Weekend Edition

Weekends at 8-10AM
Scott Simon

Whether revealing events in small-town America or overseas, or profiling notable personalities, Weekend Edition from NPR News appreciates the extraordinary details that make up every story. This two-hour morning newsmagazine covers hard news, a wide variety of newsmakers, and cultural stories with care, accuracy, and a wink of humor, courtesy of hosts Scott Simon and Liane Hansen.

On Saturdays, Simon's award-winning commentaries sum up an idea or event related to the week's news. There are fresh reports from a cross-section of NPR correspondents on topics from religion to health to food to politics. Simon's interviews with key artists, authors, performers and personalities are always memorable.

On Sundays, Weekend Edition combines the news with colorful arts and human-interest features, appealing to the curious and eclectic. With a nod to traditional Sunday habits, the program offers a fix for diehard crossword addicts-word games and brainteasers with The Puzzlemaster, a.k.a. Will Shortz, puzzle editor of The New York Times. With Hansen on the sidelines, a caller plays the latest word game on the air while listeners compete silently at home. The NPR mailbag is proof that the competition to go head-to-head with Shortz is rather vigorous.

Genre: 

Pages

6:02am

Sat January 7, 2012
Arts & Life

Elizabeth McGovern, Acting At An Intersection

Originally published on Sat January 7, 2012 10:20 am

Elizabeth McGovern was nominated for an Oscar as turn-of-the-century Broadway sensation Evelyn Nesbit in the film of E.L. Doctorow's Ragtime. She plays Lady Cora Grantham in Downton Abbey.
Nick Brigg ITV/Masterpiece

Elizabeth McGovern is back — though she was never really gone. She just moved across the pond.

She was 19 when a star — hers — was born, after she played the love interest in Robert Redford's film Ordinary People. She went on to co-star with some of Hollywood's leading men, including Robert De Niro, Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, and landed an Oscar nomination for Milos Forman's big-budget film Ragtime.

But in the early '90s, McGovern married a British guy and gave up Hollywood for London. She raised a family and developed a British acting career.

Read more

4:46pm

Fri January 6, 2012
What's in a Song?

Group Singalongs Provide Comfort For A Livelihood Lost

Barre Toelken (second from right) at one of his weekly singing sessions with his wife Miko (far right) and friends.
Hal Cannon

For the past several years, a group of friends has gathered every week in the living room of a suburban home in Logan, Utah, to sing long-forgotten songs. It's a fun way to spend the evening, but it's also therapy for a dear friend.

Until several years ago, Barre Toelken was a folklorist at Utah State University. He'd spent much of his life preserving sea shanties and other antique songs, but then he had a stroke and was forced to retire.

"I used to know 800 songs," Toelken says. "I had this stroke, and I had none of these songs left in my head. None of them were left."

Read more

7:18pm

Sat December 31, 2011
It Was A Good Year For...

No Excuses: Robots Put You In Two Places At Once

Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 1:11 pm

The two "eyes" on the Anybot are actually a camera and a laser. The camera "sees," the laser points, and the person on the screen controls it all.
Anybots.com

Mike Fennelly isn't easily surprised by cutting-edge technologies, but when he started as an IT guy at a Silicon Valley startup called Evernote, he was caught off guard by a robot rolling around the office.

"It was slightly disturbing for not really knowing what the robot was for at the beginning, and then going, 'Oh, OK. That's Phil,' " he says.

CEO Phil Libin is also known as the company's "robotic overlord." Libin himself isn't actually a robot, but when he's out of town, his robot keeps an eye on things.

Read more

8:00am

Sat December 31, 2011
Performing Arts

'The Enchanted Island' A Mashup Of Classic Masters

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 10:05 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

Tonight, New York's Metropolitan Opera will premiere a new piece with music that's hundreds of years old. It's called "The Enchanted Island" and it features arias by several Baroque composers, including Handel and Vivaldi, and mashes up the plots from two Shakespeare plays. And, oh yes, it stars Placido Domingo as the sea god Neptune. Jeff Lunden has still more.

