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2:15 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Vertical Scratchers: Slashed Chords, Fractured Poetry

Vertical Scratchers.
Joseph Amario Courtesy of the artist

The members of Vertical Scratchers don't have to pretend: They are free spirits, making music that is at once tightly composed, whimsical and anarchic.

The vocals on a Vertical Scratchers song tend to be high-pitched and yearning. John Schmersal creates harmonies from his vocal tracks that have a keening romanticism. His guitar lines are a series of slashed chords — vertical scratching, and thus the band's name. At the same time, there's a compressed intensity to the tunes, which uncoil with a snap, again and again.

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Black History Month: #AfroGlobal
2:00 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Black, British And 'Brain Drained': Playwright Takes Charge In Baltimore

Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director of Baltimore's Center Stage Theater.
Richard Anderson ©2011 Richard Anderson Photogra

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 2:14 pm

Actor and playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah was born in Britain to immigrant parents from Grenada. His dad worked as a factory worker and his mother worked three jobs to send him to private school in the hope he would become a lawyer. "She wanted me to contribute to the upliftment of my community," he tells NPR's Michel Martin.

In 2003, he became the first black Briton to stage a play in London's prestigious West End theater district with his award-winning piece "Elmina's Kitchen." The play tackled gun crime, displacement and racism in East London.

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Sports
2:00 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Olympics: Goodbye Sochi, Hello Brazil

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 2:14 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. The Winter Olympics games closed yesterday with a spectacular display of fireworks, dance and music, including a thousand children singing the Russian national anthem.

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NPR Story
2:00 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Rosie Perez: 'I Refused The Limitations That Were Set Upon Me'

Eric Johnson Crown Publishing

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 5:33 pm

Actress Rosie Perez first broke into show business in the 1980s as a dancer on Soul Train. She then became a choreographer for the likes of Janet Jackson, Bobby Brown and LL Cool J.

Perez made her film debut in Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing, followed by White Men Can't Jump. She earned an Oscar nomination for the 1993 film Fearless.

Before her career took off, Perez suffered a very difficult childhood. Her mentally ill mother left her to be raised in a convent at age 8. Years of abuse followed.

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Politics
1:56 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Top Justice Dept. Official Quietly Stepped Down In December

J. David Ake AP

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 3:37 pm

The leader of an influential Justice Department office that offers legal advice on surveillance, drones and other issues at the center of security and executive power quietly left government before Christmas.

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