Ethan Swan, who runs an art gallery in downtown Los Angeles, believes that "so much of art is about the creation of meaning through image." He also believes that "tattoos are a great way to mark pain."
So Swan is naturally interested in how body ink plays out for others. It's become what he admits is a quest.
As the founder of the blog NBA Tattoos, Swan tells NPR's Michel Martin that in 2010, he got a new cable package and started watching a lot of basketball.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Let's check in, now, on one of the biggest sporting events in the world, the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament. After Monday's USA-Ghana match, the U.S. has reason to celebrate because 21-year-old defender John Brooks Jr. scored the goal that put the Americans up 2-to-1 in their victory over Ghana. Here he is after the game.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'd like to start the program today by going back to a story that millions of people around the world watched with equal parts fascination and, I think, disgust. Twenty years ago today, television viewers around the world were focused on the image of a phalanx of police cars chasing a white Ford Bronco through south Los Angeles. Los Angeles police commander at the time, David Gascon, announced that former star football player, O.J. Simpson, was a fugitive.
Now we're going to hear from Andy Marra - a transgender activist who writes about different kind of freedom - freedom from wondering about her roots and fear of not being accepted. She spoke to us about finding her birth mother in Korea after coming out as transgender. For a regular segment we call In Your Ear, she shared some of the songs that helped her write that story.
ANDY MARRA: My name is Andy Marra and I am listening to "Lullabies" by Yuna.
My mom cooks in a makeshift kitchen in the garage because she doesn't want the smell of simmering onions — the start of most of her dishes — to settle into the walls of our house. Even when there's a foot of snow on the ground, I find her there pulling jars of spices out of mismatched cabinets and stirring stews in a pan she brought from Pakistan when she couldn't find anything big enough to entertain with in the States.
When I became a father at 18, I had no idea how to be one. There was no owner's manual or instruction booklet. Figuring it out was all the more difficult because I grew up without my own father or any consistent father figure to emulate. All I had was a 17-year-old girlfriend, Regina, and a newborn baby daughter that I knew I would be responsible for.
About two years ago, playwright David Henry Hwang turned down an offer to write a play about the brief life and suicide of Army Pvt. Danny Chen.
But an opera? He couldn't refuse.
"This is a story with big emotions, big primary colors in a way, and big plot events," says Hwang, who wrote the libretto for An American Soldier, a new hourlong opera commissioned by Washington National Opera.
So it's summer, or close enough. A lot of college campuses are open for business. In most classrooms, if a student walked in playing Beyonce loud enough for everybody to hear, most professors would probably ask him or her to turn it off, but in Professor Kevin Allred's class that student might be asked to turn it up.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RUN THE WORLD (GIRLS)")
BEYONCE KNOWLES: (Singing) My persuasion can build a nation. Endless power, the love we can devour. You'll do anything for me. Who run the world? Girls.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. You might have heard of television personality, Cesar Millan. You might know him as the Dog Whisperer or from his hit TV show "Cesar 911," which airs on Nat Geo Wild. But what you might not know is that before the TV fame, the grooming stores, the dog psychology center, he was a homeless, undocumented immigrant from Mexico with a dream. Our friends at All Things Considered capture the story of how his career took off as part of their series called My Big Break.