Arts and culture

It's a cold March night in New York, and journalist Susannah Cahalan is watching PBS with her boyfriend, trying to relax after a difficult day at work. He falls asleep, and wakes up moments later to find her having a seizure straight out of The Exorcist. "My arms suddenly whipped straight out in front of me, like a mummy, as my eyes rolled back and my body stiffened," Cahalan writes. "I inhaled repeatedly, with no exhale. Blood and foam began to spurt out of my mouth through clenched teeth."

Concerts canceled as Spokane symphony strikes

Nov 12, 2012

SPOKANE, Wash. - Classical musicians in Spokane stood outside their theater this weekend, lifting picket signs instead of instruments.

Musicians with the Spokane Symphony are entering week two of a strike over pay cuts. Five concerts have been canceled so far.

Spokane joins a growing list of cities this fall where symphonies have become embroiled in labor disputes -– including Seattle, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

Adam Wallstein is the principal timpanist with the Spokane Symphony.

Edward Curtis / Curtis Library, Northwestern University

If you've seen sepia images of Native American Indians, you've probably seen Edward Curtis's work.

A new biography, "Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher, The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis," pays tribute to the Seattle photographer. KPLU's Erin Hennessey walked around Seattle's Pioneer Square with  author Timothy Egan to see where Curtis took some of his early photos, including his first portrait of an American Indian, Princess Angeline, the last surviving child of Chief Seattle.

The contest for designing the top of the Seattle Space Needle went from six choices to one - trees.

Photos: Time-traveling in the Pacific Northwest

Oct 10, 2012

There's nothing like visiting a new landscape to spark the imagination. I just got back from a two-week road trip around the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. and Canada. And though it was my own country (the non-Canadian part, at least), it felt completely foreign to my eyes, which are accustomed to the swampy, lush Southeast.

The Associated Press

Teen music sensation and hairstyle-trendsetter Justin Bieber will be singing in a sold-out Tacoma Dome on Tuesday night. That means something like 23,000 kids* will be dropped off by parents looking to while away a few hours.

Enter the LeMay – America’s Car Museum (ACM) and its “Parental Daycare.”

Andry Laurence

Seattle Repertory Theatre opens its season Wednesday with a world premiere play about a group of African American workers known as the Pullman porters.

"Pullman Porter Blues" looks at three generations in one family of porters. The Pullman porters were former slaves who worked on a luxurious fleet of sleeper cars beginning in the late 19th century. Their descendants worked the trains up until the 1960s.

The Zurich-based Mona Lisa Foundation said today that it has evidence that a painting that first came to light in the late 1800s is an early "Mona Lisa" also done by Leonard Da Vinci.

Reinforcing some things you might have suspected, the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism and Internet & American Life Project, along with the Knight Foundation, report today that a national telephone survey of adults finds:

Today's 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam got us thinking: What if Civil War photographer Alexander Gardner could revisit some of the original sites he photographed? If he used his equipment today, what would the images look like? That is: How have the landscapes changed — or stayed the same?

How These Work

One night in 1947, an intensely curious 5-year-old boy named Michael McCleery asked his father for a story. So his father, William McCleery, produced a tale that revolved around a wolf named Waldo, a hen named Rainbow, and another little boy, the son of a farmer, named Jimmy Tractorwheel. Over weeks and weeks, William serialized the story, telling it in installments to Michael and his best friend during bedtimes and Sunday afternoon outings.

Iraq War veteran Brian Castner opens his new memoir, The Long Walk, with a direct and disturbing warning:

"The first thing you should know about me is that I'm Crazy," he writes. "I haven't always been. Until that one day, the day I went Crazy, I was fine. Or I thought I was. Not anymore."

More than 10 years since a new generation of Americans went into combat, the soldiers themselves are starting to write the story of war. Three recent releases show how their experiences give them the authority to describe the war, fictionalize it and even satirize it.

Women have fought tirelessly to establish equal footing for themselves in relationships, politics and the workplace, and according to writer Hanna Rosin, they've finally arrived.

In her new book, The End of Men: And The Rise of Women, Rosin argues that the U.S. has entered an era of female dominance.

Interview Highlights

On how the rise of women is largely an economic story

Paula Wissel / KPLU

Just steps away from the Monorail station at the Seattle Center, a wall is being constructed out of Jell-O.  A lightweight mortar holds the raspberry, orange and blackberry fusion "bricks" in place.   

