Arts/Culture

WNPR Arts and culture reporting focuses on the world of ideas in fine art, crafts, writing, music, theater, performance, design and creative activities that make us unique and make us human

Salvador Dalí / Beineke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Among the 176 items associated with Lewis Carroll's novel Alice's Adventure in Wonderland at Yale's Beineke Rare Book and Manuscript Library is a limited edition of the book signed and illustrated by Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dalí.

It was just after sunset on a muggy Friday evening earlier this month, and my wife and I were standing outside a Hardee's in Seneca, S.C. We were at a vigil for Zachary Hammond, a white teenager killed by a police officer during an attempted drug arrest in the restaurant's parking lot, three miles from where we live and teach at Clemson University.

PLF73 / Creative Commons

Does it seem like there are a lot of bears in Connecticut? It's hard to have a conversation this summer without someone mentioning they spotted a bear. While most of us are in awe of the size and majesty of these animals, most of us don't know much about bears. In light of this weekend's closing of Sessions Woods, now might be a good time to talk about what's already on everyone's minds.

gailhampshire/flickr creative commons

Kids head out the door to catch the school bus as the crispness of the early morning air begins to linger and that familiar wistful feeling sets in. The replacement of sticky, sun-drenched days and warm, song-filled nights marks the unofficial start of fall. It’s not just that the days are getting shorter and the colors are changing, or that the temperature is cooler and the air drier. With autumn comes the conclusion of the songs of summer — the chorus of night-singing insects. 

Schooner Delivers Maine Produce To Boston Harbor The Old-Fashioned Way

Aug 31, 2015

A 90-year-old schooner with North Shore origins is headed back home, laden with three tons of Maine-grown farm produce.

The Adventure, as she’s called, set sail from Portland, Maine, at first light Friday morning.

A cantor chanted a Hebrew prayer of mourning, as the afternoon sun beat down on some one hundred people gathered for the dedication of the state’s Holocaust memorial. Local politicians and prominent members of the state’s Jewish community offered remarks on the project. Many highlighted the memorial’s significance in the light of more recent violence and genocide worldwide.

The newly unveiled memorial sits at the edge of Downtown Providence, near statuary dedicated to the two World Wars.

McFreshCreates / Flickr Creative Commons

If you know how to read, you're probably pretty good at recognizing words. But, new words like "egg corn," "crema" and "slendro" are challenging our concept of what makes a word.  Yet these very words were recently added to Merriam-Webster's unabridged online dictionary.

An exhibit at the Berkshire Museum is showcasing the work of a photojournalist whose collections of images from nearly 100 countries have been displayed in museums around the world, including at the Louvre in Paris. An opening reception is set for Friday at 5:30.

This Labor Day weekend, the small city of Ticonderoga, New York, will host its first ‘Star Trek’ convention. Conventions dedicated to the 1960s TV series that spawned a pop culture movement have been held around the world for decades, but what makes this event unique is that it’s being held within a complete reproduction of the original series’ set.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Earlier this month, a group musicians and activists from Connecticut joined artists from around the country, who traveled to Missouri to participate in events marking the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown's death.

The "All Roads Lead to Ferguson: Black Lives Matter Tour," included musicians like The Peace Poets and Peter Yarrow of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary.

America and Iran have not had an easy relationship since 1979, when 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days by students supporting the Iranian Revolution. The resulting rise of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini further weakened the relationship.

Hugh Burkhardt / robertblack.org

Whatever airline horror story you have about lost or mishandled luggage, I’m pretty sure Robert Black can top it.

Robert, as many of you around here know, is a brilliant, nationally recognized double bass player and teacher. He is perhaps best known for being a founding member of the avant-garde music ensemble, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, a group that regularly plays all over the world. Robert has also been a faculty member at The Hartt School for many years, and is currently the chairman of the school’s string department.

It's all too raw: the grieving of survivors, the images of carnage, the way we learn of events and the way we consume them.

Viewers of the morning show for WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Va., actually watched the deadly shootings of reporter Alison Parker and videographer Adam Ward. And they watched it live, unexpectedly, without warning. So did the program's anchors, who were themselves shocked, initially uncomprehending, appalled.

Roderick Eime/flickr creative commons

Our healthy frozen piña colada is a terrific taste treat thanks to contributor Anthony DeSerio… dirty steak from contributor Alex Province is a "how-to" on cooking steak right on top of the lump charcoal… enjoy our pesto chicken potato salad from scratch or the easy way… and fresh bluefish fillets get the citrus treatment…   

Carlos Hernandez Chavez

Renowned region-wide since 2007 for its abundant servings of savory, red-hot Latin sounds and friendly, festive communal vibe, the free, outdoor Ray Gonzalez Latin Jazz and Salsa Festival presents its annual sizzling summer celebration in downtown Hartford on Saturday, August 29, from 5:00 to 10:00 pm at Mortensen Riverfront Plaza.

Protest Music: Then and Now

Aug 25, 2015
Chion Wolf / WNPR

Music can be a powerful, transformative tool in the quest for social change. Protest songs are the songs associated with a particular movement. 

