Peter Breslow

When Marcia Ball sits down at the piano, the barrelhouse blues that jump out is enough to frighten any set of nearby keyboards. The 69-year-old has been playing Texas boogie and New Orleans blues for 50 years. Her latest album Shine Bright, available now, carries on the tune.

On a sunny, late-September afternoon in the garden of a guesthouse in Kabul, just beyond the armed guard at the iron gate, a couple of girls are tuning up for guitar practice. All headscarves and concentration, they stretch tentative fingers along the strings. Their teacher, a 56-year-old musician from Los Angeles named Lanny Cordola, sports own head covering, a green doo-rag holding in check a graying ponytail that drifts down the middle of his back.

In the mid-1960s, Michael Nesmith was writing songs and working the Los Angeles club scene when someone showed him an ad: A new TV show was looking for people to audition. He did — and the next thing he knew, he was a Monkee.

It is April Fools Day 2011 and Jimmy Chin, the renowned adventure photographer and filmmaker, is shooting a couple of professional snowboarders in the Teton Range in Wyoming. This is one of the first really warm days of the spring season and so there is a lot of action in the snowpack. It is the kind of day where the risk of avalanche is high enough that everyone has their antennae up. But all three men are expert mountaineers who know how to read the conditions.

Sometimes you can tell a lot about a country just by walking its beaches. That's what I did on my last day in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, where I was on assignment covering the Ebola epidemic.

Standing at water's edge, facing the sea. The smooth blue rollers come splashing in, steady, hypnotic — like oceans anywhere in the world.

Pages