Zhang Junmin (second from right) and his band perform the Lao Qiang music special in northwest China's Shaanxi province. The character behind the stage means "drama"; Lao Qiang music used to accompany puppet plays and includes a strong storytelling component.
When Guns N' Roses released the album Chinese Democracy five years ago, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman commented that, questions of politics aside, the GNR sound just wasn't most Chinese folks' cup of tea.
"According to my knowledge," he said, "a lot of people don't like this kind of music because it's too noisy and too loud."
Of course, there is another American who worked for this country's intelligence gathering apparatus who's in legal limbo. The case of Edward Snowden, the former government contractor who leaked classified information to the media, is being followed internationally. Currently, Snowden is holed up in a Moscow airport while he tries to get temporary asylum, as he figures out a way to get to one of several countries that have offered him shelter from U.S. charges of espionage.
If you looked at a weather map today, you saw a whole lot of red. Temperatures are in the upper 90s across the country and states in New England and the mid-Atlantic are sweltering in record-high temperatures. In New York City, parks are keeping public fountains running a little longer and gates opened a little later. Sarah Gonzales of member station WNYC spent an evening in the Inwood neighborhood on the northern tip of Manhattan to see how residents are coping.
Singer-songwriter Valerie Simpson and her late husband Nick Ashford formed one of the most powerful musical duos of the modern era. From the Motown staple "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" to Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman," along with their own smash "Solid," Ashford & Simpson are some of the master architects of soul and R&B. Forty years on, Valerie Simpson carries their songwriting legacy into the present day.