Arts & Culture

Arts & culture

John Banville, the notoriously self-critical Irish writer known for his elegant precision and icicle-sharp wit, has reached the age of nostalgia and redress. In Time Pieces, a lovely quasi-memoir and multi-leveled portrait of Dublin, Banville makes up for the short shrift he feels he's given his adopted city in his novels, which include The Sea, Ancient Light, and Mrs. Osmond, his recent sequel to Henry James' Portrait of a Lady.

In the heart of Charleston, S.C., on a melting pot street of shops, eateries and residents from all walks of life, stands Cannon Green, a soaring, skylight-lit Mediterranean restaurant and wedding venue. The staff of 70 runs two kitchens, which would not be unusual, except for the fact that it is 80 percent female.

One hundred years ago, the most powerful woman in Hollywood was a producer, a studio head and a major force onscreen.

The global box office success of Black Panther is no surprise to UCLA sociologist Darnell Hunt. His annual report on Hollywood diversity argues that movies and TV shows with diverse casts and creators pay off for the industry's bottom line.

Matt Young enlisted in the Marines in 2005 on impulse. He was 18 years old, and hours before he walked into the recruitment center, he'd gotten drunk and crashed his car into a fire hydrant. Young knew he needed direction in life and thought that becoming a Marine would help him to quickly "man up."

Nineteen years ago, Fahrije Hoti, 48, fled her home in Krusha e Madhe to the nearby mountains and then to neighboring Albania. Former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's military forces had descended on this rural village in southwestern Kosovo and separated the men from their families.

A few months later, in June 1999, after 78 days of NATO airstrikes drove Milosevic's army out of Kosovo, Hoti returned with her 3-year-old daughter and 3-month-old son to find her entire village in ruins, her home burned down.

Personal essayist and cartoonist Tim Kreider admits unabashedly that the longest relationship of his adult life was with a stray cat who became his companion for 19 years.

"There's just a certain reservoir of affection we all have that needs to be expressed in the literal sense, and so we will lavish it on pets," Kreider says. "Those are less complicated, less demanding relationships than human relationships."

The Citizens United decision, which ruled that the First Amendment allows corporations, unions and certain nonprofits to spend freely in support of political causes (though they can’t give directly to campaigns), has been called everything from a victory for free speech to a giveaway to multimillionaires. But whatever it was, it was the result of a long history of expanding corporate rights.

It takes a long time to fly from Australia to the U.S. Depending on how many stops you have and what your final destination is, you're probably looking at 24 hours plus. And similarly, it can take a long time for Australia's finest musicians to fly across the airwaves in the U.S.

Lani Estill's family ranches on thousands of acres in Modoc County on the border of Nevada and California. Her operation, Bare Ranch, sits in a place called Surprise Valley. It's a beautiful, almost forgotten place "Where the West still lives" — that's the county's motto.

"We have things going on here that you just don't see going on everywhere in the nation," Estill says. "Cattle are still gathered on horseback. We have cattle drives down the main country road."

Lots of kids dream of growing up to be rock stars. Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood was no different — though his interest was less in the glory and more in the intricacies of craft.

It's no exaggeration to say the new NBC series Good Girls has one of the most promising casts a network show has sported in a while. It has Retta, one of the indispensable members of the Parks and Recreation ensemble. It has Mae Whitman, who's been a terrific actress since she was tiny. It has Christina Hendricks, who gave such depth to Joan Holloway Harris on Mad Men. It even has Zach Gilford, who played the still-waters-run-deep quarterback Matt Saracen on Friday Night Lights.

Michelle Obama fans can officially start the countdown clock.

Over social media Sunday, the former first lady announced her first memoir, Becoming, will be published on November 13. That gives her most dedicated admirers exactly 261 days to start printing "Obama 2020" T-shirts as some are professing to do before storming bookstores.

"Writing BECOMING has been a deeply personal experience," she tweeted to her followers. "I talk about my roots and how a girl from the South Side found her voice."

In a new biopic from filmmaker Raoul Peck, the central character is a 19th century revolutionary who'd probably have plenty to say about the 21st century.

