The Midwest is known for its roadside attractions — world's largest ear of corn, heaviest ball of twine, biggest truck stop.
But it's also home to one of the largest collections of grottoes in the world. Most of these man-made caves were created by immigrant priests at the beginning of the 20th century. And the mother of them all — encrusted in $6 million worth of semiprecious stones — is in West Bend, Iowa.
This weekend, the Grotto of the Redemption turns 100.
You may not have heard of the special-effects studio Digital Domain, but you've probably seen their work. They sank the Titanic for James Cameron; they aged Brad Pitt backward in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Most recently, their virtual likeness of the late Tupac Shakur performed in concert.
Having worked those wonders, they're tackling thornier challenges: fur and feathers.
Indiana Treasurer and Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock accidentally released video responses to the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Health Care Act. The court has yet to announcing their ruling. Muourdock prepared four responses for if the court upholds the law, overturns it, if it splits and if it doesn't provide an answer. Melissa Block and Robert Siegel have more.
Superstar LeBron James finally has his NBA championship. The Miami Heat wrapped up the title Thursday night with a series clinching rout over the Oklahoma City Thunder. It was the one of the highest rated finals in years. Robert Siegel talks to sportswriter Stefan Fatsis about the NBA's new glory era and why this year's Olympic Dream Team may be the last one you'll ever see.
Paul Revere Williams began designing homes and commercial buildings in the early 1920s. By the time he died in 1980, he had created some 2,500 buildings, most of them in and around Los Angeles, but also around the globe. And he did it as a pioneer: Paul Williams was African-American. He was the first black architect to become a member of the American Institute of Architects in 1923, and in 1957 he was inducted as the AIA's first black fellow.
Named for the patron saint of musicians, La Santa Cecilia has deep roots in the immigrant community of Los Angeles. Yet the band's six members draw inspiration not only from their rich heritage, but also from their everyday lives growing up embedded in American culture.
During a short, recent trip to historic Olvera Street in downtown L.A. — "It's a little street with little shops resembling any town in Mexico or Latin America" — singer Marisol Hernandez describes the hopes and dreams the city represents.
The first minarets in Murfreesboro, Tenn., are about to be placed atop a new mosque. But when construction is complete on the new Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, located about 30 miles southeast of Nashville, no one will get to move in.
An ongoing court battle has stalled the project, one of several Islamic centers around the country that, like the so-called ground zero mosque, have encountered resistance from local communities.