Arts & Culture

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

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

A half-century ago, 40 bishops from around the world gathered in an ancient Roman church and signed a pledge to forsake worldly goods and live like the neediest among their flock.

They were in Rome for the Second Vatican Council in 1965, the deliberations that opened the Catholic Church to the modern world.

The bishops' all but forgotten pledge, known as the Pact of the Catacombs, has gained new resonance with Pope Francis' vision of a church for the poor.

Pocahontas had nothing to do with the first Thanksgiving. She died in 1617, four years before the celebration in Plymouth.

Neither did Malinche, her Mexican counterpart, who lived in the 1500s.

Thanksgiving feasts are always in need of something special.

Can a sprinkle of artisanal salt noticeably pump up the experience?

Let's meet a new Appalachian salt-maker in West Virginia and find out.

J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works is nestled in the Kanawha River Valley, just southeast of the capital city of Charleston in the small town of Malden (not to be confused with Maldon, a sea salt brand from the U.K.). It's mostly pasture land, with cows nearby.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 76th Hunger Games.


The world of Victor Frankenstein — red brick and gray skies, clanking gears and straining pulleys, exploding dials and jury-rigged gizmos — is utterly steampunk. But the latest resurrection of Mary Shelley's horror classic has a tech-era vibe that adds to its modest appeal.

Pixar's The Good Dinosaur imagines what would happen if our Mesozoic-era ancestors, instead of being wiped out by an asteroid, survived to star in John Ford Westerns. An opening scene shows the fatal rock whizzing by Earth harmlessly; "millions of years later," Apatosauruses own family farms while Tyrannosauruses herd bison on the frontier. In their shadow, humans must have evolved from the Carnivora clade alongside dogs and wolves, judging by how they bark and scamper in the wild unless a dino can domesticate them.

Rocker docs lie thick on the ground these days, most of them landlocked in a tired arc of childhood stress, rapid rise to stardom filled with drugs and debauchery, followed by decline and, for those who survive, extravagant rue-ing the day. And given the short, sharp life of Janis Joplin, any account of her has to spend time in that terrain. But though Janis: Little Girl Blue — Amy J. Berg's loving, exhaustively researched documentary about the whiskey-voiced blues interpreter — gives Joplin's dark side its due, the film rarely succumbs to mawkish wallowing.

Remember Rocky? That cornpone boxing movie from 40 years ago starring (and written by) that oiled-up, headband-wearing buffoon who talks funny? The one that stole Best Picture away from Network, All the President's Men, Taxi Driver, and Hal Ashby's rather more obscure Woody Guthrie biopic Bound for Glory?