Weekend Edition Saturday

Saturdays from 8-10 a.m.

Saturday mornings are made for Weekend Edition Saturday, the program wraps up the week's news and offers a mix of analysis and features on a wide range of topics, including arts, sports, entertainment, and human interest stories. The two-hour program is hosted by NPR's Peabody Award-winning Scott Simon.

Drawing on his experience in covering 10 wars and stories in all 50 states and seven continents, Simon brings a humorous, sophisticated and often moving perspective to each show. He is as comfortable having a conversation with a major world leader as he is talking with a Hollywood celebrity or the guy next door.

Weekend Edition Saturday has a unique and entertaining roster of other regular contributors. Marin Alsop, conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, talks about music. Daniel Pinkwater, one of the biggest names in children's literature, talks about and reads stories with Simon. Financial journalist Joe Nocera follows the economy. Howard Bryant of EPSN.com and NPR's Tom Goldman chime in on sports. Keith Devlin, of Stanford University, unravels the mystery of math, and Will Grozier, a London cabbie, talks about good books that have just been released, and what well-read people leave in the back of his taxi. Simon contributes his own award-winning essays, which are sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant.

Weekend Edition Saturday is heard on NPR Member stations across the United States, and around the globe on NPR Worldwide. The conversation between the audience and the program staff continues throughout the social media world.

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7:36am

Sat December 17, 2011
Simon Says

Christopher Hitchens And The Delight Of Defying Labels

It may be telling that Christopher Hitchens should die in this season. I don't mean the holiday season but a contentious season in Congress and on the campaign trail, with politicians jabbing fingers and accusing each other of inconsistency.

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3:47pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Music News

Chet Atkins: The Lasting Influence Of 'Mr. Guitar'

Chet Atkins at RCA's Studio B in the 1960s.
Courtesy of the Country Music Hall of Fame

3:00pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Music Interviews

Cam Penner Spins Road Stories On 'Gypsy Summer'

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 7:35 pm

Cam Penner's latest album is Gypsy Summer.
Courtesy of the artist

When your grandfather is a bootlegger and your family runs an illegal small-town roadhouse, you must have a lot of stories to tell. Cam Penner does, and he tells them in his music. The Canadian singer-songwriter's latest album is titled Gypsy Summer.

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1:48pm

Thu December 15, 2011
Europe

Thousands Protest Alleged Election Fraud In Russia

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 5:56 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Tens of thousands of people have demonstrated in cities across Russia today to protest alleged vote-rigging in recent parliamentary elections. Protests reportedly took place in more than 50 cities, but the largest by far was in Moscow. Reporter Peter van Dyk is in Moscow and joins us. Peter, thanks so much for being with us.

PETER VAN DYK, BYLINE: Thank you.

SIMON: You were in the crowds. What were they like?

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10:09am

Sat December 10, 2011
Simon Says

Laura Nyro's Lasting, Eclectic Musical Legacy

Laura Nyro performs at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Most of the names announced for induction to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame this week are familiar: Guns N' Roses, Beastie Boys and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The name Laura Nyro may need some explaining.

She was the daughter of a New York jazz trumpeter, who took her along to his gigs. She sold her first song, And When I Die, to Peter, Paul and Mary for $5,000 when she was just a teenager; left New York's School of Music and Art; and became a star at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival at the age of 20.

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8:00am

Sat December 10, 2011
NPR Story

The Partisan Fight Over Consumer Protection

This week, the Senate blocked the confirmation of Richard Cordray, the former Ohio attorney general chosen by President Obama to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It boils down to yet another partisan fight: Republicans say the agency has too much power, and the White House says they won't weaken an agency that is supposed to protect consumers. Host Scott Simon talks with Joe Nocera, an op-ed columnist for The New York Times.

8:00am

Sat December 10, 2011
NPR Story

Sports: Money Talks, Big Stars Walk

A canceled-then-reinstated trade shakes basketball before it can even start up again. Also, do Tim Tebow's victories speak as loud as his prayers? Host Scott Simon talks sports with NPR's Tom Goldman.

