Arts & Culture

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

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The copper craft makers in Seffarin Square in the historic district of Fez, Morocco, bang out designs on platters and shape copper pots to a rhythm.

Called the medina, neighborhood streets lined with domes and archways take you back through the history of the dynasties and occupiers that ruled Morocco from the 9th century on. At the center of the square is the Qarawiyyin Library, founded more than a millennium ago.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Even car racing fans may be surprised to learn that in the 1920s a poem would grace the pages of the race-day program. But then, what better way to get the juices flowing, amid the exhaust, screaming engines and checkered flags, than a few lines of verse?

In case by now you didn't know it,

the Indy 500 has brought back its poet.

Ben Collins is a very, very good driver. You may have seen him drive on the European race circuit, or on the BBC show Top Gear, or in the James Bond movies. He's written a book called How to Drive so that you, too, can come to a screeching stop right at the edge of a cliff. (Or so we hope.)

Since Collins knows a lot about gears, we've decided to quiz him on Richard Gere.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Sacred Glacier Is Melting But The Festival Goes On

May 21, 2016

On Sunday, May 22, over 100,000 Peruvians are expected to arrive at a site in the Andean highlands near the peak of Ausungate, in the southeastern region of Cusco. They may have traveled hundreds of miles to get there. At an altitude of 16,500 feet, they'll camp out, sing, dance and pray at the holiest — and one of the biggest — religious festivals in the Andes mountain chain. It's called Qoyllur Riti, which means "snow star" in the local Quechua language.

On the first page of Girls on Fire, author Robin Wasserman asks us to imagine a group of teenage girls on a bus. "Give in: Pick a pair of them, lost in each other, a matched set like a vision out of the past," she writes. "Nobody special, two nobodies. Except that together, they're radioactive: together, they glow."

Watching a Terence Davies film is like watching paintings come to life. On the other hand, the filmmaker jokes, "The people who don't like my films say it's about as interesting as paint drying."

Still, Davies (pronounced "Davis") has plenty of defenders. More than one critic has called him Britain's greatest living film director, and French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard — who was famously not a fan of British moviemakers — called Davies' 1988 full-length feature breakout, Distant Voices, Still Lives, "magnificent".

Playwright Dominique Morisseau is kind of the unofficial poet laureate of Detroit. She has written three plays about her hometown and her latest, Skeleton Crew, looks at four African-American automobile workers struggling with the economic downturn in 2008. The play is currently running off-Broadway, where it's gotten rave reviews.

Al / Flickr

Many of us have dreams of someday moving out of the city or the suburbs and settling down in a quiet place. The simplicity of rural America and small-town life is an appealing thought. But, as anyone who has actually lived in one of those places knows well, there's a difference between spending a week in a small town and actually living there.  

A new label on some of the steaks in your grocery store highlights a production process you may never have heard of: mechanical tenderizing.

This means the beef has been punctured with blades or needles to break down the muscle fibers and make it easier to chew. But it also means the meat has a greater chance of being contaminated and making you sick.

The labels are a requirement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that went into effect this week.

The new, redesigned "Nutrition Facts" label is coming. The Food and Drug Administration has announced that the new label will be required on most packaged food by July 2018.

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