Audie Cornish

As young men, the sons of the Villalobos family in rural Veracruz, Mexico embarked on separate paths — at least, geographically. One by one, the three violin-playing brothers left their hometown of Xalapa to study classical music abroad. Ernesto, the oldest of the three, went to study at the Manhattan School of Music. Alberto, the middle brother, went to the Royal Conservatory of Brussels and finally Luis, the youngest, went to the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Germany.

The Internet has become a place where we cultivate relationships. Through quick messages that we type with our thumbs on our phones, we keep in touch with friends and family; we flirt and fall in love.

And the potential for miscommunication abounds. Who among us hasn't wondered whether a message in ALL CAPS meant it was especially urgent? Furious? Or just enthusiastic?

The linguist Gretchen McCulloch aims to clear some things up with her new book, Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language. The "new" rules, she says in an interview, are "emergent."

K.Flay kicked off her musical career with experimental rap mixtapes like Suburban Rap Queen. Since then, the singer has dabbled in different styles, but retained a biting, rough-around-the-edges sound. She's dropped such projects as I Stopped Caring in '96 and Life as a Dog and her Grammy-nominated 2017 track "Blood In The Cut" is a raging strutter.

Since it dropped in April, Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" has been an inescapable hit. The song's massive blow-up is at least partially thanks to TikTok: the social media platform that launches viral stars 15 seconds at a time, and what writer Alyssa Bereznak called the "future of the music industry" in a recent article for The Ringer.

It's summer in Harlem. It's blazing hot. But that hasn't stopped Dapper Dan from holding court on the street in front of his atelier, greeting people as they pass by.

I met up with him to talk about his new memoir, Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem, about his journey from hustler to respected taste-maker and businessman. Today he's wearing a pastel green suit jacket over a couture vest and matching pants that he designed himself for the European fashion giant Gucci. "This is fine polka dot, Gucci loafers, semi-loafers they call them," and yes — those are gold moths on the back.

Editor's note: This interview discusses a movie where suicide is a plot element.

In the new movie Phil, the actor Greg Kinnear plays a dentist slogging through life. One day, he sees a patient who seems to have it all — a happy family, an interesting job.

Then he hears the patient has taken his own life. And Phil becomes obsessed with finding out why.

Here's something to think about on this Fourth of July: If you are born in the United States, citizenship is a birthright, but if you immigrate to this country, the work of the citizenship process culminates in the reciting of an oath.

The U.S. citizenship oath consists of 140 words. Some of those are more contemporary, others more archaic. That's because the idea of the citizenship oath is almost as old as the Constitution itself.

In the story of Rip van Winkle, a man asleep for 20 years wakes up in a world where people know things that he doesn't. Flip that, and you'd have a story about someone who wakes up to discover he knows things that no one else knows. That is, you'd have the premise of the movie Yesterday.

If Hannah Gadsby's name doesn't ring a bell from last year, the name Nanette should. The Netflix comedy special became a surprise hit in 2018 and made the Australian comedian a household name.

Nanette starts as conventional stand-up, with jokes about everyday indignities and hilarities growing up in Gadsby's native Tasmania as a queer woman. Then, without warning, she takes a dark turn.

Back in the mid-'90s, Emily Nussbaum was working on a Ph.D. in literature at NYU. But the TV on the other side of the room just kept catching her eye.

"I was sitting on my sofa," Nussbaum says in an interview. "I had a small, junky television. I had broken the extremely rudimentary remote control. I had to get up from the sofa, walk over to the television, turn the big plastic dial ... it made a nice clunky sound."

Dig into the liner notes of the biggest pop records of the last 15 years and Mark Ronson's name will come up up a lot.

Tessa Thompson is one of Hollywood's fastest rising stars. With big parts in Thor: Ragnarok, Creed, and Westworld, she's gone from that actress you know from somewhere to the kind you stop on the street.

"It also doesn't help currently that I'm on the side of a lot of buses," Thompson jokes.

