Sofi Tukker's Video For 'Drinkee' Is A Psychedelic Dance Party

July 10, 20168:50 AM ET

by Sophie Kemp

Sofi Tukker wants you to get lost in a weird, psyched out world of dance. In the new video for “Drinkee,” the New York-based duo, which is made up of Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern, plays in a tropical jungle diorama, accompanied by Grecian style statues in neon colors, parrots and one giant goldfish. Hawley-Weld and Halpern say the video for “Drinkee” isn’t supposed to make any sense: It’s the kind of video that might as well be the concept for a nightclub, with scenes of band members staring dead into the camera before a zebra printed backdrop or behind deadpanning models wearing brightly colored outfits.

The song itself takes inspiration from the poem Relógio, by the Brazilian Portuguese writer Chacal, which they outfit in a stylish beat that would be equally at home in a fashion week party or an Apple ad. Of the words, the duo writes, “We wanted it to act like a chant in which the point is just the act of repetition.” It’s a track that’s dedicated to making sure you get out of your head and get on the dance floor.

“Drinkee” comes from the band’s self-released EP, Soft Animals, out now.

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Heavy Fighting Erupts In South Sudan's Capital

South Sudanese troops loyal to Vice President Riek Machar, pictured here in April, say their military positions in the capital are being attacked.

South Sudanese troops loyal to Vice President Riek Machar, pictured here in April, say their military positions in the capital are being attacked. Jason Patinkin/AP hide caption

toggle caption Jason Patinkin/AP

Heavy fighting erupted Sunday in South Sudan’s capital Juba after a lull Saturday. The clashes between forces loyal to the country’s president and vice president have reportedly killed more than 150 people since they started mid-week.

As NPR’s Ofeibea Quist-Arcton tells our Newscast unit, “former rebels loyal to a vice president in South Sudan say their military positions in the capital have been attacked by government troops who back his rival – the president.” Ofeibea explains:

“Violence first erupted on Thursday in Juba, the South Sudanese capital, in gun battles between soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his deputy and erstwhile rebel leader, Riek Machar. Machar’s men now say the military has attacked their main barracks in the city. The UN mission in South Sudan reports exchanges of loud gunfire, and mortar and grenade explosions near its headquarters.”

She adds that the renewed fighting between the rival factions of South Sudan’s army “is sparking fears of a renewed civil war, despite a fragile peace deal signed last year, followed by the formation of a unity government in April.”

In a statement, the U.N. Security Council condemned the fighting and “expressed deep concern over the parties’ lack of serious commitment” to implementing the peace agreement in the world’s newest country.

“South Sudan’s civil war was fought largely along ethnic lines with Kiir, a Dinka, and Machar, a Nuer, drawing support from their respective tribes,” Reuters reports. The wire service adds that “Kiir and Machar have yet to integrate their forces, a key part of the peace deal.”

Kenya Airways said in a post on Twitter that it has suspended flights to Juba “due to the uncertain security situation.”

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Under A Hard-Line President, Dozens Of Drug Suspects Killed In Philippines

The new president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte (right) walks beside the new police chief, Ronald Bato Dela Rosa, (left) as he was sworn in on July 1 in Manila. Duterte assumed the presidency on June 30, pledging a ruthless approach to suspected drug traffickers. Dozens have been killed by police in recent days.

The new president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte (right) walks beside the new police chief, Ronald Bato Dela Rosa, (left) as he was sworn in on July 1 in Manila. Duterte assumed the presidency on June 30, pledging a ruthless approach to suspected drug traffickers. Dozens have been killed by police in recent days. Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

They call him “The Punisher.” And “Duterte Harry.” And now, “Mr. President.”

Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in as the Philippines’ president just over a week ago after running on a simple platform of ridding the country of drug-related crime and corruption.

And since he took office, more than 60 alleged “drug suspects” have been killed in encounters with police, according to police. Others have simply turned up dead with signs pinned to their shirts proclaiming their guilt.

Duterte is a former prosecutor who wrapped up his presidential campaign by warning drug dealers he’d dump their bodies in Manila Bay. He’s taking the same tone now that he’s in office.

“Do your duty, and in the process, you kill 1,000 persons, I will protect you,” he told police on July 1, the day after he was sworn in.

But he’s also made it clear he will only protect cops who are clean. Duterte this past week named and shamed five police generals — two of them retired — for their alleged involvement in the narcotics trade.

On Friday, Duterte warned a major drug lord now out of the country not to return or he would be killed the minute he stepped off the plane.

“I think he’s really serious. It’s not just propaganda,” said Earl Parreno, of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, who is writing a biography of Duterte. “A number of police officers have been known to protect drug lords. Not just police officers, but major government officials.”

