Arts & Culture

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

The actress Sarah Paulson, who's having a very good year, can do pretty much anything. She turned herself into a racist plantation matron in 12 Years a Slave; Cate Blanchett's lesbian bestie in Carol; and there's her brilliant Emmy-winning turn as prosecutor Marcia Clark in this year's The People v. O.J. Simpson. To say nothing of her show-stopping turns as a witch, conjoined twins and other weirdnesses on American Horror Story.

Veteran French director André Téchiné usually employs ensemble casts and intricate narrative structures, but he downplays both in Quand on a 17 ons (Being 17). Shot mostly with handheld camera in a documentary-like style, the movie is uncharacteristically raw and linear. Still, it performs a few surprising twists before reaching an easily anticipated resolution.

Based on the Paula Hawkins' bestselling novel, The Girl on the Train is a whodunit constructed through an ornate latticework of multiple narrators, temporal jumps, blackouts, constant misdirection, and out-and-out red herrings. There are a good four or five possible suspects, each waved at the audience like a red cape in front of a bull, with the lance awaiting on the other side.

When you think of Chinese food in the U.S., fried rice, lo mein or General Tso's chicken may first come to mind.

But a new museum exhibition in New York City is trying to expand visitors' palates. It features stories of celebrity chefs like Martin Yan and home cooks whose food represents 18 different regional cooking styles of China.

When we finally get close enough to see the "Luke's" sign on the side of the building, a group behind me erupts into song. "Where you lead, I will follow," they belt out. The words to Carole King's 1971 single became an anthem for a whole new generation as the theme song to the Gilmore Girls.

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Theodore Dreiser was one of America’s great novelists in the early part of the 2oth century. His books reflected a changing America as the country and the world became a less rural and more urban place.

Among the themes he explored was the changing role of women, far before the modern feminist movement. Sister Carrie is an early Dreiser novel and follows Carrie from rural Wisconsin to Chicago as she seeks to make a new life.

When writer Bruce Weber was a little boy, he wanted to be a lot of things. He thought about being a ballplayer, a mathematician or maybe a musician. And like many of us, he grew up to do something else entirely. Bruce Weber grew up to be an obituary writer.

Weber is one of the subjects of the documentary, Obit, which chronicles the work of The New York Times’ obituaries desk. He has since left his job at The Times, but had worked there for decades in a variety of positions.

Researchers have unearthed 13 cannabis plants in an ancient tomb in northern China, suggesting that prehistoric central Eurasians had ritualistic or medicinal uses for the mind-altering plant.

Both Tim Kaine and Mike Pence brought their faith into Tuesday night's debate, emphasizing their religious beliefs and even quoting the Bible. Both vice presidential nominees are devout Catholics, and together they are proof that Christian faith can drive the beliefs of voters across the political spectrum. So one of our listeners asked recently why the Christians of one party get so much more attention than the others:

Essay: Army of Women

Oct 6, 2016
Marianne Meyer

With the first female candidate on a major party ticket, people have been reassessing the state of feminism in this country. The term “feminist” itself is socially charged - with differing opinions on its true definition. For Lake Effect essayist, Jacey Powers, an interesting encounter with friends led her to reexamine her own rocky road to becoming a feminist.

From a group of 40, the finalists for the National Book Awards have been whittled to just half that number. The National Book Foundation released its shortlists Thursday for its annual prize in four categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people's literature.

There are books you read for the periods and books you read for the paragraphs — ones in which the action is discrete, punctuated and driving, moving you bodily and inexorably from line to line, and others that unfold at a lingering, more distracted pace. Some books are storms. Others are weather.

Derek Palacio's debut novel, The Mortifications, is very much the latter. It is hot sun and cool rain, morning fog and the hum of a fan in the window. It ranges and roams, this book. When it settles onto a moment, it does so with the weight of ten butterflies.

The idea behind the company Blue Apron is simple: Each week, it sends customers a box with recipe cards and fresh ingredients to make a handful of meals, each of them in just under 35 minutes.

The company has grown quickly since its founding in 2012: It delivers around 8 million meals per month.

"Some pig!" Charlotte the barn spider famously spun in praise of her friend Wilbur in E.B. White's classic, Charlotte's Web. Now, author Melissa Sweet has exclaimed: Some Writer! -- that's the name of her new, illustrated biography of E.B. White. The kid-friendly collage includes letters, journal entries, family photos, illustrations, manuscripts and more.

Sweet talks with NPR's Kelly McEvers about White's creative process — and her own.

Interview Highlights

On why the typewriter is the thematic design for the book