Arts & Culture

Arts & culture

The classic coming-to-New-York story was a mashup of a few pleasurably predictable elements: a young person with dreams bigger than his or her bank account, a few roach-ridden apartments and crummy jobs, some eccentric friends and neighbors, and a couple of requisite hard knocks before ... success!

When people ask about the rock 'n' roll sound of Nashville, locals might direct them to the garage rock scene, to Jack White's Third Man Records, or to guitar-slinging country outlaws like Sturgill Simpson or Eric Church. But they'd be remiss to leave out Moon Taxi, a band that's grown a large and devoted fan base in Music City since forming at Belmont College 10 years ago.

A Japanese farm introduced a new crop this winter: an organic banana with a peel that's thin enough to eat. In a nod to this appealing outer covering, Setsuzo Tanaka, the banana's inventor, has named his creation the Mongee ("mon-gay") banana — which means "incredible banana" in Japanese.

Here's what drives me crazy about time travel books. In (almost) every single one of them, the time traveler's most notable experience is meeting other people who aren't time travelers; who were, in their proper moment, just famous as all hell.

Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino acknowledged that he is responsible for insisting that actress Uma Thurman perform a car stunt that resulted in a crash that nearly killed her 15 years ago.

Thurman's account of the accident, which chilled relations between Thurman and Tarantino for years, was detailed in a New York Times story over the weekend. Much of the article centers on Thurman's allegations that she had been sexually assaulted by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Some major food companies are accusing Big Chicken of colluding to fix the price of broiler chickens over a 10-year period.

In just three weeks, two grocery retailers and the country's two biggest food distribution companies have filed lawsuits against Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms, Pilgrim's Pride, Koch Farms, Sanderson Farms and others.

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ken Armstrong about the book A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America, which he wrote with T. Christian Miller, about rape and the criminal justice system.

America's war in Afghanistan is the longest war the U.S. has ever fought. Beginning a month after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the initial mission was to remove the Taliban from power and destroy the al-Qaida terror network. Now, nearly 17 years later, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steve Coll points out that the war's goals have changed.

If you've ever tried to catch an Uber on a rainy day during rush hour or after the ball drops on New Year's Eve, you're familiar with dynamic pricing. That's when the price of a ride costs more or less depending on the demand for drivers.

The pricing strategy has long been used by other sectors of the travel industry, such as airlines and hotels, to balance supply and demand, and last month, a luxury restaurant in London rolled out a similar model.

Of all the vague terms that journalists love to apply to mostly unwilling celebrities, one of the slipperiest is "public intellectual." It's hard to define, but with apologies to Potter Stewart, we know it when we see it. To be one, you have to be smart about more than one thing, you have to be able to translate academic jargon into something approaching English, and most importantly, you can never define yourself as one.

If you've listened to the Cafe for a while, you know and hopefully love today's guests. Calexico is a band whose music is a jangly desert mashup of Western Americana, Latin influence and any other sounds, instruments or collaborators they've picked up along the trail. It's no wonder they're perfectly named after a border town between California and Mexico.

About halfway through her first book of nonfiction, Edinburgh-based author Maggie O'Farrell explains her latest project to her mother: "I'm trying to write a life, told only through near-death experiences," she says. It's not exactly an autobiography, more like "snatches of a life. A string of moments."

About 10 years ago, a recent college graduate named Francisco Cantú told his mother what seemed like good news: He got a job.

"I think she was terrified when I decided to join the Border Patrol," he says. "And I think she was also confused about why I was doing this."

Cantú had studied the border in school, but he wanted to understand it more deeply. He attended the Border Patrol Academy and emerged equipped to patrol the Arizona wilderness.

As you clutch a cuppa for a bit of winter warmth, spare a moment to consider the elaborate process that goes into producing that seemingly simple sip of tea.

In the biggest tea-growing region in India, the hazards alone range from red spider mites to herds of wild elephants.

Grower Tenzing Bodosa, a native of Assam, fights the former and unusually invites the latter.

From the large Bodo tribe and widely known by his first name, Tenzing stands beside the vermilion flames of a brick oven that provides the heat for a drying contraption erected in his backyard.

Actor John Mahoney, best-known for his portrayal of the grouchy and sharp-witted father of the title character in the TV show Frasier, died Sunday. He was 77.

The Steppenwolf Theatre Company confirmed his death, saying in a statement, "John Mahoney passed away due to complications from cancer while in hospice care on Sunday."

