Arts & Culture

Arts & culture

Rap music has found an outlet in Kashmir, the border state between India and Pakistan.

The Muslim-dominated Kashmir Valley, tucked in the Himalayas, might not seem the most likely venue for this music. But Roushan Illahi, Kashmir's leading rapper, says the guns, soldiers and protracted conflict provide the "street reality" that hip-hop is meant to capture.

For only the third time ever, the government released today a national report card examining the knowledge, understanding and abilities of U.S. eighth-graders in visual arts and music.

And in many ways, the numbers aren't great, with little progress shown in most categories since the last time the assessment was given in 2008. One bright spot: The achievement gap between Hispanic students and their white peers has narrowed. But Hispanics and African-Americans still lag far behind white and Asian eighth-graders.

Robert M. Pirsig, who inspired generations to road trip across America with his "novelistic autobigraphy," Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, died Monday at the age of 88.

His publisher William Morrow & Company said in a statement that Pirsig died at his home in South Berwick, Maine, "after a period of failing health."

Lillian Hellman's 1939 melodrama The Little Foxes has two great roles for actresses over the age of 40. Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon fill those roles in a new revival on Broadway ... but with one big twist: Linney and Nixon play both roles and switch off at different performances.

Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell met in college, and their friendship grew into a sisterhood. Today they share the stage together as the band Overcoats, singing in tight harmonies with voices that are nearly indistinguishable.

"I think we did feel a magic when we sang together," Mitchell says. "We could tell that our voices just sort of blended in this very crazy way, and kind of cradled one another.

Editor's note: This post is about chefs and they can be quite coarse when they talk. Don't be surprised by a little foul language.

In these acrimonious times, many restaurants are treading the fine line between hospitality and politics. Anxiety-inducing though it might be, restaurants have found themselves in this awkward position before.

Just ask Jeremiah Tower, one of America's most influential chefs, who faced a similarly sticky situation four decades ago.

Dani Shapiro's new memoir, Hourglass, opens on a scene from a marriage: On a winter's day, Shapiro looks out a window of her old house in Connecticut, and spots her husband. Now pushing 60, he is standing in the driveway in his bathrobe, his pale legs stuffed into galoshes, aiming a rifle at the woodpecker, who for months has been jackhammering holes into the side of their house.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Pages