Arts & Culture

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

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If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you may have seen ads urging you to vote "no" on a grocery tax. "Don't Tax Our Groceries" is the tagline of the $9.5 million campaign, which is funded by the American Beverage Association.

In one ad, the camera pans to images of tomatoes and beans, as a local business owner says, "The grocery tax is going to hurt my customers."

But here's the thing. There's no grocery tax on the ballot.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


The Rocky Horror Show began as a stage musical in London in the early 1970s, starring Tim Curry as the outrageously dressed outer-space alien Frank N. Furter, self-described as a "sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania." Richard O'Brien, the composer of the play and its music, played Frank's hunchbacked assistant, Riff Raff — and the two of them repeated their roles in a 1975 movie, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

On a blistering 90-degree day, Nelly Carrillo stands over her stove, placing a chorizo and potato sope onto the oiled cast-iron skillet. The thick, fried tortilla sizzles, and she wipes sweat off her brow with the back of her softly wrinkled hands. You can hear a cacophony of honking cars and voices in the near distance.

A guy who covers agriculture in the West who's never put a skinned, sliced, battered, deep-fried bull testicle into a cup of cocktail sauce and then into his mouth?

I couldn't let it stand.

They're known by many names: lamb fries, bull fries, Montana tenders, huevos de toro, cowboy caviar. In my corner of Colorado, they're Rocky Mountain oysters, and I somehow coaxed myself into thinking I needed to try them to be more a part of the place I live, to be a true-blue Coloradoan.

Dorothy's ruby slippers could use a little more magic these days — or at least some preservationist TLC.

The famous shoes from The Wizard of Oz are among the most popular items on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. But they're showing their age, and the museum is asking the public to pitch in to help keep the shoes intact for decades to come.

In 'IQ,' A Sherlock For South Central

Oct 20, 2016

We have so many Sherlocks these days.

Books, multiple TV shows, movies — the world (particularly the modern world) is so rich with touchy, cold, brilliant consulting detectives that it's a wonder there are any crimes left for the police to solve. I mean, with such a profusion of Holmeses running around, why would anyone bother calling 911?

Episode 730: Self Checkout

Oct 19, 2016

Howard Schneider was a doctor treating psychiatric patients in the ER when he decided to transform the grocery store experience. He set out to invent the self checkout machine.

Some parts of the design were pretty straightforward, like reading barcodes and taking payments. Other things, it turned out, were not so easy. Like figuring out when people are stealing. Schneider solves these problems. Or at least makes a machine that's good enough to use. In 1992, he eventually convinces a grocery store to install the machines. The result? Angry shoppers.

Regulators in Malaysia are trying to make something clear to food consumers: Hot dogs do not have dog meat in them.

According to The Associated Press, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department, a religious regulatory authority, has asked the U.S. company to change the name of its popular "pretzel dog" frankfurter wrapped in pretzel bread in order to obtain official halal certification.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

In the aftermath of the Great Depression, the U.S. government set out to evaluate the riskiness of mortgages — and left behind a stunning portrait of the racism and discrimination that has shaped American housing policy.

Now a new digital tool makes it easier than ever to see that history in high-resolution.

Filmmaker Barry Jenkins and playwright Tarell McCraney grew up just blocks away from each other in the same housing project in Miami's Liberty City neighborhood. They went to the same elementary school at the same time, but they did not meet until they were adults, when Jenkins contacted McCraney about adapting his play, In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, to the screen.

Nathaniel Davauer

As the Milwaukee Ballet prepares to open its 47th season with a new production of Scheherazade, audiences will see a new dancer on stage in the role of "The Moon Prince." Jonathan Batista comes to Milwaukee from the Cincinnati Ballet.