Weekend Edition Saturday

Saturday, 7a.m. - 9 a.m.

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. 

On Saturdays, host Scott 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.

Learn more about the program on their website.

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Movies
5:13 am
Sat April 28, 2012

A Creative Collaboration With A 'Darling Companion'

Beth (Diane Keaton) and her daughter (Elisabeth Moss) rescue an injured dog from the side of the highway. Beth's husband (Kevin Kline) later loses the beloved pet, an event co-writer Meg Kasdan says is inspired by a real-life incident.
Wilson Webb Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Sat April 28, 2012 11:22 am

Lawrence Kasdan became famous for writing the blockbusters The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark, but he went on to a successful directing career with high-profile films like Body Heat, The Big Chill and Grand Canyon.

His latest film, and his first in nine years, is Darling Companion, which Kasdan wrote with his wife, Meg. The film was her idea.

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Author Interviews
5:04 am
Sat April 28, 2012

'The Art Of The Sale': Life's A Pitch

iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat April 28, 2012 11:22 am

Salesmen are rarely heroic figures in American culture. They're often shown as slick, unscrupulous charlatans like Ricky Roma in David Mamet's play Glengarry Glen Ross. And then there are sad, defeated characters like Willy Loman in Death Of A Salesman, who shortly before taking his life says, "After all the highways, and the trains, and the appointments, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive."

Yet sales drive the economy. The cleverest invention or product will disappear — creating no income, no employment — unless someone can sell it.

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Movie Interviews
5:04 am
Sat April 28, 2012

Michelle Yeoh: Portraying An Icon In 'The Lady'

Michelle Yeoh plays pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi in The Lady. Yeoh says it was important that the film portrayed Suu Kyi's struggles realistically, including how her 15-year house arrest kept her from her husband and sons.
Cohen Media Group

Originally published on Sat April 28, 2012 11:22 am

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters at a recent film premiere that she'd told Aung San Suu Kyi that she was moving from being an icon to being a politician.

The film Clinton saw is The Lady, starring Michelle Yeoh as the pro-democracy activist who spent 15 years under house arrest in Myanmar (also known as Burma), and who won the Nobel Peace Prize before being freed in 2010.

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The Picture Show
5:03 am
Sat April 28, 2012

Taking Photo Exhibits To The Streets

Pedestrians in Philadelphia cross a street in view of a billboard with a photo by Zoe Strauss. Only a dozen years after first picking up a camera to chronicle her beloved hometown's overlooked people and places, Strauss was honored with a solo show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Matt Slocum AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:50 am

Zoe Strauss is not really a photographer. She sees herself primarily as an installation artist. About 12 years ago, someone gave her a camera for her birthday, and she used it for a project called Under I-95.

She would take photos in her South Philadelphia neighborhood and display them there, too — on concrete columns supporting an interstate overpass. She wanted her images to be outside, in an urban setting, at home.

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Monkey See
12:59 am
Sat April 28, 2012

Garry Marshall On His 'Happy Days'

Director Garry Marshall and sister, actress-director Penny Marshall, seen here in 2004 when she received her star on the Walk Of Fame.
Vince Bucci Getty Images

Originally published on Sat April 28, 2012 11:22 am

Director Garry Marshall has worked on so much popular comedy in his career — television like Happy Days and The Odd Couple, movies like Pretty Woman and Beaches — that something he's done has probably made you laugh. And now he's written a memoir called, fittingly, My Happy Days In Hollywood: A Memoir.

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Simon Says
9:19 am
Sat April 21, 2012

Prostitution's Real Casualties Aren't Secret Service

Six U.S. Secret Service agents have lost their jobs so far after a prostitution scandal that took place at the Hotel Caribe in Cartagena, Colombia, just before President Obama's arrival at the Summit of the Americas conference earlier this month.
Manuel Pedraza AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat April 21, 2012 9:46 am

I've been curious about a question I haven't heard in the stories about U.S. Secret Service agents misbehaving before President Obama's arrival at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia.

Why were world leaders meeting in a place with legalized prostitution?

There might have been a time — after I saw Toulouse-Lautrec's poignant paintings of life in Paris brothels, or Billy Wilder's clever Irma la Douce — when I thought of prostitution as a harmless enterprise between consenting adults.

