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

Chris Stone/flickr creative commons

Back in the days when rock and roll was still young and three-chord bands were popping up everywhere, The Grateful Dead were unique in just about every way. They fused multiple music styles: rock, blues, folk, R&B, country, jazz, and, of course, more than a peppering of psychedelia.

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.

But 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.

Stew Stryker / Creative Commons

Memorial Day now behind us, it's time to take out the calendar and begin the serious business of penciling in the summer concert-going plans.

Lanny Nagler

WNPR's Diane Orson sat down with Rob Ruggiero, the director of “Good People,” to discuss the play and his approach to directing. “Good People” runs May 22 to June 28 at TheaterWorks in Hartford. The following has been lightly edited for clarity.

Lawrie Cate / Creative Commons

Jews make up 2.2 percent of the population although it fluctuates depending on who gets counted. The U.S. Jewish population is roughly the same size, north of 6 million, as the Jewish population of Israel. 

And, since there are about 14 million Jews in the whole world, an astonishingly high percentage of them live in those two countries. 

jamieanne/flickr creative commons

On the menu… it's easy to make Campari popsicles for your next party… or try our breakfast martini… the featured cookbook, Genius Recipes features cooked forever broccoli that is staggeringly good.

Kevork Imizirian

It’s been five years since the big-toned, Israeli-born tenor saxophonist Benny Sharoni made his recording debut with an acclaimed album called Eternal Elixir.

Rick Ciaburri / Wesleyan University

Award-winning composer and lyricist Lin Manuel Miranda addressed college graduates on Sunday as the keynote speaker at Wesleyan University's commencement.

It's a warning sign at art museums around the world: "Don't touch the artwork."

But Spain's famous Prado Museum is changing that, with an exhibit where visitors are not only allowed to touch the paintings — they're encouraged to do so.

The Prado has made 3-D copies of some of the most renowned works in its collection — including those by Francisco Goya, Diego Velazquez and El Greco — to allow blind people to feel them.

It's a special exhibit for those who normally can't enjoy paintings.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut has been incredibly lucky in the directors who have made its regional theaters their basis of operations. Don't miss this full-length conversation between Colin and Darko Tresnjak, Hartford Stage's Tony Award-winning Artistic Director, about Shakespeare, his acceptance speech at the Tony's, moodiness in the theater world, and of course, his current production of "Kiss Me Kate".

It's impolite to stare. But when it comes to severely injured soldiers, maybe we don't look enough; or maybe we'd rather not see wounded veterans at all.

Two men are sliding nine pine coffins into a vault in the ground on Chestnut Street in downtown Portsmouth, N.H. The remains were disinterred in 2003, part of a long-forgotten burial ground for African slaves discovered during routine road work. Now, they are being reburied among 200 other long forgotten men and women as part of Portsmouth's new African Burying Ground Memorial Park.

Jasin Boland/Warner Bros.

Setting into your movie theater seat for "Mad Max Fury Road" you are treated a series of trailers that remind you how many movie screens this year will be taken up with new iterations of old franchises. There's a new Jurassic Park movie coming and a new Terminator.

But Mad Max is a little different. The franchise had lain dormant since and the movies are the work of a single auteur, George Miller, who begot Mad Max and, at age 70, has reimagined parts of it for this latest installment.

Blues Magoos

The psychedelic era made a huge impact on pop culture in the 1960s. Art, fashion, movies, and music all felt the impact of psychedelia. A blast from the psychedelic past comes to New Haven on Friday night. 

Frankie Leon / Creative Commons

News about other countries tends to focus a lot more on what’s wrong with a place, than what’s going right.

Recently, reports about the earthquake in Nepal, kidnappings in Nigeria and Islamic extremism in Iran have dominated the news.

