Arts & Culture

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

There's an unforgettable scene in the Netflix documentary Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold. Filmmaker Griffin Dunne asks Didion about the legendary moment when, while reporting a piece on the counter-culture in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, she came across a 5-year-old girl tripping on LSD.

"What was that like?" Dunne wonders. Didion pauses, and replies, "It was gold." Which is to say that the little girl was great material.

In the winter of 1949, a group of judges — including poets T.S. Eliot and Robert Lowell — met to decide the winner of the prestigious Bollingen Prize for the best book of poetry published in the United States the previous year. They gave the prize to Ezra Pound for his collection The Pisan Cantos. Then all hell broke loose.

Luna On World Cafe

Dec 4, 2017

Around the time Luna announced it was breaking up back in 2004, lead singer Dean Wareham said, "This is what bands do." But you can bet any fan of Luna's dreamy, moody sound was secretly hoping they would undo it. And after about a decade, Luna did. (Or: undid.)

The 40th annual Kennedy Center Honors last night (Dec. 3) recognized those in the arts who've made lifetime achievements in American pop culture and ushered in some new traditions in the process.

The Ground Beneath Our Feet

Dec 4, 2017

During a major soil catastrophe — the Dust Bowl — President Franklin Roosevelt told state governors, “The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.”

Still, we treat our soil like dirt. By growing food and storing carbon dioxide and water, the loam and peat that coats the earth sustains us all. In return, we till it, treat it with chemicals and generally walk all over it.

What were your favorite albums released in 2017? Using the form below, write in and rank the five albums you loved most this year. Your No. 1 favorite album goes in the first space, your second-favorite in the second space, and so on. We'll tally the votes and share the results in the All Songs Considered podcast next week.

When we're grocery shopping, most of us don't seek out foods that have passed their "Best Before" dates. But a chain of grocery stores in England is asking consumers to do just that.

In an effort to reduce food waste, the East of England Co-op says that it is now selling items that are up to a month past their "Best By" dates in its 125 outlets, with prices reduced to just 10 pence (about 13 cents).

Stephen Jay Gould famously described the relationship between science and religion as one of "non-overlapping magisteria," with science restricted to facts and theories about the empirical universe, and religion to questions of moral meaning and value.

This is one way to understand the relationship between science and religion: two compartments with a solid wall between them, fixed and non-porous.

But it's by no means the only, or even the most popular, approach.

Fishermen are worried about an offshore wind farm proposed 30 miles out in the Atlantic from Montauk, N.Y., the largest fishing port in the state. They say those wind turbines — and many others that have been proposed — will impact the livelihood of fishermen in New York and New England.

Scallop fisherman Chris Scola fishes in an area 14 miles off of Montauk. He and his two-man crew spend 2 ½ hours motoring there, then 10 more dredging the sea floor for scallops before heading back to port.

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The 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors were a chance to celebrate among others a dancer, a rapper and a TV-sitcom pioneer. Here's NPR's Elizabeth Blair.

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Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep with an archaeological find. People working in sand dunes in Northern California found the sphinx. It's made of plaster, weighs 300 pounds and looks like the sphinx in Egypt. Instead of thousands of years old, it's 90.

Every Supreme Court term there is at least one case that gets people's blood up. A case on which just about everyone has an opinion, often a ferocious opinion. That case comes before the justices Tuesday.

The Ted Leo who showed up to perform at our office this fall was no stranger to NPR Music; in fact, he'd stood on that very spot a few years earlier, trading verses with Aimee Mann in their collaborative project The Both. But he did seem like a changed man.

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