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NPR Story
6:41 am
Sat April 21, 2012

Nazi Past Has French Town Wary Of Far-Right Politics

Originally published on Sat April 21, 2012 9:46 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Voters go to the polls tomorrow in France to cast ballots in the first round of their presidential election. President Nicolas Sarkozy still trails his socialist opponent Francois Hollande. Mr. Sarkozy has tried to close that gap by appealing to voters on the right. Much of the French campaign this time around focused on right-wing issues like crime, security and immigration.

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley visited a town in France that is still haunted by ghosts of its far-right past, to see what people think about that.

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NPR Story
6:41 am
Sat April 21, 2012

Sports: Who's Starting Baseball Season Well

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 12:31 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Let me hang up the phone now. Time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Baseball's fast starts - some teams founder early and the anniversary of the Big Green Monster. Errrrr. Howard Bryant joins us, senior writer for ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine; joins us from New England Public Radio in Amherst, Massachusetts. Howard, thanks for being with us.

HOWARD BRYANT: Hey, Scott. How are you?

SIMON: Fine, thanks.

BRYANT: So, who's off to a good start and who hasn't had a good time at all?

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NPR Story
6:41 am
Sat April 21, 2012

A Clarification: No First-Class Flying Here

Originally published on Sat April 21, 2012 9:46 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A small clarification now: A few weeks ago on this program, Tom Goldman told us that he was about to catch a flight to Denver to cover the NCAA Women's Basketball championships. I joked: By the way, United Airlines, if you're listening, please upgrade Mr. Goldman - our compliments.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: I'm already first-class.

SIMON: In all ways, my friend.

GOLDMAN: Oops, did I say that?

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Theater
5:25 am
Sat April 21, 2012

Blair Underwood On Stanley, Stella And 'Streetcar'

Stanley (Blair Underwood) and his sister-in-law, Blanche DuBois (Nicole Ari Parker), spar while Stanley's wife, Stella (Daphne Rubin-Vega), sits outside.
Ken Howard

Originally published on Sat April 21, 2012 9:46 am

There's a lot of juicy material for an actor in Tennessee Williams' landmark drama A Streetcar Named Desire. Sex, booze, class, betrayal — all set in the seething French Quarter of 1940s New Orleans.

A new Broadway revival has added another set of layers to the play: The multiracial production stars Blair Underwood in one of the most iconic roles in American theater — Stanley Kowalski.

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Author Interviews
5:25 am
Sat April 21, 2012

'Steinbeck In Vietnam': A Great Writer's Last Reports

Originally published on Sat April 21, 2012 9:46 am

The last piece of published writing from one of America's greatest writers was a series of letters he sent back from the front lines of war at the age of 64.

John Steinbeck's reports shocked readers and family so much that they've never been reprinted — until now.

Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962 for a life's work writing about those who had been roughed up by history — most notably his Depression-era novels, Of Mice And Men and The Grapes of Wrath. Four years later, Steinbeck left for Vietnam to cover the war firsthand.

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NPR Story
10:15 am
Sat April 14, 2012

A Political Tempest In A Tweetpot

Originally published on Sat April 14, 2012 10:25 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat April 14, 2012

Spring Playoffs In Sports

Originally published on Sat April 14, 2012 10:25 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Time now for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPORTS THEME MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: Its spring and its playoffs, the march to the Stanley Cup is under way in hockey. NBA teams are still jostling for spots in their post-season.

Joining us to sort it all out is NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman.

Hey, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hello.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat April 14, 2012

'The Lifeboat': Who Gets Saved In Titanic Times?

Originally published on Sat April 14, 2012 10:25 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Now, a piece of fiction inspired by the Titanic's fateful voyage. In the weeks leading up to the anniversary of the famous shipwreck, a cluster of books have been released looking back on the voyage. But the book that caught the eye of NPR's Lynn Neary is invented. It's the story of a fictional shipwreck that occurred two years after the Titanic. It's called "Lifeboat." Here's her report.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat April 14, 2012

Romney Talks Freedom At NRA Conference

Originally published on Sat April 14, 2012 10:25 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Scott Simon is away. I'm Linda Wertheimer. After a long, turbulent primary season, Mitt Romney is now fully in general election mode. With Rick Santorum out of the race, Romney is trying to clarify the differences between himself and President Obama. He's also trying to nail down his support from the Republican base. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports from St. Louis on Romney's speech yesterday, to the annual convention of the National Rifle Association.

