entertainment

Innovation in the Arts: The Search Continues

15 hours ago
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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

Eric Antoniou / sueauclairpromotions

 

Dr. Eli Newberger, a renowned pediatrician and celebrated tuba virtuoso and keyboardist, has a new, bouncing baby to care for thanks to the recent birth of his all-star trad jazz band called Eli and the Hot Six.

What Will Be the Song of the Summer?

Jun 15, 2015
Anonymous Accound / Creative Commons

In 1985, it was "Shout." In 2003, it was "Crazy in Love." In 2012, it was "Call Me Maybe." In 2014, it was "Fancy."

The song of the summer for 2015, though, is still up for grabs. 

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.

Chion Wolf. / WNPR

The Berkshires is known for many things: its quaint, rural towns, its serene trails, and its rustic restaurants. But in addition to all of that, it's also a hotbed for creativity. A place where emerging artists hone their craft, and museums, theaters, and festivals abound. 

Stew Stryker / Creative Commons

Memorial Day now behind us, it's time to take out the calendar and begin the serious business of penciling in the summer concert-going plans.

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".

Blues Magoos

The psychedelic era made a huge impact on pop culture in the 1960s. Art, fashion, movies, and music all felt the impact of psychedelia. A blast from the psychedelic past comes to New Haven on Friday night. 

When the final episode came, after weeks of accolades and tributes to his genius, David Letterman made sure he punctured the emotion of the moment with a little old-fashioned, self-deprecating sarcasm.

A Mississippi car accident in 1937 cut short the life of Bessie Smith.

She was just 43 years old. But she'd already established her legacy as "Empress of the Blues" — a pioneering American performer who demanded respect and equal pay in a world dominated by men and controlled by whites.

She'd also achieved a degree of infamy for her boozing, her brawling and her sexual appetites.

After 26 seasons of giving life to nincompoops, do-gooders, and even God, actor Harry Shearer has announced he'll be leaving The Simpsons. A stalwart of the show, Shearer has voiced central characters such as Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, Reverend Lovejoy and Principal Seymour Skinner.

In a tweet sent in the wee hours of Thursday, Shearer said he was leaving "because I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work."

The AMC series The Walking Dead, about a band of survivors in a zombie apocalypse, is known for killing off characters without much warning. But while the show's sudden plot twists keep viewers engaged, they can also create explosions of fan grief and rage on social media. Much of the audience's ire has landed on Scott M. Gimple, the series' executive producer and this season's showrunner.

Yoda, Chewbacca and a phalanx of stormtroopers are telling people all over the Internet "May the fourth be with you" today, as fans of the Star Wars franchise celebrate all things that emanate from a galaxy far, far away.

As you would expect from a quasi-holiday that's drawn from a pun, May 4 brings a flood of cute ideas to social media. It's also a good excuse to dress up as an Ewok. NASA is taking the whole enterprise to a new level, with a flurry of tweets that show how "science fiction is now science fact!"

Native American actors have walked off the set of an Adam Sandler movie that they say insults their culture.

Eric Heath / Creative Commons

Americans have been tipping for good service for centuries.

Tipping is so ingrained in our American story that we rarely question why we still do it, even though we leave an estimated $40 billion in tips every year.

Some say tipping is a good thing because it gives a much-needed boost to lower-paying service jobs. Others wonder if tipping still serves its purpose: to reward good service. Workers reliant on tips to pay their bills are sometimes tempted to discriminate against customers they think will be “bad” tippers.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Everybody's a film critic, right? I mean, who walks out of a theater with no opinion about it? Also, nobody's a film critic. By that, I mean that most people resist deep analysis of a film. A frequent refrain is "Hey! It's just a movie."

For a film critic like David Edelstein, the key word is engagement.

["Spoiler" alert: This interview about House of Cards discusses plot points from first two seasons, as well as themes addressed in the third season.]

In the pilot of the Netflix series House of Cards, politician Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, strangles a dog that was hit by a car. According to creator and showrunner Beau Willimon, there was a big debate among the producers whether to show the dog or not.

Cable-Free Consumers Can Now Watch HBO

Apr 9, 2015
Thomas Hawk / Creative Commons

Since "The Sopranos" first skyrocketed to popularity, HBO has been recognized as the creator of some of the best television in American history. But until now, cable-free consumers have been unable to legally watch the show through downloading or streaming services.

David Shankbone / Creative Commons

Eddie Murphy is this year's winner of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The prize, given by the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., has been awarded since 1998. 

The Case Against Owning Exotic Pets

Apr 1, 2015
Steve Jurvetson / Flickr

It's official: owning a dog or a cat is just not as cool as it used to be. Nowadays, anybody who's anybody owns a monkey, or a leopard, or a slow loris... Whatever that is. Indeed in today's age, with the desire to stand out leading us to make ever more questionable decisions, owning a creature everyone else is smart enough (or ethical enough) not to own is a true mark of distinction.

Steve Sobczuk / Flickr Creative Commons

You're probably no stranger to the Morning Zoo if you were in your teens or twenties in the 1980's. Developed after the death of disco left  Top 40 stations with a big hole to fill, the Morning Zoo revitalized early morning radio with a fast-paced improvisational style that for the first time broke down barriers between news and entertainment.

South African comedian Trevor Noah will become the new host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, stepping into the role Jon Stewart has filled for 16 years.

Confirming reports of his new job Monday morning, Noah tweeted, "No-one can replace Jon Stewart. But together with the amazing team at The Daily Show, we will continue to make this the best damn news show!"

The FX series Justified, which is in its sixth and final season, is based on the novella Fire in the Hole by Elmore Leonard. Leonard was an executive producer of the series until his death in 2013. The show's creator and showrunner, Graham Yost, says he has made it his mission to stay as true as he can to Leonard's vision and storytelling style.

Bob Jagendorf / Flickr Creative Commons

Everyone’s heard of Coney Island -the Wonder Wheel, the side shows, the miles of sandy beach.

Yet, most of us have never seen it except through the eyes of others, including artists and filmmakers who used it as a prism through which to shape their view.

And, what they saw was a place with both lovers and con men, natural beauty and bawdy amusement, social inclusion and class boundaries.

Coney Island is not an easy place for them to define, so they portrayed what they saw - but also what they wanted it to be.

Eric Heath / Creative Commons

Americans have been tipping for good service for centuries.

Tipping is so ingrained in our American story that we rarely question why we still do it, even though we leave an estimated $40 billion in tips every year.

Some say tipping is a good thing because it gives a much-needed boost to lower-paying service jobs. Others wonder if tipping still serves its purpose - to reward good service. And, workers reliant on tips to pay their bills are sometimes tempted to discriminate against customers they think will be “bad” tippers.

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