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Author Interviews
4:25 pm
Sun December 28, 2014

From Her Dad To Her 'Jamish' Roots, A Poet Pieces Her Story Together

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 8:32 am

Growing up in 1970s England, Salena Godden stood out. Her mother was Jamaican and her father was an Irish jazz musician who mysteriously disappeared from her life when she was very young.

In her memoir, Springfield Road, the writer, poet and musician tells the story of finding her personal identity, beginning with the word she made up to describe her race: Jamish.

"It's kind of ... a mix of being Jamaican, Irish, English," she tells NPR's Arun Rath. "It's the name I gave myself."

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Music
5:01 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

John McNeil, A Trumpeter Robbed Of His Breath, Blows Again

Trumpeter John McNeil rejoins Hush Point, a group of friends from New York's jazz scene, on the new album Blues and Reds. Left to right: Jeremy Udden, Anthony Pinciotti, Aryeh Kobrinsky, John McNeil.
Alex Hollock Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 9:41 am

John McNeil may be the most important trumpet player you've never heard of.

Many aspiring musicians know him as an educator, through his many instructional books like The Art of Jazz Trumpet. But getting to know McNeil as a performer or recording artist hasn't always been easy: his records could be tough to find.

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Author Interviews
4:45 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

Comedian Andrea Martin: 'I Don't Think Age Has Anything To Do With It'

Comedian Andrea Martin performs at New York's 54 Below in 2012. She published her memoir Lady Parts in September.
Michael Loccisano Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 5:54 pm

In her memoir Lady Parts, comedy star Andrea Martin writes that in the 1970s, comedians weren't as easy to come by as they are now. "Comedians were much more rare," she tells NPR's Arun Rath. They were "like rock stars, really celebrated."

Over the course of her career, Martin has appeared on-stage and on screens both big and small — she won a Tony for her role in Pippin, performed in the films My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and stars in the NBC TV series Working the Engels.

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StoryCorps
2:35 am
Fri December 26, 2014

The Grocery Delivery Man Who Brings Joy To A Housing Complex

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 6:52 am

Herman Travis, 55, lives in Holly Courts, a low-income housing complex in San Francisco.

Every Tuesday, Travis fills a shopping cart with groceries from a local food bank and makes home deliveries to his elderly and disabled neighbors. He started doing it in 2007 and says when he first started, people were skeptical.

"When I first started doing it. People was cautious. They didn't let me in their house, but after they got to really know me they would just be happy to see me," says Travis.

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Movie Reviews
2:31 am
Tue December 23, 2014

A Vital Chapter Of American History On Film In 'Selma'

David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. and Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King in the new movie Selma.
Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 3:56 pm

It's hard to believe, but there has never been a major motion picture that centers on one of this country's most iconic figures: Martin Luther King Jr. But that's about to change, with Selma, which opens Christmas Day.

The film explores the tumult and the tactics of the civil rights movement, from King's tense relationship with President Lyndon Johnson to the battle for voting rights for black Americans — a battle that reached a climax on Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965, as state police beat peaceful protesters trying to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.

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Music Interviews
4:24 pm
Sun December 21, 2014

Anthony Hamilton Brings Home Holiday Funk

Anthony Hamilton's first Christmas album is called Home for the Holidays.
LaVan Anderson Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 8:30 am

Once a pop artist has been working long enough, the Christmas album feels like an inevitability. Soul singer Anthony Hamilton wanted to try it out, but he was wary of falling into cliché and repeating the formulas that have shaped holiday records for years.

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The Salt
5:40 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

Want To Enhance The Flavor Of Your Food? Put On The Right Music

Researchers at the University of Oxford have been looking for a link between sound and taste.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 4:24 pm

Here's an experiment: take a bite of whatever food you have nearby and listen to some music, something with high notes. Now, take another bite, but listen to something with low notes.

Notice anything?

Researchers at the University of Oxford have been looking for a link between sound and taste. They've found that higher-pitched music — think flutes — enhances the flavor of sweet or sour foods. Lower-pitched sounds, like tubas, enhance the bitter flavors.

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Food
4:16 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

How Tinseltown Got Tipsy: A Boozy Taste Of Hollywood History

iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 3:59 pm

If the bars of Los Angeles could talk, they'd have an awful lot of tales to tell — old Hollywood was full of famously hard drinkers. And while LA's watering holes are keeping their secrets, one author, Mark Bailey, has uncorked a slew of stories from the city's plastered past.

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Animals
8:13 am
Sat December 20, 2014

A Snail So Hardcore It's Named After A Punk Rocker

This spiky mollusk is called Alviniconcha strummeri, named after Joe Strummer, the late frontman for the Clash.
Taylor & Francis Online

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 10:39 am

Shannon Johnson, a researcher at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, found that when she talked to youngsters about sea snails, she communicated a little more effectively if she skipped the technical description and called them "punk-rock snails."

"Their entire shells are covered in spikes," Johnson explains. "And then the spikes are actually all covered in fuzzy white bacteria."

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StoryCorps
7:35 am
Fri December 19, 2014

NORAD's Santa Tracker Began With A Typo And A Good Sport

Col. Harry Shoup came to be known as the "Santa Colonel." He died in 2009.
Courtesy of NORAD

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 8:45 pm

This Christmas Eve people all over the world will log on to the official Santa Tracker to follow his progress through U.S. military radar. This all started in 1955, with a misprint in a Colorado Springs newspaper and a call to Col. Harry Shoup's secret hotline at the Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD.

Shoup's children, Terri Van Keuren, 65, Rick Shoup, 59, and Pam Farrell, 70, recently visited StoryCorps to talk about how the tradition began.

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