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Movie Interviews
5:34 am
Sat May 2, 2015

At 81, The Man Behind Big Bird Sees 'No Reason To Quit'

The documentary I Am Big Bird tells the story of Caroll Spinney (left), who has been the man inside the yellow suit for more than 40 years.
Tribeca Film

Originally published on Sat May 2, 2015 10:26 am

Big Bird, the towering yellow bird with confetti feathers from Sesame Street, will eternally be 6 years old, but his character is nearly 50. The man behind Big Bird, Caroll Spinney, is 81 — and has no plans to step out of the suit any time soon.

"I see no reason to quit," Spinney tells NPR's Scott Simon. "I can't imagine walking away from being Big Bird. I mean, that's an awfully good job, and there's not too many of them. So, I just want to keep doing it until I can't do it anymore."

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Movie Interviews
3:32 am
Fri May 1, 2015

Carey Mulligan Returns To Period Drama For A Thomas Hardy Classic

Carey Mulligan plays Bathsheba Everdene in a new film adaptation of Thomas Hardy's 1874 novel, Far From the Madding Crowd.
Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 1:54 pm

The great Victorian novelist Thomas Hardy was still alive in 1915 when one of his novels was made into a silent movie. Even then, Far From the Madding Crowd was a tempting tale: It follows a headstrong young woman being pursued by a trio of suitors — a sheep farmer, a wealthy landowner and a rakish officer.

Now Hardy's novel is getting another film adaptation, this time starring Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene, the book's heroine. Mulligan tells NPR's Renee Montagne about why she wanted to play Bathsheba and her practice of scrapbooking her characters.

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Book News & Features
7:53 pm
Tue April 28, 2015

Graphic Novel About Holocaust 'Maus' Banned In Russia For Its Cover

Cartoonist Art Spiegelman attends the French Institute Alliance Francaise's "After Charlie: What's Next for Art, Satire and Censorship" at Florence Gould Hall on Feb. 19 in New York City.
Mark Sagliocco Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 12:17 pm

Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust, Maus, has some very memorable cover art. It pictures a pair of mice — representing Jews — huddling beneath a cat-like caricature of Adolf Hitler. Behind the feline Hitler is a large swastika.

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Author Interviews
3:49 am
Tue April 28, 2015

'Ashley's War' Details Vital Work Of Female Soldiers In Afghanistan

First Lt. Ashley White was one of some 55 to 60 women selected for cultural support teams that deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. She did not make it home. She was the first woman to die and be honored alongside the Army Rangers with whom she served.
Courtesy of the White Family

Originally published on Tue April 28, 2015 5:56 pm

The Pentagon says women could be eligible for all combat roles in the military by next year, but some women already have been fighting — and dying — for their country. They're serving right alongside elite special operations units, such as the Navy SEALs or Army Rangers.

It's part of an effort to connect with half of the Afghan population that was off-limits to male soldiers: the women. Some military leaders considered reaching them one of the keys to winning the war.

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The Salt
6:15 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Competitive Bartender Pours Father's Wisdom Into Signature Drink

Ran Duan will represent the U.S. at the Bacardi Global Legacy Cocktail Competition in Sydney on April 28.
Daniel A. Gross

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 8:14 pm

Most days, you can find Ran Duan pouring drinks for guests at The Baldwin Bar, inside a branch of his parents' Sichuan Garden restaurant in Woburn, Mass.

But recently he's been setting aside time each day to practice making a special drink.

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All Tech Considered
4:35 am
Mon April 27, 2015

Canadians Love Poop, Americans Love Pizza: How Emojis Fare Worldwide

SwiftKey analyzed more than a billion pieces of emoji data, organized by language and country. The poop emoji was most popular in Canada.
Unicode/Apple

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 3:59 pm

Smartphones have become an essential part of many people's lives — 64 percent of Americans own one. And just as smartphones grew in popularity, so too have emojis. There are now more than a thousand emojis, and some of them can really say a lot about how people are using language and communicating.

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World
5:27 pm
Sun April 26, 2015

Malta's Coast Guard Rescues Migrants — And Feels The Strain

Soldiers in Malta carry coffins during a funeral service for 24 migrants who drowned while trying to reach southern Italy.
Alessandra Tarantino AP

Originally published on Sun April 26, 2015 6:34 pm

This week, the bodies of 24 unidentified migrants were laid to rest in Malta, the European island nation in the Mediterranean Sea. They were among more than 800 people who lost their lives last weekend off the coast of Libya when their ship capsized as they were trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach a better life.

Lieutenant Keith Caruana of the Armed Forces of Malta spoke with NPR's Arun Rath about the situation in the Mediterranean — and the toll it has taken on rescuers after more than a decade of trying to save the lives of desperate people seeking safety.

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Music
5:27 pm
Sun April 26, 2015

Kirk Franklin On 'Trap Gospel' And Taking Heat From The Church

"I am very, very good friends with Erica, and she has a great heart for God, she has a great heart for ministry, and I just believe that the heart always wins," says Kirk Franklin of Erica Campbell.
Darnel Williams Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue April 28, 2015 10:11 am

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U.S.
9:29 am
Sun April 26, 2015

What Kind Of Parent Are You? The Debate Over 'Free-Range' Parenting

If kids head off to the park to play by themselves, are their parents failing to protect them? Or are they fostering independence?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun April 26, 2015 11:14 am

What kind of parent are you if you let your child walk home alone? What if you won't let your kids out of your sight?

