One thing is certain about the state of classical music in America: Every year, observers argue over its future. Orchestras are struggling financially and audiences are aging. But in spite of gloomy forecasts, 2010 was a good year for a musical hybrid that might be called "indie classical."
Labels such as classical, post-rock, art rock, chamber music and jazz mean less and less these days, thanks in part to an assortment of young, smart musicians who feel equally at home playing in trendy nightclubs or swanky concert halls.
For those who like a cup of holiday cheer, the rum in your eggnog is likely Caribbean, and the whiskey in your toddy is probably from Tennessee. But more and more small distilleries are hoping you'll look closer to home when you make that toast.
Craft distillers are catering to drinkers who have a taste for the regional and the unique. They're still just a fraction of the market, but more small-batch spirits are showing up on liquor-store shelves, next to pints of Jack Daniel's and Everclear.
In the early 1960s, thousands of Cuban parents put their children on airplanes bound for America. And as they fled Fidel Castro's regime, one man stood ready to meet them at the Miami airport -- Jorge "George" Guarch.
A Cuban-American fluent in English and Spanish, Guarch was the intermediary between the American authorities and the Cuban children.
One of those young immigrants -- Pepe Noriega, now 67 -- recently spoke with Guarch's daughter, Lynn Guarch Pardo, about the massive airlift, dubbed Operation Pedro Pan, which started 50 years ago this week.
The battle over whether oil companies should be allowed to drill in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is nothing new -- but the fight over nearby public land called the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska is.
The NPRA is huge -- about the size of Indiana. Originally, it was set aside for the military, then in the 1970s it was reserved for domestic oil production.
Today, there are a few native villages in the NPRA, and about 30 wells have been drilled there -- but it is mostly undisturbed.