Arts & Culture

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

The National Sleep Foundation recommends an average of eight hours of sleep per night for adults, but sleep scientist Matthew Walker says that too many people are falling short of the mark.

"Human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent gain," Walker says. "Many people walk through their lives in an underslept state, not realizing it."

Amy Tan loves jazz and classical music. "I have a Steinway, which was my life's dream," she says, sitting at her grand piano in the middle of her New York living room. When Tan listens to a piece of music, she imagines stories to go with it, so she always listens when she writes.

It's only sexy to be sick sometimes. Or more precisely, only some types of sickness are sexy. Passionate fevers. Tragic, romantic consumption. Artistic mania. Poetic depression. The spectrum of socially acceptable mental illnesses is about as wide as a pinky finger — paranoia and anxiety aren't even on the same hand.

Advisory: The above video contains language that some may find offensive.

Karin Dreijer likes to play; the pitch-shifted vocals found on Fever Ray's self-titled 2009 debut forced questions of authorship, voice and beauty through ritualistic electro-pop.

They had me at "parmesan pepper bread." There are plenty of cookbooks that delight the eyes with beautiful photography, but the new self-titled cookbook from Zingerman's Bakehouse (and the first proper cookbook from the lauded Zingerman's 10 businesses) in Ann Arbor, Mich., is not a coffee table book.

Written by bakery co-owners Amy Emberling and Frank Carollo, the book does have some mouthwatering images, but its real appeal lies in the no-nonsense recipes that seem like they're just an oven-preheat away from appearing warm and fresh in your kitchen.

This essay is one in a series celebrating women whose major contributions in recording occurred before the time frame of NPR Music's list of 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women.

On March 16, 2016, musicians from the country and Americana worlds came together to pay tribute to Kris Kristofferson in an all-star concert celebration of his music. On Oct. 27, the rest of us will finally see the performances from that show, thanks to the live concert film The Life & Songs of Kris Kristofferson: All Star Concert Celebration.

In the close-knit world of English folk music, Leveret boasts an impressive pedigree. The trio's Andy Cutting is renowned for his mastery of the melodeon, a type of accordion with a push-pull mechanism for intonation that imbues it with a wheezy kick. The band's fiddler is Sam Sweeney, of the flamboyant nu-folk band Bellowhead, and its concertina player is Rob Harbron — both are deft and expressive musicians in their own right.

The audience for Hanson's first Tiny Desk concert could be cleanly sorted into two distinct camps: the curious and the committed.

Actor Tom Hanks has made us believe he can be anyone and do anything on the big screen.

Now he's taking us on a journey on the page: Tom Hanks has written a book.

It's a collection of short stories, with varied subjects: a World War II veteran on Christmas Eve in 1953, a California surfer kid who makes an unsettling discovery. There's time travel. In every story, Hanks sneaks in the machine he's so obsessed with — the typewriter.

It was an improbable story, and yet, it's true. Ron Chernow's 2005 biography of a Caribbean orphan who became a Revolutionary War hero, and then one of the nation's most consequential founding figures, became not just a bestseller but the catalyst for one of the most successful Broadway hits of all time — Hamilton.

Alecia Moore, better known as Pink, has built her career on making songs that were honest, and sometimes heartbreaking — but always fun.

There's a verse from the biblical prophet Isaiah carved into the walls of many synagogues: "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people." These wall inscriptions are a reminder to be welcoming to everyone. But one in five Jewish families includes someone with a disability, and many of them say synagogues aren't reaching out to them.

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