The Culture Arts

Top Picks: Craig Finn's 'We All Want the Same Things,' the movie 'Rogue One,' and more

'Ike and McCarthy,' by David A. Nichols is readable and revealing, the podcast 'Biography' tackles the lives of lesser-known figures such as Australian suffragette Vida Goldstein, and more top picks.

Mohandas Gandhi
AP/File
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  • Staff

Mining the heartland

You may recognize Craig Finn from his enviable gig as The Hold Steady’s frontman. The popular band has been compared to Bruce Springsteen’s, mining the American heartland for stories populated with lost souls barely muddling through, but with upbeat choruses. Finn’s third solo outing, We All Want the Same Things, empathetically illuminates the everyday, gray-sky struggles and minimal comforts of his motley cast of characters, without the release of the anthemic endings of his day-job band. But Finn’s matter-of-fact delivery belies a real tenderness for his subjects, transforming the mundane to the profound. Check out the stirring “God in Chicago.”

A look at lives

The podcast Biography, which is hosted by Matt Smith, discusses not only famous people such as Mohandas Gandhi but also tackles the lives of lesser-known figures such as Australian suffragette Vida Goldstein. Smith’s podcast is available in iTunes.

Exit guidance

Yes, the sign says you can find gas and lunch at that highway exit. But how far will you have to drive to get there? The app iExit will tell you exactly where a restaurant is and where you can find Wi-Fi, among other information, taking the guesswork out of pit stops. The app is free for iOS and Android.

Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm Ltd./AP

A very long time ago

The “Star Wars” movie Rogue One fills in the story fans think they know, with the film depicting how rebels made the events of the classic movie “Star Wars” possible. Felicity Jones and Diego Luna star in “Rogue One,” which is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.  

Revealing history

There’s plenty to like about Ike in Ike and McCarthy, David A. Nichols’s readable and revealing look at how President Dwight Eisenhower toiled to snuff out the Communist witch hunt led by Sen. Joseph McCarthy. While Eisenhower’s record as a defender of American values at this time isn’t spotless, Nichols insightfully uncovers how Ike showed much more backbone than history remembers. The president frequently criticized McCarthy in public while purposefully refusing to ever say his name. Even more effectively, Ike secretly plotted his archenemy’s political destruction.