Arts & Life

Monkey See
4:47 pm
Fri June 5, 2015

Floating Eyeballs, Trained Bees: History's Most Cringeworthy Crusaders

Think about superheroes for a minute.

NO THANKS, you say. KIND OF SUPERHEROED OUT, you say. I'M TIRED OF BEING FORCE-FED AN ALL-SUPERHERO DIET IN MOVIES AND TV, SO ACTUALLY IT'D BE GREAT IF I COULD NOT THINK ABOUT THEM, AT ALL, FOR EVEN ONE LOUSY MINUTE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH, you say.

... You are kind of touchy, has anyone told you that?

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The Record
12:09 pm
Fri June 5, 2015

How Streaming Services Are Remaking The Pop Charts

Photo illustration: Claire O'Neill/NPR. Images via Flickr Commons and Billboard

Originally published on Fri June 5, 2015 3:51 pm

For roughly half a century, the Billboard Hot 100 — America's hit barometer — underwent constant change as it accommodated all the new ways Americans consumed popular music.

And yet, in a larger sense, for the first 50 years or so, it didn't change much at all.

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Monkey See
11:21 am
Fri June 5, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: The Romance Novel Special

Summer romance reads!
Ariel Zambelich NPR

This week is a special one for us at Pop Culture Happy Hour: we invited our pals Barrie Hardymon and Petra Mayer, along with the marvelous and hugely knowledgeable Sarah Wendell, who runs the romance web site Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

Here's what you're really looking for if you're looking at this post: the list of recommendations, both authors and specific books (and a couple other things) that all of us (mostly Sarah) rattled off over the course of this show. So let's just get on with it.

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CAJA
10:08 am
Fri June 5, 2015

Fighting Disabilities Through Dance

Clients of InReach perform at the Charlotte Ballet.
Greg Lacour WFAE

A group of 22 dancers staged a year-ending public performance last week at the Charlotte Ballet. They weren’t ballet dancers, though. They were people using dance to fight the effects of their disabilities and make friends along the way.


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Deceptive Cadence
5:24 pm
Thu June 4, 2015

A 25-Year-Old Opera Composer Who Does It All

Composer, librettist and conductor Matthew Aucoin in rehearsal.
Jeremy Daniel American Repertory Theater

Originally published on Fri June 5, 2015 8:31 am

Matthew Aucoin is being compared to Mozart, Wagner and Leonard Bernstein. He's worked with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

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Music Interviews
5:11 pm
Thu June 4, 2015

Telling Brian Wilson's Fractured Life Story On Film

Paul Dano (center) co-stars in Love & Mercy as Brian Wilson in the 1960s heyday of The Beach Boys.
Francois Duhamel Roadside Attractions

Originally published on Thu June 4, 2015 8:50 pm

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Movie Reviews
5:01 pm
Thu June 4, 2015

A Satisfying 'Spy' Proves There's Life In The Secret Agent Send-Up

Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) and her fellow CIA operative Rick Ford (Jason Statham) in Paul Fieg's Spy.
Larry Horricks Twentieth Century Fox

Do we really need yet another spy movie send-up? That's a good question no matter what year it is, but 2015 has already brought us Kingsman: The Secret Service and Barely Lethal, with The Man From U.N.C.L.E. on the way — not to mention new installments of the real-deal James Bond and Mission: Impossible franchises.

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Movie Reviews
5:01 pm
Thu June 4, 2015

A Strong Central Performance Elevates A Pacifist's Story

Kit Harington and Alicia Vikander in Testament Of Youth.
Laurie Sparham Sony Picture Classics

Vera Brittain, an upper-crust Englishwoman whose experiences as a nurse in World War I turned her into a pacifist, was known to my generation primarily as the mother of Shirley Williams, a similarly feisty and beloved Labour Cabinet member who still sits in the House of Lords.

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Movie Reviews
5:01 pm
Thu June 4, 2015

A Simplified Brian Wilson In 'Love And Mercy'

Paul Dano plays a young Brian Wilson in Love and Mercy.
Francois Duhamel Roadside Attractions

Originally published on Fri June 5, 2015 12:37 pm

Wouldn't it be nice if Beach Boy Brian Wilson's troubled life were as easily understood as Love & Mercy makes it appear? Where the Pet Sounds auteur is known for multi-part harmonies, director Bill Pohlad's biopic is a series of simple duets.

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The Record
11:21 am
Thu June 4, 2015

Why Can't Streaming Services Get Classical Music Right?

Photo illustration: Claire O'Neill/NPR. Photo via NASA

Originally published on Fri June 5, 2015 3:50 pm

Why is classical music so hard to enjoy on streaming services? In one word, it's metadata. Metadata is the information that coexists with every digital music file: each and every piece of information about a selection of music that a listener might find useful to know, and what makes the information in one file discernible from the next. In the case of classical music, relevant and important metadata includes the name of the piece of music, the composer, the album it's from, the performers, the label that released the recording and the year it was recorded.

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