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

This week, the long-awaited sequel to Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird hits bookshelves. Since it was announced, questions were raised about Lee's involvement in the release of this book. But now the conversation has changed to the content of the book. A New York Times review reveals the much beloved character of Atticus Finch was a racist during the Brown v. Board of Education era of the 1950s.

KAZ Vorpal / Creative Commons

Univision and NBC cut ties to Donald Trump and he won't be returning to The Apprentice, his long-running television show, because of the inflammatory comments he made about Mexican immigrants last week. But, he doesn't seem to care. Despite the comments, or maybe because of them, his appeal seems to rise with his belligerence.

Meta Mourphic / Creative Commons

After a long hiatus, our Connecticut eccentricities team is back. Join us as we explore the many unique facts and details that make Connecticut… well, Connecticut. 

Steve Freitag / Creative Commons

Two historically significant European tall ships are in southern New England and are open to the public for tours.

The French Navy Frigate L'Hermione arrived at Fort Adams in Newport, Rhode Island and the N.R.P Sagres, a Portuguese educational training vessel, sailed into New Bedford, Massachusetts, both on Wednesday.

Hartford Symphony Orchestra / Facebook

As you may have noticed, tensions between the management and the musicians of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra have been heating up as the two sides try to agree on a new contract.

Diane Orson / WNPR

    

As politicians continue to navigate the historic diplomatic thaw in relations between the U.S. and Cuba, musicians from both countries say they’re looking forward to more artistic exchange.

Bill and Vicki T / Creative Commons

When I was a child in the 1960's, it was not uncommon to have friends with 5 or 6 siblings. I was one of 4.

But, times have changed. For all sorts of reasons - economic, work, personal preference, religion - the majority of parents are having fewer children today than was common in the previous generation. And, as family size has decreased, societal attitudes about larger families have become increasingly negative.  The usual reaction goes something like this: "Why would you want to have so many kids?" Or, people might not ask at all and assume insanity or religious zealotry. 

Ken Hawkins/flickr creative commons

Fabulous frozen summer punch from our contributor and bartender Anthony DeSerio… crispy coconut shrimp with tropical rice… mouth-watering Tandoori chicken on the grill… and how to save your clothes, tablecloths and napkins with the best stain remover on the planet

Jameziecakes / Creative Commons

A 2014 Nielsen report yielded some dismaying news for jazz connoisseurs: the once-coveted genre is now one of the least-consumed in the United States.

Why are so many turning away from jazz, and toward other styles of music like rock, pop, and country? 

This hour, a panel of experts and musicians weigh in, and share their thoughts on jazz's future both in America and abroad.

GUESTS:

Patrick Breltenbach / Creative Commons

Podcasts weren't born last year with the arrival of Serial, the wildly successful story of an unsolved 1999 murder that you could hear solely on podcast.

Serial likely provided the first encounter with podcasts for a lot of listeners, but podcasts first entered the consciousness and our iPods ten years ago last weekend, when early adopters saw in them the next great media revolution. The New Oxford American Dictionary even named "podcast" the word of the year in 2005. What wasn't to love?

Joyce DiCamillo

Classically trained and a member of the elite International Roster of Steinway Artists, the Stamford-born-and-bred pianist Joyce DiCamillo is most celebrated for her three decades of consummate mastery of the fine art of the jazz piano trio.

Which Writers Get Museums?

Jul 7, 2015
Flickr Creative Commons

Mark Twain has many literary sites; yet Henry James has none. You can visit Edith Wharton's house but not Shirley Jackson's. You can walk where Wallace Stevens walked but you can't buy a ticket to go through his front door. And can you believe there's no single museum devoted to all American writers-- yet?

New England is about to get two great new writers’ museums: The Dr. Seuss museum in Springfield, Massachusetts and-- if we're lucky-- the Maurice Sendak Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Today we look at who gets a writer's house and why-- and what sort of experience we’re looking for when we make pilgrimages to the desks of our literary heroes.

Etiquette for the Technology-Obsessed

Jul 6, 2015
Phil Campbell/flickr creative commons

Cellphones, and now smartphones and mobile tablets, have changed our world in wonderful ways, connecting us anywhere and everywhere. And time has flown. Simple cell phones are disappearing as smartphones and tablets get smarter and cheaper. Meanwhile our own communication habits are changing. According to Pew Internet reports, over 70 percent of Americans now prefer texting over calling.

