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

Wleedooh-k-H / Flickr

Horror films have been scaring audiences for over a hundred years. And in all that time, some things have never changed: Year after year, the collective fears of society have been reflected in gruesome detail on the big screen and women -- usually blond women -- scream bloody murder as their knife-wielding killers approach.

Jay Corey

Listen to alto saxophonist Kris Allen’s splendid, new CD, Beloved, and you might well hear in his rich, expressive playing, evocations of but never imitations of Jackie McLean’s searing, soulful sound or Ornette Coleman’s profound, plaintively moving lyricism. 

Ash & James Photography / The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra

Arts administrators don’t often get the chance to communally reflect on their precarious profession, but on Saturday, September 17, the University of Hartford will host an event that is informally being billed as an arts summit.

Diane Sobolewski / Goodspeed Musicals

Broadway musicals are, by design, a feast for the senses. But for many people on the autism spectrum, the bright lights, loud music, and lavish costumes can cause sensory overload.

Sublime99 / Flickr

Bill Murray has been involved with some of our favorite movies of all time: Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, Moonrise Kingdom, and so many more. He doesn't like managers or agents and rumor has it, once agreed to play Garfield because he thought it was a Coen Brothers film.

Maurice Robertson

A king-size floating concert, festive party, picnic and delightful sight-seeing tour along the scenic Connecticut River Valley, the Hartford Jazz Society’s celebratory riverboat ramble weighs anchor on Saturday, September 10 at 11:30 am from the State Pier at Haddam.

wikimedia Commons

Gene Wilder, the iconic actor who starred in "Blazing Saddles," "Young Frankenstein," and "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," died at his home in Stamford, Connecticut on Sunday. He was 83.

Wilder's nephew said he passed away from complications from Alzheimer's disease.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Editor's note: Gene Wilder died Sunday at his home in Stamford, Connecticut. In 2014, WNPR's Jeff Cohen reported on a screening of "Blazing Saddles" with Wilder in attendance, followed by a Q&A with the actor. This was first published on October 30, 2014.

It's been 40 years since the release of the Mel Brooks' movie Blazing Saddles. I recently went to an anniversary screening and in the audience was one of the movie's stars: Gene Wilder.

Typically superheroes spend their summertime helming big budget franchises for movie studios. This year, with blockbuster season winding down and schools opening their doors, Marvel's following up its summer at the multiplex by giving its superheroes a new assignment.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford’s Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is now offering free admission to all city residents. The program is called the Wadsworth Welcome. 

Anne Hudson / The Ivoryton Playhouse

After a four-year gestation period, and more than a year's worth of delays, Frank Ocean's second studio album dropped last weekend. There are two different versions of the album: a physical version that was only available in pop-up shops in four cities last Saturday and the currently iTunes-exclusive digital version. The album is called Blonde, but the cover says "Blond." And there's a separate, different video album, Endless, that was released last Friday. It's all very complicated. The Nose gets into it.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Connecticut is home to many historic landmarks -- among them is the former residence of American architect and icon Philip Johnson. Since it opened to the public in 2007, Johnson's Glass House has welcomed thousands of visitors from across the country and around the world. 

If you've seen Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book or the Toy Story movies, you've seen the work of animator Floyd Norman; for decades, he has helped bring Disney and Pixar classics to life.

Now 81, Norman still works for Disney, where he has plied his trade, on and off, since he became the studio's first African-American animator in the 1950s.

Davis Dunavin / WSHU

There are questions that might stump even the most dedicated country music fan: Who kickstarted the country music industry in the 1920s, even before big names like Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family? And why is this Texas musician buried in Bridgeport, Connecticut?

His name was Vernon Dalhart, and he released some of the best-selling records of the era, including “The Prisoner’s Song.”

Scholastic, Inc.

Filmmaker and producer Morton Schindel died last week at the age of 98. For decades, Schindel's film innovations faithfully brought to life some of the most beloved children's books of all time from his Weston, Connecticut studio.

Eric Murray

Even as a toddler, Christian Sands, the onetime wunderkind who grew up in New Haven, could play the piano well enough to turn sophisticated listeners’ heads.

By age 4, he had taken his first baby steps into “formal” studies, which prepared him for writing compositions by 5.

Donkey Hotey / Creative Commons

Donald Trump canceled his big speech on immigration scheduled for Thursday. It could have something to do with the comments he made to his new Hispanic advisory council suggesting he'd like to find a more "humane" approach to dealing with the undocumented immigrants he has - up to now - wanted to deport. Up to now, his supporters have been loyal despite policy pronouncements contrary to their views. Immigration may be the one area they won't tolerate a back-pedal. We talk about this and more news in politics.

CaseyPenk / Wikimedia Commons

Comedy Central's "The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore" came to its hasty conclusion last night, still more than two months before the election. Gawker will shut down next week. And as of next Tuesday, NPR's website will no longer have comments sections.

Brian Williams, on the other hand, is getting a new show on MSNBC. And Jonah Lehrer's got a new book out.

Connecticut's First Mormon Temple to Open in Farmington

Aug 19, 2016
Josh Rosenfield / WNPR

After three years of construction, Connecticut’s first Mormon temple is almost complete. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints plans to unveil the Farmington building with a three-week public open house beginning September 30, after which non-Mormons will not be allowed to enter.

ABC Television / Wikimedia Commons

Clive James considered Dick Cavett one of the great intellectuals who shaped the 20th century. He did it primarily as the host of The Dick Cavett Show, combining playfulness and serious discussion for ninety-minutes each night with a roster of cultural icons that spanned the worlds of art, culture, literature, music, and politics.

HartfordSymphonyBlog.com

These days, just about everybody in the classical music world has an idea about how to enliven the concert experience.

Stephen Hough, the brilliant British-born pianist and composer, has just put forward what might be the single most effective one, not to mention unquestionably the least expensive: Make concerts shorter, already.

New Haven Celebrates Its Italian Culture

Aug 18, 2016
Patricia Lewis/flickr creative commons

In the late 1800s, Italian immigrants moved into the Wooster Street area of New Haven, bringing with them the flavors and music of their homeland. This weekend, the city celebrates its Italian culture with a new event called Opera-Palooza

Diane Sobolewski

Petula Clark has been singing since 1942, when as a nine-year-old child, she answered a request from a BBC producer to sing to a British theater audience unnerved by an air raid that delayed the BBC broadcast they came to hear.

Samirah Evans

A powerhouse jazz and blues artist who was uprooted by Hurricane Katrina from New Orleans to Brattleboro, Vermont, Samirah Evans is an unstoppable force of nature on-stage, a sexy, high-octane blend of ebullient personality and explosive showbiz savvy.

Femunity / Flickr

As the men of Apollo 11 returned home to ticker tape parades, the women who made their journey possible worked quietly behind the scenes. Since its founding in 1958, NASA has been heavily reliant on the skills of such women, many of whom have gone unrecognized for their bravery and hard work.

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