Arts & Culture

Ways to Connect

In a new video for the slinky, jazz-rooted BADBADNOTGOOD song "Lavender," a character named "Ronald Klump," a satirical Donald Trump stand-in, is the victim of a Looney Tunes-ian "BANG," fired by Snoop Dogg. (The video is also heavy on Snoop's favorite subject, the continuous ingestion of pot.)

We started a tradition a couple years back where we invite musicians in Austin, Texas, during the SXSW music festival to sing us a lullaby.

When a TV show really connects with viewers, it's often a lightning-in-a-bottle experience; a collision of talent, material and public mood that is difficult to define. But that hasn't stopped people from asking Dan Fogelman, the creator of NBC's supersuccessful family drama This Is Us, this question: How did you pull this off?

Fogelman's answer: tone, timing and cast.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Hackers, fake news, conspiracy theories tweeted and retweeted. One takeaway from the election is that the internet isn't living up to the promise that it would revitalize the marketplace of ideas.

A recent lawsuit brought by a blind theatergoer against the producers of the hit musical Hamilton has highlighted Broadway's spotty track record in serving audiences with disabilities.

"It tasted like rotten compost," recalls Max Falkowitz, executive digital editor of the food and wine magazine Saveur, of the time in college he sipped one of the most sought-after teas in the world. That would be pu'er — a legendary, fermented dark tea sourced from ancient trees in the isolated forest canopies of the Yunnan Province in southwest China.

Sometimes the hard-working, completely badass punks win. Downtown Boys signed to Sub Pop recently, an open invitation for a wider world to hear the Rhode Island natives' wild, bilingual, no-filler, can-still-throw-down punk rock.

Updated at 4:05 p.m. EDT

The Trump era has opened with the promise of a White House foothold for media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

It looks to be the kind of warm and solicitous reception in the corridors of presidential power that he has long enjoyed abroad.

Murdoch has told close associates that the nation's 45th president calls to confer frequently — as often as multiple times a week — and that he has visited the White House to meet with Trump more than once.

"How does the scar forgive the knife?" So begins the heart-wrenching lament of Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Tift Merritt. This is just one of many beautiful, Americana-drenched, self-penned sighs from her sixth studio release, Stitch Of The World, recorded over the course of four days in Los Angeles and co-produced by Iron & Wine's Sam Beam.

Feist has been known to take her time between albums, but it has been a long stretch since 2011's Metals.

Metropolis: 3/11/17

Mar 14, 2017

This Week's Playlist

  • Fenech Soler, "Night Time TV" (SBMC Inc. - So Recordings)
  • Portugal. The Man, "Feel It Still" (Atlantic Records)
  • Gavin Turek & Tokimonsta, "Surrender [Stranger Remix]" (Young Art)
  • Siege, "Play Me" (Nothing Else Matters/ RCA)
  • Mason, "Everybody" (Animal Language)
  • Hamilton Leithauser & Rostam, "In A Black Out [Cassius Remix]" (Glassnote Recordings)
  • Geotic, "Vaulted Ceiling, Painted Sky" (Ghostly International)

This is some nasty, nasty jazz. Featuring saxophonist Matt Nelson (Battle Trance), bassist Tim Dahl (Child Abuse), and drummer Nick Podgurski (New Firmament, Feast Of The Epiphany), GRID's debut album bubbles up from the East River like a toxic monster amalgamated from New York's improvised and extreme music scenes.

Merchandise is, colloquially anyways, the engine that drives the boat, the rocket fuel that propels careers toward the stars!

Actually, according to Martin Atkins, author of Welcome To The Music Business, You're F****d!, merchandise is more like "the small hand-cranked trolley that inches up the funicular railway, inch by rusted, mangled inch, up the hill." Merchandise, particularly t-shirts, are the subject of this fun-filled Martin Atkins Minute (actually six fun-filled minutes).

If you ever want to make a group of Southerners groan, just ask them how they feel about kudzu. The now-ubiquitous vine was introduced to the United States from Japan in the late 19th century, and widely publicized as a miracle plant: it could be used as food for cattle; it made a nice ornamental addition to porches. But it didn't take very long for "the vine that ate the South" to go out of control, smothering Dixie and suffocating its other plants.

Singer Alynda Segarra has tried on a lot of identities. She grew up in the Bronx in a Puerto Rican family, and her aunt and uncle raised her in what almost sounds like a time capsule.

In music, a coda is a passage that brings a musical composition to an end. This is the coda to a musical saga — the story of the Stradivarius violin that was stolen 37 years ago from my late father, violinist Roman Totenberg, and recovered in 2015.

That violin, made by Antonio Stradivari in 1734, was my father's "musical partner" for 38 years as he toured the world.

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

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Stephen Bruner is a bass player, singer and songwriter who's as well known for his own music as for his collaborations. But when he released his latest solo single as Thundercat few weeks ago, those who know his work with Kendrick Lamar were scratching their heads. Here was a fiery visionary collaborating with two icons of easygoing '70s pop: Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald.

Alan Rhew

When we think of Southern Gothic, a lot of names come to mind: Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner, Cormac McCarthy. Critics include North Carolina-based author David Joy in that category. His new novel, "The Weight of this World," takes us into a gritty, seamy world in rural Appalachia. Characters are tormented by their own demons, roused by painful memories of a small town and memories of war.

Want to be in the audience to watch us tape Two Way Street? We'll be at the Carter Presidential Library Friday evening, March 17 at 7 p.m. Admission is free. Join us for our conversation about sleep with author Benjamin Reiss.

Ruth Schowalter

On today’s edition of “Two Way Street” we’re going to go underground. We’ll explore cool, dark, subterranean regions where thousands of species – from humans to reptiles to insects – have sought shelter and safety, in some cases for hundreds of millions of years, back to the earliest appearances of animal life on Earth.

ChooseATL

South by Southwest (SXSW) is an annual conference and festival in Austin, Texas.

It brings together global innovators in media, entertainment, music and film for a week of concerts and conversations. 

The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce’s marketing arm ChooseATL is bringing a number of musicians, entrepreneurs and local companies to Austin this weekend.

There's enough material in the life of Philippe Mora to warrant not just one movie, but maybe three or four. His career as the director of more than 40 films, for instance, including the Dennis Hopper outlaw flick Mad Dog Morgan. His prolific history as a visual artist — including the time the stench from his rotting-meat statue raised the hackles of Princess Margaret.

The Aussie trio Middle Kids came seemingly out of nowhere to release some of the catchiest pop songs we've heard recently. The band visited KCRW for a live session on the day it released its self-titled EP and performed the standout "Never Start."

SET LIST

  • "Never Start"

Photo: Michael Verdin/KCRW.

Go back almost 110 years, and you couldn’t find a place in Savannah that was legally serving alcohol. Georgia went dry the first day of 1908, and stayed that way more than 25 years, until Prohibition was repealed. A museum in Savannah opening next month tells the Prohibition story from the first drop to the last. We got a preview from the museum’s manager, Kayla Black.

 

A group of artists are coming together in Savannah to champion women’s rights. "The Personal is Political" is a new exhibit which explores “the relationship between personal experience and the political structures we navigate in our daily lives.” Art Rise Savannah and Planned Parenthood Southeast are teaming up for this exhibition, which opens Friday at the Art Rise Gallery. We talked about it with Heather McRae, exhibitions director at Art Rise Savannah. We also talked with Niki Johnson, whose work is featured in the exhibit.

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