Duterte says it has to stop. Few doubt his sincerity or resolve. It’s his methods that have brought opposition.

In more than 20 years as mayor of Davao City, Duterte launched a brutal war on crime — drug dealers in particular — that left hundreds of people dead in extrajudicial killings. Human rights groups say these killings were sanctioned, if not ordered, by the mayor.

During his presidential campaign, Duterte didn’t run from these allegations, he embraced them. In one television interview, he said the number killed wasn’t in the hundreds — but more than 1,700.

Establishing The Facts

And his hard-line approach there, critics say, might help explain the killings of so many alleged drug suspects by police since Duterte became president less than two weeks ago.

“Every single death that’s been reported they argue or claim is in self-defense, or that the persons who were killed fired first. We need to get to know what the facts are,” said Chito Gascon, the head of the Philippines Human Rights Commission. He says he worries about the president’s commitment to due process.

But Duterte clearly holds appeal in a country where many see a culture of impunity and feel the system is stacked against them.

“This sense of injustice is personalized. It’s created this phenomenon that we now have where people want quick fixes,” said Gascon. “It’s a bit like we’re back in the Roman Coliseum, when people collectively put their thumbs down and say, ‘Finish him.’ That’s the mood that’s emerging. It’s really very dangerous.”

But so far, voices like Gascon’s appear to be in the minority.

Rampant Drug Problems

In Tondo, a notorious slum near Manila Bay, the methamphetamine is a major problem.

It’s a problem in every household, said Tondo resident Emily Reyes. She’s 39 years old, and has lived here almost her entire life.

Reyes said she didn’t vote for Duterte in the May election, but said she’s become a supporter since then.

Things in her neighborhood have already gotten better, she said. Some dealers have already given themselves up, apparently because they fear they will be killed. And she’s not worried about innocent people getting killed by mistake.

“Everyone knows who the drug dealers are,” she said. “There won’t be any mistaken identity.”

In his inaugural address, Duterte acknowledged the critics at home and abroad who find his methods “unorthodox, verging on illegal.” But as a lawyer and former prosecutor, he added, “I know what is legal and what is not. You mind your work, and I will mind mine.”

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Is 'You Are Having A Good Time' Beautiful Or Grotesque? Yes

You Are Having a Good Time

In “Night Report” — one of the standout stories in Amie Barrodale’s debut collection, You Are Having a Good Time — a character named Ema is so moved by a novel about a woman with a married lover that she sends her own married lover a long, emotional, confessional text describing its contents. His phone then proceeds to break up her text.

Into tiny chunks.

Sent individually.

Over a long.

Time, piece by.

Piece.

When Ema wakes up the next morning, mortified, she discovers he has responded thusly: “Good times.”

This excruciating, heartbreaking scene — which takes pages to set up and execute — crystallizes the dynamics at the heart of Good Time. In these stories, characters are fighting each other: silent, subtle, implacable. Some of them, like the protagonist of “The Commission,” weather these battles and win in ways you’d never expect. Others collapse against the weight of the effort, and run. (Ema, for example, immediately sublets her apartment and heads to a monthlong meditation retreat in Vermont. There, she will be confronted with far worse things than humiliating technological snafus and a lover showing her who he really is.)

These conflicts are, of course, nothing new — haven’t people been having subtle social skirmishes in literature for centuries? — but here, the old struggle is freshened by these characters’ voices, and how they justify the low-grade, unyielding stubbornness of their desire to do what they are doing, consequences and reality be damned.

In “Animals,” a young actress takes on an ill-advised film project and attempts to maintain her dignity in the face of her cruel, hypnotizing director. In “Mynahs,” an MFA director invites a former colleague, whom he once plagiarized from, to his school for an ill-advised visit. A recently divorced therapist has an ill-advised, unprofessional liaison with a barely overweight patient and the patient’s eating-disordered mother in “Frank Advice for Fat Women.” In “Catholic,” a woman embarks on an ill-advised relationship with a drummer who will one day be very, very famous. (Are you sensing a theme here?)

It is worth mentioning that while these stories aren’t interwoven, precisely, they often echo each other in odd, deliberate ways. Not just the themes (affairs, Buddhism, therapy) but specific images that repeat and reference each other: waking up to strings of text messages or emails; calling or otherwise communicating with people across vast time-zone differences, things happening at 3 a.m., women pushing up on all fours. “Animals” and “The Imp” seem, in particular, to be in conversation with one another: The former is about a movie called The Imp, and while the latter doesn’t seem to be the movie itself, it does echo several described scenes from “Animals,” including one where a husband strikes his wife, and she asks to be struck a second time.

