Arts and Culture

Arts and culture

Sometimes the world can feel a bit uniform: the same department stores in every shopping mall, the same fast food chains on every corner. The website Atlas Obscura will make you reconsider that sense of monotony.

"The world is still this huge, bizarre, vast place filled with astounding stuff," says co-founder Dylan Thuras. "And if you sort of tilt your view a little bit and start looking for it, you start finding it everywhere."

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Sometimes the world can feel a bit uniform - the same department stores in every shopping mall, the same fast food chains on every corner. Atlas Obscura yanks the rug out from under that sense of monotony.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Sometimes the world can feel a bit uniform - the same department stores in every shopping mall, the same fast food chains on every corner. Atlas Obscura yanks the rug out from under that sense of monotony.

It's a puzzling image — with a crime story behind it.

Women in colorful saris — hot pink, highlighter yellow, teal and royal blue — snake up a dusty gray quarry, carrying baskets of coal over their heads. It's early in the morning; they're stealing from the mine before officials come in for the day.

Additional reporting by LA Johnson.

I've attended the Small Press Expo, or SPX, for 10 years now. This year, I convinced NPR to let me take a reporting kit and interview attendees about what drew them to the show.

(You can check out more photos, illustrations and interviews with creators from the 2016 Small Press Expo on the NPR Illustrations Tumblr over the coming days and weeks.)

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'Arab Of The Future 2' Continues Risky Truth-Telling

16 hours ago

Riad Sattouf's memoir of his childhood in the Middle East stirred up a complicated swirl of emotions when the first volume was released in the U.S. last year. Many reviewers seemed fascinated by something beyond Sattouf's perspicacity and artistry. There was a kind of awe at his rash trampling of forbidden zones. His darkly ironic recollections of growing up in 1970s-80s Syria and Libya came with no mitigating calls for understanding (of the customs that prevailed in those countries' hinterlands) or forgiveness (for his narcissistic father).

From the lingering sins of a nation's snarled roots to the complexities of mental illness and even to the colorful quest for a name of one's own, the books that round out this year's Kirkus Prize shortlists won't let you easily forget history — on whatever scale it's defined.

Two years ago, PawHser Moo's mother started pushing her and her sisters to join a group called Growing Colorado Kids. As Moo recalls, at first, she was far from thrilled by the idea.

"I was like, 'Oh my gosh, no! I have to wake up early!' " says Moo — a pretty typical reaction for a 14 year old. Wake up early on Saturdays just to catch a van up to rural Adams County, about a half-hour drive from Denver, only to spend hours outside gardening? It was hardly her first choice for her weekends.

As further proof that this presidential campaign is everywhere, Sunday night's Emmys stage featured several nods to the candidates as well as the current political climate. Here are some highlights:

1. Julia Louis-Dreyfus' wall

When our collective attention turns to the flood of new shows headed to network television each fall, the same question arises:

Does the fall TV season even matter anymore?

It's true that in the age of #PeakTV new shows drop all the time, so focusing on the fall seems a little old fashioned. But I think this time of year still matters, for a few reasons.

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It was the night of the small-screen giants. And none stood taller at the 2016 Emmys than the HBO juggernauts Game of Thrones and Veep, which won for best drama and comedy series, respectively. The People v. O.J. Simpson also won the Emmy for outstanding limited series.

Game of Thrones and VEEP may have pulled off repeat wins at Sunday's Emmy Awards, but there was also plenty of room for fresh faces in the winner's circle.

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We all know the photo: It captures the rage, division and the racial tension from 40 years ago, that is still so present now in our country.

Titled "The Soiling of Old Glory," the photo won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography. Stanley Forman took the picture on April 5, 1976, by for what was then the Boston Herald American.

"For the time (it) has everything you want in the picture," says Forman. If you've seen the picture, it's hard to forget. A young, white man lunges at a black man with the sharp point of a flagpole, with the American flag attached.

For some comics fans, Alan Moore is basically a god.

He's the media-shy and magnificently bearded writer of comics like Watchmen, V for Vendetta and From Hell — though if you've only ever seen the movies, please, I implore you: Read the books.

Recently, Moore said he's stepping back from comics to focus on other projects — like his epic new novel, Jerusalem. It's full of angels, devils, saints and sinners and visionaries, ghost children and wandering writers, all circling his home town of Northampton, England.

You want to win the Emmy pool tonight.

Doesn't matter why: Maybe you want the money, maybe you just want to rub your victory in your friend Trish's face, because she reads Variety and calls TV shows "skeins."

God, Trish, right? Trish is the worst.

Election year or not, nothing says fall like football and basketball — and while politics may dominate the public consciousness, there are a lot of people flipping the channel to sports for a respite from that kind of action.

African-American women have been wearing fancy hats to church for generations. That tradition is being celebrated at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, which officially opens in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 24. Vintage turbans, caps and fascinators that span a half-century are on display — all from the shop of one woman.

Her name is Mae Reeves.

Donald Glover's new TV show Atlanta has been described as having "dreamy and weird" moments, of mixing "hyper-realism ... with brief moments of surrealism ...

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William Patrick Kinsella, the Canadian author whose award-winning book Shoeless Joe was adapted into the beloved film Field of Dreams, had died at the age of 81.

His literary agent Carolyn Swayze issued a statement Friday confirming his death, calling him "a unique, creative and outrageously opinionated man."

And as NPR's Rose Friedman tells our Newscast unit, the most famous line he ever wrote was whispered – "If you build it, he will come," in 1982's Shoeless Joe.

Chris Thile asked his parents for a mandolin when he was 2 years old. In the decades since, Thile has fronted the bands Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers and, while he was at it, won a MacArthur "genius" grant and sold millions of records. Next month, he will take over as the new host of A Prairie Home Companion.

We've invited Thile, frontman for Nickel Creek, to answer three questions about Nickelback, the Canadian band that some have called the worst rock 'n' roll band of all time.

No chemical used by farmers, it seems, gets more attention than glyphosate, also known by its trade name, Roundup. That's mainly because it is a cornerstone of the shift to genetically modified crops, many of which have been modified to tolerate glyphosate. This, in turn, persuaded farmers to rely on this chemical for easy control of their weeds. (Easy, at least, until weeds evolved to become immune to glyphosate, but that's a different story.)

Two very different narratives on the former National Security Agency contractor unfolded this week. Both proved that the debate over whether Edward Snowden is a traitor or a patriot is in no danger of running out of steam.

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Finally today, we want to spend a few minutes with a multi-talented performer whose versatility is continuing to astonish. His name is Donald Glover. Fans of the hit NBC sitcom "Community" came to love him as the goofy Troy Barnes.

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Finally today, we want to spend a few minutes with a multi-talented performer whose versatility is continuing to astonish. His name is Donald Glover. Fans of the hit NBC sitcom "Community" came to love him as the goofy Troy Barnes.

Chekhov is supposed to have said that if you show a loaded gun on stage, it has to go off. Ann Patchett's new novel, Commonwealth, is full of guns that don't fire.

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