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Updated: 35 min 15 sec ago

Maggie Smith On The Pressures Of Acting: 'You Want So Much To Get It Right'

Tue, 02/23/2016 - 12:55pm

Known for her recent work in Downton Abbey and the Harry Potter films, the Oscar-winning actress now stars in The Lady in the Van, a film about an elderly woman who lived in a van for 15 years.

'Save The Fleet, Eat Less Wheat': The Patriotic History Of Ditching Bread

Tue, 02/23/2016 - 12:41pm

Finding bread alternatives may seem like a thoroughly modern obsession. But, during both world wars, consumers were urged to give up their white bread habit for the national good.

'We've Already Gone This Far' Counts The Cost Of War

Tue, 02/23/2016 - 6:00am

Patrick Dacey's debut story collection follows the people of a fictional Massachusetts town hit hard by war, weather and economic turmoil. Critic Michael Schaub praises Dacey's emotional honesty.

Avant Guard: At LA's Broad Museum, A New Approach To Protecting Art

Tue, 02/23/2016 - 3:33am

Contemporary art isn't easy, and the new museum's creators wanted first-time visitors to feel welcome. So The Broad's guards act as friendly ambassadors — ready to engage with visitors about the art.

As A Japanese Mountain Village Shrinks, So Do Its Prospects For Kabuki

Tue, 02/23/2016 - 3:33am

For more than 300 years, children have performed kabuki, Japan's classical theater, in the village of Damine. But as residents age or leave for cities, Damine is running out of young performers.

This Oscar Nominee Could've Been An Executive. Instead, She's A Screenwriter

Mon, 02/22/2016 - 3:24pm

At one point, Meg LeFauve was getting multiple studio executive job offers. But as her mentor says, "She knew she had a different path." Now her screenplay for Inside Out is up for an Oscar.

'Doubter's Almanac' Is A Family Saga, Plus Algebraic Equations

Mon, 02/22/2016 - 2:08pm

Ethan Canin traces the complicated lives of two generations of mathematical geniuses in his new novel. Critic Maureen Corrigan calls it A Doubter's Almanac an "elegant and devastating novel."

'Pandemic' Asks: Is A Disease That Will Kill Tens Of Millions Coming?

Mon, 02/22/2016 - 1:34pm

Author Sonia Shah says that urbanization and air travel put the global population at an increased risk for disease. "Zika is a great example of how new pathogens are emerging today," she says.

Lo Mein Loophole: How U.S. Immigration Law Fueled A Chinese Restaurant Boom

Mon, 02/22/2016 - 1:27pm

In the early 20th century, the Chinese faced draconian immigration rules. But owners of a few types of businesses could get special visas. In 1915, restaurants got on that list. The rest is history.

Hollywood Has A Major Diversity Problem, USC Study Finds

Mon, 02/22/2016 - 12:19pm

The study examined more than 21,000 characters and behind-the-scenes workers on films and TV, and found an "epidemic of invisibility." For example, just 3.4 percent of film directors were female.

Hey, Sci-Fi And Comics Fans: It's Time To Embrace The Dark Side

Mon, 02/22/2016 - 6:00am

Why fans have nothing to fear — and everything to gain — from diversity in science fiction and fantasy.

The 'Girl' In The Title: More Than A Marketing Trend

Mon, 02/22/2016 - 4:15am

Lately it seems as if every thriller written by a woman gets compared to two recent blockbusters: Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. So what makes those two books so appealing and influential?

'Serpent' Film Explores, Revives Lost Cultural Knowledge For Colombians

Sun, 02/21/2016 - 6:57am

The Colombian film "Embrace of the Serpent" tells the story of Amazon exploration not through European, but indigenous eyes. It's a contender for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.

'Fuller House' To Satisfy 90s Nostalgia This Week

Sun, 02/21/2016 - 6:57am

First there was "Full House" and now, more than 20 years later, the reboot of the family sitcom starts this week. NPR's Rachel Martin speaks to the show's creator, Jeff Franklin.

Family And Friends Pay Tribute To 'Mockingbird' Author Harper Lee

Sun, 02/21/2016 - 6:57am

In a tribute to the late Harper Lee, we hear several poignant passages read from her novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird."

'Tender' Author Calls Novel On Friendship 'Autobiographical To Its Core'

Sun, 02/21/2016 - 6:57am

Adolescence is a time when "friendship feels like something you die for," says Irish author Belinda McKeon. It's how she explains the characters in her new novel "Tender" to NPR's Rachel Martin.

The Phrase Or Name Is Familiar: Try This Puzzle And See What They Are

Sun, 02/21/2016 - 6:57am

Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word ends in the letter -E, and the second word starts GO-.

Meet The Architect Who Helped Bring Modernism To The Masses

Sun, 02/21/2016 - 6:57am

Nearly 60 years ago, William Krisel did everything he could to break the monotony of tract housing. In the process, he proved that Modernism could be both livable and affordable.

Stand-Up Bridges Decades-Long Boundaries — By Crossing The Line

Sat, 02/20/2016 - 8:45am

In Pakistan, a stand-up comic is sharing the stage with another comedian from the old enemy, India. The comics believe laughter is the best medicine for their conflict-blighted region.

Fresh Air Weekend: Trevor Noah; The I Don't Cares' Debut; 'Narconomics'

Sat, 02/20/2016 - 8:00am

Noah discusses The Daily Show and growing up in South Africa. Critic Ken Tucker reviews Wild Stab, the debut album by The I Don't Cares. Tom Wainwright explains the business models of drug cartels.

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