Arts

3:02am

Mon January 6, 2014
Europe

Madrid's Street Performers Now Must Audition To Hold Out A Hat

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 8:03 am

Street musician Valentino Juanino, right, plays his bagpipe at the Conde Duque Cultural Center last month after taking a quality test to obtain official permission to perform in the streets of Madrid.
Paul White AP

On the train, in the park, on the famed medieval Plaza Mayor — the Spanish capital of Madrid is famous for its street performers.

And with more than a quarter of Spaniards out of work, more people than ever before have been crisscrossing the city with their violins and voices, for extra cash. People squeeze giant accordions onto the metro, and roll amplifiers on carts across cobblestones.

The street performers are a tourist attraction. But Madrid's mayor, Ana Botella, says the clamor has reached its limit.

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4:37pm

Sun January 5, 2014
Television

In High-Drama Parody, Will Ferrell Reveals 'Spoils Of Babylon'

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 6:55 pm

Cynthia and Devon Morehouse, played by Kristen Wiig and Tobey Maguire, are caught up in a passionate romance in the IFC miniseries The Spoils of Babylon. Oh, but they're not married: They're sister and (adopted) brother, the central figures in a bizarro salute to '80s melodramas like The Thorn Birds.
Katrina Marcinowski IFC

In The Spoils of Babylon, Will Ferrell plays a "nonexistent author of a nonexistent best-seller." His book, written in the 1970s, was supposedly made into a television miniseries that never saw the light of day — until now.

The story begins in the 1930s, and spans about 50 years, following the powerful Morehouse family.

The series is a parody of the big, bloated miniseries of the 1970s and '80s (like The Thorn Birds or The Winds of War), filled with family drama in a changing America.

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10:31am

Sun January 5, 2014
Food

Eating Tea And Other Food Predictions For 2014

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 12:44 pm

Tea leaves will be big in entrees and desserts in 2014.
iStockphoto.com

At the beginning of every year, we read the tea leaves to see what new food trends we'll be tasting in the coming months. This year, the tea itself is the trend.

Tea leaves will be big in entrees, desserts and, of course, cocktails. Starbucks has opened its first tea shop.

We won't be just drinking tea; Artisan distilling keeps on growing. This could be the year of gin, made with local botanicals as well as the traditional juniper berry.

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10:02am

Sun January 5, 2014
Bonus Round: Ask Me Another

Day 12: It's A New Year, So Keep Your Brain Sharp

Puzzle guru Art Chung has a question or two for you.
Steve Petrucelli
  • Listen to 'Replacement Math'

This is the twelfth day of Ask Me Another's 12 Days of Xmas series.

What do you get when you add Jay-Z's 'Problems' to Three Dog Night's 'Loneliest Number'? In this Season One bonus round, titled "Replacement Math," puzzle guru Art Chung challenges contestants to solve simple arithmetic problems using numbers found in pop culture. Calculus is a lot less scary when it involves your favorite band.

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8:59am

Sun January 5, 2014
Author Interviews

A Novice Reporter Begins His Journey In The Congo

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 11:13 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Anjan Sundaram had all kinds of options in the late summer of 2005. He had a master's in mathematics from Yale, a lucrative job offer from Goldman Sachs; and he was just about to begin a Ph.D. But he left all that behind and made a dramatically different choice. He headed to the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the worst conflict zones in the world, to try to start a career in journalism. At the time, the death count in that war was more than 4 million people. That number continues to rise.

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8:01am

Sun January 5, 2014
Sunday Puzzle

Two Times Harder

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 11:13 am

NPR

On-air challenge: Every answer is a pair of two-syllable words. The first syllable of the word answering the first clue has the letters A-R, pronounced "are." Change these phonetically to "er," and you'll get a new word that answers the second clue. For example, given "hair-cutter" and "a North African," the answer would be "barber" and "Berber."

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8:01am

Sun January 5, 2014
Author Interviews

'On Such A Full Sea': A Fable From A Fractured Future

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 11:13 am

iStockphoto.com

Fast-forward to a few hundred years into the future: Resources in the United States are scarce. The government has fallen apart and most of the population has left, looking for a better life somewhere else.

Immigrant laborers — many from China — have come to fill the labor void, and life in the new America is divided into three distinct societies. First, the Charters, walled-off cities populated by the elites. Next are the working-class cities where the laborers live, and last are the lawless and wild places in between.

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7:02am

Sun January 5, 2014
Three Books...

When Modernism Met Science Fiction: Three New Wave Classics

The original paperback cover for Joanna Russ' 1975 novel The Female Man (detail above) called the book "startling."

A fan named Peter Graham once said that the golden age of science fiction is 12. That's true for me, although like many other fans I'd insist that my first exposure to SF happened during the real golden age. The decade from 1965 to 1975 was science fiction's so-called New Wave, when the genre took on both the turmoil of the '60s and the literary techniques of high modernism. The mix of the two created spectacular results, as dozens of energized writers penned scores of wonderful books. To this day their impact is being recognized; 2014 will see Samuel R.

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4:32am

Sun January 5, 2014
Fine Art

Robert Indiana: A Career Defined By 'LOVE' No Longer

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 11:13 am

Robert Indiana first emerged as a pop artist in the early 1960s, but he was quickly defined by his 1966 signature work, LOVE, shown behind Indiana in this 2013 photo.
Lauren Casselberry AP

In 1968, Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art bought a painting called LOVE — and made artist Robert Indiana famous. It became a sculpture, a stamp, greeting cards.

And it obliterated the rest of Indiana's career. The artist has been pretty much ignored by the art world for the past few decades. Not sneered at, he says – just ignored.

"I wasn't aware that I was disrespected," he says, in a raspy baritone. "I've only been neglected."

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5:16pm

Sat January 4, 2014
Poetry

Jimmy Santiago Baca, From Prison To Poetry

When Jimmy Santiago Baca was 20, he was convicted of drug charges and sentenced to prison. He was illiterate when he arrived at the Arizona State Prison. When he got out five years later, he was well on his way to becoming one of America's most celebrated poets.

Baca writes about oppression, love and migration, and his poems range from just a few lines to many pages.

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