Arts & Culture

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

Scott McClanahan has built his career on defying expectations and blurring genres. The West Virginia author has been an indie-lit favorite for years, earning fans who admired his bizarre and often funny short fiction. In 2013, he gained something of a national profile following the publication of Crapalachia, a memoir, and Hill William, a novel. Though the genres were different, both critically acclaimed books drew from McClanahan's own sometimes troubled life.

How Do You Become The Best Cheesemonger In The World?

Jun 21, 2017

When you walk into a cheese shop to buy a wedge for your next party, your go-to person behind the counter is the cheesemonger. In France, where cheese is king, this role is crystal clear. In the U.S., it's a bit hazy.

In case you are wondering, a monger is a bit of a cheese therapist. It's someone who helps you navigate your tastes and desires. Don't want anything too barny? A good cheesemonger will steer you clear of washed-rind cheeses.

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Carla Fendi, onetime president of the eponymous fashion line, died in Rome on Monday at the age of 79, following a long illness, The Associated Press reports. The fashion house tweeted that her loss "deeply affects us all."

Italy's Culture Minister Dario Franchescini remembered her as "a cultivated and sensible woman who was a major patron of the arts," according to the AP.

Presidential spokesman Sean Spicer held an on-camera briefing at the White House Tuesday, his first in eight days and possibly his last. At least he refused to say it wasn't.

Girlpool was formed by musicians Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker a few years ago after they met at a DIY space in Los Angeles. In 2015 Tividad and Tucker released their debut record, Before The World Was Big, as a duo — just two voices, two instruments (bass and guitar) and a whole lot of radical honesty.

Before we can talk about Eddie Izzard's new memoir, Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death and Jazz Chickens, we have to talk about the jazz chickens. Because of course, cows go "moo," sheep go "baa," and a chicken will cock-a-doodle-doo — unless you get tired of the racket and jam a trumpet over its head.

At the wine tasting room of Taylors Wines in Sydney, Australia, bottles are uncorked, poured, swished, sniffed and sipped. There's a lot for employees to toast this year.

"The Australian wine sector is growing at a fast rate," says Mitchell Taylor, the winery's managing director. "And what is exciting is the top level, about 20 to 30 dollars a bottle and above, that segment is growing at 53 percent."

That's thanks, in part, to China.

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(Sandy) Alex G has been making music since he was a teen — mostly in his Philadelphia bedroom. But he ventured downstairs in 2016 to contribute guitar stylings to Frank Ocean's albums Blonde and Endless. (Sandy) Alex G's latest album, Rocket, is his eighth, and we thought that was a mighty impressive output given that he's still in his early 20s. But he sees it a little differently, as he explains in this session. He also performs warm, heartfelt music with a homegrown touch.

Image courtesy of Body Worlds

There are many animals at the Milwaukee County Zoo you wouldn't normally see in the wilds of Wisconsin.  Camels, for example, or bonobos or giraffes. But an exhibit there on display through Labor Day allows visitors to see those animals and many others in a unique way.

In 1959, the peak of his playing years, Thelonious Monk did something he'd never done before: record music for a film. Released in the U.S. as Dangerous Liaisons, the French film Les Liaisons Dangereuses featured nearly 30 minutes of Monk's music, none of which ever made it to a record. But the master tapes resurfaced last year, and were first released as a vinyl exclusive on Record Store Day this April.

On his first day in the seventh grade, Sherman Alexie opened up his school-assigned math book and found his mother's maiden name written in it. "I was looking at a 30-year-old math book," he says — and that was the moment he knew that he needed to leave his home.

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