Arts & Culture

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

The Smashing Pumpkins has announced an extensive North American arena tour under the title Shiny and Oh So Bright. Its three dozen dates will begin on July 12 in Glendale, Ariz. and end Sept. 7 in Boise, Idaho.

As with most of the tours, reunions, albums and other assorted ephemera surrounding this, one of alt-rock's greatest acts, what might have simply been a greatest hits lap for a band that parted ways nearly two decades ago has turned into a bit of a referendum on its legacy.

St. Vincent, aka Annie Clark, stopped by for a short acoustic set of songs from her acclaimed album Masseduction, as well as some old favorites. The stripped-down versions of these songs spotlighted her exceptional voice and were truly stunning.

SET LIST

  • "New York"

On a starless night, Maria Popova remembers walking down a back road with her friend, Amanda, who had her newborn son strapped to her chest. Mourning the loss of a longtime relationship, Popova describes the darkness being so thick that "each stride seemed to slice the air apart." And then they came to a clearing that stunned her — in the middle of the woods, a glow-worm constellation.

On a cold evening in Manhattan's Chinatown, Mei Lum sits at the front counter of her family's century-old store. She's closed the porcelain shop for the night, and is tapping away on her laptop, tying up loose ends for the multi-day Lunar New Year celebrations she's organizing for both her family and the store.

Lum, 27, can already picture the scenes that will unfold. Just as they have every year for decades, family and friends will gather in Wing on Wo & Co. tonight for an elaborate dinner.

Back in 1983, it seemed like a good idea.

At first, Asymmetry seems like a story we've heard before: Young, pretty would-be writer Alice launches an affair with Ezra, a literary celebrity several decades her senior. He gets a stent, she gets an abortion, he teaches her to pronounce Camus ("It's CA-MOO, sweetheart"), she picks up his meds, he calls her a "good girl," she calls him "cradle robber."

For the first few chapters, it seemed too tired and too insular a story to hear again all for the meagre reward of watching a lightly disguised Philip Roth ejaculate "like a weak water bubbler."

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Alfredo Rodríguez is a figurehead of the new generation of Cuban jazz musicians who observe and honor their roots while constantly seeking new avenues for expression.

Burgers and chicken nuggets are still the mainstay of the Happy Meal. But on Thursday McDonald's announced its goal to market more balanced kids meals around the globe.

The company says by the end of 2022, at least 50 percent or more of the kids meal options listed on menus will meet new global Happy Meal nutrition criteria: Meals will have 600 calories or less; no more than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat; no more than 650 mg sodium; and no more than 10 percent of calories from added sugar.

Self-consciousness sometimes leads artists to reevaluate their approaches to music-making. They'll shift in directions they hope will cause their work to be taken more seriously and try to encourage the perception that they're saying things of importance. It's a familiar enough trajectory that Caroline Rose's inversion of it has mischievous appeal.

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