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

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Recently, a group of us gathered on stage at Watkinson School for a conversation about humor and comedy.

The conversation had two fields on inquiry. The first was the very strange business of trying to be funny as a way of putting food on the table. It's a weird job. It's not so much a matter of trying to be funny as it is of trying to figure out what's funny about the thing sitting in front of you. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

For his latest book, Michael Robinson journeyed to the mountains of East Africa with a particular mission in mind: to search for explorer Henry Morton Stanley's so-called "white tribe." This hour, Robinson talks about his experience, and how it helped inform The Lost White Tribe: Explorers, Scientists, and the Theory that Changed a Continent

Trombone Shorty

Troy Andrews has been playing the trombone since he was a boy, which is how he got the nickname he still uses: Trombone Shorty. This week, the New Orleans native is coming to UConn to perform.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The eyes of the nation turn to Iowa. But, why? The caucus process doesn't really resemble voting as we do it the rest of the time in this nation. And, the Iowa caucuses aren't really binding in terms of national delegate selection.  Iowa doesn't look like the rest of the nation, by which I mean, way whiter, but this in the words of Bruce Hornsby, is "just the way it is."

We also talk about the New York Times endorsement of Hillary Clinton and reactions to her candidacy. 

Watch How This Hustler Does His Work

Jan 29, 2016
Chion Wolf / WNPR

The art of the con can be pretty fascinating, but we often make the mistake of thinking we’re not vulnerable. One hustler stopped by WNPR to demonstrate how it’s done. 

Model Railroaders Create Worlds of Their Own

Jan 29, 2016
Brent Moore / Creative Commons

If this year is anything like years past, approximately 25,000 model train enthusiasts will head to West Springfield, Massachusetts, this weekend. It’s the annual Railroad Hobby Show.

Zoran Veselinovic / Wikipedia

Joseph Fiennes will play Michael Jackson in a new British made-for-TV movie about a fictional road trip taken by Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson, and Marlon Brando from New York to California after 9/11. We might applaud the casting of a white actor to play one of the most iconic black entertainers in American culture if we lived in a post-racial society. But that's fiction, too.

Brooklyn Rider / Facebook

Among the many reasons why you should plan to see Brooklyn Rider on February 4 at The Hartt School is one bittersweet one: it will be among the last opportunities audiences will have to experience the groundbreaking string quartet with its founding membership intact.

Brian Owens

During the day, 24-year-old Brian Owens is a design engineer at a local Connecticut contracting firm. After hours, he creates art.

Osseous / Creative Commons

Dr. Bill Petit spent Sunday, July 23, 2007 playing golf with his father. The day was sunny and hot and a great day to be outside. His wife and two daughters spent the day at the beach. Life was good - until it wasn't.

Within 24 hours, his wife and daughters would be murdered, his home burned, his belongings gone. The trauma would render him unable to return to his medical practice. 

Credit abelita.com.br

A welcome wave of South American hipness accompanied by mixed amounts of soothing coolness and refreshing warmth is forecast for Connecticut this weekend, thanks to appearances by the Argentine-born singer/songwriter/arranger Gabriela Anders at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, and the native Brazilian pianist/singer Abelita Mateus at the Hartford Public Library.

USA Network

At this year's Golden Globes, the top TV honor, Best Television Series -- Drama, went to USA's hacker technothriller series "Mr. Robot." Last year, the trophy went to Showtime's "The Affair."

Between those two new shows, there are three point-of-view characters, three narrators. And you can’t really trust, you can't fully believe a one of them.

Ninian Reid

The Republican establishment is wringing its hands over the rise of Donald Trump. On Friday, National Review, one of the leading and oldest voices for conservatism, dedicated its latest issue to the war "Against Trump." But it didn't have the effect they were hoping for

Harold Shapiro

Members of the United States Coast Guard Band, based in New London, Connecticut, are scheduled to march up the red carpet Monday for the premiere of Disney's film, "The Finest Hours."

