arts

Music Education
2:05 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Members of Sweet Honey in the Rock Conduct Dynamic Workshops at Wesleyan University

Sweet Honey in the Rock performing in 2007.
Sharon Farmer/sfphotoworks sweethoneyintherock.org

Three members of the legendary a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock are finishing up a unique residency at Wesleyan University.

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Where We Live
8:52 am
Mon April 14, 2014

The Success and Failure of Design; a Conversation with Medea Benjamin

According to design writer Alice Rawsthorn, design is one of the most powerful forces in our lives.
Credit bradhoc / Creative Commons

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.

GUESTS:

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Ted Hershey
3:56 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Memory of Hartford Dancer Lives On in Annual Performance

Ted Hershey was a principal dancer with the Hartford Ballet for 14 years. Hershey died of AIDS in 1998.
John Long The Hartford Courant

This Saturday night, dozens of Connecticut dance ensembles will gather in Hartford to celebrate the memory of Hartford dancer and choreographer Ted Hershey.

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Kudiyattam
10:45 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Indian Actors Dust Off Ancient Sanskrit Drama at Yale

Kudiyattam is the last surviving form of classic Sanskrit theater.
sreenisreedharan Creative Commons

A troupe of actors from Kerala, India will perform an ancient, traditional drama known as Kudiyattam this weekend in New Haven.

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Code Switch
7:58 am
Wed April 2, 2014

The Harlem Hellfighters: Fighting Racism In The Trenches Of WWI

The Harlem Hellfighters, a new graphic novel by Max Brooks, retells the story of the first African-American unit to fight in World War I.
Caanan White Courtesy of Broadway Books

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 7:58 pm

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.

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Tiny Desk Concert
8:31 am
Tue April 1, 2014

The Haden Triplets: Tiny Desk Concert

The Haden Triplets perform a Tiny Desk Concert in February 2014.
Jim Tuttle NPR

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 3:42 pm

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.

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Music Reviews
8:46 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Cécile McLorin Salvant: Making Old Songs New Again

Miami-born Cécile McLorin Salvant learned about improvisation and sang with her first band after moving to France in 2007.
J.R. Photography Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 3:46 pm

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.

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Long Wharf Theatre
7:22 am
Thu March 27, 2014

At 81, Playwright Athol Fugard Looks Back On Aging And Apartheid

In 1961, South African playwright Athol Fugard put black and white actors on stage together in his breakout play Blood Knot. He's pictured above in the 1970s.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 10:39 am

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.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:00 am
Thu March 27, 2014

What It's Like to (Try to) Make Cartoons for The New Yorker

Credit Jared Narber / Flickr Creative Commons

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.

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Cartoonists
2:36 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

New Yorker Cartoon Editor Explores What Makes Us Get It

Bob Mankoff/The New Yorker Collection/Condé Nast

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 4:43 pm

Bob Mankoff has been contributing cartoons to The New Yorker ever since 1977 and now, as cartoon editor, he evaluates more than 500 cartoons submitted to the magazine each week.

Mankoff is proud of the many cartoons that have been published under his aegis. "Sometimes I take my aegis out of my drawer just to admire it," he writes.

His most well-known cartoon shows an executive looking at his desk calendar, saying to someone on the phone: "No, Thursday's out. How about never — is never good for you?"

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Hartford Symphony Orchestra
5:32 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

It's Homecoming Weekend For Former HSO Music Director Lankester

Michael Lankester led the Hartford Symphony from 1985 to 2000.
Credit Hartford Symphony Orchestra

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. 

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The Colin McEnroe Show
1:15 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Comics, From Niche to Mainstream

Helder Mira is a filmmaker for Rabbit Ears Media
Chion Wolf

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.

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Music
4:23 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Taek Gi Lee: Connecticut Student, Pianist Extraordinaire

South Kent School's Taek Gi Lee competing in the 10th Annual Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition.
Credit South Kent School

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.