This uncanny repetition only adds to the collection’s unsettling mood. There is a fascinating grotesqueness here, from the mean, broken, oblivious characters to the funny, ugly scenarios they’re placed into. Even the structures of the stories are disconcerting: They always open so deep midscene — so breathlessly ready to go, so breathlessly already going — it’s disorienting, like a film that starts with a character in midfall off a cliff.

But the grotesqueness is also cut with moments of beauty, moments when we zoom in to the gold-and-white luminosity of a hand-thrown clay bowl or a psychiatrist treating his patient’s expensive boots with Vaseline or a wife’s way of telling her husband he has a sharp nail (“There’s a wolverine”) and searching for it with her tongue. The result is somewhere at the intersection of discomfort and pleasure.

So is the world of You Are Having a Good Time beautiful with grotesque details, or grotesque with a little bit of beauty? The answer seems to be, “Yes.”

Carmen Maria Machado’s debut short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, will be released in 2017. She has written for The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Granta and elsewhere.

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In Paris, Where Food Is King, Refugee Chefs Show What They Have To Offer

French chef Stephane Jégo (left) poses with Syrian refugee chef Mohammad El Khaldy before the Refugees Food Festival held in Paris in June.

French chef Stephane Jégo (left) poses with Syrian refugee chef Mohammad El Khaldy before the Refugees Food Festival held in Paris in June. Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images

The kitchen is hopping and hot at L’Ami Jean restaurant in Paris, as chef Stéphane Jégo gets lunch underway. Jégo, who has been at this small Paris bistro for 14 years, is joined on this day by Mohammad El Khaldy, a chef from Damascus in Syria.

The two have teamed up as part of Refugees Food Festival, a weeklong event in June that brought together French and refugee chefs in a dozen or so of the city’s restaurants for an exchange of gastronomy and culture. It is an effort to encourage diners to consider Europe’s refugee crisis from a new perspective: a culinary one.

Jégo says that while he and El Khaldy don’t speak the same language, they are able to communicate through food.

“Gastronomy is truly universal,” says Jégo. “Today we are fusing our two cuisines. We’re working with a lot of ingredients we use in France, but interpreting them with Syrian tastes. We’re bringing a touch of Syrian spices and sun, and it’s a wonderful experience.”

On the Syrian-French menu at L'Ami Jean: quail with freekeh, a Syrian summer durum wheat.

On the Syrian-French menu at L’Ami Jean: quail with freekeh, a Syrian summer durum wheat. Eleanor Beardsley/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Eleanor Beardsley/NPR

El Khaldy fries kibbeh in hot oil. The croquette, which looks a lot like hush puppies, is a vegetarian version, stuffed with spinach and pomegranate seeds. It will be served with a thick lentil soup. The French also eat lentil soup, but it is much thinner. Also on the Franco-Syrian menu is quail with freekeh, a Syrian summer durum wheat that is roasted for flavor. There is also lamb tartare alongside caramelized eel.

Last year, El Khaldy, his wife and three children took a harrowing trip across the Mediterranean Sea and many countries; they finally arrived in France eight months ago. While most Syrians wanted to be in Germany, for El Khaldy, it had to be France.

“France is the mother of cuisine in the world,” he says. “That’s why I chose France. I need to learn more. The food culture, the gastronomic traditions. This is my passion.” He wants to open his own restaurant someday, he says.

Syria, like France, is rich in culinary traditions, with diverse regional specialties. “Aleppo is perfect for grilled meats,” says El Khaldy. “Damascus, perfect for sweets and main dishes. Homs is perfect for appetizers. And you know, Hama is perfect for cheese and yogurt, because of all the green grasses for grazing. We have a big food culture in Syria.”

He says this joint meal is important to show that Syrian people are serious about working but they also want to enjoy life. The refugee chef experiment also features cooks from Iran, Ivory Coast and Sri Lanka. It was the idea of Food Sweet Food, an organization that encourages dialogue between cultures through home-cooked meals.

The large influx of refugees has worried many people in France and across Europe and fueled fears about terrorism. Political parties on the far right have called for borders to be closed and for refugees to be deported.

“We decided to ask Parisian restaurants to accept refugee chefs to change the view we have in France on refugees,” says Marine Mandrila, the spokeswoman for Food Sweet Food. “And also to show that these people had real lives and professions before. And now we have to validate them and show they are real people, just like you and me.”

Their efforts may be paying off. Diners at L’Ami Jean on this day are being brought course after course, each served with French wines.

Businessman Olivier Carot says the Syrian touch is subtle and sublime. “The spices don’t hide the original taste, so it’s very nice in the mouth,” he says.

Carot says the meal also gets him thinking about more than food. Such events could help counter people’s fears about refugees, he adds.

