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.
Indiana Treasurer and Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock accidentally released video responses to the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Health Care Act. The court has yet to announcing their ruling. Muourdock prepared four responses for if the court upholds the law, overturns it, if it splits and if it doesn't provide an answer. Melissa Block and Robert Siegel have more.
Leaders of Germany, France, Italy and Spain met Friday in Rome to find a way out of its current financial crisis ahead of a full European Union summit next week. Robert Siegel talks to Matthias M. Matthijs, Assistant Professor of International Political Economy at Johns Hopkins University, for more.
Kofi Annan is trying to rally the international community to bring the violence in Syria to an end. Annan even suggested that Iran should be consulted, an idea the United States doubts.
NPR's Michele Kelemen filed this report for our Newscast unit:
"The joint UN and Arab league envoy, Kofi Annan, is trying to convene a meeting next weekend in Geneva. He told reporters there it is time for countries with influence to increase the pressure on the parties in Syria to stop the killing and start talking.
When Moody's downgraded the credit ratings of most major U.S. banks on Thursday, you'd have thought Friday would be a tough day for bank stocks.
But bank stocks ticked up — largely because investors were relieved. They had feared the downgrades would be worse. The Dow Jones industrial average was recovering from Thursday's 250-point drop, the second-worst of the year.
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.
Williams thought a home's entrance should make a statement. In this Colonial Revival residence, designed in Beverly Hills for the Landis family in 1955, the narrow foyer has large double doors that swing open to reveal a high ceiling covered in a trompe l'oeil sky, and a lavish chandelier hung from a starburst medallion. The medallion's design is repeated on the marble floor.
The staircase of the French Normandy-style Sensenbrenner residence, built in Beverly Hills in 1933, features a Williams trademark cherished by his homes' owners: a beautiful, sinuously curving staircase that was the focal point of the foyer. "He did the most beautiful entry halls I've ever seen," said real estate agent Bret Parsons.
This Spanish Colonial Revival-style home is an example of how Williams worked with the existing landscape to make a home part of its natural surroundings. The window placement allows for views of the city skyline and the Hollywood Hills.
In recognition of Williams' creation of some of the Beverly Hills Hotel's most iconic spaces — the Polo Lounge, the Fountain Coffee Shop, the Crescent wing of the building — the hotel's owners named a suite in the hotel after him. Williams designed it to be a home away from home for long-term guests. Talk show host Jimmy Fallon declared it "the best hotel room I've ever stayed in."
Another view of the Historic Paul Williams Suite. Originally designed in the late 1940s, the suite was moved to the second floor during a renovation in the 1990s, and re-created just as Williams designed it. It contains the same use of stone, curved walls and marble that are found in many of his permanent homes.
Williams was a great believer that the mild Southern California climate should be taken advantage of whenever possible. He created an "outdoor living room" on the patio of this home, with a fireplace and furniture that would encourage alfresco meals. The large patio doors also help diminish the demarcation between outdoors and indoors.
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.