Arts & Culture

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

Would you eat venison if there was a chance it could slowly eat away at your brain?

If there's a slight possibility, it doesn't bother Patrick States. On the menu this evening for his wife and two daughters at their Northglenn, Colo., home are pan-seared venison steaks with mashed potatoes and a whiskey cream sauce.

"We each have our specialty, actually," says States as the steak sizzles. "The girls made elk tamales this morning, but we use [venison or elk] in spaghetti, chili, soup, whatever."

Kipp Friedman

Milwaukee area photographer Kipp Friedman has shot thousands of images of other people’s joyous occasions - weddings, bar mitzvahs, and other parties and observances.  But it was his own vacation, far from the banquet rooms of Shorewood or Oak Creek, that inspired him to compile a photo book.

Some TV genres are perennials. They've been around since the early days of television, and probably are never going away — weekly drama series featuring doctors or cops, for example.

Other TV genres are like locusts. They get buried, lying dormant, until they suddenly resurface. On prime time TV, the game show was dead for decades until Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? brought it back. And quite recently, Netflix's Godless, like HBO's Deadwood years before it, did its best to try and revive the TV Western.

Anna von Hausswolff's voice has truly begun to equal her instrument. Like the pipe organ she commands at harrowing volumes and in disquiet drones, her howls rattle and shake with a sublime elasticity on "The Mysterious Vanishing Of Electra," the first single from Dead Magic.

And ... action! A century ago, in the days when Hollywood was still Hollywoodland, audiences sat in darkened theaters to watch silent "flickers" featuring anonymous actresses and actors who were called "movies," their roles written by "scenarists." The whole idea of a movie star had yet to be invented, until a Canadian-born gamine named Mary Pickford charmed her way into the public's consciousness.

It's tricky to nail down exactly what makes someone feel like a "racial impostor." For one Code Switch follower, it's the feeling she gets from whipping out "broken but strangely colloquial Arabic" in front of other Middle Easterners.

For another — a white-passing, Native American woman — it's being treated like "just another tourist" when she shows up at powwows. And one woman described watching her white, black and Korean-American toddler bump along to the new Kendrick and wondering, "Is this allowed?"

To protest, or not to protest? This week on Ask Code Switch, we're digging into a question from Shawn, an African-American high school student in South Florida, who wonders how best to take a stand against injustice:

Hello Code Switch Crew,

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It's as if brothers Brian and Michael D'Addario fell from the sky, victims of a transporter beam gone awry in 1971, and landed here at my desk with guitars in hand, right next to a perfectly tuned Yamaha upright piano.

Hey fam —

Code Switch is planning a full year of stories about the complex ways that race, identity and culture play out in peoples' lives, across the country and around the globe. And to make sure our coverage is the best it can be, we want some feedback from you.

So tell us what you loved and hated in our past year of coverage. Tell us which stories left you satisfied, and which left you wanting more. And tell us what you're dying to hear about in 2018.

To share your thoughts, email us at CodeSwitch@npr.org, or fill out this form.

This year, trucks and other heavy-duty motors in America will burn some 3 billion gallons of diesel fuel that was made from soybean oil. They're doing it, though, not because it's cheaper or better, but because they're required to, by law.

The law is the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS. For some, especially Midwestern farmers, it's the key to creating clean energy from American soil and sun. For others — like many economists — it's a wasteful misuse of resources.

Edwin Hawkins' "Oh Happy Day" was an accidental hit. The song, a gospel-style rework of an 18th century hymn, starts with a jazzy drum beat and a kind of blues pop piano groove. Dorothy Morrison, who sings lead on the recording, remembers at first, the pop feel got a lukewarm reception from the church.

"At first the reaction was, 'Well, we're not sure,' " Morrison says.

Putnam/Penguin Random House

The most recent figures from the World Bank show the average life expectancy for Americans is nearly 79 years old.  And while that’s a few years less than some other countries, it's still around the highest point it has ever been in US history.  But let’s say you knew exactly how long you’ll live - down to the very day.  Would it change the way you lived your life?

By 1938, clarinetist Benny Goodman was already known as "The King of Swing" — the leader of the most popular dance band in America at a time when swing jazz was America's most popular music. But nobody knew how it would be received in Carnegie Hall, America's temple to classical music.

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