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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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Editor's note: This report contains accounts of rape, violence and other disturbing events.

Sex trafficking wasn't a major concern in the early 1980s, when Beth Jacobs was a teenager. If you were a prostitute, the thinking went, it was your choice.

Jacobs thought that too, right up until she came to, on the lot of a dark truck stop one night. She says she had asked a friendly-seeming man for a ride home that afternoon.

The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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Masterpiece In A Mug: Japanese Latte Art Will Perk You Up

Apr 25, 2013
Originally published on January 9, 2014 3:48 pm

Clovers? Hearts? That's small fries, guys. It's time you met The Cat:

That 3-D creation is the work of Japanese latte artist Kazuki Yamamoto. The 26-year-old resident of Osaka creates ephemeral works of art in espresso and foam.

From whimsical monsters crafted from milk froth ...

... to adorable homages to favorite childhood cartoon characters ...

Yamamoto's art makes you regret the need to consume the canvas.

Yamamoto has made a name for himself on Twitter, where more than 82,000 followers receive daily tweets with images of his latest creations. But he's hardly the only latte artist to emerge from Japan.

That caffeinated Einstein, for instance, is the work of Yamamoto's friend Kohei Matsuno, a 23-year-old originally from Osaka who now works at a café in Tokyo. (He's on Twitter, too.) Matsuno's subject matter varies widely — from anime characters to Lady Gaga. He also takes customer requests.

"I like coffee, but I also like to surprise people," Matsuno, who also goes by the name Mattsun, tells The Salt. (NPR's Yuki Noguchi kindly translated for us.) "I like to choose things that seem improbable to find in coffee art."

Lately, Matsuno has started recreating famous works of art — like this take on Edvard Munch's The Scream.

A toothpick and spoon are Matsuno's primary tools in creating such fine details. The milk and foam parts go on first, then he uses toothpicks to add "shading" with espresso. The whole process, he says, takes about three to five minutes. Yes, that means the beverage isn't always piping hot when it reaches drinkers' lips, but hey, they say you've got to suffer for your art.

Sure, we have latte artists in the U.S., too, but from what Matsuno tells us, it seems to be more common in Japan. So why bother to craft a masterpiece in a mug when it's just going to disappear down someone's gullet?

I put the question to noted design philosopher Leonard Koren, who has written about Japanese aesthetics. He pointed me to two Japanese concepts — wabi-sabi and mono-no-aware — both of which hold, in part, that "many things are beautiful precisely because they are short-lived and fragile," Koren told me via email.

"For example, the Japanese love the cherry blossom metaphor," he writes. "Because cherry trees blossom for only a week or two every year, when they do blossom, there is the emotional poignancy of knowing that it is only a temporary state of affairs."

"If you can memorialize cherry blossoms in poetry—which the Japanese do," says Koren, "why not do the same for latte foam?"

It's not a bad approach to life when you think about it — always seeing the potential for magic in the mundane.


Big hat tip to Rebecca Subbiah, who blogs at Chow and Chatter, for introducing us to these two artists.

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