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culture

Katy Ellis is a mother and dedicated her poem to Charleena Lyles who was pregnant when she was killed.
KUOW PHOTO/CASEY MARTIN

The news can be troubling and sometimes disturbing. 

For poets it can be a source of inspiration. To help process the stories in our news feeds, we invite poets to write an original piece inspired by a KUOW story for #NewsPoet.


Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux

You hear of situations where a book comes to a writer in a torrent. In this talk, writer André Aciman tells such a story about his well-loved novel, “Call Me By Your Name,” published in 2007.

Aciman’s book came to renewed acclaim, and some controversy, when the film adaptation became a phenomenon last year. The acclaim: The movie was nominated for multiple awards and won an Academy Award for screenwriter James Ivory. The controversy: Some raised age-of-consent issues about the relationship between 17 year-old Elio and his lover, 24-year-old Oliver.

Courtesy of Sandbox Radio

Over the last few years Speakers Forum has featured broadcasts of the Seattle theatre troupe Sandbox Radio. In that time we came to love the work of actor and comedian Peggy Platt. She wrote and performed skits full of sharp humor and the ironies of life.

Photo Courtesy of Penguin Random House

Marcie Sillman talks to author Michael Finkel about the story of Christopher Knight, a man who lived the life of a hermit for 27 years before he was caught by police in Maine for stealing from the community of North Creek. 

Today KUOW launches a new series celebrating Pacific Northwest writers. 

We invite local poets to write an original piece inspired by a KUOW news story.

It's called NewsPoet and our first is Seattle-based poet Imani Sims.

 

Coming out of the broom closet: Real life witches

Apr 5, 2018
KUOW PHOTO/Zuheera Ali

Are you a fan of "Harry Potter"? Or maybe Sabrina the Teenage Witch? Ever wonder if witchcraft actually involves a wand and broom?

Witch culture is everywhere, from 1990s sitcoms to Halloween costumes. Often, what’s left out of the equation is input from real witches.

We headed down to our local occult store, Edge of the Circle Books, to learn about actual witchcraft practices, cultural differences and witches' takes on media representation.


The George Washington statue on the University of Washington Seattle campus.
Flickr Photo/Chris Blakeley (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1jEzCcs

Bill Radke talks to historian, author and former This American Life contributor Sarah Vowell about America's troubled history and how it can better help us understand today. 

Bill Radke talks to Melanie McFarland, TV critic at Salon about the new reboot of Roseanne and what it says about America today. 

Flickr Photo/The West End (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/fqqMid

Bill Radke talks to Naomi Tomky, Seattle food writer about a dish that she thinks is a strong contender to be Seattle's 'signature dish.' Hint: there is seafood involved. No, not geoduck. Seattle TV critic Melanie McFarland joins the conversation. 

In one sense, St. Patrick's Day is a failure.

The holiday as we know it in America was promoted by activists to celebrate Irish culture, in order to fight prejudice against Irish immigrants. Today, many of us celebrate by going out drinking and acting out the very stereotypes the day was created to combat.

KUOW Photo/ Gil Aegerter

Bill Radke spoke with Dyer Oxley, co-host of the NW Nerd podcast, and TyTy, a Northwest cosplayer and the creator of Lead by Example Apparel, about what goes into the creation of costumes worn in cosplay.

Author Jonathan Kauffman.
Courtesy of Jonathan Kauffman

Carob. Some see it as a heroic stand-in for chocolate. Others, like one Twitter wag, see it as "chalky nonsense." Whatever your thoughts, it's a food that evokes a strong response. 

Master David F. Leong Dragon & Lion Group members perform during the Lunar New Year celebration on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018, in the Chinatown-International District in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Large crowds gathered in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District on Sunday to welcome the year of the dog during the Lunar New Year celebration. 

Courtesy of Libby Lewis Photography

Seattle-based writer Ijeoma Oluo has been widely recognized for some time now as a person who speaks sometimes uncomfortable truths about racism in America. That recognition reached a crescendo in recent days with the release of her first book, “So You Want to Talk About Race.”

Author Ijeoma Oluo.
Photo by Nikki Closser, with permission of the author.

So, you want to talk about race.

But... do you? Reallllly? 

For most people, the real answer is no. 

Flickr Photo/Alex Holzknecht (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/8E7xgJ

Seattle was recently named the most "hygge" city in the United States. Hygge is a way of life that has been imported from Denmark. It essentially means coziness.

