Arts & Culture

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

By the end of November 1965, U.S. officials were well aware that mass murders were underway. At this point, roughly two months into an Indonesian military campaign that would ultimately kill at least half a million people, U.S. Embassy staff privately expressed no shock in reporting that thousands had already been summarily executed.

They did comment on the resourcefulness of the killers, though.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE TRAGICALLY HIP SONG, "WHEAT KINGS")

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Where Do We Come From?

Oct 18, 2017

If you want to answer the most existential of existential questions, don’t look at the historical record, look in a microscope.

The study of DNA has become so advanced in recent years “that it was transformed into a historical source,” writes geneticist Adam Rutherford. This has upended our understanding of human history and evolution.

Rasika, an Indian restaurant in Washington, D.C., has won just about every recognition possible. The Washington Post called it the No. 1 restaurant in the city. The chef has won a James Beard award — basically the Oscars of the food world. President Obama celebrated his birthday there — twice. And though the place has been open for more than a decade, it is only just now coming out with a cookbook.

Renaissance Theaterworks Facebook

The stated mission of Tonia Sina’s organization, Intimacy Directors International, is to “create safe places for dangerous work." The dangerous work in question is intimacy on stage, which at first glance might not seem terribly dangerous. But if not handled correctly, intimate scenes can place actors in awkward, uncomfortable, or even abusive situations - even when no malice was intended.

Kathy Wittman

The Florentine Opera kicks off its fall season in a decidedly lighthearted mood. Franz Lehár’s operetta, The Merry Widow, premiered in Vienna in 1905 and has been wildly popular on stages across the world since then. The story concerns a wealthy widow, a series of misunderstandings between her and a long lost love, and attempts to hang onto her money by marrying her to the “right” man.

Penguin Random House

Writer David Barclay Moore worked for eight years for the New York-based anti-poverty nonprofit, Harlem Children’s Zone. His work involved shooting short-form videos that told stories about the people the group was seeking to help. This experience helped him to understand, first hand, the challenges faced by many of the people living in concentrated pockets of public housing.

A lot has happened in the last year and a half for singer-songwriter Tift Merritt.  A new baby, a new album, and a new creative outlet - textile design. 

Almost none of it has come simply or easily.

The heart of "Capable" from The Wild Reeds is spelled out in these lyrics by Sharon Silva: "You're capable of so much more/Than these people give you credit for/And you just need to show it."

Red Death is a thrash band raised on hardcore — its metallic riffs not only smash a crusty d-beat but also shout a punk ethos.

In April, a long list of musicians, comedians and visual artists were announced for 7-inches For Planned Parenthood, featuring new and rare tracks from the likes of St. Vincent, Feist, Björk, Bon Iver and Helado Negro. The box set is a response to "lawmakers with extreme views [who] are working hard to shut down Planned Parenthood," according to the creators of the project.

Pez diablo: "devil fish." That's what locals in the Mexican state of Tabasco call the armored catfish that has invaded their waters.

Also known as suckermouths, the species is popular with aquarium owners because the fish eats the algae that pollute tanks. But in the wild, that same behavior erodes shorelines and devastates underwater plant life.

A Mexican social enterprise called Acari is trying to do something about it — by creating a taste for these aquatic terrors.

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