Thu December 6, 2012
Around the Nation

Big Gator Head Premieres At Miami Art Fair

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 10:23 am



Now to a hundred-foot-long alligator in Miami. Art Basel Miami Beach, one of the nation's largest art fairs, opens today. It's a citywide event that has spawned dozens of satellite shows and art happenings that have transformed the area with gigantic installations, including, as NPR's Greg Allen tells us, a very big alligator.

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Wed December 5, 2012

Revisiting, Reappraising Cimino's 'Heaven's Gate'

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 9:38 am

Jeff Bridges as John L. Bridges, Isabelle Huppert as Ella Watson and Kris Kristofferson as James Averill in the 1980 Western Heaven's Gate, a director's cut of which was released in November.
Criterion Collection

The director Francois Truffaut once remarked that it takes as much time and energy to make a bad movie as to make a good one. He was right, but I would add one thing: It takes extraordinary effort to make a truly memorable flop.

The best example is Heaven's Gate, the hugely expensive 1980 movie by Michael Cimino that is the most famous cinematic disaster of my lifetime. It's part of that film's legend that it not only took down a studio, United Artists, but was the nail in the coffin of Hollywood's auteur filmmaking of the 1970s.

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Wed December 5, 2012
Monkey See

The Spatter Pattern: Does All The Good Television Have To Be So Bloody?

Aaron Paul plays Jesse Pinkman on AMC's Breaking Bad.
Ursula Coyote AMC

[This piece contains information about the plots of lots of contemporary TV dramas, probably most notably a context-free discussion of an incident during the most recent season of Breaking Bad, as well as general comments on the plot of the film The Grey.]

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Wed December 5, 2012
The Salt

Why Drinking Tea Was Once Considered A Dangerous Habit

Tea a dangerous habit? Women have long made a ritual of it, but in 19th century Ireland, moral reformers tried to talk them out of it. At the time, tea was considered a luxury, and taking the time to drink it was an affront to the morals of frugality and restraint.

Given tea's rap today as both a popular pick-me-up and a health elixir, it's hard to imagine that sipping tea was once thought of as a reckless, suspicious act, linked to revolutionary feminism.

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Wed December 5, 2012
Monkey See

40 Years After 'Free To Be,' A New Album Says 'It's Okay To Do Stuff'

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 10:29 am

Rooftop Comedy Productions


Wed December 5, 2012


Wed December 5, 2012
PG-13: Risky Reads

Feminism Turns Fatal In A 1970s Classic

Mary Stewart Atwell is the author of Wild Girls.

This may be an exaggeration, but as I remember it, I spent all of the early '90s on the living room couch, drinking Diet Coke and diving into one book after another. I was 13, then 14, then 15, but even as the years progressed, the grown-up world made no more sense to me than it ever had.

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Wed December 5, 2012
Best Books Of 2012

The Year's Best Sci-Fi Crosses Galaxies And Genres

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 8:01 pm

Nishant Choksi

This was a good year for cross-genre pollination. It was packed with brilliant books that stretched the boundaries of what counts as science fiction and fantasy — and even what counts as fiction itself. Authors like Ken MacLeod and G. Willow Wilson spun tales that begin as near-future dystopian science fiction, only to turn abruptly into fantastical tales of supernatural creatures. Call it magical cyberpunk realism.

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Wed December 5, 2012

Susan Straight: One Home Town, Many Voices

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:09 am

Courtesy of McSweeney's

Think of all the great writers who have made their hometowns literary history — William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, Thomas Wolfe, to name a few. Now, Susan Straight is getting the same praise for her portrayal of Riverside, Calif. It's a small town at the foot of the San Bernardino Mountains, an hour east of Los Angeles.

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Wed December 5, 2012
Kitchen Window

Learning To Cook Under Pressure

Dave Scantland for NPR

Depending on your age and how much time you spent in the kitchen with your mother or grandmother, you may remember a big scary pot on the stove with what looked like a small weather vane on top. As it heated up, the top would begin spitting, hissing and wheezing like an asthmatic cobra.

At that point in my mother's kitchen, she'd warn us, "Stand back, just in case the top blows." What? I thought. Pots exploding in the kitchen? Cooking was that dangerous?

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