“This kind of action, because it’s linked with food — which is one of the pillars of our culture — I think it helps to show us that we need to be more open,” he says.

Carot thinks France and Europe, much like this meal, could be enriched by opening up to refugees and their diversity.

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Why High School Students Need More Than College Prep

Young barista in business

LA Johnson/NPR

I step up to the counter at Willy’s Cafe at Willamette High School in Eugene, Ore., and order a latte.

There’s a powerful scent of fresh coffee in the air, and a group of juniors and seniors hover over a large espresso machine.

Carrie Gilbert, 17, shows how it’s done: “You’re going to want to steam the milk first,” she explains. “Then once you have the coffee, dump it in and use the rest of the milk to fill the cup.”

She hands over my order. Not bad.

Yes, this is a class, and these students are earning credit. But I can almost hear parents and students, for whom college is the only option, saying: Credit towards what? Isn’t this just training for the dead-end, low-wage jobs of the future?’

Gilbert, who helps manage the cafe and train other students, doesn’t think so. “Just the overall experience with the cash register and all the different kinds of food preparation and working with money and all that stuff, it prepares you for all kinds of things.”

Training as a barista may not seem like a big deal, but Gilbert — and educators here and around the country — say she’s learning those all-important “soft skills” that employers expect.

Roughly seven out of 10 high school grads are headed to college every year — but that leaves hundreds of thousands who aren’t. And survey after survey shows that employers are demanding — even of college-bound students — some level of job skills and professionalism: punctuality, customer service, managing people and teamwork.

That’s the message students at Willamette High hear just about every day over the PA system: You need job skills with real market value. The school’s career and technical education program offers courses and training in all kinds of fields; culinary arts, health careers, robotics and welding. Students train as bank tellers with a local credit union, or learn food service and restaurants at Willy’s Cafe.

The school is affiliated with DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) program, which focuses on merchandizing, retail sales, marketing and entrepeneurship.

The nearly 70-year-old program once seemed a relic of the “vocational education” era — a time when a much larger percentage of high school graduates went right into the workforce. But today, DECA is all about giving kids a taste of the real world and getting your foot in the door, says Dawn Delorfis, an assistant principal at Willamette High.

DECA teachers and administrators don’t discourage students from going to college, she says, but they do try to let every student know that, with the right skills and training, there are good entry-level jobs for them out there.

Many of those jobs, “provide a good living for someone coming out of high school,” Delorfis adds. “But the thing I think does still exist is the stigma attached: ‘Oh, you’re not going to college?’ “

Luis Sanchez, 18, says college and Starbucks are definitely not for him. But he likes the training at Willy’s because it’s like running a small business: “My parents own a restaurant, and I want to help run it.”

Which brings me back to parents, and that pressure of college as the only option. What happens when your kid comes home from school one day and says she’s training as a barista?

“If it were my kid, I wouldn’t let it happen,” says Anthony Carnevale. He’s the head of the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University. “You don’t tell middle-class Americans, ‘I’m going to send your kid to trade school.’ “

Carnevale and others acknowledge that even good programs like DECA, and career and technical education programs in general, are often viewed as second-rate — a pipeline to low-wage, dead-end jobs.

“These are not dead-end jobs,” says John Fistolera, with DECA’s corporate office. Fistolera says DECA teaches specific skills that business and industry require for employees to be successful. That’s been DECA’s mission since the mid-1940s, thanks to its partnerships with local employers and some of the nation’s biggest businesses.

It’s a message that has broad and growing support, even from the White House. “You can make a really good living and have a great career without getting a four year college education as long as you get the skills and the training that you need,” President Obama said in 2014.

But what high school students usually hear is another message the president touts just as often: “College for all.”

Carnevale says that’s a message that kids and parents need to take with a grain of salt.

“Every year more than 400,000 young people in the top half of their high school class go to college, and at least eight years later, they have not gained either a two- or four-year degree or a certificate,” he notes. So, he adds, at some point those people need job skills and a path into the workforce.

Carnevale warns that the high school curriculum has moved to higher and higher levels of abstraction, away from practical and applied learning.

At Willamette High, though, the message to students is simple: Prepare for both work and college. It kind of makes sense, says 18-year-old Kareena Montalvo. The DECA course she fell in love with is graphic design.

“I can’t tell you how many posters we’ve done for upcoming plays, musicals,” she says. “It lets me understand how artists need to meet clients’ needs.”

Montalvo says she’s already getting paid for several projects in the community. She sees herself as an entrepeneur and, down the road, a college student.

“I want to get my major in graphic design and a minor in marketing.”

But right now, says Kareena, the idea of going into debt at such a young age to pay for college is crazy. So, she says, it’s great having marketable skills and pretty good job prospects right out of high school.

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