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Speeches in book form have become a reliable cash cow for publishers. The usual formula is this: Find a commencement speech that's gone viral on YouTube, publish it with illustrations in a small hardcover format, and watch as it gets snapped up by the target demographic (in this case, that would be "people who realized they forgot to buy a present while driving to their nephew's high school graduation").

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

'I Basically Ran On Adrenaline': A Staffer Remembers Obama's White House: Alyssa Mastromonaco worked in the West Wing for six exhilarating and exhausting years. She describes that era in her new memoir, Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?

Recovering alcoholics tend to avoid the bar. But when the bar is your office, that's not so easy. New Orleans bluesman Anders Osborne figured out how to get back to work despite the temptations, and now he's trying to help others.

Drugs and alcohol nearly destroyed Osborne's career, and his family. The guitarist and singer-songwriter was showing up for tour dates unable to perform. At his worst, he was spending nights on a park bench.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

In the early days of the 20th century, the United States Radium Corporation had factories in New Jersey and Illinois, where they employed mostly women to paint watch and clock faces with their luminous radium paint. The paint got everywhere — hair, hands, clothes, and mouths.

They were called the shining girls, because they quite literally glowed in the dark. And they were dying.

Ralph Towner first came to the attention of a wide audience nearly 50 years ago as a member of the Paul Winter Consort, for whom he composed the group's most famous tune, "Icarus." The piece was so beloved, the Apollo 15 astronauts took the record to the moon — and named a crater after it.

Tacocat Talks Being A 'Tiny-Font' Band At Coachella

Apr 22, 2017

On April 14, the first day of the annual Coachella music festival in Indio, Calif., the Seattle band Tacocat was taking in their surroundings. "We'd had a few drinks and a little bit of marijuana," Tacocat lead singer Emily Nokes says over the phone from Los Angeles, where the band is hanging out between Coachella's two weekends. "And drummer Lelah Maupin, she's like, 'I really want to write a song that's called "The Poorest Girl at Coachella." ' It's kind of unlike anything I've ever seen. ... Just really, really high-scale fashion and people and food.

Wanting More From 'Imagine Wanting Only This'

Apr 22, 2017

Imagine Wanting Only This is both a puzzle and a letdown. It may be a debut graphic novel, but its author has no shortage of experience as a writer and artist — she's contributed to, among others, the New Yorker, the Oxford American and the Daily Beast, besides serving as the film and video editor at TriQuarterly magazine and the managing editor of Sarabande Books. And yet in this work, Radtke gropes for something to say and fills her pages with rudimentary, schematic art.

Ray Davies On World Cafe

Apr 21, 2017

In this session, we welcome the legendary frontman of The Kinks, Ray Davies, who is backed by The Jayhawks on his new solo album, Americana. One of the themes Davies writes about in this new batch of songs is his relationship with the United States. He says that when The Kinks first came to the U.S.

Imagine city planning as a contact sport and you have the gist of Matt Tyrnauer's documentary, Citizen Jane: Battle for the City. The film chronicles the struggle between two mid-20th century worldviews: that of Robert Moses, who preached a cure for what ailed American cities that amounted to "bulldoze and replace," and the less destructive prescriptions of writer/activist Jane Jacobs, who challenged the whole notion of urban renewal in her game-changing book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities.

Record Store Day, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, is a consumer ploy in the guise of a cultural event. Or, depending on your vantage, maybe it's the other way around. Whatever the case, record stores across the country and around the world are happily (or gamely) bracing for impact: Record Store Day 2017 falls this Saturday, April 22, with a wave of exclusive releases, in-store appearances and other retail enticements.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Kendrick Lamar has spoken. In his first interview since the debut of his (soon-to-be) chart-topping cultural phenomenon-of-an-album, DAMN., the rapper sat down for the now-requisite interview with Zane Lowe of Apple's Beats 1 Radio.

If, like so much of the general listening public, you have found yourself grappling with the themes and depth of his mystical masterpiece since its release one week ago today, you should find solace in the fact that this is exactly as Lamar intended.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Goldie has released a remix of "Inner City Life," his landmark drum and bass song from 1995's Timeless, by none other than Burial.

Bill MacKay's become a stealth fixture on the Chicago music scene over the last decade and change. The guitarist deftly glides through folk, experimental rock and jazz in his band Darts & Arrows and has worked with everyone from Fred Lonberg-Holm and members of Bitchin' Bajas to a blossoming creative partnership with with Ryley Walker — they released an album of guitar duets in 2015.

The War On Drugs is sharing its first new music since 2014's well-regarded Lost In The Dream. Clocking in at more than 11-minutes, "Thinking Of A Place" is both epic and wistful, with moody reflections and memories of a time gone by. And what do you know — it also includes some extended guitar shredding.

"Thinking Of A Place" will be a 45 RPM 12" release for Record Store Day this Saturday, April 22.

Imagine, if you will, a traveling Canadian singer-songwriter with the voice (and humor) of Norm Macdonald and the attire of a Toy Story 2 character. Then imagine him taking the stage with his wife, Tif Ginn, to sing an innuendo-drenched ode to the toggle switch. There's no one quite like Fred Eaglesmith, who makes his sixth appearance on Mountain Stage with this humorous performance of "Toggle Switch," recorded live in Charleston, W.Va.

Set List

  • "Toggle Switch"

Photo Credit: Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage

This Saturday is Record Store Day, and one of its many offerings is an unreleased film soundtrack by Thelonious Monk. We celebrate that release and Monk's centennial with one of his ballads.

GAS isn't really meant for the club, but that's where I first heard it — a cavernous basement was hosting a night of experimental music, the definition of which was determined by the DJ. It sounded and felt like a symphony buried underground, beats programmed from a different galaxy. Pop didn't change the landscape of ambient music — it evolved its purpose, its tone, its movement.

The first thing you should know about this week's show is that PCHH regular Glen Weldon has a strict rule against seeing Fast And The Furious movies, and while he would have waived it if he absolutely had to, we fortunately had willing correspondents in beloved fourth chairs Gene Demby and Chris Klimek, so they joined me and Stephen Thompson for our first segment.

"Smell The Roses," the first song Roger Waters is sharing from his upcoming album Is This The Life We Really Want?, is a rage against complacency and an elegy to the American dream.

"Wake up and smell the roses," he sings. "There's nothing but screams in the field of dreams. Nothing but hope at the end of the rope."

Prince died one year ago today, and for the first anniversary, fans had been told to expect six new songs, as part of an EP titled Deliverance. The first single, also called "Deliverance," is a soaring, stirring mix of rock and gospel.

Juana Molina Shares Eerie New Video For Upcoming Album, 'Halo'

Apr 21, 2017

Argentine experimental artist Juana Molina's music is a beautiful and strange creature in a category of its own, and no genre, Latin or otherwise, can adequately categorize its alluring ambiguity.

The cars were piled on top of each other and bleeding onto the curb of the highway as they inched west and north towards the Lake Ann Park parking lot, each blasting their favorite from the windows; families walked down the trail and under the tunnel beneath the highway they'd just come from, holding the strings of the purple balloons floating just behind them; families walking back to their cars had no balloons and little expression. Altars of brown paper lanterns, unlit during the overcast day, peppered the path towards the off-white, square-paneled compound.

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