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The Takeaway

Jeffrey Eugenides Romances the Novel in 'The Marriage Plot'

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A new novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jeffrey Eugenides follows three college students graduating in the midst of an economic downturn. With unemployment around 10 percent, the characters try to find ways to cope — moving home, busing tables, applying to graduate school. One flees the country entirely, running from the recession at home to volunteer in India. It sounds like a novel set in 2011, until Eugenides' characters start calling each other from land line phones and writing letters home from abroad. 

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The Takeaway

Middle Age Comeback: '867-5309' Songwriter Releases New Album

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Back in 1982 the song "867-5309/Jenny" was on top of the Billboard charts and became a radio classic with its catchy chorus and yearning lyrics. Performed by Tommy Tutone, it brought fifteen minutes of fame to songwriter Jim Keller. But now, after years of managing composer Philip Glass, Keller is back on the music scene. Today, he's coming out with a new album, "Soul Candy" — the second in only a few years.

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The Takeaway

New Movies: '50/50' and 'What's Your Number"

Friday, September 30, 2011

It’s Friday, when we talk about new movies here on The Takeaway. This week, we're talking about "50/50," a comedy about a young guy with cancer, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, and "What's Your Number?," another comedy — this one centers on dating and relationships — with Anna Faris.

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The Takeaway

Musician K'Naan Returns to Somalia After Twenty Years

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Musician and poet K'Naan recently returned to his native Somalia, which is in the grip of a devastating famine and violent civil war. His last memories of the country were twenty years ago, when he fled with other members of his family for safety in Canada.

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The Takeaway

'The Mountaintop' Imagines Martin Luther King's Final Hours

Friday, September 23, 2011

In April of 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave an eerily prescient speech. "I just want to do God's will,"  he said. "And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!" King was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee the following day. A new Broadway play called "The Mountaintop" imagines what King's private moments in his hotel room were like in the hours leading up to his death. The play stars Samuel L. Jackson as King and Angela Bassett as Camae, a maid in the Lorraine Hotel.

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The Takeaway

Sam Childers: The Real-Life 'Machine Gun Preacher'

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sam Childers was once drug dealer, who dabbled in violent crime. But in the summer of 1992, he attended a church revival and decided to abandon his life of crime, and travel to war-torn Sudan to find a way to aid children there. With his wife, Childers founded an orphanage in South Sudan, where they have now housed and educated over 1,000 youths. A new film, "Machine Gun Preacher," starring Gerard Butler depicts Childer's story.

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The Takeaway

Jane Lynch on Glee, TV, and 'Happy Accidents'

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's fall, so a new crop of TV pilots are beginning, and many of them center on female characters — many of which are young or on the prowl for husbands. But there's one show that continues to depict a slightly older, stronger, and certainly more interesting female character: "Glee." Sue Sylvester, the bossy, overly-confident cheerleading coach on the popular musical sitcom, is arguably one of the most unique and interesting characters to grace prime-time television in recent years. That's partially thanks to good script-writing, but mainly because of the talented actress who portrays Sylvester, Jane Lynch.

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The Takeaway

Author Sylvia Nasar on Early 'Economic Genius'

Monday, September 19, 2011

In uncertain financial times, it seems every economist has their own opinion on how to revive the economy. But the idea that we could study the marketplace and deduce how to control and improve it was once radical. Decades before the Great Recession, students studied economics in order to become masters of their own fate. A new book examines the development of economic theory, from the Age of Industrial Revolution to World War II.

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The Takeaway

Nirvana's 'Nevermind,' Twenty Years Later

Monday, September 19, 2011

For those who came of age in the 1990s it may be hard to believe, but Nirvana’s "Nevermind" album turns twenty years old this week. Considered groundbreaking by some and over-hyped by others, the album is still often played and discussed two decades later.

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The Takeaway

'Mildred Pierce' and 'Mad Men' Battle for Most Emmy Wins

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Emmy Awards are this Sunday night, and its winner might be the most hard to predict in years. Five of the drama and comedy series contenders are first-time nominees, as are many of the nominated actors — including Timothy Olyphant, for "Justified," and Martha Plimpton, for "Raising Hope." "Mildred Pierce" leads the nominations, with twenty one total, and “Mad Men” is close behind with nineteen. Who will bring home the most statues?

