entertainment

Screen Legend
6:40 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Shirley Temple Dies; Childhood Movie Star Became Diplomat

Shirley Temple when she was the nation's biggest movie star.
AP

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 10:55 am

  • 'Morning Edition' looks back at the life of Shirley Temple
  • A bit of 'On the Good Ship Lollipop'

Shirley Temple, who charmed the nation as a child movie star in the 1930s and went on to become one of the nation's diplomats in posts that included ambassador to Czechoslovakia during the Cold War, has died.

She was 85.

The Associated Press writes that publicist Cheryl Kagan says the actress, known as Shirley Temple Black in her private life, died late Monday evening at her home near San Francisco. Kagan tells the AP that Temple's family and caregivers were with her.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:20 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Scrambling to Make Sense of Russia, Woody Allen, and the Westminster Dog Show

A happy dog!!
Credit Goingslo / Creative Commons

While visitors watching the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, enjoy spectacular feats of athletic ability from the world's most accomplished athletes, those in Russia's LGBT community anticipate laws that punish Russians for even suggesting that it's okay to be gay, let alone live openly as a gay adult.

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The Beatles
10:55 am
Sun February 9, 2014

Beatlemania! When The Fab Four Rocked The Lunchroom

I want to hold your lunch! This 1965 lunchbox — considered "one of the Holy Grails" of lunchbox collecting — sold for $936.10 in 2013. It came with a thermos. Another mint condition sample sold for $1,625 last fall.
Courtesy of Hake's Americana & Collectibles

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 3:18 pm

The Beatles are not only considered the top of the heap when it comes to musical acts of the 20th century, they're also apparently the kings of the lunchbox.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:49 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

50 Years of The Beatles!

The Beatles in 1964 at Kennedy Airport.
Credit United Press International / Creative Commons

In February of 1964, the Beatles appeared not once, but on three consecutive Sunday nights on "The Ed Sullivan Show," attracting what was the the largest audience in television history, and still might be the largest percentage of all possible viewers. To some of us, the whole thing is still kind of exciting 50 years later. But why?

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Cabin Fever
10:25 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Trade Your Snow Boots For Dance Shoes, And Just Press Play

For our Cabin Fever playlist, we asked for songs that get your blood pumping and body moving, despite weeks of cold, gray days
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 8:06 pm

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Game Theory
5:01 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

'Jeopardy Villain' Explains How He Keeps Winning

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek and contestant Arthur Chu pose for a photo. (Facebook)

He’s being called the “Jeopardy villain,” but Arthur Chu of Broadview Heights, Ohio, considers himself more of a “mad genius.” The 30-year-old insurance analyst and voiceover artist has won three times since he came on the show last week.

Some say Chu is taking all the fun out of the game. He goes for the hardest questions first, slams down his buzzer incessantly and tries to get the host to speed up. It’s all part of his strategy inspired by game theory — a model of strategic, mathematical decision making.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
1:13 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

An Ode to Opera

Willie Waters is the former director of Connecticut Opera.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Last fall, the New York City Opera -- what Mayor LaGuardia called "the People's Opera" -- declared bankruptcy. This is/was the opera that introduced Americans to Placido Domingo and Beverly Sills.  Make what you will of the fact that the bankruptcy announcement coincided with the presentation of a new opera about Anna Nicole Smith.

This is either a problem very specific to the New York Opera, or part of a virus that has been taking down opera companies all over the U.S. and maybe all over the world. In Italy, where opera receives much more public and government support, one fourth of all major opera companies were in a version of bankruptcy as of 2008.

