Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen film their sketch-comedy show Portlandia in the summer, when Armisen is on hiatus from Saturday Night Live. During the rest of the year, they communicate through constant text messages, says Armisen.
In one episode of Portlandia, Brownstein and Armisen started a grassroots campaign to prevent the Olympics from ever coming to Portland.
On Back to Love, Anthony Hamilton makes music from declarations. He tells a woman "I'm missing you crazy" in "Who's Loving You," and it's typical of his strategy. He states his thesis, his opinion, his desire in a voice that speaks as much as it sings for the sake of emphasis. After he's sure he's gotten his lover's attention, he begins doing his rhythm-and-blues work, mixing soul and blues and hip-hop phrasing to heighten the emotion in a song.
Most everyone's spirits are a bit deflated after the holidays. So, as a literary antidote, I recommend a just-published anthology called New York Diaries: 1609 – 2009. Editor Teresa Carpenter has collected four centuries worth of diary excerpts written by people, great and small, who've lived in or just passed through one of the greatest cities in the world.
Science writer Kitty Ferguson sits next to Stephen Hawking in this undated photograph. Ferguson is the author of several books about physics, including Stephen Hawking: Quest for a Theory of Everything and Black Holes in Spacetime.
Make a list of the world's most popular scientists, and Stephen Hawking's name will be near or at the very top of the list.
Hawking, the author of A Brief History of Time and a professor at the University of Cambridge, is known as much for his contributions to theoretical cosmology and quantum gravity as for his willingness to make science accessible for the general public, says science writer Kitty Ferguson.
"It's not dumbing down [science]; it's really making it accessible, hopefully, to a lot of people," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.