Read more

8:00am

Sat December 31, 2011
Author Interviews

'The Real Elizabeth' As Friends And Family Know Her

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

In February of the New Year, the British will prepare a major celebration. It's not another Royal wedding. It's the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, marking the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne. It's an exceptionally long reign; only one other British monarch has reigned as long, her Royal Majesty Queen Victoria.

Read more

6:27am

Sat December 31, 2011
Art & Design

Milliner's Ode To Hats Topped With Timelessness

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:10 am

Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones is a dazzling traveling exhibition celebrating centuries of hats
Catwalking.com

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown — perhaps that's why the queen often appears in such an impressive array of hats. Throughout history, the hat has signified a variety of things, from a crown to a team baseball cap.

A dazzling traveling exhibition celebrates centuries of hats. Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones began at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 2009 and is now at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City through April 2012.

Read more

6:24am

Sat December 31, 2011
Author Interviews

A Passionate Portrait Of An Artist And Her Muse

You've probably seen the paintings — women, often nude, always glamorous, the epitome of Jazz Age elegance in Paris in the 1920s, done with a particular cubist, finished fashion. The art deco painter is Tamara de Lempicka, and she's the subject of a new novel by Ellis Avery.

The Last Nude imagines a hidden affair behind one of de Lempicka's most critically acclaimed works. The novel explores the relationship between the painter and Rafaela, the model featured in several of de Lempicka's works from 1920s Paris.

Read more

6:15am

Sat December 31, 2011
It Was A Good Year For...

Midwest Learns To Manufacture More With Less

Midwestern manufacturers are bouncing back — revenues are up at Chicago White Metal Casting for the second year in a row. And the company is hiring, but mainly specialists, such as die-cast machinists and the people with the skills to fix those machines.
Niala Boodhoo WBEZ

CEO Eric Treiber walks out onto the factory floor of Chicago White Metal Casting. Workers are busy making aluminum, zinc and magnesium metal parts for cars, swimming pools and farm equipment.

The floor's a lot louder than it was a few years ago. At Chicago White Metal Casting, revenue is up 4 percent from 2010 — and that year was better than the one before.

Read more

5:00am

Sat December 31, 2011
Politics

After A Year of Struggles, Obama Finds His Footing

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 10:05 am

President Obama walks onstage Dec. 22 to urge members of Congress to vote on a short-term compromise that extended the payroll tax cut.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Even as President Obama relaxes with his family in Hawaii over the holidays, he knows what's on the horizon when he returns to work in Washington.

He will start where he left off, facing new skirmishes with Congress over a push to extend a temporary cut in payroll taxes. That temporary extension was approved just days before Christmas after a high-stakes gamble that finished only after most of Congress had left for the year.

Read more

5:47pm

Fri December 30, 2011
Opinion

The Simple Joys Of An Old-Fashioned Datebook

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 10:05 am

What if you could hold on to time in your hands? You can, you know. You can crack open, on this New Year's Eve, the unsullied, unhurried, un-trammeled pages of an old-fashioned datebook — the kind that still arranges seven days into a week; the kind you write in with a pen and which never, ever, beeps at you to remind you of a meeting or errand.

Read more

9:53am

Thu December 29, 2011
Food

Try A Champagne Cocktail For A Sparkling New Year

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 10:05 am

Greg Seider's version of a French 75 is a cocktail with gin, lemon juice and agave topped with prosecco or champagne.
iStockphoto.com

For many people, the New Year begins with popping a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine. It's the go-to drink for the celebratory moments in our lives.

Yet champagne is far more versatile than many people think. Beyond just pouring it into a glass, you can mix it with any number of spirits to create a range of champagne cocktails.

"One that starts off a little simpler is a French 75," respected mixologist Greg Seider tells Weekend Edition guest host Jacki Lyden. "[It's] gin, lemon juice, a slight bit of agave, topped with prosecco or champagne."

Read more

8:00am

Sat December 24, 2011
The Record

K-Pop Blows Up: Korean Music Finds Fans Worldwide

Korean pop group Girls' Generation pose on the red carpet to attend the MNET Asian Music Awards ceremony in Singapore in November.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Korean pop music groups turned a corner in 2011, expanding their audience worldwide, despite the language barrier. Two of the most popular bands are 2NE1, whose music projects ideas of self-worth, and Girls' Generation, which has nine members.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

Read more

8:00am

Sat December 24, 2011
Simon Says

How Much Is That Purple Heart In The Window?

