Arts & Culture

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In 2016, Trevor Powers was at a creative impasse. Fresh off the release of 2015's Savage Hills Ballroom, the third album from his band Youth Lagoon, Powers felt confined by his own painstaking musical formula. And he had grown frustrated by how the inherent intimacy of his emotional, enveloping songs was often portrayed as introverted and somber and how it no longer matched his expansive artistic vision.

If only the worst thing about Netflix's Insatiable were its lazy portrayals of fat people or its tone-deaf deployment of sexual assault and abuse as comedy or its embrace of racist tropes or its portrayals of people with Southern accents as dumb hicks or its white-hot conviction that same-sex attraction is either inherently hilarious or a teaching moment.

Oh, if only.

The Senate in predominately Roman Catholic Argentina has rejected a law that would have legalized abortion, rebuffing a grass-roots abortion-rights movement.

Senate lawmakers voted 38 to 31 against the measure, which would have allowed abortion for the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

In a letter to its members sent this morning, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) listed three changes approved by its Board of Governors.

1. A three-hour Oscars telecast

We are committed to producing an entertaining show in three hours, delivering a more accessible Oscars for our viewers worldwide.

In 1973, documentary filmmaker Jennifer Fox wrote a story for her eighth-grade English class that alluded to a young girl's intimate relationship with a middle-aged man and woman. At the time, Fox's teacher assumed the story was fiction.

It wasn't.

"The Tale," as it was called, was based on Fox's own experiences with her male running coach and female horseback riding coach — which Fox considered normal at the time: "I wrote at 13 with no concept of abuse at all," she says. "It was a love story; it was a relationship."

There are a couple of fine lines that inevitably get mapped when you're picking music for kids that won't make you, a parent and adult human alive to the many and various pleasures of the musical world, crazy. First: What's the real difference between "bad" and "annoying," and on which side of that binary do you prefer to spend your time? Second: How much is the brain between that particular little set of ears going to understand those lyrics?

This week, two individuals became the focus of global celebration following an unlikely and joyous confluence of circumstances.

The viral story went that two elderly men escaped their care facility to attend a metal festival in northern Germany (or, as one headline put it: "Elderly Men Escape Retirement Home to Go RAGE!!").

Except they weren't, and they didn't.

George Grantham Bain / Wikimedia

Progress is not always linear, and that maxim holds especially true for house cats. While their popularity has wavered over the centuries, cats have been an integral part of human history for millennia.

"They were domesticated, they were raised to the highest of the highs and they were plunged down to the lowest of the lows and then very, very slowly by the end of the 19th century, they finally built themselves up to be companions again," says Paul Koudounaris.

Today, The Band's Robbie Robertson is going to take us back 50 years, to a basement just outside of Woodstock, New York and the formation of a sound and an album that all these years later still shapes the musical landscape.

"Hate comes in many forms," Arjun Singh Sethi writes in American Hate, a collection of victims' testimonials.

Sethi, a Sikh American, is an activist lawyer and law professor who has become "sensitive to the rising tide of hate violence." We should not be surprised by this rise, he says, since "Trump told us who he was a long time ago... a racist and a sexist ... his ideologies are white supremacy and greed. He is the hater-in-chief..."

My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James brought a full band to the KCRW studio for the first live radio session behind his new solo album Uniform Distortion. The album's sound is grounded in raw psychedelic rock jams that are more about capturing a vibe than creating perfection. Our favorite is "No Secrets," one of his most personal tracks to date.

SET LIST:

  • "No Secrets"

The Thistle & Shamrock: Len Graham

Aug 8, 2018

Meet Len Graham, the legendary singer and songwriter from Northern Ireland who carries an equal number of songs and stories in his heart. Fiona Ritchie interviews Len during Traditional Song Week at the Swannanoa Gathering.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The world is going to hell, and Tim Kasher is doing everything he can not to be swallowed up by the chaos.

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