Arts & Culture

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

Looking at art is the core museum experience. I remember, when I was a kid, seeing Van Gogh's Starry Night for the first time. I stood for what seemed like hours, staring at the thick paint and swirling colors in a quiet gallery at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

For connoisseurs of literary profiles, Joseph Mitchell's two New Yorker stories, "Professor Sea Gull" and "Joe Gould's Secret," set a gold standard. Joe Gould was an eccentric bohemian from an old New England family who bummed around Greenwich Village for decades and claimed to be writing the longest book ever, a monumental "Oral History of Our Time." When he died in a Long Island mental hospital in 1957, the manuscript of his magnum opus was nowhere to be found.

In the best of times, opening a new restaurant is risky. But doing it in Libya – where political conflict and economic crisis have reigned since dictator Moammar Gadhafi was toppled in 2011 — takes true courage.

South Korean author Han Kang was awarded the Man Booker International Prize for fiction for her dark novel The Vegetarian at a London ceremony on Monday.

The novel, Han's first to be translated into English, is about a woman who decides to stop eating meat and wants to become a tree. Her decision has devastating consequences and raises concerns among family members that she is mentally ill.

'People Want These Stories': Women Win Big At The Nebula Awards

May 16, 2016

The wave of conversation about diversity and representation in fiction is about to crest again: Women swept this year's Nebula Awards, handed out this past weekend in Chicago.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

In two of The New Yorker's most famous articles, writer Joseph Mitchell tried to answer one question: Who was Joe Gould?

Mitchell first introduced Gould in 1942: He was a quirky, possibly mentally ill Harvard dropout who wandered the streets of Greenwich Village and Harlem filling pages and pages of dime-store notebooks with everything people said to him. Gould said he was writing the longest book ever; he called it The Oral History of Our Time.

Before there was Star Wars' C-3PO and the robot who famously warned of "Danger, Will Robinson!" on TV's Lost in Space, there was Eric — one of the world's first real robots. He was built in 1928, less than a decade after the word "robot" was first used.

As researchers work to understand the human genome, many questions remain, including, perhaps, the most fundamental: Just how much of the human experience is determined before we are already born, by our genes, and how much is dependent upon external environmental factors?

Oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross the answer to that question is complicated. "Biology is not destiny," Mukherjee explains. "But some aspects of biology — and in fact some aspects of destiny — are commanded very strongly by genes."

Every movie is set somewhere, yet most movies feel as if they're happening nowhere at all. They're set in a Manhattan so generic that the filming was actually done in Toronto, or in a Paris we only know is Paris because we get a shot of the Eiffel Tower, or in an imaginary small town from some unnamed state whose purpose is to be every small town. Such settings have no presence, no weight, no humidity, no purpose — they're background.

Pork shoulder, cauliflower and cheese curds are all trending in 2016, according to Google's tracking of food-related searches. That list might either nauseate you or make your mouth water.

Albert Lichtblau

Update: The paperback edition of "Born Survivors" has recently been published, and Wendy Holden will speak Monday (5/16/16) evening in Madison, along with Wisconsin physician Mark Olsky, one of the people her book profiles. 

Seventy years ago, three babies were born into desperate circumstances. Their mothers had been sent to almost certain death at the Mauthausen Concentration Camp in German-occupied Austria. Against unlikely odds, they were born and survived the camps along with their mothers.

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