Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 5:18 pm
More than the ice is frosty at the Olympic Oval outside Salt Lake City this week, as short track speedskaters begin the 2012-2013 season.
U.S. skaters are split over allegations of abuse leveled against two coaches and a claim that one coach ordered the sabotage of a Canadian competitor's skates at an international competition last year.
Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 6:17 pm
During the Republican National Convention last month, I traveled with Mitt Romney's campaign from Tampa, Fla., to the American Legion conference in Indianapolis.
Romney delivered a speech about foreign affairs and national security. Among the thousands of attendees from around the country, I interviewed one woman from Virginia whose quote sparked a conversation among NPR's audience and staff.
This weekend's auction of a flea-market find that turned out to be a work by French Impressionist master Pierre-Auguste Renoir has been put on hold, after evidence turned up the painting had been pilfered from a Baltimore museum decades ago.
Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 4:35 pm
Brooklyn-based electronic-music producer Jonathan Dagan, a.k.a. J.Viewz, writes songs that whirl and clatter like tiny Rube Goldberg devices. So it's only reasonable that his videos might function the same way. Witness "About the Sea," in which small green squares reveal a series of patterns before giving way to gorgeous animated nature scenes.
Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 12:12 pm
Ever wish you could travel back in time to New York's 52nd Street — circa 1950, during the heyday of bebop — and whisper into Charlie Parker, or Dizzy Gillespie, or Thelonious Monk's ear, and ask them: Who was their favorite pianist to listen to? They would all give the same answer: Bud Powell.
Murray the Mummy (Cee-Lo Green), The Invisible Man (David Spade), Frankenstein (Kevin James), Eunice (Fran Drescher), Dracula (Adam Sandler), Wayne (Steve Buscemi) and Wanda (Molly Shannon) are only a few of the ghoulish guests in Hotel Transylvania.
Credit Sony Pictures
Dracula teaches Johnny (Andy Samberg), a human, how to be a master monster.
One of the better jokes in Hotel Transylvania comes when Dracula (Adam Sandler) happens to see a clip of one of the Twilight movies. As Edward sparkles in the sunlight, Drac is even more offended at this bastardized representation of his kind than he is by the people constantly imitating his Transylvanian accent by appending the nonsense words "Bluh, bluh bluh!" to the end of any sentence.
Published mainly in the pulp magazine Weird Tales — also the preferred outlet for his most famous creation, Conan the Barbarian — the serial adventures of Robert E. Howard's Solomon Kane character provided an early model for the "sword and sorcery" subgenre, that crude yet irresistible fusion of the superpowerful and the supernatural.
Some men, it's said, think about only one thing. Hong Kong movie producer To Wai-Cheung, for example, is absolutely obsessive about film. Yet when he discusses it, he always seems to be talking about something else that's often on men's minds.
To (Chapman To) is the protagonist of Vulgaria, a Hong Kong movie-biz satire and sex comedy. Directed by Pang Ho-Cheung, the film boasts the spontaneity of a French New Wave romp, while including raunchy gags worthy of The Hangover and Clerks II.
When it's done right, there's nothing so miraculous as the sound of human voices blending into a creamy swirl of color, with neither the help nor the distraction of musical accompaniment. Pitch Perfect banks on that magic — the purely human wizardry of a cappella singing — though it also attempts to be several other things: a mild gross-out comedy, a paean to the awkward early stages of new love, a Mean Girls-style riff on campus hierarchies. That may be too much for one modest comedy to carry, but one thing's for sure: Pitch Perfect doesn't skimp on the singing.
The main problem with time-travel movies is the many black holes that the plot can stumble into; for a certain kind of viewer, they can be more than a little distracting. While the story presses forward, we're stuck wondering, for instance, how a character can safely hang out with his future self in the same time period — an anomaly that, despite Spock's shenanigans in the 2009 Star Trek reboot, aficionados of Doctor Who know is a Very Bad Thing.
Spain is slashing another $50 billion from its budget — scrapping early retirement programs, hiking taxes and sparking public outrage in the streets. Madrid is struggling to avoid a second, larger European Union bailout, beyond what it's already getting for its banks. But markets have plummeted, dragged down by investors' doubts about whether Spain can go it alone.
Two weeks after the attacks that killed the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans, there is still confusion about what exactly happened and whether the United States might have prevented the tragedy. Critics of the Obama administration accuse the White House of dissembling about the attack. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston talks to Melissa Block.
Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 1:07 pm
Twenty-five years ago, no one — and I mean no one — would have predicted that a little budget label out of Hong Kong would totally upend the classical music industry. But after doing everything pretty much counter to received wisdom, the Naxos catalog includes more than 7,000 recordings, and they've sold more than 115 million CDs worldwide. A very popular streaming service, the Naxos Music Library, contains nearly a million tracks.
Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 8:45 am
The newly reunited power-pop pioneers in The dB's make their first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Charleston, W.V. Often described as the band that filled the gap between Big Star and R.E.M. in the early '80s, The dB's helped change the course of guitar-driven power-pop for years to come.