Arts & Culture

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

Julia Ward Howe wrote a rousing anthem for the Union in the Civil War. Since then, it's been caught in a cultural tug-of-war over who it's an anthem for — social conservatives, evangelical Christians, labor workers or civil rights leaders.

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In the early '90s, scarring kids for life became big business. R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike became brand name industries, minting money and traumatizing children. Stine had his Fear Street and Goosebumps series, while Pike turned out a seemingly endless line of young adult novels about teenagers killing teenagers, ancient dinosaurs disguised as teenagers killing teenagers, ghost teenagers killing non-ghost teenagers, and Greek gods reincarnated as teenagers killing teenagers. But this was simply the final development in decades of YA horror.

David Joy's new novel The Line That Held Us begins with a terrible accident.

Darl Moody is looking to poach a deer in the woods, when he accidentally kills another man — Carol Brewer, who is himself poaching for ginseng roots. Both are "working-class rural people who are just kind of doing what they have to do in order to survive," as David Joy says in an interview.

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The Cream Puffs Of Wisconsin

Aug 12, 2018

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Let's Hear It For Iceberg Lettuce

Aug 12, 2018

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Iceberg lettuce has a bad rap. Food critics sneer, comparing it to wax paper. Dietitians decry its nutritional failings. In a recent piece for The New Yorker, food writer Helen Rosner took a stand for iceberg.

During every berry-picking season in the Pacific Northwest, blueberry and raspberry growers fight to prevent birds from gobbling up the crop before harvest. This year, some farmers are trying something new to scare away the thieving birds: lasers.

Justin Meduri manages a large blueberry farm and cherry orchard outside Jefferson, Ore. Birds like both fruits.

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'Baghdad Noir' Presents A City Of Diverse Experiences

Aug 12, 2018

Just when you think the Noir Series from Akashic Books has gone everywhere — Lagos, Montana, and earlier this year, Prague — editors Tim McLoughlin and Johnny Temple (the publisher of Akashic) find a new city or country or locale. The latest entry, Baghdad Noir, edited by Samuel Shimon, identifies neighborhoods and places in which the stories happen, with a frontispiece map showing city districts.

Perhaps best known for his novel A Bend in the River, V.S. Naipaul was a controversial figure in the literary world. The Nobel Prize-winning writer died on Saturday at his London home, the author's agent confirms to NPR. He was 85.

His wife Nadira Naipaul, who was at his side when he passed, said he was "a giant in all that he achieved and he died surrounded by those he loved having lived a life which was full of wonderful creativity and endeavor," The Associated Press reports.

A new movie from director Spike Lee has a premise that's almost impossible to believe.

It's 1978 and a black police detective in Colorado Springs, Colo., manages to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. He not only gets a membership card straight from Grand Wizard David Duke, but he's also asked to lead a local chapter because he's everything they are looking for — loyal, smart and a true believer.

He establishes a relationship with David Duke over the phone. And for meetings in person, he recruits a white co-worker to go in his place.

Carolina Mulvey-Videla

There’s a lot of noise out here telling us that the sky is falling and that there’s no good left in our neighborhoods, cities, and country. That's why “To Be of Service” to each other, to neighbors, and to those in zip codes not our own, can be the most radical act we can commit. This week, we bring you two stories of people who chose to step up when they could have walked away. 

First, Nell Stevens wrote Bleaker House, a memoir about failing to write a novel. Now, in The Victorian and the Romantic, she has written a memoir about struggling to write her doctoral dissertation.

Writing about how writing is hard tends to be solipsistic and dreary, but these procrastination-born books have, instead, a kind of truant charm — like they know they should really be the other, more serious thing, the great work, but we're all here now so we may as well go get a drink.

Courtesy of Gianofer Fields

Most people have a preferred pronoun they stick with, like "he", "she", "they" or "them." Madison resident Shawn Padley says he answers to anything, as long as it's not, "she." 

If you ask anyone who has entered his apartment, Padley says they will gladly tell you he is definitely a "thing" person. In this edition of Radio Chipstone, he chats with contributor Gianofer Fields, confesses his love for stuff, and describes how his perspective of some objects changed as he transitioned from female to male. 

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