Arts & Culture

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

In 2015, Kiana Hayeri was living in Kabul and noticed something strange. She was helping her roommate, an Australian TV producer, with a script translation. The main character, a mother of three who divorces her abusive husband, was always described in a way that referred to a male relative.

On paper, few things may seem more navel-gazing than a memoir about being in a book club. But Anne Gisleson takes that ostensibly narrow premise and goes universal in her debut book, The Futilitarians. She writes about her time spent in a circle of friends who call themselves the Existential Crisis Reading Group — nicknamed The Futilitarians. Their portmanteau of "futility" and "utilitarian," while playful on the surface, isn't chosen lightly: They gather regularly to read and discuss books, as well as their lives, in post-Katrina New Orleans.

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Safe House Milwaukee

For a half-century, the Milwaukee restaurant - the Safe House has served a helping of Cold War history alongside burgers, fries, and drinks.  The restaurant was founded by Dave Baldwin, a connoisseur of the Cold War and espionage.  The ownership changed hands more recently, but the walls of the Safe House are still adorned with memorabilia from the Cold War era.

And while its day-to-day missions are food and entertainment, the restaurant not long ago hosted two people with strong connections to the Cold War.

Whatever time it is where you're listening right now, let's pretend for a minute that it's the early '90s, 3 a.m. You're somewhere in the New York area, tuned in to WKCR, absolutely glued to your radio because you're hearing explosive live performances by artists you don't know, but who you know are soon to be something big. We're talking Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G., Busta Rhymes, KRS-One, The Fugees, Fat Joe, DMX, Nas, and Wu-Tang Clan members Ghostface Killa and Method Man.

Moments like that happened weekly on the radio show hosted by my guests Stretch and Bobbito.

With guest host Stephen Henderson.

Presidents are expected to serve as moral leaders. But after the shows of hatred and violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, many Americans are turning to spiritual leaders who have helped their communities fight bigotry before.

Are we hearing enough from the nation’s faith leaders right now? What are they saying…and who’s listening?

GUESTS

The Environmental Defense Fund opened an office near Walmart's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., 10 years ago. It was part of a carefully plotted strategy to persuade the giant retailer that going green could be good for business. If it worked, it certainly could be good for the planet — Walmart's revenues are bigger than the entire economy of most countries.

"We really saw that working with companies could be transformative at a scale that was pretty unmatched," says Suzy Friedman, a senior director at EDF.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Actress Pamela Adlon has grown a successful TV career over decades, without ever becoming the stereotype of a tabloid starlet hounded by paparazzi. She starred in Californication, co-created Louie with comedian Louis C.K., and won an Emmy for her voice-over work as 12-year-old Bobby Hill on the animated show King of the Hill. Now she's doing the most personal work of her life, with the comedy, Better Things.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

There have been many primetime presidential addresses about Afghanistan. The first was to a joint session of Congress shortly after al-Qaida attacked the U.S. on 9/11.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

The artist Chronixx, born Jamar McNaughton, is 24 years old. But he's already been hailed as the leader of Jamaica's roots revival moment: an island-wide return to old-school reggae.

The Venezuelan government has cancelled the upcoming U.S. tour by the National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and its star conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who is also the music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela.

El Nacional, a major Venezuelan paper, reported yesterday that the cancellation was ordered by the presidency.

Syd has developed quite a voice for seduction. Between her solo work and group efforts helming The Internet, her burgeoning discography of softly-sung R&B hook-up anthems could turn any amateur PUA into a pro.

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