Two Comic Experts Explain Why Batman's Legacy Continues

Mar 25, 2016
Jay Javier / Creative Commons

He wasn't bitten by a radioactive spider. He didn't originate from another planet. And yet, Batman has managed to maintain a devoted audience for nearly a century. Joining The Colin McEnroe Show, two comic experts explained Batman's enduring power in the entertainment industry, and why filmmakers continue to make adaptations of the series. 

Michael Ian Black has appeared in movies and TV series for more than two decades, but he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he still has a hard time looking at himself onscreen.

"When I'm acting, I always imagine myself as looking totally different than the person that appears onscreen," Black says. "And then when I see that person appearing onscreen, I'm inevitably disappointed. I'm always like, 'Oh no! Not that guy! That's not the guy at all that I had pictured.' "

Creative Commons

My Batman story begins with a crime. I was in third grade. I went to the barber shop in West Hartford Center where there were comic books to read while you waited.

I had never seen any superhero comic before and I started reading a Batman story. It was great but I didn't have enough time to finish it. So, when my haircut was done, I took it home with me. 

Maegan Tintari / Creative Commons

I once slipped on a banana peel in my crowded high school cafeteria when I was sixteen years old. I was navigating the busy lunch room in my almost six-inch platform shoes and my breezy spring dress, when the peel sent me flying -  before ungraciously landing me on my back with my dress over my face. I was never so embarrassed - or uncomfortable in a pair of shoes.

MilkADeal / Flickr

The Thighmaster, the Chop-O-Matic, the George Foreman Grill and the Clapper: Products which are all part of American consumer culture and which were all introduced through infomercials. But as online shopping increases and traditional television watching decreases, are we beginning to see the end of these high-energy, late-night shows?

Listen To The Music

Mar 4, 2016
Ky / Creative Commons

One of the first things I did with the money I made from my part-time job as a teenager was to buy the next album on my wish list of new music. All my friends did the same, knowing that our growing collection was as much about  who we were and what we wanted to be as it was about the music. 

You can say this for Sunday night's Oscars: It seemed like a lot of it was going to be about inclusion or lack thereof, and it was.

Here's What People Are Doing Sunday Night To Avoid Watching The Oscars

Feb 25, 2016

If you're tired of overwhelming whiteness at the Academy Awards, you're in good company. Famous people and normals alike have expressed indignation over the fact that for the second year in a row, zero people of color were nominated for any acting award.

Comedy and race will meet head-on at this year's Academy Awards on Feb. 28. Amid calls to boycott the Oscars over its lack of diversity, the host is one of today's most provocative black comedians. You can just feel the audacious Chris Rock rubbing his hands together in excitement.

Watch How This Hustler Does His Work

Jan 29, 2016
Chion Wolf / WNPR

The art of the con can be pretty fascinating, but we often make the mistake of thinking we’re not vulnerable. One hustler stopped by WNPR to demonstrate how it’s done. 

Zoran Veselinovic / Wikipedia

Joseph Fiennes will play Michael Jackson in a new British made-for-TV movie about a fictional road trip taken by Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson, and Marlon Brando from New York to California after 9/11. We might applaud the casting of a white actor to play one of the most iconic black entertainers in American culture if we lived in a post-racial society. But that's fiction, too.

DonkeyHotey / Creative Commons

Warning to listeners: the audio contains some information about "The Revenant" that slipped out of one of the guests during the discussion. It could be considered "a spoiler." 

It seems only natural that Sarah Palin and Donald Trump would find one another. 

Health Matters Conference / Creative Commons

One thing we can all agree on regarding Barbra Streisand; she provokes strong reactions. Or, she used to. I don't think Millennials or Generation X and Y completely understand what Streisand was like when she was a central part of the American cultural conversation. 

Davidlohr Bueso / Creative Commons

The Academy is supposed to nominate the best actors, directors and writers for Hollywood's most prestigious Oscar awards; instead, they see only whites worthy of these lofty levels of achievement this year.

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Dr. Joseph Cyr, a surgeon with the Royal Canadian Navy, had to think quick when his ship came upon a rickety boat with mangled and bloody bodies. at the height of the Korean War in 1951. As the only doctor on board, he quickly moved to operate on 19 men, all of them his enemies in this war. All survived, making the young doctor a hero.

