Recent Features

20 Sep 2013 // 2:30 AM

Sweet Dreams: The World of Patsy Cline

Country music singer Patsy Cline embodied the power and appeal of women in country music, and helped open the lucrative industry to future female solo artists.

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In Defense of the Influence of ‘Difficult Men’

Brett Martin's latest book serves as a reminder of how enlightening dealing with darkness in television can be.

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13 Sep 2013 // 3:00 AM

The Vagina: A Literary and Cultural History

In our postmodern, porn-obsessed culture, vaginas appear to be everywhere, literally or symbolically -- yet they are as silenced as they are objectified. The Vagina examines the paradox of female genitalia through literature, film, TV, visual, and performance art.

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Take a Look, It’s in an eBook: An Interview with LeVar Burton

From Roots to Star Trek and well beyond, LeVar Burton says that his time on Reading Rainbow was "the most important thing I've ever done." With a new app to encourage reading, he tells us how its legacy will extend to a whole new generation.

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Without Copyrights: Piracy, Publishing, and the Public Domain

This is a book about the periphery, the elusive point at which law and piracy traded places, legitimacy became lawless, and courtesy grew discourteous.

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29 Aug 2013 // 10:15 PM

Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana

Award-winning investigative journalist Martin A. Lee takes us on an entertaining and informative ride through the complex landscape of the Great American Pot story.

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How to Make Political Pop Without Trying

"Dancing in the Street" did not seek the kind of greatness ascribed to it -- it simply woke up one morning and found that greatness bestowed upon it.

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22 Aug 2013 // 10:15 PM

Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music

More extreme than punk, industrial music revolted against the very ideas of order and reason: it sought to strip away the brainwashing that was identity itself. It aspired to provoke, bewilder, and roar with independence.

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Eat, Drink, Draw: Lucy Knisley’s Comic Book ‘Relish’ as a Cookbook

Drawing her recipes for Relish, Lucy Knisley almost literally shows cooking to be more art than science.

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15 Aug 2013 // 10:15 PM

Pretty Good for a Girl: Women in Bluegrass

Drawing from extensive interviews, well-known banjoist Murphy Hicks Henry gives voice to women performers and innovators throughout bluegrass's history.

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Thrift, Schemes & Restlessness Characterize Both Katherine & J.F. Powers’ Writing

"I am not by nature cut out for this life, as it's defined in these parts by the chamber of commerce and our bishop, who is devoted to Christian family living, as everyone knows." This deadpan tone suits J.F. Powers and his conflicted, capitalist, Midwestern, mid-century priests well.

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8 Aug 2013 // 10:15 PM

Mingus Speaks

Charles Mingus is among jazz’s greatest composers and perhaps its most talented bass player. During his lifetime he had a lot to say about the place of jazz in music history and American culture and much more. Mingus speaks, we listen.

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Marty Beckerman Talks About Love in the Time of JNCO Pants

Marty Beckerman talks about his hilarious new novella, '90s Island, the "infantilizing" nature of nostalgia, and why the truly cool people never got frosted tips.

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1 Aug 2013 // 10:15 PM

Contemporary Collecting: Objects, Practices, and the Fate of Things

These essays cover a breadth of interdisciplinary perspectives and subjects -- from PEZ candy dispensers and trading cards to sports memorabilia and music –- and examine collecting practices on both a personal and professional level.

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The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business

Across every geographical and socioeconomic spectrum, the authors reveal the dramatic developments—good and bad—that will transform both our everyday lives and our understanding of self and society, as technology advances and our virtual identities become more and more fundamentally real.

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The Shock of the Used: From Obscenity and Radicalism to Commercialism

Where once society's structures could be challenged for their oppressive values, today even things would be deemed obscene are no more than commodities in a marketplace of pop kitsch.

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Ready For a Brand New Beat: How “Dancing in the Street” Became the Anthem for a Changing America

Can a song change a nation? Mark Kurlansky’s work chronicles that extraordinary summer of 1964 and showcases the momentous role that a simple song about dancing played in history.

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Climbing Out of the Transhuman Stew Pot, or, Why I’m Not a Singularitarian

The big trend in apocalyptic thinking is now computer based, and it’s strangely not even billed as apocalyptic. It’s known as the Singularity, a point in the near future when computers become more intelligent than people -- and they absorb us.

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How to Best Handle Controversial, Racially-Charged Art? Talk It Up, or Shut It Down?

If Disney's Song of the South is as innocuous as its adherents claim, they need to think long and hard about why it’s out of official circulation.

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Desert America: A Journey Through Our Most Divided Landscape

Over the past decade, the most iconic of American landscapes has undergone a political and demographic upheaval comparable only to the opening of the frontier.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

"Island of Lemurs: Madagascar" Is Cute but Spooky

// Short Ends and Leader

"This flick is a superficial but eye-popping survey for armchair nature tourists.

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