I have always loved a great story set in the past. Give me a high-powered historical plot, and I will keep turning those pages until my eyes cross. Kings or consuls, functionaries or janissaries, it doesn't matter, only that it pounds onward to the conclusion — volcano explosion, battle or market crash. It's literary dessert, and I devour every bite.
In <em>The Connection</em>, Leach (Warren Finnerty, right) and his friends wait around for their heroin fix, which eventually comes courtesy of Cowboy (Carl Lee). The controversial film was shut down in New York after two screenings in 1962.
Credit Milestone Film
The set of <em>The Connection </em>with much of its cast. The film included a four-piece jazz band, assembled by pianist Freddie Redd, playing and soloing throughout.
Credit Richard Sylbert, Albert Brenner / Milestone Film
Shirley Clarke, the director of <em>The Connection</em>, had strong ties to New York's independent film scene. She lent John Cassavetes equipment for his first film.
Fifty years ago, a movie called The Connection opened in New York — then closed after two showings. Police shut down the theater and arrested the projectionist.
The movie is about drug addicts, and the language is sometimes frank — too frank for 1962 standards. The director was an independent pioneer named Shirley Clarke, whose movie has been restored and is back in theaters, soon to be followed by restorations of nearly all her work.
For most people, the start of World War II means German soldiers marching into Poland. Historian Antony Beevor begins and ends his new book, The Second World War with something different: the story of a German soldier who was actually Korean, was captured in Normandy, and wound up living in Illinois.
Fun. is in the middle of quite a run. For six weeks this spring, the band had the No. 1 song in the country with "We Are Young," an anthemic pledge of drunken solidarity that has appeared in countless commercials and TV shows, and dominated radio playlists and sales charts since March (it's still in the top five).
Forty years ago, President Richard Nixon signed Title IX, which said no person shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from any education program or activity. Vocational education courses that barred girls — such as auto mechanics, carpentry and plumbing — became available for everyone. But it's still hard to find girls in classes once viewed as "for boys only."
Zoe Shipley, 15, has a passion for cars and tinkering with engines.
"It's just kind of cool to learn how to fix a car or learn about it," she says.
There are more than 5,300 inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. Nearly 4,000 of them are serving life without parole. Last month, the Angola Prison Drama Club staged a play unlike any other in the prison's experience.
The Life of Jesus Christ featured 70 inmates, men and women acting together for the first time — in costume, with a real camel, performing for the general public. For the untrained actors, this production held special meaning as they saw pieces of their own lives revealed in the characters they played.
The United Nations is suspending its observer mission in Syria because of growing violence there. The official announcement came today from the head of the mission, General Robert Mood. The statement released from U.N. headquarters in Damascus cited rising violence over the past 10 days, and charged that both parties - the Syrian military and the armed rebels, known as the Free Syrian Army - are putting civilians lives at risk - and the lives of their monitors. NPR's Deborah Amos is in Damascus. Deborah, thanks for being with us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Barack Obama has announced a major change to immigration policy, one that he says could lift the shadow of deportation, as he called it, from hundreds of thousands of young people.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Aung San Suu Kyi has delivered a speech in Norway to formally accept the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize. The opposition leader of Myanmar, also known as Burma, was delayed giving that speech for 21 years because the country's then ruling military junta had put her under house arrest. In her speech, Aung San Suu Kyi urged the world not to forget prisoners of conscious who, unlike herself, are not free.
Street art by Bleeps.gr are allegories of the effects of the economic crisis on ordinary Greeks.
Credit Sylvia Poggioli / NPR
Graffiti in the rundown Athens neighborhood of Psiri depicts a woman clutching a sack of euros, a golden halo on her head and the title, "40 Years of Debt-ocracy." The street artist goes by the tag Bleeps.gr.
Debt-burdened Greeks go to the polls Sunday to choose between an establishment party, and continuing harsh austerity measures, or a leftist party that vows to replace the current bailout deal with less punishing conditions.
But many Greeks are aware that whatever the outcome, they face years of hardship in a rapidly unraveling society.
A recent TV news report on medicine shortages illustrated the anguish rippling through the country. The piercing screams of a woman in a pharmacy can be heard as she shouts, "Where am I going to find my medication?"