Chattering Class


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Slint’s Trail from Obscure to Essential

In 1991, Slint released their second record - and then almost immediately disappeared. The band never reached mainstream success, but their swan song influenced a generation of musicians and remains an underground classic. Rico talks with drummer Britt Walford and with filmmaker Lance Bangs, whose Slint documentary is in theaters (and a new box set) now.


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Errol Morris on Rumsfeld, McNamara, and Mapping the Truth

For his new documentary, Errol Morris spoke to Donald Rumsfeld about the Iraq war and the former Defense Secretary's personal legacy. He describes it as "One of the most puzzling, frustrating interviews I've ever done."


"Titian" Stradivarious, 1715 / Photo courtesy Cho-Liang Lin

What Makes a Stradivarius Special?

Something in the Italian air 300 years ago produced the world's most extraordinary and precious stringed instruments. Violinist, concertmaster, and "Strad Fest" curator Margaret Batjer, tries to explain the magic.


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Noah Strycker’s ‘Thing with Feathers’

Naturalist, artist, journalist, and author Noah Strycker has made a career - and the adventure of a lifetime - out of studying birds. His latest book suggests we might all benefit from paying attention to our feathered friends.


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How Louis Armstrong Blew Audiences Away

"Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism" by scholar Thomas Brothers investigates the 'glory years' of Louis Armstrong's career - the 1920s and 1930s - during which the artist managed to be both a best-selling commercial star and an revolutionary musician at the same time.