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

In the U.S., people born between 1980 and 2000 now outnumber baby boomers, and their numbers are still growing because of immigration. This generation is already shaping American life, and in a series of stories — largely reported by millennials themselves — NPR will explore how this New Boom is transforming the country.

There are more millennials in America right now than baby boomers — more than 80 million of us.

Tucker Ives / WNPR

Our newsroom moved. The old one was fine but we outgrew it. Those digs were like a teenage bedroom. We had bumper stickers, magazine covers, flags and other odds and ends covering our walls. The only thing missing was that poster of Johnny Cash giving the middle finger to the camera.

City of Dreams

Oct 3, 2014
Connecticut Historical Society, Gift of the Richard Welling Family, 2012.284.5678

Richard Welling loved Hartford. He loved its classic 18th- and 19th-century architecture, buildings like the Old State House and the Connecticut State Capitol, but he also loved the soaring skyscrapers that began to transform the city during the latter part of the 20th century -- at least some of them. He admired “The play of light, shadow, texture, scale, and mood” in Constitution Plaza and claimed he got an exhilarated feeling every time he walked through it. It was a constant source of inspiration for him, a recurring subject that keeps appearing in his work through the years.

Hartford Public Library

Two valuable Romare Bearden murals were delivered Friday to the Hartford Public Library after being salvaged from the nearby XL Center, which is undergoing a renovation.

Kenneth Lu / Creative Commons

Fist fights and guns in Congress… robber barons roaming the land… bombs exploding in the streets… a boisterous, snaggle-toothed press corps… this was how it was in America a decade into the 1900s, when close pals Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft broke up their friendship. Happens all the time, you might say, but in this case the break-up so crippled the progressive wing of the Republican Party that Democrat Woodrow Wilson was elected president, changing the course of history.

Popular, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin tells me how the muckraking media zeroed in on corruption high and low, causing Roosevelt to enact reforms instead of handling the rich, famous and powerful with kid gloves. These are lessons for today, she says.

Justin Bernhaut

With apologies to Roger Moore's backgammon ploy in “Octopussy,” let’s call this “blogger’s privilege”: I am herewith calling attention to the new season of the Richard P. Garmany Chamber Music Series at The Hartt School.

Micah Luce / instagram@micahJL

For the next four weekends, New Haven will celebrate its thriving arts scene with a series of events and exhibits. 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarchi/1279251301/

This hour, we talk about movie trailers. Maybe you wonder what a movie critic thinks of them. Actually, critics don't see as many as you do because they often go to special screenings.

Trevor Snapp

Once in a while, your past catches up to you. That might not be a good thing if long ago, you were up to no good. But if, as a teenager, you had been part of a talented folk-rock band called Hand, and today you found out that a recording you made back then had become a collector’s item, and that your music was on iTunes, and that music lovers and record-producers were looking for you -- it just might make your day.

Rudi Riet/flickr creative commons

On the menu… real polenta in under 15 minutes, no lie! Mouth-watering acorn squash… Alex Province's early autumn bourbon cocktail… a fantastic crisp rosé from California in our $15-and-under discovery category… and wowza spaghetti carbonara from The Farmstead Egg Guide & Cookbook.

Jonathan Doster

As an intrepid explorer of the human psyche and inventor of wildly imaginative, convention-defying works, guitarist/composer Michael Musillami on his new release, Pride, reveals himself to be a kindred spirit with the late, great Maurice Sendak, the renowned, wizard storyteller and illustrator of children’s books and long-time resident of Ridgefield.

In the last 20 years, Prince has gotten more attention for his acrimonious spat with Warner Brothers — and the shenanigans surrounding his name — than for the music he's continued to make. And yet, as a performer, Prince is still undeniable, one of the living best.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

This hour, we talk about two Connecticut dance halls, each springing from the vision of two very different men who took their respective dance halls down very different paths. One's dream soared, bringing thousands of concert-goers to over 3,000 acts over an eleven-year history. The other's dream stalled, his elaborate dance hall sitting idle for decades.

David Goehring / Creative Commons

We're back today after a one-week hiatus. 

Ben Nadaff-Hafrey is also back, this time as our Scramble SuperGuest.

We start today with a conversation about the embrace of U2 by Apple, and end with a chat about embraces in general.

So, leading off earlier this month, Apple had one of its special events. When people stop what they're doing to watch a big company roll out a new product, in this case the iPhone 6, Don Draper would be drooling in envy, right?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

In her first book The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream is Moving, author Leigh Gallagher observes a growing trend in America’s housing landscape: fewer people are choosing to live in suburbs. This hour, Leigh joins us to explain some of the forces driving Americans out of suburbia, and give us a glimpse of what the post-cul-de-sac future might look like.

