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Merrill Garbus decided to learn how to DJ 2 years ago. The indie-pop musician, who’s known for her pan-global rhythmic loops and frank lyrics in @tuneyards, had little experience behind turntables but she dived in headfirst, booking a Tuesday night residency at a bar near the studio where she records. “I hadn’t been in charge of an evening like that before,” Merrill said. “What does the audience want to dance to? How do you know what they want before they say so? It taught me a lot.” You can hear the lessons she learned on the dance floor in the music she and her bandmate, @naytronix, made for @tuneyards’ 4th album, “I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life,” which comes out tomorrow. “What I appreciate about dance music is that it brings people together in something that surpasses our more cerebral moments,” she said. “I think that’s something very ancient and very deep in our cells as human beings.” A sleek, radical evolution from the clattering collages that first earned #TuneYards an audience, the new LP is full of insistent beats, catchy hooks and pointed questions about modern society. @peterprato took this photo of #MerrillGarbus, who's based in Oakland, California. Visit the link in our profile to read the full interview.


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A murder in Kandel, in southwestern Germany, has traumatized this sleepy town, not just because both the suspect and the victim were only 15 years old and went to the local school, but also because the boy is an Afghan migrant and the girl was German. This story became national news, was debated over dinner tables, on talk shows and on social media sites, and reinforced fears that Germany is becoming ever less safe. But Kandel has a long tradition of tolerance. 3 centuries ago, it welcomed Huguenot refugees from France. Other villages in the region built a wall inside their churches to keep Catholics and Protestants apart, but Kandel ripped down its wall. But perceptions are one thing, and statistics are another. While reported crimes have edged up over the past 2 years, violent crimes have been trending downward for a decade in Germany, one the safest countries in Europe. The case of the teenagers has struck a special nerve, though. @kostyukov captured this scene in Kandel. Visit the link in our profile to read more about how a girl's killing put Germany's migration policy on trial.


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@ian_urbina, an investigative reporter for @nytimes, captured this scene from a ship in #Antarctica. As the ship drifts by the #penguins, one of them “flips out, sounds the alarm, everyone sprints to the exit,” Ian writes. The final penguin, enjoying the sun, seems “annoyed and reluctant to have to get back into the water.” Finally — and clumsily — it gives in. 🐧 💦 @ian_urbina set off from Chile a couple of weeks ago, so this isn’t his first penguin sighting. Yesterday, he spotted a large group of Adelie #penguins. “Such loud, smelly, adorably awkward creatures,” he wrote. “A total spectacle: like rush-hour traffic of a gazillion determined hunched argumentative little men with pot-bellies, wearing tuxes, waddling and body-sledding to and fro, and all seemingly in a big hurry to get somewhere.” Follow @ian_urbina to see more from #Antarctica. To read his series about lawlessness on the high seas, visit the link in our profile.


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Turkey’s celebrity butcher has arrived in New York. @nusr_et — who's internet-famous for the dramatic flourish with which he showers salt on a steak — has been a butcher since he was 13. In 2010, he opened a string of steakhouses in Turkey and the Middle East with his business partner, @mitkomuric. On the job, @nusr_et wears a white T-shirt and sunglasses and performs dazzling, precise knife work. And thanks to @instagram, he's now nearly as recognizable as #GeorgeClooney. “In Turkey, butchering was a low-class, degrading job,” he said through a translator. “Now, thanks to me, all the kids want to become butchers.” In New York, a city he now calls home, his restaurant occupies the former China Grill space in the CBS “Black Rock” building in #Midtown Manhattan. All the steaks, along with whole racks of lamb and veal, are cooked over charcoal, then brought over for tableside carving. @dedecim took this photo of #SaltBae showing off salting moves. Visit the link to read more about #NusretGokce.


