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

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That's what we learned from neuroscientist Dr. Seth Horowitz of Brown University; true silence is non-existent. "In truly quiet areas," he writes in his book, The Universal Sense, "You can even hear the sound of air molecules vibrating inside your ear canals or the fluid in your ears themselves."

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Musicians with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra could take a substantial pay cut next year, under the terms of a contract currently being negotiated between Local 400 of the American Federation of Musicians and HSO Management.

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We're taking The Nose, our weekly culture round table, to The Study at Yale in New Haven, joining the International Festival of Arts, Ideas, and Pancakes. We'll be adding one of the performers to our round table, too! We've all seen the Brian Wilson film, "Love and Mercy", and we're all aware of the changes to the ten dollar bill. We'll talk about that and more, live from The Study! Join us!

Song of the Summer 2015

Jun 18, 2015
Felipe Skroski / Flickr Creative Commons

How do you define “The Song of the Summer?” DJ Brendan Jay Sullivan likens it to a summer romance: Fresh faces only (no repeat artists), love at first sight (or first three seconds of the song), and you don’t want to be anyone’s summer fling (it lasts a while!). With that in mind, what’s your song of the summer so far? On this show, we’ll narrow down and try to define the winners and losers.

Yale University

More than 100 personal film reels of jazz legend Benny Goodman have been saved from permanent damage thanks to an extensive restoration project at Yale University. 

Food 2.0

Jun 18, 2015
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I'll take it as a given that you like food. But no matter what your style of eating and cooking is, I'm betting the complexity of the American food system can leave you confused, judgmental, guilty, apathetic, or overwhelmed. If that's true, here's some good news: Once in a while an original voice comes along and breaks through to offer clarity and a new way to conceive of something.

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For some readers, it's hard to imagine speculative fiction without female writers. After all, Margaret Cavendish and Mary Shelley practically created the genre. More recently there are authors like Octavia Butler and Ursula LeGuin. Not to mention J.K. Rowling - who you may have heard of if you've been alive in this century.

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Ralph Nader has appointed a trial lawyer as director of the planned American Museum of Tort Law set to open in the activist and consumer advocate's home town of Winsted, Connecticut.

Nader said Tuesday that Richard L. Newman will oversee the museum, which is intended to broaden public understanding of civil law and issues such as health and consumer protections.

Nathan Yergler/flickr creative commons

Learn to cook the easy way, and start with a fabulous fish on the grill, trout, dressed at the fish market without bones… thanks to design store owner Susan Youngblood of Sag Harbor, we have an amazing pasta recipe from Rome that comes to us from art dealer Pierpaolo Falone, who makes it for his guests; it's easy and you'll want it all the time, as we do… our cocktail guy Anthony DeSerio turns the classic Negroni cocktail into a Sparkling Negroni, the perfect way to start a party… and a delicious, food-friendly white wine under $15!

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Dr. Eli Newberger, a renowned pediatrician and celebrated tuba virtuoso and keyboardist, has a new, bouncing baby to care for thanks to the recent birth of his all-star trad jazz band called Eli and the Hot Six.

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Rich Hanley and I love to meet regularly so that we can let you know about interesting ideas and inventions we've been researching. Here's a list of some of the many interesting inventions we've found:

When Jurassic Park was released in theaters back in 1993, the scientific community was in shock. Happy shock, that is. For once, Hollywood got the science part—mostly­­—right. Long thought to be lumbering beasts, who slogged around the earth, Jurassic Park ushered in a new era of understanding when it came to dinosaurs: they were actually fast and smart.

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Oh no! It's my turn to speak. My throat is tight, my mouth is pasty and the butterflies are eating at my stomach. My mind feels blank, what if my voice cracks? My heart is pounding so hard I feel lightheaded.   This is how I felt before speaking in front of an auditorium filled with over 300 teachers and administrators in the town in which I live. I made it - but there was a moment when I wasn't sure I would. In the end, I liked it more than I thought I could. 

reibai / Creative Commons

Once one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world, the Syrian city of Palmyra has now found itself in the midst of a cultural crisis. Last month, the city was seized by the self-proclaimed Islamic State, raising concerns about the security of its ancient temples and artifacts. 