Earlier this month, Janelle Monáe and Wondaland produced the searing protest song "Hell You Talmbout." Nearly seven minutes long, it's a tribute to a long list of black men and women lost, and has been performed alongside protesters at Black Lives Matter rallies.

Tatiana Vdb/flickr creative commons

Sitting around the studio recently, we recalled how much more freedom we had than today's children do. In fact, Chris Prosperi, Alex Province, and I realized our parents might have been arrested if today's standards were in effect back then. What has changed?

Steven L. Shepard / Presidio of Monterey Public Affairs

Officials in France and the United States are celebrating the actions of three brave passengers aboard a train who thwarted an attack. Did these passengers do what you're supposed to do in that situation? This hour, we hear from a retired FBI special agent who will tell us how bystanders should respond to violence.

  B-52s founding member Kate Pierson has been having a very busy 2015. Earlier this year, she released her very first solo album, Guitars and Microphones. Produced by Tim Anderson, the record features writing from “Chandelier” singer, Sia — who also served as its executive producer — and guitar-work from the Strokes’ Nick Valensi.

If that wasn’t enough excitement - earlier this month, Kate married her long-time partner Monica Coleman in Hawaii. They co-own Kate's Lazy Meadow in Mount Tremper, NY. 

She has also been touring with the new album and will be doing a benefit for the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild Ceramics Expansion Project next Friday night.

Yale University Art Gallery

The Yale University Art Gallery is launching a major exhibition of works by American Photographer Donald Blumberg. The exhibit covers the span of his long career, from candid New York street scenes from the '60s to his latest photographs, still shots of TV shows with closed captioning.

Creative Commons

“Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible. He is a kind of confidence man, preying on people's vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse.'' Those, of course, are the immortal opening words of Janet Malcolm’s book-length essay, “The Journalist and the Murderer.” 

Food 2.0

Aug 20, 2015
Brian Ambrozy/flickr creative commons

I'll take it as a given that you like food. But no matter what your style of eating and cooking is, I'm betting the complexity of the American food system can leave you confused, judgmental, guilty, apathetic, or overwhelmed. If that's true, here's some good news: Once in a while an original voice comes along and breaks through to offer clarity and a new way to conceive of something.

Dragons Rule!

Aug 20, 2015
William O'Connor - William O'Connor Studios

She who controls the dragon controls the world.

Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion are the most recent dragons to capture our attention, thanks to "Game of Thrones," the wildly popular HBO hit that's placed dragons front and center in our imagination.

Lunch on Wheels: The Food Truck Revolution

Aug 20, 2015
State Library Victoria College / Creative Commons

Not that long ago, you might not have known what a food truck is, but today it's hard to avoid them. They seem to be everywhere, serving every kind of cuisine, but they still face a gauntlet of legal challenges to operate - and still aren't allowed to operate in some towns in the state.

Lydia Brown / WNPR

In her graphic memoir Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, cartoonist Roz Chast brings humor to the difficult topic of aging parents. Last year, the book earned her the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Kirkus Prize for nonfiction. Now, it's being featured alongside some of her other work as part of the Distinguished Illustrator Exhibition Series at the Norman Rockwell Museum. 

Paul Broussard/flickr creative commons

The sexy, Mexican paloma cocktail pairs tequila and grapefruit juice… we have a shortbread style, gluten-free pie crust… the Bastianiches have an Italian, raw-tomato, pasta sauce—all you do is boil water—oh, boy, is this making use of great fresh tomatoes… and a white Bordeaux under $20 for August cheer…

Corey Lynn Tucker Photography / Courtesy Isabella Mendes

Just as she’s fluent and elegantly at ease in both Portuguese and English, the rising, young Brazilian-born, singer/songwriter and pianist Isabella Mendes is also much at home with her seemingly contradictory dual careers in music and engineering.

The FBI is seeking the public’s help in solving a significant New England art theft.

The head of the Boston FBI office, Special Agent in Charge Vincent Lisi announced a $20,000 reward for the return of two N.C. Wyeth paintings stolen from a private collector in Portland, Maine.

" Anybody who has any information about these paintings, the whereabouts, or who may have stolen them can contact the FBI via our online tip line, or telephone directly," said Lisi.

Andrea López/flickr creative commons

My motto on The Book Show is: Life is short, but it can be ever so wide.

Join me and my book buddies for a call-in show recommending terrific books to read in all categories. If you're in a book club, please tell us what you've read and enjoyed.

Dirk Knight / Creative Commons

Earlier this summer, we spent a full hour listening to candidates for "song of the summer." Now that summer is winding down, we’re still trying to figure out the winner. Was there a song you just couldn’t get enough of recently? We talk to someone who says for the first time in a long time, there was no "Call Me Maybe," "Blurred Lines," or "California Gurls" (for better or worse).

Also, one popular retailer for music (and everything else) is under harsh criticism. The New York Times reported on the working conditions at "The Everything Store."

In the final segment, we address tall person guilt. Should they feel obligated to stand in back?

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