8:00am

Sat December 10, 2011
Election 2012

How Religious Conservatives Shape The GOP Race

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

While Newt Gingrich may not have universal appeal among Tea Party voters, he seems to be drawing wide support from a key Republican constituency, Christian conservatives. The religious right has significant influence in many early voting states, including Iowa, which has its caucuses coming up on January 3rd.

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8:00am

Sat December 10, 2011
From Our Listeners

Your Letters: Traffic Signs And Front Runners

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time now for your letters.

Last week, we spoke with artist John Morse. He creates traffic warning signs complete with haikus for the New York City Transportation Department.

JOHN MORSE: (Reading) Cyclist writes screenplay. Plot features bike lane drama. How pedestrian.

SIMON: Michael Haslam, in Bellows Falls, Vermont, asks: Is there a potential downside to the New York City haiku signs for pedestrians and bicyclists? Crossing street downtown, signs catch attention, enthrall; fatal distraction.

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5:58am

Sat December 10, 2011
Author Interviews

Desai's 'Disappearance': Three Tales Of Art And Time

Novelist Anita Desai is a professor of humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has also written Journey to Ithaca, Village by the Sea and Clear Light of Day.
Jerry Bauer Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Anita Desai's new collection of stories, The Artist of Disappearance, reads a bit like three symphonic movements in a minor key. They're three novellas, set in modern India, where the past is giving way. In one story, a government official inspects the forgotten treasures left behind in a fated mansion. In another story, a translator becomes a little too creative; and in the third, a man living in solitude finds his world upset by roving visitors.

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4:12pm

Fri December 9, 2011
Music Interviews

Classical Contemporaries Perform With A Ghost

Cellist Zuill Bailey and soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian reanimate the late composer Manuel de Falla on The Spanish Masters.
Dario Acosta Photography / Lisa Marie Mazzucco

What's it like to perform with a ghost?

"There was no pianist breathing or cueing me," cellist Zuill Bailey says. "The good news is that he was very consistent." Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian adds, "It's absolutely true — it takes a little bit of adjusting."

Bailey and Bayrakdarian are talking about their accompanist: the late — very late — Manuel de Falla, who died in 1946. With the help of new recording technology, the two have performed de Falla's Seven Popular Spanish Songs for a new release, The Spanish Masters.

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3:59pm

Fri December 9, 2011
Music Interviews

A Jazz Pianist Gets His Big Break — At Age 85

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 5:56 pm

Boyd Lee Dunlop was discovered in a Buffalo nursing home, wrestling music from a dilapidated piano. His debut album is called Boyd's Blues.
Brendan Bannon

Back in the 1930s, Boyd Lee Dunlop taught himself to play music on a broken piano left out on the streets of Buffalo, N.Y. Only half the keys worked.

He also taught his little brother Frank to play the drums while they were growing up. Frankie Dunlop went on to record with Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus, among other jazz greats. Boyd Lee Dunlop went to work in the steel mills and rail yards of Buffalo, occasionally playing piano at local clubs.

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3:18pm

Sat December 3, 2011
NPR Story

Cain Leaves Presidential Race

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Herman Cain is appearing before his supporters in Georgia now, and NPR's Don Gonyea is going to join us. He's speaking but, in fact, he hasn't reached what we would call the hard news lead to announce whether he's staying in the race for the Republican nomination for president, or getting out. Don, are you there?

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2:51pm

Sat December 3, 2011
NPR Story

Herman Cain Decides Campaign's Future

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And we're going to end with some breaking news today. Moments ago, Herman Cain announced that he is suspending his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Here is what Mr. Cain said moments ago; his wife, Gloria, standing behind him outside of his Georgia campaign headquarters.

