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

Two of Boston’s longest running stories and scandals have hit the Venice Film Festival as Hollywood movies. One of them, “Black Mass,” comes with a big star, big buzz and the name Whitey Bulger.

Exploring The Hoopla And Tension Surrounding ‘Black Mass’

On the island of Ledo, movie stars arrive from Venice in sleek water taxis trimmed and decked in mahogany and teak. They’re called motoscafi and their big engines await the throttle.

This is how Jake Gyllenhaal entered the cinema — through the hordes of paparazzi along the canal.

Alex Province

Dive into this insanely good and easy recipe for shrimp-stuffed swordfish rolls sprinkled with crisp, lemony breadcrumbs… Our experiment: can we make wine taste better at home by mixing two bottles together? Yes we can!… Linda Giuca gives us ideas for energizing back to work and school snacks…

Rory Anderson / Quincy Jones Productions

The close teacher-to-pupil, father-to-son-like relationship that developed between the dying, nonagenarian trumpet great Clark Terry and his last protégé, the young, gifted blind pianist Justin Kauflin, was the highly moving, emotional core of director Alan Hicks’s excellent, award-winning documentary, "Keep On Keepin’ On."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Caroline Jacobs is a grown woman with children of her own. But by all accounts, she's a wimp. She would prefer to suffer in silence than stand up for herself or anyone else -- until she couldn't stand it anymore.  

One night, while at a public meeting and in a crowded room, she stood up, pointed her finger at the one she loathed, and shouted "F%$# You" to her nemesis. With that one phrase, she was ready to face her past. 

If there was a moment that best summed up the inspired, surprising and sometimes uneven nature of Stephen Colbert's debut as host of CBS' Late Show last night, it came toward the program's end.

That's when Colbert, known for his willingness to croon a tune or two, jumped on stage to belt out a version of Sly and the Family Stone's Everyday People with an all-star band that included bluesman Buddy Guy, gospel legend Mavis Staples and Alabama Shakes singer Brittany Howard.

Nearly a century ago, immigrants from Germany and Ireland founded St. Helena Church in a working-class neighborhood in north Philadelphia.

Immigrants, and their children, still fill the pews at St. Helena's — but the vast majority of them are now from Vietnam, Latin America, the Philippines and Africa. Weekly masses are conducted in Spanish and Vietnamese as well as English. The senior priest, the Rev. Joseph Trinh, is himself a Vietnamese refugee. One of his associate priests is from Haiti, and another is from Ecuador.

Born in Hartford and raised in Wethersfield, playwright Christopher Shinn pays homage to his Connecticut roots in a new play called "An Opening In Time."

epSos .de / flickr creative commons

Recently Yale economist Robert Shiller said in an essay in The New York Times that no one can say for certain what the stock market drop means. He did, however, say we'd all be right to exercise great caution now.

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This hour we'll talk Evan Osnos' in-depth look at the nationalist movement behind presidential candidate Donald Trump. How much power lies with the fringe? 

Terrence Dorsey / Creative Commons

For the 33rd year in a row, a collection of classic cars will start their engines in the Lime Rock Historic Festival. The annual event attracts thousands of people to the racetrack in Lakeville, Connecticut.

エルエルLL / Creative Commons

WNPR has a radio project and we want to get you involved. The idea is simple: we provide a theme; you call our hotline with your story.

The theme: Tell us one thing you remember from last week and why it was memorable to you. It doesn't have to be a long story - between 5-20 words is plenty, unless you want to add a little more. The point is that we can all tell a story and it doesn't have to be a chore. 

Juliejules / Wikimedia Creative Commons

A famous Connecticut lighthouse featured on some state license plates sold at auction for almost $300,000. 

Cuatro Puntos

When we think about the major agents of social change we don’t immediately think of classical chamber music.

Thanks to groups like Cuatro Puntos, we need to perhaps start changing our thinking.

David Slack/flickr creative commons

It's a thrilling chilled cocktail, the New York Sour, all velvety in the mouth… try a fast and dreamy pasta of fresh tomatoes, garlic, parmesan, and chopped fresh arugula… don't give away the zucchini until you try our recipe for it stuffed with shrimp, feta, and fennel… or grill it using Alex Province's recipe for zucchini slathered with mayo to make it brown and gorgeous…

  Tony and Emmy Award winning star Kristin Chenoweth will perform with The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra in The Koussevitzky Music Shed at Tanglewood.

Chenoweth most recently wowed audiences in Roundabout Theatre Company's production of On the Twentieth Century. During that run she co-hosted the Tony Awards. Other Broadway credits include You're A Good Man Charlie Brown and Wicked. On television she's popped up often, notably on Glee, The Good Wife, and Pushing Daisies.

