Arts & Culture

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

The animals were getting lost in the forest — so the story goes.

A year after Walt Disney made history with the release of his studio's first feature-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, his artists were struggling to find the right design for the woodland backgrounds of Bambi, the coming-of-age tale of a young deer.

There's a new bar in New York City devoted to the fastest-growing alcoholic beverage in America. But don't expect a list heavy on craft beer or bourbon.

Wassail is a cider bar.

"You can see the color, very deep," says Ben Sandler, co-owner of the bar and restaurant on Manhattan's Lower East Side. He's filling my glass with a delicious amber liquid from E.Z. Orchards in Salem, Ore. "You can see it's kind of cloudy, so it's not filtered. Really dry."

When writer Kirstin Valdez Quade talks about her New Mexican roots, it's not just her own childhood, growing up in the region, that she means — it's a connection much deeper than that.

"My family has been in northern New Mexico for hundreds of years," she tells NPR's Arun Rath. "My family's presence can be traced back to 1695 and some of the earliest conquistadors. So there's a long family history in the region."

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Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

When Indiana's Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill into law allowing the state's businesses to refuse to serve same-sex couples based on religious grounds, he knew the move was a controversial one.

Does anybody remember the days when people on TV had to be nice, honest people you could root for? After seven seasons of the groundbreaking TV show Mad Men, neither do we.

The final season of the show is about to launch and so we've invited Mad Men creator Matt Weiner to play a game called "Glad Men" — three questions about people who try to cheer other people up. We'll quiz him on the lives of a success coach, a motivational speaker and a happiness guru.

In spring, West Bank almond trees bloom white. Dry brown hills turn temporarily green and are dotted with bright wildflowers. The ewes and nanny goats of Bedouin herders that wander the West Bank eat well this time of year.

It's cheese season.

Guitarist and composer John Renbourn co-founded the group Pentangle and went on to become revered by guitarists around the world. Renbourn was found dead of an apparent heart attack at his home in Scotland on Thursday, after failing to show up for a concert. He was 70 years old.

Maddie Hyde is a Sara Gruen heroine. She's bold, she's warm, and she's been cast out of Philadelphia polite society — in this case the family of her husband Ellis, who is 4F in the middle of World War II. To avoid the glares and scowls, and to earn their own way in the world after being cut off from a family fortune, they cross the Atlantic during a high tide of submarine warfare to try to burnish their family name by hunting down an older kind of monster in a Scottish village.

Stephen King's Carrie (his first published work) is now more than four decades old, but it's never fallen out of pop culture favor. It was a fresh, horrifying look at the nightmare that could be high school, with a memorably mousy teenage protagonist who unleashed her telekinetic powers on her town.

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