‘Adventures in Moominland’ — fantasy as freedom

“At last they came to a modest valley that was a lot more lovely than any they had seen . . .”

When Tove Jansson imagined an enchanted spot as an escape from the horror of bombing raids on Helsinki in the second planet war, she did not at initial take numerous men and women with her. The Moomins and the Wonderful Flood (1945), a story of displaced creatures in search of a protected haven, sold 219 copies in its initial year. Then in 1954 the London Evening News commissioned and syndicated a regular Moomins comic strip, and the clumsy small trolls, resembling hippos standing on hind legs with enormous snouts and staring black eyes, went international. Quickly Jansson had 12m readers. With television series and new translations of the books, her audience continues to develop.

You attain the Southbank Centre’s Adventures in Moominland by opening the cover of a giant book that turns out to be a door. Flit by means of a handful of gauze curtains painted with Jansson’s illustr­ations and you discover oneself standing in a storybook installation: a snow-clad Finnish forest with gleaming lights and a lost troll. “The sky was almost black but the snow shone a vibrant blue in the moonlight” when Moomintroll, the initial troll not to hibernate, stepped out alone into a cold new globe. Moominland in Midwinter (1957) is a small existentialist masterpiece — the story of a frightened, angry, isolated young troll who at some point comes in from the cold to understand “one has to discover every thing for oneself, and get more than it all alone”.

“There are no good children’s books which are only children’s books”: the Moomin tales, at once comic, dreamy, melancholy and menacing, hold up well judged according to Auden’s dictum. This immersive, participatory timed-ticket show, which takes you on a 50-minute journey through a series of Moomin landscapes and narratives, to the marvellous accompaniment of Aki Rissanen’s jazz score (Jansson loved jazz), is a similarly double-level affair.

Tove Jansson’s artwork for ‘Moominland Midwinter’ © Tampere Art Museum, Moominvalley Collection

For youngsters it is a piece of theatre: the likelihood to shelter in a Moomin tent with tree-stump seats and sandy floors on the edge of trickling water even though “the sun skips down the valley”, or to bounce up and down on the wooden raft via heaving waves off the archipelago setting for Moominpappa at Sea (1965). But that adventure — the storyteller is the reassuring Sandi Toksvig — is also an adult tale of an old man’s search for meaning and battles with nature, lightly referencing Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. And in each and every three-dimensional slice of Moominland here, illuminated in a sledge or a picnic basket or a wardrobe, are the little original drawings, etchings, manuscripts and letters that unfold Jansson’s perform and life to adults.

Tove Jansson, artist and writer © Per Olov Jansson

Born in 1914, Jansson educated as a painter, and initially earned a living as an illustrator for the satirical magazine Garm (“What I liked best was being beastly to Hitler and Stalin,” she commented). She always saw herself as a visual artist who occurred to write. Subsequent year her very first UK retrospective, at Dulwich Image Gallery, will showcase her paintings, mainly interiors and portraits, of which the best is “The Family” (1942), a sombre evocation of wartime domestic life depicting her soldier brothers playing chess, her anxious parents and herself, a wary figure in black. Soon afterwards, despair at the war triggered her temporarily to abandon easel painting. “To get away from gloomy thoughts,” she remembered, “I would creep into an unbelievable world exactly where every thing was organic and friendly and feasible.”

In lyrical early watercolours and sketches of Moominvalley tinted here in India ink, light glows by way of mountains and forests of black and green shadows in fine black-and-white line drawings Jansson refines her thought of Moomintroll. He evolved into someone sympathetic out of a hideous character that Jansson scrawled on the toilet wall of her family’s summer season house throughout an argument with her brother about Kant. (It was that sort of loved ones: her father Victor was a sculptor, her mother Signe an illustrator.) In a rage, Tove drew the “ugliest creature imaginable”, and signed it underneath “The most crucial factor is freedom”.

Exploring the Moomin installation © Vic Frankowski

Several children’s stories started as acts of protest, at some level, by those who felt outsiders: “The Owl and the Pussy Cat” are an unorthodox couple designed by repressed Victorian homosexual Edward Lear JM Barrie, like Peter Pan, spent his life a lonely man on the fringes of other families, “looking via the window at the 1 joy from which he must be forever barred”.

