Arts & Culture

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

Some relationships in our lives are so vital, constant and ordinary that it seems nearly impossible for any expression of affection to do them justice. Thankfully, immortalizing everyday intimacy is a specialty of Lori McKenna.

Some books — not many, but a few — are vastly affected by the moment in which you read them. Not moment in history, or in your life. I mean the exact circumstance in which you sit down and crack the spine. For me, Lara Feigel's Free Woman, a combination of memoir and Doris Lessing biography, is one of those books. I read it on a late-night train home from New York, in that public-private Amtrak silence, with my boyfriend asleep in my lap so that every few pages, I could look down and think, Are you obstructing my freedom?

In January, Pope Francis traveled to South America to spread peace and hope. Many cheered him on, but he also wound up causing emotional pain when he dismissed accusations that Chilean clergy had covered up sexual abuse.

In the weeks that followed, the Vatican's leading sex crimes investigator looked into the allegations, and the pope did an about-face: He acknowledged making mistakes.

Now, Francis has been apologizing and listening to some of those he offended most.

In the assorted realms of indie rock, Mary Lattimore is the monarch of instrumental harp.

In the 2010 documentary Agadez, The Music And The Rebellion, director Ron Wyman explores the culture of the Tuareg people of North Africa — specifically their music. As pointed out in the film, one name has become synonymous with Tuareg music. The guitarist and singer-songwriter Bombino, born Omara Moctar, grew up amid the social, political and economic unrest in the Sahara in the 1980s and '90s.

It's not surprising when contemporary artists invoke Loretta Lynn as a template. But country icon's younger sister, the urbane country-pop balladeer Crystal Gayle, is a far less likely reference, particularly for an artist like Kelly Willis.

Across five albums of piano-driven rock and soul, Low Cut Connie has proven masterfully fluent in the foundational languages of Western pop, living at the crossroads where the church house meets the roadhouse, or where the Dew Drop Inn meets CBGB.

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In first grade, I was hospitalized with pneumonia for over a week. I remember having to take an antibiotic syrup that gave me acid reflux. Immediately after I swallowed it, my Korean immigrant mother spoon-fed me a homemade liquid with small pieces of boiled Korean pear (bae), spices, and honey. This was her take on baesuk, a Korean fruit punch/tea, that she brought to the hospital in a thermos. I remember it lulled my stomach and soothed my throat and chest.

Writer Zora Neale Hurston could have had her account of Oluale Kossola, believed to be the last known survivor of the Atlantic slave trade, published 87 years ago. But Hurston’s refusal to change the first-person narrative from Kossola’s dialect into traditional American English led publishers to pass on her manuscript.

Ehud Barak On Israel, Iran And Peace

May 9, 2018

Former Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Barak isn’t shy about his country. “For anyone who cares about Israel, this is no time for niceties,” he wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times.

In its more than three years in power, this government has been irrational, bordering on messianic. It is now increasingly clear where it is headed: creeping annexation of the West Bank aimed at precluding any permanent separation from the Palestinians.

courtesy Rojon Productions

It's not for us to say, but chances are you're familiar with the wonderful, wonderful voice of Johnny Mathis (and bonus points if you caught all of those song references).  Mathis recorded his first song in 1955, his first album in 1956, and has recorded 78 albums since then.  Most recently, his 1982 album, I Love My Lady, was released for the first time on vinyl - in time for this year's Record Store Day.

Long before sous vide became a culinary sensation celebrated by top chefs around the world a retired Army colonel started cooking meat and vegetables in sealed plastic pouches immersed in a water bath to liven up the flavor of hospital food. But you'd be hard pressed to find his name associated with it.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.