Arts & Culture

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

My enduring memory of Chicano Batman dates to the first time I saw them perform, back in 2010, at a bar called Footsies in Los Angeles's Glassell Park neighborhood. It'd be generous to even describe the space as "tight," as the group was surrounded by fans so close that one could have swiped Bardo Martinez's keyboard off the ironing board he used as a stand.

First Listen: Blanck Mass, 'World Eater'

Feb 22, 2017

As half of the experimental electronic duo F--- Buttons, Benjamin John Power has spent most of his musical career pushing toward extremes.

First Listen: Ibibio Sound Machine, 'Uyai'

Feb 22, 2017

Eno Williams, the lead singer and spiritual force behind Ibibio Sound Machine, was born in London, but she relocated to her mother's native Nigeria as a girl. It's a move that, years, later, would make a profound impact on musical career. In 2014, Ibibio Sound Machine's eponymous debut album skillfully combined London electronic club music with Nigerian funk and pop, making for a compelling, ear-popping experience. The band's follow-up album, Uyai, strengthens and deepens that cross-cultural alchemy.

In the waning years of the Civil War, advertisements like this began appearing in newspapers around the country:

"INFORMATION WANTED By a mother concerning her children.

The Brit Awards — the looser, goofier, British-er cousin of the Grammys — are currently underway from the O2 Arena in London. You can see the full list of nominees and winners below.



MasterCard British Album of the Year
WINNER: David Bowie -- Blackstar
The 1975 — I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It
Kano — Made in the Manor
Michael Kiwanuka — Love & Hate
Skepta — Konnichiwa

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Who says nobody dreams big anymore?

MATT NEGRIN: I want to write about what it's like to never leave the Mall of America.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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The last time I was talking with our TV critic Eric Deggans about late night television and the trouble with satirizing Donald Trump, he said it was a struggle.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

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The 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which takes place every four years, begins later this spring in Fort Worth, Texas. For the past six weeks, judges have been traveling the world to hear potential competitors audition. One notable stop is Moscow — where the American pianist for whom the contest is named stunned the world 59 years ago, winning the International Tchaikovsky Competition at the height of the Cold War.

Danish songwriter Agnes Obel's session might give you the shivers for more than one reason. Her latest album, Citizen Of Glass, was named for a pretty eerie concept. "I got the idea from the German term gläserner mensch, which is the term you use when an individual in a state has lost all his or her privacy," she says.

The Milwaukee Rep

Veterans of conflicts like Korea and Vietnam might scarcely recognize how wars are being fought today, and how they’ll be fought in the future.  For one, women represent a larger portion of our armed forces than ever before.  Secondly, the people doing the fighting need not always be on the battlefield or in the air above it.

I Draw Slow On Mountain Stage

Feb 22, 2017

The Dublin roots band I Draw Slow makes its debut on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. Ireland's answer to Americana, the five-piece string band (led by siblings Dave and Louise Holden) follows the same musical path as Gillian Welch and Alison Krauss in finding new, folky grooves in old-time Appalachian song.

These days, almost every new movie, TV show, album or book feels so anticipated and pre-packaged that we're already tired of it by the time it's released. This makes it especially thrilling when something dazzling just appears like that alien spaceship in Arrival, startling even those whose business it is be in the know.

The last Scottish monarch died more than 300 years ago, but if England's departure from the European Union goes through, a wary Scotland just might be in the business for a new king. And as luck would have it for scotophilic aesthetes, Alasdair Roberts appears up for the job.

Here's your "Awwww" and "Whoa!!" moment for today: a demonstration of a teeny-tiny, working pipe organ. It's an instrument made out of nothing but paper and cardboard (with one side covered by translucent plastic so that you can see its inner workings), and it's powered by nothing but an inflated balloon.

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