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 8:38 am

There's a Purple Heart in the window of the A-Z Outlet pawnshop in Holland, Mich., right between a silver necklace and an inexpensive watch.

Bryan VandenBosch says a young man walked into his shop just before Thanksgiving to pawn a medal that the U.S. government awards to soldiers who have been "wounded or killed in any action" while serving.

He says that he doesn't know why the young man needed or wanted to pawn his medal.

Read more

8:00am

Sat December 24, 2011
Food

Medieval Christmas Cookies Still In Fashion

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 8:25 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Families have passed down Christmas cookie recipes for generations, but few traditions date back further than this one from Medieval Europe.

Marie Cusick reports for NPR from Strasburg, Pennsylvania.

MARIE CUSICK, BYLINE: At Heather Botchlet's bakery in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, it's not uncommon for an Amish horse and buggy to pass by.

(SOUNDBITE OF A HORSE AND BUGGY)

Read more

8:00am

Sat December 24, 2011
Sports

Sports To Look Forward To: NBA, NFL Pick Up

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Coming up: A couch potato's holiday. It's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: This weekend, the NBA gets going. The NFL gets extra thrilling. And the Boise State Broncos got to clean out their lockers. The boys in blue demolished Arizona State, 56 to 24 in the MAACO-Las Vegas Bowl. Now they got ahead home while lower ranked teams compete in the official bowl championship series games.

NPR's Tom Goldman joins us from Portland. Tom, thanks for being with us.

Read more

8:00am

Sat December 24, 2011
Music

'White Wine In The Sun' On A Hot Christmas Day

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 8:25 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Read more

8:00am

Sat December 24, 2011
Movies

Comparing Favorite Holiday Flicks With A Pro

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Christmas falls on a weekend this year; a chance for many families to curl up with a good film that's stood the test of holidays past. But what if you've already seen "It's A Wonderful Life" and "Bad Santa?" What's left? Cameron Crowe joins us now from Los Angeles. Mr. Crowe is the esteemed screenwriter and director whose films include "Say Anything," "Almost Famous," "Jerry Maguire," the documentary "Pearl Jam Twenty," and the just-released, "We Bought A Zoo," starring Ben Affleck's best friend. Thanks for being with us, Mr. Crowe.

Read more

6:32am

Sat December 24, 2011
Theater

A Homecoming For Rachel Griffiths On Broadway

In the Broadway play Other Desert Cities, Brooke (played by Rachel Griffiths) forces her family to confront the truth behind her brother's suicide.
Joan Marcus Lincoln Center Publicity

Australian actress Rachel Griffiths, best known in the U.S. for her work on HBO's Six Feet Under and ABC's Brothers and Sisters, has made an acclaimed Broadway debut in the new play Other Desert Cities.

Griffiths, who is well-known in Australia for her stage work, tells NPR's Scott Simon she would have been happy if all she had ever done was act onstage.

"Theater was where I began and what I really thought my career would be in Australia," she says. "That was my thing. ... The movies were an unexpected joy, and television even more unexpected."

Read more

3:30pm

Fri December 23, 2011
Music Interviews

Songs To Annoy You This Holiday Season

Twisted Sister in 2008, posing backstage at a live performance of its holiday album, A Twisted Christmas.
Mark Weiss WireImage

This is the time of year that either has you humming about a one-horse open sleigh or bah-humbugging the various versions of "Jingle Bells" you've heard in stores, on hold and in commercials. Wherever you reside on the Christmas cheer spectrum, we have something to annoy even those who wear reindeer sweaters.

Read more

8:00am

Sat December 17, 2011
From Our Listeners

Your Letters: Laura Nyro; The Christmas Krampus

Lots of comments came in this week about host Scott Simon's remembrance of Laura Nyro. We also heard from several Krampus revelers, who celebrate the Christmas Krampus, a horned, mythical kind of dark sidekick to Santa Claus. Host Scott Simon reads listener reaction to last week's program.

