Arts

Arts and culture

'I Am The Cheese': A Nightmarish Nail-Biter

May 29, 2012

Ben Marcus is the author of The Flame Alphabet.

I Am the Cheese opens with Adam Farmer riding his bike. He carries a package for his father and needs to get it to him fast. So far, it's a perfectly harmless adventure story.

The publication of Vladimir Nabokov's Selected Poems is a major literary event. The great, grand and much missed novelist (Lolita, Pale Fire) was "first a poet," as the book's editor Thomas Karshan writes. Yet there hasn't been a new collection of his poetry in more than three decades — which is especially shocking given the insatiable hunger for his work.

Digital books are the fastest growing area of publishing. Libraries are seeing a surge in demand for e-book titles as well, but there's a downside. Most major publishers won't allow libraries to lend their titles, while others impose restrictions or charge double or triple the print price.

One of the first things Michelle Obama did as first lady was to dig up part of the beautifully manicured South Lawn of the White House and plant a vegetable garden. The garden was just one of Obama's many efforts to encourage Americans to eat nutritious food and live healthier lives. Her latest project, a book called American Grown, is a diary of that garden through the seasons and a portrait of gardening in America, past and present.

Vanessa Perez: A Rising Star From Venezuela

May 27, 2012

Some of the best recent classical music stories have come from Venezuela, that country's youth orchestra program El Sistema and its most popular graduate, Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

When the Canadian Brass came to NPR for a Tiny Desk Concert, the group kicked off the show with a piece its members say has been central to its repertoire for more than 40 years. It's a transcription of an organ work, Johann Sebastian Bach's "Little" Fugue in G Minor.

If you drive about an hour and a half north of Santa Fe, N.M., into a place called the Chama Canyon, you might hear the clanging of church bells in the distance. The Monastery of Christ in the Desert was founded there in 1964 and is home to a community of Benedictine monks. They spend their days in prayer, work, meditation — and music.

PROGRAM:

  • BACH Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major, BWV 825

  • SCHUBERT Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960

  • CHOPIN Twelve Etudes, Op. 25

  • LISZT Romance, S. 169

  • LiSZT Grande Etude de Paganini, S. 141 "La Campanella"

Yet More News From 'Opera News'

May 25, 2012

Got an idea for a classical cartoon, or a reaction to this one? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with sculpture, drawing, photography and performance. You can see more of his work at Artworld Salon and on his own site.

Yesterday, the opera world was jolted by a rapid-fire sequence of stunning turns at the Metropolitan Opera — and not by divas onstage. In the morning, the New York Times carried a front-page story by Daniel J.

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