Karyl Evans Productions/Facebook

The late John Meneely Jr., a Yale Medical School graduate, struggled to rebuild his life after returning home from World War II. His daughters have created an oratorio to commemorate their father, and the making of that oratorio is the subject of a new documentary called Letter from Italy 1944: A New American Oratorio, narrated by Meryl Streep. It airs this Thursday, June 18th, at 8pm on CPTV. We talk with the film’s director, Karyl Evans.

Sarah Parrott / Creative Commons

You get that Facebook invite. You think to yourself, "Yeah, that could be fun." You get reminders in the days leading up to the event. As the clock ticks down, you think yourself, "I like the person who invited me, but that dinner starts at 8pm on a Tuesday night. Do I really want to go?" No, you don't want to go but the RSVP says yes. You did what Henry Alford refers to as an "aspirational RSVP."

What Will Be the Song of the Summer?

Jun 15, 2015
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In 1985, it was "Shout." In 2003, it was "Crazy in Love." In 2012, it was "Call Me Maybe." In 2014, it was "Fancy."

The song of the summer for 2015, though, is still up for grabs. 

It's the height of summer, but "winter is coming" to Spain.

dierk schaefer

Elinor Burkett, citing Summers' speech and asking if men and women have different brains.

We'll talk about the controversy surrounding one of the Inland Northwest's most prominent civil rights activists. The family of Rachel Dolezal says the local leader of the NAACP has been falsely portraying herself as black for years.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

When Jules Bashkin was in his mid-80s, he saw a sign at the Wallingford Senior Center looking for people interested in playing music.

The former mattress salesman dug his son's old saxophone out of the closet, dusted it off, and joined the group. He'd played as a teen, but 60 years later, he had a bit to catch up on.

Financial Compatibility for Couples

Jun 11, 2015
401(K) 2012/flickr creative commons

Financial burdens take a toll on our social lives, and can ruin a relationship.  Money, or more simply debt, often leads to arguments and even divorce. 

Courtesy Long Wharf Theatre

Johann Sebastian Bach and John Coltrane are seldom invoked in the same sentence, much less the same piece of music.

Nevertheless, an ambitious new musical work – scheduled to receive only its second public performance later this month as part of the New Haven International Festival of Arts and Ideas – makes a point of doing exactly that.

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Choirs from Singapore, Sweden, Cuba, and Jerusalem will converge in New Haven next week for the Yale International Choral Festival, a collaborative project with the International Festival of Arts and Ideas.

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Esperanto was first published in 1887 by Polish-Jewish ophthalmologist L.L. Zamenhof. His goal was to create a neutral language; one that would foster peace and harmony across national borders. 

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Join us for dance music and innovative cocktails you can easily make at home. It's also an invitation. We want to party with you.

Courtesy of the artist.

With her ecumenical embrace of everything from traditional to contemporary genres, bassist/vocalist Mimi Jones is soaring to success on a victorious mix of musical verve and a voracious appetite for variety and versatility.

Juan Felipe Herrera Named U.S. Poet Laureate

Jun 10, 2015

Poetry readers, prepare yourselves for a passing of the laurels. The Library of Congress announced in the wee hours Wednesday that the next U.S. poet laureate will be California writer Juan Felipe Herrera. He will be the first Latino poet to be appointed to the position.

"This is a mega-honor for me," Herrera said in the announcement, "for my family and my parents who came up north before and after the Mexican Revolution of 1910 — the honor is bigger than me."

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Sitting around the studio recently, we recalled how much more freedom we had than today's children do. In fact, Chris Prosperi, Alex Province, and I realized our parents might have been arrested if today's standards were in effect back then. What has changed?

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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.

Diana Robinson / Creative Commons

Lots of awards were handed out in New York this weekend. The annual Tony Awards were given to the best Broadway productions of the year. But no amount of theatrical showmanship could top what happened in the Belmont Stakes.

American Pharoah completed horseracing's elusive Triple Crown.  Finishing a few lengths behind him in third place was Keen Ice, who is part-owned by two Connecticut residents. This hour, we speak with one of the local owners.

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