Bob Dylan is one of the artists featured in Tom Piazza’s collection of essays, “Devil Sent the Rain.” Piazza says Dylan’s way of pushing boundaries “is a very American thing.” [Source: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images/NPR]
- Dealing With Hard Times The American Way: In Song : NPR 082111
The arc of American culture can be found in the nation’s music. Author Tom Piazza shares that story in his new collection of essays, called Devil Sent the Rain: Music and Writing in Desperate America.
- ‘Porgy And Bess’: Messing With A Classic : NPR 082111
Porgy and Bess, the classic American folk opera about love and life in an African-American fishing community, was the culmination of a great dream for collaborators George Gershwin, his brother Ira, and author Dubose Heyward. But it wasn’t as successful as they’d hoped when it premiered in 1935. So, 76 years later, the Gershwin and Heyward estates are bringing Porgy and Bess back in a new adaptation. The piece is now in previews at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Mass., with plans to move it to Broadway in December. | Bess is still a beautiful drug addict torn between her brutish boyfriend Crown and her growing love for the charming, disabled beggar Porgy… the opera never explains why Porgy is disabled, so playwright Suzan-Lori Parks turned to the source. “In the book, you go to … Dubose Hayward’s original novel — and you realize he’s crippled from birth, so he put in the line,… ‘I’m crippled from birth, God made me to be lonely.’
- ‘Porgy And Bess’: Messing With A Classic : NPR 082111
- Amy LaVere: Shaking Heartbreak : NPR 082011
2009 was a difficult year for singer-songwriter Amy LaVere: Her producer died, her guitarist quit, and she split up with longtime boyfriend Paul Tyler, who had also been her drummer. LaVere poured her emotion into her writing, and the album that resulted was this year’s Stranger Me.
- How Anchor Stores Keep Neighborhoods Afloat : NPR 082011
When major anchor stores like the Borders bookstore chain close their doors, what happens to the surrounding neighborhoods? Guest host Jacki Lyden talks about urban development issues with Chris Leinberger, who directs the University of Michigan’s real estate graduate studies.
- Books Are No Longer An Ad-Free Zone – On The Media 081911
You might think it’s blasphemy to put advertisements in books, but it’s happening. Still, advertising in analog books simply isn’t very effective. Digital advertising, with its ability to personalize ads and track who’s buying what, may make placing ads inside e-books more effective than advertising inside traditional books. WOWIO is already putting personalized ads at the start and at the end of e-books. Bob spoke with CEO and Chairman of WOWIO Brian Altounian.
- An Early Success From Amazon Publishing – On The Media 081911
After struggling in vain to try and get her book published through regular channels, author Deborah Read ended up publishing a very successful book through Amazon Publishing. Bob talks to Deborah about how she managed to find success outside of the publishing mainstream.
- What Amazon is Up To – On The Media 081911
This week, Amazon Publishing announced its first marquee hire, bestselling self-help guru Timothy Ferris. Amazon’s foray into publishing actual books has unnerved some in the publishing industry, who fear that the company’s size (it has more money than all the major publishing houses combined) could lead to a vertical monopoly over the book world. Publishing industry watcher Mike Shatzkin talks to Brooke about the publishing landscape Amazon is entering and how the company may reshape it.
- Much More Than A Muse: The Art Of Lee Miller And Man Ray : NPR 082011
A new exhibit celebrates the work of two Surrealist artists: first lovers, and later, friends. Elizabeth Lee Miller was an actress, a model, and a war correspondent, who had an intoxicating effect on her lovers. One of those lovers was the avant-garde American artist Man Ray. His love for her nearly drove him to madness — and also inspired some of his most well-known work. Miller was Ray’s muse, but she became an accomplished photographer in her own right. Now, their work is displayed together for the first time at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., in an exhibit called Man Ray/Lee Miller, Partners in Surrealism.
- ‘Sword Of Damocles’ Reference Sometimes Misused : NPR 801911
Lately, we’ve been hearing about a lot of “swords of Damocles” hanging over the heads of politicians in Washington. The term comes from an ancient Greek parable, and, according to classics scholar Daniel Mendelsohn, it’s not always referenced properly. He joins Melissa Block to tell the parable of the “sword of Damocles” — and share tips on how to use it in a modern context.
- Don’t Throw It Out: ‘Junk DNA’ Essential In Evolution : NPR
There’s a revolution under way in biology. Scientists are coming to understand that genetics isn’t just about genes. Just as important are smaller sequences of DNA that control genes. These so-called regulatory elements tell genes when to turn on and off, and when to stop functioning altogether. A new study suggests that changes in these non-gene sequences of DNA may hold the key to explaining how all species evolved.
- Movie Review – ‘Mozart’s Sister’ Imagines A Second Musical Genius : NPR 081911
Bob Mondello: “Something about the life of Mozart seems to inspire dramatists to make things up. First there was Amadeus, a play (and then a movie) in which the composer was murdered by a rival in the Hapsburg court. And now, Rene Feret’s costume epic Mozart’s Sister suggests that at an early age, he had another, less deadly rival. One with perhaps more reason to find him annoying, though. Imagine that your little brother took up music because he admired you, then took over your spot as the family prodigy when you were both still very young, reducing you to being his accompanist as he played concerts for royalty all over Europe. Sounds like a recipe for filial disaster, no? Except that the Mozart kids — 15-year-old Nannerl (Marie Feret, the director’s daughter) and 11-year-old Wolfgang (cherubic David Moreau) — adore each other.”
- Some In France Want To Say Au Revoir To The Euro : NPR 081911
JACKIE NORTHAM: There’s a deliciously salty tang in the air if you’re near a fish market in the center of Deauville, a seaside resort along France’s northwest coast. A long cue of shoppers look over a succulent array of fresh cut fish, oysters, shrimp, and lobsters. Deauville caters to many up market travelers, but there’s also a solid base of blue collar workers and middle-class retirees here. It’s as good as place as any to try to get a sense of how the French view the European debt crises. Despite the beautiful summer day, pessimism hangs over the town.