At a time when homosexuality was illegal in Finland, Jansson was lesbian (“the most genuine resolution for me will be to go more than to the spook side”), and the Southbank offers prominence to Thingumy and Bob, characters who go everywhere hand-in-hand with a suitcase containing their secret: a ruby the size of a panther, symbol of the glow and preciousness of really like. An enlarged sense of what a loved ones can be, as a variety of species arrive to live harmoniously in Moominvalley, is an undercurrent, and Jansson’s strong, guiding characters — Moominmamma, the Snork Maiden, Too-Ticky, named soon after her companion Tuulikki Pietila — are all girls. “No sons, no soldiers” was a key purpose Jansson chose not to have kids.

A sketch of a Moomin

In the shadow of war, she wrote and drew with an urgent longing for peace and for nature. In the reconstruction of her studio, with gramophone, jazz records and issues of Garm, drawings of the apocalypse from Comet in Moominland are on her desk. In this story, written in 1945, the mist rises “icy cold and greyish white like the breath of death”, mountains are pale green and faint, stars are hidden, the seabed is a ruin of black fissures and hot vapour. Alongside Jansson’s illustrations here lies a newspaper from August 1945 with photographs of Hiroshima’s atomic cloud.

The next low, dank room is a cave, suggestive of a war bunker here we meet a shaggy philosopher-cat with a well-thumbed copy of Oswald Spengler’s The Decline of the West. “What in the globe have we here?” exclaimed Moominpappa, for on the measures sat one thing wet and miserable, with shiny black eyes. “I am the Muskrat,” he stated. The Muskrat’s own book is The Uselessness of Everything it is later magicked away and replaced by The Usefulness of Everything.

This is fantasy embedded in social and intellectual history, whimsy meeting politics meeting Nordic noir, and visual art successfully crossed with text, archives, efficiency and installation: a really feel-very good household show and a delightful inauguration of Southbank’s 2017 multi-genre Nordic Matters festival.

Nordic Matters, Southbank Centre, London, to April 23. southbankcentre.co.uk

Photographs: Vic Frankowski Tampere Art Museum, Moominvalley Collection Per Olov Jansson

Section: Arts


Kesha Fights For Freedom On Her Fuck The Planet Tour

“Nothing outside these 4 walls matters right now,” Kesha declared at the beginning of her sold-out show on Thursday night. “I’m talking about your rent, I’m speaking about your homework, I’m talking about your shitty ex-boyfriend!” The glitter-covered crowd in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, had been screaming at the leading of their lungs. “I’m talking about my FUCKING LAWSUIT!” Kesha howled, raising two middle fingers to the sky, as a giant lit-up “FUCK THE WORLD” tour sign gleamed behind her.

She has headlined two world tours because 2010, playing from New York City to Japan, but the Kesha of 2016 is attempting one thing distinct with her Fuck the Planet tour. For the previous two years, Kesha has been in an ongoing legal battle with producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald for alleged sexual assault, harassment, and emotional abuse (he has denied the allegations). As she is also signed to Gottwald’s Kemosabe Records, an imprint of Sony Music, Kesha is fighting to be released from her contract so she can make music that in no way rewards her alleged abuser. In February, Kesha was denied an injunction against Dr. Luke, a ruling that she has considering that appealed.

That fight continues — but rather than sit and do nothing at all while she waits for a opportunity to get out of her contract, Kesha has decided to tour. And with no new music to premiere, she’s crafted a set list of reworked past hits and new covers of her preferred songs, playing them with her backing rock band The Creepies. Clad in a fringed black-and-red Western cowgirl ensemble, with her backing band in suits, bolo ties, and cowboy hats, Kesha presented her own Grand Ole Opry on acid. “Your Love Is My Drug,” with Kesha on lead guitar, became a pop-punk anthem. “Cannibal,” devoid of its rubbery synth backdrop, had her descending into Alice Cooper–worthy screams down on the floor. And “Timber,” played proper alongside a soulful cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” became a classic country ditty. The stage at Warsaw — a Polish community center that doubles as a slightly fusty music venue — was strewn with Christmas lights. With band members operating in and out among songs to throw confetti into the audience and doing synchronized dances in rubber dino heads for “Dinosaur,” the overall vibe felt like an impromptu DIY party.

Her covers, from Lesley Gore’s “You Do not Personal Me” to a beautiful, slow version of Britney Spears’s “Till the Planet Ends” (which Kesha helped create), had been a likelihood for Kesha to really showcase her pipes. “That’s for absolutely everyone who says I can not sing,” she screamed after her Spears cover. From the goofy, yodel-y vocals of “Tik Tok” to her gravelly rendition of Iggy Pop’s “Nightclubbing,” it was clear that even though Kesha’s music may well be on the freeze, her voice undoubtedly isn’t. The free-spirited, giggly 22-year-old who climbed up the charts with “Tik Tok” back in 2009 hasn’t gone anywhere. And neither has her committed fan base, who brought the singer to tears after they led a chorus of “FUCK HIM! FUCK HIM!” for what felt like a blissful eternity.

