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Updated: 30 min 38 sec ago

Billy Joel, Popular Song, PBS, And Needing A Piano

Fri, 01/02/2015 - 10:31am

A PBS concert special looking at the legacy of Billy Joel brings some great stuff, some less great stuff, and a chance to reflect.

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'Leviathan' Shows A Film And Filmmaker Unafraid Of Big Questions

Fri, 01/02/2015 - 9:33am

Andrey Zvyagintsev's story of corruption in post-Soviet Russia won funding from the Ministry Of Culture, but his picture of his homeland is unsettling.

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The Madly Uneven 'Downton Abbey' Turns Its Eye From Money To Sex

Fri, 01/02/2015 - 9:04am

The fifth season of Downton Abbey continues some trends from past seasons — flawed pacing, especially. But its looks at the choices of women are intriguing.

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Murder, Cows And Bad Funerals In The Absurd Comedy Of 'Li'l Quinquin'

Fri, 01/02/2015 - 9:03am

Bruno Dumont's inconclusively plotted story of a boy crossing paths with detectives and other locals was made as a miniseries, but feels little like traditional television.

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Pop Culture Happy Hour: From Sixth And I, Quizzes And Questions

Fri, 01/02/2015 - 8:07am

The second part of our December live show from the Sixth And I synagogue brings quizzes with some of our pals and questions from our audience.

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'Life Itself': An Unflinching Documentary Of Roger Ebert's Life And Death

Fri, 01/02/2015 - 8:03am

In late 2012, filmmaker Steve James and Roger Ebert began talking about filming a documentary based on Ebert's memoir. Ebert's wife, Chaz, agreed. They didn't know that he would die within months.

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A 40-Day Vegan Fast, Then At Last, A January Christmas Feast

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 4:43pm

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church observes Christmas on Jan. 7, and the 40 days prior are observed as a vegan fast. That means no dairy and no meat until the traditional dish of doro wat on Christmas Day.

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When It Comes To Furry Muses, Cats Are For Brevity And Dogs Are For Books

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 3:21pm

The Internet is the undisputed territory of cats, and dog books are more popular than their feline counterparts. Francesco Marciuliano plays to both animals' strengths in his best-selling collections.

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Pastry With Soul. It's That Simple

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 2:49am

New York pastry chef Brooks Headley calls his cookbook Fancy Desserts. But his Italian grandmother is his real inspiration, he says, and she was all about homestyle: simple and fresh.

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A Cure For The Common Hangover, Found On The Stove

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 4:19pm

Chef Anthony Lamas says posole, a Mexican hominy stew, is great if you're cold, hung over or just had a long night. "It's a cure in a bowl" that's infinitely customizable, he says.

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Luck Be A Lentil Tonight! What The World Eats To Welcome The New Year

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 4:10pm

From Italy to Japan to the Philippines, people will hope for happiness, health and wealth as they sit down to a New Year's meal. Sometimes that last wish is expressed as actual money in the food.

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Book Review: 'Waking Up: A Guide To Spirituality Without Religion'

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 3:26pm

Astrophysicist Adam Frank reviews Sam Harris' Book, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality without Religion.

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Favorite Films Of 2014: Why Stop At 10?

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 2:24pm

Box office figures were gloomy in 2014, but movie critic Bob Mondello still found a lot to cheer about among the year's quirky offerings — and as usual, his annual 10 best list runneth over.

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Food Psychology: How To Trick Your Palate Into A Tastier Meal

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 12:45pm

Ingredients and preparation matter in making a delicious dinner. But so do a lot of other external factors, from your mood to room lighting. Here, a guide to enhancing the pleasures of the plate.

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In 'Death By Pastrami,' Charming Stories Of New York's Garment District

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 12:25pm

Leonard S. Bernstein — the writer, not the composer — once owned and managed a garment factory. In his first work of fiction the octogenarian crafts quaint parables about the comic futility of life.

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'A Most Violent Year,' But A Film With Restraint

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 11:03am

J.C. Chandor makes provocative use of the imagery of violence to explore the life of a bad man who wants to seem good.

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Grasping For Gravitas In 'A Most Violent Year'

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 11:03am

J.C. Chandor's A Most Violent Year wants to be an elegant statement on the tough truth about making it in America. Instead, it tries to import seriousness it can't back up with substance.

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'The Apprentice' Is Dead, Please Stop 'The Celebrity Apprentice'

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 9:43am

Believe it or not, before The Celebrity Apprentice was a really terrible and boring show, The Apprentice was kind of a dishy, fun show. No, it was.

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In 'The Rosie Effect,' An Unusual Romantic Hero Perseveres

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 7:33am

Graeme Simsion's follow-up to 2013's The Rosie Project finds his unusual protagonist confronting parenthood.

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Banish 2014's Woes With Our Stand-Up Comedy Picks

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 2:23am

NPR's Elizabeth Blair polled comedy-industry insiders to find out their favorite jokes of 2014. The results range from supermarket-checkout observations to a historically hysterical take on Oprah.

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