Mallory Yu

Every year since 2016, the comedian and screenwriter Demi Adejuyigbe has made videos of himself dancing to the Earth, Wind and Fire song "September" — the enduring dance hit which opens with the question: "Do you remember / the 21st night of September?"

"I guess I'm a lot more confident... "

When Lil Nas X first dropped "Old Town Road" at the end of 2018, the country-rap banger broke the internet. In the process of wrangling viral fame, Lil Nas X's trajectory sparked debate over the racial boundaries of genre. While some might have thought this was just a teenager's 15 minutes of fame, three years and two Grammys later, Lil Nas X is rewriting the rules of unlikely stardom again.

When indie folk star José González arrived at the time to create his latest album, Local Valley, he reached for – what else – local sounds: "I took an evening, set up the stereo mic and recorded an hour of just bird songs," González says in an interview with NPR's Ari shaprio. Aside from his costars, the singer-songwriter recorded the record in the same mode, at his home studio outside of Gothenburg, Sweden, where he lives near the coast in a forest of birch and pine.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT DETROW, HOST:

It's safe to say a lot of us are happy to have this week over with, if only so we can take a big deep breath. We hope you'll do that on this long weekend if you can, maybe with something good to watch or listen to. Then we'll all be back at it together.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Dev Patel can kind of imagine what it was like to sit with the Knights of the Round Table — he felt that way on his first red carpet and, to some extent, he still feels that way now.

"You're surrounded by all these incredible legends, these knights among us," he says.

In the new movie The Green Knight, Dev Patel plays young Gawain, the nephew of the famed King Arthur. It's based on the poem "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," one of the best known stories in the King Arthur legend.

When the artist Yolanda Quarterly, now better known as Yola, was just a bump in her mother's belly, she was already bopping to music. Yola's mother was a registered nurse, who used to DJ at a hospital's mental health unit. Disco and soul, sounds Yola would hear before entering the world, would go on to influence her later in life.

Hundreds of rescue workers are still searching for survivors in the rubble of the collapsed Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla. As of Tuesday, 32 people have been reported dead, and 113 are still missing.

Mental health counselors are also on the scene, helping families whose loved ones have been confirmed dead and those still waiting for news of missing loved ones.

More than 100 years ago, a poem by Katharine Lee Bates was put to music by Samuel Ward, and the resulting song has become one of the United States' most recognizable patriotic hymns, "America the Beautiful."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

When Mark Miller's 92-year-old mother died this past Sunday, the grief he felt was complex.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit last year, big parts of the U.S. economy just turned off. Voluntary social distancing and lockdowns, like those during the first wave in March, were necessary to help "flatten the curve" of COVID-19's spread throughout the country, but these lockdowns had ripple effects on the economy.

The new podcast Anything for Selena, from NPR member station WBUR, doesn't begin with the late singer's biography or her most popular songs. Instead, it starts on the U.S.-Mexico border, with a narrator describing the creosote plants that grow there in vivid sensory terms.

"It has this unforgettable smell when it rains," the voice says. "It's slightly floral, but mostly it's this very specific, cool earthy desert aroma. And there's usually a calm clear breeze, which carries these concentrated little pockets of fragrance."

Thanksgiving is going to look different for many Americans this year. As the coronavirus pandemic rages, the Centers for Disease Control is warning against traveling to see friends or family, or even gathering with people who do not live with you.

After breaking through in 2019 and collaborating with Beyonce in early 2020, Megan Thee Stallion has been riding an even bigger wave of popularity this summer due to the song she's featured in with superstar Cardi B. "WAP" shot to No. 1 on iTunes' songs chart, in spite of controversy over its sexually explicit lyrics. But the rapper is also involved in another recent controversy, which has raised important questions about Black women and violence.

"If history is written by winners," author Maria Sherman says, "music history is written by rock critics, and they don't typically get along with boy bands."

For reasons that she explores in her new book, Larger Than Life: A History Of Boy Bands From NKOTB To BTS, Sherman says boy bands don't get the same respect as other music acts, especially their rock peers.