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Hunter S. Thompson was one of those writers whose lives start to matter more than their art. From almost the beginning, life and art were intentionally interwoven. Thompson's outsized appetites for drugs and food and stimulation were set into his hyperbolic prose. The story of the wrier was the story of the story. He was hardly the first to do it, but he did it in a fashion that made both the lifestyle and prose of Norman Mailer seem comparatively restrained. 

Daniel Feingold / Hartford Jazz Society

More than a half-century ago, a small, devout band of jazz-loving members of a then obscure, but courageous group called The Hartford Jazz Society launched HJS’s first riverboat jazz cruise on the Connecticut River.

Salvador Dalí / Beineke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Among the 176 items associated with Lewis Carroll's novel Alice's Adventure in Wonderland at Yale's Beineke Rare Book and Manuscript Library is a limited edition of the book signed and illustrated by Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dalí.

It was just after sunset on a muggy Friday evening earlier this month, and my wife and I were standing outside a Hardee's in Seneca, S.C. We were at a vigil for Zachary Hammond, a white teenager killed by a police officer during an attempted drug arrest in the restaurant's parking lot, three miles from where we live and teach at Clemson University.

PLF73 / Creative Commons

Does it seem like there are a lot of bears in Connecticut? It's hard to have a conversation this summer without someone mentioning they spotted a bear. While most of us are in awe of the size and majesty of these animals, most of us don't know much about bears. In light of this weekend's closing of Sessions Woods, now might be a good time to talk about what's already on everyone's minds.

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Kids head out the door to catch the school bus as the crispness of the early morning air begins to linger and that familiar wistful feeling sets in. The replacement of sticky, sun-drenched days and warm, song-filled nights marks the unofficial start of fall. It’s not just that the days are getting shorter and the colors are changing, or that the temperature is cooler and the air drier. With autumn comes the conclusion of the songs of summer — the chorus of night-singing insects. 

Schooner Delivers Maine Produce To Boston Harbor The Old-Fashioned Way

Aug 31, 2015

A 90-year-old schooner with North Shore origins is headed back home, laden with three tons of Maine-grown farm produce.

The Adventure, as she’s called, set sail from Portland, Maine, at first light Friday morning.

A cantor chanted a Hebrew prayer of mourning, as the afternoon sun beat down on some one hundred people gathered for the dedication of the state’s Holocaust memorial. Local politicians and prominent members of the state’s Jewish community offered remarks on the project. Many highlighted the memorial’s significance in the light of more recent violence and genocide worldwide.

The newly unveiled memorial sits at the edge of Downtown Providence, near statuary dedicated to the two World Wars.

McFreshCreates / Flickr Creative Commons

If you know how to read, you're probably pretty good at recognizing words. But, new words like "egg corn," "crema" and "slendro" are challenging our concept of what makes a word.  Yet these very words were recently added to Merriam-Webster's unabridged online dictionary.

An exhibit at the Berkshire Museum is showcasing the work of a photojournalist whose collections of images from nearly 100 countries have been displayed in museums around the world, including at the Louvre in Paris. An opening reception is set for Friday at 5:30.

This Labor Day weekend, the small city of Ticonderoga, New York, will host its first ‘Star Trek’ convention. Conventions dedicated to the 1960s TV series that spawned a pop culture movement have been held around the world for decades, but what makes this event unique is that it’s being held within a complete reproduction of the original series’ set.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Earlier this month, a group musicians and activists from Connecticut joined artists from around the country, who traveled to Missouri to participate in events marking the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown's death.

The "All Roads Lead to Ferguson: Black Lives Matter Tour," included musicians like The Peace Poets and Peter Yarrow of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary.

America and Iran have not had an easy relationship since 1979, when 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days by students supporting the Iranian Revolution. The resulting rise of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini further weakened the relationship.

Hugh Burkhardt /

Whatever airline horror story you have about lost or mishandled luggage, I’m pretty sure Robert Black can top it.

Robert, as many of you around here know, is a brilliant, nationally recognized double bass player and teacher. He is perhaps best known for being a founding member of the avant-garde music ensemble, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, a group that regularly plays all over the world. Robert has also been a faculty member at The Hartt School for many years, and is currently the chairman of the school’s string department.

It's all too raw: the grieving of survivors, the images of carnage, the way we learn of events and the way we consume them.

Viewers of the morning show for WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Va., actually watched the deadly shootings of reporter Alison Parker and videographer Adam Ward. And they watched it live, unexpectedly, without warning. So did the program's anchors, who were themselves shocked, initially uncomprehending, appalled.