Arts & Culture

Photography
2:16 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Portrait Show Brings Photographer-Subject Encounters Into Focus

Untitled (Kate #18) by Chuck Close.
Chuck Close Courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 8:45 am

When someone takes our picture, we usually deliver a mile-wide grin, but there's not a smile in the room at the Phillips Collection's photography show in Washington.

The exhibit mostly consists of portraits of inner lives, taken by various photographers, and it's about the encounter between the two participants. Susan Behrends Frank curated the small show, called "Shaping a Modern Identity," which is running through Jan. 12.

Read more
Ecstatic Voices
1:03 am
Thu December 26, 2013

A Christian Musician With More Questions Than Answers

In his music, Josh Garrels says, he tries to "peel back layers" of what it means to be a Christian.
Sasha Arutyunova Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 9:10 am

There's an inside joke among some who sneer at contemporary Christian music: "Jesus Per Minute." How often does the artist say Jesus' name?

Last year, Christianity Today magazine named Josh Garrels' Love & War & The Sea in Between its album of the year. In 66 minutes, Garrels mentions Jesus exactly once. The album is a lyrical, haunting exploration of what it means to be a Christian.

Read more
Arts & Life
3:47 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

The Dark Roots Of 'The Nutcracker' And The Man Who Wrote It

This is the time of year when one man's work is widely - if indirectly - celebrated. His name used to be hugely famous, but nowadays, it draws blank stares, even from people who know that work. E.T.A. Hoffman, who lived from 1776 to 1822 in the Kingdom of Prussia, was responsible for a work that is a staple the holiday season, the original author of The Nutcracker. You can read more about the story, which aired last Christmas, here.

Movies
3:47 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Another Life For The Surprisingly Multifarious Walter Mitty

Ben Stiller has revisited James Thurber's henpecked daydreamer Walter Mitty in a new film that lets him become more conventionally heroic. NPR's Bob Mondello charts the character's changing fortunes over the years.
Wilson Webb 20th Century Fox

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 7:26 pm

A short story, a radio show, a Danny Kaye vehicle — no, really — even an off-Broadway musical: James Thurber's nebbishy daydreamer Walter Mitty has had plenty of incarnations in his nearly 75 years. He's back again, this time in an expensive, effects-fueled drama from actor-director Ben Stiller, and we thought that rather than reviewing it, we'd have NPR's Bob Mondello survey the range of public lives lived by the character. Have a listen.

Read more
The Thistle & Shamrock
11:03 am
Wed December 25, 2013

The Thistle And Shamrock: A Festive Celtic Celebration

Archie Fisher.
Courtesy of the artist

Join Fiona Ritchie to celebrate the season by exploring festive songs, carols and dances from traditions old and new.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

World Cafe
10:52 am
Wed December 25, 2013

Latin Roots: A Puerto Rican Christmas

Some of the traditional instruments played during Puerto Rican caroling.

Musician, record producer and writer Rachel Faro visits World Cafe for part two of this week's special holiday edition of Latin Roots. During Wednesday's episode, Faro discusses Christmas celebrations in Puerto Rico and how they differ from the holiday traditions in the Puerto Rican communities of New York. One of the songs she plays, by Willie Colon, is a classic that brings traditional music from the island to the big city.

Read more
World Cafe
10:39 am
Wed December 25, 2013

The Fab Four: A Beatles Cover Band On World Cafe

The Fab Four.
Courtesy of the artist

World Cafe's special Christmas Day episode continues with The Fab Four, a California-based band of dedicated Beatles impersonators. The group takes on many elements of the influential English band, from sporting mop-tops to covering Sgt. Pepper and beyond.

This year, The Fab Four released Hark!, which features mash-ups of Christmas classics and Beatles favorites. The band members join host David Dye in the WXPN studios to talk about the record.

Read more
World Cafe
10:34 am
Wed December 25, 2013

Nick Lowe On World Cafe

Nick Lowe.
Courtesy of the artist

Our guest for a special Christmas Day episode of World Cafe, Nick Lowe, has been making records since the 1970s. With beginnings as a rocker, Lowe has since developed a new following for his sly, country-tinged records. His new Christmas album, Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection for All the Family, fits squarely into that category. In addition to performing a live set, the English musician discusses how he gets into the Christmas spirit.

Read more
Bonus Round: Ask Me Another
7:41 am
Wed December 25, 2013

Day 1: Sing Along With 'Chiron Beta Prime'

Jonathan Coulton performs live from the Ask Me Another stage at The Bell House in Brooklyn, NY.
Lam Thuy Vo NPR
  • Listen to 'Chiron Beta Prime' by Jonathan Coulton

This is the first day of Ask Me Another's 12 Days of Xmas series.

Read more
The Salt
5:03 am
Wed December 25, 2013

When Is Cinnamon Spice Not So Nice? The Great Danish Debate

Ah, the cinnamon swirl: They're beloved by the Danish, but the traditional recipe for these pastries may be too spice-laden for European Union law.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 10:15 am

Who doesn't love a Danish pastry?

And in Denmark, they like their pastries sprinkled with plenty of cinnamon.

But now, Denmark's bakers are being told that their time-honored recipe for the beloved kanelsnegle — or cinnamon swirl — may be unhealthy and against the law. Recent testing by the Danish government found that a large number of the rolls had too much cinnamon — more than the recommended limits set by the European Union.

Read more

Pages