When Kesha 1st blew up in pop music, she felt like the mainstream trickle-up version of girl power–happy, electroclash weirdos like Peaches and Chicks on Speed. And Fuck the Planet could have effortlessly played like a vacuum-sealed reenactment of the early-to-mid-2000s. Rather, Kesha utilised her reworked and remixed songs to make an undeniable case for her personal timelessness. Right now, the sort of jokey misandry that runs through songs like 2010’s “Dinosaur” and “Cannibal” is rampant, and messy ladies are celebrated onscreen. And even though at occasions it was almost impossible to ignore Kesha’s legal cage, the lesson of the Fuck the World tour is that even without having new material, the pop star is nevertheless obtaining new methods to be exciting and bold. Kesha has refashioned herself as a band-leading nation rock star most importantly, she has identified a way to be right here, in your face, speaking out about the rights of female artists chained to labels and male producers. Fuck the Planet is not the best way to see Kesha — the excellent would be without tears, with new music, on a worldwide tour. But for a musician whose only path to freedom also seems like a trap, her ideal selection appropriate now is to reinvent her past, generating her old hits into new windows by means of which to see an empowered new Kesha.

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The Stakes: Let Freedom Sing

Welcome back to “The Stakes,” the show where we collectively hoist our machetes and try to hack our way by way of the tangled underbrush of politics, news, and social justice in the year 2016. The machetes have microphones on them, or some thing. Appear, just go with us right here. Coming up on the show today:

Component 1: Ana Marie Cox chats with Dan Savage for the second installment of “Some of My Best Close friends,” a series that explores the relationships that cross ideological lines.
Portion two: Julie Zeilinger interviews the plaintiff in the most critical Supreme Court case on abortion considering that Roe v. Wade.
Portion three: Doreen St. Félix breaks down the sexist injustice of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the U.S.
Portion four: Julianne Ross and Jaime Fuller address the wackiness of the Libertarian convention in Florida.
Element 5: Marcus Ellsworth reflects on the energy of freedom songs.

Embedded from w.soundcloud.com.


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Right here Are The 2015 Medal Of Freedom Winners, In Their Personal Voices

Baseball player Willie Mays, singer Barbra Streisand and politician Shirley Chisholm will all be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom this year.

Jed Jacobsohn/Kevin Winter/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

On Tuesday, President Obama will be handing out the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the U.S. The list of winners this year brims with both household names and virtual unknowns — artists, athletes and activists of just about every stripe.

With 17 winners, there are 17 personal histories, 17 highlight reels of accomplishments — and 17 stories of service worth recognizing. Inspiring, sure, but also quite a bit of homework for the average American looking to learn more about the honorees.

So, NPR’s here to help. Click a name on the list below to find a brief introduction to the life and works that helped define a legacy — and more often than not, a conversation with the actual person. Because who better to tell you who these people are than the folks themselves?

Medal Of Freedom Winners

Yogi Berra
Bonnie Carroll
Shirley Chisholm
Emilio Estefan
Gloria Estefan
Billy Frank Jr.
Lee Hamilton
Katherine G. Johnson
Willie Mays
Barbara Mikulski
Itzhak Perlman
William Ruckelshaus
Stephen Sondheim
Steven Spielberg
Barbra Streisand
James Taylor
Minoru Yasui


Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra, during spring training in 1954, at the height of his career.

AP

Berra, that master of the bat and malapropisms, won 10 World Series championships — more than any other major league player — and spent four decades as a professional catcher, manager and coach. Born Lawrence Peter Berra, Yogi was also named league MVP three times in the course of his career. He died earlier this year at the age of 90.

He also was widely known for his twisty turns of phrase, which managed to mine wisdom from apparent nonsense — stuff like “it ain’t over till it’s over,” and “when you come to a fork in the road, take it.” He was also quite the conversationalist on the diamond, apparently, which wasn’t always appreciated by batters such as Ted Williams.

