Arts & Culture

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

Is there a writer more profound and less pretentious than Lydia Millet? In her novels and story collections, a dozen in all, Millet deals out existential questions like playing cards, and like any good casino dealer, her hands never shake. Her newest book, Fight No More, could easily be her most philosophically confident and complex work yet. It's a novel about death disguised as a story collection about real estate, and it's alternately wrenching and hilarious, peaceful and joyful, so tender you almost can't bear it and so brutal you know that you can't.

The Creole word ayibobo carries many meanings. It can mean blessings or welcome. It can describe something wise or something you like. For Haitian singer-songwriter Paul Beaubrun, it signifies strength and resilience of his country, which is why he chose it to be the title of his latest album.

On the last day of school in the rural town of Cairo, on the southernmost tip of Illinois, the fire truck ran its hoses so kids could cool off in the sweltering heat. The staff barbecued burgers and hot dogs.

It was a light-hearted anecdote to what had been another tough year.

After a precipitous decline since 2012, enrollment dropped by another 100 or so students. This year there were only 26 seniors in the graduating class.

Soccer is not only "the beautiful game" — it's also a highly fashionable one.

Before the World Cup even started, the breakout winner of football fashion was Nigeria. With the Super Eagles' classic green turned into jazzy zigzags by Nike, its jersey became a highly anticipated item not just for soccer fans, but for streetwear hypebeasts.

As a child, author Minh Lê had a deep and loving relationship with his grandparents, but he also remembers a lot of "awkward silence."

"There were those moments where we just didn't know what to say to each other," he says.

Lê was born in the U.S. and grew up in Connecticut. His grandparents were from Vietnam. His new picture book — a collaboration with Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat — explores how a young boy and his Thai grandfather learn to bridge barriers of language, culture and age.

Right around dawn Sunday, an unidentified person stole into an art exhibition space in Toronto. Encased in a sweatshirt, with hands in armpits and face obscured by a camouflage cap, the dark-dressed lurker slinked into a room lined with works by Banksy.

One year ago this month, the music world lost Geri Allen, a highly regarded and influential pianist, composer and educator who died of cancer at age 60 on June 27, 2017.

A vital contributor to contemporary jazz, she was known for uniting disparate styles of jazz, and her style found its roots everywhere from Motown and James Brown to the music of Fats Waller and Thelonious Monk. In 2008, on her third appearance on Piano Jazz, Allen and McPartland perform a spontaneous composition. Allen solos on originals, including "Brilliant Veracity."

UPAF

The annual campaign for the United Performing Arts Fund, or UPAF, wrapped up this week. It successfully raised more than $12 million for local performing arts groups. In addition to the financial support it provides, the UPAF campaign connects people who have performed in Milwaukee over the years.

This year, acting couple Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry were UPAF’s special closing week guests. People of a certain age will probably remember the husband and wife team from the iconic 1980s TV series, “LA Law."

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Ed Helms: Tag Me In

Jun 15, 2018

Before he was Andy from The Office or Stu from The Hangover, actor Ed Helms did stand-up at a dingy comedy cellar that, despite being in New York, was called The Boston Comedy Club. He reminisces on his time there with Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg at the Bell House in Brooklyn.

Xeno Books

If you’re a parent, you’ll probably never forget how you felt the first time you found out you were expecting. Becoming a parent changes everything, and fear and love can be constant companions. As Father’s Day approaches, we look at one man who processed his feelings about fatherhood in his own unique way.

Welles has the look, the voice, the licks, the hooks and the attitude of a real rock star. His classic rock-meets-grunge debut  Red Trees and White Trashes  alternates between being big, chunky, bombastic and driving and also intimate, sensitive, quiet and reserved. There's no shortage of ballads and barn-burners.

Material Girls' glam-soaked, goth-smeared rock and roll struts and stumbles like a fish-netted pair of legs breaking in new heels. The punk ensemble from Atlanta released a promising EP last year via Henry Owings' venerable Chunklet label housing four songs dripping in danger and sweat, like a whiskey-swigging Nick Cave partying with Captain Beefheart.

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