HERMAN CAIN: Today, with a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD GROANING)

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8:29am

Sat December 3, 2011
Art & Design

Liz Taylor's Jewel-Dripping Collection On The Block

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:12 am

This 1964 Andy Warhol lithograph entitled "Liz" is signed by the artist. It reads, "To Elizabeth with much love" in felt-tip pen.
Christie's

Celebrity auctions have become common, but once in a while there's an event that will make almost anyone stand up and take notice. After a world tour, the entire collection of Elizabeth Taylor's jewelry, clothing and memorabilia is on view starting Saturday at Christie's auction house in New York City.

After 10 days, there will be a four-day auction. Some 2,000 objects from the film star's life will be on the block, both at Christie's and online.

'Gutsy, Glamorous'

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8:00am

Sat December 3, 2011
NPR Story

Congress Tries, But Still Can't Save Payroll Tax Cuts

People who are lucky enough to have jobs could still see a cut in their paychecks next month unless Congress votes to extend a payroll tax cut. NPR's Scott Horlsey and Tamara Keith join host Scott Simon to talk about the status of the cut.

8:00am

Sat December 3, 2011
NPR Story

Shostakovich Didn't Want It, But Opera Debuts Anyway

A Shostakovich opera plucked from the Soviet composer's trash gets its world premier this weekend at the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Disney Hall. We hear from Gerard McBurney, the composer charged with fleshing out Shostakovich's lost work, Orango.

8:00am

Sat December 3, 2011
Books

Bear Wants Hat Back; For More, See Kids Book

Jon Klassen's latest book, I Want My Hat Back, is the delightful story about a bear who loses, and then finds, his hat. Scott talks with Weekend Edition's ambassador to the world of children's literature, Daniel Pinkwater, about the story and the importance of art in children's books.

7:33am

Sat December 3, 2011
Simon Says

What's In a (Baby) Name?

So many end-of-the year lists detail something trivial. But sometimes those lists can help us appreciate something obvious.

BabyCenter.com has just released their list of the most popular names for American babies in 2011.

The most popular girl's names: Sophia, Emma, Isabella, Olivia, and Ava, which sound like they could be lifted, letter by letter, from 1960s movie marquees. The most popular boy's names: Aiden, Jackson, Mason, Liam and Jacob, which could be the name of a Boston or Chicago law firm.

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6:02am

Sat December 3, 2011
Movie Interviews

Gary Oldman Steps Into A Spymaster's Shoes

Originally published on Sat December 3, 2011 3:31 pm

'Cosh And Carry': Smiley's colleague Peter Guilliam (Benedict Cumberbatch, left) runs the MI6 division charged with blackmail, kidnapping and other rough stuff.
Focus Features

The character of George Smiley is an iconic one — longtime spy, mild, podgy, middle-aged. He blends into the fog and the old gray streets of London.

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6:02am

Sat December 3, 2011
Strange News

Haiku Traffic Signs Bring Poetry To NYC Streets

John Morse NYC DOT

If you're walking or biking around New York City this weekend you might look up at a busy intersection and see signs like these:

Traffic warning street signs written as haiku are appearing on poles around the five boroughs, posted by the New York City Department of Transportation. The poems and accompanying artwork were created by artist John Morse. There are 12 designs in all, 10 in English and two in Spanish.

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6:01am

Sat December 3, 2011
Architecture

Nature And Design Meet In Lautner's Modern Homes

Originally published on Sat December 3, 2011 3:31 pm

Designed in 1958, architect John Lautner's Chemosphere House perches atop a 29-foot concrete pole on a roughly 45 degree slope in California's Hollywood Hills and is accessible via funicular.
Sara Sackner Courtesy of Judith Lautner and the John Lautner Foundation

An artist with an idyllic childhood might be as rare as a house with walls made of air, but both play a part in the story of architect John Lautner.

Lautner's homes have appeared in Hollywood movies, but the architect himself wasn't particularly well-known when he died in 1994. Still, in 2011 — the centennial year of Lautner's birth — his hometown of Marquette, Mich., has honored him with two exhibitions: one at Northern Michigan University's DeVos Art Museum and one at the Marquette Regional History Center.