8:00am

Sat December 17, 2011
Iraq

Five Big Moments In The Iraq War

With the Iraq war officially over and the pullout of U.S. forces nearly complete, host Scott Simon talks with Tom Ricks, author of The Best Defense blog, and Jon Lee Anderson from The New Yorker about the most influential turning points of the war.

8:00am

Sat December 17, 2011
Commentary

Phones In Hand, Busy Mourners Miss The Story

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 10:24 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Gadgets, like cell phone cameras and digital tablets, can turn almost anybody into some kind of amateur journalist. But writer Gwen Thompkins wonders when the amateurs will realize that what the professionals already know - recording an event often stops people from experiencing what's right in front of them.

(SOUNDBITE OF PEOPLE TALKING)

Read more

8:00am

Sat December 17, 2011
Performing Arts

Grandma The Clown Is Leaving The Tent

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

(SOUNDBITE OF CIRCUS MUSIC)

SIMON: When the bright lights beam under the Big Top of the Big Apple Circus, Grandma shuffles in. She's got a silver hair, a slow walk, a sly smile, and a purse so huge you think she might have New Jersey somewhere in there. I mean Grandma the Clown.

Read more

7:54am

Sat December 17, 2011
Food

Coquito: A Tropical Twist On The Holiday Classic

Coquito is eggnog, Puerto Rican style, enriched by a delicious addition: a dollop of coconut.
iStockphoto.com

Coquito, an eggnog made with rum and coconut, is as integral to a Puerto Rican Christmas as presents under the tree.

In New York on Saturday, 12 coquito makers are battling to be this year's Coquito Masters champion. It's the 10th year of the contest. Trolleys will take fans to different locations in Spanish Harlem to sample coquito and vote for their favorite drinks in blind taste tests.

Read more

7:36am

Sat December 17, 2011
Simon Says

Christopher Hitchens And The Delight Of Defying Labels

It may be telling that Christopher Hitchens should die in this season. I don't mean the holiday season but a contentious season in Congress and on the campaign trail, with politicians jabbing fingers and accusing each other of inconsistency.

Read more

3:47pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Music News

Chet Atkins: The Lasting Influence Of 'Mr. Guitar'

Chet Atkins at RCA's Studio B in the 1960s.
Courtesy of the Country Music Hall of Fame

3:00pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Music Interviews

Cam Penner Spins Road Stories On 'Gypsy Summer'

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 7:35 pm

Cam Penner's latest album is Gypsy Summer.
Courtesy of the artist

When your grandfather is a bootlegger and your family runs an illegal small-town roadhouse, you must have a lot of stories to tell. Cam Penner does, and he tells them in his music. The Canadian singer-songwriter's latest album is titled Gypsy Summer.

Read more

1:48pm

Thu December 15, 2011
Europe

Thousands Protest Alleged Election Fraud In Russia

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 5:56 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Tens of thousands of people have demonstrated in cities across Russia today to protest alleged vote-rigging in recent parliamentary elections. Protests reportedly took place in more than 50 cities, but the largest by far was in Moscow. Reporter Peter van Dyk is in Moscow and joins us. Peter, thanks so much for being with us.

PETER VAN DYK, BYLINE: Thank you.

SIMON: You were in the crowds. What were they like?

Read more

10:09am

Sat December 10, 2011
Simon Says

Laura Nyro's Lasting, Eclectic Musical Legacy

Laura Nyro performs at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Most of the names announced for induction to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame this week are familiar: Guns N' Roses, Beastie Boys and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The name Laura Nyro may need some explaining.

She was the daughter of a New York jazz trumpeter, who took her along to his gigs. She sold her first song, And When I Die, to Peter, Paul and Mary for $5,000 when she was just a teenager; left New York's School of Music and Art; and became a star at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival at the age of 20.

Read more

8:00am

Sat December 10, 2011
NPR Story

Newly Discovered Black Holes Are Largest So Far

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 5:56 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Word came this week that scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have found the two largest black holes known to exist. Each is 10 billion times the size of our sun, and more than 300 million light-years away. Now, we should explain, black holes are known to hold some of the mysteries of our universe. They are so dense, they have so much gravitational pull, that not even light can escape. That makes this discovery all the more remarkable.

Read more

Pages