On a plaza outside a hotel in Culver City, Calif., four people are stalking each other with PlayStation Move controllers. The devices look a bit like microphones, with glowing orbs on top lit up in pink, yellow and blue.
Video game designer Douglas Wilson is holding a portable speaker, blasting Johann Sebastian Bach's Brandenburg Concertos.
From afar, this looks like some sort of public performance art. But it is actually a high-tech combination of tag and musical chairs, called Johann Sebastian Joust.
Disney's animated film Frozen has been racking up impressive statistics since it was released last November. Its box office earnings total $1 billion, worldwide, the movie won two Academy Awards, and on the first day the home video came out, it sold 3.2 million copies. But one stat has taken both Disney and industry analysts by surprise: The soundtrack has become a phenomenon, topping the Billboard 200 chart 13 times.
Dolly Parton has been thinking a lot about home lately — in fact, "Home" is the name of a track on her latest album, Blue Smoke, out May 13. Speaking with NPR's David Greene from a Nashville studio, Parton says her career has in many ways come full circle.
As a teenager, I fell in love with two very different musical genres: punk rock and cumbia — that Caribbean-born music with a contagious two-beat shuffle.
To purists of either, my musical promiscuity might have seemed blasphemous, but to me, it was a logical combination. Cumbia is more punk than punk itself. And many years later, when I discovered Mexican DJ Ali Gua Gua, and her group Kumbia Queers, I was elated with their unique brand of "tropi punk." They got it.
A heated discussion between two pundit-journalists about the civil war in Syria turned into a uncivil exchange in the studio of Jordan's "Seven Stars" satellite channel.
Shaker al-Johari and Mohammad al-Jayousi were appearing on a news discussion program, when, according to The Associated Press, "the debate fell apart as al-Jayousi accused al-Johari of supporting the Syrian rebels. Al-Johari then accused al-Jayousi of taking money for supporting Assad."
The House voted on Thursday to establish a new investigative committee to look into circumstances surrounding the attack two years ago on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the ambassador and three others.
Republicans accuse the White House of misleading the public about the nature of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack and stonewalling efforts by Congress to investigate. Democrats see the creation of the new investigative committee as an election-year political ploy to raise money and motivate the party's base.
The name "Benghazi" used to just inflame conservatives. Now it is demonstrating its power to outrage progressives as well, though for different reasons.
To be precise, Democrats are angered not just by the House GOP's creation of a special committee to probe the 2012 terrorist attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead but by Republican fundraising in connection with the Benghazi probe.
Although most of the country just became aware of issues with Oklahoma's capital punishment protocols last week after Clayton Lockett's bungled execution, his lawyers had been worried for months. That's because in January, two condemned men in different states but injected with the same new drug cocktail endured executions that went badly. Lockett's lawyer, Susanna Gattoni, was unable to keep him from suffering a similar fate last week.
Makers of R-rated comedies face an essential dilemma: finding brand new ways to gross out their snickering adolescent viewers. But as Neighbors demonstrates, there's another challenge that's just as tricky: piloting the raunchy scenario to a payoff that upholds the very middle-class values the movie gleefully profanes.
"What's going through your mind when you're doing that... or do you not think at all?" Those words, familiar to any teenager and parent, get yelled at Teddy (Jack Kilmer) about halfway through Palo Alto. Teddy, still in high school, is on probation after his second arrest, his final chance to get his act together before facing time in a juvenile detention center.
"You're in my place," is the first line in Richard Ayode's, The Double, spoken to Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg) on an otherwise empty subway train where he's apparently sitting in someone's preferred spot. It's also an apt – and maybe a little too on the nose – summary of what follows.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
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And I'm Melissa Block. In eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists have decided to go ahead with Sunday's referendum on independence. That's despite Russian President Vladimir Putin urging them yesterday to postpone that vote. Here's the self-declared governor in the eastern region of Donetsk earlier today.
Canadian writer Farley Mowat has died at the age of 92. The prolific author published 45 books, perhaps the most popular of which was Never Cry Wolf. He is remembered by Doug Gibson, Mowat's publisher and longtime friend.
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This is the moment that launched a TV revolution, every week. The police roll call: Sgt. Phil Esterhaus faced his colleagues — a paternal, knowing grin on his face — while he ran down the day's advisories about a black male pickpocket wearing a blond wig and purple dress, or the need for officers to catch a rapist terrorizing their precinct.
"Let's spend a little less time flirting with the hookers and the waitresses and put some heavy attention on that park," Esterhaus told his patrolmen in one roll call, sparking laughter and feigned denials from the crowd.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan vowed today that the kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls in that country will be the beginning of the end of terror. In a speech, he also thanked the U.S. and several other countries for offers to help rescue the girls. The teenagers were taken from their boarding school dormitory more than three weeks ago. Since then, other girls have also been kidnapped.