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2 years after the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, many people in the region remain convinced that their way of life is being trampled. While on assignment for @nytmag, Jennifer Percy — who spent most of her childhood in this region of eastern #Oregon — returned to the area. "I didn’t understand what had happened since I left, why so many people seemed so disillusioned and angry," she writes. The takeover began as a protest in the town of Burns after 2 ranchers were sentenced to prison for arsons on federal land. The ranchers caught the attention of the Nevada rancher Ammon Bundy, who paraded through Burns with a crowd of nearly 300 marchers. A splinter group eventually took over the Malheur headquarters. For 41 days, they refused to leave, protesting federal ownership of #publiclands, which they considered unlawful and abusive. In the 1970s, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act shifted the focus of the Bureau of Land Management from resource extraction to #conservation. That lead to the beginning of the Sagebrush Rebellion, efforts among ranchers, loggers and miners against environmental laws. Rural communities believed these new restrictions and regulations undermined their prosperity. "How do we get along with the people who are trying to take away everything precious to us?" asked Robin Olson, one of the people Jennifer met at a meeting in a small Oregon town called John Day. @pvanagtmael took these photos in the ranchlands of eastern Oregon. Visit the link in our profile to read the full story in @nytmag.


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Ask people why they chose a parrot as a pet and they’ll usually say they wanted a companion of exotic beauty, gaiety and intellect. But many people interested in parrots don’t realize — until it’s too late and they’ve become owners — that the birds cry for attention and throw tantrums like a toddler. Not to mention, they can live upward of 50 years. Glenn Sorino is here to help. He's been assuaging owner frustrations, coaching, grooming and evaluating behavioral issues in birds for the past 20 years. Clients seek Glenn’s knowledge for a range of issues. Once, he escorted a woman to the vet after learning that she had fed penne alla vodka, waffles with maple syrup and salad with blue cheese dressing to her Eclectus parrot. Twice he’s flown with parrots across the country to reunite them with their owners. And every Wednesday, he visits with Charlie, a Hyacinth Macaw who went through a tough time after her owner, the artist Po Kim, died in 2014. @andrewwhitey took this photo of Glenn with Charlie. Visit the link in our profile to read more about the self-described parrot “pied piper.”


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When the Algonquin chef @cezinnottaway was 5 years old, her mother taught her how to kill and skin a beaver with her bare hands. The little girl also learned how to snare a rabbit and to draw a moose out of the forest by emulating its haunting grunt. “We were using local ingredients long before it became fashionable,” she said. Today, her company, Wawatay Catering, has fed elementary school students, a group of judges and even the former Canadian prime minister Joe Clark. @cezinnottaway, who took her company’s name from the Algonquin word for northern lights, is part of a new generation of Canadian chefs who are reclaiming and popularizing indigenous foods as part of a growing culinary affirmation of identity. “Embracing this cuisine is a form of taking back what is ours,” she said. This renewed interest comes at a time when Canada is trying to reconcile with its troubled colonial past. “This is the food I grew up on,” @cezinnottaway said. “They took away our land, our culture, our language, and I am fighting to bring it back with my food.” @renaudphilippe took this photo of @cezinnottaway smoking moose meat. Visit the link in our profile to read more.


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In 2012, as he approached 80, Philip Roth famously announced that he had retired from writing. (He actually stopped 2 years earlier.) In the years since, Roth has spent a certain amount of time setting the record straight. He wrote a lengthy and impassioned letter to @wikipedia, challenging the online encyclopedia’s preposterous contention that he was not a credible witness to his own life. (Eventually, @wikipedia backed down and redid the Roth entry in its entirety.) He’s also in regular touch with his official biographer, who has already amassed 1,900 pages of notes for a book expected to be half that length. And just recently, he supervised the publication of “Why Write?,” the 10th and last volume in the @libraryofamerica edition of his work. How else does the (former) novelist spend his time. Sudoku? Daytime TV? He reads, “strangely or not so strangely, very little fiction,” Roth told @nytimes. “I spent my whole working life reading fiction, teaching fiction, studying fiction and writing fiction. I thought of little else until about 7 years ago.” Since then he’s spent a good part of each day reading history. “Reading has taken the place of writing, and constitutes the major part, the stimulus, of my thinking life,” he said. @philipmontgomery took this photo of #PhilipRoth at his home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Visit the link in our profile to read more about the novelist’s thoughts on Trump, #MeToo and retirement.


