Neda Ulaby reports on arts, entertainment, and cultural trends for NPR's Arts Desk.

Scouring the various and often overlapping worlds of art, music, television, film, new media and literature, Ulaby's radio and online stories reflect political and economic realities, cultural issues, obsessions and transitions, as well as artistic adventurousness— and awesomeness.

Ari Shapiro is an NPR international correspondent based in London. An award-winning journalist, his reporting covers a wide range of topics and can be heard on all of NPR's national news programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Prior to his current post, Shapiro reported from the NPR Washington Desk as White House Correspondent during President Barack Obama's first and second terms, as Justice Correspondent during the George W. Bush administration and as a regular guest host on NPR's newsmagazines. He is also a frequent analyst on CNN, PBS, NBC and other television news outlets.

Tovia Smith is an award-winning NPR News National Desk correspondent based in Boston.

For the last 25 years, Smith has been covering news around New England and beyond. She's reported extensively on the debate over gay marriage in Massachusetts and the sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Church, including breaking the news of the Pope's secret meeting with survivors.

Smith has traveled to New Hampshire to report on seven consecutive Primary elections, to the Gulf Coast after the BP oil spill, and to Ground Zero in New York City after the September 11, 2001 attacks. She covered landmark court cases — from the trials of British au pair Louise Woodward, and abortion clinic gunman John Salvi, to the proceedings against shoe bomber Richard Reid.

Education
4:25 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

As Colleges Retool Aid, Can Entry Stay Need-Blind?

Cornell University just converted some of its grants into loans.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 5:23 pm

With money coming in more slowly than the financial aid given out, schools say they are nearing the breaking point, and even the most selective elite universities are rethinking their generosity.

"It just became clear that if we continue to give more and more aid, the numbers don't add up," says Raynard Kington, head of Grinnell College. Thanks to longtime former board member Warren Buffett, Grinnell has an endowment bigger than most schools dream of. For years, that's enabled Grinnell to admit students on a need-blind basis — and then give them as much aid as they need.

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The Record
4:23 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

R. Kelly's Queer, Campy 'Closet' Reopens

R. Kelly (left) as Sylvester, and Eric Lane as Twan, in Trapped in the Closet, which relaunched with new chapters last week on IFC.
Parrish Lewis IFC

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 5:55 pm

There's really been nothing like Trapped in the Closet ever before.

R&B star R. Kelly has been making (and remaking) a series of short music videos that tell a flamboyant narrative in less-than-five-minute installments. The first batch of several dozen appeared online in 2005. Now, there's a total of 40 "chapters" that aired last Friday on IFC, with the latest ones being released online one at a time for the next week.

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It's All Politics
4:05 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Obama Team Works To Keep Grass Roots From Drying Up In Second Term

A campaign volunteer wears a button as President Obama speaks at a campaign event in Maumee, Ohio. Now that the election is over, the Obama team is trying to keep supporters engaged in the president's second term.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 5:55 pm

On Wednesday, President Obama will meet with middle-class Americans who will be affected by a tax increase if the country goes over the fiscal cliff. The White House put out a call for their stories last week.

That dialogue with the American people is part of a broader White House effort to keep campaign supporters engaged during Obama's second term. It's a big change from the first term — and it's not an easy undertaking.

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Shankar Vedantam is a science correspondent for NPR. The focus of his reporting is on human behavior and the social sciences, and how research in those fields can get listeners to think about the news in unusual and interesting ways.

Before joining NPR in 2011, Vedantam spent 10 years as a reporter at The Washington Post. From 2007 to 2009, he was also a columnist, and wrote the Department of Human Behavior column for the Post. Vedantam writes an occasional column for Slate called "Hidden Brain."

Deceptive Cadence
2:30 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Do Orchestras Really Need Conductors?

Does This Guy Matter? Conductor Leonard Bernstein during rehearsal with the Cincinnati Symphony at Carnegie Hall in 1977.
James Garrett New York Daily News via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 10:12 am

Have you ever wondered whether music conductors actually influence their orchestras?

