Arts & Life

Stories from KUNC, NPR & others on Life, Religion, Arts, Culture, Movies, Books, Theater, Entertainment & more...

Photo by Brantley Gutierrez

Denver-based band Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats is expanding its brand beyond the stage. The band is launching a special edition cannabis collection under Willie’s Reserve, a cannabis brand owned by country legend Willie Nelson.

Jane DeDecker
Stacy Nick / KUNC

One of the biggest projects in sculptor Jane DeDecker's career is happening now because of something that didn't happen last year.

DeDecker was a finalist for the Monumental Women's Statue project in New York City — Central Park's first historical sculpture depicting a woman. Artists were asked to submit designs for a monument honoring Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, pioneers of the suffragette movement.

Magnolia Pictures

Dag Hammarskjöld was a Swedish diplomat who became Secretary-General of the United Nations in 1953. Some called him a compromise candidate who was considered harmless, but over his time at the UN he was active and effective, until he died in a plane crash on September 18, 1961 in Ndola, Zambia, then known as Rhodesia. Ever since then, there’s been wonder about that crash, and now Swedish filmmaker Mads Brügger with investigator Göran Björkdahl have made a film about the event and many things connected to it.


Luz comes billed as a horror film, but what gets under your skin has nothing to do with monsters roaring out of the basement, or down from outer space, -- or sudden loud sounds. And it’s not even any events in its story. What digs into the psyche comes more from the overall picture of a world that’s unreliable, but far too orderly, and sounds that are both repetitious and unnerving.

Stacy Nick / KUNC

A giant shoe box has popped up on Denver's 16th Street Mall across from Union Station. Inside are more than 30 pairs of shoes — along with recorded stories from those who walked in them.

The project is part of the Biennial of the Americas Festival exhibit "A Mile in My Shoes" where you can literally try on someone else's shoes while listening to their story.

Jackie Hai / KUNC

If you didn’t know it was there, it would be easy to drive right past the Swetsville Zoo. Only the tippy tops of the castle towers and a wiry sculpture peek above Harmony Road from the sloped driveway next to a Costco. But things were a lot different when owner Bill Swets and his family first began farming here.

“In ‘42 when we came here … Harmony Road was just a dirt path,” Swets said as traffic roared above his head. “We had this farm — and a ranch — just below the south dam, and we’d run our cows back and forth with horses. Yeah, it sounds impossible but that’s the way it was.”

courtesy of Becky Stone

Harriet Tubman is one of the most iconic figures of American history. She escaped from slavery in 1849, and then went on to become one of the most famous conductors on the Underground Railroad, guiding many more slaves to freedom. She served as a nurse and a scout for the Union Army during the Civil War, and later became an outspoken proponent of women's suffrage.

Andrew Cooper

Back in 1994, when Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction premiered at Cannes, a publicist for the film said two things about the picture – that it was 20 minutes too long and it wasn’t about anything at all. It was true then – even though the movie won the top prize at Cannes that year -- and it’s also true about Tarantino’s latest film, Once Upon a Time . . .  in Hollywood. It’s too long, and it’s not about much beyond Tarantino’s romanticized love of the Hollywood boy world.

Tom Ipri / CC BY-SA 2.0

Will Shortz, the man who gives you the Sunday puzzle on Weekend Edition and puzzle editor for the New York Times, was in Boulder for the National Puzzler League Convention.

KUNC's Karlie Huckels was able to snag him on the phone before he jumped on a plane to leave the state. He gave a riddle and the answer will be at the end of this post, but see if you can figure it out!

Jamie Laurie and Stephen Brackett

Despite his confident stage presence as a lead vocalist and MC for the nationally-known Denver hip-hop act Flobots, Stephen Brackett has a secret to admit.

"I hate singing in front of people," Brackett said. "I started as a rapper, so I was rapping with maybe a little bit of melody in it. But I was never comfortable with my voice."

Which is why even to this day, Brackett finds singing in public to be stressful. And he's not alone — lots of surveys show that people fear public speaking and singing more than dying.