To combat the long, dark nights of winter, a hygge practice would include lighting your fireplace, filling a room with candles, reading cuddled up in a blanket, spending time with friends, drinking lots of wine and eating lots of cake.

Aziz Ansari seen at Netflix original series "Master of None" ATAS panel at the Wolf Theater at Saban Media Center on Monday, June 05, 2017, in Los Angeles, CA.
(Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Netflix/AP Images)

Recent allegations against actor Aziz Ansari have launched a thousand thinkpieces. Depending on your point of view, this is either a death knell to the #metoo movement or just another link in patriarchy's mighty armor.

When local author Katie Anthony first heard the story, her kneejerk reaction was, "Really? That's just a bad date — we've all been on them." 

It's tricky to nail down exactly what makes someone feel like a "racial impostor." For one Code Switch follower, it's the feeling she gets from whipping out "broken but strangely colloquial Arabic" in front of other Middle Easterners.

For another — a white-passing, Native American woman — it's being treated like "just another tourist" when she shows up at powwows. And one woman described watching her white, black and Korean-American toddler bump along to the new Kendrick and wondering, "Is this allowed?"

The audio link above includes an excerpt of Terry Gross' 1989 conversation with Sue Grafton.

I think the last time I reviewed one of Sue Grafton's novels was in 2009. I wrote that U is for Undertow was so good, "it makes me wish there were more than 26 letters at her disposal." Now, of course, that line falls flat.

Forget losing weight. How about a more achievable New Year's resolution, like cutting back on swearing?

People curse for a variety of reasons, including social: they want to fit in, or seem cool or accessible. "But largely, people curse for emotional reasons, when we experience strong transcient emotions: anger, fear, surprise, elation, arousal," said Benjamin Bergen, a professor of cognitive science at the University of California, San Diego.

New results from an NPR survey show that large numbers of Asian-Americans experience and perceive discrimination in many areas of their daily lives. This happens despite their having average incomes that outpace other racial, ethnic and identity groups.

Keiko Green reads 'the garden at higo' at Ampersand Live
Courtesy of Forterra/Jen Au

Once a year Ampersand magazine hosts an evening of storytelling, poetry and performance that reflects upon the unique nature of life in the Northwest. The magazine comes under the umbrella of Forterra, an organization committed to making our lives here sustainable.

Courtesy of Penquin Press

Author and political commentator Lawrence O’Donnell was a teenager in 1968. He recalls the time in some detail. He was coming of age as someone drawn to politics and directly affected by the Vietnam War.

The Mystery And The Magic Of Giving Thanks

Nov 22, 2017

This Thanksgiving I will be thinking about turkey, of course.

But also about chickens and roosters.

I now live in the United States, but I grew up in Ghana, where there is no national holiday of Thanksgiving. But giving thanks is a very important part of my culture.

For the past almost-50 years, I've been sharing an old family Thanksgiving recipe with NPR listeners. Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish comes from my late mother-in-law Marjorie Stamberg, who served it in Allentown, Pa., when I was brought there to be inspected by my future in-laws.

Courtesy of Northeastern University-Seattle

The name Bill Ayers rings a bell for people of a certain age. He is one of the icons of '60s and '70s counterculture and anti-Vietnam War movements. As a young man he became a founder of the notorious leftist radical organization The Weather Underground.

One of the group's goals was to overthrow the U.S. government. They orchestrated a string of bombings of public offices. In 1970, three members were killed when a bomb they were building exploded. Ayers became a fugitive for a time after that incident.

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Comic books are more popular now than they’ve ever been. Sales have been on the rise for years and keep climbing. They are also experiencing growth in diversity. One indication is the character Kamala Khan, the new Ms. Marvel.

Khan is a Pakistani-American teenager, a shapeshifter and a Muslim. One of her primary creators is the Seattle-based author Willow Wilson. (The G is silent.)

Courtesy of Julian Johnson

Author Amy Tan is known for her portrayals of Chinese and Chinese-American lives, especially mother-daughter bonds. Her relationship with her own mother Daisy was fraught to say the least, but it also inspired her writing.

Model airplanes are stored at the Boeing Historical Archives on Friday, September 15, 2017, in Bellevue.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Jeannie Yandel talks with Marcie Sillman about Bill Boeing, Nellie Cornish and other innovators who had a lasting impact on Seattle. 

KUOW's new project City of Dreams explores the key figures who shaped the Puget Sound region and highlights the work of today's innovators who are shaping the future.

Call it a comeback. After years of absence from the spotlight, Eminem returned to relevance last night with a fierce lyrical condemnation of President Trump.

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