In 1977, nearly 30 years after Andrew Wyeth's most famous painting "Christina's World" was created, critic Robert Rosenblum was asked to name the most overrated and most underrated artists. He put Wyeth in both categories.

"Robert Rosenblum's comment is accurate to a degree but also simplistic," says Michael Komanecki, chief curator at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine. He's often asked to weigh in on Wyeth. "Andy has been described to me as, 'Oh, the critics treat him so badly.' Well, it's not at all true — he enjoyed a tremendous critical reputation for decades."

'The Nutcracker' With An Alaskan Twist

Dec 23, 2017

When Melinda McAdams moved to the fishing community of Sitka, Alaska, in 1993, no one in town knew how to dance on pointe shoes. Now, generations of dancers are up on their toes and every few years, they take the Tchaikovsky classic — The Nutcracker — and give it a rural Alaskan twist.

This two-act ballet begins when a girl named Marie (Clara in many productions) is gifted a wooden doll at a Christmas party. After the clock strikes midnight, the Nutcracker, played by 18-year-old Kincaid Parsons, comes to life.

There's a big, green, tinsel warning label across the cover of Martha Brockenbrough's new book, Love, Santa, illustrated by Lee White. It reads: "The beautiful truth about Santa."

Brockenbrough's book is written as a series of letters between her and her daughter, Lucy, who begins to write Santa Claus when she's 7 years old.

"Dear Santa, how do you get down all the chimneys?" Lucy writes in the book. "What happens when people live in homes without fireplaces? Why does your handwriting look like my mom's?"

As an Indian-American, I don't immediately associate Bollywood films with food — mostly because the characters in many Bollywood movies are too concerned with dance numbers and melodrama to be bothered by what's for dinner. So, when I came across the new cookbook Bollywood Kitchen, I feared it might have been written by someone who knew nothing about Indian culture and only a bit about Bollywood, "curry" and naan.

Just Trust Me: In Praise Of Strange Books

Dec 23, 2017

As a fantasy author, most people assume that fantasy is what I prefer to read. And sometimes it is ... but if you ask me about my favorite kind of books, I'm as likely to reply "magical assassins suffering existential crises" or "toxic relationships among time-travelers" as I am "science fiction and fantasy."

All right, so you could get in the Christmas spirit by telling the same old tale about a jolly old man who slides down the chimneys and rewards well-behaved kids with mountains of toys.

Some people hold fast to their Christmas traditions, and there is nothing wrong with that. But think how magical it can be to revamp Christmas stories to better reflect the time and country that we live in.

'Molly's Game' Is Aces

Dec 23, 2017

Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) is a fighter.

When a freak accident on the slopes sidelines her bid to become an Olympic skier — an accident from which she insists upon walking away — she moves to Los Angeles and gets a job as a cocktail waitress.

Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton all spent Christmas at Camp David. George W. Bush celebrated the holiday there a dozen times — four times when his father was president and eight more during his own time in office.

But Donald Trump is spending the holiday at one of his own resorts, which he seems to prefer.

Trump has spent just a handful of weekends at Camp David during his first year in office. And that is raising questions about the future of the rustic presidential retreat in the Maryland woods.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


The long — and admittedly odd — tradition of people shrinking in the movies goes back at least to 1901, with a silent film called The Dwarf and the Giant. The most recent is the new movie Downsizing, directed by Alexander Payne (Election, The Descendants). In between is an entire canon, ranging from Fantastic Voyage to Innerspace to Honey, I Shrunk The Kids.

The fascination with making people small on the big screen makes sense to Payne.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


Children all over the United States will have a big decision to make on Christmas Eve: Would Santa Claus prefer a chocolate chip cookie for a snack or perhaps a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

Quiz-mas Spirits

Dec 22, 2017

In this last-ditch effort to soften the soul of Puzzle Guru Ebenezer Scrooge, every answer contains the name of a cocktail, spirit, or other alcoholic beverage.

Heard On Anthony Ramos: A Quiz-mas Carol

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Mystery Ghost

Dec 22, 2017

The bell tolls thrice! Will a visit from a Mystery Guest— or should we say, a Mystery Ghost of Quiz-mas Yet To Come— melt the heart of Puzzle Guru Ebenezer Scrooge? Jonathan Coulton and Scrooge ask yes or no questions to guess our Mystery Ghost's secret.

Heard On Anthony Ramos: A Quiz-mas Carol

Future Future

Dec 22, 2017

We peek into the future with a music parody game where songs with sci-fi themes are rewritten to be about TV shows that are— at least partially— set in the future.