When star Denzel Washington and director Anton Fuqua collaborated on 2001's Training Day, the film won Washington an Oscar and changed the trajectory of his career. Now they are together again.

The Equalizer is unapologetic in its excessive, frequently grotesque violence. But because it's got Denzel Washington as its star, it's more interested in character development than you might guess.

Tomorrow in Central Park, Jay-Z will rap, Sting will sing and India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, will talk about the need to end open defecation — that's what they call it when people don't have access to toilets, and it's a huge global problem.

Hartford Plans for Tomorrow

Sep 26, 2014
Connecticut Historical Society, Gift of the Richard Welling Family, 2012,284.5662

By the 1940s, it was clear that many buildings in downtown Hartford needed to be updated. Yearly flooding and deferred maintenance left aging buildings on Front and Windsor Streets in poor condition. At the same time, local manufacturing started to lose to national and global competitors. The industrial businesses that did survive moved to suburban campuses with modern amenities. The city's business leaders worried that downtown Hartford wouldn't be attractive enough to keep the growing number of white collar businesses.

Eric Lichter / Dirt Floor

Today, a conversation and music from Dirt Floor Studios in Chester, Connecticut. It’s a music studio, carved into the woods, where the sound of the music they create is every bit as organic as the surroundings.

Gavid Bowy/flickr creative commons

Your kitchen cabinet glows and you simply open its doors and begin talking (on Skype) with a friend or relative you can see. (Think what this means for children and grandparents, no matter they live.)

This is the idea of David Rose, an inventor and instructor at the legendary MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His new book, Enchanted Objects, is a fascinating read, because it explains how technology, human desire, design, and purpose meet up to improve our lives.

Bill Simmons, the ESPN commentator whose Twitter bio reads in part "Grantland boss + columnist, @30for30 co-creator, NBA Countdown co-host, BS Report host," will not be doing most of those jobs for three weeks after using the last of them — host of the podcast The BS Report — to call NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a liar, and to dare ESPN to discipline him.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Amtrak has announced the inaugural class of its brand-new writers residency program. Out of a crop of some 16,000 applications, the railroad service has picked just 24 writers to ride the rails on a long-distance train — and to write while they do so.

Akira Kinoshita

The new arts season is just now starting to unfold. I thought it might be useful if I looked out over the next couple of months and tried to point out some of the more notable musical events I see on the horizon. 

Anna Fox / Creative Commons

A couple of weeks ago, I was sick with the April flu, lying in bed in a New York apartment, and trying to distract myself by watching one of the film adaptations of "Nicholas Nickleby." I found myself repeatedly moved to tears, especially when anything good or kind happened. Okay, part of this was that I felt a little vulnerable, and may have over identified with poor tubercular Smike. But another part, I'm convinced, was the excitement generated by pure moral language, which you don't encounter so much in modern culture.

For the past several weeks, the video game industry has been embroiled in a heated, sometimes ugly, debate, under the hashtag #Gamergate.

It's a debate about a lot of things and it involves a lot of people, but at its heart, #Gamergate is about two key things: ethics in video game journalism, and the role and treatment of women in the video game industry — an industry that has long been dominated by men.

jenn.b/flickr creative commons

On this week's fresh edition of The Food Schmooze: good gluten-free dishes… taco ideas… and delicious acorn squash… 

Eric Devine

Reports of the death of traditional jazz have been greatly exaggerated -- at least, that’s the incontrovertible evidence presented right here in Connecticut when you examine the robust life-signs of the increasingly popular trad jazz bash called Jeff and Joel’s Jazz House Party.

In 1966, Jimmy James, a guitarist working as a sideman in R&B bands, is discovered by Linda Keith, a 20-year-old music insider. She helps him move to London, where he developed his own sound. During that year, he transformed himself into an electrifying performer known as Jimi Hendrix.

Hendrix formed his band The Jimi Hendrix Experience, recorded his first album Are You Experienced, and soon became a star.

Juan Colon / Art Connection Studio

As his collection of paintings was spread across two tables, I asked artist Juan Colon about the large watercolor that’s become the postcard image for "Cityscapes: Uncommon and Familiar Beauty," an exhibition opening this Friday at the Art Connection Studio in Hartford.

m01229/flickr creative commons

This is the season of events, fairs, festivals, theater, museum shows, art happenings, music performances, and more. We open the phones for your tips, and we have some too.

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