Diane Sobolewski / Goodspeed Opera House

So, you think it's easy to write a Broadway song? I say not so fast. 

The four aspiring writing teams that attended Goodspeed's Festival of New Musicals this past January say it's plenty hard. They spend a lot of time kicking around ideas, most of which never see the light of day. But, really, they have no choice. "If you can do anything else, you do do anything else," says Marcy Heisler, one half of one of our amazing teams.

Kelsie Bissell / WNPR

An African drummer, a hip hop artist, a traditional kora player, and Albanian artisans may not be what you expect to see during a fashion show, but organizer George Kingsley had a vision to feature more than just clothing at a multicultural fashion show at ArtSpace last month.

Facebook, courtesy of Daniel Sandoval

Daniel Sandoval is a former paratrooper with the U.S. Army and Connecticut resident who recently added the title of "author" to his list of accomplishments. 

WILI Boom Box Parade / Facebook

Willimantic's unique Independence Day "Boom Box" parade is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Innovation in the Arts: The Search Continues

Jul 2, 2015
Adam Lyon / Flickr Creative Commons

It's hard to imagine: the idea that the arts, the grand bastion of our creative genius, may soon be bankrupt. But are new ideas really an unlimited commodity, or wont we one day exhaust them all? Some say we already have; that the bulk of what's being churned out by today's filmmakers, musicians and writers, are simply re-imaginings of the ideas of their predecessors.

A. Vincent Scarano

New London's Hygienic Art opens a new multimedia exhibit Friday night. 

Diana Robinson/flickr creativ commons

A man named Billy Williams became a legend during World War II, but not only for his heroic actions; Williams, stationed in Burma, became an elephant "whisperer." The book Elephant Company describes the man's exceptional ability to understand the elephants around him, and the stunning ability of the elephants to understand and communicate with him, in return.

Alpha/flickr creative commons

We've gone global with our burgers, from the Greek take on beef to the Thai pork patty with lime zest, cilantro, chili, and lemongrass… tell the kids we've issued parental orders on toasted marshmallows to make children of all ages happy… and for the 4th of July or any weekend, have fun with our simple red, white, and blue desserts…

Once upon a time Nancy Butler lived in the Beltway and used her MBA to secure a high paying job with a defense contractor.  But Butler had considered herself a devout Christian since the age of 9, and something about a job with a company that made torpedoes started to bother her. So she left and embarked on a journey that included mission work in Asia and enrollment at Yale Divinity School.

Summer in Hartford just wouldn’t be the same without the sizzling sounds and celebratory mood generated by the Monday Night Jazz Series and the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz, two free, major outdoor festivals that for decades have drawn tens of thousands to the city’s downtown Bushnell Park in July and August.  

Starmanseries / Flickr Creative Commons

In some ways, the 'bro' is not new. He's there, for example, in Philip Roth's "Goodbye Columbus" as Ron Patimkin, the big athletic empty-headed brother of Brenda. 

What's different is that in the 1960s, it seemed fundamentally untenable to be Ron for an extended period of time. Ron only really made sense as a college athlete, and now he's stuck with a bunch of mannerisms and interests that seem vaguely out of place.

.christoph.G./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.

At 28, Jessica Fechtor suffered a life-threatening brain aneurysm that knocked out some of her senses. Now she has written Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals that Brought Me Home. She'll be our guest today as we talk about life, death, food, and healing.

Frankie Leon / Flickr Creative Commons

News about other countries tends to focus a lot more on what’s wrong with a place, than what’s going right.

Recently, reports about the earthquake in Nepal, kidnappings in Nigeria and Islamic extremism in Iran have dominated the news.

Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the right of gays and lesbian to marry, as a matter of equal protection. In New York City, the cops were closing of Christopher Street, so people could party. Similar pop-up public parties are happening all over the nation, including here in Connecticut. But some hearts are heavy.

Jeaneeem / Creative Commons

The Eagles first album touched a cultural nerve in 1971, with songs like "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and "Witchy Woman," a prelude to the hits to come. And, the music never stopped. Despite mounting criticism from critics and fans alike, within five years they rolled those hits into one of the biggest selling Greatest Hits albums of all time. 

Newhavenago2015.org

Organists from throughout the Northeast will gather in New Haven early next week for the Northeast Regional Convention of the American Guild of Organists. Among the many activities planned are a series of free, public concerts featuring "The King of Instruments."

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