Arts & Culture

Arts & culture

If you're a more detail-oriented person than I am when it comes to getting places, maybe a happy accident of music discovery like this has never happened to you. But about a decade ago, when I thought I was going to see a friend's regular drums, bass guitar indie band, I walked into the venue and saw in front of me a woman lying on the floor playing a light-up sousaphone that was pointing up at the sky, a guy on violin and a lead singer who was in the throes of klezmer-pop-party mania. Let's just say this was not my friend's indie band, and I was very thrilled to have made the mistake.

Gather Around The Fall Fires With These 4 YA Novels

Sep 27, 2018

Fall has come at last, which means it's time to gather around the fire and tell tall tales about girls who survive, girls who fight, and girls who, if given the chance, may prove to be heroes.

Caitlyn Paxson is a writer and performer. She is a regular reviewer for NPR Books and Quill & Quire.

Wartime Sins And Secrets Haunt 'Transcription'

Sep 27, 2018

Juliet Armstrong was a spy.

Is a spy, will forever be a spy. During the war, in London, 1940, she worked as a typist for MI5, was lifted out of the obscurity of the secretarial pool to be the audio transcriptionist for an operation meant to ensnare British fifth columnists itching for the day that the Wehrmacht marched down the streets of London, then put into the field to infiltrate their anti-Semitic ranks in person.

When Murphy Brown premiered in 1988, Murphy's personality, full as it was of stubbornness, ego, brilliance, defiance, independence and a lack of concern with being liked, was a revelation. Her existence, her very presence on television as a recovering alcoholic who had stopped drinking but had no desire to stop being what other people considered "difficult," was inspiring. She was confident, and she was loved. She was impolite, and she was great at her job. She was loud, and she was the hero.

Cardi B's Billboard No. 1 song "I Like It" samples Pete Rodriguez's 1967 boogaloo hit "I Like It Like That." Just as the song's chart-topping success is emblematic of hip-hop's current absorption of reggaeton, the 1967 hit capitalized on a moment in New York history created by Latin voices.

Music came naturally to Jon Batiste, the leader of Stay Human, the house band for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Growing up outside of New Orleans as part of a large musical family, he says, "I picked up on all of these things that are integral to who I am as a musician without necessarily studying them."

In the 19th century, milk containing substantial quantities of formaldehyde (yes, the stuff that preserves dead bodies) killed thousands of children every year. The rise of industrial chemistry meant the decline of food safety in the United States.

This wasn’t an oversight. Food manufacturers had quickly learned they could profit by selling harmful products with long shelf lives. Even modest regulations of the industry couldn’t get traction.

The fall of a prominent food and marketing researcher may be a cautionary tale for scientists who are tempted to manipulate data and chase headlines.

Aimé Mpane remembers when he first saw the old statues.

It was 1994, and the Congolese visual artist had just moved to Belgium, which once ruled his country. Growing up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mpane says he had been taught in school that the Congolese were descended from the Gauls — "that they were our kings."

"In our schoolbooks, it was as if the Congolese did not exist without Belgian colonialists," says Mpane, 50. His work explores the memory of colonialism in Congo and Belgium. "I wanted to know what [the Belgians] knew about us."

Philosophy professor John Kaag's 2016 book, American Philosophy, was a heady mix of memoir and intellectual history wrapped up in a romantic story of a lost library and new love. In Hiking with Nietzsche, he tries to repeat this feat by chronicling his return — with his second wife and their toddler daughter — to the scene of his near-fatal teenage attempt to follow Nietzsche's trail and thought processes through the Swiss Alps.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

ElfQuest is something unique in the world of comics: It's one of the longest-running fantasy series ever — and it's been the passion project of just two people for its whole life.

There were few comics shops, fewer conventions, and not a lot of women were making comics when creators Wendy and Richard Pini began their epic quest in 1978. But now that quest is over, and they're on a farewell tour called Forty Years of Pointed Ears.

Editor's note: This review includes a brief account of a character's suicide attempt.

The state of Maine has asked the owner of a lobster restaurant to stop giving cannabis to lobsters in order to get them high before they die.

Charlotte Gill, owner of Charlotte's Legendary Lobster Pound in Southwest Harbor, Maine, says she is convinced that a small dose of cannabis can help calm crustaceans before they're cooked in a traditional lobster pot.

Gill has designed what could be considered the equivalent of a bong hit for lobsters in a small plastic box, without any residual effects for consumers, she says.

Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis come from different generations, but both play the old style of country music — her brother is Jerry Lee Lewis. They share songs and stories from their new album, Wild! Wild! Wild!

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