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

Twenty-five years ago at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, two men posing as police officers tricked Rick Abath — the night watchman — into letting them in.

"At the time of the robbery I had just dropped out of Berklee College of Music. I was playing in a band, and working night shift at the museum," Abath said during a recent visit to StoryCorps with his wife, Diana. "I was just this hippie guy who wasn't hurting anything, wasn't on anybody's radar and the next day I was on everybody's radar for the largest art heist in history."

Controversial Painting Defaced In Trumbull

Mar 12, 2015
Courtesy of Trumbull Library

A controversial painting at the Trumbull Library in Trumbull, Connecticut was defaced on Wednesday. The incident occurred while the library board met to hear public debate over the issue in a nearby room.

Sharon Mollerus/flickr creative commons

Total recall. Replacement bones. An average lifespan of 150 years. That's what James Canton talks about when he advises Fortune 500 companies on what's coming next in our world. And that's not a fraction of it.

Finchlake 2000 / Creative Commons

Today, we take a deeper look at the beaver.

Beavers are sophisticated eco-engineers, one of few animals capable of broadening biodiversity and currently considered of the keys to reversing climate change. They build sophisticated dams and deep-water ponds that stem erosion of riverbanks, create cooler deep-water pools that support temperature-sensitive plant and fish species, and increase the water table, a big deal for Western states suffering the impact of worsening drought.

Meal Makeover Moms/flickr creative commons

Leftover Passover brisket becomes brisket hash for the morning… leftover St. Pat's Day corned beef and cabbage becomes tomorrow's Reuben sandwich… three places to get great nitrite artisanal hams… and one more hot toddy made with whiskey and orange-ginger tea…

Guillaume Laurent / Creative Commons

The Hartford Jazz Society and New Haven’s Firehouse 12 celebrate the end of the winter of our discontent with sunny, regenerating concerts on the first official day of spring on March 20.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

For centuries, female composers have often found themselves overshadowed by their male counterparts. Take Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Anna Magdalena Bach, and Alma Mahler, for example. Their names don't roll off the tongue quite as easily as Felix Mendelssohn, J.S. Bach, and Gustav Mahler's do. 

But why?

While surfing the Web one day, Janine Harper came across a project where a photographer had taken pictures of her daughter dressed up as famous women, including Coco Chanel and Amelia Earhart. Harper showed the project to her husband, photographer Marc Bushelle, and together they thought it would be wonderful to adapt it for their 5-year-old daughter, Lily. Their goal was to create a fun learning method for Lily so that she could start to "see herself in the story" of black history.

Kim Hill/flickr creative commons

It could be argued that companion animals in America have never enjoyed greater rights than they do today. Is that enough? Don't miss our show discussing the complexity of our relationships with non-human animals who, research shows, think.

Women Composers Festival of Hartford

The 2015 Women Composers Festival of Hartford is underway at various locations in the capital city. For the 14th year, the festival has highlighted and promoted the work of women composers past and present.

Hartford Stage

Love, loss, friendship, and loneliness are all explored in the new play "Reverberation," now playing at Hartford Stage.

Julia Pistell

In a couple of weeks the nation will be transfixed by a competition in which basketball teams advance through a tournament laid out as a series of brackets.

Can the same process get people more interested in literary fiction? For a decade, the Morning News has been testing that theory. They year we decided to attach ourselves, like remoras, to their enterprise. We asked three super-readers to blow through as many of thoe 16 novels as they could; and today, on a special edition of the Nose, they'll talk their way through the brackets. 

The Barnum Museum

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has announced that it will phase out its elephant acts by 2018. The circus’s parent company, Feld Entertainment, has cited “growing public concern about how the animals are treated” as the impetus for the decision.

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.

Beverly & Pack, Creative Commons

It's cold, snowy winters like this that make us question why we choose to live in a place where snow, sleet, and wind define one-third of the year.  It's a great excuse to complain, but does it also make us stronger and better people?

Ryan King / WNPR

A requiem is historically a mass for the dead, but composer Steven Sametz says "A Child's Requiem" is something different. It's a musical message of consolation. The work is dedicated to those who lost their lives in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and premieres this week in Connecticut.

Sametz weaves in words of American writers and poetry and short lines of text written by children.

"I thought it was important to give voice to that peer group most affected at Sandy Hook," he said. "I got terrific responses from around the country, some incredibly touching about how children grieve. And I wanted that to be the center of this child’s requiem."

Sony Pictures

Several of my musical friends had said I should see the movie “Whiplash.” They told me I probably wouldn’t like it but that I should see it anyway. So I did.

