Arts & Culture

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

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The best way to enjoy this next story is if you listen through headphones. It's about "The Encounter," a new Broadway show. It uses three-dimensional sound effects to take the audience deep into the Amazon. Jeff Lunden reports.

Check It /

For many kids in America, being a teenager is tough. Add being a black teenager in today’s racially charged America, and circumstances get tougher. Then add being a black transgender or gay teenager living on your own in Washington D.C., and you have an even tougher situation, but one that makes the compelling subject of the documentary, Check It.

As a young musician coming up in the early 1970s, Bruce Springsteen played in the bars of Asbury Park, N.J., a hardscrabble urban beach town full of colorful characters. The town fired his imagination and inspired him musically, but still he found himself longing for more.

Springsteen tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he knew that if he was ever going to make his mark on the larger world, it would be through his words.

courtesy John Quinones

John Quiñones made his name in the 1980s and '90s as a correspondent for ABC News, reporting first from Central America, and later covering issues around the world that had not received much widespread exposure in this country.

Tanya Dhein

Milwaukee's InTandem Theatre is known for its love of comedy. And the play opening Thursday falls square in the realm of comedy.

Local playwright Michael Neville wrote Dracula Vs. the Nazis a couple decades ago, and InTandem put it on ten years ago. It’s a two-person, quick-change show that sees each actor take on multiple roles.

Charles Wang is having a bad year. Then again, so is much of America. It's 2008, and the financial crisis is wreaking havoc across the economic sphere. A Chinese immigrant-turned-millionaire who owns a successful chemical company that makes artificial urea for the cosmetics industry, Charles has a lot to lose, and sure enough, he loses it all: His empire of "faux pee," as he self-deprecatingly calls it, has collapsed. He's left destitute.

What's Behind Oregon's Marionberry Mania?

Oct 5, 2016

Blackberries grow so voraciously in the Pacific Northwest that it's not rare to stumble across rural barns or abandoned homes that have been completely consumed by the thorny vine. Let them grow too close to a window, and they'll break the glass. They're common — easy to forage and hard to get too excited about. At least compared to the marionberry, a type of blackberry that has become an Oregon obsession.

One of the reasons the marionberry is so beloved is because it is entirely a product of Oregon. It's "born and raised" in state, so to speak.

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Pope Francis has made good on a promise to go to the central Italian region hardest hit by the devastating earthquake that struck in August. He arrived Tuesday without warning to console survivors and urge them to press forward.

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The main character in Rabih Alameddine's new The Angel of History is a gay, Arab writer living in San Francisco.

Alameddine is a gay, Arab writer living in San Francisco. But he says the character, Ya'qub — or Jacob — is not based on his life. For one, Jacob's sex life is a little more ... adventurous than his.

"He's somewhat of a sexual masochist, and I keep thinking, you know, well, for me, rough sex is having sex on linens that are less than 300 count cotton," Alameddine jokes to NPR's Kelly McEvers.

Most of us have been tempted at one time or another by the lure of sugar. Think of all the cakes and cookies you consume between Thanksgiving and Christmastime!

But why are some people unable to resist that second cupcake or slice of pie? That's the question driving the research of Monica Dus, a molecular biologist at the University of Michigan. She wants to understand how excess sugar leads to obesity by understanding the effect of sugar on the brain.

Specially trained dogs have been known to sniff out explosives, drugs, missing persons and certain cancer cells, but author Alexandra Horowitz tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that extraordinary olfactory abilities aren't just the domain of working dogs.

Bonnie North

The harp has been around for millennia. There is evidence that people were making and playing some form of the instrument throughout Africa, Europe and Asia from at least as early as 3500 BCE.

The instrument we generally think of as a modern harp, however, is a relatively new addition to the fold - it’s only been around since the late 17th century. The concert harp has a series of pedals that enable the performer to change the pitch of individual strings – allowing them to play all the notes in a western musical scale.

The tea gardens of Darjeeling, in the foothills of the Himalayas, produced significantly less than 1 percent of India's 2.6 billion pound output last year. Yet Darjeelings are considered the "Champagne of teas," the finest in the country and some of the most exquisite and sought-after in the world.

The harvesting season in Darjeeling runs from mid-March through November, as the tea bushes gradually progress through a quartet of distinct seasons known as "flushes." The tea is often sold not only by single estate (like wine) but also by flush.