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

Disney Enterprises

Poignantly, the Stephen Sondheim Obsessives of this world (I consider myself a lifelong admirer but not quite an obsessive) are poring over every scrap leaking out from the Disney fortress concerning the upcoming movie version of “Into the Woods.” 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

It's been 40 years since the release of the Mel Brooks' movie Blazing Saddles. I recently went to an anniversary screening and in the audience was one of the movie's stars: Gene Wilder.

John Herschell/flickr creative commons

Seriously? You can actually roast an entire turkey ahead of time and serve it hot at the table? Yes, says Ina, and she now does it often, including on Thanksgiving. Here's the thing… it's not only Ina's taste in flavor combinations and technique that always win us over—it's her knockout ideas. And they are as dazzling as ever in her new book, Make It Ahead. There's the do-ahead turkey and gravy, sides, and desserts—we'll get to those, but also ways to whip cream ahead, freeze things and pull them out, even make your own healthy peanut butter dog biscuits. (She says she's been trying to get her publishers to print that one for ages; this time she insisted.) 

Peter Gannushkin / downtownmusic.net

Devotees of the ruggedly individualistic, inexhaustibly creative Mary Halvorson have much to celebrate and cogitate upon as the rising, young, cutting-edge guitarist presents solo explorations at 8:30 and 10:00 pm on November 7 at New Haven’s Firehouse 12, 45 Crown Street.

When comedian Amy Poehler was in her 20s, she read her boyfriend's journal and found out that he didn't think she was pretty.

"It was almost like an itch being scratched, which was, 'Aha! I knew that you didn't think I was pretty!' ... And then it was followed by a real crash because ... my ego was bruised," Poehler tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Poehler says it taught her that the earlier you figure out your "currency," the happier you'll be. For Poehler, that meant not leaning on her looks to be successful.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Shade tobacco came to Connecticut in 1900 from the island of Sumatra, which was beginning to dominate the world of cigar wrappers. The leaf had a light color, delicate texture, and mild flavor that cigar lovers love.

Scenes. Conversation. Politics. What inspires artists working in their studios?

Inspiration can come from the quiet of the mind, or, as we just noticed, the spark that results in art can be set off because of world events. Connecticut artist Lula Mae Blocton explains how her work on paper was inspired by events in Newtown, Connecticut.

Catie Talarski / WNPR

Daria Savickas's great-grandfather came to the United States from Poland in 1875 as part of the largest wave of Polish immigration to this country at the turn of the century. He worked at a hotel in Chicago, and then at a factory in Buffalo, New York. "He was a forest ranger," Savickas said. "He liked being in the forest," so he eventually returned to his homeland.

Rocky and Nelson / Creative Commons

Scandal is a theme today. 

One of our guests today is Anne Helen Petersen, who left academia to write full-time about celebrities and television and celebrity gossip.  One of the themes her first book, "Scandals of Classic Hollywood," is the history of Hollywood scandal so lets get my own theory out of the way. 

Connecticut State Library/flickr creative commons

Celebrating her 12-year commitment to protect and preserve family farms, Connecticut Farmland Trust is holding its Annual Harvest Dinner November 8 in Faith's honor. The public is invited and the event features a cocktail party and seated wine dinner at the Old Lyme Country Club. Space is limited. For ticket information telephone (860) 247-0202 or go online.

Hair Jewelry: Remembrance That Never Dies

Oct 24, 2014
The Connecticut Historical Society, Gift of Dorothy Filley Bidwell, 1957.18.17

The 19th century saw an explosion in the popularity of jewelry made from human hair. Because hair does not decompose after its removal from the body, it was considered a symbol of eternal life. Locks of hair were often given as tokens of friendship, love, or grief and these locks were sometimes incorporated into jewelry. In the mid-19th century, enterprising jewelry makers braided, wove, and sewed hair into such keepsakes, offering a variety of shapes and sizes.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

"The uncanny valley is a hypothesis in the field of human aesthetics which holds that when human features look and move almost, but not exactly, like natural human beings, it causes a response of revulsion among some human observers." (Wikipedia)

Some version of the uncanny valley phenomenon is tangled up in the national freak-out this week over actress Renee Zellweger’s post-nip & tuck coming out party. Of course, the uncanny valley usually flows in the other direction — from the artificial toward the almost-natural. Cosmetic surgery can work in reverse. We almost recognize Renee. It’s so close — but also indubitably the result of manufacture — that we are unsettled by it.

Jedediah Laub-Klein/flickr creative commons

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

Join Faith and her 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.

Theaterworks

After 20 years apart, a woman tracks down her ex-husband, a poet living in a grungy trailer in the Colorado mountains. Their raw, funny, heartbreaking reunion unfolds in a new play called "Annapurna" by Sharr White, currently running at Theaterworks in Hartford.

