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Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) and Lucky Ned Pepper (Barry Pepper) debate a point in the Coen brothers adaptation of “True Grit” (Image courtesy Paramount Pictures (Photo: Lorey Sebastian ))

If you’ve been too busy prepping for the holidays, I recommend you give yourself some time to relax and catch up on some great art stories and interviews that aired on Minnesota Public Radio this week. In addition to the news of the week (including the release of the Coen brothers’ “True Grit”) MPR also aired some of the best stories from the past year. Take a listen, and enjoy!

Life as a Jewish partisan

The new film, “Defiance,” tells the story of the Bielski brothers, who led a group of Jewish partisans living in the forests of Belarus during World War II. The film mirrors the experience of a Minnesota couple who fought in another Jewish partisan group in the same forest.

Changing technology and the future of libraries

Eager to attract digitally savvy readers, public libraries across the country are expanding their electronic book collections. That’s just one of the ways that today’s libraries are evolving to meet the changing needs of the 21st century library patron.

A grittier ‘True Grit’

St. Louis Park natives Joel and Ethan Coen said they wanted to remake the classic western “True Grit” in part to rectify an injustice to the novel on which it’s based. Their film appears to do just that.

The magic of portage

A photographer and essayist, who are also seasoned outdoorsmen, explore the Quetico-Boundary Waters in a new book. Midmorning discusses the method, madness and philosophy of paddling Minnesota’s big lakes and small streams.

Cantus at the Westminster Presbyterian Church

Minnesota Public Radio was happy to broadcast the annual Christmas With Cantus concert live from Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Minneapolis Friday, Dec. 17th.

New documentary remembers largest mass execution in US historyThe largest mass execution in U.S. history occurred 148 years ago, when 38 Dakota warriors were hanged from a single scaffold in Mankato.

Music with Minnesotans: Dale Warland

Dale Warland stopped by the Classical studios to share some of his most favorite pieces for this time of year – that never see to grow stale for him – and always present a challenge.

For Kate DiCamillo, stories matter

Minnesota’s award-winning childrens author Kate DiCamillo talks about why she writes and how she does it –and takes questions from kids– at a recent Club Book event in Apple Valley. DiCamillo is the author of the wildly popular “Because of Winn-Dixie” and “The Tale of Despereaux.”

In the queue at King’s College

Last year, Michael Barone was in Cambridge for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College Chapel. In the few hours before the show began, he talked with a number of people who had stood in line for hours during some particularly nasty weather.

A Vocal Essence holiday

A group of VocalEssence singers give their annual Midmorning performance and best effort at nearly unsingable Christmas carols.

Polar Express arrives

The sound of sleigh bells gained new meaning in the Christmas classic book, The Polar Express. The author, Chris Van Allsburg joined Kerri Miller in 2004 at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul to talk about his work before an audience of children and their families.

Holiday movies with the movie maven

Minnesota Public Radio’s Movie Maven Stephanie Curtis joins Midday for a look at the best –and worst– Christmas movies. She also looks back at the movies of 2010.

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