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Music Interviews
3:40 pm
Sat May 16, 2015

In HBO's 'Bessie,' Queen Latifah Stars As Empress Of The Blues

Queen Latifah plays blues singer Bessie Smith in the HBO movie Bessie.
Frank Masi Courtesy of HBO

Originally published on Sat May 16, 2015 5:16 pm

A Mississippi car accident in 1937 cut short the life of Bessie Smith.

She was just 43 years old. But she'd already established her legacy as "Empress of the Blues" — a pioneering American performer who demanded respect and equal pay in a world dominated by men and controlled by whites.

She'd also achieved a degree of infamy for her boozing, her brawling and her sexual appetites.

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It's All Politics
7:31 am
Sat May 16, 2015

RedState Advises Less Meat-Throwing, More Substance In GOP Campaigns

RedState Editor Erick Erickson is asking Republican candidates attending this year's RedState Gathering to focus on what they would do for the country, not what red meat they can throw at Democrats.
Tony Gutierrez AP

After the Republican presidential candidates finish their first debate this summer, many will head to Atlanta for a summit hosted by Erick Erickson, conservative activist and editor-in-chief of RedState.com.

This year, Erickson's RedState Gathering is scheduled for the same weekend as the Iowa Straw Poll.

Jeb Bush has already indicated he will go to the RedState Gathering rather than Iowa. Scott Walker, Carly Fiorina, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio and Rick Perry are also going. Most will try to attend both events, Erickson says.

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Religion
6:46 am
Sat May 16, 2015

Losing Faith: A Religious Leader On America's Disillusionment With Church

The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the Washington National Cathedral, stands outside the church in Washington, D.C., in 2013.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Sat May 16, 2015 9:23 am

The U.S. is less Christian than it used to be, and fewer Americans choose to be a part of any religion, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

Of the more than 35,000 people surveyed, 70 percent say they are Christian — but the number of people who call themselves atheist and agnostic has nearly doubled in the last seven years.

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Movie Interviews
2:31 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

Yo Aca-Adrian! Elizabeth Banks Says 'Rocky IV' Inspired The New 'Pitch Perfect'

Anna Kendrick and her compatriots in the Barden Bellas are back for a second installment of a cappella excitement in Pitch Perfect 2. It's also Elizabeth Banks' first major movie as a director.
Universal Studios

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 4:58 pm

You'd recognize actress Elizabeth Banks if you saw her — blonde, attractive, funny — whether she's playing an exhausted pregnant woman in What to Expect When You're Expecting, or an inappropriate a cappella judge in the 2012 movie Pitch Perfect.

Now she's taking on a different role: Directing Pitch Perfect 2. It's a tall order since the first one was such a surprise hit — it cost only $17 million to make, but earned more than $100 million worldwide.

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Music Interviews
12:03 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

Australia's Hiatus Kaiyote Carves Out A Crazy Path

Hiatus Kaiyote.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 4:58 pm

For more interviews from NPR Music, click here.

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StoryCorps
3:04 am
Fri May 15, 2015

Dad Aches For Son Killed By Policeman 20 Years Ago

Nicholas Heyward Jr. the year before he was killed. "I would give my life today if I could, you know, just have him back," his dad said during a recent visit to StoryCorps.
Courtesy of Nicholas Heyward Sr.

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 10:51 am

Before Ferguson, Baltimore, Tamir Rice or Eric Garner, there was 13-year-old Nicholas Heyward Jr.

In 1994, he was playing in the stairwell of the Gowanus Housing Project, where he lived in Brooklyn, when a police officer shot and killed him.

"He was an amazing kid and I don't just say that because he was my son," Nicholas Heyward Sr. says during a recent visit to StoryCorps.

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Author Interviews
1:24 am
Thu May 14, 2015

A Fortune In Folios: One Man's Hunt For Shakespeare's First Editions

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., still has all 82 of the William Shakespeare first folios Henry Folger collected.
Courtesy of Folger Shakespeare Library

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 8:37 am

Two of the most important books in the English language were printed four centuries ago: the King James Bible and William Shakespeare's first folio. Today, that first collection of Shakespeare's plays would fetch a king's ransom; and in the early 1900s, one man was willing to spend his entire fortune to own as many of them as he could. His name was Henry Folger and he was a successful businessman who worked his way to the top of Standard Oil. Folger managed to buy 82 first folios out of only a couple of hundred that survived from the original 1623 printing.

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The Salt
4:36 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

There's More To Farm-Fresh Prairie Food Than Steak And Soybeans

At ZJ Farm in Solon, Iowa, Susan Jutz, left, walks with her friend and mentor of Kate Edwards, right, of Wild Woods Farms. Once the plants get big enough at ZJ Farm Edwards transplants them to Wild Woods.
Dana Damewood Courtesy of Agate Publishing

Think local Nebraska food, and Omaha's famous steaks may come to mind. The Great Plains are indeed an agricultural powerhouse when it comes to commodities like feed corn, soybeans, beef and pork.

But as food journalist Summer Miller tells Meghna Chakrabarti of NPR's Here & Now, there's much more on offer these days in Nebraska, as well as in its Great Plains neighbors Iowa and South Dakota.

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Author Interviews
2:53 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

'Nimona' Shifts Shape And Takes Names — In Sensible Armor, Of Course

Nimona

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 4:56 pm

Noelle Stevenson is making her mark in the world of comic books.

She's just 23 and already a writer and illustrator. She has co-authored a series for Boom! Studios, called Lumberjanes, and she has written for Marvel's new female Thor. But it's a tough world for women to be a part of, whether they're creators or fans.

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First Reads
5:03 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Exclusive First Read: Naomi Novik's 'Uprooted'

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 4:39 pm

Naomi Novik is best known for the Temeraire series — rousing adventure tales of a man and his dragon, set in an alternate-universe version of the Napoleonic Wars where France and England battle it out across land, sea and sky with the help of dragons.

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