Arts & Culture

Interviews and stories about art, culture, music, books, food / dining and sports.

Following the mass shooting in Las Vegas last Oct. 1, which began while country star Jason Aldean was performing as the final act of the final night of the Route 91 Harvest Festival, another country singer who had played the event, Lee Brice, appeared on a local news station in South Carolina.

Poet Philip Levine discovered jazz on the radio when he was a teenager.

Robots have taken over many of America's factories. They can explore the depths of the ocean, and other planets. They can play ping-pong.

But can they pick a strawberry?

"You kind of learn, when you get into this — it's really hard to match what humans can do," says Bob Pitzer, an expert on robots and co-founder of a company called Harvest CROO Robotics. (CROO is an acronym. It stands for Computerized Robotic Optimized Obtainer.)

Usually the image of a pub is one of welcome, a cozy place where neighbors gather to share friendship and a pint or two. But Dan Margulis, an advertising professional with a personal interest in immigration issues, decided to use the concept for a kind of social experiment along Detroit's St. Patrick's Day Parade route — and there was no friendly welcome involved.

For years, religion scholar Bart Ehrman wanted to write a book about the early spread of Christianity, but he shied away from it because the topic seemed too big.

Eventually, Ehrman decided that the massive scope is what made the project so compelling: "The entire history of the West was transformed by the fact that Christianity took over the Roman Empire and then became the dominant religious and political and cultural force in our civilization," he says.

Audrey Nowakowski

Not every story assignment turns out to be a life-affirming exercise.  Milwaukee writer Dan Simmons has written about a lot in his time here - from a doctor who treats bonobos to changes in the housing market. But Simmons’ most recent assignment for Milwaukee Magazine turned out to form a connection for which he says he will always be grateful.

In the midst of all the chaos that is Austin, Texas during the SXSW Music Festival, we seek moments of calm. And so one night, as the week was nearing its end, we made our way to the courtyard of St. David's Episcopal Church, just a few blocks from the thousands of festival participants and onlookers.

Three militia members accused of plotting to bomb a mosque and apartment complex in southwest Kansas go on trial Tuesday in Wichita.

Their alleged plot, discovered in 2016, laid bare tiny pockets of potentially violent racism in a region that's drawn immigrants from across the world to tough meatpacking jobs for decades.

The raw hate exposed in the alleged plot shocked many of the refugees who were targeted, reminding them of violence they fled in Somalia and sparking an exodus from one of the prairie towns.

It's hard to imagine a day when we all stop talking about Election 2016. It may be even harder when you're Jennifer Palmieri, former communications director for Hillary Clinton's last presidential campaign.

Palmieri is out with a new book called Dear Madam President. The book is full of advice for a future woman world leader, but it also serves as an extremely revealing retrospective on Election 2016, posing big and lingering questions on the presidential race we just can't leave behind.

Our bleary-eyed, ear-ringing week of seemingly non-stop live music in Austin, Texas has ended and we're back one last time to reflect on the 2018 South by Southwest festival and play some of our favorite discoveries.

Growing up in the late 1950s and early '60s, Betty Cantor developed an early talent for tinkering. "I used to take things like radios, other little electronic devices if they didn't work, open them up, mess with them, put them back together and they worked," she remembers during a recent phone call. "I could fix watches that wouldn't work for anybody else." Her fascination with how things worked helped her breeze through the available math and science classes at her Martinez, Calif.

Liz Brasher Storms Stubb's Stage With 'Outcast'

8 hours ago

Last Wednesday night, Liz Brasher lit up the room with engaging guitar riffs, vocals bursting with otherworldly power and excitement that bubbled off the stage. Each song in this short set further highlighted her arsenal of talents — take the example this throw-down, titled "Outcast."


  • "Outcast"


Aisha Burns' heart was like a glass emptying and filling itself. Her mother had died, but she had also found love in a new relationship, all at once. The conflicting emotions would be enough for any heart to spill over with grief and joy, but Burns channeled it all into her new project.