Arts & Culture

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

In a darkened London theater, the first thing the audience hears is the rhythmic chanting of an a capella Islamic State anthem.

Another World: Losing Our Children to Islamic State, currently at the National Theatre, is a play about young people seduced by the group. The main characters are three mothers whose children left their homes in Europe to join ISIS.

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Now that the long wait is over and fans can finally bask in the super-sized, superhero brawl that is Captain America: Civil War, some may overlook something really special about this movie.

It has three black superheroes on the front lines.

There's Don Cheadle's War Machine. Chadwick Boseman appears as Marvel's first African superhero, the Black Panther. And Anthony Mackie returns to a Captain America movie as the Falcon, asking Cap if he really wants to resist government control of superheroes.

Growing up Muslim in Canada had its challenges for Zarqa Nawaz, starting with school lunch. Her mother insisted on sending Nawaz off with home-cooked chicken that smelled of cumin, when all she wanted was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, like all the other kids. Years later, Nawaz has turned a lifetime of culture clashes into a career as a writer and filmmaker. In her work, she uses humor to humanize a religion she loves, but others fear.

This time 50 years ago, "Monday, Monday" by The Mamas & the Papas was the No. 1 song in the U.S. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann was the New York Times best-selling novel. The Vietnam War was intensifying. The Civil Rights movement was gaining momentum. Kauai King was en route to win the 92nd Kentucky Derby.

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Rachel Bloom is the star, writer and co-creator of The CW show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. The singer-songwriter first got famous with her hilarious musical numbers on YouTube, before she was given the chance to create her own TV show that let her play a lunatic stalker character loosely based on herself. She's already won a Golden Globe for that role in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

Since she's the expert on crazy ex-girlfriends we've decided to ask her three questions about some well-known crazy ex-boyfriends in a game called "No! Really! This time I'll change!"

Not every country in the world celebrates Mother's Day at the same day.

If you haven't heard of the Marvel superhero Black Panther, that's going to change very soon.

Anyone who's lost a family member knows the feeling of unreality that follows. Psychologists call it "denial," but it's something more than that — it's a sense that you're not really there, that you're living in an alternate world, that the pain you're feeling can't possibly be real. Grief is a powerful thing, and it can temporarily turn people into walking ghosts.

Or, as Dana Cann writes in his debut novel, Ghosts of Bergen County: "This was life: you're here. And this was death: you're not. And then you're here again, haunting some stranger. And none of it matters."

For This Vineyard, It's Duck, Duck, Booze

May 7, 2016

On Vergenoegd Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa, about a thousand Indian runner ducks parade twice a day into a vineyard to rid it of pests. It's a remarkably orderly scene.

If I say Kentucky Derby, you say ... mint julep?

Well, if you're a Kentucky dame like me you do. As my fellow Louisville native Jesse Baker once pointed out: "It ain't Derby without a mint julep."

Race fans have been drinking mint juleps at Churchill Downs in Louisville since the racetrack's inception in 1875, according to bourbon historian Fred Minnick.

In London's mayoral race, the Labour Party's Sadiq Khan beat Conservative Party candidate Zac Goldsmith to become the city's first Muslim mayor.

The results came in early on Saturday local time, more than a day after the polls closed.

Filmmaker Jacques Audiard bristles when you ask him about news coverage of Europe's "refugee crisis."

"I don't think we really see migrants ... " Audiard says. "It takes a baby washed up on the beach for us to ask: What was his name? It's terrible. I wanted to give them a name; to give them a face."

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