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Updated: 38 min 25 sec ago

Music Is Troublesome Magic In 'Signal To Noise'

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 6:03am

Silvia Moreno-Garcia's debut novel bounces back and forth between Mexico City in 1988 and 2009 to tell the story of a young woman who finds she can make magic — actual, dangerous magic — with music.

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Miniseries Explores The Ugly Fallout Of A Disciplinary 'Slap'

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 2:41am

In The Slap, NBC takes on the touchy issue of corporal punishment. The show begins at a Brooklyn barbecue with a dad hitting another parent's out-of-control 5 year old.

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Forget Beads: Cajun Mardi Gras Means A Grand, Drunken Chicken Chase

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 4:18pm

Courir de Mardi Gras is an old tradition in rural Louisiana. From early morning on, costumed revelers go house to house, drinking, singing and collecting ingredients for a big ole pot of gumbo.

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Tumultuous Relationships, But Not Much Gossip, In Langston Hughes' Letters

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 4:04pm

Poet Langston Hughes was also an "inveterate letter writer," says the co-editor of a new compilation of his correspondence. But if you're hoping to find profound love letters, you'll be disappointed.

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The Morning After 'The Daily Show' Began To Look To The Future

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 1:23pm

Linda Holmes and Stephen Thompson of Pop Culture Happy Hour talk about the aftermath of Jon Stewart's farewell from The Daily Show and what might come next for him and his show.

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Twice Kidnapped, Photographer Returns To War Zone: 'It's What I Do'

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 1:05pm

Lynsey Addario was taken captive in 2011 while covering Libya's civil war. With a gun to her head, she says she was thinking, "Will I ever get my cameras back?"

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'Displacement' Floats Too Close To The Surface

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 10:03am

Lucy Knisley's new Displacement is a buoyant memoir of a cruise with her elderly grandparents. Reviewer Etelka Lehoczky says the book is engaging and lovely, but snorkels when it should dive deep.

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'Finn Fancy' Is Urban Fantasy With A Pop Culture Sweet Tooth

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 9:03am

Randy Henderson's debut deals with sinister magic and family tragedy, but reviewer Jason Heller says it still has plenty of a rare commodity in current fantasy: laughs, laughs, and more laughs.

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Watch Jon Stewart Break The News Of His Departure To An Audience

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 5:56am

Taping last night's show before the news of his departure became public, The Daily Show host Jon Stewart faced an awkward task: telling a studio audience that he's leaving the show.

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Ignoring The Rules, Kelly Link Traffics In Wonder, Irony, And Teenage Longings

Tue, 02/10/2015 - 2:10pm

Writer Kelly Link has a lot of magic powers, but it's her confidence and storytelling chops that reviewer Meg Wolitzer finds most enchanting.

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New Comedy 'Schitt's Creek' From Canada Is A Reboot Of 'Green Acres'

Tue, 02/10/2015 - 12:59pm

The sitcom on Pop network is about a wealthy family that is thrust into poverty. Their interactions with the locals is the main story, and the main source of comedy — and it's worth checking out.

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Funny If It Weren't So True: A Farce About 'The Importance Of Beauty'

Tue, 02/10/2015 - 12:59pm

Amanda Filipacchi's novel is about a costume designer who wears a fat suit after a suitor commits suicide. It's structured as a mash-up of an old Friends episode, a fairy tale and a murder mystery.

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David Axelrod Recounts His Years As Obama's Adviser And 'Believer'

Tue, 02/10/2015 - 12:59pm

In his new book, the veteran political consultant tells stories about his years at Obama's side. After one debate, Axelrod says, Obama "made clear how he felt about me at that moment, and he bolted."

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'Stop Telling Women To Smile': Denouncing 'Jackals' And Catcalling In Mexico

Tue, 02/10/2015 - 11:40am

Sexual harassment is rampant in Mexico City. The artist behind "Stop Telling Women to Smile" is asking women to talk back.

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Cozy 'Blue Thread' Is Unabashedly Domestic

Tue, 02/10/2015 - 6:03am

Anne Tyler's 20th novel will feel comfortably familiar to her fans — A Spool of Blue Thread is the long-haul story of an ordinary Baltimore family thrown into disarray by illness and sudden tragedy.

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If Apple Made iMilk And Nike Sold Fruit: Designer Groceries As Art

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 5:04pm

A designer has reimagined a host of everyday edibles as high-end grocery items. It's a project that explores how branding influences our purchases — and where the ethical boundaries lie for designers.

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Filmmaker Takes A Stand Against Extremism In Oscar-Nominated 'Timbuktu'

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 5:04pm

Abderrahmane Sissako's film was inspired by the seizure of the Malian city by Islamist fighters in 2012. It has won international accolades with its lyrical beauty and critique of religious extremism.

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With New Rules In Place, Netflix Expands To Cuba

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 1:42pm

Starting today, Cubans with an Internet connection and access to international payment methods will have access to a wide array of movies and shows. There are huge hurdles, though.

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From 'Batman' To 'Birdman,' Michael Keaton Knows Suits And Superheroes

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 1:23pm

Keaton says his 1989 bat suit was downright claustrophobic, but he somehow made it work. In the existential comedy Birdman, Keaton plays a washed up, insecure actor looking for a second shot at fame.

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A Grammy Wrap-Up, With Soft Music And Extra Beck

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 1:10pm

Linda Holmes and Stephen Thompson look back at the 2015 Grammys telecast and conclude that it could have used a little more joy.

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