The Metropolitan Opera

I am neither Jewish nor Palestinian, so I can’t claim to fully understand, much less experience, the deep feelings aroused in some hearts by the John Adams/Alice Goodman opera, “The Death of Klinghoffer.”

The 1991 opera opened Monday night at the Met. In the months-long run-up to the opening night performance, we heard accusations and counter-accusations, most of them centering on the question of whether the opera romanticizes terrorism, and whether it is more generally anti-Semitic.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Whenever I see a production of Hamlet, I am newly floored by its impact on language, no matter how many times you tell yourself that a lot of our spoken language is in this play, you're freshly assaulted by how many things people say all the time that come from Hamlet. It's crazy.

But then there are all sorts of questions about staging Hamlet. There can be, and there have been many theories about what to emphasize in the play. Themes of sex, politics, indecision, suicide, and reality testing are either brought to the fore, or pushed to the back. No matter what happens on the stage, it's a really, really good story.

Slice of Chic/flickr creative commons

Our Thanksgiving ideas begin with prosciutto wrapped roasted turkey and a terrific wine for around $20. Chris Prosperi made the most amazing Barolo wine beef short ribs—seriously delicious. Faith gives a recipe for acorn squash with toasted almonds, blood orange juice, olive oil, and a touch of maple syrup. And Alex Province tells us how to make The Black Cat cocktail, just in time for Halloween. 

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A man for all seasons, tenor saxophonist JD Allen plays ballads with warmth, beauty and truth, grooves hard in a post-bop mode or wails in a free jazz setting with passion saturated with the soulful spirituality, grace and inspired abandon recalling the power and the glory of John Coltrane.

Catie Talarski / WNPR

Krzysztof Pawlikowski lives in Middletown, Connecticut, but was born in Poland in 1989. His parents won the state department visa lottery, so they traveled from their home in Zakopane to the United States in 1995. 

Survivors do it. Children do it. Retirees do it, too—begin again despite what came before.

Look around and you will see people returning to college in later life to earn a degree. You'll find individuals choosing love after the shock of a lying spouse. And then there are the lives of children.

NPR continues a series of conversations from The Race Card Project, where thousands of people have submitted their thoughts on race and cultural identity in six words.

Jesse Dukes does not have Confederate ancestors. But in the time he has spent writing about Civil War re-enactors, he has met many who say they do.

A showcase of the latest work by Hispanic, Portuguese, and Latino filmmakers opens Tuesday in New Haven: the New England Festival of Ibero American Cinema. There will be screenings and events featuring many of the visiting filmmakers. Everything is free and open to the public.

myri_bonnie/flickr creative commons

Barking, fleas, Lyme disease, pet food, biting, housebreaking, shyness, pet insurance, animal rescue. Top flight advice from vet Dr. Todd Friedland. Don't miss his adventures with animals of all kinds.

Donkey Hotey / Creative Commons

Okay, I'm warning you. You're going to have to adjust the band on your thinking cap. Christian Bok, our first guest, is an experimental poet with some fascinating ideas, some of which will strike you as unfamiliar and maybe dissimilar to any other ideas you ever heard. In a nutshell, Bok is part of a small movement of thinkers and writers who want to revolutionize the way literature is produced, stored and consumed. For example, Bok has spent years trying to encode  a poem into the DNA of a bacterium able to survive extreme conditions, like vacuums.

Connecticut Historical Society, serial 681.14v417vd

When visitors to the Connecticut Historical Society are told the building was once the home of Hartford industrialist Curtis Veeder, their first question often is: “Did he have anything to do with the Veeder-Root Company?” Curtis Veeder did, in fact, start the Veeder Manufacturing Company, one of the two companies which merged in 1928 to form Veeder-Root. Many area residents know someone who worked for this company which began making devices that “count everything on earth” and continues today as the “the number one supplier of automated tank gauges in the world.”

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Here on The Nose today, we're at least potentially talking about high-tech employers who offer egg freezing as a benefit for female employees, a proposal to get rid of high school football, the sinking sensation that it's time - or too late - to fight back against Amazon, and the Florida debate that almost broke down because of a candidate's use of a fan at the podium.

Cinémathèque Française/San Francisco Silent Film Festival

A long lost, feature-length silent film starring Connecticut actor William Gillette as Sherlock Holmes was discovered earlier this month in France.

Phil Whitehouse / Creative Commons

It’s National Boss’s Day, so today we’re diving into the world of office management. 

This hour, we talk to management expert Bruce Tulgan about his new book, The 27 Challenges Managers Face: Step-by-step Solutions to (Nearly) All of Your Management Problems. We learn about some of the challenges managers come up against in the workplace, and find out some of the best ways to handle them.

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