The Colin McEnroe Show

The Colin McEnroe Show, hosted by Colin McEnroe, is looking for your phone calls and comments. Got an idea for a show? Know someone you'd love to hear Colin talk to? You can stream us live. While we are live, call us at (860) 275-7266, or email us at colin@wnpr.org. We're also on Twitter @wnprcolin.

Contact producers:

The executive producer is Catie Talarski. The digital editor is Heather Brandon. The technical producer is Chion Wolf.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

lculig/iStock / Thinkstock

We usually think of propaganda as a tool used by autocrats eager to manipulate minds and limit rights we take for granted in the West. Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un or King Salman bin Abdulaziz wouldn't have a chance with us.

But Western culture is steeped in propaganda that's more insidious and less blatant.

Kevin Thompson / Flickr Creative Commons

In 1997, more than 180 nations signed the Kyoto Protocol. The idea was clear and ambitious: Begin the process of saving the planet from global warming. The Kyoto protocol outlined what were thought to be realistic guidelines for reducing greenhouse gas emissions among developed nations. In the nearly 20 years since the protocol was signed, climate change has showed few indications of slowing.

Lee Stranahan / Creative Commons

In the wake of another mass shooting, President Barack Obama took the podium in the White House press briefing room to address reporters. The shooting in a black church brings up a "dark part" of United States history. "This is not the first time that black churches have been attacked, and we know the hatred across races and faiths pose a particular threat to our democracy and our ideals," Obama said.

This hour, we explore several threads of the post-Charleston shooting, from the symbols of racism to the use of mental health to explain tragedy.

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.

Phil Whitehouse / Creative Commons

For some readers, it's hard to imagine speculative fiction without female writers. After all, Margaret Cavendish and Mary Shelley practically created the genre. More recently there are authors like Octavia Butler and Ursula LeGuin. Not to mention J.K. Rowling - who you may have heard of if you've been alive in this century.

Klan McKellar / Creative Commons

Oh no! It's my turn to speak. My throat is tight, my mouth is pasty and the butterflies are eating at my stomach. My mind feels blank, what if my voice cracks? My heart is pounding so hard I feel lightheaded.   This is how I felt before speaking in front of an auditorium filled with over 300 teachers and administrators in the town in which I live. I made it - but there was a moment when I wasn't sure I would. In the end, I liked it more than I thought I could. 

Sarah Parrott / Creative Commons

You get that Facebook invite. You think to yourself, "Yeah, that could be fun." You get reminders in the days leading up to the event. As the clock ticks down, you think yourself, "I like the person who invited me, but that dinner starts at 8pm on a Tuesday night. Do I really want to go?" No, you don't want to go but the RSVP says yes. You did what Henry Alford refers to as an "aspirational RSVP."

dierk schaefer

Elinor Burkett, citing Summers' speech and asking if men and women have different brains.

We'll talk about the controversy surrounding one of the Inland Northwest's most prominent civil rights activists. The family of Rachel Dolezal says the local leader of the NAACP has been falsely portraying herself as black for years.

U.S. Navy / Creative Commons

Wendell Wallach predicts that crises in public health and our economy will increase dramatically in the next 20 years, likely a result of our rush to adopt new technologies before we've prioritized the risks we're willing to tolerate against the benefits we might gain.

alto maltés / Creative Commons

Esperanto was first published in 1887 by Polish-Jewish ophthalmologist L.L. Zamenhof. His goal was to create a neutral language; one that would foster peace and harmony across national borders. 

McFreshCreates / Creative Commons

If you know how to read, you're probably pretty good at recognizing words. But, new words like "egg corn," "crema" and "slendro" are challenging our concept of what makes a word.  Yet these very words were recently added to Merriam-Webster's unabridged online dictionary.

Diana Robinson / Creative Commons

Lots of awards were handed out in New York this weekend. The annual Tony Awards were given to the best Broadway productions of the year. But no amount of theatrical showmanship could top what happened in the Belmont Stakes.

American Pharoah completed horseracing's elusive Triple Crown.  Finishing a few lengths behind him in third place was Keen Ice, who is part-owned by two Connecticut residents. This hour, we speak with one of the local owners.

Vanity Fair

Way back -- I don't know -- a week ago, the story of Caitlyn Jenner was pretty amazing.

The gender transition of one of America's most acclaimed male athletes was, all by itself, a watershed.

And how much of a watershed?

Is this like an Ellen DeGeneres moment, when a mass audience suddenly gets comfortable with a new idea?

Dragons Rule!

Jun 3, 2015
William O'Connor / William O'Connor Studios

She who controls the dragon controls the world.

Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion are the most recent dragons to capture our attention, thanks to "Game of Thrones," the wildly popular HBO hit that's placed dragons front and center in our imagination.

Irina Pechkareva / Flickr Creative Commons

Patterns are everywhere: both in the wonders of nature and in the man-made world. They exist in the formations of crystals and clouds, in art and music, and in math and science. It is therefore no surprise that we, as inhabitants of this pattern filled world, are wired to find them.

And it's not only humans that have this ability; pattern recognition is a skill shared by all mammals. Since the first primates learned that certain weather patterns meant a storm and others meant it was time to hunt, life on this planet has both created and responded to patterns for survival. 

Joel Ormsby / Creative Commons

All of us know what it feels like to have a bad day - the pain, the regret, the sheer misery. We also know how one bad decision can spiral into a day(s) filled with misery.  Sometimes, misery stems from really bad events that are out of our control, like the loss of a loved one. But, too often, we're quick to blame misfortune on chance, the toss of the dice, bad luck. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Last week, we went up to do our annual live show from Great Barrington, Massachusetts at the Berkshire International Film Festival. Our usual host, The Triplex, had technical problems, so we pulled the plug with a few minutes left to go, which is why you heard a re-run about movie trailers. Meanwhile, we recorded this show so you could hear it today.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

This hour, we talk about movie trailers. Maybe you wonder what a movie critic thinks of them. Actually, critics don't see as many as you do because they often go to special screenings.

Rennett Stowe / Flickr Creative Commons

In 1954, Roger Bannister did the previously unthinkable. He ran a mile in under four minutes. Six weeks later, his chief rival John Landy, did the same thing, and bettered Bannister's performance.

Thirteen months later, three other runners broke four minutes. Bear in mind that this had been considered impossible for as long as there had been time-keeping at track meets.

Lawrie Cate / Creative Commons

Jews make up 2.2 percent 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. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut has been incredibly lucky in the directors who have made its regional theaters their basis of operations. Don't miss this full-length conversation between Colin and Darko Tresnjak, Hartford Stage's Tony Award-winning Artistic Director, about Shakespeare, his acceptance speech at the Tony's, moodiness in the theater world, and of course, his current production of "Kiss Me Kate".

Jasin Boland/Warner Bros.

Setting into your movie theater seat for "Mad Max Fury Road" you are treated a series of trailers that remind you how many movie screens this year will be taken up with new iterations of old franchises. There's a new Jurassic Park movie coming and a new Terminator.

But Mad Max is a little different. The franchise had lain dormant since and the movies are the work of a single auteur, George Miller, who begot Mad Max and, at age 70, has reimagined parts of it for this latest installment.

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