What are you reading during the pandemic? We've been asking that question to a range of writers and they've responded with suggestions for fantasy, poetry, new fiction, old fiction, web comics, fairy tales and more. You can find recommendations below from Ben Philippe, Jade Chang, Raina Telgemeier, Tess Taylor and Thomas Pierce — and we'll add more as the summer goes on.

This past weekend, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling brought a lot of criticism on herself with a series of tweets that many read as transphobic. She seemed to have been set off by an article on access to menstrual hygiene supplies during a global pandemic that referenced "people who menstruate."

Over her decades-long career, Tracee Ellis Ross has starred in beloved shows such as Black-ish and Girlfriends. But as she sees it, her latest role is her most daunting one yet. In The High Note, available to stream on Apple TV on May 29, she plays a superstar singer named Grace Davis, who's facing career stagnancy. Meanwhile, Davis' personal assistant Maggie (played by Dakota Johnson) has musical ambitions of her own as an aspiring producer.

In a decade, Harry Styles has gone from teenage heartthrob to a global pop star in his own right. As he's distanced himself from his adolescent years as a member of One Direction, he's become his own person, starring in the 2017 blockbuster Dunkirk, hosting Saturday Night Live and creating music that pulls from a variety of influences.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

What if the scariest thing isn't a monster in your life, but the emotional demons in your own family? That is an idea Shaun Hamill writes about in his debut novel. NPR's Mallory Yu treats us to the story.

In the industrial city of Dongguan, China, the effects of the trade war on the Chinese economy are measured in idled machinery and empty bar stools.

"One year ago, you probably couldn't even get through the crowd because it would be so busy. But right now, even the smallest vendors can't survive," says Song Guanghui, the owner of Crowdbar, a tricked-out food stall in an open-air market in Dongguan.

Seventy years ago, Mao Zedong appeared on a balcony overlooking Tiananmen Square and conjured a new country into being. On Tuesday, Xi Jinping, arguably the strongest leader since Mao, appeared on that same balcony to reaffirm his vision of modern China.

That vision includes what Xi has repeatedly referred to as the "Chinese Dream," one pillar of which is the idea that all Chinese should have access to the shared prosperity of the nation.

Petra: It's Saturday! (Or actually, as we're posting this it's now Sunday) I feel the need to reiterate this, lest I forget what day it is or which direction is up! Saturday tends to be the day people bust out their best cosplays — I saw some truly amazing getups, including countless Deadpools (Deadspool?), a lot of women dressed as Loki and Doctor Strange, a really well-done armored Cersei Lannister, Missandei of Naath carrying her own head, and my personal favorite, Logan and Jessica from Logan's Run, complete with life-clocks in their palms.

Mallory: It's Friday! By this point in the con, the crowds are much crowdier, the lines for everything are much longer, the cosplay is starting to come out ... we're in the full swing of things, folks.

Welcome to the 50th San Diego Comic-Con!

A good convention is almost a ritual space — a time and place away from time and place. Once you step through that glass door and swipe your badge, you could be anywhere, anywhen; the hours pass by outside and you don't notice. It's almost as if the rest of the world doesn't exist — you are at Comic-Con. You have always been at Comic-Con. What I'm trying to say, here, is that I've barely been here 24 hours and I already don't know which way is up or really what day it is. Mallory, I hope you're less disoriented than I am.

I don't remember when the concept of consent as it relates to sex became part of my vocabulary, but it shapes how I approach my personal relationships and affects the way I move through the world. I was shaken when the #MeToo movement exploded, not only by the stories of sexual assault and harassment but also by the stories of women who had felt pressured or coerced into having sex they didn't want.

It's been 50 years since Woodstock Music & Arts Festival. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of three days of peace, love and music, Woodstock 50 will take place Aug. 16–18, 2019, in Watkins Glen, N.Y. Festival co-founder Michael Lang has announced the official lineup for the anniversary festival with Jay-Z, Dead & Company and The Killers as headliners.

Pages