The Jell-O brick wall is the work of sculptors Lisa Hein and Robert Seng. It was commissioned as part of the 50 year celebration of the Seattle World's Fair.

Jerry Nelson, who voiced many characters on Sesame Street for more than 40 years, has died.

Nelson is perhaps best known because he brought Count von Count, the purple, friendly vampire, to life.

Madalit del Barco filed this obituary for our Newscast unit:

The narrator of Maria Semple's newest book, Where'd You Go, Bernadette, is 15-year-old Bee Fox. She's a nice kid, a good musician and a great student. In fact, she's such a great student that her parents have promised her anything she wants — and she chooses a family trip to Antarctica.

The Associated Press

The roof of Seattle's iconic Space Needle was repainted on Tuesday with the message "top this" to promote a new contest in honor of the 50th anniversary of the 1962 World's Fair.

A Russian judge today found three members of the punk rock band Pussy Riot guilty of hooliganism connected to "religious hatred."

Word of the verdict came just before 7:30 a.m ET. Just before 10 a.m. ET, the judge announced that each woman was sentenced to serve two years in jail — the minimum that could be imposed.

Mallory Kaniss / KPLU

Around 5,000 tattoo enthusiasts gathered at the Seattle Tattoo Expo this weekend to celebrate the art of tattooing, and maybe even get inked themselves. Tattoo artists completed more than 1,500 new tattoos throughout the weekend.

We saw a lot of people with multiple tattoos and that made us wonder: Once you get one tattoo, is it hard to stop?

"There's certainly an addictive quality to the whole process,” said Jeff Cornell, a tattoo artist.

Lindsay Lowe / KPLU

The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) is in the process of moving from Seattle’s Montlake neighborhood to the Armory building in South Lake Union.

MOHAI has been around for nearly 60 years, and some people call it “Seattle’s attic.” It has a huge collection of historical objects from the Puget Sound region.

The museum has transported over 50,000 pieces already, and not all of them fit inside a box.

Here are just a few of the things they've moved:

- The first commercial Boeing airplane ever built

More than 75,000 ballots were cast in our annual summer reader's survey — click here to see the full list of 100 books, complete with links and descriptions. Below is a printable list of the top 100 winners. And for even more great reads, check out the complete list of 235 finalists.

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling

It's almost a cliche at this point to say that teen fiction isn't just for teens anymore. Just last year, the Association of American Publishers ranked Children's/Young Adult books as the single fastest-growing publishing category.

Gore Vidal, In Words

Aug 1, 2012

The death of writer and cultural critic Gore Vidal on Tuesday, at the age of 86, means many are trying today to capture that man of words' life in just a few phrases:

Gore Vidal came from a generation of novelists whose fiction gave them a political platform. Norman Mailer ran for mayor of New York City; Kurt Vonnegut became an anti-war spokesman. And Vidal was an all-around critic. His novels sometimes infuriated readers with unflattering portraits of American history.

He also wrote essays and screenplays, and his play The Best Man currently has a revival on Broadway.

RICHLAND, Wash. – There is a lot written about the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in scientific journals, news articles and government reports. Now there is a book of poetry. The State of Washington’s poet laureate recently released a book of remembrances about her hometown of Richland. It’s called “Plume.”

We’re on the shore of the Columbia River at a Richland park. A flotilla of students, in bright kayaks, paddle against the current.

This April, roots-rock singer-guitarist Bonnie Raitt released her first album in seven years, Slipstream. It's classic Raitt, mixing bluesy slide-guitar riffs with her soulful voice and a pop-friendly sensibility.

The delivery system, however, is brand-new. After years of working with the majors, Raitt decided to start her own label, Redwing Records. Raitt runs Redwing with the help of a tiny staff; Slipstream is the first release in its catalog.

LWY / Flickr Creative Commons

Non-profit arts groups generated $447.6  million for Seattle’s economy in 2010. That’s over $1 million more than before the economic downturn, according to a recent study by Americans for the Arts, a national advocacy group.

Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU News

Less than two years after the idea was pitched to the public, a new Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibition opens today (Monday 11am) at Seattle Center.

It’s located at the foot of the Space Needle, where the kiddy rides and arcade games of the old Fun Forest once drew crowds.

Now, people are standing on tiptoes to peer in through the fence around the outdoor displays, which beckon with flashes of color.  

A.J. Apuya Photography

The Millennial generation is changing the music scene in Seattle – much like the music tastes of a prior generation lifted grunge music – by driving "electronic dance music" or EDM into the mainstream and overwhelming music venues in the region.