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 rain that fell on Hollywood as the hours of red-carpet coverage wore on may have provided one of the evening's best visuals: actual people running around wearing plastic bags as they guided famous people out of limos, under umbrellas and to the waiting microphones of interviewers who wanted to know who made the dress, the shoes, the jewelry. It was literally the packing up and encasing of humanity to keep reality out: What could be more Oscars than that?

Fasten your seat belts, true believers. If you haven't flipped through a comic book in a while, you might be in for quite a surprise come May. The entire Marvel multiverse is collapsing.

Forget about seeing the Wolverine we knew any time soon. And the current Ghost Rider? Before long, his current story line will be gone like, well, a ghost. In the new Marvel universe, coming in May, characters and continuities will be reimagined.

Davidlohr Bueso / Creative Commons

The Academy Awards are almost upon us! It's hard to focus on the best movies of 2014 when you're already looking forward to the next SpongeBob movie, "Fifty Shades of Yellow."

We don't care! It's time for Vivian Nabeta's Rockin' Pre-Oscar Special Edition of The Nose, our culture roundtable.

David Flores / Creative Commons

After decades of assumption that Harper Lee was a one-book literary legend, the discovery of her novel Go Set a Watchman has the public on an emotional roller coaster. Questions about Lee’s consent, the management of her estate, the quality of the work, and the timing of the discovery are the subject of debate across the American literary landscape.

The discovery of the manuscript, however, opens an even bigger door of curiosity: what else is out there?

Duke University Archives

A professor is offering a course later this semester that explores the power of music on major civil rights movements around the world.

University of Hartford associate professor of ethnomusicology Anthony Rauche said much of the focus will be on the American civil rights movement of the 1960s, when a confluence of cultural movements came together to give the civil rights movement its collective voice.

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.

Chris Lewis / Creative Commons

A few days ago, after the 27th snowstorm of the season – or possibly the 34th – an elderly woman of my acquaintance asked me if I could recommend some music to help her get through the remaining days of this winter.

“You know, some of that happy, uplifting type of music,” she said.

I gave her a few top of the head suggestions. But then I began to think: maybe she’s on to something. Maybe the next few weeks would be more bearable for us all if we concentrated on the happy, uplifting type of music.

Bill Mays

A consummate jazz pianist, Bill Mays is so good, in so many varied ways, in so many diverse settings -- from chamber group to big band -- that his dazzling versatility and multiple talents sometime seem to outshine his luminous skills as a compelling solo concert pianist.

Mays, a globe-trotting musician, California native, and resident of Shohola, Pennsylvania, travels to the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts this weekend to shine a well-merited, bright light on his first-class solo piano artistry at 8:00 pm on Saturday, February 21, at the city of Pittsfield’s fourth annual 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival at Baba Louie’s Backroom, a noted Berkshire County jazz spot at 34 Depot Street. Tickets: $15.00 in advance, $20.00 on day of event at berkshiresjazz.org

Luca Nebuloni/flickr creative commos

Real Italian pesto any time of year... gorgeous chocolate-walnut brownies made with olive oil instead of butter... egg noodles with prosciutto, peas and two cheeses... the quinoa bowl of lemon, raisins, toasted pine nuts and scallions...Virgin Territory, the story of Mediterranean olive oil and recipes featuring the region's best liquid gold...

Susana Fernandez/flickr creative commons

During our newest on-air visit with The Trip Doctor, Amy Farley of Travel + Leisure magazine, she steers us in the direction of a new report about a super low fare to Europe, as long as you're willing to make a stop in Iceland. 

Innovation in the Arts: The Search Continues

Feb 17, 2015
Adam Lyon / 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.

Chad J. McNeeley / U.S. Navy

Elizabeth Warren summed it up in a tweet:

On the next Nose, is there any way we can spin the departure of our favorite truth teller as a good thing?

It might be pretty tough. 

How do we put this in context at the end of a terrible week for the news industry, with Brian Williams being suspended from NBC News for six months, and the death of CBS News correspondent Bob Simon?

Coney Island and Bushnell Park's Carousel Artistry

Feb 13, 2015
Reginald Marsh Wooden Horses, 1936 Tempera,Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

The Wadsworth Atheneum's "Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861-2008" exhibits a multitude of objects -- paintings, statues, films, music, drawings, photographs, comic strips -- all of which are inspired by Coney Island, an American landmark which has captivated the mind of the public consciousness for over a century. 

One of the highlights of the exhibit are the collection of antique carousel horses which have been preserved from the park's golden days at the the turn of the century. 

http://www.ecuavisa.com/

Netflix announced this week that it has begun offering a special package of films and television series to Cuban viewers. With very few homes on the island connected to the Web, limited bandwidth, and costs for the streaming service beyond most families' budgets, big challenges remain.  

But the announcement is seen as another step in the continuing thaw in relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

Red Grooms, "Weegee 1940," 1998–99, acrylic on paper, Private Collection. Image Courtesy Marlborough Gallery, New York; © 2013 Red Grooms/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Hartford's Wadsworth Atheneum has inaugurated its newly renovated exhibition space with an ambitious project. The exhibit, "Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861-2008," examines why this iconic seaside park has inspired so many artists through the years.

The exhibit is huge -- 140 objects -- including paintings, drawings, photographs, film clips, posters, cartoons, even artifacts from old Coney Island attractions.

