Arts & Culture

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

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The chicken business has been very, very good to Donnie Smith, the former chief executive of Tyson Foods. Now Smith, 58, wants to share his wealth — and his fervent belief in the power of chickens — with subsistence farmers in Musanze, a poverty-stricken district of Rwanda.

There's a myth about self reflection: that it leads to self-love; that gaining an understanding of ourselves always brings peace. Perhaps that's true in the long term. But sometimes when we go looking for ourselves, we don't always like what we find.

Tyler Childers On Mountain Stage

Aug 9, 2018

Purgatory is the breakthrough full-length album from Kentucky native Tyler Childers, who rocketed to the upper echelon of honky-tonk heroes when fellow Kentuckian Sturgill Simpson signed on to co-produce the record in Nashville with David Ferguson.

Summertime is for road trips. Atlas Obscura and All Things Considered are traveling up the West Coast, from California to Washington, in search of "hidden wonders" — unique but overlooked people and places.

Driving on Interstate 5 in Turner, Ore. — about an hour south of Portland — it's hard to miss the towering road sign, topped by a waving Humpty Dumpty: "Enchanted Forest Theme Park. Next Exit."

Earnest yet unpredictable, Nate Powell's graphic novel Come Again is a perfect example of what's possible when a creator roams outside of set conventions. Come Again fits no particular genre, though much of its style and tone resemble the slow-building, true-to-life narratives of Craig Thompson, Lucy Knisley and Mariko and Jillian Tamaki. But a touch of the mystical keeps this book off-kilter, raising the stakes on a story that might otherwise have seemed thin.

When I was a high school junior in New Orleans taking AP American history, my teacher assigned us a paperback book. Slim in contrast to our hulking required textbook, it was a funny, compelling, even shocking read. Lies My Teacher Told Me, by James Loewen, explained how history textbooks got the story of America wrong, usually by soft-pedaling, oversimplifying and burying the thorny drama and uncertainties of the past under a blanket of dull, voice-of-God narration.

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The city of Chicago just had one of the most violent weekends in several years. More than 70 people were shot; 12 were killed. More than 300 people in Chicago have been shot to death this year. Here's Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

New Zealand guitarist Roy Montgomery has never seemed to care much about who heard him, or, really, how often they did. During the last forty years, he has become an essential fixture of his country's florid rock underground, despite a pronounced streak of restless elusion. Montgomery has gone for the better part of decades without new music and frequently pivoted between projects and vibes, picking up an interest just to put it down.

In 2016, Trevor Powers was at a creative impasse. Fresh off the release of 2015's Savage Hills Ballroom, the third album from his band Youth Lagoon, Powers felt confined by his own painstaking musical formula. And he had grown frustrated by how the inherent intimacy of his emotional, enveloping songs was often portrayed as introverted and somber and how it no longer matched his expansive artistic vision.