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Arts and Culture

Brand new portraits of former president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama — wearing matching calm, strong expressions — were revealed on Monday at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Kehinde Wiley painted Barack Obama sitting in a chair, elbows in his knees, leaning forward with an intense expression. The background, typical of a Wiley painting, is a riotous pattern of intense green foliage.

"Pretty sharp," Obama said with a grin.

Sony Pictures Classics

There are nine movies nominated for Best Picture at this year's Academy Awards. And, as of this week, The Nose has seen eight of them. We saw Get Out way back in last March. We saw Dunkirk over the summer. We went to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri at night. And this awards season, we've gone to Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird and Steven Spielberg's The Post and Paul Thomas Anderson's Phantom Thread.

Ashbridge Studios (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Ahh, the big floral holiday is almost upon us. Valentine's Day is one of the biggest flower-giving days of the year. It's estimated more than 250 million roses are sold on this day alone, traveling from as far away as Chile. And while roses are thought of as the go-to Valentine's Day flower, there are other blooms that make nice alternatives to the rose.

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

Who's afraid of the Bix bad Beiderbecke?

Hartford has an amazing jazz history, and Colin has a lot of jazz musician friends. This hour, a little onstage jazz party.

Colin and the panel look to make jazz accessible to mere mortals. They talk about what makes jazz jazz, invite the audience to sing, and teach the audience to scat.

Composer Nathan Fletcher.
Courtesy Nathan Fletcher

A short-form chamber opera composed by Connecticut native Nathan Fletcher recently premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Fletcher’s music blends traditional classical styles with influences from musical theater and film.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

This hour: "the search for William Grimes."

We talk to author and film producer Regina Mason about her quest to find her great-great-great-grandfather -- a New Haven resident and runaway slave. 

Faces of Ancient Europe / Flickr

In looking to our past, a curious trend appears. A vast amount of mankind's great accomplishments in art, music, science, technology and language seem to emerge from a relatively small number of cities:  Athens, Hangzhou, Florence, Rome, Calcutta, Vienna, and Silicon Valley-- just to name a few.

Carmen Baskauf / WNPR

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center in Southeast Connecticut.

Coming up, we tour the 300,000-plus-square-foot facility. What makes its exhibitions so critical today? 

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Tucked away in New Haven’s Evergreen Cemetery is an ornate gravestone bearing the names of William Wirt Winchester, his infant daughter Annie, and Sarah Lockwood Pardee -- Winchester’s wife, who outlived her firearms magnate husband by some 40 years.

NEON Rated

I, Tonya is a big, brash, brightly-colored, quirky comedy that happens to be telling a story that's ultimately kind of super sad. It's that mixture of tones -- a cinematic style seemingly at odds with the film's content -- and its Oscar-nominated performances by Margot Robbie and Allison Janney that have earned the movie a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Nose picks it apart.

Andrew Wilkinson / flickr

The history of mazes and labyrinths spans thousands of years. From Bronze Age stone carvings, to Medieval gardens, to modern-day laboratories, these elaborate designs continue to be used for a variety of reasons and in some surprising places.

JT / Flickr

Americans like to argue, a lot. In politics, in media, and in society at large, arguing has (arguably) become the default means by which we handle disagreement. But is it the most effective way, and has our readiness to wage a war with words gotten out of hand?

Mort Walker, the renowned comic strip artist best known for his cartoon depicting the high jinks of the loafing Army private "Beetle Bailey," died Saturday at the age of 94 at his home in Stamford, Conn.

Walker drew Beetle Bailey as a daily comic strip for 68 years, making him the longest-running artist in the medium's history, according to a statement from King Features, which performed the original syndication for the strip.

bbcamericangirl / Creative Commons

Connecticut's Goodspeed Musicals has canceled an upcoming performance of a musical by Woody Allen. The decision is in response to decades-old allegations that the Hollywood director had inappropriate sexual contact with his adopted daughter.

Focus Features

Paul Thomas Anderson's Phantom Thread is nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for Anderson, and Best Supporting Actress for Lesley Manville. Oh, and including Best Actor in a Leading Role for Daniel Day-Lewis. It's Day-Lewis's sixth nomination in the category. He's won the award three times previously, including for his work in Anderson's There Will Be Blood. If Day-Lewis were to win again this year, he'd join Katharine Hepburn as the only people ever to win four acting Oscars. It'd be a fitting end to a career that Day-Lewis says is over.

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