Arts & Culture

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

Dystopian art is all the rage these days. Shows like Black Mirror darkly question our relationships to technology and politics, while the cautionary literature of authors like Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick has suddenly become fodder for mainstream consumption. These works, and plenty of others in similar veins, turn a critical eye to our current social and political moment. What's become a rarity during this time, though, is apocalyptic art without an overt political agenda.

At once amiable and soaring, Mt. Joy's songs unfold like good political speeches: They amble and converse and pulsate fervently until it's time to get the crowd chanting along. Take "Silver Lining," which plays like a pretty straightforward rock and roll ramble — complete with a chorus in which singer Matt Quinn shouts out the phrase, "The drugs, the women, the wine, the weed" — until it gets to a more profound call to action: "Tell all the ones you love you love them."

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As we wait to see whether lawmakers can work out a deal, we're going to examine something Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week as he previewed the Senate debate.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Mike Miller Images

The relationship between food and love is the basis of many platitudes. And for the couples featured in this month’s Milwaukee Magazine the cliches hold true: food and love are an inseparable pair.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, the February edition of the magazine showcased a number of couples who own and operate restaurants in Milwaukee. Chefs Lisa Kirkpatrick and Paul Zerkel makeup one of the couples featured in the magazine. 

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When the Brombergs fled Germany in 1938, they had no choice but to travel light. A Jewish family, fearing for their lives as the shadow of the coming Holocaust crept closer, they didn't have the luxury of taking their fine art with them — or of worrying whether they were getting a fair price when they sold it. They needed to get to safety. And over the next year — as they dashed to France, Switzerland and ultimately the U.S. — they used those sales to help them get there.

Austin-based singer/songwriter Gina Chavez has always worn her emotions on her sleeve.

Her deeply felt ruminations on things like identity, love, life, fun and joy have made her music an Alt.Latino favorite for quite a few years now. Chavez's voice is perfectly suited to reflect all of those experiences and to take us to places where we dare to let our emotional guards down.

Penguin Random House

Milwaukee author Nick Petrie has given up his day job. Thanks to the bestselling success of his Peter Ash series, the former contractor and building inspector now puts author in the occupation line on his tax returns. It’s a very welcome change, but one that was a long time coming - about a decade or so.

Petrie says it's still a little strange to not be tethered to the daily work world. "I feel sort of like Wile E. Coyote after he's run off the cliff. My legs are going and I'm trying really hard not to look down."

To celebrate Valentine's Day, you can buy a sappy card. Or a silly one.

Or, you can buy one that takes on Islamophobia with messages like "This burka is built for two" and "First Muslim Registry ... Then Wedding Registry."

These are some of the valentine creations of Tanzila Ahmed, a Los-Angeles-based writer, artist, activist and co-host of the podcast #GoodMuslimBadMuslim.

The messages make people laugh — and squirm. And that was absolutely her intention, Ahmed says.

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Claudia Delgadillo

The United States Senate is again debating competing immigration plans with less than a month remaining before the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program is set to expire. The Trump Administration has indicated it will require the president’s border wall and broader border security measures to be a part of the solution, even as a majority of Americans say they believe the so-called Dreamers here under DACA should receive legal immigration status.

Today is Ash Wednesday.

For many of us, the smudge on people's foreheads signifies the first day of Lent.

Photographer Greg Miller has been documenting this ritual on the streets of New York City for the past 20 years.

His upcoming book, Unto Dust, features 40 portraits from his decades of work.

Here is what he told us about the project.


Why did you decide to do this project?

Oakland is a city that's rapidly gentrifying, shedding much of its African-American population along the way. The California city, which was 47 percent black in 1980, is now divided roughly into a quarter each of black, white, Asian and Hispanic residents.

The sense of the city's changing identity has ended up helping Adrian Henderson's business. He's co-owner of Kingston 11 Cuisine, a Caribbean restaurant in a neighborhood that's changed so much lately that it goes by the dual name of Koreatown Northgate.

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