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

Ceyda Durmaz

In celebration of Earth Day, the New Haven - León Sister City Project is displaying nine colorful banners throughout the city. 

Noah Baerman

If you knew absolutely nothing about Noah Baerman except for the music you heard on his nine triumphant recordings, you’d never suspect for a minute that the brilliant pianist/composer from Middletown has struggled for years with the debilitating pain caused by a rare and incurable connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS).

Jaine/flickr creative commons

We'll get you in the mood to explore our state with the author of Insiders' Guide to Connecticut, now in its second edition. It's pure pleasure cover to cover. And we'll send the book right to your door as a thank you gift for supporting this show and WNPR.

Eric Heath / Creative Commons

Americans have been tipping for good service for centuries.

Tipping is so ingrained in our American story that we rarely question why we still do it, even though we leave an estimated $40 billion in tips every year.

Some say tipping is a good thing because it gives a much-needed boost to lower-paying service jobs. Others wonder if tipping still serves its purpose: to reward good service. Workers reliant on tips to pay their bills are sometimes tempted to discriminate against customers they think will be “bad” tippers.

Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Ficre Ghebreyesus and Elizabeth Alexander were born two months apart in 1962, he in Eritrea, she in Harlem. They didn’t meet until 1996. He was an artist and a chef at a New Haven Eritrean restaurant he owned with his brothers. She was a poet and professor. She had been teaching at the University of Chicago, where she had also met a senior lecturer named Barack Obama. She married Ghebreyesus. She delivered Obama’s 2009 inaugural poem. In 2012, a few days after her husband’s 50th birthday, he died abruptly. Her new book, “The Light of The World,” tells that story.

Wally Gobetz / Creative Commons

Patriots' Day is a time for celebration in Boston and across the nation. The biggest event held on this day every year is the Boston Marathon, which has turned it into a day for remembrance as well. The second race since the 2013 bombings is underway and this hour, we check-in with a public radio reporter at the finish line.

Also, the UConn Foundation has been under increased scrutiny both in the media and at the state capitol where a bill that would open up the non-profit to the state's Freedom of Information laws, was defeated.

Finally, we talk Star Wars with someone who actually took a ride in a X-Wing! Really. Ok - kind of really. creative commons

Every so often a book comes in and I go racing home and start cooking from it. This is that book... all the more so because I was still cooking from it straight through the following weekend. 

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Having grown up with Lidia Bastianich as their mother, Tanya and Joe Bastianich are no strangers to great-tasting Italian cooking. Brother and sister have paired up to give us 100 recipes, each under 500 calories per serving, that are as good for you as they are delectable. This easy-to-use cookbook provides simple ways to make pasta an integral part of a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle, even if you’re gluten-free.

Paula Lively / Creative Commons

We don't usually talk politics  on The Nose, but that's OK, because Hillary Clinton isn't really talking politics (much) yet either. Instead, she's just trying to, you know, hang out with all 235 million voting age Americans at once. How does one do that? That's the kind of thing that interests the Nose. 

StockSnap / Creative Commons

The prestigious 2015 Pen Literary Award nominations were announced on Thursday, featuring several writers with Connecticut backgrounds.

The Pen American Center awards a total of $150,000 to writers, translators, and editors whose work distinguishes them among their peers. Categories range from new books to emerging writers to achievements in translation.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Will she or won’t she?

For months now, people who pay attention to the arts scene in town have been wondering: will Hartford Symphony music director Carolyn Kuan stick around, or will she split for brighter lights, bigger cities?

Karl Lund

Robots, lasers, and giant squid abound in an exhibit at the New Britain Museum of American Art. "Angry Robots Liquefied My Brain" features the narrative paintings of Connecticut-based artist and animator Karl Lund. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Everybody's a film critic, right? I mean, who walks out of a theater with no opinion about it? Also, nobody's a film critic. By that, I mean that most people resist deep analysis of a film. A frequent refrain is "Hey! It's just a movie."

For a film critic like David Edelstein, the key word is engagement.

Clara T/flickr creative commons

Thai basil chicken… joyful chocolate almond bars… no-bake cake… sweet potato and ground turkey shepherd's pie… it's all in the new book The Science of Skinny Cookbook, produced by the scientist Dee McCaffrey, who eliminated synthetic chemicals from her diet and went from obese to slender. Now she offers the recipes that have made her plan a success…

When Jeff Barnhart, a ragtime and traditional jazz piano virtuoso, and his wife Anne, a classically-trained flutist, got married in 2000, one might have thought the sectarian differences between the faiths of jazz and classical music would prevent this Connecticut couple from ever hitching up in a harmonious professional musical partnership.

