Arts & Life

This Week's Must Read
4:26 pm
Fri December 26, 2014

For Wintry Weather, An Especially Cold And Snowy Tale

It's my favorite of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales. It's also the strangest, and the one he wrote the fastest — in a rare burst of inspiration.

It's "The Snow Queen" — a tale that took just five days to create.

You can feel Andersen's excitement in the writing.

"All right! Now let's begin," he starts, "When we reach the end of the story, we'll know more than we know now, because there was an evil troll."

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Media
4:26 pm
Fri December 26, 2014

A Short List Of The Best 'Longform' Journalism Of 2014

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 4:53 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
12:58 pm
Fri December 26, 2014

Book News: Egypt Bans Ridley Scott's 'Exodus' For 'Historical Inaccuracies'

Rameses (Joel Edgerton) and his wife Nefertari (Golshifteh Farahani) try to save their stricken child, a victim of one of the plagues, in Exodus: Gods And Kings.
Kerry Brown Twentieth Century Fox

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 2:06 pm

The daily lowdown on books, publishing and the occasional author behaving badly.

When a book makes the leap from print to the big screen, it's not uncommon for filmmakers to take a few liberties with the adaptation. When that book is the Bible, however, those liberties can attract a bit more attention.

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Code Switch
9:03 am
Fri December 26, 2014

Sony Hack Reveals Hollywood's Acceptance Of White Privilege

The Rev. Al Sharpton (left) and Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, speak to reporters after they met with Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal on Dec. 18.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 1:00 am

It is, perhaps, the worst nightmare for those of us constantly trying to get a white-dominated Hollywood to widen its doors of opportunity for people of color: All those executives who say the right things in public and give to the right causes, just might think something much less admirable about diversity behind closed doors.

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Monkey See
8:03 am
Fri December 26, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Into The Woods' And How To Make A Franchise

NPR

We at PCHH are not together this week for the holidays, as we are scattered hither and yon, literally from coast to coast. But before we scattered thusly, we sat down with our friend (and film critic and musical theater aficionado) Bob Mondello to talk about Disney's new adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Into The Woods, starring Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine and lots more.

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Music News
5:25 am
Fri December 26, 2014

Remembering When Johnny Cash Stopped To Talk To A Young Reporter

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 7:52 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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The Salt
4:52 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

What Would Jesus Drink? A Class Exploring Ancient Wines Asks

An illustration depicts Jesus Christ transforming water into wine during the wedding at Cana (John 2:7).
Joseph Martin Kronheim Kean Collection/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 5:44 pm

Inside the Boston Wine School, Jonathon Alsop places empty glasses and plates of figs and cheese before a small group of students. Alsop, who founded the school in 2000, is doing a test run of a new class that poses the question: What would Jesus drink?

"This is ... a cheese that Jesus might have eaten," he tells students. "It's called Egyptian Roumy — it was a cheese that was introduced to the Egyptians by the Romans. It's a sheep's milk cheese."

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Found Recipes
4:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

After The Presents, A Buttery Tea Cake Tradition

Susan Tannewitz-Karnes grew up eating Mrs. Lawrence every Christmas. The tea cake was so beloved that Tannewitz-Karnes and her siblings would argue over who received more than their fair share.
Courtesy of Susan Tannewitz-Karnes

When listener Susan Tannewitz-Karnes was a child in Johnson City, Tenn., Christmas wasn't Christmas without an English tea cake baked by their neighbor, Mrs. Lawrence.

She would deliver it about a week before Christmas. "We would come home from school and my mother would just say, 'Mrs. Lawrence came by! We have Mrs. Lawrence!' And we'd say, 'Oh, yes! Yes!' We couldn't wait."

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Europe
4:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

In Britain, A Christmas Tradition Of Slapstick And Silliness

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Salt
4:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Why Bury Fig Trees? A Curious Tradition Preserves A Taste Of Italy

Michele Vaccaro buries a fig tree in the yard of Mary Menniti in Sewickley, Pa.
Hal Klein for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 6:01 pm

On a gray, chilly December morning in Sewickley, Pa., Michele Vaccaro and his assistant are digging a trench in a garden.

"It looks like we're burying somebody over here — a body," Vaccaro says.

Cast your old Godfather stereotypes aside, because this Calabrian immigrant is carrying on a much more wholesome tradition: He's burying a 12-foot fig tree.

"It's been done for years. Probably [since] the 1800s," he says, when Italians coming to America first started bringing fig trees over from the old country. "They would put them always in the ground."

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