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5:02pm

Fri December 2, 2011
Music Interviews

Olof Arnalds: An Icelandic Take On Heartland Rock

Originally published on Sat December 3, 2011 3:43 pm

Ólöf Arnalds.
Courtesy of the artist

Ólöf Arnalds was born and raised in Iceland, and has been part of its experimental rock scene for years.

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8:00am

Sat November 26, 2011
NPR Story

Back From Iraq, A Soldier Gives Thanks With Family

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 9:48 am

Military families across the country celebrated Thanksgiving this week with loved ones who were home after being deployed to Iraq for the last time. Scores of troops are coming home as the war winds down to an end next month, but for one Kentucky National Guardsman, his commitment to family is as strong as his desire to serve. Brenna Angel of member station WUKY in Lexington has his story.

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8:00am

Sat November 26, 2011
NPR Story

One Last Hitchhike In A Moscow Taxi

Originally published on Sat November 26, 2011 5:17 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Before you hear this next story, let's offer a caution. Hitchhiking is not generally safe. But just happens to be a way of life in Moscow. That may be about to change.

NPR's David Greene sent this postcard from the Russian capital.

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8:00am

Sat November 26, 2011
NPR Story

Doris Day (Yes, That Doris Day) Topping Charts

Originally published on Sat November 26, 2011 5:17 pm

A new name burst onto the top rungs of British pop charts this year with a song called, "My Heart." Well, maybe not a new name; it's actually one of the most famous names in musical history. Host Scott Simon speaks with screen legend Doris Day about her new album.

8:00am

Sat November 26, 2011
Food

Turkey Feels Pressure To Act On Syria

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 2:29 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The Arab League meets today in Cairo to consider imposing sanctions against Syria after Damascus rejected the League's demand that Syria allow an observer mission into the country. As protests there continue and the death toll mounts, neighboring Turkey says it's ready to join the Arab League in levying punitive measures against the government in Damascus. But as NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Istanbul, Turkey's deep reluctance to endorse a military option underscores the complex risks surrounding any foreign intervention in Syria.

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8:00am

Sat November 26, 2011
Simon Says

What Black Friday Crowds Are Really Shopping For

Originally published on Sat November 26, 2011 5:17 pm

A holiday shopper at the Toys R Us in New York's Times Square.
Andrew Burton AP

It's hard not to look at some of the pictures of people surging into stores as they opened at the stroke of midnight for Black Friday sales and see some kind of crass, mindless mob.

The crowds in Cairo's Tahir Square clamor for democracy and free speech. Crowds in American shopping malls seem to clamor for Blu-rays, Xboxes and Wii consoles.

There were even a few reported instances of violence Friday among unruly shoppers, hell-bent for bargains.

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8:00am

Sat November 26, 2011
Author Interviews

After NBA And Jazz, Wayman Tisdale's Story Cut Short

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Wayman Tisdale was that rare human being: a great athlete who had a great second act. But his life ended in tragedy. Wayman Tisdale was a three-time All-American at the University of Oklahoma, and a forward on the U.S. team that won Olympic gold, a great power forward for the Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings. But music had been his first love.

WAYMAN TISDALE: OK, ready?

SIMON: And he left the NBA to become a jazz musician, and also, once again, great.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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6:49am

Sat November 26, 2011
Author Interviews

'Unconquered' Explores An Isolated Amazon Tribe

The rain forest around the Amazon River is home to some of the only surviving societies of people untouched by modern civilization.
Brent Stirton Getty Images

The 7 billion people on this planet have never been so connected. People in Shanghai can communicate instantaneously with people in Sioux City — which makes it all the more remarkable that there still exists a few thousand people in the Amazon rain forest who have never had contact with modern civilization.

In 2002, National Geographic asked journalist Scott Wallace to chronicle the trip of a 34-man team to search for the perimeters of a people known as the flecheiros — or the Arrow People.

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