Arts & Culture

Parallels
1:54 pm
Sat March 15, 2014

What Are The Rules For Changing A Country's Borders?

A Russian flag blows outside the entrance of Crimea's parliament building in Simferopol on Thursday. Crimeans vote Sunday on whether they want to join Russia, though the international community says it will not recognize the ballot.
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 9:35 am

Redrawing national borders may feel like a historical relic that belongs to an earlier century, yet Crimea's crisis shows there are still places that don't fit neatly on the map — and may not for years to come.

Just last month, Crimea was part of Ukraine. On Sunday, Crimeans vote on whether they want to become part of Russia. Nevermind that the rest of the world rejects the validity of the ballot; no country appears willing or able to prevent Crimea from leaving Ukraine and joining Russia.

Read more
Religion
12:00 pm
Sat March 15, 2014

Tiny Italian Town Thumbs Its Nose At Lenten Abstinence

Originally published on Sun March 16, 2014 4:53 pm

On the first Sunday of Lent in Poggio Mirteto, a priest in the town's cathedral recalls the serpent in the Garden of Eden.

He admonishes parishioners in this hilltop hamlet just outside Vatican City to resist earthly delights during the time of penance and self-denial leading up to Easter.

"We must remember we are weak before evil, because the devil is very tricky," he says.

Just outside the doors, the warning goes unheeded as a parade of revelers passes.

The Freedom Festival

Read more
The Record
10:48 am
Sat March 15, 2014

Lady Gaga At SXSW: 'Don't Sell Out. Sell In.'

Lady Gaga donned luxurious plastic bags for her SXSW Keynote on Friday.
Michael Buckner Getty

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 11:20 am

On Friday, March 14, Lady Gaga gave the keynote at SXSW 2014, a long interview conducted by John Norris that covered her career in pop, from her roots in the rock clubs of downtown New York to her decision to partner with a corporate sponsor for the concert she performed at Stubb's the night before. (You can see the complete video of the interview on this page.)

NPR Music's Ann Powers was in Austin for the keynote, and she filed this report.

Read more
All Songs Considered
9:59 am
Sat March 15, 2014

NPR Music At SXSW 2014: Friday

With a Bjork-like voice and a heart-breaking vibe out of The Sundays, Kristal and Jonny Boy's set at Cedar Street Courtyard was enthralling performance art.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 12:50 pm

  • Listen to All Songs Considered at SXSW - Friday

Friday was a return to full throttle music consumption for NPR Music's team at SXSW, with few obligations other than seeing as many bands as possible. We saw old favorites and new obsessions, tried to squeeze through the crowds on Austin's streets, watched Lady Gaga navigate questions about her career — and reasons behind the corporate sponsorship of her SXSW show — in this year's keynote address and dragged a bunch of bands into the back yard of a local boutique to perform short sets (keep your eye out for these).

Read more
Author Interviews
6:45 am
Sat March 15, 2014

Why'd The Scientist Cross The Road? To Figure Out Why You're Laughing

iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 5:03 pm

Here's a joke: A man is sitting on the porch with his wife one night when, out of the blue he says, "I love you." His wife says, "Was that you? Or was that the beer talking?" The man says, "That was me — talking to the beer."

Maybe you laughed at that and maybe you didn't, but either way, cognitive neuroscientist Scott Weems wants to know whether you found it funny. In his new book HA! Weems explores the science "of when we laugh and why."

Read more

Pages