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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Miles Davis, the innovative trumpet genius, and George Wein, the visionary festival producer/impresario, were not exactly as close, say, as Damon and Pythias, what with the seemingly inevitable bumps and disagreements that popped up now and then over the long, fruitful friendship and professional relationship between these two titanic forces in jazz.

The Backstory of Advice

Jul 21, 2015
Chion Wolf / WNPR


What makes advice good or bad? When and why do we listen to what others have to say? It is human nature to turn to others for advice when the going gets tough; we seek the wisdom of loved ones, lawyers, doctors, therapists, and advice columnists. But even when presented with good advice, we don't always take it. This hour, we get down to business about advice.

Aida Mansoor / Muslim Coalition of Connecticut

Thousands of Muslims in Connecticut visited mosques around the state last Friday to celebrate the end of Ramadan. The holiday is called Eid al-Fitr, a joyous celebration of prayer, gift-giving, and community gathering, that entails feast that can last up to three days.

What Makes a Good Flag Design?

Jul 21, 2015
UNIDO / Creative Commons

Think about the Connecticut state flag. Could you draw it from memory? What does it mean? Did you know that the three grapevines in the seal represent the state's three oldest settlements?

Melissa/flickr creative commons

It might seem like a control issue when your child starts hating certain foods and loving sugar, but new research is showing their preferences are linked to genes and body size.

The New York Times reports that Bill Cosby, in a sworn deposition made a decade ago, acknowledged that he used drugs and traded on his fame and connections to get women to have sex with him, and then paid money to keep the affairs secret from his wife.

This hour, we'll talk about Ben Rothenberg's Serena-driven body image piece, and the stir it caused. Mark Leibovitch's peice on

Sheila Sund / Creative Commons

By the middle of the twentieth century, American popular song began to experience a sort of devolution. Gone were the days of songwriting greats like George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin. Instead, what came over the radio were songs like "How Much Is that Doggie in the Window" and "Come on-a My House". 

Diane Orson / WNPR

In an age of film streaming and instant video when-you-want-it, where-you-want-it, most independent video-rental stores are going the way of the dinosaur.

Tom Tomorrow

This hour, we talk toons on the week that Bloom County returns. Local artist Dan Perkins (better known as Tom Tomorrow) has a new retrospective celebrating 25 years of his strip, This Modern World. His Kickstarter campaign to fund the book had an $87,000 goal and was surpassed in less than 22 hours. We also hear from the Hartford Courant’s always colorful Bob Englehart. Meanwhile, there's a new celebration of political cartoonist Art Young in Bethel.

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Celebrate lobster with us as we tell you about the best of New England's lobster shacks… give you the recipe for California-style Jalapeño lobster salad… and Faith brings back her favorite lobster sandwich of bacon, mayo, chives and guacamole—with potato chips, of course…

Dennis Stock

Although Bill Crow has been an excellent and industrious bassist and consummate sideman since the height of the Golden Age of modern jazz in the 1950s, the 87-year-old jazzman might well be most celebrated for his groundbreaking accomplishments as a writer and grand master compiler and preserver of classic jazz humor in his famously funny and invaluable collection, Jazz Anecdotes.

ConnectiCon 2015: The Art of Dressing Up

Jul 15, 2015
Katie McAuliffe / WNPR

It’s not often that you run into Batman and Princess Leia in the same day.

This past weekend the comic, sci-fi and anime stars aligned as the Connecticut Convention Center hosted the 12th annual ConnectiCon. Thousands crowded into three venues throughout Hartford for a four day series of panels, workshops, and geek-studded events.


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.


Planning and zoning officials in Connecticut have approved changes made to the Toyota Oakdale Theatre's town permit that could make it easier for the venue to abide by noise rules.

Rikard Westman / Creative Commons

The rapper and actor known as 50 Cent has filed for federal bankruptcy protection, days after a jury ordered him to pay $5 million in an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit.

This week, the long-awaited sequel to Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird hits bookshelves. Since it was announced, questions were raised about Lee's involvement in the release of this book. But now the conversation has changed to the content of the book. A New York Times review reveals the much beloved character of Atticus Finch was a racist during the Brown v. Board of Education era of the 1950s.