DonkeyHotey / Creative Commons

Warning to listeners: the audio contains some information about "The Revenant" that slipped out of one of the guests during the discussion. It could be considered "a spoiler." 

It seems only natural that Sarah Palin and Donald Trump would find one another. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Wise Old Moon is a Hartford-based Americana band, made up of members Connor Millican, Dan Liparini, Stephen Cusano, and Sean Rubin. This hour, the quartet drops by CPBN's Chase Family Studio to showcase some music off their latest album, Don't Take Off

Better Than Bacon / WNPR

Quick! Name a living philosopher. Chances are if you can do it at all, you're going to say Peter Singer, Martha Nussbaum, Shelly Kagan, or Daniel Dennett. 

Dennett is probably the best bet because he plays the game at several different levels. He was known until the death of Christopher Hitchins as one of the four horseman of the atheist apocalypse. But his work on free will and consciousness have conferred a kind of celebrity on him.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Bullet dodged.

Crisis averted.

The Hartford Symphony Orchestra has managed to pull itself back from the edge, and for that there should be quiet thanks, as opposed to loud rejoicing.

Yoichi R. Okamoto / Creative Commons

Back in the 1940s, the NAACP sent a young black lawyer named Thurgood Marshall to Bridgeport, Connecticut to defend a black chauffeur against his wealthy employer in a sensational sexual assault trial that grabbed newspaper headlines.

That story is the basis of a new film called "Marshall," which is just beginning production in Hollywood.

Health Matters Conference / Creative Commons

One thing we can all agree on regarding Barbra Streisand; she provokes strong reactions. Or, she used to. I don't think Millennials or Generation X and Y completely understand what Streisand was like when she was a central part of the American cultural conversation. 

Myles Boisen

Like a perpetual motion machine, Rova, the iconoclastic saxophone quartet, keeps running full speed ahead in its endless quest to discover new music, to boldly go on uncharted paths of expression anywhere in the endless reaches of the sonic universe.

Davidlohr Bueso / Creative Commons

The Academy is supposed to nominate the best actors, directors and writers for Hollywood's most prestigious Oscar awards; instead, they see only whites worthy of these lofty levels of achievement this year.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Over the long months of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra contract dispute with its players, two questions, among many others, have been heard with regularity.

In the mid-1960s, Tom Houck left high school to join the civil rights movement. After meeting Martin Luther King Jr. at an event, Houck decided to volunteer for King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

So, Houck made his way to Atlanta.

"I was standing outside waiting for somebody to come pick me up," Houck says, remembering the day he arrived in Atlanta. "All of a sudden, Dr. King drove down the street. He said, 'Tom, you're here.' "

Cuatro Puntos

A new work based on folk music from Afghanistan will be performed Friday night in Hartford. The Hartford-based ensemble Cuatro Puntos with perform live with a video recording of an Afghan girl's ensemble.

Bansy / Creative Commons

Dr. Joseph Cyr, a surgeon with the Royal Canadian Navy, had to think quick when his ship came upon a rickety boat with mangled and bloody bodies. at the height of the Korean War in 1951. As the only doctor on board, he quickly moved to operate on 19 men, all of them his enemies in this war. All survived, making the young doctor a hero.

Except he wasn't really a doctor. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Jacob’s Pillow has selected Wesleyan University’s top arts administrator to lead the world-renowned dance festival in the Berkshires. 

The competitors in the 2016 Oscars race were announced Thursday, in an event that was live-streamed from California. The winners will be announced on Feb. 28.

Piano Piano! on Flickr.com / Creative Commons

I was literally jotting down a few thoughts about Pierre Boulez – the modernist French composer/conductor/musical tastemaker, who died last week at 90 – when the news arrived about David Bowie.

Al-Jazeera told its staff on Wednesday that it was shutting down its American network in April.

Financed by the ruling family of Qatar, Al-Jazeera America was launched in the summer of 2013 promising thoughtful, serious news coverage.

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