They were right on both counts. I didn’t like it all that much but I’m glad I saw it. I think young people interested in the performing arts – not just music – should see it.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

For 14 years, Mark Crino, Evan Green, Andy Chatfield, and Eric DellaVecchia have been performing under the name Stanley Maxwell. They’re a Connecticut-based quartet with a jazz-meets-rock-meets-funk sound that’s bound to get you dancing.

YouTube

Relaxing in a cozy recliner back home in Columbus, Ohio, the nonagenarian trombonist Arthur Baskerville can, through the miracle of live streaming, sit back on Friday night and watch his brilliant, young grandson, the phenomenal pianist Aaron Diehl, perform with his trio in New Haven, more than 600 miles away, at Yale’s prestigious Ellington Jazz Series.

Marle Hale / Creative Commons

On Wednesday we find out the finalists for Hartford's new minor league baseball team. Will it be the Hartford Blue Frogs? How about the Hartford Honey Badgers? Do you like the Hartford Yard Goats better? I got it! How about the Hartford Huckleberries! What do you mean it's not on the list? 

This hour, lots of people call and tweet with their favorites. Take a listen. 

cyclonebill/flickr creative commons

You can use canned tomatoes to make an amazing winter gazpacho... with a few simple additions, you can turn Progresso clam sauce into a restaurant-worthy linguine & clams... best roasted mushrooms? You bet they are! Make them while you sip Anthony DeSerio's delicious Ginger-Carrot Cocktail laced with cinnamon, apple cider, and spiced rum... Afraid to cook? No need to be—we'll give you a lesson on how to make a beautiful frittata thanks to the cookbook Twelve Recipes, every dish aimed at new cooks...

drivebysh00ter/flickr creative commons

Paris sculptor Tatiana Trouve agreed to do a major public art installation for Central Park, which is opening now and involves miles of colored rope. Now we have a mission for you… design a store for children with objects or a playscape that will entertain kids and adults, and make them all say "Wow!" walking in the door.

weegeebored/flickr creative commons

Picture this: 19 films. 10 days. 10 countries. That's the scope of the Mandell HCC Hartford Jewish Film Festival running in the Hartford region from March 12–22. Among the films drawing special interest are The Outrageous Sophie Tucker and Above and Beyond: The Birth of the Israeli Air Force, produced by Nancy Spielberg, who will attend the screening and speak.

Sh4rp_i / Creative Commons

Arthur Chu argues that Andrew Jackson is the worst president we've ever had, and his face should be removed from the $20 bill. For starters, Andrew Jackson removed about 46,000 Native Americans from their established homelands to make way for White settlement leaving a "Trail of Tears" of starvation, disease, and death.

That's just the beginning of a long line of horrors: he annexed Florida, executed militia members after the War of 1812, and dismantled the central bank to push wildcat banks. Maybe America has never been a paragon of the ideals we hold dear, and maybe America would rather forget our past than deal with it. 

Chion Wolf

What did we talk about before there was the dress?  The dress was made for the Nose and vice versa. The Nose is our Friday session when we get smart, funny people together for a fast-moving conversation about culture. The dress -- an otherwise unremarkable striped number that popped up on the internet Thursday afternoon -- took over social media and people’s lives simply because people who were otherwise similarly rooted in reality could not agree on what color(s) it was.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

This week's Nose will feature an out-of-towner (sort of):  Simsbury-bred NY scenester Brendan Jay Sullivan. As if the rest of us on the Nose didn't feel winter-drab and culturally frostbitten already.  Also in the house, Jacques Lamarre and Theresa Cramer. 

At the moment, Santa's bag of Nose ideas seems a little light. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

For the past 14 years, Mark Crino, Evan Green, Andy Chatfield, and Eric DellaVecchia have been performing under the name Stanley Maxwell. They’re a Connecticut-based quartet with a jazz-meets-rock-meets-funk sound that’s bound to get you off your feet. The four of them recently joined us in our Studio 3 to share some of the music that’s kept them all together for so long.

When House of Cards' third season opens, Kevin Spacey's murderous politician Frank Underwood is fooling the world again.

From the very first scene, he's bringing a presidential motorcade to his tiny hometown of Gaffney, S.C., pretending to honor his father's grave for the press.

"Nobody showed up for his funeral except me, not even my mother," Underwood says in one of those sly asides where he speaks directly to the audience. "But I'll tell you this: When they bury me, it won't be in my backyard. And when they pay their respects, they'll have to wait in line."

A pair of llamas on the loose in Sun City, Ariz., riveted the nation this afternoon.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET.

This week, a man was sentenced to die in Saudi Arabia because he renounced his faith in Islam; a Hindu leader in India made a new accusation against Mother Teresa; a mosque near Bethlehem was set on fire.

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