Arts and Culture

Arts and culture

To read one of Shirley Jackson's signature works is to live in a house built on on sand. From novels like We Have Always Lived in the Castle to the iconic "The Lottery," Jackson's worlds carve some essential, uncanny instability out of the everyday, and any of us can sink without warning into something consuming we can't understandor, worse, that we understand all too well.

What do Michael Jackson, Zac Efron, Bette Midler and Patrick Swayze have in common? They've all worked closely with choreographer Kenny Ortega — a veteran song and dance man who's inspired generations of performers.

On July 31, the Disney Channel premieres his new movie Descendants, starring a number of young, new actors as well as veterans like Kristin Chenoweth and Kathy Najimy.

There aren't a lot of obscure government board meetings that warrant a watch party, let alone one with a marching band.

But that's how fast-food restaurant workers and their supporters celebrated Wednesday on a blocked-off street in Manhattan, as they watched a state panel recommended a $6.25 increase in their hourly wage, to $15.

It's a muggy summer day, and Joe Rubino is at the train station in Baltimore, taking pictures of a stranger and asking some deeply personal questions. Later, he'll post this portrait online, along with snippets from the conversation.

"I think that people are hungry for a more real, emotional connection to people," Rubino says.

His street photography project, Close Up Baltimore, was inspired by photographer Brandon Stanton's Humans of New York blog.

Detox diets come and go, like any other fad. In South Korea, one popular diet has staying power. It has been around for at least 1,600 years, ever since the founding of the Jingkwansa temple in the mountains outside of Seoul.

This Buddhist monastery sits at the convergence of two streams, amid twisting leafy trees and soaring peaks. It's one of many temples in the countryside outside of South Korea's capital. Each temple has its own specialty. Jingkwansa is famous for two reasons.

Among the delights of Lianne La Havas' 2012 debut Is Your Love Big Enough? was its sense of scale. Here was a songwriter of considerable lyric skill and pop ambition who didn't always follow the prevailing verse/chorus/hook code — particularly the expectation that fireworks need to arrive within the first 90 seconds, and repeat on cue 60-90 seconds later.

E.L. Doctorow used to tell a story about a journalism class he took as a high school student in the Bronx. As he told NPR back in 2003, he wrote a profile of a doorman at Carnegie Hall who was beloved by all the performers there. His teacher, apparently, loved the story so much, she wanted to publish the story in the school paper — so she told Doctorow to get a photo of the man.

There was just one problem.

"I hadn't expected that kind of enthusiasm," Doctorow recalled, "and I said, well, 'Not exactly, there is no Carl.' I made him up."

Penelope Spheeris On World Cafe

14 hours ago

The 1980s in LA were a tumultuous time musically. A number of homegrown movements formed in reaction to the over-produced, corporate music scene, and filmmaker Penelope Spheeris was there to document these beginnings with a series of three extraordinary films titled The Decline of Western Civilization. The first is on the LA punk scene and came out to unanimous praise in 1979. She used extreme filmmaking methods, got inside the nascent scene with her camera and at times seemingly dove off the stage in small venues.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Strolling through the annual meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists the other day, I saw several signs offering to solve an urgent problem American bakers face. The signs advertised "egg replacement."

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