“Oh, he would get mad,” Berra told NPR’s Robert Siegel in 2003. “You know, I used to say, ‘Where you going tonight, Ted? What are you doing? When you going fishing?’ And he’d say, ‘Shut up … I’m up here to hit, not to talk about fishing or hunting.’ “

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Yogi Berra On ‘All Things Considered’ (2003)

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Yogi Berra On ‘All Things Considered’ (2003)


Bonnie Carroll

In this 2012 photo, Bonnie Carroll, president and founder of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, known as TAPS, poses in her office in Washington, D.C.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Carroll, a retired major in the Air Force Reserve, founded the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, or TAPS, an organization that provides support for those affected by the death of a loved one serving in the U.S. armed forces. Carroll started the group after her husband, Brig. Gen. Tom Charles Carroll, died in a plane crash in 1992.

Since its founding, TAPS has stepped in to help survivors cope with grief and feelings of guilt — and seeks to prevent suicide with therapy and mental health treatments.

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Bonnie Carroll’s TAPS on ‘All Things Considered’ (2010)

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Bonnie Carroll’s TAPS on ‘All Things Considered’ (2010)


Shirley Chisholm

Rep. Shirley Chisholm, during her 1972 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

James Palmer/AP

Running behind the slogan “Unbought and Unbossed,” the New York Democrat won her first term in the House in 1968, becoming the first black woman elected to Congress. But she didn’t stop there: In 1972, Chisholm undertook a bid for the presidency. That campaign made her not only the first African-American woman, but the first African-American to run for a major-party presidential nomination in the U.S.

She lost her party’s nomination to Sen. George McGovern that year, but she continued to serve in Congress for another decade, during which she also became a founding member of the Congressional Women’s Caucus. Chisholm died in 2005.

Perhaps Chisholm described herself best when she told NPR’s Tavis Smiley, in 2003: “I was very outspoken, very articulate, and I wouldn’t take any guff from anybody.”

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Shirley Chisholm’s 1972 Presidential Candidacy Announcement, Rebroadcast On ‘Tell Me More’ (2008)

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Shirley Chisholm’s 1972 Presidential Candidacy Announcement, Rebroadcast On ‘Tell Me More’ (2008)


Emilio Estefan

Emilio Estefan, in Miami Beach, Fla., in February.

Sergi Alexander/Stringer/Getty Images

The multiple Grammy winner, who is married to fellow Medal of Freedom winner Gloria Estefan, built a music empire rooted in Miami. The founding member of the group Miami Sound Machine — which also featured Gloria — Estefan made his name as a producer and songwriter foremost. He also created his own label, Crescent Moon Studios.

“What Emilio Estefan has done in this country to promote Latin music is without dispute,” said Mauricio Abaroa, the executive vice president of the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, in 2000. “As a producer, as a composer, as a manager, he is one of the greatest ambassadors we have ever had.”

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Gloria Estefan

Gloria Estefan, during a performance in Washington, D.C., on Memorial Day this year.

Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Gloria Estefan rose to prominence at the head of Emilio Estefan’s band, the Miami Sound Machine. By the ’80s and ’90s, the singer was in the vanguard of the booming Latin music scene. Now, decades and dozens of albums later, Estefan is still performing and recording.

But at the start, Gloria Estefan told NPR’s Rachel Martin in 2013, it wasn’t so easy.

“They would say you’re too American for the Latins; you’re too Latin for the Americans; lose the drums; lose the percussion; change your name,” Estefan said. “And the fact that we had this fresh, different sound, and that we stuck to it, is the reason we had success. So, we were very happy that we were our own cheerleaders.”

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Gloria Estefan On ‘Weekend Edition’ (2013)

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Gloria Estefan On ‘Weekend Edition’ (2013)


Billy Frank Jr.

Billy Frank Jr. walks along the Nisqually River near Olympia, Wash., in 2005.

Ted S. Warren/AP

Born on a Nisqually reservation in Washington state, the Native American activist resisted state fishing regulations in the 1960s and early ’70s, arguing that the imposed laws violated 19th-century treaties signed between the U.S. and Native Americans. Frank was arrested numerous times, and his argument was eventually upheld by the Supreme Court in the mid-’70s.

In the decades after, he continued to help lead efforts for Native Americans’ rights and environmental conservation in the Pacific Northwest — efforts for which he was recognized with the Albert Schweitzer Award and the Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award for Humanitarian Achievement.

Frank died last year at the age of 83. At the time, The Seattle Times put together an interactive timeline of Frank’s life — including his efforts during the “salmon wars” in the ’60s and ’70s.

