Arts and Entertainment

Kitchen Window
9:36 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Fat Tuesday: The Many Different Doughnuts Of Mardi Gras

Emily Hilliard for NPR

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 10:02 am

The history of doughnuts is intrinsically linked to the celebration of Mardi Gras. "Fat Tuesday" — the Christian day of revelry and indulgence before the austere season of Lent — features dough deep-fried in fat as its main staple.

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Music Interviews
11:55 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Beck's Long Balancing Act

Beck's new album, his first since 2008, is called Morning Phase.
Peter Hapak Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 7:17 am

Beck was recording his latest album when he encountered an unexpected hazard in the studio.

"I got bit by a black widow in the middle of this recording session," he says laughing. "I was in the hospital, and my arm was all swollen up."

That was only one of the indignities Beck suffered on the way to Morning Phase.

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Music Reviews
11:02 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Still 'Out To Lunch' 50 Years Later

Eric Dolphy in Copenhagen, 1961.
JP Jazz Archive Redferns

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 4:15 pm

1964 was a great year for cutting-edge jazz records like Albert Ayler's Spiritual Unity, John Coltrane's A Love Supreme and Andrew Hill's Point of Departure. But none sounds as far ahead of its time as Eric Dolphy's masterpiece Out to Lunch, recorded for Blue Note on Feb. 25, 1964.

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Black History Month: #AfroGlobal
1:14 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Black, British And 'Brain Drained': Playwright Takes Charge In Baltimore

Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director of Baltimore's Center Stage Theater.
Richard Anderson ©2011 Richard Anderson Photogra

Actor and playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah was born in Britain to immigrant parents from Grenada. His dad worked as a factory worker and his mother worked three jobs to send him to private school in the hope he would become a lawyer. "She wanted me to contribute to the upliftment of my community," he tells NPR's Michel Martin.

In 2003, he became the first black Briton to stage a play in London's prestigious West End theater district with his award-winning piece "Elmina's Kitchen." The play tackled gun crime, displacement and racism in East London.

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The Two-Way
6:49 am
Sun February 23, 2014

Last Of The 'Sound Of Music' Von Trapps Dies At 99

Maria von Trapp in 2008 at the age of 93. The daughter of Austrian Baron Georg von Trapp points to her father on an old family picture. She died on Tuesday at her home in Vermont.
Kerstin Joensson AP

Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 12:29 pm

Maria von Trapp, the last surviving member of the seven original Trapp Family Singers — the Austrian family that inspired the 1965 film The Sound of Music -- has died at 99 at her home in Vermont.

Von Trapp, whose family escaped Nazi Germany, died on Tuesday of natural causes, her brother Johannes von Trapp said, according to the New York Daily News.

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Around the Nation
3:35 pm
Sat February 22, 2014

Where Are The Heroes To Save Pittsburgh's African-American Center?

The $42-million August Wilson Center in Pittsburgh is for sale because it can't pay its bills. Some are questioning why the Center was allowed to fail.
Keith Srakocic AP

Originally published on Sat February 22, 2014 6:18 pm

In 2009 a gleaming performing arts space opened to great fanfare in downtown Pittsburgh. The distinctive $42 million-dollar building is as long as the block it occupies, and the corner of the building looks like the sail of a ship made in glass and stone.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
12:48 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

John Dankworth On Piano Jazz

Piano Jazz remembers John Dankworth with a special session recorded before a live audience at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. A saxophonist, clarinetist, composer, arranger and bandleader, Dankworth and his wife and longtime musical partner, singer Cleo Laine, appeared on the program in 1998, along with host Marian McPartland and bassist Jeff Campbell. Dankworth enjoyed a long career as one of England's most celebrated jazz musicians.

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Kitchen Window
8:38 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Once Exotic, Now Ubiquitous, Bananas Deserve A Bunch More Respect

Laura B. Weiss for NPR

What's more American than apple pie? It's that familiar yellow-skinned fruit that, well, we all go bananas over.

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Music Interviews
4:00 pm
Sat February 15, 2014

A Man, A Plan, A Concept Album About Panama

On the new album Panama 500, pianist Danilo Pérez considers five centuries of his home country's history.
Raj Naik and Luke Severn Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 8:18 pm

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A Blog Supreme
4:15 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

After 18 Years Of Marriage And Two Children, A Couple Releases Their Debut Albums

Shamie Royston (left) and Rudy Royston, married for nearly two decades, have recently issued their own debut albums as bandleaders.
Mike Molaire/John Rogers for NPR

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 5:09 pm

The basic story behind drummer Rudy Royston's first album sounds like that of many sidemen in jazz. He moved to the New York area. His talent got him into bands led by higher-profile artists like Bill Frisell, JD Allen, Ben Allison and Dave Douglas. And when it came time to document his own composing and arranging, he could rely on the network he had tapped into. Douglas issued Royston's album 303 earlier this month on his own record label, Greenleaf Music.

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