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

Steve Terrell / Wikimedia Commons

There has never been a time in the last ten presidential cycles when voters have disliked two presidential front-runners as much as they dislike Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Yes, the country is becoming increasingly polarized, but that doesn't explain why the candidates aren't well-liked by their respective parties.

Concord Music Group

Paul Simon's 13th solo studio album, Stranger to Stranger, is out on Friday. It has apparently been gestating for going on four years, and it's full of Harry Partch's microtonal instruments like cloud chamber bowls and the chromelodeon. Dean Drummond's zoomoozophome even makes an appearance. At the same time, the album is pretty rockin' and fun.

Ravid Kahalani

The music industry loves to label bands in categories like folk, funk, or jazz, but Ravid Kahalani, founder of Yemen Blues, proudly calls his ensemble "just good music."

Enid Farber / Mario Pavone

Appropriately titled Blue Dialect, bassist/composer Mario Pavone’s fourth piano trio album flows with the fluent, articulate grace and freedom of a great, witty conversation, reveling in spontaneous, interactive musical dialogues in which everyone gets to speak his mind. 

Wikimedia Commons

Krista Tippett must know something. After all, she's been hosting a show -- originally called Speaking of Faith and now called On Being -- for about 15 years. She talks to the wisest of the wise and the sagest of the sage, about matters of existence, transcendence, and, you know, what does it all mean? What kind of universe is this anyway?

More than 2 million Syrians have fled to Turkey, driven out by the fighting that erupted in their homeland in 2011. But none can claim an odyssey quite like that of Mohammed Faris.

As Syria's first and only cosmonaut, Mohammed Faris rocketed into orbit with two Soviet colleagues in 1987. He conducted experiments and photographed his country from space. By the time he returned to Syria, most everyone in the country knew his name.

Ray Hardman / WNPR

Over the last year, the Connecticut Historical Society has been traveling the state asking residents "what was it like growing up in Connecticut?" 


Comedian Maria Bamford's new Netflix single-camera sitcom, "Lady Dynamite," premiered last Friday. And it's... odd. It's surreal. It's sad. It's a comedy that's very much about mental illness and loneliness and anxiety. And it's a comedy that's very much about itself too.

Shawn Robbins / Creative Commons

As celebrity milestone birthdays go, Dylan’s 75th passed pretty quietly last Tuesday.

Steven Sussman

If you were selecting a patron saint of jazz for Hartford, a strong contender for canonization would most certainly be Paul Brown, a miracle worker whose countless good works for the music and local jazz musicians over many decades brought great joy, peace and comfort to the capital city.     

"The way kids speak today, I'm here to tell you." Over the course of history, every aging generation has made that complaint, and it has always turned out to be overblown. That's just as well. If the language really had been deteriorating all this time, we'd all be grunting like bears by now.

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

In the more than six years that it's been on the air, we've never taken The Colin McEnroe Show to the Peabody Museum before. (Crazy, right?) And: In the more than six years that it's been on the air, we've never done a Colin McEnroe Show about dinosaurs before. (Crazy! Right!?)

Gage Skidmore / flickr creative commons

The Rio 2016 Olympics are set to start in less than three months’ time. But Brazil’s Zika outbreak is worse than we thought. And there’s ongoing political unrest. And Rio’s water supply comes with an extra helping of “trash and contamination.” What to do? Postpone the games? Move them? Both?

Kevin Bishop

Many of you around here know Kevin Bishop, a violist and Hartt School grad who has established himself as one of the region’s most enterprising musical figures.

Smoakandarrow / Flickr

Flash fiction goes by many names: micro-fiction, nano-fiction, short-shorts, and with the emergence of Twitter-fiction; twiction and twisters have also entered the fray. Whatever you choose to call it one thing's for sure: these pint-sized tales often punch way above their weight.


When Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart asked the University of Connecticut to provide a guest narrator to read "A Visit From St. Nicholas" during a 2014 holiday concert at the school, he was expecting to get UConn's president or perhaps a distinguished professor.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

If you could hop into a time machine and transport yourself forward to a 23rd-century concert hall, what music would you hear -- and what would the instruments look like? From a classroom at Yale University, WNPR explored one possible future musical timeline.

James Spione / Katie Bull

Growing up in her parents’ hip, intellectually buzzing bohemian digs -- vibrant cultural and social centers where cadres of jazz musicians, modern dancers and experimental theater artists hung out and jammed -- it’s little wonder that the extraordinary improvisational singer/songwriter Katie Bull was destined to become an artist.

Photonesta / Flickr Creative Commons

Okay, this show comes with a trigger warning.

We talk about things people eat, and some of those things are not for the squeamish. This is a conversation about disgust, and specifically, how our reflexive response of disgust may get in the way of things we probably need to think about doing.


Last Friday, "Captain America: Civil War" debuted in theaters. It is the inaugural film in 2016's summer movie season. It's also the third Captain America picture. And people are calling it The Avengers 2.5. It is the first movie in Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, of which it is the thirteenth film. Some people are choosing sides, declaring allegiance to one "team" or another. Some people just want to know if Bucky got his plums.

John Schiller / Creative Commons

When we last looked in on the Hartford Symphony Orchestra a little more than three months ago, the management and players had just settled on a new four-year contract.

Richard Caspole / Yale University


The Yale Center for British Art in New Haven has reopened after a 16-month conservation project. 

AllenRan917 / Creative Commons

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. - George Santayana, 1905

David Rieff isn't against the lessons of remembrance, but he believes it shouldn't be the only morally-sanctioned option. Forgetting may be the better choice.