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

The most visible part of Starbucks' campaign to get customers talking about race — putting the slogan "Race Together" on coffee cups — has come to an end.

In a memo sent to all Starbucks employees Sunday, CEO Howard Schultz wrote: "This phase of the effort — writing 'Race Together' (or placing stickers) on cups, which was always just the catalyst for a much broader and longer term conversation — will be completed as originally planned today, March 22."

Colin McEnroe

Starbucks is trying to start conversation about race relations in America, led by baristas across the nation. The effort has had mixed reviews.  

Moyan Brenn/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.

Katrina Leskanich

"Walking on Sunshine" topped music charts worldwide in 1985, catapulting the British band Katrina and The Waves to stardom. 

Wikimedia Commons

A true story: the first time I heard George Harrison’s 1970 song “My Sweet Lord,” I was listening to the radio over at the apartment of a friend of mine. I said to my friend, “That sure sounds a lot like the Chiffons’ ‘He’s so Fine.’” Shortly thereafter, I read that the owners of the copyright to “He’s So Fine” had decided to sue Harrison. After a protracted legal battle, they won their case.

Starbucks' campaign to get people talking about race has already birthed a very public, very cringeworthy conversation about race. Jay Smooth, a radio DJ and video blogger, was on MSNBC's All In With Chris Hayes Tuesday night, discussing the coffee company's "Race Together" campaign with fellow guest Nancy Giles, a contributor to CBS Sunday Morning.

Enric Martinez/flickr creative commons

Alex Province says his grandmother in Spain turned out fantastic chicken stew using white wine and garlic in one pot. We tell you how it's done… Jeff Vernon of Connecticut's Chamard Vineyards in Clinton stops by with a bottle of chardonnay and we explain how to use a little wine to make an instant pan sauce

Guillaume Laurent / Creative Commons

Kyle Eastwood, a hard-swinging bassist and gifted jazz and film score composer, continues to carve a brilliant career all his own, an ongoing success story that makes the day for his proud father, the legendary Hollywood actor/director, Clint Eastwood.

Mallory ODonoghue

As March Madness tips off on Tuesday, excitement over college basketball can be seen everywhere on UConn's Storrs campus.

Nowhere is the creative energy around basketball culture more apparent on campus than at the exhibit “In the Paint: Basketball in Contemporary Art” at the William Benton Museum of Art.

StevenW./flickr creative commons

It's not part of the farm-to-table movement, that's for sure. Turns out there are people who keep chickens now as part of their pest control strategy. The eggs these chickens lay are only a side benefit, we're told; this group of chicken owners lets their birds run loose across their yards and fields because chickens love to dine on ticks. Where deer, rodents, and rabbits are plentiful, Lyme ticks are also plentiful since these animals are known carriers. We'll ask our regular contributor, Dr. Todd Friedland of Windham, Conn., whether the chicken eggs are safe for humans when the birds have been ingesting high quantities of Lyme ticks.

Community, producer Dan Harmon's increasingly self-aware sitcom, has become less and less about a band of community-college misfits and more and more about being a television show. Perhaps it's fitting that a show about being a show continues its odd life with a move from NBC to Yahoo Screen, where the first two episodes are now available.

Lewis Hine (1874-1940) / Wikimedia Commons

Shade tobacco came to Connecticut in 1900 from the island of Sumatra, which was beginning to dominate the world of cigar wrappers. The leaf had a light color, delicate texture, and mild flavor that cigar lovers love.

So it seemed like a good idea to grow it somewhere besides Sumatra and the artificial shade concept developed in Florida in the 1890s. Connecticut growers tried it on one-third of an acre in Windsor in 1900, and the result was so good that farmers, in an un-Yankee-ish burst of headlong passion, planted 50 acres in 1901.

The industry grew like shade tobacco -- that is, fitfully -- and woven into its life were the stories of the latest set of immigrants willing to work in cheap and concentrated bursts. We tell you as many of their stories as we can.

Just once per century, the date and time line up with the first 10 digits of the mathematical symbol pi (π). Saturday at 9:26:53 is the big moment.

Pi has perplexed and puzzled mathematicians for millennia. We learn it in school as having something to do with circles, but it turns up as the solution to lots of other problems, even when there are no circles involved.

Hindu Holi Festival Brings Spring Colors to Waterbury

Mar 13, 2015
John Humphrey / WNPR

Washington Park was still covered in snow this past Sunday, but that did not deter festival-goers from gathering to celebrate Holi, the Hindu spring festival, and the start of their new year.

