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In North Carolina, Musicians Face Off Against HB2

May 6, 2016

On a recent Monday night in Carrboro, N.C., local music venue Cat's Cradle is packed. The room has the makings of most clubs: a stage, a soundboard, a bar and a merch stand, but taped above the gender plaques on the bathroom doors are signs that read, in uppercase, rainbow-colored letters, "We are an inclusive venue. No proof required." Signs like these can be found by bathrooms or in storefronts of local businesses across the region.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Every year at the Kentucky Derby, crazy hat-wearing, mint julep-guzzling horse-gazers break into a passionate rendition of Kentucky's state song, "My Old Kentucky Home." As tradition goes, the University of Louisville Cardinal Marching Band accompanies the crowd as they croon a ballad that seems to be about people who miss their happy home. "The sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home/'Tis summer and the people are gay," begins one version.

But Frank X Walker, Kentucky's former poet laureate, suspects that most people are missing the point.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Beyoncé's 'Lemonade' Still Has Us Talking

May 1, 2016
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

"It could have spelled the end for us."

Last month, two seemingly unrelated tech music business announcements were made that have the potential to reshape the creative dance-music marketplace online. First, Apple Music announced its new partnership with digital distributor Dubset that would allow the streaming service to post DJ sets that contain certain copyrighted material, a practice that until now has faced many legal and financial hurdles.

Prince's sister says that when the musician died suddenly last week, he left no known will. On Tuesday, she asked a Minnesota court to appoint a special administrator to oversee the estate, which may be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But no matter who the heirs turn out to be, they will be facing some tough choices.

Prince always had an aura of mystery. His death at 57 has only added to the puzzle.

Freddie Mercury, the late frontman for the legendary band Queen, died almost 25 years ago. But he's still regarded as one of the best rock singers ever.

The "monoculture" has supposedly been dead for at least a decade, but it ain't necessarily so. World-devouring pop music phenomena do still exist, but today that universe is made entirely of Beyoncé — a Michael Jackson/Madonna/Prince figure whom everyone who cares about popular culture is supposed to grapple with and have big thoughts about.

Beyoncé has surprised the world yet again.

In case you missed it, she dropped her sixth studio album during her HBO special "Lemonade." Ahead of the release, she had released this cryptic trailer with such lines as, "The past and the present merge to meet us here / Why can't you see me?"

Beyoncé Drops New Visual Album 'Lemonade'

Apr 24, 2016
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

Something tells me that 300 or maybe even 3,000 years from now — if we still have breathable air and if we haven't relocated to Mars, and if super-intelligent robots haven't colonized us Matrix-style — we'll still be trying our best to dissect and parse out the überfunky, hyper-synaptic, wildly eccentric, crazy-magical boho black genius of Prince Rogers Nelson. The Minneapolis maestro died at age 57 on Thursday from causes that have yet to be clarified at this time.

This has been a tough year for celebrity deaths — and a sad week for fans of Prince, who died Thursday at age 57. But as flashes of purple filled my social media feeds from friends mourning Prince's death, I just felt numb — and like an outsider, watching a ritual I couldn't fully join.

Fort Worth Opera director Darren K. Woods was looking for a Fort Worth story to mark the company's 70th anniversary. Someone mentioned that they thought President Kennedy spent his last night in the city.

"And I went, 'Everybody would know that if that happened,'" he says. "So we Googled it and boy: There it was."

The Code Switch team was sitting in our daily team meeting when our editor looked up from Twitter and broke the news that Prince was gone.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Somewhere in the back of my closet is a torn photograph from a party in Seattle in 1982. Dig if you will the picture: It's me, in a second-hand chiffon dress that (though the photo is black and white) I'm sure is violet. My hair is a two-toned mass of strawberries and cream, my neck's draped in my mom's big costume pearls; a bracelet of pretend diamonds dangles from my wrist. This is an ordinary look for a college girl with a nightlife obsession in 1982. I'm gazing into a mirror; behind me is my friend Pete, holding the camera, laughing his head off.

Prince — the Purple One, who reeled off pop hits in five different decades — has died at age 57. The shocking news was confirmed by Prince's publicist after reports that police were investigating a death at his Paisley Park compound outside Minneapolis.

"It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer Prince Rogers Nelson has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57," publicist Yvette Noel-Schure said. "There are no further details as to the cause of death at this time."

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Kanye West sometimes gets himself in trouble with what he says on Twitter. Now, one of his tweets may get used against him in court.

Back in February, he tweeted that his new album, The Life Of Pablo, would only be available on Tidal, the streaming music service in which he owns a stake, and "never never never" on Apple.

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