A legend of Latin American song has died. Chavela Vargas was a cultural icon across the Spanish-speaking world, with a voice that redefined notions of beauty and an attitude that brashly bent gender roles. Vargas died Sunday; she was 93.
She was born Isabel Vargas Lizano in Costa Rica, but audiences knew her as Chavela, a hard-partying, rabble-rousing, fiery singer who adopted Mexico as her homeland and began singing on the streets in her early teens.
One of the things the Mars rover will look for is organic molecules that could at least indicate whether there was once life on the Red Planet. But if searching for life in outer space is the goal, many scientists now say we might have better luck elsewhere — specifically one of Saturn's moons, Enceladus.
If all goes according to plan, the Mars Science Laboratory, nicknamed Curiosity, will land gently on Mars at 10:31 PDT Sunday night. The rover's entry, descent and landing will last for a total of seven minutes. During that time, the rover must slow down from 13,000 mph to a dead-stop touchdown on the surface of Mars.
Even if you've never heard of Billy Edd Wheeler, you might recognize "Jackson," a song he wrote with the help of songwriting heavyweights Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller back in 1963. It was a Top 20 pop hit for Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra in 1967, and got to No. 2 on the country charts that same year in a version by Johnny Cash and June Carter.
" 'Jackson' is a fun song," Wheeler says. "It's been my most famous and most lucrative song. It helped build our house."
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 7:24 pm
Yesterday my husband and I had the same thought at the same time. It's not an uncommon occurrence for two writers who've spent decades arguing and enthusing about pop music. I mention it, in part, to stave off accusations that I'm plagiarizing from a nearby source, but also because I think what we reflected upon in light of the writer Jonah Lehrer's fatal mistake was probably in the minds of many music obsessives.
Some people are intimidated by the vastness of classical music. And while the prospect of more than 1,000 years of hits to consider may be daunting, just think instead of how many musical journeys of discovery can be made.
Theweekends on All Things Considered series Movies I've Seen A Million Times features filmmakers, actors, writers and directors talking about the movies that they never get tired of watching.
For writer-director Jay Chandrasekhar, whose credits include Super Troopers, Beerfest and The Babymakers, which opened in theaters this weekend, the movie he could watch a million times is Rob Reiner's This Is Spinal Tap. "The accents are flawless, the music is really good," Chandrasekhar says.
Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 3:58 pm
South Africa's Oscar Pistorius, the "Blade Runner" who has has artificial legs below the knees but overcame that challenge to become a world class runner, will not be in the finals of the men's 400-meters.
The results of Heat 2 in the semifinals were posted at 3:55 p.m. ET. Pistorius finished last out of eight competitors, nearly two seconds behind winner James Kirani of Grenada.
Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 4:00 pm
On the same day cyclist Bradley Wiggins became Great Britain's most-decorated Olympian, Daniel Harris, a 28-year-old cycling enthusiast, was killed when he was struck by a bus at an intersection outside Olympic Park.
"Here is perhaps the least surprising outcome of the Games: the awesome Williams sisters have secured the women's doubles for the United States, disposing of the Czech pair Hlavackova and Hradecka 6-4, 6-4. And Serena crowns a dominant display with a delightful twirl of celebration after plundering the gold medal point."
There is still a week to go at the Olympics, but it's a good bet that after all the drama ends, Britons will look back on last night as the moment the Games turned in their favor - maybe not in the overall medal count but the host country got a huge psychological lift as Team Great Britain snagged three track and field gold medals on the Games' biggest stage. NPR's Tom Goldman reports.
And if there weren't enough excitement at the Olympics, another kind of record was made yesterday at the Olympic Stadium. A double amputee with artificial legs raced for the first time ever in the Olympics. South African Oscar Pistorious qualified for the semifinals tonight in the 400-meter sprint.
NPR's Howard Berkes reports from London.
HOWARD BERKES, BYLINE: The first heat of the Olympic 400 sounded like any other race.