Arts & Culture

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

Artist June Leaf, Still Moving Fast At 86

Jun 18, 2016

June Leaf was trained in ballet, but she's been making visual art since she was a kid. That's a long time – she's 86 and the subject of a new retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.

Much of Leaf's work tells stories, often about relationships, and especially her relationship with her husband, the renowned photographer Robert Frank — who's far better known than his wife. Now, the Whitney retrospective is the museum's way of saying: It's time to pay attention to June Leaf.

A few years ago on Father's Day, my dad, who was then living in Taiwan, forwarded the family a special holiday coupon to one of his favorite places in the world: Souplantation. A sort of glorified salad buffet, Souplantation is the kind of chain restaurant you go to with your family after church or sports games, particularly after the ones you've lost. The food doesn't inflame the senses or your digestive tract. In his email, he urged us to take advantage of the coupon on his behalf— with an exclamation mark and a note of regret.

Inside the yellow brick house Emily Dickinson's grandfather built in Amherst, Mass., in 1813, you can see the very room and desk where the reclusive poet did her writing. The desk looks out onto the yard, from which Dickinson drew images and inspiration. Take just a few lines from her poem "It will be Summer — eventually.":

Two men arrive in a world of infinite forest: "Mud, rain, biting insects and the odor of willows made the first impression of New France. The second was of dark vast forest, inimical wilderness." René Sel and Charles Duquet are indentured French woodsmen, set to work chipping away at the forests of Canada — then called New France.

The soda industry says it will fight to repeal the tax on sweetened beverages voted in by the Philadelphia City Council this week.

"The tax passed [in Philadelphia] is a regressive tax that unfairly singles out beverages — including low- and no-calorie choices. But most importantly, it is against the law," reads a statement from the American Beverage Association.

A German court sentenced 94-year-old Reinhold Hanning to five years in prison for being an accessory to the murder of 170,000 people between January 1942 and June 1944, when he served as an SS guard at the Auschwitz death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

More than 1 million people were systematically murdered at the camp during World War II. Almost all of them were Jewish.

At The Salt, we talk a lot about how food and cultures intersect and how we can learn about ourselves through what we eat — or don't eat.

For many of us, food can serve as a way to explore our heritage. But what happens when you grow up in a family with a different ethnic, racial or cultural background than your own? How does food play into your sense of who you are?

If you are an international adoptee, and you've got a story about food, home and identity, we want to hear from you. Your story could end up on radio or NPR.org!

What you need to do:

A wine's terroir is what makes it special, says Greg Allen. He's a California winemaker who has studied and worked in the industry for 20 years.

"There's a rush of emotion when I think of terroir," he says. A wine's terroir may recall the slope of the hill where lush grapes grow — and maybe the angle of sunlight that warmed those grapes on that hill, or the way water moves through the soil that nourished them.

But when Allen thinks of terroir, he also think about microbes — about bacteria and fungi.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

At a long table in the Level Up restaurant, 11 stories above Gaza City, Basil Eleiwa got a cake with a sparkling candle on top — to honor his eatery's second birthday.

"We opened two or three weeks before the 2014 war," Level Up's founder and co-owner notes, referring to the conflict that began in July 2014 between Israel and Hamas, the militant Islamist group that runs the Gaza strip.

The restaurant had closed during the seven weeks of fighting.

"The building was hit a number of times," Eleiwa says. "It didn't fall down."

Bonnie North

If your idea of accordion music begins and ends with the tunes featured on the Lawrence Welk show, Guy Klucevsek would like to broaden your horizons. He's a world-class accordionist who has founded bands and even entire record labels around the oft-forgotten reed instrument.

Celine Di-On It!

Jun 17, 2016

Kimiko Glenn was in the midst of watching Netflix's Orange Is The New Black when she was called in to audition. She was so nervous, it was all she could do to just get the words out. The next afternoon, Glenn landed the role of inmate Brook Soso, the free-spirit activist who's arrested for living in a tree to protest logging. Her first day on set started at 6 a.m. the following morning.

Show Stopper

Jun 17, 2016

No, this is not the final round of the Great British Bake-Off. Instead, to cook up this round's clues, we took the names of famous plays and musicals and ran them through our thesaurus. For example, if we gave the clue, "The Male Monarch and Me," you'd answer, "The King and I."

Heard on Kimiko Glenn: Celine Di-On It!

What's Wrong With Jonathan Coulton

Jun 17, 2016

In this installment of What's Wrong With Jonathan Coulton, he must discern which statement is true:

One: The city of Cincinnati, Ohio, was once widely known by the nickname "Porkopolis."

Two: The city of Eugene, Oregon was once widely known by the nickname "Cougar Town."

Heard on Kimiko Glenn: Celine Di-On It!

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