Rex Roof / Creative Commons

Mark Oppenheimer hosts an All-Star New-Haven Nose Panel from New Haven.

For as long as fraternities have acted poorly,  adults have quietly tolerated and even gloried in it. Who can forget John Belushi and Animal House? Too often, parents and college administrators have excused the all-night parties, destruction of property, and drunken brawls as the rude, yet benign acts of those on the brink of entering adulthood, the last gasp of carefree youth. 

Twenty-five years ago at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, two men posing as police officers tricked Rick Abath — the night watchman — into letting them in.

"At the time of the robbery I had just dropped out of Berklee College of Music. I was playing in a band, and working night shift at the museum," Abath said during a recent visit to StoryCorps with his wife, Diana. "I was just this hippie guy who wasn't hurting anything, wasn't on anybody's radar and the next day I was on everybody's radar for the largest art heist in history."

Controversial Painting Defaced In Trumbull

Mar 12, 2015
Courtesy of Trumbull Library

A controversial painting at the Trumbull Library in Trumbull, Connecticut was defaced on Wednesday. The incident occurred while the library board met to hear public debate over the issue in a nearby room.

Sharon Mollerus/flickr creative commons

Total recall. Replacement bones. An average lifespan of 150 years. That's what James Canton talks about when he advises Fortune 500 companies on what's coming next in our world. And that's not a fraction of it.

Finchlake 2000 / Creative Commons

Today, we take a deeper look at the beaver.

Beavers are sophisticated eco-engineers, one of few animals capable of broadening biodiversity and currently considered of the keys to reversing climate change. They build sophisticated dams and deep-water ponds that stem erosion of riverbanks, create cooler deep-water pools that support temperature-sensitive plant and fish species, and increase the water table, a big deal for Western states suffering the impact of worsening drought.

Meal Makeover Moms/flickr creative commons

Leftover Passover brisket becomes brisket hash for the morning… leftover St. Pat's Day corned beef and cabbage becomes tomorrow's Reuben sandwich… three places to get great nitrite artisanal hams… and one more hot toddy made with whiskey and orange-ginger tea…

Guillaume Laurent / Creative Commons

The Hartford Jazz Society and New Haven’s Firehouse 12 celebrate the end of the winter of our discontent with sunny, regenerating concerts on the first official day of spring on March 20.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

For centuries, female composers have often found themselves overshadowed by their male counterparts. Take Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Anna Magdalena Bach, and Alma Mahler, for example. Their names don't roll off the tongue quite as easily as Felix Mendelssohn, J.S. Bach, and Gustav Mahler's do. 

But why?

While surfing the Web one day, Janine Harper came across a project where a photographer had taken pictures of her daughter dressed up as famous women, including Coco Chanel and Amelia Earhart. Harper showed the project to her husband, photographer Marc Bushelle, and together they thought it would be wonderful to adapt it for their 5-year-old daughter, Lily. Their goal was to create a fun learning method for Lily so that she could start to "see herself in the story" of black history.

Kim Hill/flickr creative commons

It could be argued that companion animals in America have never enjoyed greater rights than they do today. Is that enough? Don't miss our show discussing the complexity of our relationships with non-human animals who, research shows, think.

Women Composers Festival of Hartford

The 2015 Women Composers Festival of Hartford is underway at various locations in the capital city. For the 14th year, the festival has highlighted and promoted the work of women composers past and present.

Hartford Stage

Love, loss, friendship, and loneliness are all explored in the new play "Reverberation," now playing at Hartford Stage.

Julia Pistell

In a couple of weeks the nation will be transfixed by a competition in which basketball teams advance through a tournament laid out as a series of brackets.

Can the same process get people more interested in literary fiction? For a decade, the Morning News has been testing that theory. They year we decided to attach ourselves, like remoras, to their enterprise. We asked three super-readers to blow through as many of thoe 16 novels as they could; and today, on a special edition of the Nose, they'll talk their way through the brackets. 

The Barnum Museum

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has announced that it will phase out its elephant acts by 2018. The circus’s parent company, Feld Entertainment, has cited “growing public concern about how the animals are treated” as the impetus for the decision.

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.

Beverly & Pack, Creative Commons

It's cold, snowy winters like this that make us question why we choose to live in a place where snow, sleet, and wind define one-third of the year.  It's a great excuse to complain, but does it also make us stronger and better people?

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