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Lee Hamilton

Rep. Lee Hamilton speaks during the release of a Bipartisan Policy Center report in Washington, D.C., in 2013.

Rep. Lee Hamilton speaks during the release of a Bipartisan Policy Center report in Washington, D.C., in 2013. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Hamilton spent decades in public service. First elected to Congress in 1964, the Indiana Democrat served in the House until 1999 — including a notable stint in the ’80s as chairman of the Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran, otherwise known as the Iran-Contra committee. After retiring, he kept going: Hamilton was vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Still, despite his decades in government as a widely respected voice in foreign policy, Hamilton told NPR’s Steve Inskeep in 2010 that one thing, especially, left an impression on him:

“I think that you come filled with ambition and drive and energy and wanting to accomplish great things, and you find the system is very hard to move, to make it work,” he said. “And I think what has impressed me over the years is the sheer complexity and difficulty of governing this country.”

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Lee Hamilton On ‘Morning Edition’ (2010)

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Lee Hamilton On ‘Morning Edition’ (2010)


Katherine G. Johnson

YouTube

A research mathematician for NASA in its earliest years, Johnson worked on projects such as calculations for interplanetary trajectories. Her calculations were behind the space flight of Alan Shepard — a first for America — and the Earth Resources Satellite.

“Early on, when they said they wanted [Shepard’s] capsule to come down at a certain place, they were trying to compute when it should start,” Johnson told NASA’s news service in 2008. “I said, ‘Let me do it. You tell me when you want it and where you want it to land, and I’ll do it backwards and tell you when to take off.’ That was my forte.”

Throughout her career with NASA, Johnson helped pave a path for African-American women in the space program. She is 97.

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Willie Mays

Willie Mays, on the field before a World Series game in San Francisco, in 2012.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Say Hey Kid was an outfielder for the New York and San Francisco Giants for more than two decades. The Hall of Famer’s feats on the baseball diamond — including one legendary catch in the 1954 World Series — provided ample fodder for photographers and plenty of entries in the record books.

Though some question whether he could have owned even more records if he hadn’t spent two years in the military during the middle of his career, Mays told NPR’s Bob Edwards in 2000 that he doesn’t have any regrets about it.

“I’m not a type of guy that look back and says, ‘Boy, if I had this, or if I could have did that, I would have been ahead of guys.’ I’m fine with what I have, you know,” Mays said.

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Willie Mays On ‘All Things Considered’ (2010)

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Willie Mays On ‘All Things Considered’ (2010)


Barbara Mikulski

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., speaks to the media in May 2015, in Baltimore.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

When Mikulski was elected to the Senate in 1986, she roared, “We elected a Democratic woman named Barbara and somebody named Mikulski, and the Senate won’t be the same from now on!”

It set the tone for the energetic Mikulski, who was the first Democratic woman to serve in both houses of Congress, the first woman to win a statewide senatorial election in Maryland — and, eventually, the longest-serving woman in Congress, before announcing her retirement earlier this year.

“I am a fighter,” she told NPR’s Renee Montagne in March. “And when you’re going to fight, you have to be specific. You have to be tenacious. You have to be insistent and persistent. And that’s what it takes to get the job done.”

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Barbara Mikulski On ‘Morning Edition’ (2015)

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Barbara Mikulski On ‘Morning Edition’ (2015)


Itzhak Perlman

Itzhak Perlman performs during the annual national Hanukkah menorah lighting ceremony on the White House Ellipse in 2010.

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Perlman has been playing the violin since he was 3 years old — which means, for those following along at home, that he’s been a violinist for more than 67 years. So Perlman, who was paralyzed by polio at an early age, has decades of material to delve into — including a performance at President Obama’s second inauguration and a stop by the set of Sesame Street.

“I always say that my goal is to not be bored by what I do,” Perlman told NPR’s Steve Inskeep this week. “The only way that I cannot be bored by what I do is if I play something and it’s all new to me.”

Happily, NPR’s Tom Huizenga put together a reel of Perlman’s many highlights — such as his first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show at the age of 13.

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Itzhak Perlman On ‘Morning Edition’ (2015)

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Itzhak Perlman On ‘Morning Edition’ (2015)


William Ruckelshaus

William Ruckelshaus, the first administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, poses for photos in 2009 at his office in Seattle.

Ted S. Warren/AP

Picked by President Nixon in 1970 to be the first head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Ruckelshaus steered the EPA through the passage of the Clean Water and Clean Air acts in the early ’70s. Later, as acting director of the FBI, Ruckelshaus refused an order from Nixon to fire the Watergate special prosecutor, choosing instead to resign in protest. He even returned to the EPA in the mid-’80s, at the request of President Reagan, to help guide the agency during a time of upheaval.