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Jazz Corridor
2:27 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Maestros Metheny and Charlap Return for Encore Performances

From left, Chris Potter, Giulio Carmassi, Ben Williams, Antonio Sanchez, and Pat Metheny.
Credit Pat Metheny

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.

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Comic books
6:20 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Fans Revive Connecticut-Based Charlton Comics 30 Years After It Closed

After Charlton went out of business, many of their artists, like John Severin, Steve Ditko, Pat Boyette, Gray Morrow and Alex Toth contributed to Mort Todd's Monsters Attack! magazine.
morttodd.com Monsters Attack #4, September 1990

What began as a joke on Facebook ended up reviving the work of a Connecticut-based comic book company that went out of business more than 30 years ago.

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Music
8:51 pm
Sat March 15, 2014

Lady Gaga At SXSW: 'Don't Sell Out. Sell In.'

Lady Gaga donned luxurious plastic bags for her SXSW Keynote on Friday.
Michael Buckner Getty

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.

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Jazz Corridor
12:39 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Pianist Noah Baerman’s Art and Activism Overcome Adversity

Noah Baerman.
Credit Noah Baerman

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.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:19 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

The Unfolding Evolution of Origami

Robert J. Lang's Yellow Jacket.
Credit Terri D'Arcangelo

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.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:15 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Hartford Was the Typewriter Capital of the Country

Greg Fudacz is a typewriter collector, enthusiast, and a pseudo-typewriter historian
Chion Wolf

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.

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New Music
8:14 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Celebrating New Music, Diversity at the 2014 Women Composers Festival of Hartford

Members of the Sylvanus Ensemble, who performed at the 2014 Women Composers Festival of Hartford.
Credit Sylvanus Ensemble

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. 

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Artistic Vision
9:06 am
Sun March 9, 2014

Destroyed By Rockefellers, Mural Trespassed On Political Vision

After the Rockefeller Center mural was destroyed in 1934, Diego Rivera recreated this version, named Man, Controller of the Universe, which is on display at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. The story of the original mural's creation and destruction is the focus of a Mexican Cultural Institute exhibition in Washington, D.C.
Courtesy of Museo Frida Kahlo

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 12:00 pm

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.

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Literature Awards
2:18 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Yale's 2014 Windham Campbell Prizes Announced

Yale President Peter Salovey announced the winners of the 2014 Windham Campbell Prizes during a press conference at the Beinecke Library.
Credit YouTube screenshot

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.

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Exhibits
2:23 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Exhibit Highlights Traditional Arts By Refugees and New Immigrants

Lynne Williamson

A giant woven carpet, intricate hand-made lace, brilliantly colored baskets and textiles are some of the traditional arts featured at a new exhibition in Hartford.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:34 am
Mon March 3, 2014

The Scramble: Are A.J. Jacobs, Lupita Nyong'o, and John Rowland Related?

Credit Rick / Creative Commons

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. 

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Spotlight on the Arts
4:21 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Cheers to Picasso and Other Art World Legends

Studio at the rue des Grands-Augustins, 1990-96 by Red Grooms

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.

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Same as It Ever Was
8:22 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Art Exhibit Draws Inspiration From Talking Heads Song

Lisa Daly, Into the Blue Again, photograph

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.”

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Winter Olympics
6:29 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

In Sochi, An Olympic Artist Sees The 'Possible'

Artist Marc Ahr has been drawing at all the Olympic Games since 1992, but for him, Sochi is special.
Sam Sanders NPR

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 8:50 pm

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:40 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Seeking the Truth in Secret Societies

The all-seeing eye of the Illuminati
Credit New 1Illuminati / Creative Commons

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.

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Jazz Corridor
11:55 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Vocalist Gazarek Blends Candor and Genuine Feeling in Her Performance

Sara Gazarek.
Credit Sara Gazarek

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.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
1:13 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

An Ode to Opera

Willie Waters is the former director of Connecticut Opera.
Chion Wolf WNPR

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.

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