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

Rosewoman / Creative Commons

When was the last time you changed your address? Well, if you're like most Americans, it probably wasn't that long ago. According to the Census Bureau, the average U.S. resident will move 11.7 times in his or her lifetime. This hour, we take a closer look at why we're on the move so much. What does it take to truly feel at home where you live? It's something journalist Melody Warnick writes about in her new book called This Is Where You Belong

Tracy Symonds-Keogh / Wikimedia Commons

The ten-part Netflix documentary "Making a Murderer" covers the 2007 conviction in Manitowoc County, Wisc., of Steven Avery for the murder of Teresa Halbach. A secondary story in the film is the interrogation, confession, and later conviction of Avery's nephew, Brendan Dassey, as an accessory to the crime.

In a turn of events that forces to mind Adnan Syed and "Serial," a federal judge on Friday overturned Dassey's conviction on the grounds that his confession was coerced and unconstitutionally obtained. (Read the decision here.)

Rarely has an actor not seen or heard made such a big impact.

Kenny Baker, the actor who played R2-D2 in six of the Star Wars films, died Saturday, his agent confirms to NPR.

Standing at 3 feet 8 inches tall, the British actor also appeared in The Elephant Man, Time Bandits and Flash Gordon, among other films.

"He was just a lovely guy," said agent Johnny Mans, "and I shall miss him terribly."


Start with four parts "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial." That's your base. Then you'll need two parts "The Goonies," two parts "Poltergeist," and two parts "Alien." Mix in one part each of "It," "Stand by Me," "Firestarter," "Explorers," "Carrie," and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Add a Winona Ryder-shaped dollop of "Beetlejuice," and top off with a dash of the covers of classic '70s and '80s horror novels.

That's the recipe for the newish Netflix series "Stranger Things."

Peter Rinaldi / Shoreline Trolley Museum

One of two subway cars that survived the collapse of the World Trade Center in the 2001 attacks will soon be open to the public. Car 745 will welcome visitors aboard for the first time in 15 years at its permanent home in East Haven, Connecticut. The Shoreline Trolley Museum acquired the car a year ago and built a special display that will be dedicated on the September 11th anniversary.

neetalparekh / flickr creative commons

What makes a great audiobook? What makes a great audiobook narrator? (And, for that matter, what makes a not-so-great audiobook and audiobook narrator?)

Before the noted, jazz-loving Berkshire watercolorist Marguerite Bride had pledged her troth to art in the 1990s, the Pittsfield painter had worked as a dedicated registered nurse and a highly regarded software engineering manager with a degree in computer science.

It was just a few months ago that a San Francisco fashion show producer told a Brazilian fashion show producer to check out some colorful dresses made in an unlikely place: New Hampshire. That’s when Laura McCarthy and collaborator Harry Umen got the invitation to show their new collection on the Teatro Fashion Mall runway in Rio on Day Four of the Summer Olympics.

Lately, McCarthy says, she’s been pulling 12-hour days.

“This whole week has been stressful because I’ve been sewing non-stop,” McCarthy says, “and I’m really ready to stop and just get on the plane and go.”

Henry Zbyszynski / Creative Commons

As the oldest part of our country, New England has dozens of historic house museums. These famous living quarters tell the stories of the early colonists, prominent artists, social activists and influential authors. They give us a glimpse into these icons' daily lives.

But historic house museums aren’t just about old dining rooms and fine china. This hour, we learn about how some museums are trying new and creative approaches to tell the stories of the past, to keep visitors coming through their doors, and to keep donors enthusiastic. 

Click photos for slideshow.

Copright Patrick Serengulian

Drew Magary is an interesting guy.

You might have one impression if you know him from his irreverent and wildly popular commentary in Deadspin, where he defends things like cargo pants and writes columns called "Why Your Team Sucks" and "Why Your Children's Television Program Sucks." Or, if you follow him in GQ, where he recently shared his wry observations on the Republican National Convention and strident views on Donald Trump. 

Using specialized X-ray imaging, a team of researchers in Australia has revealed a striking painting of a woman's face hidden under French Impressionist Edgar Degas' Portrait of a Woman.

The researchers believe the auburn-haired woman in the hidden work — which they also attribute to Degas — is Emma Dobigny, who was reportedly one of Degas' favorite subjects and modeled for him in 1869 and 1870.

Stuart Chalmers / flickr creative commons

Colin's out today. He got vocal nodes while moonlighting as Mariah Carey’s backup singer, and he's seeing his otolaryngologist. Or he sprained an ankle during a performance with The Rockettes, and now he's in traction.

CircaSassy / Creative Commons

Connecticut is among the least religious states in the country according to the Pew Research Center. While the number of churchgoers might not be high, religion is a pillar of our state’s history.

Faith in Connecticut is rich and diverse, but this hour, we zoom in on our Puritan past and find out how, if at all, that past still influences our communities today. We speak to a professor and historian and we get the perspective of a pastor from the United Church of Christ -- a protestant denomination that can trace its roots to the Puritan religion. 

Carlos Puma / UC Riverside

This Sunday in Farmington, the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival will feature Latino poetry and music, including a performance by U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera. 

Frank Cordeira / Flickr

From Brazil's political unrest to its water pollution to the viral pandemic plaguing its streets, this year's Olympics in Rio De Janeiro are off to a rough start -- and they haven't even begun yet!

Steven Sussman

Few, if any, sane gamblers back in 1996 would have bet that the Litchfield Jazz Festival (LJF) -- a then at-risk brainchild of the fearless cultural crusader Vita Muir -- would survive its infancy to become an annual crown jewel among Connecticut’s premier summer arts and entertainment events.

Joss Whedon: His Work, His Life, He's Here!

Aug 2, 2016
Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons

Originally, we planned on doing a show about Joss Whedon -- without Joss Whedon. We invited a scholar of his work to talk about his television and film resume, and a close friend, professor and mentor to speak on his directorial style. However, Joss was interested enough in what we're planning to join the show! So now, it's a show about Joss Whedon -- with Joss Whedon. 

Trevor / flickr creative commons

As we were preparing for our show on underdogs a few months ago, I kept saying that we shouldn't overlook the fact that, often, to be an underdog in the first place, you have to be really bad at the thing you're an underdog about.

The more we talked about it, the more I found myself making the case that losers and losing are fascinating.

Craig Blankenhorn / HBO

HBO's new limited series "The Night Of" is, we're pretty sure, the first psoriasis noir masterpiece.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Connecticut is home to many historic landmarks -- among them is the former residence of American architect and icon Philip Johnson. Since it opened to the public in 2007, Johnson's Glass House has welcomed thousands of visitors from across the country and around the world. 

Andrew Eccles / Emerson String Quartet

I know a lot of you around here recall watching with admiration and amazement the steady rise of the Emerson String Quartet, as they moved from complete unknowns to a place at the very pinnacle of the string quartet world.

Leyla Kayi

A robust celebration of urban life and culture, the Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival -- a free, day-long, outdoor gala reveling in global sounds, arts, crafts, dance, theater and local and ethnic cuisine -- steps off Saturday, August 6, at 11:00 am at Court Square in the heart of the city’s downtown.

Esther Shittu / WNPR

When we did our show on Romeo and Juliet a few months ago, Tina Packer invited us to come up to Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox, Mass., to see her new production of The Merchant of Venice this summer. Colin said we'd love to; we'll come up there and do a show!

It seemed like the sort of niceties that people often toss off on the radio.

But it turns out they meant it. And so, so did we! So we went up and taped a show in the Berkshires with Tina and her Shylock, Jonathan Epstein.