Pop Culture

'America': A Gleefully Violent Pop-Culture Pushback

By Ella Taylor   |   Saturday, May 12, 2012
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Blasts From The Past: The Art Of Video Games

By NPR Staff   |   Sunday, April 29, 2012
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Boston Derby Dames Get Rollin'

By Jared Bowen   |   Thursday, March 29, 2012
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March 29, 2012

BOSTON — Given the arena, it’s fitting that Roller Derby has come around again. Locally, the Boston Derby Dames have revived the sport, with stars like “Shellby Shattered” and “Claire D. Way.”
They gnash and thrash their way through the roller derby rink. The Boston Derby Dames is a regional derby league whose 2012 season just got rolling.
Populated with 65 skaters among five teams, including the Cosmonaughties, the Nutcrackers and the Wicked Pissahs, the teams play at the Shriners Auditorium in Wilmington.

The Derby Dames’ bouts routinely sell out to 1300-person capacity crowds. Their all-star team, the Boston Massacre, competes nationally. It’s a sport enjoying resurgence over the last decade. Not since the roller reign from the 1940s to the 70s has it been so popular.
Three years ago, Drew Barrymore made her directorial debut with Whip It, an affectionate film about the bruising roller realm.
"If I were to take up roller derby what would be your first piece of advice? Um, wear your wrist guards, wear your pads. Wear a tailbone pad. I swear I don’t know how those girls do it without tailbone pads. I swear it sounds like smacking into concrete at full force is the scariest thing ever, but somehow you just, the first few times you roll off and get up and you’re like I’m okay, just this light bulb goes off and you’re like maybe I can do this,” Barrymore said.
As the Dames do, once a month, now through October.

Lady Gaga at Harvard

By WGBH News & Wires   |   Wednesday, February 29, 2012
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Feb. 29, 2012

lady gaga at harvard

Lady Gaga walks through the Harvard campus on her way to the launch. (Charles Krupa/AP)

BOSTON — Lady Gaga was joined by Oprah Winfrey, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and her mom at Harvard University on Wednesday for the launch of the singer's Born This Way Foundation.

LISTEN: Lady Gaga talks about social media.

In one part of the lengthy forum, Gaga told the crowd assembled at Harvard's Graduate School of Education that parental involvement in their children’s lives is essential.

“It’s okay to say ‘you can’t use that website’ or ‘you shouldn’t be on that program’ or ‘this kind of language is inappropriate’ or ‘stay away from' — educating your kids about social media today is as important as anything,” she said.

The singer sported a monochrome look: basic black with a wild headpiece and shoes.

The members of the Twitterverse who watched in person and online had largely positive reactions to the event, with many praising Gaga's message as "powerful" and "inspiring." (Also, they liked her mom.)

The Born This Way Foundation addresses self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring and career development issues through research, education and advocacy. 

Make It Extra Black: Baratunde's Guide to Race Relations

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
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Baratunde Thurston, comedian and former digital director at The Onion, has written the book How to Be Black. Photo by Matthew Wedgewood

Comedian Baratunde Thurston was raised by a black activist mother in the projects in Washington, D.C. He attended a largely white private high school, went on to earn a philosophy degree at Harvard and cofound a politics website before moving to the satirical news website, The Onion and most recently striking out to start his own entrepreneurial venture that uses humor to connect communities.

Most importantly, along the way Thurston accrued more than 32 years of experience of “being black.” These years of wisdom inspired him to write a book that’s both a childhood reminiscence and a tongue-in-cheek guidebook. How to Be Black tackles satirical conundrums, from what it means to be someone’s “black friend” and “how to be the next black president,” to the right way to celebrate Black History Month. Thurston mines his own history for a fresh take on identity, race, and politics.

Thurston delivers a keynote address at SXSW Interactive 2012.

When Callie spoke with Baratunde in February 2012, listeners had a lot to say. Here's some of their reactions

After 23 Years, 'Simpsons' Hits 500th Episode

Saturday, February 18, 2012
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About the Authors
Jared Bowen Jared Bowen
Jared Bowen is WGBH’s Emmy Award-winning Executive Editor and Host for Arts. 


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