Arts & Culture

The Salt
3:35 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

How To Build An Indestructible Gingerbread House

With our design, gingerbread families everywhere can enjoy the holidays without having to worry about their roofs caving in.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 8:56 am

Here's the thing about gingerbread houses. You labor over them for hours. You painstakingly decorate them with gumdrops and candy canes.

And then, someone shakes the table it's sitting on, and boom! It all comes crumbling down, leaving a huge, house-shaped hole in your heart.

Never again, we said.

This year, we were determined to build a stronger gingerbread house. One that wouldn't crumble, no matter what. One that could withstand an earthquake.

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Digital Life
3:18 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

A YouTube Powerhouse Looks Beyond Its Gamer Base

One of Machinima's signature offerings is a series called Christopher Walkenthrough, in which creator Jason Stephens, in character as actor Christopher Walken, navigates his way through popular video games. You kind of have to see it to understand.
Machinima.com

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 5:53 pm

One of the most popular channels on YouTube is aimed toward people who play video games. It's got tons of content — thousands of game reviews, how-to videos of people gaming away enthusiastically, even little homemade movies that people have made using video-game software.

That last format is a user-generated phenomenon called machinima — "little m" machinima. "Big M" Machinima is a company, and it wants to be a new media empire. It's the entity behind that YouTube channel.

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Found Recipes
3:11 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Don't Knock The Nog Until You've Tried This One

Courtesy of Tara Striano

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 5:51 pm

We ran an unofficial office poll at NPR last week, via email: "Where do you weigh in on eggnog? Love it? Hate it?"

Those who hate it really hate it. They used words like "detest," "loathe" and "ick." They also used font sizes well above 14 point and broke out the red type to emphasize their distaste.

But the haters were in the minority. By about 2 to 1, NPR is an eggnog drinkin' kind of place, but — and this was emphasized by many — only if it's eggnog done right. That means: not too sweet, not too thick and just the perfect amount of booze.

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Code Switch
1:44 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

The Extraordinary Story Of Why A 'Cakewalk' Wasn't Always Easy

Cakewalk dances were an integral part of minstrel shows for decades.
Minstrel Poster Collection (Library of Congress)

Anything that can be done with straightforward ease is said to be a "cakewalk." Any action that is "not a cakewalk" is, of course, difficult and complicated.

No surprise, right? But stay with me a little longer.

The cakewalk was a pre-Civil War dance originally performed by slaves on plantation grounds. The uniquely American dance was first known as the "prize walk"; the prize was an elaborately decorated cake. Hence, "prize walk" is the original source for the phrases "takes the cake" and "cakewalk."

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Movie Reviews
1:08 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Great New DVD Box Sets: Blasts From The Past And 'Breaking Bad'

A new MDV Entertainment boxed set called Here's Edie: The Edie Adams Television Collection features the widow of Ernie Kovacs, in shows from her 1962-64 ABC variety series, which was televised just after her husband's death.
AP

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 3:01 pm

Here's a short list of some of the most exciting recent TV offerings on DVD. These are sets you can still order and receive in time for the holidays — and regardless, they're perfect to dive into over the vacation period, enjoying an episode or two a night.

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Television
1:08 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

'Getting On' With It: A New HBO Show Doesn't Tiptoe Around Death

Alex Borstein (left) and Niecy Nash star as nurses in the HBO comedy series Getting On, which was modeled after the hit BBC series of the same name.
Lacey Terrell HBO

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 3:01 pm

When they set out to create the HBO series Getting On, Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer wanted to create a different kind of workplace comedy — one that celebrated the workplace and the employees in it.

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Music
1:06 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

After Hard Times At Home, Afghan Musicians Seek To Be Heard In America

Rubab master Homayoun Sakhi and legendary Afghan singer Mahwash perform together as members of the group Voices of Afghanistan.
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 5:53 pm

Voices of Afghanistan is an ensemble of Central Asian musicians from different generations and varied musical backgrounds. They share a passion for the music of Afghanistan, as well as a desire to introduce it to audiences in their present home in the U.S. Banning Eyre recently spent time with these musicians as they created their debut album, Love Songs for Humanity.

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World Cafe
12:35 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Dave Matthews Band On World Cafe

Dave Matthews Band.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 1:27 pm

This week's Vintage Cafe takes us back nearly two decades: In December 1994, a then-up-and-coming Dave Matthews Band climbed the stairs to WXPN's tiny third-floor studio and played a reflective but enthusiastic live set. At the time of this recording, the band had just released Under the Table and Dreaming and was already on its way to becoming a household name.

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Favorite Sessions
11:41 am
Mon December 23, 2013

KEXP Presents: Jagwar Ma

Jagwar Ma performed live on KEXP Dec. 10.
Dave Lichterman KEXP

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 12:41 pm

Jagwar Ma is on a quest to revitalize Britpop. Actually, the band may be unintentionally hindering the genre's revival; Noel Gallagher of Oasis has been quoted as saying he and his former bandmates are too busy listening to the budding Australian group to even entertain the idea of reuniting.

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Music
10:58 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Bunji Garlin: 'Here To Stand My Ground' For Soca Music

Bunji Garlin.
Tee Murphy Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 3:58 pm

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