Arts & Life

Book Reviews
1:55 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Misadventures And Absurdist Charm Take Root In 'George Orwell's House'

Emily Bogle NPR

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 11:31 am

In 1946, reeling from the death of his wife and seeking an escape from the demands of London literary life, Eric Blair, aka "George Orwell," moved to a cottage on the isle of Jura off the west coast of Scotland. What the place lacked in modern conveniences like electricity and running water, it perhaps made up for in misty views of the Atlantic and samplings of the local whiskey.

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Code Switch
10:08 am
Wed May 13, 2015

A Rust Belt Story Retold, Through Portraits Of The Women Who Lived It

United States Steel Mon Valley Works Edgar Thomson Plant, 2013, from The Notion of Family (Aperture, 2014).
LaToya Ruby Frazier

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 3:18 pm

Just outside Pittsburgh is the tiny borough of Braddock, Pa., best known as the birthplace of Andrew Carnegie's first steel mill. Today, it's something of a poster child for rust belt revitalization, a place where artists can buy property for pennies and even construct outdoor pizza ovens using the bricks from abandoned or demolished buildings.

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Book Reviews
10:03 am
Wed May 13, 2015

'Zombie Wars' Documents An Apocalypse Of Bad Decisions

Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 12:06 pm

Joshua Levin has some great ideas. Well, some ideas, anyway. The would-be writer keeps a list of possible high-concept screenplays — everything from a script about aliens disguised as cabdrivers (Love Trek) to a treatment of a "riotous Holocaust comedy" (Righteous Lust). But in real life he's a Chicago ESL teacher who can never seem to follow through — the movies he envisions are all too esoteric, too depressing. As his Bosnian acquaintance Bega reminds him, "American movies always have happy ending. Life is tragedy: you're born, you live, you die."

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Remembering A Troubled Brother In 'Lord Fear'

Emily Bogle NPR

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 pm

Lucas Mann's genre-bending first book, Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere, was about an Iowa farm team, a dying Midwestern factory town, and his own anxieties about success, and it heralded an impressive new talent in narrative nonfiction. Mann's second book, Lord Fear, reaffirms that talent. A memoir about his much older half-brother, Josh, who died of a heroin overdose when Mann was 13, it's a less alluring, more difficult book — but clearly one that Mann needed to write.

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Business
6:49 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Vinyl's Comeback Keeps Record Pressers Busy

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 7:58 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF JACK WHITE SONG, "HIGH BALL STEPPER")

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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The Salt
3:22 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Puerto Rico Wants To Grow Your Next Cup Of Specialty Coffee

Elena Biamon holds coffee berries grown on her farm near Jayuya, a town in Puerto Rico's mountainous interior.
Greg Allen NPR

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 5:48 pm

Puerto Rico used to produce some of the best coffee in the world — but that was more than a century ago.

Today, Puerto Rico's coffee crop is just a fraction of what it was then, and little is exported. But there's a movement on the island to improve quality and rebuild Puerto Rico's coffee industry.

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Fine Art
3:21 am
Wed May 13, 2015

For Artist Elaine De Kooning, Painting Was A Verb, Not A Noun

De Kooning made dozens of drawings, sketches and paintings of John F. Kennedy in 1963.
Alfred Eisenstaedt The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 1:59 pm

In New York City in the 1940s, painters Willem de Kooning and his wife, Elaine, were the people you wanted at your dinner party. He was inventing abstract expressionism. She, his former student, was part of that movement, but also painting landscapes and people.

Elaine de Kooning felt that making portraits was like falling in love — "painting a portrait is a concentration on one particular person and no one else will do," she said.

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Architecture
5:46 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Whitney Museum's New Building Opens Doors (And Walls) To Outside World

The new building's window-lined hallways are in stark contrast to the brutalist design of the Whitney's former home.
Nic Lehoux Courtesy of the Whitney Museum of American Art

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 5:18 pm

The Whitney Museum of American Art has never stayed in one place for long. It has had four different homes in its 84-year history — the latest a $422 million glass-and-steel construction that recently opened in Manhattan's Meatpacking District — and each of those homes speaks to a particular moment in the evolution of American art and museum culture.

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Arts & Life
4:30 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Picasso Painting Breaks Record For Most Expensive Artwork Sold At Auction

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 12:31 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pop Culture
4:30 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Just How Do 'Thomas & Friends' Drive Sodor's Economy?

Sir Topham Hatt: benevolent CEO or robber baron?
HIT Entertainment

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 9:14 am

Is Sir Topham Hatt a robber baron or a paternalistic CEO? Are Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends part of a union? How does anyone make money on the Island of Sodor?

Turns out, these are some of the serious issues that have perplexed more than one grown-up forced to read or watch Thomas & Friends for the umpteenth time with their kids. On the 70th anniversary of the Railway Series, the books by Reverend Wilbert Awdry that spawned the shiny engines, we explore this elaborate train of thought.

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