Arts & Culture

Interviews and stories about art, culture, music, books, food / dining and sports.

We all have distractions in our lives that keep us from working, studying, concentrating or otherwise attempting to unlock something in our own brains. It could be roommates, or coworkers, or the 24/7 rage-spigot of the Internet, or something else entirely, but we all have outside forces we need to drown out without merely adding more chaos to the mix. This two-hour playlist is engineered to help.

There's so much joy in the sound of the Hammond organ, especially for those of us of a certain age. Hearing it can transport you to the early '70s, when every rock band seemed to have one in its arsenal: The Allman Brothers, Santana, Deep Purple. In the hands of true masters — like the late Billy Preston and the very-much-alive Booker T. Jones — the organ can be a melodic, funky rhythm machine.

Earlier this summer, an 8-year-old girl named Saga Vanecek was doing what she often does: wading in Sweden's Lake Vidostern.

"I like to walk around finding rocks and sticks in the water, and then I usually walk around with my hands and knees in the water and in the sand," she explained to Radio Sweden Wednesday.

It was then that she felt something odd beneath her hand and knee. She lifted the object and saw that it had a handle.

ukulele-music-wisconsin
Mitch Teich

Musician Marc Revenson (also known as Lil' Rev), is a veritable ambassador to the ukulele. Based in Sheboygan, Revenson travels around the country sharing his love for the Hawaiian instrument.

His most recent album, "Sing Song Daddy," features Americana music, including a couple of the tunes he played in Lake Effect's performance studio, "The Old Sheboygan Soft Shoe" and "The Milwaukee Waltz." He says the ukulele played a role in making Americans participants in music, rather than just listeners.

Writer-director Tamara Jenkins has only made three features in 20 years, but each one feels like the work of someone who has continued to chip away at her screenplay the entire time — adding details, refining characters, getting everything just so. All three are about families on the edge: Her 1998 debut, Slums of Beverly Hills, follows a teenager (Natasha Lyonne) whose nomadic single father moves her and her brothers from one run-down apartment to another within the same elite school district.

Walk into the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. right now and you will find a painting that has been ripped to shreds.

Another one, nearby, hangs half-loose from its stretcher, rumpled. It's a portrait of Thomas Jefferson; behind it, you glimpse a seated black woman.

They are works by the artist Titus Kaphar. He takes familiar images and remakes them. Maybe he pulls a hidden figure to the front.

His work often confronts the history of slavery and racism in the United States.

With guest host Todd Zwilich.

The political divide in our country might be stark, but it’s not a recent phenomenon.

How did we get here?

Political correspondent Steve Kornacki has a theory. In his new book, The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism, he traces the origin story back several decades, to when Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich climbed to the top of their respective parties.

Historic Panart Records sessions have been remastered and collected in a new five volume set. The Complete Cuban Jam Sessions were recorded at various locations around Havana from 1956 to 1964 for the historic Cuban label Panart Records. The five volume collection includes the definitive must-haves among Cuban jazz aficionados, Cuban Jam Sessions in Miniature "Descargas" by Cachao Y Su Ritmo Caliente.

Anderson .Paak is in album mode. Yes, lawd!

On June 5, 1968, hotel busboy Juan Romero raced to congratulate Sen. Robert Kennedy moments after his victory in the California presidential primary. He had met the candidate the day before, bringing him room service at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

As Kennedy briefly paused to shake the hand of the 17-year-old, a man named Sirhan Sirhan gunned down Kennedy in front of Romero. A remarkable photograph captured the scene: young Romero, an immigrant from Mexico, cradling the glassy-eyed Kennedy, member of an American political dynasty.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.

Editor's note: The following story contains some frank discussion of suicide.

Updated at 3:57 p.m. ET

What could possibly bring together a painter, an economist, a pastor and a planetary scientist? If you ask the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the answer is simpler than you may think: They've all shown creativity, potential for future achievements — and the likelihood that $625,000, meted out over five years, will help them complete their grand designs.

'With You' Is Classic Mariah Carey

Oct 4, 2018

Mariah Carey released the first official single from her forthcoming, still untitled album on Tuesday. "With You" is a certified ballad that lands closer to Carey's classic radio hits than last month's nebulous collaboration with dvsn, "GTFO," which felt more like Drake than Mimi.

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