Arts & Culture

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

NPR member stations are uniquely tapped into local music scenes around the country. DJs share up-and-coming bands with listeners by playing their music on the radio, interviewing them on-air and writing articles and blog posts.

But most of that content rarely travels outside of the station's city, and a listener in Philadelphia might not know what new music a Chicago-based DJ has just discovered.

Until now.

Meet The 2017 Slingshot Artists

Jan 9, 2018

NPR Music and program directors from VuHaus' public radio music station network selected Big Thief, Jamila Woods and Lo Moon as the inaugural class of Slingshot, a collective effort among taste-making stations to elevate the profiles of exceptional emerging artists.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

It's the second week of 2018, and if you are still resolved to improve your life in this new year, Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer may be able to help. They host a podcast called By The Book, and for each episode, they choose one self-help book and live by its rules for a couple of weeks. So they're well-equipped to tell us which of these books has actually improved their lives — and which ones to avoid.

Jay Lawrence

Did you have the chance to take in any live music over the holidays? Whether it’s a performance of The Nutcracker, or holiday pops music, music is an integral part of the holiday season for many of us.

Updated at 4:45 pm ET

President Trump thanked America's farmers for their political support on Monday and unveiled a plan designed to help revive fortunes in struggling rural areas. At the same time, the president is pursuing trade and immigration policies that could be harmful to farmers' bottom lines.

Courtesy of Milwaukee Magazine

If the January cover of Milwaukee Magazine has a particularly celebratory look to it, that's for good reason.  The magazine marks 35 years of its current iteration with a special section that looks back at highlights from the past three-and-a-half decades.

For editor Carole Nicksin, who has been with the publication for the past year-and-a-half, the deep dive into the magazine's history was revelatory - especially as it pertained to one of the key figures in that history.

The Weather Station's fourth (and self-titled) album was a constant companion for me in 2017, in no small part for the song that opens the band's Tiny Desk performance. It's called "Thirty" and in less than four minutes and nearly 400 words, singer Tamara Lindeman paints images of joy intertwined with the awaking jolt of turning thirty.

The Secret Sisters (who, yes, are in fact sisters!) are Laura and Lydia Rogers. First signed to Universal Records in 2010, their debut was produced by Dave Cobb and the follow-up was produced in 2014 by T-Bone Burnett. Those are some heavy hitters in the music world: Dave Cobb has made albums with some of Nashville's best artists, including Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell and Chris Stapleton, and T-Bone Burnett has worked with everyone from U2 to Alison Krauss and Robert Plant to Elvis Costello.

Fun fact about the newsroom at WFPL, the NPR member station in Louisville, Ky., where I work: It is fully stocked with lots of candy. Mini-chocolate bars, peanut butter cups, Jolly Ranchers — the list goes on and the candy bowl is constantly being refilled.

Then last week, a gigantic bag of gummy bears appeared. Which led to this question from our digital editor, Jonese Franklin: "Do gummy bears really come in different flavors, or do we just think they taste different because they are different colors?"

A little over 75 years ago, Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire introduced "I'm Old Fashioned," a graceful, guileless ballad that dismisses the latest trends in favor of timeless romantic verities: the glow of moonlight, the holding of hands, "the starry song that April sings."

"(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" was released 50 years ago Monday, less than a month after Otis Redding died at the age of 26. The song was a departure for the R&B superstar — and it almost never saw the light of day.

A few years ago, Kansas City restaurateur Anton Kotar surveyed the local and national restaurant scenes and concluded his town's reputation as a steakhouse paradise had slipped.

The problem, he says, is the way conventional beef is raised – bulked up with grain on feedlots, making it cheap and plentiful and changing what Americans expect to taste.

"I think some of our best steakhouses chased the quality of the beef to the bottom," Kotar says.

When The Cash Register Doesn't Take Cash

Jan 8, 2018

General manager Erica Ritchie smiled politely before breaking the news to the young woman with a $10 bill in her hand.

"We're actually cashless," said Ritchie inside Bluestone Lane, a bright cafe in the shadow of City Hall in downtown Philadelphia.

"Oh," said the young woman, a bit sheepishly, before handing over a credit card to pay for her small coffee.

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