To test a theory that the Dutch master Johannes Vermeer used lenses, mirrors and other tools to create his masterpieces, inventor Tim Jenison sets out to recreate the method — and the paintings — in the dazzling documentary Tim's Vermeer.
NPR's Bob Mondello looks at two documentaries — Six by Sondheim and Tim's Vermeer — that delve deep into the creation of art, whether it's a sprawl of Broadway songs or a 17th-century oil-painting. (Recommended)
December 5, 2013 The Israeli drama S#x Acts digs deep into issues of sex and consent when a teenage girl, looking for the approval and acceptance of her peers, entertains the attentions of various boys. (Recommended)
December 5, 2013 Brazilian food used to be treated as the poor cousin of the more renowned European cuisines. But not anymore. Brazilian food is having its moment in the sun. And chefs think that with the World Cup and the Olympics coming, it's going to get even bigger.
December 5, 2013 New York City is home to more paintings by Johannes Vermeer — eight — than any other city. And until mid-January, it's playing host to one more: the world-renowned Girl with a Pearl Earring. Critic Lloyd Schwartz says, since the painting's 1994 restoration, "It's even more breathtaking than I remembered."
December 5, 2013 Thousands of restaurant workers protested Thursday in cities around the country, calling for an increase in wages to $15 an hour. Many fast-food workers make so little that they rely on public assistance to get by, even as profits at many franchises have nearly doubled in recent years. But not everyone agrees that raising the minimum wage will fix the problem.
December 5, 2013 It has been noted that many of history's notorious assassins had three names: John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, Mark David Chapman. It turns out that many other famous people with three names have committed far lesser (but still disturbing) acts, like popularizing the mullet or basically inventing cat videos. Guess the celebrities as host Ophira Eisenberg leads this game.
December 5, 2013 You may be familiar with Bruce Willis' endlessly quotable catchphrase from the action movie franchise Die Hard, though we can't reprint it in full here. This game asks contestants to "clean up" the famous line by swapping out the offending obscenity for other words that are commonly found after the word "mother." Yippee-ki-yay, Mother Nature!
December 5, 2013 There are songs that express heartfelt emotions, telling stories of love or loss that are both universal and deeply personal. Then there are songs that are pretty much just lists of things. This game covers those songs, though house musician Jonathan Coulton and VIP Nellie McKay have cheekily swapped out some of the items. Raindrops on roses and what on what, again?
December 5, 2013 In this game led by host Ophira Eisenberg, we've removed the "x" sound in various words and phrases. Your job is to put the "x" back, based on the clue. For example, if she said, "Put an "x" in "hagon" to get a six-sided geometric shape, you would answer "hexagon."
December 5, 2013 This game is rather simple: each answer contains the name of a dog breed. For example, the Simon & Garfunkel song that begins, "I am just a poor boy though my story's seldom told," is "The Boxer." Of course, as house musician Jonathan Coulton will tell you, a boxer is a breed of dog, as well as a person who boxes. The song is not, however, about a person who puts things in boxes.
December 5, 2013 Considering the satin-voiced singer's fourth record, Normal as Blueberry Pie, was a tribute to Doris Day, we put McKay in the puzzle hot seat for a quiz about the legendary actress and singer. Plus, hear what vinyl she's currently spinning, and why she brought a pair of leopard-print, "second-hand love cuffs" to the show.
December 5, 2013 Puzzle Guru John Chaneski leads this final round in which every correct answer is the name of a real or fictional doctor, most of whom you shouldn't go to for medical advice. Except maybe Dr. Who. Bonus trivia question: On The Muppet Show, who led the house band and played the keyboards?
December 5, 2013 Prohibition ended 80 years ago today. To mark the occasion, Dale DeGroff, the man many credit with reviving the art of the cocktail, joins NPR to talk about the era's lasting effect on American life, current trends in bartending, and to share a few of his favorite recipes.
December 5, 2013 This week, clean up Bruce Willis' Die Hard catchphrase, trivialize some dog breeds, and since no rule of three is complete without the third item, guess celebrities with triple names. Plus, the lovely and talented singer-songwriter Nellie McKay uses both her voice and brain to demonstrate her love of the icon Doris Day.
December 5, 2013 Also: Queer theorist José Esteban Muñoz has died; Norway is digitizing books written in Norwegian; Gary Shteyngart spices up 19th century British literature.
December 4, 2013 Telemundo announced that its telenovela El Señor de los Cielos (Lord of the Skies) will be back for an unheard of second season. This is a radical departure from traditional telenovelas, which have a clear beginning and a definitive ending.
December 4, 2013 Foraging for fungi and other wild edibles has grown in popularity in the U.S. and abroad in recent years, fueled by guidebooks, Internet buzz and hype from chefs. As a result, some known mushroom hunting grounds are taking a beating.