Arts

3:28am

Thu February 27, 2014
Your Health

Good Art Is Popular Because It's Good. Right?

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 12:47 pm

What makes the Mona Lisa — or any piece of art — successful?
Sergio Velayosf Flickr

In July of last year, a man named Sidney Sealine went to see the Mona Lisa in Paris.

The idea was to spend some time with the picture, see for himself the special spark that made the painting so famous.

But Sealine couldn't even get close.

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9:44pm

Wed February 26, 2014
The Two-Way

Mapping Differences In America's Musical Tastes, State By State

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 1:24 pm

A map of the U.S. lists the musical acts that set states apart from each other. It's not a matter of an artist's popularity, says Paul Lamere, who made the map, but of a state's distinct preferences.
Paul Lamere, Director of Developer Platform at The Echo Nest

Are you streaming music right now? If you're in America's Pacific region, there's a much better chance you're nodding along with Cat Power rather than grooving to Fantasia, which you'd be more likely to be doing if you were across the country in the South Atlantic. Those observations come from a map titled "Regionalisms in U.S. Listening Preferences."

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7:02pm

Wed February 26, 2014
Code Switch

To Play The Part, Actors Must Talk The Talk — In Chinese

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 12:08 pm

Chinese billionaire Xander Feng, played by Terry Chen, shakes hands with Francis Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, in Netflix's House of Cards.
Nathaniel E. Bell Courtesy of Netflix

The success of the Netflix series House of Cards lies in the details.

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2:20pm

Wed February 26, 2014
Book Reviews

These Stories Consider Solitude, With Echoes Of Emily Dickinson

Courtesy of Knopf

Lorrie Moore isn't quite a household name. This was news to me, because I thought that, given that she's the kind of writer who's published in The New Yorker and profiled in The New York Times, most culture vultures would know who she is. But, over the past couple of weeks when I mentioned her new book, Bark, in conversations, both in the halls of academe and over meals with friends, I mostly got blank stares. (One smarty confused her with that other great literary "Lorrie" — the late Laurie Colwin — whose short stories and novels are also essential reading.)

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10:59am

Wed February 26, 2014
Kitchen Window

Fat Tuesday: The Many Different Doughnuts Of Mardi Gras

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 11:02 am

Emily Hilliard for NPR

The history of doughnuts is intrinsically linked to the celebration of Mardi Gras. "Fat Tuesday" — the Christian day of revelry and indulgence before the austere season of Lent — features dough deep-fried in fat as its main staple.

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7:03am

Wed February 26, 2014
Book Reviews

Lorrie Moore's New 'Bark' Is Half Of A Good Book

Courtesy of Knopf

There are eight stories in Lorrie Moore's new collection, but only two of them really stand out. Moore's one of the country's most admired writers – and maybe I was so dazzled by the brilliance and power of the two longest stories in these pages that I couldn't read the other pieces — which I found either a little off-kilter or too subtly played — without feeling a certain amount of loss. But my possibly cock-eyed view of Bark is that it's a book, or at least half a book, that anyone who loves contemporary fiction should have a go at.

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5:09am

Wed February 26, 2014
Books News & Features

When It Comes To Women's Writing, How Do Publications Stack Up?

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 10:21 am

For the fourth year in a row, VIDA has tallied up the gender breakdown in prominent literary journals — counting both reviewers and authors.
Peter Mautsch iStockphoto

If it seems like male authors get more attention, there are hard numbers to back that up: The VIDA count.

VIDA is a women's literary organization, and the "count" is the result of eight months spent tracking gender disparity in leading publications. VIDA tallies the gender of authors whose books are being reviewed as well as the gender of those doing the reviewing.

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8:29pm

Tue February 25, 2014
Book Reviews

Comedian Ages With Humor — And Effort

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 10:28 am

Courtesy of Blue Rider Press

What is it about comedians itching to get between the covers — book covers, that is? Annabelle Gurwitch's I See You Made An Effort, a seriously funny collection of essays about teetering over the edge of 50, makes it clear that the draw isn't strictly literary. To tweak Peter Steiner's classic New Yorker cartoon: On the page, nobody knows how old you are.

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4:19pm

Tue February 25, 2014
Music Reviews

Album Review: 'Morning Phase'

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 11:05 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The singer and songwriter Beck is considered one of the most innovative artists of his generation. This week, he released "Morning Phase," his first new album in six years. Critic Tom Moon says the new record returns back to the brooding pop of 2002's "Sea Change," which many consider his best work.

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4:19pm

Tue February 25, 2014
Book Reviews

Book Review: 'Bark'

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 8:01 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Writer Lorrie Moore is known for her clever word play and incisive wit. Now, she's out with a new collection of short stories, her first in 16 years. It's called "Bark." Alan Cheuse has our review.

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