Arts & Life

Holiday Music
2:03 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Couldn't Miss This One: Behind 'Christmas Wrapping'

The Waitresses' members were in the middle of a tour behind "I Know What Boys Like" when "Christmas Wrapping" took over the radio in 1981.
David Corio Redferns

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 8:02 am

Chris Butler founded The Waitresses, a smart-aleck New Wave band, in late-'70s Akron, Ohio. He recalls a long-ago summer when the owner of ZE Records asked him and his collaborators to come up with a Christmas song.

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Dance
7:32 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

In Seattle, Maurice Sendak's 'Wild' 'Nutcracker' Reaches Its Final Act

Stowell (right) says Sendak (left) needed some convincing before he signed on to design a new Nutcracker. Their version of the ballet debuted in 1983.
David Cooper Pacific Northwest Ballet

In Seattle, the Pacific Northwest Ballet performs The Nutcracker to that same ubiquitous Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky score. The ballet tells the story of Clara, a young girl whose grandfather gives her a nutcracker at a party. One night, Clara goes searching for her nutcracker and walks right into a battle between a regiment of toy soldiers and a wily team of oversized rodents.

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Movies
4:21 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

How To Compose Music For A Movie About Music

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 6:28 pm

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

Arts & Life
1:11 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

Serial Host Sarah Koenig Says She Set Out To Report, Not Exonerate

The Serial podcast is Sarah Koenig's reinvestigation of the murder of Hae Min Lee, a Maryland high school student who was strangled in 1999. Lee was found in Baltimore's Leakin Park. Her schoolmate and ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was convicted of the murder and is serving a life sentence.
Courtesy of Serial

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 6:32 pm

Sarah Koenig didn't expect her new podcast, Serial, to get so much press, but she says the attention helped keep her on her toes: "It was just a constant reminder of how careful we needed to be," Koenig tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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The Salt
11:45 am
Tue December 23, 2014

For Australian Christmas, Everything's Overturned But The Pudding

Australian Christmas today is characterized by gastronomic eclecticism. Many of us have abandoned the old British customs — except for the rich and alcoholic Christmas pudding.
Edward Shaw iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 11:58 am

Americans know Australia as the land Down Under, and one consequence of this geographical flip is that Christmas here falls at the height of summer.

Our 100-degree temperatures aren't exactly conducive to cooking with a hot oven — although early colonists gave it their best shot.

But it wasn't long before Australians began to rebel, ditching the formal dining room for the pleasures of a picnic spread at the beach or a shady glade. Over the years, many of us have abandoned the old British customs altogether.

Except for Christmas pudding.

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The Two-Way
10:37 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Book News: For A Deeper Sleep, Forgo The E-Reader Before Bed

It's clear from this child's reckless nighttime e-reading that someone has not kept up with their subscription to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Mari iStock

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 11:01 am

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

When picking up a book before bed, sleepy readers ought to give some thought not just to what they read but also how they read. It doesn't matter how boring the material may be; if you're plodding through it on an e-reader, a new study shows it'll likely be tougher to fall asleep — and to get a good rest while you're at it.

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Monkey See
7:03 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Videos Of Ray Rice, Eric Garner Among Biggest Media Moments Of 2014

Protesters in Boston during a December demonstration against the deaths of two unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers in New York City and Ferguson, Mo.
Charles Krupa AP

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 1:08 pm

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Arts & Life
5:05 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Time For A Holiday Favorite: 'Santaland Diaries'

Philip Game Getty Images/Lonely Planet Image

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 11:14 am

You might not expect "Santa's Helper" to be a career-altering gig, but for David Sedaris, it changed everything. The writer and humorist spent a season working at Macy's as a department store elf. He described his short tenure as Crumpet the Elf in "The Santaland Diaries," an essay that he read on Morning Edition in 1992.

Instantly, a classic was born. Sedaris' reading has become an NPR holiday tradition. Click the "Listen" link above to hear Sedaris read his story.

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Movie Reviews
3:31 am
Tue December 23, 2014

A Vital Chapter Of American History On Film In 'Selma'

David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. and Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King in the new movie Selma.
Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 3:47 pm

It's hard to believe, but there has never been a major motion picture that centers on one of this country's most iconic figures: Martin Luther King Jr. But that's about to change, with Selma, which opens Christmas Day.

The film explores the tumult and the tactics of the civil rights movement, from King's tense relationship with President Lyndon Johnson to the battle for voting rights for black Americans — a battle that reached a climax on Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965, as state police beat peaceful protesters trying to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.

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Movie Interviews
3:27 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Satirizing Dictators Is Nothing New — Just Ask Charlie Chaplin

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 7:31 pm

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