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The Takeaway

Christina Hendricks on 'Drive,' 'Mad Men,' and Playing Bad Girls

Friday, September 16, 2011

Actress Christina Hendricks stopped by The Takeaway's studios earlier this week for a taping of the Movie Date podcast. Hendricks has two movies opening in theaters this week, "Drive," an arty action thriller starring Ryan Gosling, and "I Don’t Know How She Does It," a comedy starring Sarah Jessica Parker. She also stars as Joan Holloway in "Mad Men," a role which has earned her two Emmy nominations (tune in to the Emmys telecast this weekend to find out if she wins).

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The Takeaway

Photographing America's Poverty Problem

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Census numbers show that the U.S. has reached its worst level of poverty since 1983. About 15 percent of Americans live beneath the poverty line. That means that almost 46 million Americans do not earn $11,100 dollars a year as a single person; or, that they live in a family of four that makes under $22,314. The numbers beg the question: are the poor being forgotten in this country?

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The Takeaway

Study Says SpongeBob Ruins Attention Spans

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

For the past decade, "SpongeBob SquarePants" has been one of the highest rated children's television programs. The show, which centers on a cheerful sea sponge who this in a pineapple on the ocean floor, has become popular with both adults and children, but that may not be a good thing. A new study out yesterday says that the cartoon has an immediate and detrimental impact on kids' attention spans. Is SpongeBob really that bad for kids?

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The Takeaway

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick on 'Prohibition'

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

By today’s standards, the idea of a constitutional amendment banning alcohol in the U.S. seems preposterous, oppressive, and just plain naïve. But 92 years ago, when the National Prohibition Act passed, it was widely backed. Of course, Prohibition was eventually repealed, but not before it had far-reaching consequences on American gender relations, crime, popular culture, and politics. A new three-part documentary series called "Prohibition" tells this uniquely American story on PBS, beginning October 2.

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The Takeaway

Could 'Contagion' Happen in Real Life?

Monday, September 12, 2011

This weekend, the virus disaster film "Contagion" was the top-grossing new movie in box offices across America. The film stars a heavy-hitting cast of well-known actors, including Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Gwyneth Paltrow. It's unsettling to watch for many people, because it's about a global pandemic of a deadly virus, which threatens to end civilization as we know it — which prompts the question: could this really happen?

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The Takeaway

New Movies: 'Contagion' and 'Warrior'

Friday, September 09, 2011

The biggest release this weekend is the thriller "Contagion," which has a formidable cast of big names in Hollywood: Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburn, and Jude Law. "Warrior," a mixed martial arts movie starring Nick Nolte, is also opening this weekend.

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The Takeaway

New Film Documents the Black Power Movement

Friday, September 09, 2011

In the late 1960s, Swedish TV crews came to America, drawn by stories of unrest and revolution. For nearly a decade they stayed and filmed interviews with leaders of the Black Power movement. Their footage was broadcast in Sweden, but up until now, most of the footage stayed there. A new movie, called "The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975" brings the footage to American audiences.

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The Takeaway

We Are What We Say in 'The Secret Life of Pronouns'

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

People in 2011 have more ways to communicate now than ever before, and how we communicate says a lot about who we are. We tweet, we text, we chat online. And every word has a particular significance — maybe even more than we often realize.

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The Takeaway

'The Neighborhood Project:' Tackling Social Problems with Evolutionary Biology

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Many U.S. cities that once depended on manufacturing — cities like Detroit, Cleveland and Binghamton, N.Y. — experienced job loss and a decline in population years before the Great Recession began. John Hockenberry grew up outside of Binghamton and watched a great, vibrant city fall. IBM, once a major employer in the area, moved its factories overseas, and other businesses followed. Today, downtown Binghamton is filled with empty storefronts and houses.

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The Takeaway

Art Theft: From the Mona Lisa to Picasso's Tete de Feme

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

In the past month and a half, a $200,000 Picasso sketch titled "Tete de Femme" was stolen from a San Francisco gallery, a $350,000 Fernand Léger was lifted from a New York gallery, and eleven paintings valued at $387,000 were stolen from a gallery in Toronto. High profile arts heists are on the rise around the world and, according to the FBI, the international black market for art and cultural property is now worth $6 billion annually. How does one go about stealing a great work of art, and how did art become such a commodity?

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