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The Record
7:00 am
Sat April 14, 2012

Indian Record Label Hits The Road To Save Traditional Music

Sakar Khan with his kamancha in his home in Hamira, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. He's passed his favorite kamancha — the one he got from his father — to his son, Darra. But this one plays just fine, if he's the guy playing it.
Michael Sullivan NPR

Originally published on Sat April 14, 2012 3:24 pm

The number of major record labels is down to three. But that's not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to promoting music that's out of the mainstream. A label called Amarrass Records, founded in the Indian state of Rajasthan, is dedicated to exposing and preserving indigenous folk music before it disappears.

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Books
5:02 am
Sat April 14, 2012

'Prague Fatale': 'Downton Abbey With SS'

Penguin USA

Philip Kerr is a British novelist, born a decade after the end of World War II, who has written a series of compelling thrillers about crime in wartime Nazi Germany. His hero — mostly a hero — is a tough and cynical Berliner, a cop named Bernie Gunther. The newest book is the eighth in the series; it's called Prague Fatale.

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Author Interviews
5:01 am
Sat April 14, 2012

'Heretics': The Crisis Of American Christianity

iStock Photo

The United States ranks as the most religious country in the developed world. And New York Times columnist Ross Douthat says that despite our politics, debates and doubts, this country is as God-besotted today as ever.

But in his new book, Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, Douthat argues that religion has fallen into heresy (hence the feisty subtitle). Douthat recently spoke with NPR's Linda Wertheimer about why he thinks American Christianity has become distorted.


Interview Highlights

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Titanic: Voyage To The Past
5:01 am
Sat April 14, 2012

History Lost And Found: A Letter From Titanic

Surviving officers of the Titanic recalled ship's doctor John Edward Simpson as perfectly calm in the face of death, even giving his pocket flashlight to one of the lifeboat captains.
Courtesy of Kate Dornan

Originally published on Sat April 14, 2012 1:36 pm

Many famous names went down with the Titanic, like the American millionaire John Jacob Astor IV, the wealthiest person on the ship, and Macy's department store owner Isidor Straus.

But you may not know about one of the ship's doctors — John Edward Simpson. Aboard the Titanic, Simpson wrote a letter to his mother back home in Belfast. It was mailed from the great ship's last port of call before it made its disastrous turn across the North Atlantic.

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Monkey See
11:01 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

The Fourth Stooge: Memories Of 'Uncle Shemp'

Originally published on Mon April 16, 2012 9:02 am

This weekend, the Farrelly Brothers' version of The Three Stooges arrives in theaters. You'll see plenty of Larry, Moe and Curly. But who won't you see? Shemp. Or, as NPR's Sue Goodwin calls him, "Uncle Shemp."

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Music Interviews
4:04 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

The Magnetic Fields: 'Out Late At A Bar, Writing A Song'

Stephin Merritt (far left) has led The Magnetic Fields since the early 1990s, with a songwriting style that ranges from sincere to bitter to ironic.
Marcelo Krasilcic

For more than 20 years, the indie-pop group The Magnetic Fields has been singing songs about love, though not always in the traditional sense. With a style that ranges from bitter to sincere to ironic, Stephin Merritt — the group's frontman, writer and producer — has created a growing cast of characters surviving love's vicissitudes.

In his characteristic deadpan, Merritt tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer that he owes the inspiration for many of those characters to a particular ritual of his.

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Simon Says
7:43 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Bosnia Remembers When The World Looked Away

Red chairs fill a main street in Sarajevo on Friday as the city marks the 20th anniversary of the start of the Bosnian war. Officials lined up 11,541 chairs in 825 rows to represent the 11,541 Sarajevans who were killed during the siege.
Amel Emric AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:53 am

I think that one of the great works of humankind runs below an airport runway in Sarajevo.

