Arts + Life

Arts + Life
11:13 am
Wed July 3, 2013

'Big Brother' Isn't Just A Terrible Show, It's A Wasted Opportunity

Houseguest Judd makes a toast during the season premiere of Big Brother.
Cliff Lipson CBS

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 11:32 am

Here's how Big Brother works.

Producers throw a bunch of people into a house, where they're stuck for about three months. All day and all night, they're watched by cameras, and they can be watched online — these are the so-called "live feeds," which are sort of like watching the security cameras in the most boring juice bar in Los Angeles. (I wrote about touring the house in 2010; it's very creepy.)

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Arts + Life
11:08 am
Mon July 1, 2013

A Deeper Dive Into Television's 'Difficult Men'

Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) and Walter White (Bryan Cranston) are plenty difficult themselves on AMC's Breaking Bad, one of many cable shows Brett Martin discusses in his book.
Frank Ockenfels AMC

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 4:28 pm

Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution from The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad, explores what the author Brett Martin describes as the "Third Golden Age of TV," based on a new kind of television character.

Subscription cable channels don't have sensitive sponsors, commercials or concerns about language or violence. In the book, Martin argues that this relative freedom, combined with the old-fashioned appeal of serial storytelling, creates a new kind of high-quality television programming.

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Arts + Life
10:55 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Help Us Solve An 'NPR' Camera Mystery

Where did this camera come from and what does "NPR NY" mean?
Courtesy of Al Suke

Originally published on Tue June 25, 2013 12:22 pm

A few days ago I got an email that contained a bit of a mystery.

It said:

"We have a small antique store in Toronto and have come across a pre-1950s Kalart Range Finder Crown Graphic camera made by Graflex Inc., with the etched inscription 'NPR, NY' on it. Was this something that belonged to your organization at one point? If you are interested I can email some pics over."

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Arts + Life
6:58 pm
Sun June 30, 2013

Casting Call: Hollywood Needs More Women

Actress Geena Davis addresses the audience at the "Driving Financial Success: Women + Movies = Bigger Box Office" luncheon at CinemaCon 2013.
Chris Pizzello AP

Originally published on Sun June 30, 2013 7:35 pm

Summer is the perfect time for a night out at the cinema, but maybe you've noticed something missing at the movies: women.

Women make up a minority of movie creators: 7 percent of directors, 13 percent of writers and 20 percent of producers; that's nearly five men for every woman working behind the scenes.

Out of last year's biggest movies, 28 percent of speaking characters were female. That's down from a third just five years ago, according to the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California.

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Arts + Life
5:50 pm
Sat June 29, 2013

Girls' Legos Are A Hit, But Why Do Girls Need Special Legos?

Olivia also has a treehouse.
Lego

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 9:55 pm

Two years ago, in 2011, 90 percent of Lego's consumers were boys. A tough statistic to swallow for those of us who grew up playing with Lego's gender-neutral buckets of bricks. But the statistic came straight from Lego, which was then focused on boys with franchised sets based on properties like Star Wars and The Avengers after weathering a disastrous period in the 1990s that left the company on the brink of collapse.

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Arts + Life
3:46 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Economists Have A One-Page Solution To Climate Change

CX Matiash AP

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 10:45 am

Climate change seems like this complicated problem with a million pieces. But Henry Jacoby, an economist at MIT's business school, says there's really just one thing you need to do to solve the problem: Tax carbon emissions.

"If you let the economists write the legislation," Jacoby says, "it could be quite simple." He says he could fit the whole bill on one page.

Basically, Jacoby would tax fossil fuels in proportion to the amount of carbon they release. That would make coal, oil and natural gas more expensive. That's it; that's the whole plan.

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Arts + Life
7:44 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Jeah! We Mapped Out The 4 Basic Aspects Of Being A 'Bro'

Alyson Hurt NPR

Originally published on Sun June 23, 2013 8:45 pm

What up, bro? What's good, brah?

