Arts & Culture

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

You'd think that people would have had enough of silly love songs? Not a chance. For Valentine's Day this year, we've modeled our love songs playlist after The Magnetic Fields' classic 69 Love Songs, a collection of, well, 69 songs about love songs written by Stephin Merritt.

It feels like just yesterday that Chicagoans were told that their prized skyscraper, once the world's tallest building, would no longer be named the Sears Tower.

"Call it the Big Willy," encouraged the CEO of the company that had bought the naming rights. But it's been almost nine years, and while some folks do call it the Willis Tower, few do it with much gusto. And no one calls it Big Willy.

Now Chicagoans are losing the name of another beloved skyscraper: the John Hancock Center.

Though six months have passed since Steve Bannon left his position as White House chief strategist, he continues to follow the drama inside the Trump administration.

Bambara's post-punk has always had a sleek sort of menace to it, a taut rhythm section wrapped in psychedelic noise. It's mesmerizing to listen to, and seeing the band live is an experience wrought from sharp curves and frontman Reid Bateh's rapturous baritone.

Mixup Leads Couple To See Red Hot Chilli Pipers

Feb 13, 2018

Last week, All Songs Considered's Bob Boilen went to what he thought was a concert by Grace Vonderkuhn, only to discover the show was actually for tween pop sensation Grace VanderWaal, from America's Got Talent.

Tom Misch is a U.K.-based beatmaker well known among fans for his prowess behind the boards. But in 2018, the 22-year-old stalwart doing his best to show off the many facets of his artistry. That includes pushing his sound, booking U.S. tour dates and releasing an adventurous music video in which he does his own aquatic stunts.

You know how some CDs come with a warning label reading "not for kids" or "explicit material"? Ann Powers' latest book Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music should come with its own warning label – "Warning: read this book and you will never hear music the same way again!"

As superhero origin stories go, this one is pretty low-key. No radioactivity. No other planets. Just a Swede, his love of pastry, and a noble quest for accuracy. It's a bun, it's some cream, it's ... Semla Man!

It's time to crank up the amps, warm up the drum machines, dust off the sax (or whatever your instrument of choice is) and enter the Tiny Desk Contest.

As Valentine's Day approaches on the calendar, the topic of love has a knack for subsequently creeping into every passing thought. And while you might be able to drown out the ads for chocolate hearts, overpriced flower bouquets and forcibly romantic dining, love songs are as old as the art form itself and know no occasion.

Long before Monday's official unveiling of Barack and Michelle Obama's unconventional portraits, the artists who painted them began working on details like the dress Michelle would wear and Barack's background tableau.

No one will deny that marriage is hard. In fact, there's evidence it's getting even harder.

Eli Finkel, a social psychologist at Northwestern University, argues that's because our expectations of marriage have increased dramatically in recent decades.

"[A] marriage that would have been acceptable to us in the 1950s is a disappointment to us today because of those high expectations," he says.

Political turmoil in the communities of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, have resulted in the resignations of nearly a dozen city and utility board employees.

The communities are the longtime home of a polygamous sect, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which has been the target of state and federal investigations and lawsuits. FLDS leader Warren Jeffs is serving a life sentence for sexual assault of children.

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