They seem important. After all, they're standing in the middle of the stage and waving their hands. But the musicians all have scores before them that tell them what to play. If you took the conductor away, could the orchestra manage on its own?

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Theatre
12:54 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Theatre production of "The Christmas Schooner" marks two important anniversaries

The 2011 production of
Credit (Photo courtesy of What A Do Theatre)

Listen to a preview of "The Christmas Schooner"

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Rouse Simmons, also known as “the Christmas Schooner.” Starting Friday, What A Do Theatre in Springfield near Battle Creek will perform a musical based on the famous Michigan ship.

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The WMUK Friends Advisory Committee advises the station on matters related to content creation, fundraising, marketing, delivery systems, assists in an advocacy role for WMUK and in connecting the station with audiences and resources within the community.

WMUK Friends Advisory Committee Members (2014-2016)
Jan Andersen
Rick Briscoe
Annee Dunn
Marti Fritz
Jim Heaton
Paul Knudstrup
Mary Lam Rodrigues
Mike Lewis
Rob Oakleaf
Mike Ramirez
Linda Rolls

Kim Willis has worked in non-profit development since 2005 and joined WMUK in 2012. She works closely with  the General Manager on special events, volunteer coordination, donor and volunteer communication, and fund administration.

Email: kimberly.willis (at) wmuk.org     Phone: (269) 387 5780

Rebecca Thiele became the Arts & More producer for WMUK in 2011. Rebecca also assists the station with social media practices and occasionally anchors during All Things Considered. She is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

As engineer for WMUK, Martin Klemm could be taking care of a producer's computer in the morning, recording the Kalamazoo Symphony that evening, and producing Grass Roots the next afternoon. Being concerned with details and the staff's comfort, Martin will never run out of things to do.  Before coming to WMUK in 2003, Martin worked in Los Angeles making records with some outstanding producers, but preferred to be close to his family here in west Michigan. He enjoys keeping a busy schedule balancing WMUK, operating a recording studio downtown Kalamazoo, and remodeling his home in the Edison neighborhood.

Email: martin.klemm (at) wmuk.org     Phone: (269) 387  3169

Mark Tomlonson has been WMUK's Chief Engineer since 1984. In addition to his responsibilities for technical quality at the station, Mark also records concerts for WMUK. He was previously Chief Engineer for WBST in Muncie, IN and WAYT in Wabash, IN.

Email: mark.tomlonson (at) wmich.edu     Phone: (269) 387 5738

WMUK's Morning Edition anchor, Gordon Evans is also an accomplished reporter and interviewer. A 1990 graduate of Michigan State, he came to WMUK from WAAM in Ann Arbor.

Gordon Bolar brings 16 years of Public Broadcasting experience to the position of General Manager at WMUK. Gordon served with Public Television and Public Radio stations in Grand Rapids and Anchorage Alaska. He was also WMUK's Development Director for 5 years.

Email: gordon.bolar (at) wmuk.org     Phone: (269) 387 5719

Anders Dahlberg oversees WMUK's Underwriting program, arranging corporate support for our programming. He has worked for many years with local non-profits and the arts and education communities.

Email: anders.dahlberg (at) wmich.edu     Phone: (269) 387 5647

Andy Robins has been WMUK's News Director since 1998 and a broadcast journalist for over 24 years. He joined WMUK's staff in 1985. Under his direction, WMUK has received numerous awards for news reporting.

Email: andrew.robins (at) wmich.edu     Phone: (269) 387 5717

Strange News
7:10 am
Tue November 27, 2012

S. Sudan Visit Caps Man's No-Flying Global Trek

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 7:31 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. In 2009, a young British man began a quest to visit every country in the world. To make it interesting, he set out to do it without flying - something never done before. This week, after nearly four years of traveling by train, taxi, bus and boat, Graham Hughes accomplished that feat. He filled four passports, trekking through every nation and disputed state, ending in south Sudan - a country that didn't exist when he started out. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Strange News
7:00 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Who Has Seniority: The Stones Or The Supremes?