This is the chant of the bro, an equally parodied and celebrated genus of young men. (They've been designated "bros" mostly because, well, they say "bro" a whole lot.)

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Arts + Life
3:28 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Gay-Therapy Ministry Shuts Down, Says 'We've Hurt People'

Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, with his wife, Leslie, in a May 2006 photo.
Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 5:25 pm

Gay-rights activists have welcomed a decision by a Christian ministry dedicated to "curing" homosexuals to shut its doors, praising the organization's president for his "integrity and authenticity" in offering an apology for the group's actions.

The Orlando, Fla., based Exodus International, which calls itself the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality, announced Thursday that it would cease its operations.

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Arts + Life
10:58 am
Thu June 20, 2013

James Gandolfini Dies; 'Sopranos' Actor Was 51

Actor James Gandolfini has died while on a trip to Italy. He's seen here with Sopranos co-stars Edie Falco, left, and Lorraine Bracco.
Paul Hawthorne Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 10:07 pm

Actor James Gandolfini, 51, has died, HBO and other sources confirm. The former star of the HBO series The Sopranos was reportedly on holiday in Italy when he died. The cause of death is not yet known with certainty, but HBO says the actor may have suffered a heart attack. Other reports have indicated Gandolfini had a stroke.

Update at 8:15 p.m. ET: Confirmation From HBO:

Initial reports of Gandolfini's death were confirmed to NPR by HBO, which has released a statement:

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Arts + Life
10:47 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Watch: Stephen Colbert Drops The Act To Honor His Late Mother

Scott Gries Picturegroup

For almost four minutes last night, comedian Stephen Colbert dropped the act. And he delivered a beautiful, heartfelt eulogy for his late mother Lorna Colbert. There's not much more we can add, just watch

Arts + Life
12:13 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

In NYC, A Play Festival Spotlights Stories Of Disability

Mary Theresa Archbold (left), Anita Hollander and Tiffan Borelli star in Bekah Brunstetter's Gorgeous, part of Theater Breaking Through Barriers' initial Some of Our Parts Festival in 2011. A third round of new short plays runs through June 28 at New York City's Clurman Theatre.
Carol Rosegg Theater Breaking Through Barriers

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 3:41 pm

Ike Schambelan doesn't like thinking about disability, and he's guessing you don't either.

"We hate it. We do not want to see it," he says. "Personally, I want to see it least in myself, second in my wife, third in my cat and fourth in you and all others. I don't want to know about it. I want to be in a total state of denial about it as much as I can be."

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Arts + Life
3:20 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Fashion's Victims: An Artist's Focus On Garment Workers

A woman tries on a jacket at a Zara store in Madrid. Zara's parent company, Inditex, was among Spanish companies to sign fire and building safety agreements for their factories in Bangladesh following a deadly factory collapse in April, though Inditex was not directly involved in that incident.
Susana Vera Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 2:35 pm

On Madrid's posh Gran Vía, thousands of shoppers and tourists visit the flagship stores of some of the biggest names in European fast fashion — Zara, Mango and H&M.

Suddenly, the hordes of bargain-hunters stop dead in their tracks.

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Arts + Life
3:17 am
Wed June 19, 2013

The Art Of Investing: The Rewards Aren't Always Financial

Flower Study #14 by Vladimir Kryloff, the painting NPR's Uri Berliner bought as an investment for $450.
Vladimir Kryloff

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 9:40 am

NPR's Uri Berliner is taking $5,000 of his own savings and putting it to work. Though he's no financial whiz or guru, he's exploring different types of investments — alternatives that may fare better than staying in a savings account that's not keeping up with inflation.

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Arts + Life
3:07 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Libyan Radio Station Promotes Democracy, One Rap At A Time

Libyan presenters work at the studio of Radio Zone in Tripoli, Libya, in 2012. The radio station's owners hope to teach a new generation about democracy.
Mahmud Turkia AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 1:52 pm

Many of the militia fighters who rose up and ousted former dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 have refused to lay down their arms and are still challenging the post-revolutionary government.