Except he wasn't really a doctor. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Life changed dramatically for Illeana Douglas in 1969 when her parents fell in love with the two Harley-riding hippies in the Dennis Hopper - Peter Fonda classic, "Easy Rider." They decided to trade in their middle-class life for a wild ride filled with free spirits, free love and Hollywood.

Daniel Hartwig / Creative Commons

In "A Knight's Tale," Heath Ledger is invited to a dance among the nobles. He is a peasant, impersonating a noble and is anxious because he doesn't really know how to dance. His rival sneeringly asks him to show everybody a dance from Heath's homeland. What happens next is a breath-taking dance sequence in which pre-Renaissance music morphs into Golden Years by David Bowie .

Maxppp / Creative Commons

Natalie Cole struggled to step out of the shadows of R&B icon Aretha Franklin and the longer shadow of her father, singer Nat King Cole. But she did it with her stellar voice and lasting, if under-appreciated, contributions to R&B, soul, and jazz. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

I assembled seven Nose panelists and asked them to pick a topic we used during 2015 from my list of twelve.  

Of the five left over, four of them were connected to the modern cycle of internet shame: Rachel Dolezal, the NAACP official who was pretending to be black, the drunk profane kid demanding jalapeno bacon mac and cheese at UConn, the aunt who sued her nephew for jumping on her, and the dentist who sued Cecil the lion.

CircaSassy / Creative Commons

Many of our ideas about history are drawn from historical fiction. 

Who, for example, is Thomas More? Is he the tragic hero of the play and movie, "A Man For All Seasons"?


The New England Jazz Ensemble ushers in the New Year with pianist/arranger Walter Gwardyak's acclaimed jazz band adaptation of Sergei Prokofiev's classic "Peter and the Wolf."


If you're looking for the perfect last-minute holiday gift for either a devout jazz fan or even a jazz skeptic, your best bet is the impassioned, madly inventive yet readily accessible The Complete Concert by the Sea, a splendid, Grammy-nominated, three-CD boxed set reissue of Erroll Garner's classic, live 1955 performance that became one of the best-selling jazz albums ever.

GM / Flickr

Bill Murray has been involved with some of our favorite movies of all time: Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, Moonrise Kingdom. He doesn't like managers or agents and rumor has it, once agreed to play Garfield because he thought it was a Coen Brothers film.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

The effort to revive the neighborhood around downtown Hartford’s new minor league baseball stadium is gaining some big name support -- and a new hotel.

Hard Rock Hotel Hartford will open near the Dunkin’ Donuts Park, the new home of the Hartford Yard Goats, the developers said. 

Donkey Hotey / Creative Commons

Last week, the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether the University of Texas at Austin can consider race when deciding who can come to their school. It's the second time the high court will decide this case. But like the rest of the country, the court is having a hard time talking about race without shouting at each other. Justice Scalia is making what some say are racist comments.

Demetri Mouratis flickr.com/photos/dmourati / Creative Commons

Last year at this time, I foolishly offered my choices for the ten best pop Christmas songs. I say foolishly because these list things are always a bad idea for so many reasons. In fact I’m working on a piece that will list the ten biggest reasons why list stories are a bad idea.

City of Milford Adaptive Recreation / Facebook

Adaptive arts link those with disabilities to artistic expression. This Friday, the city of Milford’s Recreation Department partners with the New England Ballet Company for the sixth annual production of "The Nutcracker Suite."

Jimmy Katz

Inspired by the age-old Delta blues, Noah Preminger and his delta force quartet create a 21st century re-imagining of two soul-drenched songs by legendary blues singer Bukka White on the young tenor saxophonist's dynamic, new album, Pivot: Live at the 55 Bar, a jazz bistro in Greenwich Village.

When NBC first considered bringing The Wiz Live! to television, the network couldn't have known how much America would need to see this.

At a time when the country is reeling from mass shootings, protests over police killing black teens, and presidential candidates railing against immigrants and refugees, there is no better time to experience a soothing, expertly executed celebration of family, friendship and black culture.