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Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim talks with Adam Gopnik during the New Yorker Festival in October 2014, in New York City.

Thos Robinson/Getty Images for The New Yorker

He held the pen behind Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. He had a hand in Gypsy and West Side Story. He’s won Grammys, Tonys, an Oscar and a Pulitzer. And he’s at it still, lending his advice and encouragement to the Broadway smash of the moment, Hamilton.

In between performances of his songs such as “Send in the Clowns,” Sondheim told Marian McPartland of Piano Jazz a lesson he learned along the way: “That’s the whole point, is to keep the listener surprised.”

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Stephen Sondheim On ‘Piano Jazz’ (2001)

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Stephen Sondheim On ‘Piano Jazz’ (2001)


Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg arrives for a screening of Bridge of Spies in Berlin on Nov. 13, 2015.

John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images

Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan — even if, by some fluke of fate, you haven’t heard of Steven Spielberg, you know his movies. The director and producer has won Academy Awards, founded a movie studio — and, remarkably, managed never to be interviewed on NPR’s airwaves.

So, I’ll just leave this to NPR’s Bob Mondello, who recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of Jaws, the film that he says “put Spielberg on the map.”

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NPR’s Bob Mondello On Spielberg’s ‘Jaws’ (2015)

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NPR’s Bob Mondello On Spielberg’s ‘Jaws’ (2015)


Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand speaks on stage during the Women in the World Summit held in New York City, in April 2015.

Andrew Toth/Getty Images

The acclaimed singer and star of Yentl and Funny Girl began her career as a performer at a nightclub in 1961. The headliner of Broadway hits has since won Oscars, a Tony and plenty of Grammys and Emmys. It’s been a long and eventful career, but as she told Fresh Air’s Terry Gross in 2012, Streisand is still wondering what comes next.

“You reach a certain age and you wonder, well, do I give it up? Do I retire? Or do I get more in before my time is up?” she asks. “I could just travel around the world. But then I think I’d get bored and I’d need to create. I need to be creative, and time is going so fast.”

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Barbra Streisand On ‘Fresh Air’ (2012)

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Barbra Streisand On ‘Fresh Air’ (2012)


James Taylor

James Taylor performs at the iHeartRadio Theater in June 2015, in New York City.

Cindy Ord/Stringer/Getty Images

Taylor released his first album in 1968, but it wasn’t until Sweet Baby James came out in 1970 that his popular success caught up with his critical acclaim. Since then, he’s put out more than a dozen albums and earned Grammys — but “Fire and Rain,” the single off that second album, remains one of his best-known works.

Back in 2000, Taylor broke down the song for NPR’s Noah Adams.

“It was a great relief. That song relieved a lot of sort of tension. There was things that I needed to get rid of or at least get out of me or get in front of me or at least have some other relationship than feeling them internally, either by telling somebody else or by just putting them out in a form in front of me so that I could say, ‘There they are’ — you know, externalizing it somehow.

“And that part was hard, having the feelings that needed to be
expressed in that way. But it was actually a relief, like a laugh or a sigh.”

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James Taylor On ‘World Cafe’ (2015)

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Minoru Yasui

Minoru Yasui – Citizen Min from mdgold33@yahoo.com on Vimeo.

At the height of World War II, the U.S. government forcibly placed more than 100,000 Americans of Japanese descent in internment camps and pursued other discriminatory policies such as race-based curfews — out of fear that the Japanese-American population could prove a threat.

Minoru Yasui, then a recent law school graduate, violated the curfew in order to get his case heard in court. “I walked these two or three or four times, as I recall that evening, trying to get arrested,” Yasui said — and finally, he had to walk down to the local police department to turn himself in.

That’s when his case began. As NPR’s Michel Martin reports:

“Ultimately, the case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where Yasui lost. Despite that, he continued to work on civil rights cases throughout his life on behalf of Native Americans, Latin Americans, wherever he found injustice. Minoru Yasui died in 1986, too soon to witness a victory he had sought for decades when the U.S. granted reparations to interned Japanese-American families in 1988.”

Now, a new recognition of his efforts will be handed down Tuesday — a reminder that it’s never too late to honor hard-fought victories.

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NPR’s Michel Martin On Minoru Yasui

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NPR’s Michel Martin On Minoru Yasui


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