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

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
Flickr Creative Commons

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.

Kelsie Bissell / WNPR

An African drummer, a hip hop artist, a traditional kora player, and Albanian artisans may not be what you expect to see during a fashion show, but organizer George Kingsley had a vision to feature more than just clothing at a multicultural fashion show at ArtSpace last month.

Facebook, courtesy of Daniel Sandoval

Daniel Sandoval is a former paratrooper with the U.S. Army and Connecticut resident who recently added the title of "author" to his list of accomplishments. 

WILI Boom Box Parade / Facebook

Willimantic's unique Independence Day "Boom Box" parade is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Innovation in the Arts: The Search Continues

Jul 2, 2015
Adam Lyon / Flickr Creative Commons

It's hard to imagine: the idea that the arts, the grand bastion of our creative genius, may soon be bankrupt. But are new ideas really an unlimited commodity, or wont we one day exhaust them all? Some say we already have; that the bulk of what's being churned out by today's filmmakers, musicians and writers, are simply re-imaginings of the ideas of their predecessors.

A. Vincent Scarano

New London's Hygienic Art opens a new multimedia exhibit Friday night. 

Diana Robinson/flickr creativ commons

A man named Billy Williams became a legend during World War II, but not only for his heroic actions; Williams, stationed in Burma, became an elephant "whisperer." The book Elephant Company describes the man's exceptional ability to understand the elephants around him, and the stunning ability of the elephants to understand and communicate with him, in return.

Alpha/flickr creative commons

We've gone global with our burgers, from the Greek take on beef to the Thai pork patty with lime zest, cilantro, chili, and lemongrass… tell the kids we've issued parental orders on toasted marshmallows to make children of all ages happy… and for the 4th of July or any weekend, have fun with our simple red, white, and blue desserts…

Once upon a time Nancy Butler lived in the Beltway and used her MBA to secure a high paying job with a defense contractor.  But Butler had considered herself a devout Christian since the age of 9, and something about a job with a company that made torpedoes started to bother her. So she left and embarked on a journey that included mission work in Asia and enrollment at Yale Divinity School.

Summer in Hartford just wouldn’t be the same without the sizzling sounds and celebratory mood generated by the Monday Night Jazz Series and the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz, two free, major outdoor festivals that for decades have drawn tens of thousands to the city’s downtown Bushnell Park in July and August.  

Starmanseries / Flickr Creative Commons

In some ways, the 'bro' is not new. He's there, for example, in Philip Roth's "Goodbye Columbus" as Ron Patimkin, the big athletic empty-headed brother of Brenda. 

What's different is that in the 1960s, it seemed fundamentally untenable to be Ron for an extended period of time. Ron only really made sense as a college athlete, and now he's stuck with a bunch of mannerisms and interests that seem vaguely out of place.

.christoph.G./flickr creative commons

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.

At 28, Jessica Fechtor suffered a life-threatening brain aneurysm that knocked out some of her senses. Now she has written Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals that Brought Me Home. She'll be our guest today as we talk about life, death, food, and healing.

Frankie Leon / Flickr 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.

Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the right of gays and lesbian to marry, as a matter of equal protection. In New York City, the cops were closing of Christopher Street, so people could party. Similar pop-up public parties are happening all over the nation, including here in Connecticut. But some hearts are heavy.

Jeaneeem / Creative Commons

The Eagles first album touched a cultural nerve in 1971, with songs like "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and "Witchy Woman," a prelude to the hits to come. And, the music never stopped. Despite mounting criticism from critics and fans alike, within five years they rolled those hits into one of the biggest selling Greatest Hits albums of all time.

Organists from throughout the Northeast will gather in New Haven early next week for the Northeast Regional Convention of the American Guild of Organists. Among the many activities planned are a series of free, public concerts featuring "The King of Instruments."

Milk May Not Do a Body Good

Jun 25, 2015
pixagraphic/flickr creative commons

 Milk, we've been told, is a good source of calcium, provides protein, vitamins, and other nutrients. It's also becoming a source of controversy among parents, doctors, and scientists. We need calcium for bone health and while other foods, like spinach and broccoli, contain calcium milk has been thought to be an efficient vehicle for delivery. What the research tells us about milk is confusing at best. In fact, according to some studies, too much dairy can actually be harmful to our health.

Farewell to a Musical Hero, Gunther Schuller

Jun 25, 2015
NPR Fresh Air

When historians a couple of hundred years from now rummage around in the life of Gunther Schuller, they may conclude that he was actually several people. 

jeffreyw/flickr creative commons

Find out what happened when we tested the trick of using a small inexpensive battery-operated milk frother to improve a glass of wine… we couldn't resist sitting by the water so we headed to Fresh Salt, the restaurant at Connecticut's Saybrook Point Spa… mix together some dry spices and maybe some fresh herbs to boost the flavor of grilled meats and fish in a calorie-friendly way… our guide for this is the man they call Dr. BBQ, author of Flavorize

How hard can it be to hold hands with someone, even a stranger, if you know it's just for a couple minutes? For a few terrible moments in Charleston last week, I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Brad Berger

Although Johnny O’Neal is a veteran pianist with prodigious chops and a singer with a rough-hewn kind of soulful elegance, he’s never been elevated to a household name, a superstar niche that supporters like Oscar Peterson and Mulgrew Miller felt he should have achieved many years ago.


We'll get you in the mood to explore our state with the author of Insiders' Guide to Connecticut, now in its second edition. It's pure pleasure cover to cover. And we'll send the book right to your door as a thank you gift for supporting this show and WNPR.

Davide Gabino/flickr creative commons

That's what we learned from neuroscientist Dr. Seth Horowitz of Brown University; true silence is non-existent. "In truly quiet areas," he writes in his book, The Universal Sense, "You can even hear the sound of air molecules vibrating inside your ear canals or the fluid in your ears themselves."


Musicians with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra could take a substantial pay cut next year, under the terms of a contract currently being negotiated between Local 400 of the American Federation of Musicians and HSO Management.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

We're taking The Nose, our weekly culture round table, to The Study at Yale in New Haven, joining the International Festival of Arts, Ideas, and Pancakes. We'll be adding one of the performers to our round table, too! We've all seen the Brian Wilson film, "Love and Mercy", and we're all aware of the changes to the ten dollar bill. We'll talk about that and more, live from The Study! Join us!

Song of the Summer 2015

Jun 18, 2015
Felipe Skroski / Flickr Creative Commons

How do you define “The Song of the Summer?” DJ Brendan Jay Sullivan likens it to a summer romance: Fresh faces only (no repeat artists), love at first sight (or first three seconds of the song), and you don’t want to be anyone’s summer fling (it lasts a while!). With that in mind, what’s your song of the summer so far? On this show, we’ll narrow down and try to define the winners and losers.