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Around the Nation, Friday Roundup

Here are some of this week’s arts and culture headlines from public broadcasters around the nation:

– Rocco Landesman, recently-appointed head of the National Endowment of the Arts, starts a six-month tour of American arts institutions today. NPR had this profile, ahead of his first stop in Peoria, Ill.

– After President Obama named appointees to his Committee on the Arts and Humanities, Minnesota Public Radio’s State of the Arts blog considered some of Candidate Obama’s pledges on arts policy.

– If you missed the fifth season of Art:21, you can now watch all four episodes online, but only until November 13.

– Next week Sesame Street turns 40. Among its many virtues and accomplishments, the show has always been savvy about infusing their energetic, educational programming with smart, grown-up references, giving kids an intro to pop and high culture right along with ABC’s and 123’s. Indeed, it has resembled a veritable Ed Sullivan Show for the under-ten set, featuring many of the biggest names in music performing both their big hits along with their renditions of the alphabet song. Among the many stars to grace Sesame are Johnny Cash, Lena Horne, jazz great Joe Williams, conductor Seiji Ozawa, Paul Simon, Queen Latifah, Norah Jones, Feist, and of course, Stevie Wonder, with a sensational, almost-seven minute rendition of ‘Superstition’.

Here’s Ray Charles, jamming with Bert and Ernie (“I am prepared to wail, Ray!” says Bert):

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