era.

Years ago, when artist John Sonsini began approaching Spanish-speaking day laborers in Los Angeles to ask if he could paint their portraits, he had some communication problems. "My Spanish was so poor," Sonsini admits.

First, he was introducing himself as an artista, a word that many Spanish speakers associate with a singer or dancer. But when he switched to pintor that didn't necessarily clear up the confusion — the men thought this professorial-looking, Italian-American with a salt-and-pepper beard was offering them a job painting houses.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

In his last years, as he was dying of complications from syphilis, artist Édouard Manet was in agonizing pain — but you'd never know it from his art. As he neared the end (he died at just 51) Manet was painting exquisite flower bouquets and vibrant portraits — vigorous, life-affirming canvases. The J. Paul Getty Museum recently collected paintings from the end of Manet's life in their exhibition Manet and Modern Beauty.

It isn't hard to imagine yourself inside an Edward Hopper painting — having a coffee at a late-night diner, or staring out the bedroom window at the bright morning sun.

Hanukkah Lights 2019

Dec 22, 2019

Hanukkah is a time to share light, miracles and faith. We discover new insights and heartwarming tales to share with those nearest and dearest to us.

Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz read original stories from authors Dvora Zipkin, Temim Fruchter, Ellen Orleans and David Ebenbach. Listen to the full special above or hear individual stories below.


For decades, I've managed to sneak my family's controversial, Pepto-Bismol-pink cranberry relish recipe onto the air, and 2019 will be no exception. This year I went straight to the source: Bobby J. Chacko, President and CEO of Ocean Spray.

To start off, I want to know: Has he ever stood in a bog? "Absolutely," he answers. "It's one of the most exciting feelings when you're in waders and in water and all you have around are cranberries."

Standing in a sea of crimson, up to his hips in berries and cold water, Chacko says he feels like a kid again.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Many people may think of pastels as a medium for kids in art class. But at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the "Touch of Color" exhibition celebrates the history of pastel from the Renaissance to the modern day.

These works of art are hard to exhibit — "They're very rarely loaned from other museums or to other museums because the medium is so delicate," explains National Gallery Director Kaywin Feldman.

Ingrid Bergman was a so-so typist. Katharine Hepburn's signature was indecipherable. Marlene Dietrich signed her letter to Ernest Hemingway as "Your Kraut."

A collection of letters, memos, telegrams and other written communiques from the golden age of Hollywood are collected in a new book. Letters from Hollywood, edited and compiled by Barbara Hall and Rocky Lang, is a delicious peek into very famous people's private lives.

A 10-minute drive from the White House — where immigration has a top spot on the President's "to-do" list — a museum has filled three of its floors with artists' reactions to displacement, relocation and flight.

Sculptor Augusta Savage once said: "I was a Leap Year baby, and it seems to me that I have been leaping ever since." Born on Feb. 29, 1892, Savage leapt from the Jim Crow South to public attention in the Harlem Renaissance, but is little known today. Now, her work is the focus of an exhibition at the New-York Historical Society, curated by Jeffreen Hayes and coordinated for the historical society by Wendy N.E.

Legend has it that when Jacopo Tintoretto was 12 years old, he was so good at drawing that he rattled Titian — the master artist of Venice, 30 years his senior. Young Tintoretto was an apprentice in Titian's workshop and — as the story goes — the old master gone away for several days, and when he came back he found some of Tintoretto's drawings.

The legendary Musso & Frank Grill on Hollywood Boulevard opened before there was a Hollywood sign. For 100 years now, stars, studio heads and writers have settled into the restaurant's red leather banquettes to negotiate, gossip, drink and eat.

Anyone who has dined at Musso's has an opinion about it — and after 100 years, that adds up to a lot of opinions. They include: "It's our favorite place to go for special events," and "We go for the martinis, not the food" and "The food's not bad, especially the chicken pot pie every Thursday."

Painter Robert Rauschenberg really loved his job. "My greatest joy is in working," he told PBS in 1998. "That's when I feel a wholeness and a celebration of a unity with everything about me."

So when Rauschenberg walked the quarter mile from his house to his studio in Captiva, Fla., that short commute was a journey toward joy.

"He talked a lot about working in that fertile, creative space between art and life," says Katia Zavistovski, an assistant curator at Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

André Previn, a celebrated musical polymath, died Thursday morning; he was a composer of Oscar-winning film music, conductor, pianist and music director of major orchestras. His manager, Linda Petrikova, confirmed to NPR that he died at his home in Manhattan.

There are three pianists involved in making the music of the Oscar-nominated film Green Book. The first is Don Shirley, who was popular in the 1950s and 60s, both in person and on vinyl. The second is actor Mahershala Ali, who portrays Shirley in the film but does not play piano. And so, the third pianist is Kris Bowers, who does all the playing for Ali in the film.

A mysterious young woman has come from abroad and taken up residence in Pasadena, Calif. She wears a white satin dress, pearls and a ruby ring and has a slight smile — and nobody knows who she is.

In letters, the Venetian Renaissance master Titian referred to the elegant woman as his "most precious being" and the "mistress of my soul." But he never named the subject of his 1561 painting Portrait of a Lady in White.

Love it, hate it, or just hate the traffic, everyone has an opinion about Los Angeles. A new literary olio gathers hundreds of those opinions together, in a book called Dear Los Angeles: The City in Diaries and Letters, 1542 to 2018.

Editor David Kipen has dug up centuries' worth of excerpts about California's largest city. The book, he says, is "a collective self-portrait of Los Angeles when it thought nobody was looking." The excerpts he's picked roughly divide up between Los Angeles as heaven and Los Angeles as hell.

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