Andrei Taranchenko/flickr creative commons

Haines, Alaska is a small town situated in the northern part of the Alaska Panhandle. It's home to abundant wildlife and the scenery is breathtaking. Haines has a population of about 2,000. There's a public radio station there and a weekly paper called The Chilkat Valley News, where Heather Lende's been writing obituaries for the last two decades. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

From Mozart to Radiohead, Sybarite5’s eclectic repertoire and dynamic performance style is turning heads throughout the music world: “…that impassioned playing, those hard-driving rhythms, the blissed-out faces of the mostly young audience…Genuine, spontaneous…excitement” (The Washington Post). 

Public Domain

The Boston Public Library is working with local and federal law enforcement to find two missing pieces of artwork worth more than $600,000.  It’s not clear if the works by Rembrandt and Albrecht Dürer were stolen or misplaced.

Public Domain

Gustav Mahler stood five-foot-four.

That doesn’t quite place him at the absolute bottom of the Famous Composer Vertical Comparison Scale (Grieg was a tad shorter, as was Ravel), but it’s strange to think that the man who created some of the most thunderously colossal symphonies the world has ever known, who famously said that each symphony should “contain the whole world,” stood just a few centimeters above Mickey Rooney.

When the final episode came, after weeks of accolades and tributes to his genius, David Letterman made sure he punctured the emotion of the moment with a little old-fashioned, self-deprecating sarcasm.

PHOTOGRAPHED BY BECKY LUIGART-STAYNER

On the Food Schmooze® menu this time… Faith's new Frozen Dark & Stormy Cocktail, along with Anthony DeSerio's Ginger Beer Piña Colada… our new go-to burger—the 

Chris Boland / Creative Commons

It's been more than 40 years since Graham Nash first sung with David Crosby and Stephen Stills.

Bengt Nyman / Creative Commons

Looking every inch a silver-maned patriarch of Biblical grandeur, Sonny Rollins, the 84-year-old genius of the jazz tenor saxophone, was especially elated last weekend to receive an honorary doctor of music degree from the University of Hartford at graduation ceremonies on its West Hartford campus.

Summer Travel Tips

May 19, 2015
Jon Rawlinson/flickr creative commons

On this fresh edition of The Faith Middleton Show, Amy Farley of Travel + Leisure magazine and all her best summer travel tips. She'll reveal which websites deliver when they claim they can forecast future ticket prices so you know when to buy. And she'll tell us how to travel to Cuba.

Algis Kaupas

The late cellist and teacher Ettie Minor Luckey will be remembered at an event later this week. She was an enthusiastic proponent of the arts along Connecticut’s shoreline.

Transcending Gender Roles Across Cultures

May 18, 2015
Jean-Paul Remy / Creative Commons

As our culture continues to progress, one elephant in the room that seems to be growing harder to ignore is our views on human sexuality. The traditional model of two mutually exclusive gender identities, male and female, is becoming increasingly outdated as we hear about people in our communities and around the world who fall somewhere in between the two (or outside the boxes entirely). Despite the threat of social exclusion and sometimes deadly persecution, stories of those who dare to embrace their own identity continue to increase in number.

Nathan O'Nions/flickr creative commons

I've just had a crash course on how to get rid of stuff because I'm in the middle of moving to, wow, three separate locations in Connecticut, New York City, and Orient Point on The North Fork of Long Island.

That's what led me to a consignment expert, and a de-cluttering expert, who we lined up for today's show in case you face your own "transition situation."

Courtesy David Foster

Blue legend B.B. King died Thursday at the age of 89. Connecticut blues singer and former club owner David Foster had a decades long friendship with King, and played with him as recently as last year.

Yusuf Syed

If you listen to public radio, you probably know her name. If you don’t listen to public radio, then you probably know her name from the massively popular Serial podcast. Julie Snyder is the senior producer of This American Life and she’s the co-creator of that show’s spinoff podcast, which told the story of Hae Min Lee's murder in 1999 and the conviction of her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed.

A Mississippi car accident in 1937 cut short the life of Bessie Smith.

She was just 43 years old. But she'd already established her legacy as "Empress of the Blues" — a pioneering American performer who demanded respect and equal pay in a world dominated by men and controlled by whites.

She'd also achieved a degree of infamy for her boozing, her brawling and her sexual appetites.

Pages