Tue March 18, 2014
Book Reviews

All Sides Of A Divorce, Told In Fresh, Lively 'Papers'

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 6:20 pm

The "woe that is in marriage," the subject of the Wife of Bath's Prologue in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, is a great old subject. Susan Rieger's smart and wonderfully entertaining domestic comedy, with all its shifts of tone from the personal to the legal and a lot in between, takes up this old problem and makes it fresh and lively — and in some places so painful, because it has to do with a child torn between two parents, you don't want to go on. But you do. The power and canniness of this bittersweet work of epistolary fiction pulls you along.

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Tue March 18, 2014
The Salt

Japanese Tea Ritual Turned 15th Century 'Tupperware' Into Art

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 5:24 am

Courtesy Freer Gallery of Art

Eight hundred years ago, tea was rare in Japan. It arrived from China in simple, ceramic storage jars. Chinese ceramists churned these jars out with little care or attention; they stuffed tea leaves into them and shipped them off.

The jars were "the Chinese version of Tupperware," says Andrew Watsky, a professor of Japanese art history at Princeton.

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Mon March 17, 2014
Monkey See

'Veronica Mars' And The Bad Caterpillar Theory

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 4:57 pm

In the movie, Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) is a recent law school grad living in New York when an old flame — Logan Echolls — calls her back to her home town of Neptune, Calif.
Robert Voets Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

[CAUTION: Contains information about both show and movie. Be warned.]

The story of the Veronica Mars movie has already become the insta-cook version of a legend: creator and star band together for Kickstarter campaign to add chapter to cult series, fans rally, movie gets made.

Does it really matter whether it's a good movie? Maybe not. Maybe wondering whether it's good is the equivalent of critiquing a bobblehead handed out at Comic-Con: it's supposed to make people who loved something nostalgically happy; if it makes them happy, who cares?

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Mon March 17, 2014
Movie Interviews

Jason Bateman, Taking A Turn As The Big Bad

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 6:33 pm

Jason Bateman took cues from Arrested Development in portraying the profoundly unsympathetic character Guy Trilby.
Sam Urdank Courtesy of Focus Features

When you see actor Jason Bateman on screen, he's usually playing the nice guy — or at least the nicest guy in the room. On the TV cult favorite Arrested Development, Bateman is easily the heart of the show.

But given the chance to direct a movie, he cast himself as a vulgar sociopath with a gift for coming up with the perfect put-down. The film is Bad Words, and it tells the story of a 40-year-old elbowing his way onto the middle-school spelling-bee circuit, to the frustration of kids, parents and teachers alike.

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Mon March 17, 2014

Lions, Lambs, Whatever: 10 Movies To Help You Weather The Week

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 3:37 pm

March giveth and it taketh away, depending on which coast you call home. Here in California, it's sunny, yes — but we're also suffering a drought. Meanwhile, portions of the East Coast are anything but precipitation-deprived as they suffer under several inches of snow.

But whether you're stuck at home unable to get to work or school, or watching your lawn slowly turn brown as you conserve water, it's a good time to enjoy a movie. Get a taste of what isn't happening outside your window with these films about droughts or blizzards:

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Mon March 17, 2014
The Salt

Sandwich Monday: The Subway Flatizza

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 4:40 pm

"Flatizza" is not to be confused with "Flatzilla," the two-dimensional lizard monster.

Whether it's James Franco writing novels or Pablo Picasso scrapbooking, all great artists move outside their medium. Subway has recently been experimenting with pizzas. The latest is the Flatizza, which is a combination of "flatbread" and "pizza," and is also embarrassing to say when you have to order one.

Mike: Subway pizza is a tough sell. "Five-dollar foot-wide" feels wrong.

Miles: I just don't understand why Subway demands we wash down the Flatizza with a FlatSoda.

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Mon March 17, 2014

'Fresh Air' Remembers Comedian David Brenner

David Brenner performs at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas in 1981.
Las Vegas News Bureau AP

Comedian David Brenner became a star in the 1970s, with the help of The Tonight Show. He made his first appearance with Johnny Carson in 1971 and returned to the show more than 150 times, often as the substitute host. He also had his own short-lived late night show in the mid '80s.

Brenner died Saturday at 78. He grew up in Philadelphia, where Fresh Air is produced, and spoke to Terry Gross in 1990.

Interview Highlights

On how he started doing observational comedy

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Mon March 17, 2014
Author Interviews

Author Penelope Lively Shares 'The View From Old Age'

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 1:52 pm

Penelope Lively's other books include A Stitch In Time, Astercote and The Road To Lichfield.
Robbin Matthew Photography Courtesy of Viking

Penelope Lively describes her latest book, Dancing Fish And Ammonites, as "not quite a memoir," but rather "the view from old age," a subject she says she can report on with some authority — Monday is the British writer's 81st birthday.

Lively was born in Egypt, where her father was working at the time. She and her mother fled the country during World War II. When she was 12, in 1945, Lively was sent to live with her grandmothers in England.

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Mon March 17, 2014
The Salt

The Dark History Of Green Food On St. Patrick's Day

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 9:03 am

Green cupcakes may mean party time in America, but in Ireland, emerald-tinged edibles harken back to a desperate past.
Ro Jo Images iStockphoto

Green food may mean party time in America, where St. Patrick's Day has long been an excuse to break out the food dye. But in Ireland, where the Irish celebrate their patron saint on March 17, green food has bitter connotations that recall the nation's darkest chapter, says historian Christine Kinealy.

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Mon March 17, 2014
The Two-Way

Book News: Lawrence Ferlinghetti's Travel Journals Will Be Published

Poets Lawrence Ferlinghetti (left) and Allen Ginsberg chat in 1988 during the dedication of public art dedicated to Jack Kerouac in Lowell, Mass.
Jon Chase AP

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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