Arts & Culture

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

It's been a dozen years since Alec Ounsworth became an Internet sensation, as his band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah bypassed the label system to become internationally known through support from music blogs. But as that support waned with subsequent releases, and as the power of Internet buzz grew more diffuse, Ounsworth found a way to endure.

Two of the most influential groups in the food industry are asking companies to change those pesky "expiration" or "sell by" labels on packaged food.

Across the U.S., protesters are calling for a "Day Without Immigrants" on Thursday. It's a boycott calling for immigrants not to go to work, in response to President Trump's immigration policies and his plan to build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Nathaniel Davauer / Courtesy of Milwaukee Ballet

Later this week, three world premiere ballet performances will debut on the stage of Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater. The Genesis performances are the results of a competition for choreographers on the rise.

Choreographers submitted samples of their work, and Michael Pink, the Milwaukee Ballet’s artistic director, chose three finalists, who each have three weeks to create a new work for Milwaukee Ballet’s dancers whose names have been chosen at random.

Brickboys/Splunge Comunications

A few years ago, we introduced you to the authors of a project to chronicle the oral history of Milwaukee’s punk and alternative music scene.  The interviews from that project, called “The Cease is Increase” have now yielded a new book that builds on Steve Nodine's earlier publication.

Beyoncé is no one's mammy.

So the record-scratching comments from Adele and Faith Hill shortly after Beyoncé's Grammy performance came across as absolutely bizarre. In her earnest acceptance speech for her album of the year win, Adele praised her fellow artist's vision for Lemonade, the album that Adele's 25 bested in the category. She also all but said Beyoncé deserved the Grammy.

After decades of dogs ruling popular culture — there are three canine stars on Hollywood's Walk of Fame — there's been a revolution. Thanks to a tsunami of cute viral videos, our feline comrades are now in the catbird seat, from those ubiquitous Hello Kitty stores to surprise bestsellers like Takashi Hiraide's exquisite, sneakily profound novel The Guest Cat.

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The 'meaning' of music is an amorphous concept, as are the lessons of psychotropic experiences brought on by substances like lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD. Recent scientific studies have attempted to tackle both of these topics and gauge whether ingesting the substance impacted peoples' experiences with and interpretations of music. By request, the poet August Kleinzahler considers two recent studies, through the lens of his own musical and psychedelic dabblings.

Though Byron Blaylock made his recorded debut as Byron The Aquarius only a year ago, by most standards his musical journey had already been long and fruitful. Born and raised in Birmingham, Ala., Blaylock had been a keyboard and hip-hop production prodigy during the golden Myspace days of the late-Aughts.

Margaret Drabble's new novel The Dark Flood Rises opens with its protagonist, Francesca Stubbs, tensely driving her Peugeot on an English highway. Fran is an expert on housing for senior citizens; she's herself in her seventies, and lately, she's been obsessed with mortality. Here's the first sentence of the novel: "She has often suspected that her last words to herself and in this world will prove to be 'You bloody old fool' or, perhaps, depending on the mood of the day or the time of the night, 'you ...

Following the introduction of two bills into the state Legislature that would legally prohibit transgender Texans from using bathrooms that align with their gender identities, 142 artists — including Ewan McGregor, Amy Poehler, Lady Gaga, Janelle Monae, Talib Kweli, Wilco and Whoopi Goldberg — have co-signed a letter beseeching the state senators and representatives to prevent the bills' passage.

Cab drivers have a special window into the twisted affairs of humanity, bearing witness to the full spectrum of joy and pain through the tiny frame of a rearview mirror. This cramped stage is the perfect setting for Kishi Bashi's "Can't Let Go, Juno" video, a song about heartache and the lengths one goes to spare someone else's feelings.

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