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 7:31 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Frank Langfitt is NPR's international correspondent based in Shanghai. He covers China, Japan, and the Koreas for NPR News. His reports have included visits to China's infamous black jails –- secret detention centers — as well as his own travails taking China's driver's test, which he failed three times.

Before moving to China, Langfitt was NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi. He reported from Sudan and covered the civil war in Somalia, where learned to run fast in Kevlar and interviewed imprisoned Somali pirates, who insisted they were just misunderstood fishermen. During the Arab spring, Langfitt covered the uprising and crushing of the reform movement in Bahrain.

Tamara Keith is a NPR White House Correspondent. She is especially focused on matters related to the economy and the Federal budget.

Prior to moving into her current role in January 2014, she was a Congressional Correspondent covering Congress with an emphasis on the budget, taxes and the ongoing fiscal fights. During the Republican presidential primaries she covered Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich in South Carolina, and traveled with Mitt Romney leading into the primaries in Colorado and Ohio, among other states. She began covering congress in August 2011.

The Salt
5:32 am
Tue November 27, 2012

For Restaurants, Food Waste Is Seen As Low Priority

The National Restaurant Association says getting restaurants to focus on the food waste problem is a big challenge.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 7:24 pm

A row of restaurants in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Washington, D.C., looks tantalizing — there's Vietnamese, Italian, New American.

But if you walk around to the alley at the back of this row you might gag.
Dumpsters packed with trash are lined up, and they get emptied only twice a week. Which means a lot of food sits here, filling the block with a deep, rank odor.

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It's All Politics
5:30 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Compromise: Devil Is In The Definition Of Revenue

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 12:29 pm

A grand bargain, a compromise to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, could all come down to one word: revenue. It's now widely agreed that steering away from the cliff — the combination of spending cuts and tax increases set to hit at the start of the year — will require some combination of revenue increases and spending cuts. The central sticking point could well be whether President Obama and Congress can agree on the definition of revenue.

At the moment, the casual observer could easily get the sense that the president and Republicans in Congress are talking past each other.

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Asia
5:15 am
Tue November 27, 2012

How Ordinary Chinese Are Talking And Fighting Back

Authorities in Hunan province sentenced Tang Hui to 18 months in a re-education-through-labor camp after she repeatedly complained about the way police investigated the case of her daughter's kidnapping and forced prostitution. An uproar on Weibo, China's answer to Twitter, pushed authorities to free Tang days later.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 8:53 pm

Never have so many Chinese people spoken so freely than on Weibo, China's answer to Twitter. Just 4 years old, the series of microblog services now has more than 400 million users.

And, increasingly, Chinese are using it to expose corruption, criticize officials and try to make their country a better place — even as China's Communist Party tries to control the Weibo revolution.

Were it not for Weibo, you would never know Tang Hui's extraordinary story. She wouldn't be free to tell it; she'd be sitting in a Chinese re-education-through-labor camp eating porridge.

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Monkey See
5:04 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Running A Comedy Machine: How Chuck Lorre Makes Hits

Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons in The Big Bang Theory, one of Chuck Lorre's three popular comedies currently on CBS.
Sonja Flemming CBS

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 5:51 pm

On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Neda Ulaby has a story about Chuck Lorre, the producer whose name is attached to three of the five highest-rated comedies on American television last season: The Big Bang Theory, Two And A Half Men, and Mike & Molly.

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Opinion
5:03 am
Tue November 27, 2012

From A Calcutta Prison To The Classical Stage

Nigel Akkara plays Ratnakar the Bandit in the dance drama Valmiki Pratibha.
Courtesy of Nigel Akkara

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 7:31 am

A new Indian feature film was inspired by a group of prisoners who formed a well-known classical dance company. Commentator Sandip Roy has the true story of a famous Indian dancer and the convicts she befriended.

Alokananda Roy walked into Calcutta's Presidency Jail on International Women's Day, 2007. The Indian classical dancer had been invited to watch female inmates perform, but it was the men who caught her eye.

"They shook me," she says. "Their body language — it was as though they had no future, nothing to look forward to."

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