Arts & Culture

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

Twenty-seven years ago, journalist Buzz Bissinger decided that he wanted to write about the big-time stakes of small-town high school football — he just needed to find the right town. At the suggestion of a college recruiter, he visited Odessa, a west Texas town with a high school football stadium capable of seating 19,000 — and a population of approximately 90,000.

"Odessa is just kind of a dusty, gritty place," Bissinger tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "And I see that stadium ... and it's like a rocket ship on the desert."

'Spies' Is A Cinematic Account Of Americans In War-Torn Paris

Aug 3, 2015

It's the least surprising thing in the world to discover that historian Alex Kershaw's latest book, Avenue of Spies, has already been optioned for development with Sony Pictures TV. Its circumstances — an American family in Paris aiding the French resistance from an apartment only a few doors down from the Paris headquarters of the SS — are too cinematic to ignore. And if that sounds like a coincidence so precarious only fiction can support it ... it sounded that way to the Jacksons, too.

Louis Sachar knows a few things about writing for kids. His first book, Sideways Stories From Wayside School, came out in 1978 — and the wacky collection is still in print.

His 1999 Newbery Medal winner, Holes, centers on a boy wrongly confined to a juvenile detention facility. It's mysterious and creepy, and it's still flying off the shelves.

So if he says kids will love a scary eco-bioterror-mystery-thriller-comedy, you just might trust him.

Eggs are becoming more expensive and scarce recently because so many chickens have died from avian flu. So bakers, in particular, are looking for cheaper ingredients that can work just as well. (This story previously aired on All Things Considered on July 22, 2015.)

Jon Stewart's Private White House Meetings

Aug 2, 2015
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ARUN RATH, HOST:

Greg Louganis is the best diver of his generation — perhaps the best the world has ever seen. The four-time gold medalist is the only man to ever sweep the diving events in consecutive Olympics.

The new documentary Back on Board, by director Cheryl Furjanic and producer Will Sweeney, contrasts that success with the inner turmoil Louganis experienced rising to stardom at such a young age.

Thomas Jefferson's vision of democracy has endured in one of the defining documents of U.S. history. But the 607 slaves who toiled in his Monticello estate have left few traces to remember them by.

The vote by the Boy Scouts of America to lift its ban on openly gay troop leaders last week was a blow to some religious conservative organizations that have long been connected to scouting, especially the Mormon church, which has deep roots in the Boy Scouts.

The church, also known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has used the Boy Scouts as its official program for young men for more than 100 years, according to Quin Monson, a political science professor at Brigham Young University.

To the ranks of sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami, researchers say they are ready to add a sixth taste — and its name is, well, a mouthful: "oleogustus."

Announced in the journal Chemical Senses last month, oleogustus is Latin for "a taste for fat."

"It is a sensation one would get from eating oxidized oil," explains Rick Mattes, a professor of nutrition science at Purdue University and one of the study authors.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The music of Colombia is in the spotlight this week as we check in with our friends at Alt Latino. Felix Contreras usually joins us with a number of artists to share. Today he has just one artist.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TAMBOLERO")

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