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Around the Nation
6:11 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

A Century-Old Grotto That Might Out-Glitter Vegas

Father Paul Dobberstein began building the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, Iowa, 100 years ago. It's covered with stones, rocks, petrified wood and seashells.
Denise Krebs via Flickr

The Midwest is known for its roadside attractions — world's largest ear of corn, heaviest ball of twine, biggest truck stop.

But it's also home to one of the largest collections of grottoes in the world. Most of these man-made caves were created by immigrant priests at the beginning of the 20th century. And the mother of them all — encrusted in $6 million worth of semiprecious stones — is in West Bend, Iowa.

This weekend, the Grotto of the Redemption turns 100.

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Movie Interviews
5:11 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

Digital Domain Grapples With Fur, Feathers

Gesundheit: Kichaa is the name of one of the animated characters causing consternation among the animators at Digital Domain. He's featured in the upcoming film The Legend of Tembo.
Digital Domain

Originally published on Mon June 25, 2012 5:42 pm

You may not have heard of the special-effects studio Digital Domain, but you've probably seen their work. They sank the Titanic for James Cameron; they aged Brad Pitt backward in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Most recently, their virtual likeness of the late Tupac Shakur performed in concert.

Having worked those wonders, they're tackling thornier challenges: fur and feathers.

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Politics
4:57 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

Candidate Accidentally Uploads Four Reaction Videos

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 6:11 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Call it being prepared. Call it a blunder. Whatever you call it, a dirty little campaign secret is out. Politicians sometimes pre-tape supposedly instant responses.

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NPR Story
4:38 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

Week In Politics: Immigration Reform, Calif. Budget

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 6:14 pm

Melissa Block speaks with political commentators Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Center of Public Affairs at California State University in Los Angeles, and Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California. They discuss the past week in politics from a West Coast perspective, including President Obama and Mitt Romney's appeals this week to Latino voters.

NPR Story
4:38 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

More Than 20 Die In Taliban Attack On Afghan Resort

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 10:26 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In Afghanistan late last night, Taliban militants attacked a popular resort area near Kabul, where families gather on weekends.

(SOUNDBITE OF GUNFIRE)

SIEGEL: The militants battled Afghan security forces for hours. More than 20 people died, as NPR's Sean Carberry reports.

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Art & Design
3:54 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

A Trailblazing Black Architect Who Helped Shape L.A.

The Degnan residence was built as a weekend retreat in La Canada Flintridge — a Los Angeles suburb reachable by freeway in 40 minutes (in light traffic) today, but that took a couple of hours' drive in 1927, before major freeway construction began in Southern California. This Spanish Colonial Revival home was Williams' first commission as an independent practitioner.
Copyright Benny Chan

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 8:37 pm

Paul Revere Williams began designing homes and commercial buildings in the early 1920s. By the time he died in 1980, he had created some 2,500 buildings, most of them in and around Los Angeles, but also around the globe. And he did it as a pioneer: Paul Williams was African-American. He was the first black architect to become a member of the American Institute of Architects in 1923, and in 1957 he was inducted as the AIA's first black fellow.

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The Record
3:35 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

Richard Adler, Broadway Composer And Lyricist, Dies

Celebrated composer and lyricist Richard Adler has died at the age of 90.
Bob Gomel Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 6:11 pm

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Music Interviews
2:39 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

Take A Trip To Downtown L.A. With La Santa Cecilia

Singer Marisol Hernandez (center) takes listeners from her grandfather's burro cart to La Santa Cecilia's Latin Grammy Award, on Olvera Street in Los Angeles.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 6:50 pm

Named for the patron saint of musicians, La Santa Cecilia has deep roots in the immigrant community of Los Angeles. Yet the band's six members draw inspiration not only from their rich heritage, but also from their everyday lives growing up embedded in American culture.

During a short, recent trip to historic Olvera Street in downtown L.A. — "It's a little street with little shops resembling any town in Mexico or Latin America" — singer Marisol Hernandez describes the hopes and dreams the city represents.

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Education
5:40 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Kids Get Hands-On With Science In A 'Dream Garage'

Community Science Workshops give low-income kids around California opportunities to learn about science firsthand — from holding spiders to building robots.
Amy Standen for NPR

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 9:09 am

Many kids who grow up in big cities have lots of opportunities to experience science hands-on. There are zoos, museums, planetariums and school field trips.

But those amenities are sometimes out of reach for lower-income children. And in some rural areas, those opportunities simply don't exist at all.

In California — as in many states — public school science programs have faced deep budget cuts. Many kids have been left behind.

Dan Sudran has taken it upon himself to help close the gap.

Instilling A Love Of Science, Early On

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Pop Culture
5:19 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Branding 'Brave': The Cultural Capital Of Princesses

In Brave, the character of Merida is a skilled archer and sword fighter who rebels against what is expected of her as a princess.
Disney/Pixar

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 1:42 pm

For little girls, princesses hold roughly the same value that tulips did for the Dutch back in the 1500s, and that princess mania is sure to get a boost with the new Pixar movie Brave, which stars a Scottish princess named Merida.

For a keyhole glimpse into the pink and glittery world of pre-K princess culture, consider the scene at a recent princess-themed birthday party in a suburb of Washington, D.C.

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