WNPR

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

Artist Robert Mapplethorpe was as controversial as he was celebrated. In 1989, his photographs depicting nude men and sexual fetishes helped ignite the culture wars. Now, an upcoming HBO documentary, Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures, examines the artist's life and work. He's also the subject of a major retrospective spanning two L.A. museums — the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The winner of NPR Music's 2016 Tiny Desk Contest, Gaelynn Lea, produced a "serpentine, earworm melody" with "tremendous heartache in her poetry," according to judge Robin Hilton. 

University of Salford / Creative Commons

The great Sir Peter Maxwell Davies – composer, champion of simple living, all-purpose contrarian – left us a few days ago.

Before she was a writer, Sara Baume set out to be a visual artist.

"First and foremost I see; I see the world and then I describe it ..." she says. "I don't know another way to write. I always anchor everything in an image."

Baume's process works — a review in The Irish Times called her debut novel a "stunning and wonderful achievement by a writer touched by greatness."

Baume loves words, and she loves fitting words together so they flow like poetry.

Steven Sussman / Steven Sussman Photography

What accounts for the ring of authenticity resonating through Giacomo Gates’ unaffected, yet affecting vocal craftsmanship is that the hipster, singer, and wordsmith from Connecticut always sounds as if he’s telling you all about life-shaping events and emotions that he himself has actually experienced and reflected upon.

Creative Commons

Connecticut is one of the least religious states in the country, according to the latest Pew Religious Landscape Study.

Maegan Tintari / Creative Commons

I once slipped on a banana peel in my crowded high school cafeteria when I was sixteen years old. I was navigating the busy lunch room in my almost six-inch platform shoes and my breezy spring dress, when the peel sent me flying -  before ungraciously landing me on my back with my dress over my face. I was never so embarrassed - or uncomfortable in a pair of shoes.

Nick M / Flickr Creative Commons

This hour, we feature stories and sounds from the West African country of Nigeria. 

First, WSHU reporter Ebong Udoma checks in from Abuja, Nigeria, where he's helped launch a brand new multimedia project called Gotel Africa. When completed, Gotel Africa will become the continent's first-ever pan-African news service. We learn more about it. 

Copyright 1966 Capitol Records

On a hot August afternoon in 1966, I was driving down a residential street in my hometown of Niskayuna, New York.

When Melissa Harris-Perry refused to host her eponymous MSNBC talk show in late February, she said she was stepping back because over the past few weeks she had been "silenced." Shortly afterward, she and her network confirmed they had parted ways.

From the start, Harris-Perry and her employers had very different explanations for why things went south. Harris-Perry said her show was being undermined; MSNBC says it, like other shows, was temporarily affected by the election season.

TheMorningNews.org

Starting next week, the nation will turn its eyes to basketball, to college basketball, and its annual March Madness tournament.

But... not quite all of the nation.

jessicameyermusic.com

The music of women composers will be featured in several concerts this week. 

Martin Zeman

  

On Fred Hersch’s 2014 trio masterwork, Floating (Palmetto Records), the superb pianist/composer opens the session’s creative floodgates with "You and the Night and the Music," infusing the song with streaming contrapuntal lines whose richness, fluidity, and invention make it seem as if there were actually two pianists playing simultaneously.

Sir George Martin, the music producer who signed the Beatles to a recording contract in 1962 and was their intimate collaborator as they together transformed popular music, died Tuesday at the age of 90.

Martin's death was confirmed by Adam Sharp, his manager in the U.K. In a statement, Sharp said:

Sir George Martin passed away peacefully at home yesterday evening, Tuesday March 8th. The family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and messages of support.

"The Native American wizarding community was particularly gifted in animal and plant magic, its potions in particular being of a sophistication beyond much that was known in Europe."

That's what J.K. Rowling writes in the first of a four-part essay series, collectively called History of Magic in North America. "The most glaring difference between magic practised by Native Americans and the wizards of Europe was the absence of a wand."

MilkADeal / Flickr

The Thighmaster, the Chop-O-Matic, the George Foreman Grill and the Clapper: Products which are all part of American consumer culture and which were all introduced through infomercials. But as online shopping increases and traditional television watching decreases, are we beginning to see the end of these high-energy, late-night shows?

Listen To The Music

Mar 4, 2016
Ky / Creative Commons

One of the first things I did with the money I made from my part-time job as a teenager was to buy the next album on my wish list of new music. All my friends did the same, knowing that our growing collection was as much about  who we were and what we wanted to be as it was about the music. 

Sam Petherbridge / Creative Commons

Like most of the media landscape, public television is changing. The massive hit Downton Abbey wraps up this weekend, and Sesame Street is now premiering new episodes on HBO! But behind the scenes, broadcasters are taking part in an auction to sell of parts of their over-the-air signal. Most of the population has cable so they won’t be affected, but nearly 15 percent of people watch TV with an antennae.

New Britain Museum of American Art

An exhibition of prints by surrealist artist Salvador Dali opens Friday at the New Britain Museum of American Art

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Shafida Kamal is 16. She had just moved to this country and then immediately started her freshman year at Bulkeley High School this fall. At the very beginning, it was rough.

Thomas Chapin

In a heart-wrenching, unforgettable performance, Thomas Chapin -- a gaunt, desperately ill, but still brilliant and resilient 40-year-old cutting-edge saxophonist/flutist and composer -- played his final concert on February 1, 1998, to a loving SRO audience of friends, family, and fans at Cheney Hall in Manchester.

Havana will meet the Rolling Stones later this month.

The band has announced they'll play a free open-air concert in the Cuban capital on March 25.

That will make them "the most famous act to play Cuba since its 1959 revolution," the Associated Press reports.

Just over 200 years after Jesus died, in 240 A.D., someone made a wall-painting of a woman in a house in the ancient city of Dura Europos, now in modern Syria.

Almost seventeen centuries later, in the 1920s, Yale archeologists found the painting while excavating Dura. 

John Haley / Connecticut Historical Society

This hour, a panel of experts and historians gives us an in-depth look at the life and legacy of Beatrice Fox Auerbach, owner and CEO of Connecticut's most beloved department store, G. Fox and Co. 

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