For 25 years, the London synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys have done one thing better than any other duo in the UK: sell records.
In fact, they've sold 50 million records worldwide since Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe met at an electronics shop in 1981.
Many people were reminded of the Pet Shop Boys when they helped close out the 2012 Olympic Games in London with their biggest hit, "West End Girls." The duo, however, continues to make new music and has just released their 11th studio album, Elysium.
Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 9:34 am
If you grew up in a bilingual Hispanic household, listening to the Democratic and Republican conventions may have sounded a lot like home.
It's no coincidence that both parties highlighted politicians like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro.
Rubio, whose parents are from Cuba, introduced Mitt Romney at the Republican convention; Castro, whose grandmother immigrated from Mexico, became the first Latino to give the Democrats' keynote address.
This summer we've brought you musical postcards of street performers from around the country. Our "Music Alfresco" series takes us to our last stop: Berkeley, Calif., where we meet guitarist Phillip Rosheger.
We're joined now by NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Good morning, Mara.
MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Good morning, Linda.
WERTHEIMER: So, Mara, as we heard, President Obama and Mitt Romney are back on the road again, their conventions behind them. According to national polls, it looks like the Democrats got some momentum from their time in Charlotte.
A marathon around the city of London wraps up the 2012 Paralympics Games today. They're the biggest, best-attended games in the history of the event, which began as an exhibition of World War II veterans, also in London, at the 1948 Olympics. Veterans from recent wars are returning to the competition now to find a very competitive tournament, and one in which the United States seems to be playing catch-up.
NPR's Quil Lawrence has attended the games. He joins us now from outside London. Quil, welcome.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
Just under two months to go before Election Day. The national conventions are over. We're weeks away from debates. And while Democrats and Republicans try to win the White House, they are also locked in a battle for control of Congress. Republicans made historic gains in the House in 2010. And while the GOP didn't quite get a majority in the Senate, they had great expectations of this year because the numbers are in their favor.
Over the last month, WEEKEND EDITION has been talking to top economists about jobs, growth, debt and taxes. But we also ask them a broader question: What is the one big idea in economics that's really caught your attention lately?
NOURIEL ROUBINI: Ideally, I would like the economists to become boring again.
If you're one of those people who covet the latest, greatest thing (assuming you can afford it), life's been pretty tough for you lately. The announcements of new handheld electronic gadgets — and rumors of those to come (Apple fans are standing by) — have come so rapidly that it's been hard to keep up with them all.
Twenty-five thousand Chicago teachers are planning to walk off the job Monday if they don't have a contract by midnight Sunday. As the Democrats look to unions to help them get out the vote, a strike by Chicago teachers might just put a crimp in those plans.
On Friday during rush hour, a handful of parents and students stood on a bridge over the Eisenhower Expressway, holding signs that read, "Honk if you support teachers." Among them is Rhoda Gutierrez, who has two children in a Chicago public elementary school.
Credit Olek / Courtesy Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York, N.Y.
Knitting Is for Pus**** is a work by crochet sculptor Olek. He has created an entire apartment blanketed in brightly colored, crocheted camouflage.
Credit Smithsonian American Art Museum
Cat Mazza's Knit for Defense is a nine-minute, black-and-white video made from footage of 20th century conflicts. The war footage is rendered with software that makes each pixel look like a knitted stitch. "For me, 9/11 made a huge impact and had an impact on this piece as well," she says.
Credit Gene Young / Smithsonian American Art Museum
Green Balance is a 2011 work by Erik Demaine and his father, Martin Demaine. As a scientist, Erik Demaine says he works to "explore curved creased folding from both a mathematical and an artistic perspective."
Credit Smithsonian American Art Museum
Anna Von Mertens made a series of quilts depicting what the night sky looked like if you looked up during a moment of terrible violence in American history. Above, 2:45 a.m. Until Sunrise on Tet, the Lunar New Year, January 31, 1968, U.S. Embassy, Saigon, Vietnam (Looking North).
When museum curator Nicholas Bell was putting together the show Craft Futures: 40 Under 40 at the Smithsonian Institution's Renwick Gallery, he realized the artists had something in common besides their under-40 status. Because of their youth, he felt that each of them could be classified as "post 9/11" artists.
"Their worldview is defined by the angst, the unease, the trepidation of the difficulties of the 21st century," he says.
For decades, Veterans of Foreign Wars posts have played vital roles in small towns throughout America. But in recent years, as World War II veterans have passed away, membership in VFWs has fallen drastically, and many posts have closed. Now, though, some are facing a possible renaissance, thanks to female soldiers returning from overseas.
The main room of the VFW post in Rosemount, Minn., is half-bar and half-bingo hall, with long card tables. In a corner, two men on a stage rotate a round cage of balls and call out bingo numbers.
U.S. House candidate Richard Tisei is openly gay. He's also openly Republican.