Yet the militias are facing a challenge of their own. They now come under verbal attack on one of Libya's newest radio stations, Radio Zone.

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Arts + Life
9:12 am
Mon June 17, 2013

The Battered Old Car That Drove My Father's American Dream

Old Goldie lacked heat and air conditioning, smelled bad and rarely started on the first try. But my father loved her anyway.
Kakissis Family Photo

Originally published on Sun June 16, 2013 5:42 pm

Sometime in 1975, in the first few months after my family moved from Athens, Greece, to Rapid City, S.D., my father bought a junky, gigantic gold Oldsmobile that cost $200.

My sister and I called the car Old Goldie, a name meant to evoke a tough old broad with a glamorous past. My father loved her. It was behind her oversized wheel that he learned — at 40 — to drive.

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Arts + Life
9:00 am
Mon June 17, 2013

An 'Adventure' For Kids And Maybe For Their Parents, Too

Finn is in the middle, with the skinny arms. Jake is the dog. Together, they have Adventure Time.
Cartoon Network

Originally published on Mon June 17, 2013 1:27 pm

Count plenty of grown-ups among the millions of fans of Adventure Time, a kids' show on Cartoon Network. Some are surely Emmy voters. (It's won three.) Others are very possibly stoners. Still others are intellectuals. Lev Grossman falls in the last category. He wrote two best-selling novels, The Magicians and The Magician King, and he's Time's senior book critic.

Grossman's critique of Adventure Time? "It's soooo smart! It's sooo intelligent!"

Hang on. He's just getting started.

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Arts + Life
5:03 pm
Sat June 15, 2013

Fighting Unwanted Cat Calls, One Poster At A Time

New York artist Tatayana Fazlalizadeh uses posters to combat unwanted cat calls and attention from men in her neighborhood.
Courtesy of Tatayana Fazlalizadeh

Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 6:19 pm

It's hard to go unnoticed in New York City, with everyone checking out the latest fashions and hairstyles. As the weather warms, some women who are shedding those winter layers are finding themselves the object of more cat calls, whistles and roving eyes than they'd like.

Artist Tatayana Fazlalizadeh is not going to take it anymore.

Under the cover of darkness, wearing a black knit hit, black leather jacket and black Chuck Taylors, Fazlalizadeh is nearly invisible. She's scouring Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, for a blank canvas.

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Arts + Life
12:44 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

How To Introduce Kids To Tough Topics? Art And TV Can Help

Sue Glader wrote Nowhere Hair after finding many children's books about cancer that were too depressing or scary.
Courtesy Sue Glader

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 6:31 am

Parents steer their kids to media for all kinds of things: as a distraction so they can make dinner, to teach letters and numbers, and for pure entertainment. There are also times when parents rely on books, TV, museums and other media when they aren't quite sure how to approach a difficult topic by themselves.

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Arts + Life
8:27 am
Thu June 13, 2013

MTV Promises To Be About Music For An Entire Half Of A Day

Very excited child who does not work for MTV. He's just as surprised as the rest of us. (Probably.)
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 10:27 am

Well, this is news.

MTV, VH1, and CMT sent out a press release this morning announcing that on July 4th, which they're calling "Music Independence Day" (!) (!!), they will "dedicate their channels exclusively to music."

ALL DAY LONG. If by "all day long," you mean "from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern and Pacific." (Hey, what's a day, right? 12 hours, 24 hours, these are semantics.)

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Arts + Life
4:33 am
Thu June 13, 2013

From Seinfeld, A Second Season Of 'Coffee' Talk

Jerry Seinfeld won a 2013 Webby Award for Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
Bryan Bedder Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 11:01 am

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is exactly what it sounds like — a show about three things Jerry Seinfeld loves.

Each individual episode of the stand-up comic's Web series features him talking to a fellow comedian while driving across town to get a cup of coffee.

While the premise is simple enough, and the celebrity interview as familiar as any late-night talk-show, the format of C3 allows for a more relaxed and personal tone than the typical sofa-chat format.

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