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A new film sheds light on New York’s Hasidic community

A GREAT film can also double as a work of history, philosophy, or sociology, but it is perhaps at its most vital when serving as anthropology. Because of its immersive capabilities, film can expose broad audiences to unknown worlds. Sometimes these worlds are hidden among us. “Menashe” is such a …

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Australia’s most successful indigenous musician has died

DR YUNUPINGU, an indigenous Australian musician who sold over half a million records worldwide, wrote very few songs in English. The rest were sung in different languages of the Yolngu Matha group, which includes more than 30 languages and dialects spoken by several thousand people in north-east Arnhem Land, in Australia’s Northern …

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A British dance impresario in search of ideas

A leg up for dance THE Wellcome Genome Campus, the Sanger Institute and the European Bioinformatics Institute are unlikely places to find a choreographer at work. But such research hubs turn out to be a natural habitat for Wayne McGregor. For more than two decades, the British choreographer has been …

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Cooking in the American south

The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African-American Culinary History in the Old South. By Michael Twitty. Amistad; 464 pages; $28.99. The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South. By John Edge. Penguin Press; 384 pages; $28. SOUTHERN American food’s most famous ambassador is Harland Sanders, the white-coated, goateed …

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A memoir of the lowest caste

Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India. By Sujatha Gidla. Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 320 pages; $28. ONE in six Indians is a Dalit, which means “oppressed” in Sanskrit. That is to say, 200m Indians belong to a community deemed so impure by the scriptures …

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The bloody founding of St Petersburg

Peter on his high horse St Petersburg: Three Centuries of Murderous Desire. By Jonathan Miles. Random House; 488 pages; £25. To be published in America by Pegasus in March 2018. ANNA AKHMATOVA, one of Russia’s finest 20th-century poets, once described St Petersburg as being “particularly well suited to catastrophes”. Founded …

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The consolation of animals

Big Pig, Little Pig: A Tale of Two Pigs in France. By Jacqueline Yallop. Fig Tree; 240 pages; £14.99. As Kingfishers Catch Fire: Birds and Books. By Alex Preston and Neil Gower. Little Brown; 200 pages; £25. DO PEOPLE really know the animals they love? The question gnaws at a …

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The revival of the great British lido

GIVEN Britain’s frequently rotten weather, it seems odd just how much Britons enjoy outdoor swimming. But they do, and the lido—a facility for al fresco swimming, bathing and socializing—is a treasured institution. These outdoor swimming pools, with cafes and expansive aprons of ground for sunbathing or picnicking on, were primarily …

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Jim Henson, master of puppets

“ALL of us under its spell, we know that it’s probably magic”. The lyrics from the “Rainbow Connection”, famously sung by Kermit the Frog in the “Muppet Movie”, feel especially resonant as a visitor walks through “The Jim Henson Exhibition”, a new permanent feature at the Museum of the Moving …