Arts & Life

The first short story in a collection functions the same way the first track on an album does — it sets the tone for what's to come, and works as a de facto introduction, displaying the range of tools the creator has decided to work with. That's not to say authors never deviate from the tone of the initial story; they usually do, and when they know what they're doing, the effect can be bracing, even shocking.

Earlier this year, the Republican National Committee marked Abraham Lincoln's birthday by sharing a charming, if banal, aphorism attributed to Lincoln: "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."

Dear dogs of America — sorry about bone broth. Since this well-marketed take on an ancient beverage started sweeping hip enclaves like New York, Austin and Los Angeles a few years ago, it's getting harder to find cheap bones. Unlike many food fads, bone broth seems to be here for the long simmer. As more people switch to sipping, there are fewer bones to go around.

Growing up, punk rocker Laura Jane Grace always felt conflicted about gender. She tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that she felt like two "twin souls" were warring inside of her, fighting for control. "I thought that I was quite possibly schizophrenic," she says.

It wasn't until Grace was 19 that she heard the term "transgender" and had a context for what she was feeling. In 2012, at the age of 31, she transitioned from male to female.

When Golden Girls actress Rue McClanahan, who played the man-hungry Blanche Devereaux, got her first regular paycheck starring as Vivian Harmon on the sitcom Maude, one of her first splurges was a cappuccino machine.

There's a saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Apparently, so is history.

In the case of Poland's new Museum of the Second World War, the beholder is the nationalist government. Run by the populist Law and Justice Party, it has declared the museum an expensive mess that waters down Polish history and should be closed — or at a minimum, revamped. The museum opened March 23 in the northern port city of Gdansk, where World War II began when Germany invaded the city in 1939.

'Foxlowe' Is A Delicious Slice Of Darkness

Apr 4, 2017

Foxlowe, the debut novel by British author Eleanor Wasserberg, is not for the weak-stomached, fainthearted, or otherwise easily squeamish. From the first page, cruelty and violence — most often against children — is delivered in a gruesome fugue of agony and foreboding.

Mayte Garcia was just 9 years old when she shared a prediction with her mom: "'I'm going to marry Prince or Luis Miguel. One of the two.' And she started laughing," she says.

Garcia didn't end up marrying Luis Miguel, but she did nab the other guy. The little girl who adored Purple Rain, and watched the same MTV interview with her idol over and over growing up, would become Prince's pen pal, friend, collaborator and, ultimately, his wife. The two married in 1996, when she was 22 and he was 37.

At the height of the Cold War, in the 1960s and beyond, South Korean students were taught — and believed — some startling falsehoods about Communist North Koreans. One of these gained credence and lasted far longer than the Cold War itself.

Over the course of my reporting in Seoul, some interviews with North Korean defectors and older South Koreans have revealed a South Korean notion that North Koreans are really more like ... beasts.

If you've been around long enough, you've probably seen The Anarchist Cookbook: It has a black cover, blocky white letters and instructions for making your own explosives. The book was published in the early 1970s with this warning: "Read this book, but keep in mind that the topics written about here are illegal and constitutes a threat. Also, more importantly, almost all the recipes are dangerous, especially to the individual who plays around with them without knowing what he is doing. Use care, caution, and common sense. This book is not for children or morons."

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What do listening to music, hitting a baseball and solving a complex math problem have in common? They all activate less gray matter than drinking wine.

The campaign began under cover of darkness.

It opened with a skirmish or two in Bristol more than a decade ago — a superfluous apostrophe scratched off a street sign here, a possessive rendered plural with the stroke of some tape there.

But now, the battle between one mysterious man and the grammatical mistakes besieging the British city has spilled into the harsh light of international media.

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The Yiddish word schmaltz and its adverb cousin schmaltzy refer to two very divergent concepts: rendered chicken fat — that hard stuff on top of a cold homemade soup — and something that is overly sentimental. When it comes to the foods we love and cherish, there can be no shortage of either.

In comics and graphic novels, Native American characters aren't usually very prominent. They're often sidekicks — or worse. But a new publisher focused exclusively on Native writers and artists is changing that. Called Native Realities, the company just released the reboot of the first all-Native superhero comic.