["Spoiler" alert: This interview about House of Cards discusses plot points from first two seasons, as well as themes addressed in the third season.]

In the pilot of the Netflix series House of Cards, politician Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, strangles a dog that was hit by a car. According to creator and showrunner Beau Willimon, there was a big debate among the producers whether to show the dog or not.

Currier & Ives / Public Domain

To mark the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, we look back the event and how it changed America with two local historians who are experts on the 16th President of the United States. As part of this look back, we hear from actors who will commemorate the anniversary with a staged reading to recreate the final days of the Civil War, the assassination, and the search for and death of John Wilkes Booth.


If you've ever wondered how a group of French musicians might play the music of The Ramones, you are in luck. Direct from Toulouse, France: Los Jamones, a Ramones tribute band, performs this Saturday night, April 18, at Cafe Nine in New Haven with Elm City punk rockers The Hulls.

Raymond Brown/flickr creative commons

The Branford, Connecticut-based charity Read to Grow celebrates its 15th anniversary this month with a dinner event on Saturday, April 25.

T Charles Erickson / Long Wharf Theater

Governor Dannel Malloy last month announced he'll bring together  a panel of community leaders and experts for the first time today to take a look at ways to reduce the urban violence that takes the lives of young men, mostly minority and poor, in often random and senseless acts of violence. 

While those numbers are decreasing in some urban areas around the nation, including in Connecticut,  they remain higher than would be tolerated in more affluent communities.

A focus on the numbers ignores the lives behind the statistics, including the families that love victims. Nor do numbers get to the root of the problems behind the violence. 

Jaine/flickr creative commons

We'll get you in the mood to explore our state with the author of Insiders' Guide to Connecticut, now in its second edition. It's pure pleasure cover to cover. And we'll send the book right to your door as a thank you gift for supporting this show and WNPR.

Naotake Murayama / Creative Commons

Mark Rothko is undoubtedly one of America’s most important and influential painters. With his vast rectangular forms and ethereal color fields, Rothko’s art has inspired feelings of meditation and transcendence in ways that few other artists have been able to reproduce. 

brokinhrt2 / Creative Commons

What's up with all the weight talk? 

We're not even sure when it started, but Candice Bergen, who was always perfect and who is still perfect, really went there  in her current memoir and book tour.

“Let me just come right out and say it: I am fat.”

Mostly, it feels like someone opening the window and letting the fresh air in, right? And it lets us know that everybody eats and some of us eat too much. I mean, it turns out that the FBI -- which is being held to new fitness standards -- is full of stress-eaters.

Lydia Brown / WNPR

Since the 1970s, musicians Paul Howard, Tom Hagymasi, and Phil Zimmerman have been performing together as Last Fair Deal. They’re a local trio whose music puts an original twist on the old-style sound of American roots music. 

Musicians are always searching for inspiration, and sometimes they find it in some unlikely places.

Take Brian Friedland, a prolific Boston composer and jazz pianist who’s discovered a creative goldmine in his cupboards. He takes words on packaging for products such as granola, mouthwash and tea, then sets them to some pretty sophisticated music. Friedland calls the funny-but-serious project “Household Items” and he has a new CD.


Cable-Free Consumers Can Now Watch HBO

Apr 9, 2015
Thomas Hawk / Creative Commons

Since "The Sopranos" first skyrocketed to popularity, HBO has been recognized as the creator of some of the best television in American history. But until now, cable-free consumers have been unable to legally watch the show through downloading or streaming services.

David Shankbone / Creative Commons

Eddie Murphy is this year's winner of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The prize, given by the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., has been awarded since 1998. 

Ginger Grant

The town of Bristol is in the midst of marketing their new logo and brand: Bristol - All Heart. A group of artists, calling themselves the Bristol Art Squad, are doing their part to showcase the new brand by transforming five vacant storefronts throughout the city into temporary art installations. 

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It might seem like a control issue when your child starts hating certain foods and loving sugar, but new research is showing their preferences are linked to genes and body size.

James Vaughan / Creative Commons

Maybe you caught the four-hour, two-part HBO documentary on Frank Sinatra last week.

Or maybe you have downloaded the new Sinatra smartphone app.

Or poured a couple of fingers of the recently unveiled “Sinatra Select” edition of Jack Daniels’ fabled Tennessee whiskey.

Frank would have turned 100 this year, so everybody’s weighing in.