Pope Francis began his papacy in March. In his first year as pope, columnist James Carroll says, Francis has put unprecedented focus on "the dilemma of the vast majority of human beings who simply don't have enough to live decently."
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Pilgrims and residents gather on Copacabana beach before the arrival of Pope Francis for World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in July.
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Pope Francis blesses a child during the weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican in October.
"Who am I to judge?" With those five words, Pope Francis "stepped away from the disapproving tone, the explicit moralizing typical of popes and bishops," writes columnist James Carroll. Francis made that statement in July, in response to a reporter's question about the status of gay priests in the Church.
When Michele Rosewoman was growing up in the Bay Area, she played piano from childhood and congas from her teens. After moving to New York in the late 1970s, she began making music in two areas: modern jazz and traditional Cuban music. Before long, she started combining the two in her New Yor-Uba band.
Joel (left) and Ethan Coen wrote and directed <em>Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou?, No Country for Old Men</em>, <em>A Serious Man</em> and <em>True Grit.</em> Their latest film is<em> Inside Llewyn Davis.</em>
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An orange tabby cat co-stars alongside Oscar Isaac in the Coen brothers' <em>Inside Llewyn Davis. </em>"The whole exercise of shooting a cat is pretty nightmarish because they don't care about anything," Ethan Coen says.
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Jeff Bridges (from left), John Goodman and Steve Buscemi starred in the Coen brothers' 1998 film <em>The Big Lebowski. </em>It didn't do particularly well in the theaters, but on the home movie market,<em> </em>"it became some sort of cult thing," says Joel Coen. "How do you explain that? I have no idea."
If you ask the Coen brothers about how they write their films, you might not get a straight answer. "It's mostly napping," Ethan tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
"We go to the office, we're there, we're in a room together," Joel adds. "We take naps, but, you know, the important thing is that we're at the office, should we be inspired to actually write something."
The brothers don't split up writing responsibilities — they "talk through" the dialogue and "work it out together," Joel explains.
A half-century on, La La Brooks still sings about boys and girls falling in love. At an age when other veterans of first-generation rock movements are thinking about retirement or oldies tours, Brooks has come up with a fresh, energetic collection that doesn't deny her past, but also refuses to succumb to mere nostalgia.
For decades, Jimmy Amadie played solely in his home, heard only by his students when he'd play for them during lessons. His performing career was derailed because of severe hand problems. But later in life, he achieved some fame for his albums — and for the story of what he'd had to overcome to make it possible for him to record. Amadie died of lung cancer on Dec. 10. He was 76.
This is FRESH AIR. With so much contention in air around holiday get-togethers, jazz critic Ken Whitehead wonders if music might help bring together folks with opposing views. He has some listening and viewing recommendations for seasonal dinners.
"I have a host of memories which I see very clearly," actor Peter O'Toole told Fresh Air's Terry Gross in 1993. "And though I'm very aware of the tricks of memory, I'm also aware of the concrete nature of these brilliantly lit pictures in my mind. They're ineradicable."
O'Toole, who died Saturday at the age of 81, was instrumental in making many "brilliantly lit pictures" for movie lovers during his decades-spanning career. Nominated for eight Oscars, the tall, blond, blue-eyed actor captivated audiences, on-screen and onstage.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
2013 marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of lyricist Sammy Cahn, who was born Samuel Cohen, on the Lower East Side of New York City, on June 18, 1913. We didn't want the year to end without celebrating this centennial.
Cahn had his most successful and enduring partnerships with composers Saul Chaplin, Jule Styne and Jimmy Van Heusen. Several of his songs were written for Frank Sinatra. Cahn died in 1993, at the age of 79.