The exhibit's curator, as well as the Wadsworth Atheneum's chief curator, Robin Jaffee Frank, grew up going to Coney Island. She believes that for artists in this exhibition, Coney Island was more than just a strip of sand in Brooklyn.

"Rather it's about a singular place in the American imagination," said Jaffee Frank. "What I have found looking at the works we've put together is that many of these artists seem to see in Coney Island-a prism of the American experience."

Lawrie Cate / Creative Commons

Jews make up 2.2% 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. 

Andy Fell/flickr creative commons

The paleo diet emphasizes the basics: meat, seafood, fruit, vegetables, and nuts. It's based on the foods our paleolithic ancestors ate. The diet has also been touted as the solution for food allergy relief and better health. But healthy eating shouldn't mean you have to give up flavor. 

Christian Haugen / Creative Commons

Between the late 18th and early 20th centuries, millions of young, Jewish men left their homelands in search of more promising futures. They threw sacks on their backs and traveled door to door, peddling their way across the New World. 

I am old enough to know better, but I still make a point of watching the Grammy Awards every year, in the quaint belief that I should be keeping my finger on the pulse of American music.

After last Sunday’s headache-inducing show, I feel like Groucho Marx in “A Day at the Races,” as he placed his thumb on the wrist of an ailing Harpo: “Either this man is dead or my watch has stopped.”

Today we're thrilled to announce that the winner of the Tiny Desk Concert Contest is Fantastic Negrito.

Kārlis Dambrāns / Creative Commons

In his book Classical Cooks, Hartt professor Ira Braus explores the link between musical and culinary taste. This hour, he joins us to explain the relationship that composers had with food, and the impact this had on their musical output. Were some of your favorite symphonies and operas inspired by some fatty meats or tasty sweets? Join us to find out.

U.S. Department of Agriculture/flickr creative commons

While she's not a vegetarian, Dina Cheney decided those who are deserve veggie-centric food that delivers pure pleasure, or as she calls it, "A party in the mouth." 

Logan Ingalls, Creative Commons

We take a break from the usual news and politics to talk about something that newsmakers and politicians just don't seem to talk about very much: arts and culture, history and humanities, our museums and gathering places. 

We hear that all of these things are important to "revitalize" cities and to "spur economic growth." If that's true, why isn't there more investment, more coordination, more big thinking about the arts? 

Jayu / Flickr Creative Commons

Officials in Elmira, New York have arrested a man they say stole a plaque of Mark Twain's likeness from the famous author's gravesite. Daniel Ruland, 32, is accused of stealing the 17-by-170inch plaque from the granite monument at the Woodlawn Cemetery.

Elmira historian Diane Janowski told the Star Gazette the plaque was made and installed by local artist Emfred Anderson in 1937. "I guess we were lucky no one touched it for so long," she told the newspaper.

The plaque was reported stolen on January 2, and it was recovered over the weekend. Police were tipped off on Friday night and recovered the item from a vehicle leaving Ruland's residence.

A presidential election cycle looms, but one of the men most associated with covering presidential politics since the first election of George W. Bush won't be sitting in his usual spot: Comedy Central confirmed on Tuesday that Jon Stewart is stepping down later this year from his post at The Daily Show.

diannereeves.com

Just one week after winning a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album, the dynamic diva Dianne Reeves will be even more electrifying than ever as she presents a celebratory victory performance at 7:30 pm on Sunday, February 15, at Hartford’s Infinity Music Hall.

Reeves, 58, received the fifth Grammy of her career for her album Beautiful Life on Concord Records.  Her triumphant release edged out stiff competition from albums by singers Tierney Sutton, Gretchen Parlato, Rene Marie, and composer/arranger Billy Childs’ eclectic compendium of vocalists paying homage to Laura Nyro.

All the jubilant Grammy Award winner has to do to bring down the house in Hartford on Sunday night is launch into the passionate, a cappella opening bars of her wordless tour de force on an original song called "Tango," a mesmerizing power number that helped propel Beautiful Life to beautiful victory.

Peabody Awards / Creative Commons

Ophira Eisenberg is a standup comic from Canada, who brought her act to American radio on NPR’s trivia show Ask Me Another. Later this month, Ophira will be in Connecticut to perform for local fans at The Outer Space in Hamden. This hour, she joins us to talk about some of her latest projects, including her memoir Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy.

Later on, public radio extraordinaire Ira Glass will tell us a bit about his show "Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host." It was in New Haven last month and is now on its way to Pittsburgh. He tells us about his inspiration to combine radio and dance, two seemingly different art forms, into a single performance.

Sam Smith, the British singer whose debut album, In the Lonely Hour, was one of only two albums released in 2014 to go platinum, won four Grammys, including Record and Song of the Year, as well as Best New Artist.

UPDATE: Perhaps it's a sign that we have to give up our nostalgic attachment to live-blogging, but technical difficulties and a totally broken live-blog have sent Stephen and me back to Twitter, where we — at @nprmonkeysee and @idislikestephen — will be tweeting at the hashtag #NPRGrammys. Thanks for your patience.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Our plan, from the  beginning, for today’s episode of The Nose had been to ask the panelists to see “American Sniper” and then discuss this unusual movie – unusual because director Clint Eastwood’s intention was to make an anti-war statement but the movie has been embraced far more ardently by boosters of the Iraq conflict.

By the numbers, it’s a surprising story. “American Sniper” grossed a quarter of a billion dollars in the month of January. Released on December 25, it’s capable of becoming 2014’s highest grossing film, although it would have to catch the latest “Hunger Games” iteration.

Pages