KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Marcie Sillman talks with book hugger Nancy Pearl about this week's reading recommendation: "Crooked Heart" by Lissa Evans, which Pearl says is every bit as good as the cover design promises it will be.

KEXP DJ John Richards began the 'Mom Show' a decade ago after his mother died of cancer.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

When KEXP DJ John Richards lost his mom to lung cancer, he went on the air, played songs that he played at her funeral and talked about what he was going through.

A decade later, Richards still does that on the anniversary of his mom's death. But now listeners get involved too.

Wayne Horvitz is one of those musicians who does almost everything — from leading a small group of improvisers to conducting a big band, and from composing for symphony orchestra to running a nightclub. The Seattle-based keyboard player turned 60 this year, and he's celebrating by adding even more to his schedule: playing birthday concerts on both coasts.

Tenor Marty Mullin at Cantare Vocal Ensemble rehearsal.
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

If you Google “Puget Sound community chorales,” more than 100 groups pop up, from small Eastern European folk ensembles to the 250-member Northwest Girls’ Choir.

John Luther Adams

A Grammy-winning recording by the Seattle Symphony has caught Taylor Swift’s ear: The pop star just donated $50,000 to the symphony after hearing its performance of “Become Ocean.”

Swift wrote to symphony music director Ludovic Morlot praising the composition and reminiscing about going to her local symphony with her grandmother.

Pacific Ocean from across the straights.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

In 1520, explorer Ferdinand Magellan called it “peaceful.” At more than 60 million square miles, the Pacific Ocean covers 30 percent of the earth’s surface -- an area larger than the landmass of all the continents combined. It is our planet’s largest and deepest ocean basin, and it has stories to tell. So, where to begin?

Author Simon Winchester sees many good starting points. His new book is “Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World's Superpowers.”

The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art has a new exhibition and the lineup of artists is stunning: Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg, just to name a few.

The art, now worth billions, was bought in the 1970s under Shah Reza Pahlavi, whose coffers were overflowing with oil revenue at the time. The shah sought to modernize and Westernize the country in general, and put his wife, Empress Farah Pahlavi, in charge of acquiring the art.

Ari Berman's 'Give Us the Ballot'
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Marcie Sillman discusses the approach of another presidential election year with librarian Nancy Pearl, who recommends a new book that traces the evolution of American voting rights: "Give Us The Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America," by Ari Berman.

As part of a series called My Big Break, All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

Tim Gunn is famous for his catchphrase — "Make it work!" — his snazzy outfits and his calm, can-do attitude. As a mentor to designers on Project Runway, his unflappable demeanor soothes many a stressed-out contestant.

But Gunn wasn't always so self-possessed.

Professor Robert Reich at Town Hall Seattle on Oct. 19, 2015.
Flickr Photo/Al Garman (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/

Robert Reich says he’s often stopped by strangers at airports. People walk right up to him, forego any niceties, and get straight to the question: “What are we going to do?”

Reich says that makes him optimistic, because it’s not just liberals asking.

Where's This Painting? 30 Years After Its Theft, Nobody Knows

Nov 27, 2015

Thirty years ago, one of the most valuable paintings of the 20th century vanished. It wasn't an accident and it wasn't some elaborate movie heist. It was a simple theft — and it's still a mystery.

It was the day after Thanksgiving in 1985. Staff at the University of Arizona Museum of Art in Tucson were getting to work, just like any other day.

"It was almost 9 o'clock so the museum was gearing up to open the doors," says museum curator Olivia Miller. "The security guards opened the doors for one of the staff members, and two people followed behind."

Julianna Baggot's book, 'Hariet Wolf's Seventh Book of Wonders'
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Marcie Sillman talks with book hugger Nancy Pearl about a book that both surprised and delighted her: "Harriet Wolf's Seventh Book of Wonders," by Julianna Baggott.

Macklemore's latest effort with producer Ryan Lewis is "Kevin," a funk-flavored tirade against the ravages of addiction, with a particularly scathing indictment against overprescription of medication. The Seattle duo is joined by soul singer Leon Bridges for the hook. "Doctor please give me a dose of the American dream," Bridges implores. "Put down the pen and look in my eyes. We're in the waiting room and something ain't right."

Pacific Northwest Ballet company members in George Balanchine's "The Nutcracker."
Angela Sterling

You take a chance any time you swap out an old favorite for something new.

Make a change during the holiday season and a nonprofit arts group could risk a significant portion of its annual income if tickets don’t sell. But play it safe and there’s the risk of producing stale art.

What To Do With Underused Churches?

Nov 23, 2015
Nathan Marion stands on stage at the Fremont Abbey during a community concert.
Courtesy of Abbey Arts/ Eratosthenes Fackenthall

Bill Radke takes a tour of the Fremont Abbey with Abbey Arts director Nathan Marion, who explained why he believes community art spaces improve public health.