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Television
12:48 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

'Borgen' Is Denmark's 'West Wing' (But Even Better)

Borgen's heroine is Birgitte Nyborg, superbly played by Sidse Babett Knudsen. Pilou Asbaek plays Don Draper-ish spin doctor Kasper Juul.
MHz Networks

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 11:10 am

The Danish television series Borgen about a female party leader who unexpectedly becomes Denmark's prime minister was a hit in its home country and in the U.K. It won numerous international prizes, and a cult following in the U.S. after its sporadic TV broadcasts — Stephen King named it his favorite piece of pop culture of 2012. The third and final season has just been released on DVD by MHz Networks, which also brought out seasons one and two.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:19 am
Mon February 3, 2014

The Scramble: The Famous Are Human Too

Philip Seymour Hoffman
Credit Justin Hoch and the Hudson Union Society / Creative Commons

On Sunday, two people named Dylan made news. So much so that you had to be careful on Twitter. If you tweeted "Dylan sold out" about Bob Dylan's Super Bowl commercials, you might offend people who thought you meant Dylan Farrow who broke 20 years of silence to talk about her memory of childhood molestation by Woody Allen. 

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:26 am
Fri January 31, 2014

The Nose Does the Guilt Pose, Spoils Superbowl Commercials, and Survives Anxiety

Rand Cooper.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Today on the Nose, we'll discuss one of those eruptions that happen in the digital world -- a frenzy of discussion and expressions of outrage over an essay on the site xojane, by a writer who tried to describe her reactions, as a skinny white woman, to the way she thought a heavyset back woman was reacting to her in yoga class.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:42 am
Tue January 28, 2014

The Conjuring Arts

"Cyril the Sorcerer" is also known as CJ May, a New Haven-based magician who uses magic to teacabout sustainability to both children and adults.
Chion Wolf

Led by Harry Potter, the last 20 years have unleashed a new wave of enthusiasm for the fantasy side  of magic. But, we've also seen an undeniable re-engagement with stage magic. In 2006 alone, there were two movies about magicians, The  Prestige and The Illusionist.

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My Big Break
6:20 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

For 'SNL' Cast Member, The Waiting Was The Hardest Part

Bobby Moynihan (left) appears on Saturday Night Live as the character "Drunk Uncle."
NBC Dana Edelson/NBC

As part of a new series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click and people leap forward into their careers.

For about a decade, Bobby Moynihan lived a double life. By day, Moynihan says, he tended bar at a Pizzeria Uno in New York. By night, he performed improv comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

But he says he always had one dream: to join the cast of Saturday Night Live.

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Host's Diary
10:44 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Why It Makes Even Less Sense Than Usual to Follow The Oscars This Year

It's not even a matter of "snubs."

This year's Oscar nominations got it so wrong as to make a reasonable debate about what happens, going forward, almost impossible.

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FCC Regulation
4:14 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Netflix May Take A Hit With End Of Net Neutrality

While the end of net neutrality may mean higher costs for Netflix, the company may be able to pay to ensure that its content stream faster and in higher quality than its competition, or refuse to pay more money for high speed Internet. (Netflix Blog)

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 4:46 pm

The recent appeals court ruling that overturned a FCC regulation requiring Internet Service Providers to treat all online services equally, known as “net neutrality,” may mean higher costs for Netflix and other online services.

But it also could have an upside for Netflix: the company may be able to pay to ensure that its content streams faster and in higher quality than its competition. Or the company can refuse to pay more money for high speed Internet.

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Code Switch
1:20 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Who Gets To Be A Superhero? Race And Identity In Comics

Orion Martin reimagined several iconic X-Men covers, recasting the superheroes as people of color. The move sparked a discussion on race in comics, both on the page and in the writers' rooms.
Orion Martin

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 7:20 pm

The X-Men comic franchise has proven remarkably sturdy in the half-century since its launch. They've spawned dozens of animated series and four major Hollywood films with a fifth due out this summer. A big part of that is due to its central premise — a minority of superpowered humans called mutants are discriminated against by their government and fellow citizens — which has functioned as a sci-fi allegory for everything from the civil rights movement to the AIDS crisis.

