This hour, we take a look at design and the impact it has on our lives. Longtime design critic and author Alice Rawsthorn joins us along with Dr. Henry Petroski of Duke University to talk about the good design that helps us, and bad design that hinders us in our daily routines.
Later, we talk to CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin about her work as a political activist and author. Her latest book is called Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.
The 369th Infantry Regiment served 191 days under enemy fire in Europe. They returned home one of the most decorated American units of World War I.
"The French called them the 'Men of Bronze' out of respect, and the Germans called them the 'Harlem Hellfighters' out of fear," explains Max Brooks, author of The Harlem Hellfighters, a new graphic novel about the first African-American infantry unit to fight in World War I.
Petra, Rachel and Tanya Haden are three sisters in love with the art of singing. Born in 1971 to a famous musical father (Charlie Haden is a world-class upright jazz bassist), they've separately taken on vastly different music projects. You may have heard Petra with The Decemberists or tackling the music of The Who a cappella. Tanya plays in Let's Go Sailing, while Rachel sometimes turns up with The Rentals and other projects.
Singer Cécile McLorin Salvant was born in Miami to French and Haitian parents, and started singing jazz while living in Paris. Back in the U.S., she won the Thelonious Monk vocal competition in 2010. The 23-year-old's first album, WomanChild, is now out — and few jazz debuts by singers or instrumentalists make this big a splash.
Under apartheid, trying to make an artistic political statement was difficult — artists were subject to scrutiny and even arrest. On the other hand, making a political statement was easy: All one had to do was put black and white actors on a stage together.
That's exactly what South African playwright Athol Fugard did back in 1961 with his breakout play Blood Knot. His newest play, The Shadow of the Hummingbird, is now onstage at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Conn.
I'll tell you one of the big thrills of my writing career: I was a contributing editor to Mirabella Magazine in the 80's. I'd written an essay about getting bitten (sort of) by a dog in New Hampshire. The magazine had a huge art budget in those days, and I had already had one of my pieces illustrated by Ed Koren. But they told me this one was being illustrated by George Booth. George Booth! I worship George Booth! And so it came to pass that my article ran with a classing Booth dog cartoon.
British born conductor Michael Lankester was the music director of the Hartford Symphony from 1985 to 2000. During his tenure the orchestra flourished with a combination of exciting guest artists, like Yo Yo Ma and Marvin Hamlisch, and programs that mixed traditional works with more challenging avant-garde pieces.
Once upon a time, comic books were a niche for kids and nerds. Now they are mainstream culture. "The Avengers" is the number three all-time worldwide grossing movie.
I would like to pause, and say that I owned, as a kid, issue number one of The Avengers. I remember distinctly where I got it, and how I felt about it. I do not remember distinctly what happened to it.
Taking his seat on the stage of Hastings’ White Rock Theatre, Taek Gi Lee prayed to God. It was the final round of the Tenth Annual Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition, which was held in England earlier this month, and the 17-year-old piano virtuoso was nervous. To his right, nearly 600 sets of eyes watched him with fervor. To his left, the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra -- armed with bows, mallets, reeds, and brass -- awaited their cue to begin.
Pianist Bill Charlap and guitarist Pat Metheny, two consummate artists who can never wear out the welcome mat with their relatively frequent and invariably fine visits to the area, return once again to present their unique styles with their signature groups.
Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 12:20 pm
On Friday, March 14, Lady Gaga gave the keynote at SXSW 2014, a long interview conducted by John Norris that covered her career in pop, from her roots in the rock clubs of downtown New York to her decision to partner with a corporate sponsor for the concert she performed at Stubb's the night before. (You can see the complete video of the interview on this page.)
NPR Music's Ann Powers was in Austin for the keynote, and she filed this report.
With its heady mix of transcendence, activism, deep lyrical expression and soulful sense of swing, pianist/composer Noah Baerman’s triumphant new CD, Ripples, is one of the best and the brightest releases to grace our region in quite some time. It’s a bold, imaginative, inventive work that will, if there is any justice in the jazz world, have infinitely more than a rippling effect far beyond our borders along the Connecticut River.
How do you make a 100 meter telescope that folds down to 3 meters so you can tuck it inside a space vehicle? How do you make a heart stent that folds out inside the human body? In each case, researchers have turned to masters of origami, the thousand year-old art of paper folding.
In the second season of the Netflix series, House of Cards, the protagonist Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, pulls out an old family typewriter, an Underwood of course, to write a pseudo-heartfelt letter to the President.
Frank's father gave him the typewriter saying this Underwood built an empire. Now you go build another.
Dissonant harmonies rattled the air of Hartford’s Charter Oak Cultural Center on Saturday evening as members of the Sylvanus Ensemble delivered a delightfully curated program of works by 20th- and 21st-century female composers.
When Mexican artist Diego Rivera was commissioned in 1932 to do a mural in the middle of Manhattan's Rockefeller Center, some might have wondered whether industrialist tycoon John D. Rockefeller Jr. knew what he was getting into.
In 1934, the legendary artist's work was chiseled off the wall.
Now, in Washington, D.C., the Mexican Cultural Institute has mounted a show that tells what happened to Rivera's mural.
Yale University announced the winners of its annual Windham Campbell Prizes. The eight writers were revealed by Yale President Peter Salovey during a press conference at Yale's Beinecke Library. Each winner will receive $150,000 to help them focus on writing.
Among the winners were playwright and television writer Kia Corthron, who has been struggling financially. "I have been so broke that I needed Medicaid in order for necessary surgery last summer," she told the committee.
Today on The Scramble, one of our favorite writers, A.J. Jacobs takes us deep inside the world of modern ancestry research where websites are all too happy to tell you that you're distantly related to Gwynyth Paltrow, Michael Bloomberg, Quincy Jones, and King David. Those are all actual examples of people A.J. was told are his relatives.
Red Grooms dreams big, and draws large. Using paint, colored pencils, charcoal, and crayon, his super-sized canvases about life within the art world won’t just warm your heart; they will enlarge it three-fold.
As a first-time curator, Stephen Grant “kind of did it maybe,” in his words, “backwards.” Rather than base his debut show on specific artists and media, Grant started with a concept, a theme.
Having read David Byrne’s part-memoir, part-textbook, How Music Works, Grant was inspired by Byrne’s own seemingly endless desire to be inspired. “I wanted to create a show that embodied that attitude,” Grant said, so he based it on and named it for a classic song from Byrne’s Talking Heads days, “Once in a Lifetime.”
The first secret society, according to Theodore Ziolkowski, a Princeton-based scholar on the literature of cults and conspiracies, "consisted of Eve and the serpent and then it just kept going," Ziokowski writes.
At a time when many aspiring, young vocalists mistake blaring volume and grating gymnastics as the height of heartfelt artistic expression, Sara Gazarek, a savvy, swinging singer of exquisite taste, bright wit and creative vitality, is a welcome breath of fresh air. She’s a voice of reason amid the sound and the fury signifying not much of anything.
Last fall, the New York City Opera -- what Mayor LaGuardia called "the People's Opera" -- declared bankruptcy. This is/was the opera that introduced Americans to Placido Domingo and Beverly Sills. Make what you will of the fact that the bankruptcy announcement coincided with the presentation of a new opera about Anna Nicole Smith.
This is either a problem very specific to the New York Opera, or part of a virus that has been taking down opera companies all over the U.S. and maybe all over the world. In Italy, where opera receives much more public and government support, one fourth of all major opera companies were in a version of bankruptcy as of 2008.