Arts & Culture

Arts & culture

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


It's easy to be skeptical of a documentary about Fred Rogers, who hosted Mister Rogers' Neighborhood on public television for decades. Rogers has achieved, as the film acknowledges, an almost saint-like status, and the mission of Won't You Be My Neighbor? is not to uncover some secret dark side of the man — as far as you'll know walking out, there wasn't one.

The worst kind of horror plays for shock — for extremes of blood and gore and screaming nonsense. It is instantly recognizable for existing in a universe too far gone from our own to truly haunt anyone still tethered to the everyday.

The best kind of horror is soft. Quiet. Almost gentle in its handling of fear. It is rooted firmly in the real. It could happen tomorrow, to any of us.

Ben Torpey is kneeling in the dirt, planting one bright green seedling after another to grow his first batch of organic lettuce. Customers in nearby Providence, R.I., are already waiting for his harvest.

The local food movement in Rhode Island is thriving, and Torpey — a guy who grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey — is typical of a new generation of farmers.

"I've been fortunate enough to be able to find my way to having this be my job," says Torpey, who has been working the land for six years. "I feel really lucky."

Scientists think they can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by tweaking the food that cows eat. A recent experiment from the University of California, Davis suggests that adding seaweed to cattle feed can dramatically decrease their emissions of the potent gas methane.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


Deborah Levy opens her new memoir, The Cost of Living, by telling us one of those small stories whose size, like an ant or a virus, stands in inverse proportion to its power.

As Levy recalls, one night, she was sitting alone in a bar in the Caribbean. Near her, a muscled middle-aged guy whose silver hair was gathered into a manbun started chatting up a young woman. Levy comes to refer to him as "Big Silver."

There's an intimacy in the way Ray LaMontagne records and performs music that makes you feel like you're peeking through a curtain and listening in on a private moment. And in some ways, you truly are.

Ray is an artist I think of the purest sort. He's in it for the expression, not the attention. That's one of the things that I love about Ray and have loved since his 2004 debut Trouble. And it's the same quality that makes this career path challenging for him.

For the Hall family, the country house called Hamdean was supposed to be a retreat, a suite of well-appointed rooms where they could escape their busy London lives. Buying the front part of the manor in southeast England was the idea of Michael, who works in real estate, although his wife, Catherine, was wary of her husband's "folie de grandeur." Her skepticism, sadly, proves to be right — although not in a way either of them could have predicted.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


In Search Of American Food

Jul 2, 2018

Chef Edward Lee says his new book is “the story of American food.” It is not a glossy book of food photography (there actually aren’t any food photos in the book, but more on that later). Instead, it’s a memoir, a history book and a travel guide.

Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET

The charges against Harvey Weinstein in New York have expanded.

The former Hollywood mogul is already facing first-degree rape and other charges involving incidents with two women, in 2004 and 2013. Now, a grand jury in New York has charged Weinstein with allegedly committing a forcible sexual act against a third woman.

Coffee is far from a vice.

There's now lots of evidence pointing to its health benefits, including a possible longevity boost for those of us with a daily coffee habit.

On a beautiful sunny day recently in south Lancaster County, Pa., farmer Abner Stolztfus and seven of his eight children were inside, bottling yogurt in a room next to the barn. "The younger one is only 2 months old, so she's not working out here yet," he said, laughing.

Stolztfus and his family own Cedar Dream dairy farm in the town of Peach Bottom in southeast Pennsylvania. He and his kids milk 50 cows twice a day — at 5 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon. His family has been farming for generations.

"I learned milking cows before I started going to school," he said.