Arts & Culture

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

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Changes in the environment can affect what is available for us to eat. My colleague Steve Inskeep spoke with Allison Aubrey about a little-noticed factor in our food supply that affects what will be available for Thanksgiving dinner.

For a glimpse of Memory Theater in microcosm, it wouldn't hurt to flip first to the book's back pages. There, you'll find "a partial glossary of potential obscurities" — where the names of Italian Renaissance-era philosophers mingle with British post-punk bands, medieval Christian holy women and even a deceased cat called Frances, a moggy lauded for being "elegant, beautiful and fastidiously small."

There's also an entry for a man that reads, simply: "As far as I'm aware, he did not exist."

There's an oil painting on one wall in the cluttered room that serves as central headquarters of Burch Farms, a large vegetable grower in Faison, N.C. The painting shows an African-American couple, the woman in a long, plain dress, the man in a homespun shirt. They're digging sweet potatoes with their bare hands and an old-fashioned hoe.

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It sounds like a fairy tale: Five beautiful sisters with long flowing hair are locked up together and forced, one by one, into marriage. But it's not a fairy tale — it's the story of a new movie called Mustang set in a contemporary, rural Turkish village.

Domingo Martinez, author of The Boy Kings of Texas, recommends the podcast Crybabies, particularly the episode in which the hosts talk to comedian Guy Branum about the things that make him cry. For more great podcast recommendations, and another one of Martinez's favorite Crybabies episodes, visit

If you are turkey-averse, turkeyphobic or just bored with the bird, fear not. We've got some other main dish ideas for you.

"What I think is cool is to put a center roast on the table that comes from the woods itself: something wild, something home-hunted, like venison," Amy Thielen, Minnesotan and author of The New Midwestern Table, tells All Things Considered's Ari Shapiro. Deer, says Thielen, is "one of those secret underground proteins in the American meat-eating story."

It's time to stop dancing around the issue. Thanksgiving food is trash. Sitting down to a standard Thanksgiving meal means negotiating between dry and bland or lukewarm and sticky. But it doesn't have to be. If there's one thing we learned the first time around, it's that Thanksgiving is all about "borrowing" from others.

John Nienhuis

Of all the things you can be grateful for this week, the one that often tops the list is love. (Awww.) Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s entire season is devoted to the theme of “looking for love in all the wrong places.”