Arts & Culture

Ways to Connect

During his campaign and now as president, Donald Trump has made Twitter part of the daily news cycle, with a single early-morning or late-night Trump tweet setting the news agenda for hours, if not days.

Even before cracking Bill Hayes' mixed-media memoir, you know it's going to be special: This is the man who enabled neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks to do what a lifetime of therapy hadn't — connect intimately and openly with another man, ending three and a half decades of celibacy. Sacks finally came out about his thwarted sexuality and joyful late awakening in his memoir, On the Move, which was published just a few months before his death from cancer in 2015. Insomniac City is Hayes' valentine to Sacks, New York City, and life itself.

It can't be a coincidence that Little Dragon released a sexy, consumption-focused new single, "High," on February 14, of all days. This paean to loose trips and close touches is a reliable soundtrack to a narcotized Valentine's Day in with a main squeeze.

Rubblebucket's new EP, If U C My Enemies, is especially significant for bandleaders Alex Toth and Kalmia Traver. The two have been a couple since meeting in the music program at the University of Vermont and forming the band, which released its first album as Rubblebucket Orchestra in 2008.

Adele broke her Grammy award in half Sunday night. It might have seemed like the careless act of someone with plenty to spare; the 28-year-old powerhouse vocalist has 15 of the music industry's most coveted statues, including the five just presented for her latest album, 25. She did so charmingly, with a characteristic big laugh, and apparently by accident, severing the statue's gramophone horn from its base as she nervously handled it.

One year after removing full-frontal nudity from its pages, Playboy is returning to its roots. "Naked is normal," the magazine announces on the cover of its March/April 2017 issue. The cover also omits a long-used tagline: "Entertainment for Men."

Relationships are hard work. Music is hard work. And somehow, these magical musical couples manage to make both work at the same time. It's beautiful, it's enviable and it deserves celebrating. So happy Valentine's Day from World Cafe to these 10 past guests: lovebirds who are also bandmates.

Hear the Valentine's Day special in the player above and stream the complete sessions from the World Cafe archives below.


It's Valentine's Day, which means it's time of year to revel in the outward displays of love — be it flowers, chocolates, or wine. It's also the time of year when romance novelists are suddenly in hot demand for our expertise on dramatic displays of affection, the perfect romantic evening out ... or what to read for a delicious night in.

No snark or anti-commercialism rantings here, just a dose of simple sweetness. We asked readers to share their most memorable Valentine's Day cards; here are a few of our favorites, edited for length and clarity. And we asked NPR illustrator Chelsea Beck to re-create two valentines that live on only in their recipients' memories.


Renae Quinn, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

A heart-shaped box of chocolate is a sign of love, a symbol — and often tool — of romance, and an intrinsic part of Valentine's Day.

From at least the time of the Aztecs, chocolate has been seen as an aphrodisiac. So it's reasonable to assume that it has been connected to love's dedicated day of celebration for many centuries. But, that isn't the case.

It was The Magnificent Seven that inspired Ramin Djawadi, the musician behind Game Of Thrones' iconic soundtrack, to become a film composer.

Few topics send the media into a panic like the idea of hookup culture on college campuses. But are college students actually having more sex than their parents did a generation ago? Research suggests the answer is no.

Lisa Wade, a sociologist at Occidental College, says something has changed, though: In today's hookup culture, developing an emotional attachment to a casual sex partner is one of the biggest breaches of social norms.

Melbourne, Australia's The Outdoor Type is the project of songwriter Zack Buchanan. His music draws on his love of some '80s bands who just happen to be Australian as well — bands like The Church, The Go-Betweens and Australian icon Paul Kelly. Those influences are translated into something new on Buchanan's forthcoming album, The Outdoor Type, which follows a great EP released in 2016. Hear two tracks in this segment.

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

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

The 59th Grammy Awards were last night, and the show raised a few questions for us. Here to talk about the biggest night in music is NPR Music senior editor Jacob Ganz. Welcome.

JACOB GANZ, BYLINE: Thanks, Kelly.

A newsroom unsettled by layoffs and buyouts of 200 colleagues. A senior editor decamping for the competition. And above all a lingering question from many reporters: did The Wall Street Journal pull its punches in scrutinizing the man who is now president?

The paper's top editor, Gerard Baker, held a meeting with his staff Monday to give a muscular defense of the paper's coverage of Donald Trump and, by extension, his own leadership.

We hadn't planned to visit William Faulkner's home on our visit to Mississippi. We didn't think we had enough time. But really, the temptation was too great: It seemed sacrilegious to leave Oxford without making even a brief pilgrimage.

So before we headed out to the Mississippi Delta, we stopped by Rowan Oak, the stately antebellum mansion Faulkner bought for $6,000 in 1930. He had just published The Sound and the Fury.

Chuck Prophet has lived the rock 'n' roll lifestyle almost from conception. Originally from Southern California, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area as a teenager and recorded eight revered albums with Green On Red before he was 20 years old. Since then he has recorded over a dozen solo albums that just keep getting better.

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Count Basie's band from Kansas City reached New York in December of 1936. Musicians took note immediately. But the general public took a little longer.

E.K. Sluder

On Friday February 3, GPB Atlanta broadcasted "All Things Considered" live from the High Museum of Art's monthly "First Friday" event.

The image that won the 2017 World Press Photo of the Year award was described by one jury member as the "face of hatred."

It shows a shouting, suit-clad gunman standing in an art gallery in Turkey's capital, one hand holding a weapon, the other pointing to the sky. On the ground next to him is the crumpled body of his victim, Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov.

Metropolis: 2/11/17

Feb 13, 2017

This Week's Playlist

  • Little Dragon, "High" (Loma Vista/ Republic)
  • Barclay Crenshaw, "The Gene Sequence" (STX & BRX)
  • TOKiMONSTA, "Surrender [feat. Gavin Turek][Surrender Remix]" (Young Art)
  • Moon Boots, "Tear My Heart [feat. Lulu James]" (French Express)
  • Vanilla Ace, "Little Pigs" (Spinnin' Deep)
  • Oliver Jay, "Jungle Fire" (Bunny Tiger)
  • Joeski, "Dub Music" (Poker Flat Recordings)

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

British singer Adele made Grammy history last night.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HELLO")

ADELE: (Singing) Hello. It's me. I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet, to go over...

Neil Gaiman was 6 years old when he first met the Norse god Thor — although he wasn't the red-bearded hammer-slinger of legend. "Marvel. Marvel's Thor came first," he says. "I was reading the reprints of Marvel's Thor in an English comic called Fantastic. ... Dr. Don Blake found this stick in a cave, banged it down and transformed into Thor, and the stick transformed into the hammer." Gaiman says he spent a lot of his first decade looking for likely sticks, "just on the off chance that they might the Thor stick, and might transform into a mighty hammer.

For Dan Barber, the celebrated chef of the New York City restaurant Blue Hill, each course of a meal is an opportunity to tell a story. One of these stories is about a pepper — an aromatic, orange habanero without any heat.

When greeting card designer Emily McDowell had cancer, she got a lot of cards that just felt weird. "A get-well-soon card is kind of strange if you might not," she tells NPR's Rachel Martin.

So McDowell started writing nontraditional sympathy cards. They say things like "Please let me be the first person to punch the next person who tells you everything happens for a reason. I'm sorry you're going through this."

The 59th annual Grammy Awards brought a pair of sweeps: a likely one for a dearly departed star, a surprise for the reigning queen of pop — and more performances than anyone will likely remember tomorrow.

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