For 11 years, from 1993 to 2004, Mahoney played the blue-collar, retired-cop foil to Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce, his dandy and effete sons on the NBC hit show.

The talent manager who helped make Halle Berry and Taraji P. Henson Hollywood stars says he will close his management agency after nine women of color accused him of sexual harassment.

Justin Timberlake has had an eventful week: He turned 37 on Wednesday, dropped a new album Friday and danced his shoes off Sunday as part of football's biggest night.

The Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl on Sunday night. You could be forgiven for not expecting it — it's never happened before. And on this historic occasion, Stephen Thompson and I sat down Monday morning to talk with some of our favorite panelists about the game and the surrounding entertainment. With us is Katie Presley, a New Orleans Saints fan without too much at stake in this game. But also with us is Gene Demby of NPR's Code Switch team. Gene is a longtime Eagles fan who had, in terms of fandom, a lot at stake in this game.

It's last call for public comment on a Trump administration proposal that would give bar and restaurant owners more control over workers' tips.

The Labor Department has been asking for feedback, and already hundreds of thousands of people have weighed in.

Many say they say they're opposed to a rule that would allow restaurant owners to pocket tips for themselves.

Doritos, For Her

Feb 5, 2018

Update at 2:30 p.m. ET on Feb. 6: After coverage of Doritos designed for women spread, the company told AdAge it is not working on a "specific Doritos product for female consumers" and said that "needs and preferences continue to evolve and we're always looking for new ways to engage and delight our consumers."

Our original post continues:

Indra Nooyi, the CEO of global giant PepsiCo, says her company is trying to solve women's "least favorite things" about Doritos by developing a version of the snack designed specifically for women.

If you're a fan of thrillers, you know that they're defined by two extremes. At one end are the plot-driven worlds that work like clockwork machines (for instance, Murder on the Orient Express); at the other are the stories that sprawl outward to offer a portrait of the larger society (like James Ellroy's Los Angeles or Stieg Larsson's Sweden). As it turns out, I've recently come across an enjoyable example of each extreme.

In addition to being widely recognized as one of the great American guitarists, Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo is also a published writer, poet and visual artist. His latest solo album, Electric Trim, features Sharon Van Etten, Nels Cline of Wilco, Kid Millions and more.

Writer Maggie O'Farrell has survived some terrifying episodes. She's had a machete pressed to her throat during a robbery, once contracted amoebic dysentery while traveling and nearly bled out while giving birth to her first child.

All told, O'Farrell says she has experienced 17 different brushes with death — each of which she details in her new memoir, I Am, I Am, I Am.

In Gangnam, the upscale Seoul district south of the Han River bisecting the city, one of the area's biggest industries is evident on people's faces: On the streets, patients are wearing nose guards and bandages, fresh from facial fix-ups. High-rises soar with a cosmetic surgery clinic on every floor, and in the subway stations, floor-to-ceiling advertisements feature images of women's uniformly wide-eyed, youthful faces — all with the message that you, too, can look this way if you go to the right clinic.

How do you live after you've died? That's the weighty question behind The Afterlives, a new novel by Thomas Pierce, a former producer at NPR who has become an award-winning author.

The book's main character, Jim Byrd, suffers sudden cardiac arrest at age 30 — and survives.

Mushrooms have been used in Eastern medicine for centuries to treat everything from asthma to gout.

Now they're being marketed in the West as functional or medicinal mushrooms that can prevent cancer or stimulate higher brain function, but there are relatively few trials in humans to back up these claims.

If you've been following any of the news stories in recent years about famous men behaving horribly, then you've surely seen Gloria Allred. And while stories about sexual misconduct have been making headlines for many months now, Allred has been talking about those issues, filing lawsuits and holding press conferences for four decades.

It's February, which means it's Black History Month, the time designated by Congress to focus on the contributions of African Americans to this country. Often that focus will turn to a celebration of the civil rights movement, and its many heroes and heroines: Rosa Parks, John Lewis and of course the Rev. Martin Luther King. What could be wrong with that?

Egyptian archaeologists unearthed a well-preserved 4,400-year-old tomb from Egypt's Fifth Dynasty, a prosperous era where pharaohs ruled, palaces were erected and pyramids were built.

Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Enany said that the tomb belonged to Hetpet, a priestess to the goddess of fertility Hathor. Female priests were not common in ancient Egypt. Hathor, who also represented music and dance, had a number of them in her priesthood, reports National Geographic.

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