Arts & Culture

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

Farmers across the southeastern part of North Carolina are just starting to report details about the hit they've taken from Hurricane Florence. The rain is over, but rivers still are rising, and the full picture of damage to farms and the surrounding environment probably won't be known for weeks.

Identity Politics Unmasked

Sep 18, 2018

Political scientist Francis Fukuyama thinks identity politics is a disease. The cure? It can come from the country.

Left-wingers may deride national identities and far right-wingers twist them to racist ends, but he argues there is hope for unifying people and giving them a broad sense of purpose. Francis Fukuyama is in favor of national identities based on creed, like the American one, rather than identities based on race or heritage. He is keen on national service and suspicious of dual citizenship.

Ross Zentner

The musical "Pippinpremiered on Broadway in 1972. The music was written by Stephen Schwartz (the composer behind "Wicked" and "Godspell"), the production was directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, and it starred Ben Vereen.

"Pippin" tells the story of a young prince's search for meaning and breaks the fourth wall as it describes his drive for existential significance. Although the characters are based on royals from the Middle Ages, the fictionalized story is perennial, and the show continues to find success decades after its premiere. 

Editor's note: This story was originally published in 2017 and has been republished with updates.

For Rosh Hashana, more than 350 members of Uganda's Namutumba Synagogue dressed in white, chanted their prayers and feasted on a slaughtered cow to mark the beginning of a new Jewish year last week.

"We are so happy that we entered the new year with such joy and happiness," said Namutumba's spiritual leader Shadrach Mugoya Levi by telephone from Uganda.

The saxophonist Big Jay McNeely, a product of the thriving rhythm and blues scene in postwar Los Angeles, died on Sunday in California at the age of 91.

McNeely's honking saxophone and wild stage antics gave form to what would become rock and roll, directly influencing many of the genre's legends.

A visit to your primary care physician may focus on your headaches or that achy back. But if your body mass index is over 30, a panel of national experts says, it should also include a referral to an intensive weight-loss program.

Doctors at the Charité hospital in Berlin say it's "highly plausible" Pyotr Verzilov of the Russian protest band Pussy Riot was poisoned last week, although it's unclear with what or by whom. Verzilov is currently being treated in Berlin.

"We have no indication — and this is important — that this was an infection or metabolic disease," the hospital's CEO, Dr. Karl Max Einhaeupl, told reporters at a news conference in Berlin. But "we cannot say anything about the question of how this toxin got into the body. It's not for us to answer this question."

The title of Jill Lepore's new history of the United States should be instantly recognizable to all Americans.

It comes from, of course, the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It's hard to think of a single passage more emblematic of the American ethos.

Latino Heritage Month (Sept 15. -Oct. 15) is the perfect time to use our Spotify playlist to highlight the width and breadth of Latinx musical expression.

The five women on this week's list couldn't be any more different from each other in terms of style: An electronic pioneer from Argentina; a Brazilian jazz vocalist; our favorite Chilean rapera/soul singer; a Spanish flamenco-inspired pop vocalist; and a Mexican vocalist so versatile it's impossible to pin her down to one genre.

Luce D'Eramo's Deviation, first published in Italian in 1979, went on to become a worldwide bestseller. Though considered a novel, the book's story and structure untangle its author's complicated life through a combination of autobiographical fiction and memoir. As such, it defies neat categorization. Finally, 39 years after its debut, comes its first-ever English edition, vividly translated by Anne Milano Appel.

For 35 years, O.S. Arun has been a professional singer of Carnatic music, a classical genre popular in South India. It's an embellished form of singing frequently backed by the tanpura, a long-necked, stringed instrument that emits a constant drone. He's recorded several dozen albums.

When a relationship ends but love remains, it can be both frustrating and embarrassing.

Dessa, a well-known rapper, singer and writer from Minneapolis, knows the feeling well. She'd spent years trying to get over an ex-boyfriend, but she was still stuck on him.

Rarely has the opening of an awards show felt as inauspicious as the first 10 minutes or so of Monday night's Emmy Awards. An opening number called "We Solved It," making light of the idea that Hollywood's meager progress toward greater diversity constitutes a meaningful resolution to the issue, featured a number of appealing TV personalities: Saturday Night Live's Kenan Thompson and Kate McKinnon, Tituss Burgess of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Kristen Bell of The Good Place, RuPaul, Sterling K. Brown of This Is Us, and Ricky Martin.

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