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

Ed Schipul/flickr creative commons

Athletes have always used their elevated platform to advance products and ideas. After a game winning play, it's almost expected to hear the star thank either God, the Lord, and/or Jesus. But you won't hear that from Houston Texan running back Arian Foster. He just came out as an atheist playing football for a NFL team in the bible belt. How will that play out?

Sean Benham/flickr creative commons

So we know that everyone in the world is covering the end of Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show today. We know that you’ve probably already listened to an hour or two of radio about Jon Stewart on this very station today.

But the thing is, we’re gonna miss Jon Stewart too.

Connecticut Craft Beer: A New Industry is Brewing

Aug 7, 2015
Chion Wolf

To say Connecticut is known for its world class craft beers is not accurate-- at least not yet. But a bold band of merry (and quite innovative) beer brewers from cities all around are on a mission to change that, one small batch at a time. With nearly 40 in-state breweries currently in operation-- a ten fold increase from the number we had only six years ago -- the Connecticut craft beer industry is booming.

After 16 years of honing a unique brand of political satire that has been much copied, but rarely equaled, Jon Stewart signed off for his final episode of The Daily Show with a list of guests who either helped create the jokes or were on the receiving end of them over the years.

"Guess what?" Stewart opened. "I've got big news. This is it."

The 52-year-old comic announced last winter that he would be stepping down from the Comedy Central powerhouse, with Trevor Noah set to take over the hosting duties.

Juanibb / Creative Commons

I have seen the future of music.

I think.

I’m speaking here of Apple Music, the new music streaming service just introduced by our good friends out in Cupertino.


More than 25 years ago, one of the most infamous art heists in history occurred at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts. On Thursday, federal law enforcement officials released new surveillance video from the eve of the heist that shows a possible "dry run" of the theft.

wecometolearn/flickr creative commons

Travis Hugh Culley is an author and a playwright. He holds an MFA in writing from the Art Institute of Chicago, which is remarkable, since Culley was illiterate until about age 17.

The Litchfield Jazz festival celebrates its 20th anniversary this weekend. Friday's opening night will include a special tribute to Connecticut jazz legend Thomas Chapin, who died of leukemia in 1941.

Talk to the Hand: The Puppet Show

Aug 5, 2015
Artisphere/Creative Commons

Who doesn't love puppets?

From the Muppets to Edgar Bergen to the Thunderbirds, they defined our childhoods. Today they're taking over the theater with "Hand to God," "Avenue Q" and "The Lion King." Many people don't know it, but Connecticut has long been a center of puppetry in the United States.

Summer Corn

Aug 5, 2015
PROliz west/flickr creative commons

It's a corn celebration… Chris Prosperi's corn cakes… Alex Province's corn salad... garlic bread corn on the cob... corn with bacon, shrimp, avocado, and lime… it goes on and on, featuring one of the greatest gifts of summer… corn!

Avery Sharpe

When Avery Sharpe, the standout standup jazz bassist, was a little boy growing up in the still segregated South, he’d often tag along with his mother, a gifted gospel pianist and devout member of the Church of God in Christ, when she played sacred music everywhere from emotionally powerful services in sanctified churches and tabernacles to fervent tent revival meetings.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Mystic Seaport hosted its 30th annual marathon reading of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick aboard the Charles W. Morgan last weekend, America’s oldest commercial ship still afloat. 

Does Your Dog Really Know How You Feel?

Aug 4, 2015
Chion Wolf / /WNPR

Our show is all about "man's best friend." 

Dogs are, generally, cute and cuddly and many of us adore them. But what's the science behind our puppy love? We talk with researchers and reporters who study whether or not our dogs are as intuitive as we sometimes think they are or whether they are just "dumb as a dog."

Ginny/flickr creative commons

My motto on The Book Show is: Life is short, but it can be ever so wide.

Join me and my book buddies for a call-in show recommending terrific books to read in all categories. If you're in a book club, please tell us what you've read and enjoyed.

Matt Clark/Creative Commons

The Litchfield Jazz Festival celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year, and we’ll be broadcasting from the site of the festival’s jazz camp - which exposes young musicians to some of the best instructors in the world of jazz. The festival is also celebrating the groundbreaking Connecticut composer and saxophonist Tom Chapin - we’ll hear from those who remember him.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra is extending the contract of its music director, who last year became the orchestra's youngest conductor in a century.

