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Words and Art

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On today’s show: Tom Stoppard, Billy Crudup, and Tom Riley discuss the new Broadway production of “Arcadia.” Gail Levin talks about Lee Krasner’s artwork and her marriage to Jackson Pollock. Marshall Arisman tells us about The Divine Elvis, his innovative illustrated novel. Plus, our resident word-maven Patricia T. O’Conner explains the language of cats.

Tom Stoppard's Arcadia

Playwright Sir Tom Stoppard and actors Billy Crudup and Tom Riley discuss the new production of Stoppard’s comedy “Arcadia.” The play is set on an English estate in the early 19th century and in the present day, and it explores ideas from physics to geometry, poetry, Lord Byron, thermodynamics, English garden design, Romanticism, passion, and sex. “Arcadia” is playing at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre through June 19.

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The Art and Life of Lee Krasner

Art historian Gail Levin talks about the life and art of Lee Krasner and her marriage to Jackson Pollock. Lee Krasner: A Biography examines how she struggled with poverty and her husband's alcoholism and extramarital affairs while encouraging his art, which she skillfully managed to market. Levin also looks at how Lee Krasner’s life influenced her own work as an artist.

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Marshall Arisman on His Graphic Novel, The Divine Elvis

Marshall Arisman discusses his illustrated novel, The Divine Elvis. He has contributed graphic illustrations and covers for Harper's, the Nation, Time, U.S. News and World Report, and the New York Times Book Review.

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Word Maven Patricia T. O'Conner on Cat Speak

Our word maven Patricia T. O'Conner talks about cat language—phrases like “letting the cat out of the bag,” “cat’s pajamas,” “catspaw,” “kitty corner,” “cat got your tongue,” and many others. She also answers questions about our confounding and complex English language. An updated and expanded third edition of her book, Woe is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English, has recently been published in paperback, and a paperback version of Origins of the Specious, written with Stewart Kellerman, was just issued.

Do you have a question about language and grammar, or about the origins and meanings of certain cat expressions? Call us at 646-829-3985 or leave a comment below!

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More on Please Explain Wool

Wool was the topic of a Please Explain segment in December, but because winter is not quite over (it’s snowing as I write this), many of us are still wearing scarves and hats and heavy winter coats made of wool, so I'm continuing the conversation. There were a few unanswered questions about wool and about animal cruelty in the wool industry, and Clara Parkes was kind enough to e-mail some answers, which I’ve included below.

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