"You know what, in Massachusetts, it's a lot easier to be gay than be a Republican," he says, "as far as trying to get elected to office."
But Tisei could make political history for the Massachusetts GOP. Not just because they could win their first U.S. House seat in 15 years, but also because Tisei would be the first openly gay Republican to be elected to a term in Congress.
In the 1960s, Lynn Povich worked at Newsweek — where she became part of a revolution.
"At Newsweek, women were hired on the mail desk to deliver mail, then to clip newspapers, and, if they were lucky, became researchers or fact checkers," Povich tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer, whom she knows personally. "All of the writers and reporters were men, and everyone accepted it as that was the way the world was — until we didn't."
The eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been ravaged by rebel groups for years. A new faction, the March 23 Movement, or M23, already controls a large area, and there are fears this could ignite another war. Here M23 fighters go out on a patrol.
Credit Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin for NPR
A Congolese man who fled eastern Congo for shelter at a Ugandan refugee camp lugged his sewing machine with him. U.N. officials say tens of thousands have fled for Uganda and Rwanda in recent months.
Credit Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin for NPR
Boys pile into a movie theater that shows Jackie Chan-style action films dubbed in Swahili, in the town of Rutshuru, eastern Congo. The theater offers a brief respite from tensions outside.
For years, armed militias have been stalking the lush forests in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, committing all sorts of atrocities against villagers. And now one of the most war-ravaged countries in the world has another looming problem: an emerging rebel group.
"A notorious group of human rights violators" is how the U.N. human rights commissioner describes the group, known as the March 23 Movement, or M23.
Though not the capital, Istanbul is the cultural, economic and financial heart of Turkey. Situated on the Bosporus strait, this metropolis spans Europe and Asia — and has a storied history as a gathering place for spies.
Harold "Kim" Philby (shown here in 1955), the infamous double agent who spied on Britain for the Soviets, is one of many spies who prowled Istanbul.
Credit Ahmet Baran / AP
British writer Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond spy thrillers, visits the set of the film From Russia, with Love in Istanbul on June 23, 1963.
For more than a decade, The Raveonettes' members have been making albums filled with fuzz-guitar feedback and tight girl-group harmonies. The duo's latest album, Observator, takes on a different sound, thanks in part to its embrace of a new instrument.
On-air challenge: You are given sentences with two blanks. Put a word starting with R in the first blank. Then move that R to the end to make a new word that goes in the second blank to complete the sentence. For example, given the sentence, "The door of the Indian ___ was left slightly ___," the answers would be "raja" and "ajar."
In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama won nearly all the African-American vote. And this year, a recent poll found that less than 1 percent of black voters will back Mitt Romney. But in Ohio, as NPR's Allison Keyes found out, some black voters are agonizing over whether to vote in November at all.
A suicide bomber has blown himself up near NATO headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. There are conflicting reports, but The Associated Press cites the police, saying at least six people were killed. The International Security Assistance Force, the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan, says on Twitter that there have been no reports of ISAF casualties.
Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 2:10 pm
The State Department is deploying a new, elite force onto the precarious stage of international diplomacy. More than 80 top chefs from across the nation were inducted into the first-ever American Chef Corps on Friday.
As the NFL's regular season gets under way this weekend, one player is adding another year to an already record-setting career. At 42, Detroit Lions place kicker Jason Hanson is the oldest active player in the NFL.
And despite playing a notoriously tenuous position, Hanson has also been with one team longer than anyone in the history of the league — no small feat in an industry where players often switch teams in search of a bigger paycheck or where a missed kick can cost you your career.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
(SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL AD)
MITT ROMNEY: In the last four years, we've seen that promise fade away. Hispanics are hurting.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: But Mitt Romney would break that promise, replace your benefits with a voucher.
RAZ: Some of the latest political ads coming out of the Romney and Obama campaigns. James Fallows of The Atlantic joins me now, as he does most Saturdays, for a look behind the headlines. Jim, welcome.
For many people, the definitive soundtrack of the mid-1990s was a band out of Virginia with unusual instrumentation and an unmistakable sound. Born and partially raised in South Africa, Dave Matthews was a bartender in the college town of Charlottesville when he founded the Dave Matthews Band in 1991. Two decades on, the group has sold 40 million records and become one of the biggest live acts in the world.
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:
Originally published on Sat September 8, 2012 12:11 pm
Now that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is in charge of raising really big dollars for a superPAC that supports President Obama, wealthy Democrats all over the country may be eyeing their phones nervously.
Emanuel, the former Obama White House chief of staff, is known for not taking no for an answer and for aggressively going after what he wants.
Indeed, he's a ferocious fundraiser who gets to the point, often throwing in an epithet or two for emphasis, just the sort of rainmaker needed by Priorities USA Action, the pro-Obama superPAC that desperately needs cash.