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

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Kate Callahan has been a fixture of the Connecticut music scene for years -- and now she's got a title to prove it. Earlier this year the singer-songwriter was named Connecticut’s 16th State Troubadour

Associated Press

FBI investigators were back at the Manchester home of reputed mobster Robert Gentile this week, presumably looking for a half billion dollars worth of art stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.

The musician Prince had an appointment to meet with an addiction doctor the day after he died, a lawyer for that doctor said during a news conference this afternoon.

Minnesota Public Radio reports:

Impressed, we are. With your #StarWarsDay celebrations, that is. The fourth is strong on the Interwebs.

It's a time for Star Wars-themed treats.

(Even here at NPR.)

And an excuse to show your creative side.

Of course, even this sacred day is not free of the presidential campaign.

Joe Mabel / Creative Commons

Gary Bartz, a long reigning, if not officially crowned, jazz master and one of the music’s all-time great alto saxophonists, is the headliner for the Hartford Jazz Society’s Concert and Workshop series on Friday, May 6, at 8:00 pm at the Polish National Home, 60 Charter Oak Avenue, Hartford.

LANGUAGE ADVISORY: This interview contains language some readers may find offensive.

Eric Heupel / Creative Commons

Most New Englanders are no strangers to lighthouses. 

For the Greatest Show on Earth, there is no longer an elephant in the room. The 145-year-old Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus held its last show featuring elephants Sunday night, in a move that's being applauded by animal rights activists.

Ringling announced its plan last spring, saying it is sending all its Asian elephants to live on the company's Florida nature reserve. The original plan called for phasing out elephants' role in the circus by 2018. But in January, Ringling's parent company, Feld Entertainment, said it was moving up the timetable.

TIDAL

We plan to spend upwards of half of this hour unpacking Beyonce's new visual album, Lemonade. And we will barely have gotten the wrapper off by the time we're done.

YouTube / Creative Commons

Last week, Alex Ross, the great classical music critic of The New Yorker, offered a vivid recollection of a concert he saw back in 2004.

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

A new play premieres Thursday night at the Yale Cabaret that brings together Iraqi and Afghan refugees and U.S. veterans who tell their stories.

Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, the drummer and leader of The Tonight Show's house band The Roots, says he's obsessed with the creative process. His new book, somethingtofoodabout, is a collection of his interviews with chefs about how art and creativity apply to their preparation and presentation of food.

Matthew Sussman / Jane Ira Bloom

Jane Ira Bloom, the innovative soprano saxophonist and composer, loves to tap into non-musical art forms as sources of inspiration for her bold, original music.

The types of conversations I saw online about Harriet Tubman, Prince and Beyonce over this past week have yet to be duplicated in our nation's discussion of politics. I think that's a bad thing. And I will tell you why.

But first, let's try to put the week in some sort of perspective.

It is possible that the week was the Internet's Blackest Week. Ever.

On Saturday night, Beyoncé shook the music world with an hourlong feature on HBO, and then a surprise album — Lemonade.

Beyoncé couldn't have produced a body of work this defiant, or blunt, two years ago. Lemonade has been made possible by the cultural, social and political upheaval we're in the midst of, triggered by the deaths of boys and fathers and women, who will never be forgotten.

John Narewski / U.S. Navy

The Navy's submarine force museum is opening a new exhibit dedicated to the history of Naval Submarine Base New London. 

Scott Penner / flickr creative commons

His Royal Badness died yesterday. He was 57.

This hour, an appreciation of Prince.

When Owen Husney first met Prince Rogers Nelson, the musician was barely old enough to vote — and still going by his government name. "When you meet someone before they became the unapproachable icon, you tend to have a different relationship with them," he says.

Ray Hardman / WNPR

The Yale Babylonian Collection has been given an immense trove of ancient artifacts from the Near East. Among the items in the collection are hundreds of cylinder seals.

Metropolitan Opera / Facebook

If you pay any attention to the music world, you already know that James Levine announced last week that he is stepping down as artistic director of the Metropolitan Opera, an institution he has been associated with for 40 years.

haru__q / flickr creative commons

Everybody loves a bulldozer. In fact, we all grew up loving bulldozers, didn't we? From "Benny the Bulldozer" to Katy and her big snow, from all the Tonka toys to all the die cast model Caterpillars, the bulldozer is more of an icon in American popular culture than we maybe realize.

Poetry: Give It a Try

Apr 20, 2016
Michael Chen / Creative Commons

Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petry wrote a column a few years ago asking if poetry was still vital enough to change anything. Poets and poetry lovers reacted strongly, sending recommendations to enlighten her and encourage her to "get out more." Petry says that column haunts her more than anything she’s ever written, enough to follow it up with a defense - and an olive branch.

Pramod Pradhan / Hartford Public Library

Basking in warm, sentimental, adulatory acclaim, pianist Emery Austin Smith -- a high-energy octogenarian and one of the last great patriarchs of Hartford’s first Golden Age of Jazz -- returns once again.

Starz

Last weekend, the new Starz series "The Girlfriend Experience" premiered on cable and dropped in its entirety online. The always grumpy Richard Brody called it "an artistic as well as an epistemological disaster," but he blamed all of that directly on "the rigid format of serial television."

Jay Hoggard / Jay Hoggard Website

On his new CD, Harlem Hieroglyphs, jazz vibraphonist Jay Hoggard pays tribute to musicians who have influenced him -- giants like Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and Milt Jackson.

Spoiler Alert! It's a Discussion About Spoilers

Apr 14, 2016
Josh Engroff / www.flickr.com/photos/engroff/

Do you like spoilers? Hate them? Whether it involves sports, television, books or movies, has a spoiler ruined something for you? Enhanced it? Do you practice spoiler etiquette?

Nicole Marie Photoworks / Flickr Creative Commons

Spring has sprung, and with that comes gardening season! Are you thinking about how to get your garden ready? 

This hour, we talk garden trends, soil prep, pruning, pest management, managing invasives, supporting pollinators, and so much more.

The Artistry of Jazz Horn / Facebook

At this moment, one of the hottest, rapidly rising young jazz singers is the phenomenal, 24-year-old Jazzmeia Horn, a life force on stage. 

Michael Kerswill / Flickr

History and literature are filled with their antics. From the Renaissance's Triboulet to Shakespeare's Feste from "Twelfth Night," jesters and fools have delighted us for centuries with their subversive humor and quick wit. But while comedy was their brand, there existed hardships for these characters as well.

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