Arts & Culture

Ways to Connect

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Last week, we asked listeners to tell us about the songs that got them through school. As the stories poured in, we began to see some clear and common themes. For starters, school, while being an exciting time of profound change, is really hard. Many told us stories of battling depression, anxiety and issues of sexual identity, all while navigating a churning sea of uncertainty.

Caveat lector: Some of the explicit sex scenes in Fuminori Nakamura's new novel Cult X will disturb you. Whether that's because they embarrass you or turn you on or both is very much beside the point. Not only does Nakamura have more disturbing things to share, those sex scenes point toward the worse-to-come events in most un-titillating ways.

"These times are poignant / The winds have shifted / It's all we can do / To stay uplifted."

Those words are sung so powerfully by Rising Appalachia, the musical project of sisters Leah Song and Chloe Smith. This uplifting, original folk song for these challenging times is called "Resilient."

Beginning at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, May 15, watch Phoebe Bridgers, Gang Of Youths, Rayland Baxter and more perform during the first night of public radio's NON-COMMvention 2018. The show streams live via VuHaus from World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.

Find Tuesday evening's full schedule below; all set times are shown in Eastern Standard Time and are subject to change.

Caryl Phillips' latest novel, based on the troubled life of the writer Jean Rhys, is a lush exploration of the costs of colonialism, the limited possibilities for non-conformist women, and egregious power imbalances between genders and races. Rhys' life — she was born in the British colony of Dominica in 1890 and sent to school in England at 16 — is a fitting canvas for Phillips' perennial themes of displacement, alienation and muddled identity.

A teenage brain is a fascinating, still-changing place. There's a lot going on: social awareness, risk-taking, peer pressure; all are heightened during this period.

Until relatively recently, it was thought that the brain was only actively developing during childhood, but in the last two decades, researchers have confirmed that the brain continues to develop during adolescence — a period of time that can stretch from the middle school years into early adulthood.

People who spend time with young children know firsthand the power of music.

It's easy entertainment.

And any teacher who works in early childhood will tell you that singing can yield amazing results. "If we didn't sing the cleanup song, I don't think anything would have gotten cleaned up," says Laura Cirelli, who worked as an assistant at a day care center in the late 2000s.

But there may be other ways — surprising ways — in which music plays a role in raising a human.

Deadpool 2, like the 2016 film to which it is a sequel, stars Ryan Reynolds as a violent super-mercenary with the the ability to heal himself from any injury. In both films, Reynolds unleashes a logorrheic verbal torrent of meta-references to other movies — so many, so unceasingly, that their net effect is to hammer the fourth wall into a powdery dust.

"This thing you are looking at right now" he essentially says, often, "is like this other thing you have looked at in the past, when you were watching an entirely different film. Nutty, right?"

An Illustrated Memoir Of The War In Syria

May 14, 2018

The humanitarian and military crisis in Syria can be hard to see clearly.

But Marwan Hisham and Molly Crabapple have another way.

Their book Brothers of the Gun combines Crabapple’s illustrations with Hisham’s memoir of the war that’s destroying his country and his former hometown, Raqqa.

Art by Molly Crabapple.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Matt Marks, a young composer, musician and founding member of the contemporary music ensemble Alarm Will Sound, died suddenly Friday, May 11. The group made an announcement Saturday on Twitter, with no cause of death given. Marks was 38.

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