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

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.

Javier Delgado / Flickr Creative Commons

It's hard to improve on the poet, Rilke, who wrote, "Love consists of this, that two solitudes meet, protect, and greet each other." But did Rilke have to deal with Angry Birds and Snap Chat?

Steve Brown / WBUR

Jackie Robinson,” the latest documentary from filmmaker Ken Burns, debuts Monday night on PBS. 

Chuck Kramer / flickr creative commons

And after 15 seasons and 555 episodes and more than 345 Billboard chart toppers, "American Idol" is done with us. Love it or hate it, the show changed the American television business, the American reality television business, the American music business. It gave us Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson and Ryan Seacrest. And it gave us Taylor Hicks and William Hung. And Ryan Seacrest. We unpack the whole thing, the good and the bad.

New York City filmmaker Kim Snyder’s a new documentary, “Newtown,” tells the story of the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting of schoolchildren in American history. On December 14, 2012, 20 first graders and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown.

Alison and Fil / Creative Commons

It's Yale and New Haven Humanism Week in New Haven, and so we thought: Hey, wait. Just what the heck is a humanism exactly anyway?

And so then we thought: And what about, uh, agnosticism? Unitarianism? Universalism? Unitarian Universalism? Maybe even atheism?

At 46, former Daily Show correspondent Samantha Bee says she's not very concerned with what people think of her.

Morn the Gorn / Creative Commons

I was talking to Rick Coffey the other day about Mendelssohn’s great oratorio “Elijah.” 

Lori Mack

According to the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, there were nearly 11,000 people who experienced homelessness in Connecticut last year. Multiple organizations spend countless hours trying to make a difference -- and now, in New Haven, there’s a new program with a slightly different approach. 

Courtesy: Briene Lermitte

As much in the American grain as Aaron Copland, William Carlos Williams, or Emily Dickenson, the celebrated composer/orchestrator and conductor/bandleader Maria Schneider is a great, lyrical celebrator of memory, home, and friendship in her latest masterwork recording, The Thompson Fields.

WNPR Voicemail Project: Spoiler Alert!

Apr 5, 2016
Josh Engroff / www.flickr.com/photos/engroff/

Do you like spoilers? Hate them? We want to know your experience with them. 

I first noticed it in a neighborhood of Boston aptly called the "Innovation District." On a crumbling corner of an old brick building, there was a gaping hole created by about 15 missing clay bricks, filled in with about 500 Lego blocks.

I was determined to find out who the artist was.

"I don't know!" I was told by folks working in the building. Their property manager had no clue, nor did the people at Lego. "If you hear, let us know," said brand relations manager Amanda Santoro.

A week after Syrian government forces seized the ancient city of Palmyra from the Islamic State, soldiers, engineers and archaeologists are tallying up the damage done to the ancient city.

Visiting the site on Friday, journalists from The Associated Press said the modern town of Palmyra is "completely deserted," and the nearby archaeological site full of treasured monuments reduced to rubble.

The state-run SANA news agency said a mass grave had been found in a Palmyra neighborhood, with the bodies of approximately 40 people, according to multiple media reports.

Don Cheadle has been playing Miles Davis for his entire career. To look back now on some of the actor's most exciting performances — as flashy porn star Buck Swope in Boogie Nights, velvet-slick con man Basher Tarr in the Ocean's trilogy, and rabble-rousing deejay Petey Greene in Talk to Me — is to recognize those same larger-than-life elements from the persona of the jazz legend and Cheadle's personal hero.

DC Comics/Warner Bros. Pictures

I get that it's stupid April Fools' Day, and so you can't trust anything you see on the stupid Internet. Except for the Trump quotes. The Trump quotes are just as legitimate today as they are on all the other days.

But so let me just make it clear right now that I'm totally serious when I say that on this edition of The Nose we talk about...

Ever stood on the coastline, gazing out over the horizon, and wondered what's on the other side? Pondered where you'd end up if you could fly straight ahead until you hit land?

