Susan Stamberg http://www.kplu.org en Japanese Tea Ritual Turned 15th Century 'Tupperware' Into Art http://www.kplu.org/post/japanese-tea-ritual-turned-15th-century-tupperware-art Eight hundred years ago, tea was rare in Japan. It arrived from China in simple, ceramic storage jars. Chinese ceramists churned these jars out with little care or attention; they stuffed tea leaves into them and shipped them off.<p>The jars were "the Chinese version of Tupperware," says <a href="https://www.princeton.edu/artandarchaeology/faculty/watsky/">Andrew Watsky</a>, a professor of Japanese art history at Princeton.<p>But once the workaday storage jugs reached Japan, they became objects of aesthetic contemplation and, often, reverence. Tue, 18 Mar 2014 17:33:52 +0000 Susan Stamberg 14986 at http://www.kplu.org Japanese Tea Ritual Turned 15th Century 'Tupperware' Into Art Keen Eyes, Uncanny Instincts Keep Films In Sharp Focus http://www.kplu.org/post/keen-eyes-uncanny-instincts-keep-films-sharp-focus You won't believe it — I didn't — but the person responsible for keeping each and every shot of a movie in focus never looks through a camera lens.<p>"No," says focus puller Baird Steptoe. "We do not look through the camera at all."<p>Steptoe has worked as a first assistant cameraman on films from <em>The Sixth Sense</em> to <em>Thor</em> to last year's <em>Grownups Two.</em> He says he's learned to judge distances — precise distances — with his naked eye alone.<p>"I mean, I can tell you roughly from you to me right now," he says. "I would say about 2-11."<p>Two feet 11 inches, that is. Fri, 28 Feb 2014 17:59:37 +0000 Susan Stamberg 14261 at http://www.kplu.org Keen Eyes, Uncanny Instincts Keep Films In Sharp Focus 'Clap!' On Set, The Signature Sound Of The Slate http://www.kplu.org/post/clap-set-signature-sound-slate More than the roar of the MGM lion, more than the 20th Century Fox fanfare, the iconic sound of moviemaking is the sharp clap of a slate — although film folks have a language of their own to describe it.<p>"Miki's hitting the sticks on this one," says assistant cameraman Larry Nielsen, pointing to <em>his </em>assistant.<p>Take after take, day after day, some Miki or other on a movie set "hits the sticks" — to synchronize the sound with the pictures. In the silent-film days, it wasn't an issue. Thu, 27 Feb 2014 17:29:08 +0000 Susan Stamberg 14202 at http://www.kplu.org 'Clap!' On Set, The Signature Sound Of The Slate Sid Caesar, Who Got Laughs Without Politics Or Putdowns, Dies At 91 http://www.kplu.org/post/sid-caesar-who-got-laughs-without-politics-or-putdowns-dies-91 Comedian Sid Caesar, one of early network TV's biggest stars, died Wednesday morning at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 91.<p>Caesar didn't do smut, putdowns or smarmy remarks. Instead, he did <em>skits:</em> grown-up, gentle comedy for the whole family.<p>In one skit, Caesar was the smarter-than-anyone German "professor." Carl Reiner played a movie executive with money problems. The professor's solution? Make a musical — and get the greatest composer in the world. He is shocked to discover that his top choice won't be available.<p><blockquote><p>"Beethoven, dead? Ludwig is gone. Thu, 13 Feb 2014 04:31:17 +0000 Susan Stamberg 13594 at http://www.kplu.org Sid Caesar, Who Got Laughs Without Politics Or Putdowns, Dies At 91 Thanksgivukkah: A Mash Of Two Holidays That's Easy To Relish http://www.kplu.org/post/thanksgivukkah-mash-two-holidays-thats-easy-relish It's that time of year again. Time for Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish. Every year since 1972, around Thanksgiving, I've shared my mother-in-law's famous cranberry relish recipe on the radio. It's appallingly pink, like Pepto Bismol — but it tastes terrific.<p>This year, I bring my relish recipe to Thanksgivukkah. Next week, Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah fall on the same day. It's a rare convergence.<p>How unusual is it? Well, the last time Thanksgiving and Hanukkah shared a start date was 125 years ago — and it won't happen again for another 76,000 or so years. Fri, 22 Nov 2013 17:25:51 +0000 Susan Stamberg 11232 at http://www.kplu.org Thanksgivukkah: A Mash Of Two Holidays That's Easy To Relish WWII 'Canteen Girl' Kept Troops Company From Afar http://www.kplu.org/post/wwii-canteen-girl-kept-troops-company-afar American service members have long spent holidays in dangerous places, far from family. These days, home is a video chat or Skype call away. But during World War II, packages, letters and radio programs bridged the lonely gaps. For 15 minutes every week, "Canteen Girl" Phyllis Jeanne Creore spoke and sang to the troops and their loved ones on NBC radio.<p>Her Christmas shows were morale boosters. America must "use more sentiment and less tinsel, and that's the way it should be," she told her listeners during one wartime Christmas broadcast. Tue, 18 Dec 2012 18:48:31 +0000 Susan Stamberg 7403 at http://www.kplu.org WWII 'Canteen Girl' Kept Troops Company From Afar Print-Inspired Art: All The News That's Fit To Paint http://www.kplu.org/post/print-inspired-art-all-news-thats-fit-paint The print newspaper industry may be struggling, but newsprint is alive and well on the walls of a new exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The show is called <a href="http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/shockinfo.shtm" target="_blank">"Shock of the News"</a> — and it examines a century's worth of interaction between artists and the journals of their day.<p>A 3-foot high, three-dimensional work in one gallery looks like geometric sculpture. The big white rectangle sits on the floor, squared off at the edges. Tue, 25 Sep 2012 14:14:06 +0000 Susan Stamberg 6453 at http://www.kplu.org Print-Inspired Art: All The News That's Fit To Paint