The story of hitchBOT — the robot that had visited Europe and New York City, but couldn't make it out of Philadelphia in one piece — may not be over. A Philadelphia tech group is offering to rebuild the robot and hoping to repair their city's reputation.

A kid-sized robot that's built around a plastic bucket and sports a friendly LED face, hitchBOT had been on a mission to travel from Massachusetts to San Francisco, relying on the kindness of humans it meets along the way.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Internally, NPR has debated when and where it is appropriate to swear. If the President of the United States says the N-word, should it be bleeped on the radio? Can a public radio host swear on a podcast? There are lots of questions about offensive language in 2015, with so many different mediums and changing social norms.

We also discuss news that Vice President Joe Biden might be looking for a promotion to the Oval Office.

Finally, is Yelp in a "death spiral"?

After a bunch of really nice humans helped a hitchhiking robot traverse the length of Canada and most of Germany, the robot was going to try to make it from Massachusetts all the way to California.

HitchBOT is the brainchild of two Canadian social scientists. As Frauke Zeller and David Harris Smith explained it in a piece for the Harvard Business Review, it was an experiment meant to spark a discussion "about trust, notions of safety, and about our attitude towards technology."

Peter Harrison / Creative Commons

This past week, a Minnesota dentist and father of two shocked us out of our complacency. Desensitized by the weekly shootings this summer of African Americans by white policemen, moviegoers in theaters and African American churchgoers by a young white racist,  his ambush of Cecil the lion was a visceral blow to our collective gut.  Yes, we're still horrified by the way human beings treat each other. Our outrage over Cecil doesn't change that horror, but animals are somehow out-of-bounds of our cruelty to one another. In some ways, they're like civilians in a war - innocent victims in a world outnumbered by humans with the power to destroy all that is natural in this world.

Tim Simpson/flickr creative commons

Total recall. Replacement bones. An average lifespan of 150 years. That's what James Canton talks about when he advises Fortune 500 companies on what's coming next in our world. And that's not a fraction of it.

Last week, the Internet exploded after an episode of the WTF! Podcast with Marc Maron went online. The guest was the comedian Wyatt Cenac, who talked about being a writer and correspondent on The Daily Show for several years. He recalled getting into a heated argument with Jon Stewart over the host's impression of Herman Cain, which Cenac had found troubling:

Dominick D / Creative Commons

Two funny men. Two funny books. 

I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend follows the life of Martin Short, a funny man who spent his childhood staging elaborate one-man variety shows  in his attic bedroom before bringing us enduring and endearing characters like Ed Grimley, Irving Cohen and Jimmy Glick.  

Nicole Abalde/flickr creative commons

Find out what happened when I told the gang producer Jonathan McNicol was going to surprise us with an array of party music and, on the spot, we had to come up with party themes to make your backyard entertaining a blast. Sometimes spontaneity and brainstorming are far better than planning, right? Plus, you're going to want to dance when you hear this one...

Stephane Colbert / Dan Brubeck

With heartfelt devotion, drummer/composer Dan Brubeck pays tribute to his parents, the pianist/composer Dave Brubeck and the lyricist/librettist Iola Brubeck, with his new, consummately crafted, unpretentious release, Celebrating the Music and Lyrics of Dave and Iola Brubeck.

Marriage in Our Modern World

Jul 28, 2015
Pete / Creative Commons

Across the United States, partners still hold the institution of marriage dear. Yet as time moves on, there are significant changes in the way Americans approach marriage. Many years ago, the idea of marrying for love was ludicrous. Now, the love match is the heart of a modern marriage.

A Glimpse Into The Dark Side of Technology

Jul 27, 2015
elhombredenegro/flickr creative commons

We all depend on technology and its vast, positive potential on everything from poverty to medicine, but there’s a flip side. As we gear up for the Internet of Things, with greater connections come greater risks. 

This hour, the Nose will definitely NOT talk about Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!

But they will cover Gawker's horrible week. After lots of backlash, the online site retracted a story in which they outed a married executive who solicited a male prostitute. They've now made the pledge to be "20%  nicer." Or maybe just 10%.

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.