Heard On Anthony Ramos: A Quiz-mas Carol

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Gift Exchange

Dec 22, 2017

We move into the present for this game about presents. Contestants identify the famous pop culture duo based on a description of the gifts they might give each other. Here's the twist: if a contestant answers correctly, they get to open a present. And just like during the holidays, the winner of this game won't be the contestant with the MOST gifts, but the contestant with the BEST gift...and by BEST gift, we mean the most expensive one.

Anthony Ramos: A Quiz-mas Carol

Dec 22, 2017

As a member of the original cast of the Broadway musical Hamilton, Anthony Ramos had never actually seen the show from the audience's perspective until a month after he left. His verdict? "It was dope!" Between playing John Laurens and Philip Hamilton, Ramos died on stage sixteen times a week. "It gets hard on your heart after a while, you know?" he confessed to host Ophira Eisenberg at the Bell House in Brooklyn.

Meet The Expert: Holiday Word Origins

Dec 22, 2017

The bell strikes one and we're visited by the ghost of Quiz-mas past, Merriam-Webster lexicographer Kory Stamper! Our guest expert is the author of Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries. Stamper leads a game about the strange origins of holiday words. Will our first spirit be able to take the bah humbug out of Scrooge?

Heard On Anthony Ramos: A Quiz-mas Carol

Victorian Inventions

Dec 22, 2017

Our story begins with a quiz about the past. Charles Dickens is one of the best novelists of the Victorian Era, but he's not the only good thing to come out of that time. Contestants ring in to identify things invented in the 1800s.

Heard On Anthony Ramos: A Quiz-mas Carol

The Grinch's psychological problems have been pretty well analyzed. He has anger and empathy issues, not to mention sociopathic tendencies. No wonder he tried to steal Christmas.

But what about the Grinch's defining physical disability: a heart that was "two sizes too small"?

At NPR One, we've spent all month making our podcast wish list, checking it a few times, making sure it includes the podcast episodes that have entertained, educated and delighted us and our listeners this year.

So, our gift to you this holiday season is a list full of podcasts to keep you from getting bored while you sit in traffic, on a plane (or in a sled), headed to grandma's. You can hear the whole list in order here, or listen to individual episodes on NPR One or wherever you get podcasts.

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Rethinking Medicine.

About Joseph Ravenell's TED Talk

Many black men trust their barber more than their primary care doctor, if they even have one. Physician Joseph Ravenell wants to turn barbershops into a place where men can access basic health care.

About Atul Gawande

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Rethinking Medicine.

About Jocelyne Bloch's TED Talk

Neurosurgeon Jocelyne Bloch and her colleague were studying brain samples of head trauma patients when they made an amazing discovery — brain cells with the ability to generate new cells.

About Jocelyne Bloch

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Rethinking Medicine.

About Atul Gawande's TED Talk

Surgeon Atul Gawande says doctors used to know and do everything themselves — like craftsmen, or cowboys. But those days are over. He argues for creating systems where clinicians all work together.

About Atul Gawande

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Rethinking Medicine.

About Siddhartha Mukherjee's TED Talk

When it comes to medicine, one rule of thinking has generally prevailed: Have disease, take pill, kill something. But physician Siddhartha Mukherjee says treatment should take a broader approach.

About Siddhartha Mukherjee

Even the title, Phantom Thread, sets the mind reeling. The term refers to a Victorian Era phenomenon in which East London seamstresses, utterly exhausted by a long day's work, continue to go through the motions at home, sewing threads that do not exist. It also evokes the otherworldly quality of artistic creation, some divine and inexplicable force that helps bring a work to fruition.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


It would not be the holiday season without Crumpet the Elf.


5 Gift Wrapping Tips From A Pro

Dec 22, 2017

Mia Canada isn't easily intimidated by stacks of naked presents that pile up during the busy holiday season. The owner of a gift-wrapping boutique called That's A Wrap! in Atlanta used to be a gift bag person — but that all changed after a seasonal job wrapping gifts at a mall 12 years ago allowed her to explore the creative side of wrapping presents.

Canada shares a few tips for making holiday wrapping a cinch — even at the eleventh hour.

Steven Spielberg's The Post is a story of journalists, government leaks, and a president who hates the press. It's about the publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971, but there's a reason Spielberg rushed to tell the story now.

And he really did rush: The filmmaker has long talked about making a Pentagon Papers movie, but the 2016 election made him feel it had become urgent. He got the working script just weeks after the Inauguration, rounded up his high-powered cast, and leapt into production as if he were making a little indie flick on the fly.

Joel Edgerton's performance as Stanley Kowalski opposite Cate Blanchett's Blanche DuBois in the Sydney Theatre Company's 2009 A Streetcar Named Desire was one of the most unforgettable things I've ever witnessed on a stage. It would mark the pinnacle of a lesser artist's career, and an impressive career it would be.