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Is this the golden age of drag? Yes. And no.@rupaulsdragrace has catapulted the careers of nearly 120 #drag queens, many of whom embrace punishing schedules to perform worldwide, and it has stars out of several, like @thebiancadelrio, a stand-up comedian who sells out performance halls; @bobthedragqueen, who will play Belize in “Angels in America” this spring at @berkeleyrep; @violetchachki, a fashion world favorite who sits front row at @marcjacobs shows; and @trixiemattel and @katya_zamo, who co-host @viceland’s riotous “The Trixie & Katya Show.” Lucrative sub-industries have also emerged: wig and cosmetics lines, rhinestone peddlers and hip pad pushers, as well as YouTubers showing you how to don it all. But the set of @rupaulsdragrace even more queens are working for unsteady pay at one-off gigs, and angling for their shot on the show. @jessierocks took this photo of @horrorchatanyc onstage at @metropolitan_bk in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in November. Swipe left to see more photos of the daily lives of a healthy (but certainly not complete) sampling of professional #dragqueens, and visit the link in our profile to read more.


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What happened to 19-year-old Markel Scott last March is increasingly common in Baltimore: Someone walked up to him on the street and shot him 6 times. 2 months from his high school graduation, he died on the sidewalk, still wearing his book bag. “I grew up here and I’ve never seen crime like this,” said Markel's mother, Sharonda Rhodes. “These are not normal times. The guns are everywhere.” Last year, Baltimore had the highest murder rate in its history, and by far the highest among the 30 largest in the U.S. And nobody’s sure what to do about it. Although the reasons for the high rate of violence are unclear, city officials are experimenting, they say, with almost anything that might whittle down the number everyone here seems to know by heart: 343, the number of homicide victims last year. Among their tactics: The city's adding to a network of more than 750 high-definition cameras. Recreation centers and libraries have expanded their hours. The mayor convenes monthly meetings with community leaders from troubled neighborhoods. “My son only weighed 125 pounds, but someone shot him 6 times, twice in the face,” said Sharonda, who was photographed here by @gdemczuk. “Why?” Visit the link in our profile to read more.


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#SpeakingInDance | “When I did this ballet the first time my mom was dying,” said the @nycballet principal Maria Kowroski of #GeorgeBalanchine’s “Mozartiana,” set to music by #Tchaikovsky. Together, they watched a video of her dancing the ballet, which opens with a “Preghiera,” or prayer, in which the lead ballerina, surrounded by 4 young girls — missing in action here — travels across the stage in whispering, seamless steps. “During the prayer, she was just like, ‘Oh my God, it’s like heaven.’” For @realmkowroski, having that moment with her mother added richness to the role. “Every time I do it, it reminds me of that time,” she said. “I have actually gotten choked up.” Now that the company’s artistic leader #PeterMartins has retired after allegations of harassment and abuse, the prayer seems a fitting way to open the new season, which begins January 23. It’s like taking a breath. “Everything is so different right now,” Maria told the @nytimes writer @giadk. “It feels like a sense of freedom in a weird way. What do you have to lose? Just go out there and dance.” @arowanafilms made this video for #SpeakingInDance, our weekly series exploring the world of #dance.


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Shivering? That’s for city folk. For Toronto’s Islanders, ice time is play time. Eccentricity is part of the DNA of the 620 souls who choose — or get the chance — to live in a rural community smack in the middle of North America’s 4th-largest city. It’s not uncommon to come across a coyote or mink while strolling around the Toronto Islands, an archipelago of 14 islands about 10 minutes by ferry from downtown #Toronto. Private cars are restricted here. Instead, local residents ride bicycles to travel down the snowy footpaths between their homes. The closest thing to a store is the “trading post,” an open wood shelter where residents leave their castoff books, toys and clothes for neighbors to pick through. If they need booze, or rice, or a light bulb, they have to ask a neighbor — or head across the lake. It makes for a very tight-knit community of handy, patient and hardy people. When the temperature’s so cold that the entire harbor freezes, that signals “time to go out and play,” said Whitney Webster, a 6th-generation islander. @avelkaim took this photo of a the boardwalk on the #TorontoIslands. Visit the link in our profile the community. #🍁


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