Today's selections grapple with the existential crisis presented by string cheese, plus rapper Vince Staples shares a couple of his favorites from #NPRPoetry.

Hear Vince Staples' interview with Michel Martin.

It's 2075, and America has been beset by flooding linked to climate change. The President has banned the use of fossil fuels. The southern states have broken away, looking to protect the coal mining industry. A rabid civil war is taking place. A weakened America sees new empires in China and the Middle East meddling in its affairs — and Mexico has annexed most parts of the Southwest, from Texas to California.

War movies are generally told from male perspectives, says director Niki Caro — but that doesn't have to be the case.

Her new film, The Zookeeper's Wife is an adaptation of Diane Ackerman's 2007 book. It's based on the diaries of Antonina Żabińska, who, along with her husband Jan Żabiński, saved hundreds of Jews during World War II by sheltering them in the Warsaw Zoo.

"I saw in this material a new kind of Holocaust movie ..." Caro says, "Because it was a woman's perspective and about a woman's experience of war."

Find Your Way Across This Misty, Mysterious 'Frontier'

Apr 2, 2017

Not schooled in art history or appreciation, my way of overcoming the knee-jerk "a child could've scribbled that" response to abstract and experimental gallery work is to appreciate the way it forces me to interact with it. How does it linger against my eyes in after-image? How is it hijacking my senses, making me see things that aren't there? How does an artist's subtle engineering of space, light, colour, extend the canvas into my body and make material of me?

Khanh-Hoa Nguyen stirs a pot of green papaya and pigs' feet soup. The clear broth and pale green chunks of unripe melon are redolent with fish sauce, the way her own mother prepared the soup after Nguyen's sister gave birth.

After her second year at the University of California at Berkeley, Nguyen was spending the summer at her parents' home in Los Angeles, watching her mother prepare big pots of Vietnamese postpartum foods for her sister.

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Gilbert Baker, creator of the rainbow flag, which would endure as the symbol of gay activism and solidarity for 40 years, has died.

Cleve Jones, a longtime friend and noted gay rights activist, announced the death on Twitter.

Baker designed his first flag during the 1970s while an active member of San Francisco's gay community. An Army veteran and drag performer, Baker found himself sought after for his deftness at costuming to make signs and banners for the burgeoning gay rights movement.

In fall 2014, producer Sarah Koenig launched Serial, a spin-off podcast of This American Life. In the first season, Koenig re-investigated the 1999 murder of a high school student. In the second, she focused on Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier held captive by the Taliban and then tried for desertion. Most recently, Serial Productions released S-Town, which explores an unexpected mystery in a small Alabama town.

'Ship Beyond Time' Sails Through The Centuries

Apr 1, 2017

Last year, Heidi Heilig sailed onto the YA scene with her debut novel The Girl From Everywhere, introducing us to Nix, who uses maps to travel between times and worlds on the tall ship Temptation. Now we can journey with her through the sequel, The Ship Beyond Time, in search of an answer to the classic question of time travel: Are we the masters of our own fate, or are we simply treading the path of destiny?

Hero Dogs and APR

Apr 1, 2017
American Humane Association

Roselle, a guide dog, led her blind owner down almost 1,500 steps to escape Tower One of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.  The fact that they both managed to make it out safely was a testament to her intelligence and ability  and to her owner's trust.  For her bravery, Roselle became the first Hero Dog of the Year for 2011, and set a great example for all the Hero Dogs to follow.

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Karen Neulander is a brilliant, determined, tough political consultant who is facing a crisis she knows she can't fix: terminal ovarian cancer. Karen is determined to use whatever time she has left to share as much as she can of her life with her 6-year-old son, Jacob. She also has another goal: to introduce Jacob to Dave, the father he has never known but must try to love for the rest of his life.

What's the next big foodie enthusiasm? Robust flavors, earthy scents and lusty textures from the very soil that nourishes life.

It's called Veritable Cuisine du Terroir — literally, Food from the Earth Really — and in their copper-clad kitchen in the Marais district of Paris, chefs Solange and Gael Gregoire run one of the hottest bistros in a city long celebrated for its culinary prowess.

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