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Depending on the album, St. Vincent might inhabit a persona. Near-Future cult leader, dominatrix at the mental institution - that's how she's described some of them. On her new album, she's going for a time and place.

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The National Mall in Washington, D.C., took a step closer to normalcy today. Four Smithsonian museums and the National Gallery of Art reopened to the public. Millions of people visit the free museums in a typical year to see their collections of important objects from American history and culture. NPR's Elizabeth Blair has more.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: As soon as free passes to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture were available, Allyson Carpenter was ready.

Israel has ramped up its attacks on the Gaza Strip to a new level, including using 160 aircraft along with artillery and tank fire to pummel what it says is a tunnel network that Hamas militants rely on to move people and equipment. And Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel isn't done.

"This is not yet over. We will do everything to restore security to our cities and our people," Netanyahu said in a statement issued from Tel Aviv.

On a grey, drizzly Sunday afternoon, I arrived at an industrial building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. I was there for something called a One-to-One Concert, but I genuinely had no idea what to expect – what kind of music I'd hear, or even where I'd hear it. After a temperature check, a masked woman approached me. Her name was Stacy, an usher employed by the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the event's presenter.

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