Arts & Culture

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

Watching Betsayda Machado y Parranda El Clavo perform their Tiny Desk concert is like peering back in time. The music's roots extend to the Venezuelan slave trade, and while the vocals are in Spanish and not an African dialect, the instruments the group plays date back more than 500 years.

Jeffrey Tambor, Emmy-winning star of Transparent, will not be returning to the cast for the show's upcoming fifth season. Amazon Studios confirmed his firing to NPR on Thursday.

KT Tunstall On Mountain Stage

Feb 15, 2018

Hailing from St. Andrews, Scotland, singer, songwriter, guitarist and loop-expert KT Tunstall didn't come from a musical family, which is a rarity for Mountain Stage performers. Her family supported her, though, and Tunstall's 2004 album Eye To The Telescope would produce major pop hits "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" and "Suddenly I See." Both are included in this live set from Athens, Ohio, recorded on campus of Ohio University.

If the whole world's a jungle, Kendrick Lamar and company have a penchant for continuously scaling its upper heights.

Director Andrey Zvyagintsev's Loveless -- Russia's submission to this year's Academy Awards, and one of the five movies up for best foreign language film come Oscar night — begins with two parents screaming at each other about their upcoming divorce.

They're trying to sell their apartment, and it quickly becomes clear that their relationship is so toxic they'd probably sell their kid, too, if they could get away with it. Neither of them wants to take care of 12-year-old Aloysha (Matvey Novikov), who's sobbing quietly in the shower as they argue.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Look closely at a frame from Early Man — or any of the other features and shorts by Nick Park, the stop-motion animator behind Creature Comforts, the Wallace and Gromit series, and Chicken Run — and you can spot the truest and most literal of all auteur stamps: The curvatures of a fingerprint. As computer animation has become the dominant format, Park and his craftspeople at Aardman Animations have remained defiantly analog, using their hands to manipulate the features of plasticine models, frame by painstaking frame.

British filmmaker Sally Potter, a bold adventurer with form and genre, has racked up a formidable resume of hits and some misses, among them the gorgeous historical gender-bender Orlando (1992); the sexy dance movie The Tango Lesson (1996); The Man Who Cried (2001), a tone-deaf Holocaust misfire; and the terrific Ginger and Rosa (2012), which explored the tricky friction between ideology and private behavior on the lefty margins of 1960's London, where Potter came of age.

The heroine of Double Lover suffers chronic abdominal pain, but an exceptionally revealing trip to the gynecologist indicates no physical cause. Perhaps it's all in her head, so Chloe (Marine Vacth) is referred to a psychiatrist. That medical judgment turns out to be faulty, but viewers will sympathize with the doctor who made it. It might seem that the entire movie is in Chloe's head.

Joy Powers

Local folk musicians Caley Conway and Marielle Allschwang join Lake Effect's Joy Powers to talk about Milwaukee's supportive community of musicians, the changing nature of how fans listen to music, and their upcoming projects. The two performers will share a double-bill Friday, February 23, at Anodyne Coffee in Walker's Point.

How many relationships do you know of that have lasted for 70 years? If you're coming up short, I'll help you out; Clarence Fountain and Jimmy Carter, the two surviving original members of Blind Boys of Alabama, who began touring together in the 1940's.

Michelle Maternowski

By the time the Winter Olympics end, tens of millions of Americans will have watched figure skating events - from the drama of a remarkably close pairs competition to the potential dramas to come.  We'll watch successes, failures, axels, salchows, twizzles, and - in Milwaukeean Bob Beyer's case - the skates themselves.

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

As a kid in Oakland, Calif., Ryan Coogler hung out at a comic book shop near his school, reading about superheroes who looked nothing like him.

"As I got older, I wanted to find a comic book character that looked like me and not just one that was on the sidelines," Coogler says. "And I walk in and ask the guy at the desk that day, and say, 'Hey man, you got any comic books here about black people, you know, like with a black superhero?' And he was like, 'Oh, yeah, as a matter of fact, we got this one.'"

The Smashing Pumpkins has announced an extensive North American arena tour under the title Shiny and Oh So Bright. Its three dozen dates will begin on July 12 in Glendale, Ariz. and end Sept. 7 in Boise, Idaho.

As with most of the tours, reunions, albums and other assorted ephemera surrounding this, one of alt-rock's greatest acts, what might have simply been a greatest hits lap for a band that parted ways nearly two decades ago has turned into a bit of a referendum on its legacy.

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