Peck's film, The Young Karl Marx, centers on the German philosopher, journalist and economist famously known for championing an economic system based entirely on uniform distribution of wealth. In 1848, Marx penned his most famous work, The Communist Manifesto.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Pedro the Lion is known for its sometimes dreamy lyrics that take on internal conflict, often filled with religious angst.

Even as many of their songs tackled faith, the Seattle-based band, formed in 1995, quickly gathered a wide indie rock following.

A decade later, the band and its frontman David Bazan reached a tipping point — as Bazan questioned his religious beliefs, the band dissolved when he embarked on a solo career.

The Trump administration unleashed a flood of outrage earlier this month after unveiling a proposal to overhaul the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps. The plan would replace half the benefits people receive with boxed, nonperishable — i.e. not fresh — foods chosen by the government and not by the people eating them.

Jorge Ramos On Being A 'Stranger'

Feb 25, 2018

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


There has been a lot of scary news about big data — about corporations or government invading your privacy. But imagine if we could use our data to make our lives better.

That is at the center of artist Laurie Frick's work — she wants to help create a future in which self-delusion is impossible. In fact, she thinks this shift is inevitable once people wake up to the transformational power of big data.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


In his latest book, "The Undressing," poet Li-Young Lee explores the beauty and violence of human relationships and connection.

Every morning at a supermarket called Auchan in central Paris, Magdalena Dos Santos has a rendezvous with Ahmed "Doudou" Djerbrani, a driver from the French food bank.

Dos Santos, who runs the deli section of the store, is in charge of supervising the store's food donations. She sets aside prepared dishes that are nearing their expiration date.

Opening a giant fridge, Dos Santos shows what else the store is giving away – yogurt, pizza, fresh fruits and vegetables, and cheese.

In December 2009, a small painting by Edgar Degas was quietly stolen from the Cantini museum in Marseille, France. Museum staff discovered Les Choristes was missing when they arrived in the morning, and the prosecutor suggested it could be an inside job because the painting had been unscrewed from the wall and there was no evidence of a break-in.

Chef David Chang's new Netflix show Ugly Delicious dives deep into how some of his favorite kinds of foods — from pizza to fried chicken — are made all over the world.

As the teenage survivors of last week's high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., speak out to demand tighter gun control, the young victims of a 2011 massacre in Norway still struggle to be heard and understood. U – July 22, which premiered this week at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival, tries to give a voice to those victims.

Writer Michelle McNamara was fascinated by true crime. She created the website True Crime Diary and became mesmerized by a series of crimes from the 1970s and '80s: 50 sexual assaults and at least 10 brutal murders committed in Northern California by a violent psychopath who she called "The Golden State Killer."

McNamara was at work on a book she hoped might deliver the killer to justice — or at least comfort the victims' families — when she died suddenly in her sleep in 2016. She was 46.

Chicago. David Mamet.

Maybe that's all that needs saying to introduce the first novel in more than 20 years by the celebrated and controversial playwright and screenwriter, who has so often made the city a signature in his works. It's a story of the mob era: hits ordered and adversaries iced; hooch in trucks which winds up in teapots; gunsels, madams, made men and molls.

Curl Up With 'The Tuscan Child,' A Truly Cozy Mystery

Feb 24, 2018

Rhys Bowen's new novel The Tuscan Child fits as firmly in its genre niche as an Italian nonna might in the hamlet of San Salvatore, where most of the action takes place. RAF officer Hugo Langley survives a crash nearby; a local woman, Sofia Bartoli, finds him and nurses him back to health. We read their story in third-person perspective, but half of the book's narration comes from Hugo's daughter Joanna, who finds a mysterious letter in her father's effects 30 years later, and decides to travel from London to Italy and figure it all out.

Last fall, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration started looking for dangerous bacteria in a few of America's most beloved fresh foods: parsley, cilantro, basil, and prepared guacamole. The very freshness of these foods carries a risk. Since they aren't normally cooked, they may harbor nasty bugs like salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.