Sixty-six feet of a 3,000-foot-long tunnel built during the Siege of Sarajevo have been restored. Twenty years ago this weekend, the city was surrounded by Serb armies, who rained down mortar, rockets and sniper fire.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Unemployment Fell, But More Ended Job Hunt

Just when it seemed to be gaining steam, the U.S. job market pretty much stalled in March. Employers added a net 120,000 jobs during the month, defying the higher expectations of a lot of economists. And though the unemployment rate fell, it did so for the wrong reasons.

Over the past few months, the economy has been adding jobs at a good, if not spectacular, pace, and all the signs suggested that trend had continued through March. As it happened, jobs increased at a rate that barely keeps up with population growth.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Obama Makes A Pitch To Working Women

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A weaker than expected jobs report is a setback for President Obama as the election nears. The president says that while private employers have added some four million jobs over the last two years, economic security remains elusive. The president spoke yesterday at a White House conference on women in the economy, and as NPR's Scott Horsley reports, voters who are women may be the key to the president's political future.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Congressional Races, Strategies Take Shape

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 11:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The race for the Republican presidential nomination has hit a lull. The next group of primaries isn't for more than two weeks, so it might be a good time to look around at another campaign for control of the U.S. House of Representatives. After all, they control the federal budget. Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute devotes his attention to Congress year round, and he joins us from their studios. Thanks very much for being with us, Norm.

NORMAN ORNSTEIN: Oh, my pleasure.

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From Our Listeners
7:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Your Letters: Racial Terms And Baseball Legends

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for your letters.

(SOUNDBITE OF LETTERS THEME MUSIC)

SIMON: A particular phrase we used in last week's coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting prompted many listener comments. In our profile of Angela Corey, the Florida state attorney directing Florida's investigation into the circumstances surrounding Martin's death, we described George Zimmerman the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin in February as a white Latino.

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Religion
7:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

The 'Heart Of Spiritual Life': Joy, Not Happiness

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Tomorrow, Christians all over the world will observe Easter Sunday with joy. But what is joy? Not just happiness, laughs, or satisfaction, but joy? We turn to Father James Martin. He's a Jesuit priest, a contributing editor to America Magazine, and the author of "Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter Are at the Heart of Spiritual Life." He joins us from our studios in New York.

Jim, thanks for being with us.

FATHER JAMES MARTIN: My pleasure.

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Music Interviews
3:59 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Rascal Flatts: 'Rekindling The Fire' Of Its Country Roots

Rascal Flatts is one of the most popular country groups of the last decade.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 11:16 am

Rascal Flatts is one of the most successful country crossover acts of the past decade. The award-winning trio has released eight studio records in 10 years and sold more than 21 million albums.

So why did the group recently consider breaking up?

"We had reached a crossroads to where we needed to dig deep to see if we, in fact, had the fire and hunger that we did when we first started out — to keep trying to forge ahead and be better than we'd been and push ourselves to be creatively energized again," bass player Jay DeMarcus says.

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Simon Says
8:26 am
Sat March 31, 2012

Beef, Tarantula And Gout: Food Critics Suffer, Too

Food professionals will tell you: Eating asks a lot of your body.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat March 31, 2012 1:26 pm

Burp!

'Scuse me, but is someone trying to kill off food critics?

What about themselves?

Frank Bruni, the former restaurant critic of The New York Times, now an op-ed columnist, has revealed that he has gout.

Gout is a painful inflammation of the joints that's been called the King's Disease because it's historically associated with the kind of gluttony only kings could afford: profuse servings of beef, lobster, goose liver and strong drink.

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Monkey See
11:01 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Snow White Rising: Why This Princess, And Why This Moment?

Lily Collins plays Snow White in Mirror Mirror opposite Julia Roberts as the vain Queen jealous of Snow's beauty.
Jan Thijs Relativity Media

Originally published on Tue April 3, 2012 1:44 pm

Snow White is having a moment.

The new movie Mirror Mirror stars Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen. In June, another Snow White movie opens starring another Oscar winner, Charlize Theron, in the same role. And Disney is working on a new animated film loosely based on Snow White set in 19th-century China. So what makes Snow White so right for right now?

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