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Author Interviews
7:51 am
Sun April 26, 2015

This Weekend, Investigate The 'Edges' Of Fred Moten's Musical Poetry

Originally published on Sun April 26, 2015 10:47 am

In the latest installment of our occasionial series Weekend Reads, we're celebrating National Poetry Month with The Little Edges, a unique work by American poet Fred Moten. Many of the poems in the book were commissioned, and they focus on real life people and events.

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Movie Interviews
5:38 am
Sun April 26, 2015

Actor Nick Kroll: 'I'm A Real Solid Uncle The First Hour'

In Adult Beginners, Nick Kroll plays a failed tech entrepreneur who moves in with his older sister (Rose Byrne) and starts looking after her young son (Caleb and Matthew Paddock).
Courtesy of RADiUS-TWC

Originally published on Sun April 26, 2015 10:47 am

Nick Kroll is the star of a lot of things, including Kroll Show on Comedy Central and The League on FX. And if that wasn't enough, he now has a new film coming out called Adult Beginners. Kroll tells NPR's Rachel Martin that his character in the film, Jake, is in transition.

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World
5:27 pm
Sat April 25, 2015

Solving Crimes With Pollen, One Grain Of Evidence At A Time

Dallas Mildenhall, New Zealand's forensic pollen expert, peers at samples through a microscope.
Courtesy of David Wolman

Originally published on Sat April 25, 2015 6:23 pm

Some murder cases are harder to solve than others. The investigation into the killing of Mellory Manning — a 27-year-old woman who was assaulted and murdered in 2008 while working as a prostitute in Christchurch, New Zealand — confounded police.

They conducted an investigation and interviewed hundreds of people, but months later, they still had no solid leads.

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Deceptive Cadence
5:27 pm
Sat April 25, 2015

The World Music Education of Philip Glass

Philip Glass photographed in New York City in 1980.
Jack Mitchell Getty Images

Originally published on Sat April 25, 2015 6:23 pm

It was 1964 when the young Philip Glass found himself in Paris. He was on a Fulbright scholarship to study with the revered pedagogue Nadia Boulanger. It was a career move carefully planned. Glass wanted to be a composer and he knew Boulanger's rigorous lessons in traditional Western harmony and counterpoint would sharpen his skills.

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Author Interviews
10:15 am
Sat April 25, 2015

Imagining The Power Of Edouard Manet's 'Very Active Muse'

Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Sat April 25, 2015 3:04 pm

Victorine Meurent was just 17 years old when she met the great Impressionist painter Edouard Manet on a Paris street in 1862. The young, poverty-stricken redhead became his favorite model, and Manet painted her reclining nude in Olympia — a work that scandalized the Paris art world in 1865 and now hangs in the Musée d'Orsay.

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Author Interviews
5:27 am
Sat April 25, 2015

It's The Fuzz! Cat Detective Swipes A Claw At Crime In 'William'

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 3:32 pm

By Gouda — the Mona Cheesa is missing! And when that most famous work of art is discovered to have been taken from its frame in a Paris art museum, the world's foremost International Cat of Mystery, William, is called in on the case.

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Author Interviews
4:40 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

Don't Take His Stapler: 'Paper Clip' Author's Passion For Office Supplies

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 6:55 pm

The percussive snap of a stapler. The crisp peeling of a Post-it note. The ruffling flip of an old Rolodex chock-full of cards. James Ward loves office supplies beyond reason — and he's written about the history of everything from the pencil to the glue stick in his new book, The Perfection of the Paper Clip.

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Music Interviews
6:41 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

The Nearly Lost Story Of Cambodian Rock 'N' Roll

Cambodian band Baksei Cham Krong.
Mol Kamach Courtesy of Argot Pictures

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 9:25 pm

The tragic story of Cambodia in the '60s and '70s is well-known: It became engulfed in the Vietnam War, then more than a million Cambodians died under the Khmer Rouge regime. Doctors, lawyers, teachers — educated people — were targeted in the communist takeover. So were artists and singers.

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
12:39 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

Debate: Is It Time To Abolish The Death Penalty?

Diann Rust-Tierney, executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, with teammate Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project.
Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 2:10 pm

The death penalty is legal in more than 30 states, but the long-controversial practice has come under renewed scrutiny after a series of botched executions in several states last year.

Opponents of capital punishment argue that the death penalty undermines the fair administration of justice, as wealth, geography, race and quality of legal representation all come into play, with uneven results.

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Music
4:40 pm
Tue April 21, 2015

Passion Pit's Michael Angelakos: 'I Was Really Pretty Lost'

Passion Pit.
Hassan Rahim Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 6:25 pm

Passion Pit is a band made up of one man: 27-year-old Michael Angelakos. When he signed with Columbia Records in 2009, Angelakos went from playing house parties in Boston to touring the world. Passion Pit's third album, Kindred, is out Tuesday, and there's more behind its sound than upbeat music.

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Author Interviews
3:51 am
Tue April 21, 2015

No Demons, No Angels: Attica Locke Aims For Black Characters Who Are Human

Attica Locke's other books include Black Water Rising and The Cutting Season.
Jenny Walters Courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 2:40 pm

It's a warm evening in 1996 and a young woman is waiting for a ride on a street corner. She's alone, it's way too late and she soon realizes she is being watched. When the woman disappears, the crime is linked to the family of a local man running for mayor.

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