Arts & Culture

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Happy April 20, or — in certain circles — 420 day. The history around April 20's unofficial designation as Weed Day around the world is a little hazy. Some say it started with the Grateful Dead. Others say 420 is police code for "pot smoking in progress." Still other stories start with "The Waldos," a group of five friends who say they coined the term 420 in 1971 to refer to a certain hour of the afternoon. There are probably as many stories about 420 day's origins as there are strains of the herb.

Roger Waters is set to release his first album of all-new rock songs in nearly 25 years. Is This The Life We Really Want? was produced by Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Beck, U2) and is due out June 2 on Columbia Records. Water's previous solo studio release was 1992's Amused To Death.

'Tender' Stories Are A Feast Of Ideas

Apr 20, 2017

Sofia Samatar's duology of novels, 2013's A Stranger in Olondria and last year's The Winged Histories, took place in a mythic land of Olondria — a place where words are equal to religion, politics, and magic in the power they hold over people. It's one of the most dreamlike and far-flung settings in contemporary fantasy, and it's netted Samatar a World Fantasy Award, a British Fantasy Award, and the John W. Campbell Award.

Editor's note: This story contains some explicit language.

Like any good fifth-grade teacher, Mike Matthews wants to make his social studies unit on the American West as exciting as possible. So he's planning a special "Wild West" evening at the school with his students.

"We're going to have good ol' cowboy-fashion hot dogs and beans, Texas Toast and beef jerky," he says. Matthews will tell stories around a mock campfire, and for added authenticity, the fifth-graders will set up a saloon.

In one of my favorite paintings of Joan of Arc — created by Jules Bastien-Lepage at the end of the 19th century — a disheveled, flush-faced teenager stares into the middle distance in the tangle of a garden. Behind her, faint images of saints emerge from the foliage. Unlike so many other paintings of Joan in which she's clad in armor and wields a sword, this one shows the time and place where her mind opened, and she encountered the thing that would both define and destroy her.

Racked by food shortages and political unrest, Venezuela swelled with what organizers are calling the "mother of all protests" on Wednesday. Demonstrators have taken to the streets in the capital, Caracas, and other major cities across the country to rally against the government of President Nicolas Maduro, who assumed office precisely five years ago.

Throughout the day, those rallies often devolved into clashes between demonstrators and security forces — chaotic, violent scenes rent by tear gas, tossed rocks and even two reported deaths.

Unicorn Frappuccino: A Digital Age Drink

Apr 19, 2017

If ever a drink were concocted to quench the thirst of social media, this may be it.

With its whimsical name, bright pink and blue swirl topped with a pillow of whipped cream and a pixie dusting of sprinkles, Starbucks' new Unicorn Frappuccino practically pleads to be posted.

And a glimpse at Twitter shows the frozen confection is indeed gaining attention.

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The third season of the hit TV drama "Fargo" begins tonight. And with it comes a challenge - maintaining high quality with new stories and new characters. Based on the first two episodes, NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says "Fargo" delivers.

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Perfume Genius has released the second single from his upcoming album No Shape, the highly anticipated follow-up to 2014's Too Bright. "Go Ahead," one of the most challenging songs on No Shape, is everything that first single "Slip Away" wasn't — a spare, nearly melody-free, drum-pad-driven and string-sluiced examination of confidence amidst a mire of paranoia.

The title track to Lana Del Rey's upcoming album Lust For Life is a hazy take on '60s doo-wop and girl groups featuring the lilting falsetto of The Weeknd.

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