The Lego Movie opened last night in theaters across the country. It's latest example of the magic of animation, filmmakers who bring plastic to life, make animals talk and send toys singing and dancing across a big screen. But animators also love to hurl our most beloved characters over cliffs. They blow them up with dynamite, flatten them with speeding trains. Seconds later, they pop back up and dust themselves off.
An American diplomat got in trouble for saying something, well, undiplomatic.
Victoria Nuland, a top State Department official, thought she was having a private phone conversation. She was speaking about developments in Ukraine with the U.S. ambassador to that country, Geoffrey Pyatt. And she was speaking bluntly, even using a not-so-choice word about America's European allies.
This week, NPR's Scott Simon and photographer Mike Mitchell visited the site where Mitchell shot a historic evening 50 years ago. Hear their conversation at the audio link.
Now a humble parking lot, the Washington Coliseum has seen a lot in its days. Malcolm X once spoke there, circus lions jumped through hoops there — and on Feb. 11 1964, The Beatles played their first-ever U.S. concert there.
Marcel Theroux's Strange Bodies is about Nicholas Slopen's return to life, the 18th-century lexicographer Samuel Johnson and dead people inhabiting new bodies. As Slopen is cautioned, "the truth of this situation is much stranger and more complex than you can imagine."
Theroux, whose previous novel, Far North, was a National Book Award finalist, is also a filmmaker. He joins NPR's Scott Simon to talk about his genre-bending new novel and the thin lines that separate real life and science fiction.
"Rule Britannia." But did you hear, did you hear? There's a football game tomorrow. Time for sports.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SIMON: For the first time since the Bronze Age, or at least since 1995, two teams from the West are in the Super Bowl. Between beer and Cialis ads, football's best offense, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, goes up against football's best defense, Richard Sherman and the Seattle Seahawks. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us. Tom, thanks so much for being with us.
Who knows who'll win the Super Bowl tomorrow, but history will be made before the coin toss.
Renee Fleming will sing the national anthem at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. She is the first opera star to be asked, and it seems so utterly fitting, both for the first Super Bowl to be played within view of the towers of New York, and in the 200th anniversary year of the national anthem.
When the Oscar nominees for best song were announced earlier this month, there were, of course, several well-known titles, including Karen O's "The Moon Song," from the movie "Her"; and Pharrell Williams' "Happy," from "Despicable Me 2." Then there was this...
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALONE...YET NOT ALONE")
JONI EARECKSON TADA: (Singing) I will not be bent in fear. He's the refuge I know is near...
This Super Bowl weekend millions of slices of pizza will be consumed and 51 million cases of beer. But there are a lot of beverages to wash down a slice. Katie Parla is a journalist and food historian. She's from New Jersey, where the game will be played, but she lives in Italy now and has written about beverages that go with pizza for Saveur magazine. She joins us on the line from Rome. Thanks very much for being with us.
For most of her readers, the American author Diane Johnson is wholly identified with France and especially Paris. She's the author of novels like L'Affaire, Le Marriage, and Le Divorce — the last of which was made into a film.
So it comes as something of a surprise that Johnson's new book is about her roots in the American Midwest. And not only her own roots, but the roots of a family tree going back two centuries, painstakingly reconstructed from a trove of diaries and letters passed on by her mother.