Popular soft drinks, sports cars and other brands appear surreptitiously placed in the worlds of our favorite TV shows and films all the time. Soon enough, we may see them name-dropped in our books, too.
To help imagine some egregious-yet-hilarious examples of this, we invited a prolific writer to Ask Me Another: award-winning young adult author Lois Lowry. Lowry joins forces with a fellow book-loving contestant to play "Product Placement," a game in which they must combine the titles of famous literary works with the names of household products and companies.
Eduardo Halfon is the author of <em>The Polish Boxer.</em>
Credit Paula Morales
Guatemalan author Eduardo Halfon is this week's Alt.latino guest DJ, and he's a natural choice; his new book, The Polish Boxer, is a series of semi-autobiographical stories woven through with loving references to jazz and classical music.
Alt.latino host Jasmine Garsd had this to say about The Polish Boxer:
Carey Mulligan and Leonardo DiCaprio in Baz Luhrmann's <em>The Great Gatsby</em>.
Credit Daniel Smith / Warner Brothers Pictures
[I really hope it goes without saying that this piece about the film adaptation of a decades-old novel gives away the plot of a decades-old novel. But: Be aware.]
The sheer zazz that Baz Luhrmann introduces into The Great Gatsby is so imposing in quantity that it's surprising that it can get out of the way enough not to be the biggest problem in the movie. Luhrmann, after all, loves his swooping cameras and party scenes, and Gatsby gives him the best excuse for excess that there is: a story about excess.
This is the second installment of NPR's Cook Your Cupboard, a food series about improvising with what you have on hand. Got a food that has you stumped? Submit a photo and we'll ask chefs about our favorites!
Laurel Ruma, an NPR listener from Medford, Mass., didn't realize quite how much she had gathered up from her travels until renovating her kitchen last summer. She unearthed things like harissa, chickpea flour and black chia seeds.
Journalists make choices all the time that influence our understanding of the news — the choice of what stories to cover, which people to interview, which words to use. And major news organizations have been reconsidering how best to describe a group of people whose very presence in this country breaks immigration law.
<strong>A 'Great Gatsby'?</strong> Leonardo DiCaprio suits up to play the mysterious, magnetic title character in Baz Luhrmann's exuberantly turbulent film adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel.
Credit Warner Bros. Pictures
If anyone could pull off a multiplex-friendly adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby — a filmtreatment that might be capable of stepping out of the long shadow cast by the book — it's Baz Luhrmann, right? The Australian director who dragged Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers into the music-video-shaken, bullet-ridden '90s with Romeo + Juliet and compressed a century's worth of pop music and melodrama into the glorious Moulin Rouge?
Tina (Alice Lowe) and Chris (Steve Oram) in the sour social comedy <em>Sightseers.</em>
Credit Ben Wheatley / IFC Films
Scrub away the gore and the nastier bits of provocation, and Ben Wheatley's Sightseers belongs squarely in the tradition of British classics like Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Ruling Class — satires that transformed simmering class resentment into brittle, nasty dark comedy.
Serena Williams (left) and her sister Venus Williams in action during their first-round doubles match on Day 2 at Wimbledon in 2010.
Credit Hamish Blair / Getty Images via Magnolia Pictures
What's left to know about Venus and Serena Williams? Probably not much that the tennis titans would be willing to share, given how heavily exposed they've been already, and how eager the press has been to wedge the sisters into ready-made narratives about race, celebrity and the daughters of a Svengali.
<strong>Light It Up:</strong> Director Baz Luhrmann (right, with stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan on the set of <em>The Great Gatsby</em>) brought a lush visual sensibility to a tale whose tone not everyone thinks of as epic.
Here's a movie pitch: A celebrated millionaire, known for public extravagance, lives right on the water in a fabulous mansion. He's smooth but reckless, drives like a maniac, has a powerful enemy and — despite a rep as a playboy — has only one girlfriend, who barely registers on-screen.
You're the producer, so whaddya think? Does his story require lavish digital effects, swooping cameras, a rap soundtrack and the full-on 3-D treatment?
If I tell you his name is Tony Stark, otherwise known as Iron Man, probably yes, right?