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Updated: 51 min 23 sec ago

Bianculli's Top 10: 2014 Was A 'Good Year For Programming'

Wed, 12/24/2014 - 11:28am

TV critic David Bianculli says that he's encouraged by how far TV has come. He picks The Good Wife as the best show of 2014, which has "the deepest roster of really strong regulars and guest stars."

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In A 'Depressing' Year For Films, Edelstein Finds Some Greats

Wed, 12/24/2014 - 10:11am

Film critic David Edelstein says in 2014 none of the great material came from Hollywood studios. But, he says, it was a "wonderful year" for indie films. He names Boyhood as the best of the year.

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Book News: It's Snowing Poet Laureates

Wed, 12/24/2014 - 9:43am

North Carolina named Shelby Stephenson its new poet laureate, just days after Ohio established a post for its own state poet. Massachusetts may not be too far behind.

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Guyanese Christmas Gives A Whole New Meaning To Slow Food

Wed, 12/24/2014 - 5:33am

Two classic Christmas dishes beloved by the people of Guyana are pepperpot and garlic pork. To get the flavors just right, you have to cook them and let them sit out for weeks.

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Mother, Empress, Virgin, Faith: 'Picturing Mary' And Her Many Meanings

Wed, 12/24/2014 - 2:17am

This Christmas, images of Mary created over five centuries glow on the walls of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Curator Kathryn Wat says that, to her, Mary represents bravery and strength.

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In Seattle, Maurice Sendak's 'Wild' 'Nutcracker' Reaches Its Final Act

Tue, 12/23/2014 - 5:58pm

For more than 30 years, the Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker has used sets and costumes designed by the author of Where the Wild Things Are. This year, the ballet is retiring the production.

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How To Compose Music For A Movie About Music

Tue, 12/23/2014 - 3:21pm

Robert Siegel talks to film composer Justin Hurwitz, 29, about his first major movie score, for the movie Whiplash. Hurwitz talks about using music to heighten tension.

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Serial Host Sarah Koenig Says She Set Out To Report, Not Exonerate

Tue, 12/23/2014 - 12:06pm

The podcast is a reinvestigation of the 1999 murder of Maryland high school student Hae Min Lee. Her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed is serving a life sentence but has always maintained his innocence.

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For Australian Christmas, Everything's Overturned But The Pudding

Tue, 12/23/2014 - 10:42am

Cooking in 100-degree weather is no fun, which is why many Australians ditched roasts and other holiday mainstays long ago. Except for Christmas pudding, a tradition steeped in history — and alcohol.

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Book News: For A Deeper Sleep, Forgo The E-Reader Before Bed

Tue, 12/23/2014 - 9:37am

A new study finds that people who read print books at bedtime fall asleep easier — and sleep better — than those who use an e-reader. Also: JRR Tolkien may have survived war due to a timely illness.

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Videos Of Ray Rice, Eric Garner Among Biggest Media Moments Of 2014

Tue, 12/23/2014 - 6:03am

Some of the most interesting things on TV in 2014 weren't actually made for TV. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans lists the moments in television, viral video and social media that changed us all this year.

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Time For A Holiday Favorite: 'Santaland Diaries'

Tue, 12/23/2014 - 4:05am

About this time every year, we present an encore broadcast of the life and times of Crumpet the Elf. Crumpet is the alter ego of writer David Sedaris who once worked as a department store elf.

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A Vital Chapter Of American History On Film In 'Selma'

Tue, 12/23/2014 - 2:30am

Director Ava DuVernay speaks to NPR's Michele Norris about making Selma, a searing depiction of the battle for voting rights — and the first major movie about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Satirizing Dictators Is Nothing New — Just Ask Charlie Chaplin

Tue, 12/23/2014 - 2:27am

The Interview is hardly the first time a dictator has been portrayed on the big screen — Bugs Bunny, Mel Brooks and South Park have all taken aim at fearsome world leaders.

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Sandwich Monday: The 'Shroom Burger From Shake Shack

Mon, 12/22/2014 - 4:54pm

For this week's Sandwich Monday, we try a next-level veggie burger: the 'Shroom Burger from Shake Shack. It's a fried mushroom burger stuffed with two types of cheese.

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Yule Have To Try This Gingerbread Buche De Noel

Mon, 12/22/2014 - 3:22pm

In Paris, holiday buche de Noel cakes verge on art. Cookbook author Dorie Greenspan has created her own Franco-American version that's fun to make and "just as good as birthday cake," she says.

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We Ask A Scholar: How Does Ridley Scott's 'Exodus' Compare With The Bible's?

Mon, 12/22/2014 - 2:35pm

Robert Alter, a leading secular scholar of Scripture, says the film was fun to watch, but "it's not exactly Exodus; it's panorama and pageantry, which is what film does." And, he adds, why not?

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In Slovakia, Christmas Dinner Starts In The Bathtub

Mon, 12/22/2014 - 1:19pm

Christmas carp is a holiday mainstay in many central European nations. Traditionally, it swims in the family tub for a day or two, sometimes becoming a sort of pet before it ends up on the plate.

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Book News: George R.R. Martin Rails Against Sony's 'Corporate Cowardice'

Mon, 12/22/2014 - 9:58am

The Game of Thrones author has blasted the studio for canceling its release of The Interview, offering to screen the film himself at his own movie theater.

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Nuns On The Ranch Give A Heavenly Twist To Beef

Mon, 12/22/2014 - 2:45am

At a Colorado ranch run by Benedictine nuns, prayer and farming go hand in hand. "We have kind of a corner on the market" for grass-fed beef, says one sister. "People just kind of believe in it."

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