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Television
10:14 am
Mon January 13, 2014

The Golden Globes Share The Wealth, Such As It Is

Hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were the hands-down highlight of the deeply silly Golden Globes.
NBC Universal Getty Images

Let us say this first: The Golden Globes are Hollywood culture at its most purely self-perpetuating. Given out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a small group of journalists so gleefully obscure that there is usually a joke about how gleefully obscure they are, the Globes lack the gravitas of the Oscars, which is really saying something, given the fact that the Oscars lack the gravitas of the Tonys and the Tonys lack the gravitas of a halfway decent episode of Law & Order: SVU.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
9:31 am
Mon January 13, 2014

The Scramble Catches Up with Gene Demby and Roger Catlin

The 71st annual Golden Globe Awards
Credit someone 10X

Today is Monday. That's when we do the show on the fly. We call it The Scramble and one of the twists we're trying is the reverse of ordinary public radio guest booking. Usually, we start with a topic and try to find the best possible guests. But, for one segment of The Scramble each week, we pick a guest we want to talk to and then ask him or her what the topic should be. The idea is to pick an interesting person and then find out what's on that person's mind right now. 

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Entertainment
2:25 pm
Sun January 12, 2014

The Globes Will Be Golden, But Hollywood Remains Mostly White

Sunday's Golden Globes celebrate a diverse group of actors. Even so, very few shows feature minorities in leading roles on screen or off.
Valerie Macon Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 1:57 pm

Sunday night is one of the biggest nights in Hollywood, as stars from film and television gather for the Golden Globe Awards.

This year's awards, which celebrate the best writing, acting and production of the year, are being hailed as the most diverse yet, with a significant number of minority actors up for awards.

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Comedy
6:27 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

As Zamata Joins 'SNL,' A Look At — And Beyond — The Prism Of Race

iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:19 pm

This week the long-running comedy show Saturday Night Live hired Sasheer Zamata as a new cast member. The show had come under criticism for its lack of diversity, especially its lack of black women; Zamata will be the show's first female African-American cast member in six years.

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Code Switch
12:39 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Conversation About 'SNL' And Diversity 'Just Getting Started'

Meet Sasheer Zamata, Saturday Night Live's new cast member.
Heidi Gutman ABC via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 1:10 pm

It may seem, now that Saturday Night Live has hired a black female cast member and two black female writers, that the conversation about diversity on TV's most influential comedy show is over.

But it's just getting started.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:23 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Cinema Scuffle! With David Edelstein and A. O. Scott

Credit ToastyKen, Flickr Creative Commons

My two favorite film critics, A.O. Scott and David Edelstein, appear on the show today, and we've got a longer list of topics than we can possibly get to. I'm interested in the way a lot of the recent hit movies take little bites of our recent past: "Inside Llewyn Davis" tackles 1961. "American Hustle" bestrides the end of the 70s and beginning of the 80s. "The Wolf of Wall Street" started with the Crash of '87 and pans forward into the 1990s. Suddenly, for Baby Boomers, the stretch of our living memory is a series of period pieces and costume dramas.

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Television
1:39 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

'Downton' Returns, And It's As Rich As Ever

Michelle Dockery's Lady Mary is in deep mourning as Downton Abbey returns for a fourth season on PBS.
Nick Briggs Carnival Film & Television Limited

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 7:36 am

When you think about what Downton Abbey has achieved, and is continuing to pull off, it's actually pretty remarkable. In an era when the most acclaimed TV series of the decade is an edgy cable drama about a dying, meth-making criminal, Downton Abbey draws similarly large audiences on broadcast TV — public TV, at that — with an old-fashioned soap opera about servants and household staffers and those they serve. As Season 4 begins on PBS, Downton Abbey is the most popular drama in the history of public television.

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Comedy
12:05 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

For Key And Peele, Biracial Roots Bestow Special Comedic 'Power'

Keegan-Michael Key (left) and Jordan Peele both started their careers at Second City, Peele in Chicago and Key in Detroit.
Ian White Comedy Central

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 2:29 pm

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Comedy
12:05 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Samberg, Taccone And Schaffer: Three's Not A Lonely Island

As kids, Jorma Taccone, Andy Samberg and Akiva Schaffer were all obsessed with hip-hop and TV shows like Yo! MTV Raps.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 2:29 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on June 18, 2013.

