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She's a poet, a writer, an artist, an entrepreneur and someone who knows how to use her voice to encourage social change. Early in 2016, when Ani DiFranco's Paint Congress Blue Tour came through the 30A Songwriters Festival in Florida, she stopped by for a Folk Alley session. Here, she performs her poem "Binary," the title track from her forthcoming album (due in 2017), which she says addresses the overriding concept that "consciousness is binary."

Lace front, true believers!

RuPaul's Drag Race returns tonight.

Technically, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, wherein 10 drag queens who missed out on being crowned America's Next Drag Superstar over the show's eight previous seasons return to compete for a cash prize of $100,000 and induction into RuPaul's Drag Race Hall of Fame.

(This is the second All-Star season, and there were three seasons of the off-season offshoot RuPaul's Drag U, in which RuPaul did not appear in drag and about which we do not speak.)

If fashion is art, Sonia Rykiel is considered a master. Women's Wear Daily dubbed her the "queen of knitwear" — though she was the first to admit she didn't know how to knit — and her designs have been shown in museums. Rykiel, who had Parkinson's disease, died Thursday morning at her home in Paris. She was 86.

If the popularity of quinoa has taught us anything, it's that Americans are increasingly open about exploring grains besides the familiar wheat and rice. Now, researchers at Tennessee State University are hoping consumers are ready to give another ancient grain a try: amaranth.

Amaranth was revered by the Aztecs in Mexico. Today in the U.S., it's mostly grown in people's backyards or on research farms, like an experimental field at Tennessee State University.

In the five years since the group reactivated, Witch Mountain's ascent has been swift and monumental. In 2011, the Portland doom-metal band was rejuvenated after a decade of dormancy by Uta Plotkin, a raw yet multifaceted singer. Three stellar albums followed before Plotkin left the band to pursue other projects, with bassist Charles Thomas exiting soon thereafter.

It's a hot day in the nuclear post-apocalyptic wasteland, and you've spent all afternoon fighting off mutated zombie creatures. What you probably need right now is a nice, cold soda.

Chances are, if you're playing a video game, there's some sort of soda machine right around the corner. Jess Morrissette has the evidence to prove it.

Who knew the most traditional-feeling romantic comedy this fall might show up on YouTube?

It's not that YouTube hasn't been making strides in original content; they've been pushing forward in that area for some time. But now that they've established YouTube Red, their premium streaming service, they seem to be getting a little bit more serious and direct about competing for a broader range of viewers with straight-up television, both on broadcast and cable and on services like Netflix and Amazon.

Here's something I find remarkable: There are only three professionally made recordings of The Beatles playing live in concert. Sure, there are bootleg recordings that don't sound very good. And there's a single-microphone recording from the band's days performing in Hamburg in the early '60s, but that's it.

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'The Couple Next Door' Ratchets Up Parenting Paranoia

Aug 25, 2016

Novels about missing children aren't, well, novel — but there's a special terror for anyone who has loved a baby when the missing child is an infant, unable to walk or climb or otherwise toddle into danger. Shari Lapena's The Couple Next Door examines the blind fear a couple in upstate New York experience when they return from a dinner party (yes, next door) and discover their beloved daughter is no longer in her crib.

There's no denying it: The architecture on the National Mall commands a kind of weighty reverence. From the neoclassical columns of the Capitol dome to the immense, white marble of the Lincoln Memorial, charm does not seem to have been the design goal for the nation's front lawn. Save for one standout: the Smithsonian's Arts and Industries Building, which, until this summer, had been chained shut for years.

First Listen: James Vincent McMorrow, 'We Move'

Aug 25, 2016

The strain of 21st-century neo-soul that helped close the gap between the likes of Bon Iver and Kanye West has a formidable new ambassador in James Vincent McMorrow. A dewy Irishman with a falsetto-flecked voice and a past haunted with songs played on acoustic guitars, McMorrow gives himself an impressive makeover on an album propelled by the encouraging calculus of post-genre collaboration.

For the Portland, Ore., band Y La Bamba, creativity and talent have combined and crystalized to form a unique sound. That sound is the sum of many individual musical experiences and influences, but it also reflects a shared vision. Most importantly, on the new Ojos Del Sol, it sounds as if the group is having a blast playing music.

First Listen: Eluvium, 'False Readings On'

Aug 25, 2016

Few artists have had as fecund a post-millennium stretch as Portland, Ore., musician Matthew Cooper. He released nine Eluvium albums in 11 years, with each successive release performing the neat trick of sounding both more expansive and more distilled than the one before it. It was a remarkable run, capped by two mammoth 7xLP box sets, Life Through Bombardment -- so thorough a retrospective of his work up to that point that it might have provided the bookends for the Eluvium project.

Not to open on a down note, but the arrival of The Frightnrs' debut album, Nothing More To Say, is a bittersweet affair. The group's lead singer, Dan Klein, died from ALS earlier this summer, and much of the album was recorded after he was diagnosed last fall. His piercing, wailing tone feels all the more plaintive as a result, but even if Nothing More To Say marks a career cruelly curtailed, the album's release also represents a dream fulfilled.

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When Save the Children Australia signed up to help migrants that Australia was detaining on the remote island of Nauru, workers for the aid group had to sign confidentiality agreements.

One of the group's former workers, Victoria Vibhakar, told NPR on Wednesday that as a result, abuse, including the abuse of children, was largely ignored.

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Hillary Clinton has not held a single press conference since the start of 2016, triggering charges that she's trying to duck questions from reporters on the campaign trail.

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Barbie at the Louvre?! Sacré bleu! But it's true — the impeccably dressed blonde bombshell has her very own exhibition in Paris. As a '70s feminist, I've always disparaged that doll — a wasp-waisted, clothes-horse, sex pot. But for all the Barbie lovers out there, I paid a visit to the lavish exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs at the Louvre Palais.

Updated at 7:10 p.m. ET

Like a lot of people's grandmothers, Flonzie Brown-Wright keeps a candy jar in the living room of her single-story home, which is also adorned with potted plants and family photos.

A major study about the best way to treat early-stage breast cancer reveals that "precision medicine" doesn't provide unambiguous answers about how to choose the best therapy.

"Precision doesn't mean certainty," says David Hunter, a professor of cancer prevention at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

That point is illustrated in a large study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, involving decisions about chemotherapy.

The Bombay to Barcelona Library Cafe sits on one side of a noisy street in a lower-middle-class neighborhood of Mumbai, India, not far from the city's swanky new international airport.

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Texas Bookseller Picks 3 Summer Reads

Aug 24, 2016

Julia Green of Front Street Books in Alpine, Texas, recommends Moonlight on Linoleum by Terry Helwig, City of Women by David R. Gillham and The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly.

Los Angeles musician Gabriel Reyes-Whittaker had a problem: A few years ago, he was asked to tackle the weighty subject of Latin American modernism in sound. His response was to invent a new persona, and to restrict himself to a spare and specific set of tools. Under the new name Frankie Reyes, he set off to record a dozen instrumental versions of Spanish-language ballads and waltzes from the 1930s through the '60s, using only a vintage analog synthesizer.

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