Arts

6:04pm

Thu June 13, 2013
NPR's Backseat Book Club

Meet 'Ivan': The Gorilla Who Lived In A Shopping Mall

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 7:00 pm

The school year is drawing to a close, but NPR's Backseat Book Club has plenty of reading lined up for the summer. Our June pick is The One and Only Ivan, a Newbery Medal-winning book by Katherine Applegate. It tells the story of a gorilla who spent 27 years in a shopping mall in Tacoma, Wash. — and it's based on a true story.

Read more

5:45pm

Thu June 13, 2013
The Salt

Saving Grandma's Strawberry Cake From The Clutches Of Jell-O

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 6:35 pm

Jeremy Jackson wanted to rethink his grandma Mildred's famous Strawberry Cake recipe, which uses boxed cake mix and Jell-O. His updated cupcake version is shown on the right.
Jeremy Jackson for NPR

Jeremy Jackson's grandma Mildred was famous for her strawberry cake. Legend has it that one of the families in her small Missouri town loved the dessert so much, they "commissioned" her to make it for them once a week.

Jackson is the author of Good Day for A Picnic: Simple Food that Travels Well. He shared two versions of his Strawberry Cake for All Things Considered's Found Recipes series.

Read more

5:04pm

Thu June 13, 2013
Movie Reviews

'More Than Honey' Sees A World Without Bees

In More Than Honey, Attica Boa's striking close-up photography helps visualize a story whose urgency needs no amplification: With global honeybee populations threatened, the world's food supply could be seriously endangered.
Kino Lorber

An amiably shaggy combination of science lesson, whimsical musing and alarm bell, More Than Honey isn't as urgent as its eco-catastrophic subject — the possible destruction of the world's critically important honeybee populations — might seem to require. But the documentary's most memorable vignette is suitably unnerving: a visit to northern China, where the threatened disappearance of bees has already come to pass, leaving workers to pollinate fruit trees ... by hand.

Read more

4:50pm

Thu June 13, 2013
Movie Reviews

'Steel' Trap: Snyder's Superman, Between Worlds

Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 7:12 am

Henry Cavill plays the title role in Zach Snyder's expensively earnest iteration of our most recognizably American superhero. An "alien" aesthetic — which ironically owes plenty to the Industrial Age and to the metallo-organic curves of art nouveau — informs everything from the film's palette to its interpretation of Superman's iconic costume.
Clay Enos Warner Bros. Pictures

Take heart, ye spandex-haters: Zack Snyder's steroidal yet sensitive Man of Steel is not a superhero film.

Full disclosure: Over the past two years, this reviewer has spent a great deal of time thinking about superheroes in general and Superman in particular. Less than some, perhaps, but more — it's safe to say — than most of you reading these words, as you debate whether or not to duck out of the heat this weekend to take in Snyder's latest summertime smash-em-up.

Read more

2:58pm

Thu June 13, 2013
Remembrances

Israeli Writer Yoram Kaniuk, 83, On Pain And Peace

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 3:34 pm

Yoram Kaniuk speaks in 2008 at the AFI Fest premiere of Adam Resurrected, based on a novel he wrote.
Michael Buckner Getty Images

Born in Israel in 1930, Yoram Kaniuk wrote novels and articles that explored war, the Holocaust, Israel, and the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians. He was an outspoken proponent of the need for Israelis and Palestinians to understand that both groups of people deserve sovereignty.

"Both sides are right, and both sides are so strong about the rightness," he told Fresh Air's Terry Gross in August 1988. He believed that arguing over "who suffered more" wasn't productive.

Read more

1:57pm

Thu June 13, 2013
Music Interviews

Flamenco Sensation Buika Embraces Her 'Animal' Voice

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 4:20 pm

Buika blends flamenco with African rhythms, jazz, blues and soul.
Javi Rojo

Spanish flamenco singer Concha Buika says the key to her music is singing with a "beautiful idea" and "really big desire." Born on the Spanish island of Majorca to parents who fled their home in Equatorial Guinea, Buika performs music that transcends boundaries of language and race.

Read more

1:55pm

Thu June 13, 2013
Author Interviews

Florida-Grown Fiction: Hiaasen Satirizes The Sunshine State

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 4:45 pm

As with many of his novels, Hiaasen sets his latest — Bad Monkey — in his home state of Florida.
Knopf

As a columnist for the Miami Herald and a prolific novelist of books such as Strip Tease, Lucky You and Star Island, Carl Hiaasen has a subject: Florida. Hiaasen grew up in the state during the 1950s and has lived and worked there his entire life, watching it morph from a rural backwater with abundant natural beauty and resources to one struggling with the effects of development and tourism.

Read more

12:03pm

Thu June 13, 2013
Music Reviews

Slaid Cleaves: 'Still Fighting' With Smart Lyrics And Stories

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 3:34 pm

Slaid Cleaves' music is influenced by singer-songwriters such as Woody Guthrie, Bruce Springsteen, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash.
Karen Cleaves Courtesy of the artist

Raised in South Berwick, Maine, and residing in Austin, Texas, Slaid Cleaves is no one's idea of a music-industry insider. He writes and sings songs primarily about working-class people and romantics both hopeful and hopeless. That said, it's also not difficult to hear another element of the fortysomething Cleaves' past: He was an English and philosophy major at Tufts, and his lyrics are underpinned by both a fine sense of meter and moral perspicacity.

Read more

9:51am

Thu June 13, 2013
Monkey See

Let's Rush To Judgment: 'The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug'

Sir Ian McKellen in The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug.
Warner Brothers Pictures

Well, here it is: the trailer for the next Hobbit movie in the series of three Hobbit movies that will be made out of a single medium-length book.

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug doesn't come out until December, but you can already delve into the dragons and mountains and birds (oh my).

Read more

9:39am

Thu June 13, 2013
Books News & Features

Amid Dropping Test Scores, Teen Writers' Creativity Soars

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 10:58 am

NPR correspondent Joseph Shapiro and his daughter Eva spent the weekend at the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Eva, 15, won the "Best in Grade" award, one of two for ninth-grade writers, for a short story. She takes writing classes with Writopia Lab in Washington, D.C.

Read more

Pages