Turns out the answer might be surprising. And even if you pulled out an atlas — or, more realistically, your smartphone — you might have trouble figuring it out. Lines of latitude won't help, and drawing a path on most maps will lead you astray.

Zaha Hadid, the Pritzker-winning architect whose designs — both realized and unrealized — profoundly influenced the world of architecture, has died in Miami after contracting bronchitis and experiencing a sudden heart attack, according to her architecture firm.

She was 65.

Josh Hough / Creative Commons

Syrian government troops have recaptured Palmyra from Islamic State fighters. There are reports that experts are working now to clear mines left at the ancient ruins.

Bruno Tedeschi

I’ve been thinking a lot about chamber music.

Rio Wight / Flickr

Richard Buckminster Fuller may not be a household name. Nevertheless, his contributions to society and to sustainable living through technology and design were both vast and transformative.

By the time of his death in 1983, Fuller had patented 25 inventions, published over 30 books and had chronicled nearly his entire career through a series of papers knows as the "Dymaxion Chronofile."

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A little bit of the hit PBS series "Downton Abbey" comes to Hartford later this week. 

When I was a college student in Boston, in the mid-2000s, I didn't have a whole lot of money. But for the price of a movie ticket, I could catch the Chinatown bus down to New York City. It was a fast, cheap adventure.

These days, thousands of people travel up and down the northeast corridor on services like MegaBus and BoltBus. But the Chinatown bus was the original budget bus service. It started in the late 1990s as a service for the Chinese-American community, and became popular with students and others looking for a thrifty ride.

Ann Braithwaite / Braithwaite & Katz Communications

Before settling down and committing himself to jazz, blues, classical, and Brazilian music, the rising, young West Coast pianist/composer Danny Green immersed himself for long periods of time in numerous genres, artists, and composers. 

Scott Liddell / Creative Commons

In 2013, over 1,000 gold coins were found by a couple walking their dog on their property in Sierra Nevada, California. A rainstorm exposed the rusted can holding the gold coins. They soon found additional rusted cans, all holding gold coins dating from 1847 to 1894. The face value of the coins was just under $28,000. Today's market value is about $10 million.

The Rolling Stones Rock Cuba

Mar 26, 2016

Historians hailed U.S. President Obama's visit to Cuba as the beginning of a new relationship between the two countries. But for hundreds of thousands of Cubans, the real thrill this week was the visit of some prominent Brits: The Rolling Stones.

Two Comic Experts Explain Why Batman's Legacy Continues

Mar 25, 2016
Jay Javier / Creative Commons

He wasn't bitten by a radioactive spider. He didn't originate from another planet. And yet, Batman has managed to maintain a devoted audience for nearly a century. Joining The Colin McEnroe Show, two comic experts explained Batman's enduring power in the entertainment industry, and why filmmakers continue to make adaptations of the series. 

Mike Mozart / flickr creative commons

Chicago White Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche abruptly retired from baseball last week with a year and $13 million left on his contract because the team's front office told him he had to stop bringing his 14-year-old son Drake into the clubhouse so much. Then the actual team rallied behind both LaRoches. But it turns out it all happened 'cause Adam's teammates complained about Drake. But so anyway: Aren't people who bring their kids to work with them just the worst?

'Born To Be Blue' Finds Truth In Inventive Riffs

Mar 24, 2016

Now is a fine time for jazz trumpet fans to get lost at the movies. April will see the release of Don Cheadle's long-gestating Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead, and this week we get the shaggy dog Born to be Blue, the story of Miles' contemporary Chet Baker. Both films are far looser and more experimental than your typical straight biopic, and concentrate almost exclusively on historic low points in their subjects' lives. And Blue even features brief appearances from Miles himself.

Michael Ian Black has appeared in movies and TV series for more than two decades, but he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he still has a hard time looking at himself onscreen.

"When I'm acting, I always imagine myself as looking totally different than the person that appears onscreen," Black says. "And then when I see that person appearing onscreen, I'm inevitably disappointed. I'm always like, 'Oh no! Not that guy! That's not the guy at all that I had pictured.' "

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