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Television
9:28 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Is The DVD Box Set Dead? Yes ... And No.

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 8:35 am

Are we witnessing the twilight of DVD and Blu-ray?

Kinda-sorta. With the emergence of various digital distributions systems — streaming and downloading through your laptop, your cable system, your game console — it's easy to see how these discs will be the next physical media formats to fade away. DVD and Blu-ray could well go the way of CDs and vinyl, becoming a niche boutique market for collectors.

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Television
9:28 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Remote Control: It Was Hard To Turn Off The TV In 2013

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 11:00 am

Here's why picking a Top 10 list of best TV shows has become such treacherous work for critics this year: Quite simply, 2013 was the year quality exploded in the television industry.

Thanks to the simultaneous maturing of Netflix, AMC, FX, HBO, Showtime, Amazon, BBC America, Sundance Channel, iTunes and many more media platforms, fans of great television had more options than ever to find high-quality product whenever and wherever they liked.

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Host's Diary
3:53 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

What the Hell is a Jazz Vocal Anyway?

About a year ago I needed, for reasons not worth delving into, to learn "People Will Say We're In Love." If you're going to study a song -- maybe play it 20 times over a couple of days until the lyrics and changes are second nature -- you better pick a version you like.  So I sampled a few dozen covers on iTunes and wound up picking a jazz singer -- previously unknown to me -- named Rachael Price. Rachael just swung it, and she had a low, throaty edge that I liked.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
9:22 am
Wed December 25, 2013

Christmas Songs That We Love to Love and Hate

Joan Holliday (file photo).
Chion Wolf WNPR

There are some holiday songs that should banned. I'm sorry, Burl Ives, but there's really no reason for anybody to have to hear "Holly Jolly Christmas" ever again.

And Little Drummer Boy? There's almost no way to describe the sinking feeling that tune gives me. Except, well, to call it a sinking feeling. On the other hand, I don't mind Mariah Carey singing "All I Want for Christmas Is You," but my producers are pretty much coming though the glass of the control booth at me for saying that.

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At the Movies
2:56 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

In A 'Miraculous Year' For Movies, Edelstein Picks His Favorites

In the sci-fi romance Her, a lonely man (Joaquin Phoenix) finds love in a rather unexpected place — with a computer operating system named Samantha.
Warner Bros.

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 4:44 pm

"It was a miraculous year," film critic David Edelstein tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. At a time when Hollywood is churning out Blockbusters and superhero movies that are guaranteed to make money at home and overseas, "it's really great when so many interesting movies, somehow or other, manage to bleed through," he says. " ... You really feel as if directors are taking chances in their storytelling. They are creating a new syntax for every story."

Here are his favorite movies this year:

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Television
2:13 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

David Bianculli's Top 10 Shows: 2013 Was A 'Good Year For TV'

Hear an interview with Spacey and Fincher." href="/post/david-biancullis-top-10-shows-2013-was-good-year-tv" class="noexit lightbox">
Kevin Spacey (left) and Robin Wright star in House of Cards, directed by David Fincher. The Netflix series, which follows a Machiavellian politician, is an adaptation of a BBC series of the same name. Hear an interview with Spacey and Fincher.
Patrick Harbron Netflix

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 4:44 pm

This was a good year for TV, says critic David Bianculli, and that had a lot to do with two new shows from Netflix: House of Cards, the American adaptation of the BBC political thriller series, and Orange Is the New Black, a dramatic comedy which takes place in a women's federal prison. "I was very impressed with the overall quality of what Netflix gave us," Bianculli tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "... That was quite a string of good shows."

So, without further ado, here's Bianculli's top-10 TV list for 2013:

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