KAZ Vorpal / Creative Commons

Univision and NBC cut ties to Donald Trump and he won't be returning to The Apprentice, his long-running television show, because of the inflammatory comments he made about Mexican immigrants last week. But, he doesn't seem to care. Despite the comments, or maybe because of them, his appeal seems to rise with his belligerence.

Meta Mourphic / Creative Commons

After a long hiatus, our Connecticut eccentricities team is back. Join us as we explore the many unique facts and details that make Connecticut… well, Connecticut. 

Steve Freitag / Creative Commons

Two historically significant European tall ships are in southern New England and are open to the public for tours.

The French Navy Frigate L'Hermione arrived at Fort Adams in Newport, Rhode Island and the N.R.P Sagres, a Portuguese educational training vessel, sailed into New Bedford, Massachusetts, both on Wednesday.

Hartford Symphony Orchestra / Facebook

As you may have noticed, tensions between the management and the musicians of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra have been heating up as the two sides try to agree on a new contract.

Diane Orson / WNPR


As politicians continue to navigate the historic diplomatic thaw in relations between the U.S. and Cuba, musicians from both countries say they’re looking forward to more artistic exchange.

Bill and Vicki T / Creative Commons

When I was a child in the 1960's, it was not uncommon to have friends with 5 or 6 siblings. I was one of 4.

But, times have changed. For all sorts of reasons - economic, work, personal preference, religion - the majority of parents are having fewer children today than was common in the previous generation. And, as family size has decreased, societal attitudes about larger families have become increasingly negative.  The usual reaction goes something like this: "Why would you want to have so many kids?" Or, people might not ask at all and assume insanity or religious zealotry. 

Ken Hawkins/flickr creative commons

Fabulous frozen summer punch from our contributor and bartender Anthony DeSerio… crispy coconut shrimp with tropical rice… mouth-watering Tandoori chicken on the grill… and how to save your clothes, tablecloths and napkins with the best stain remover on the planet

Jameziecakes / Creative Commons

A 2014 Nielsen report yielded some dismaying news for jazz connoisseurs: the once-coveted genre is now one of the least-consumed in the United States.

Why are so many turning away from jazz, and toward other styles of music like rock, pop, and country? 

This hour, a panel of experts and musicians weigh in, and share their thoughts on jazz's future both in America and abroad.


Patrick Breltenbach / Creative Commons

Podcasts weren't born last year with the arrival of Serial, the wildly successful story of an unsolved 1999 murder that you could hear solely on podcast.

Serial likely provided the first encounter with podcasts for a lot of listeners, but podcasts first entered the consciousness and our iPods ten years ago last weekend, when early adopters saw in them the next great media revolution. The New Oxford American Dictionary even named "podcast" the word of the year in 2005. What wasn't to love?

Joyce DiCamillo

Classically trained and a member of the elite International Roster of Steinway Artists, the Stamford-born-and-bred pianist Joyce DiCamillo is most celebrated for her three decades of consummate mastery of the fine art of the jazz piano trio.

Which Writers Get Museums?

Jul 7, 2015
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Mark Twain has many literary sites; yet Henry James has none. You can visit Edith Wharton's house but not Shirley Jackson's. You can walk where Wallace Stevens walked but you can't buy a ticket to go through his front door. And can you believe there's no single museum devoted to all American writers-- yet?

New England is about to get two great new writers’ museums: The Dr. Seuss museum in Springfield, Massachusetts and-- if we're lucky-- the Maurice Sendak Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Today we look at who gets a writer's house and why-- and what sort of experience we’re looking for when we make pilgrimages to the desks of our literary heroes.

Etiquette for the Technology-Obsessed

Jul 6, 2015
Phil Campbell/flickr creative commons

Cellphones, and now smartphones and mobile tablets, have changed our world in wonderful ways, connecting us anywhere and everywhere. And time has flown. Simple cell phones are disappearing as smartphones and tablets get smarter and cheaper. Meanwhile our own communication habits are changing. According to Pew Internet reports, over 70 percent of Americans now prefer texting over calling.

Diane Sobolewski / Goodspeed Opera House

So, you think it's easy to write a Broadway song? I say not so fast. 

The four aspiring writing teams that attended Goodspeed's Festival of New Musicals this past January say it's plenty hard. They spend a lot of time kicking around ideas, most of which never see the light of day. But, really, they have no choice. "If you can do anything else, you do do anything else," says Marcy Heisler, one half of one of our amazing teams.