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Asia
3:57 pm
Sun December 7, 2014

'A Universe Beneath Our Feet': Life In Beijing's Underground

Zhuang Qiuli and her boyfriend Feng Tao sit on the bed in their basement apartment two floors below a posh condominium. Since this photo was taken, the couple has moved above ground.
Sim Chi Yin VII

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 12:26 pm

In Beijing, even the tiniest apartment can cost a fortune — after all, with more than 21 million residents, space is limited and demand is high.

But it is possible to find more affordable housing. You'll just have to join an estimated 1 million of the city's residents and look underground.

Below the city's bustling streets, bomb shelters and storage basements are turned into illegal — but affordable — apartments.

Claustrophobic Living Quarters

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Food
9:05 am
Sun December 7, 2014

Siblings Build A Butcher Shop For 'Meat'-Loving Vegans

No need to wonder what's in this bologna; The Herbivorous Butcher lists every ingredient on its website: Tofu, vital wheat gluten, tomato juice, tapioca flour, tomato paste, nutritional yeast, vegan beef bouillon, canola oil, soy sauce, agar agar, red beet powder, sugar, salt, liquid smoke, onion powder, garlic powder and celery seed.
Jonathan A. Armstrong Courtesy The Herbivorous Butcher

Originally published on Sun December 7, 2014 12:44 pm

Take a moment to imagine platters of andouille sausage, barbecue ribs and bacon. Now think of all of those dishes without meat.

It might seem like a contradiction, but brother and sister Kale and Aubry Walch — yes, Kale — are opening the first vegan butcher shop next spring in Minneapolis, to be called the Herbivorous Butcher. They plan to bring their customers all of those delicious meat flavors, minus the meat.

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Author Interviews
6:38 am
Sun December 7, 2014

Billions Of Years Go By, All In The Same 'Room'

A two-page spread from Here.
Courtesy of Pantheon

Originally published on Sun December 7, 2014 12:50 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Author Interviews
4:15 pm
Sat December 6, 2014

At 86, Poet Donald Hall Writes On, But Leaves Verse Behind

Donald Hall is a former U.S. poet laureate and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2010.
Linda Kunhardt Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 4:36 pm

At 86 years old, the poet Donald Hall can no longer write poetry. Not enough testosterone, he says. But the former U.S. Poet Laureate and recipient of the National Medal of Arts still has prose in him: He has just published a collection titled Essays After 80.

The book spans Hall's entire career, his family life, his addiction to smoking and his thoughts on his own beard.

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Author Interviews
6:48 am
Sat December 6, 2014

First-Generation 'Boston Girl' Becomes Career Woman In Diamant's Latest

cover crop
Scribner

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 10:51 am

Anita Diamant's new novel Boston Girl begins with a question: a granddaughter asks her grandmother, "How did you get to be the woman you are today?"

Addie Baum was "the other one"-- an afterthought — the youngest of three sisters, born in 1900 in Boston's North End to Jewish immigrant parents. It was a time when most women didn't finish school, couldn't vote, and worked at low-level jobs just until they were married, to men they likely didn't choose for themselves.

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Movie Interviews
6:48 am
Sat December 6, 2014

From Chic Manhattanite To 'Monk With A Camera'

Before becoming a monk, Nicky Vreeland apprenticed with the great photographers Richard Avedon and Irving Penn.
Asphalt Stars

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 10:51 am

When we first see Nicky Vreeland in the new film Monk with a Camera, he's a middle-aged man in a burgundy robe and with a shaved head. In other words, he's a Buddhist monk — the abbot of Rato Dratsang, one of the Dalai Lama's monasteries, and director of The Tibetan Center in New York City.

But as Vreeland maneuvers through his present, we get glimpses of his past as the grandson of fashion icon Diana Vreeland. Once upon a time, he was a chic, young Manhattanite who hobnobbed in posh zip codes and apprenticed with the great photographers Richard Avedon and Irving Penn.

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Code Switch
3:23 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Chris Rock On Standup, Sellouts And Defining Success

Chris Rock talked with Audie Cornish from NPR's New York bureau.
Brian McCabe

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 6:34 pm

Quick: Can you name your top five favorite singers? What about authors? And comedians? Chris Rock plays this game in his new movie, Top Five. The film, which Rock wrote, directed and stars in, tells the story of Andre Allen, a marquee comedian who has abandoned his standup roots for blockbuster film glory.

"He's languishing," Rock tells NPR's Audie Cornish. "He's not as edgy as he once was. He's kind of watered down; he's kind of sold out."

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Code Switch
2:33 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Civil Rights Attorney On How She Built Trust With Police

Civil rights attorney Constance Rice worked with the Los Angeles Police Department to build trust with minority communities.
Valerie Macon Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 7, 2014 6:50 am

As a civil rights attorney, Constance Rice became known in the 1990s for, as she puts it, going to war with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Rice filed lawsuits against the department, mainly over their treatment of minorities in underprivileged communities.

Following the recent decisions not to indict white cops in the deaths of two black men — President Obama has said one of his top priorities is building trust between minority communities and local police.

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StoryCorps
2:29 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Caring For AIDS Patients, 'When No One Else Would'

Ruth Coker Burks with her friend Paul Wineland. Wineland's partner was one of many AIDS patients Coker Burks has cared for over the past three decades.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 12:07 pm

Ruth Coker Burks was a young mother in her 20s when the AIDS epidemic hit her home state of Arkansas in the early 1980s. She took it upon herself to care for AIDS patients who were abandoned by their families, and even by medical professionals, who feared the disease.

Coker Burks, now 55, has no medical training, but she estimates that she has cared for nearly 1,000 people over the past three decades, including her friend Paul Wineland's partner.

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Music Interviews
5:16 pm
Sun November 30, 2014

At 86, A 'Jazz Child' Looks Back On A Life Of Sunshine, Sorrow

Jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan doesn't mind that, despite her critical acclaim, she's not a household name. "The people that respect what I do and hire me, that's all I need, you know?" she says. "I just need to keep doing this music as long as I live. "
Richard Laird Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 5:43 pm

Many fans first encountered one of the great voices in jazz as a whisper: Sheila Jordan made a quiet but lasting impression as a guest singer on pianist George Russell's 1962 arrangement of "You Are My Sunshine."

Since then, Jordan's career has taken her all over the world, and in 2012, she received one of the highest honors in jazz: she became an National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. Her music has soared, but her story starts with pain.

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