In the 1970s, a young man named Paul Haggis was walking down a street in Ontario, Canada. He encountered a man peddling a book.
"And he handed the book to Paul, and he said, 'You've got a mind — this is the owner's manual,' " journalist Lawrence Wright tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "And inside, there was a stamp saying 'Church of Scientology,' and Paul was intrigued, and he said, 'Take me there.' " Haggis soon became a member of the Church of Scientology — and he's a central character in Wright's new book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief.
Ecuador's Yasuni National Park is an amazing rainforest — home to jaguars, giant otters, the golden-mantled tamarin and woolly monkeys. The park also sits on top of hundreds of millions of barrels of oil, worth billions of dollars.
The government of Ecuador faces a choice: Should it protect the park, or go for the money?
The country is trying to do both. The government says it will leave its rainforest untouched — if rich counties give Ecuador billions of dollars.
Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 9:22 am
The music is languid and surreal; the images are hypnotic and poetic. Melissa Ann Sweat, a.k.a. Lady Lazarus, has a video for her new song "Lapsarian." Sweat, who collaborated on the project with director June Zandona, tells us that she was inspired by an experimental short film by Kenneth Anger called Puce Moment.
"I wanted to evoke its odd elegance, femininity and weird cloistered central figure," Sweat writes of the first track off her new album, All My Love in Half Light.
Speaking at his fifth National Prayer Breakfast since taking office, President Obama said Thursday morning that the annual gatherings are always "wonderful." But he worries, Obama told the lawmakers and clergy gathered in Washington, D.C., that "as soon as we leave the prayer breakfast, everything we've been talking about the whole time at the prayer breakfast is forgotten ... on the same day as the prayer breakfast."
Originally published on Sat February 9, 2013 8:12 am
More than six years ago, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke brought together five well-known musicians to back his solo album, The Eraser. Fast forward to today, and the eclectic group, Atoms For Peace, is preparing to release their own debut album called Amok.
Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 11:02 am
Chocolate is like sex or pizza: Even when it's bad, it's still pretty good. There are those who prefer light, refreshing desserts after a big meal, but I think those people are crazy. I always gravitate to the most decadent dessert on the menu, which is usually laden with chocolate. And while I love the stuff, there is nothing sadder than giving or receiving a box of boring chocolates on Valentine's Day. Each year, men and women shamefully duck into grocery stores and pharmacies to grab a box of assorted chocolates. Because nothing says "I love you" quite like chocolate from a gas station.
Actress Ann Harada (in pink) returns to the stage in the Broadway premiere of <em>Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, </em>an update of the made-for-TV movie from 1957. Her other theater work has included <em>Avenue Q</em> and <em>Les Miserables.</em>
Credit Carol Rosegg /
On NBC's <em>Smash,</em> returning for a second season, Harada plays the much-put-upon stage manager Linda, charged with keeping the chaos at the show-within-a-show more or less under control.
Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 3:45 pm
Ann Harada is that rare Asian-American musical theater actress who's never starred in The King and I or Miss Saigon. After a few summer stock stints as Bloody Mary in South Pacific, Harada realized if she was going to make it in theater, it would be as a character actor. In 2003, she originated the role of Christmas Eve in the irreverent puppet musical Avenue Q, a part she played on and off for six years.
A Longview, Texas, homeless shelter is preparing to build a larger women’s and family shelter. The Hiway 80 Rescue Mission has seen a spike in homeless women over the past seven months. It’s currently housing 65 women and children, up from 25 at this time last year, according to associate director Rusty Fennell.
“We’re over bed capacity already. We’ve been over bed capacity for awhile,” Fennell said.