In 2008, fire swept through a Universal Studios Hollywood backlot. The loss was thought to be a few movie sets and film duplicates. But earlier this week, The New York Times published a report revealing that the 2008 fire burned hundreds of thousands of master recordings of genre-spanning, legendary music from the late 1940s to the early '80s as well as digital formats and hard drives from the late '80s up through the early 2000s.

Facing the threat of a federal lawsuit, Alabama's Department of Corrections has unveiled a three-year plan to address its shortcomings and improve conditions for inmates and staff.

Sesame Street, the award-winning children's program turns 50 this year. As the iconic TV program has aged, it has managed to stay musically apace with its forever-young audience. It's not an easy task, but it's one that the show's creators prioritize for the sake of children's education. While Big Bird, Elmo & co.

Since coming out as gay in 2014, Ty Herndon has changed all female pronouns in his song "What Mattered Most" to male pronouns.
Jeremy Ryan / Courtesy of the a

Some music is so ingrained in our collective minds that it's easy to forget how game-changing it was. In the late 1960s, a marriage of rock and folk took place and much of the popular music from that union was being made in a single place — Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles.

Rashema Melson was among the more than 1,750 undergraduates who received diplomas from Georgetown University last weekend.

Before she attended college on a full scholarship, Melson graduated at the top of her class as the valedictorian of Anacostia High School in Washington, D.C.

She was also living with her mother and brothers at D.C. General, a family homeless shelter that shut down last year.

After months of watching entry videos — over 6,000 of them — the judges of the fifth annual Tiny Desk Contest have chosen a winner!

Vampire Weekend's last album, Modern Vampires of the City, helped vault it to festival headliner status, and topped year-end best-of lists when it was released. But that was six years ago — and a lot has happened in the time since. One of the main creative forces in the band, Rostam Batmanglij, left the group in early 2016.

As much as jazz could possibly have an inventor, that person would be Charles "Buddy" Bolden. But although he is celebrated as a seminal figure in jazz at the turn of the 20th century, very little is actually known about the African-American cornetist and composer's life. There are no existing recordings of Bolden, who spent more than 20 years in an asylum before his death in 1931.

Though Pete Seeger, the heralded folk singer, songwriter and social activist died in 2014, his voice has left a lasting impression on American music. May 3, 2019 would have been Seeger's 100th birthday and to mark the centennial, Smithsonian Folkways is set to release a six-CD collection titled Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection.

Kanye West has been rapping about God from early in his career, hearkening back to one of his first hits, "Jesus Walks" off his debut album, 2004's The College Dropout.

During World War II, with thousands of men shipping off to war, half a dozen all-female, instrumental big bands toured around America. It was a rarity in a musical world dominated by men and, for the most part, their stories have been erased or minimized in jazz history.

Valerie Jarrett, longtime personal adviser to the Obamas, said in an interview with NPR's Audie Cornish airing Tuesday that former Vice President Joe Biden — who is considering a run for president — "got it right over the weekend when he said it's important that men listen" in response to a recent allegation against him of inappropriate contact.

Maren Morris' life has been a whirlwind these last few years. Following the success of her major label debut album, 2016's Hero, and last year's dance-pop hit "The Middle," the country-pop singer-songwriter is back with more experiences, more confidence and her latest album, Girl, out March 8.

David Means is an enthusiast, and a defender, of the short story. As he once said, "We don't tell novels at the kitchen table."

"Of course, that's sort of a sales pitch for the short story form," Means says in an interview. "But I really believe that they're really usually, at the core, relatively simple. You know: This happened, and then this happened."

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.

The movie The Wife opens with a phone call.

A husband and wife rush out of bed to pick up the phone in different rooms. The husband is euphoric: He's just been informed that he's won the Nobel Prize in literature. His wife's face — Glenn Close's face — reveals something very different. [Note: Spoilers follow.]

For decades, she's been doing more than proofreading her husband's books: She's been writing them herself. And that lifelong buried secret is conveyed in a stark close-up shot.

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