entertainment

The Colin McEnroe Show
12:11 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Puzzles: The Joy of Being Perplexed

Lablanco Flickr Creative Commons

People have been puzzled since the beginning. And while that might sound like a problem, it may in fact be our preferred state of being. Since the first fires needed to be lit with tinder too damp to kindle, we've been problem solving. When one problem was solved, another was found. And when seemingly, we could no longer find enough problems to satiate our appetites, we created puzzles: problems in a box; food for our minds.

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Super Bowl
1:40 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Broadcaster Al Michaels Gets Ready To Provide 'Lyrics' For The Super Bowl

Al Michaels will announce the Super Bowl game between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots on Feb. 1.
Doug Pensinger Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 3:28 pm

When the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots meet in the 2015 Super Bowl on Feb. 1, the broadcast booth will be anchored by a man who has done the play-by-play for eight previous Super Bowls. Al Michaels, the announcer for NBC's Sunday Night Football, knows how to put emotion into his broadcasts.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:45 am
Thu January 22, 2015

An Ode to Opera

David Shankbone Creative Commons

In 2012, 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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Real Escape Games
1:31 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Room Escape: A New Genre of Entertainment Comes to New Haven

Wessel Krul Creative Commons

Think of "room escape" like a fancy cocktail: one part mystery, one part problem-solving, and two parts teamwork, with a dash of adrenaline-inducing claustrophobia on top.

If you're still puzzled, then congratulations -- that's the point.

Room escape is a new form of puzzle-based entertainment that's only just begun to catch on in America. It involves transforming ordinary rooms into extraordinary playscapes: richly themed environments in which willing participants are locked inside, and forced to solve mind-bending puzzles in order to escape.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:21 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

The Nose is Still Waiting for its Oscar Nomination

Credit Robert Couse-Baker / Flickr Creative Commons

Academy Awards are not intrinsically important; therefore, Academy Award nominations are not intrinsically important, but these things are great moments for starting conversations and taking stock. They work pretty well as mass cultural Rorschach blots, and as is the case with many things, the ways in which they make us unhappy are probably the greatest source of interest.  

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College Street Music Hall
1:38 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

New Haven Officials Announce New Life for the Old Roger Sherman

A rendering of the planned facade of College Street Music Hall in New Haven.

New Haven's long-shuttered Palace and Roger Sherman Theater will reopen this spring as a music hall.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
9:45 am
Thu January 15, 2015

The History and Influence of Soap Operas

Earlier today, Julianne Moore got an Oscar nomination for "Still Alice." She is by far the betting favorite to win the best actress award. But you may remember her better as Franny Hughes Crawford on "As The World Turns." And four or five years before Ellen said "I'm gay," Bill Douglas came out as a gay teenager on One Life to Live. That character was played by Ryan Philippe. In fact, Leo DiCaprio, Maria Tomei, Tommy Lee Jones, Parker Posey, Kevin Bacon, Meg Ryan, they all worked on soaps before they moved on. 

Now there are only four soap operas left – drawn out, dramatic stories that used to be sponsored by soap manufacturers, and now are struggling to maintain relevance to house wives who have a lot more options in the middle of the day. We'll talk about this slice of Americana with those in the industry, and a professor who co-directs “Project Daytime.”

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Oscar Noms
9:38 am
Thu January 15, 2015

At The Oscar Nominations, It's A Good Year To Be An Idiosyncratic Man

In Birdman, Michael Keaton (a real-life former Batman) plays a former movie superhero who's trying to get a grasp on his career.
Atsushi Nishijima/ Fox Searchlight

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 1:26 pm

[At the top of this post, you'll find a discussion I had with Stephen Thompson, my Pop Culture Happy Hour co-panelist, about the Oscar nominations. Tomorrow's full PCHH episode more fully covers the film Selma.]

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Entertainment
7:23 am
Mon January 12, 2015

Big Wins For 'Transparent' Make It Clear: TV's Undergoing A Revolution

Tina Fey, Margaret Cho and Amy Poehler talk onstage during the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards. Fey and Poehler hosted the awards for the third (and, they say, final) time.
Handout Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 11:25 am

Surrounded by his cast mates and the show's executive producer, Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor faced a crowd of journalists backstage at the Golden Globe awards Sunday, and made the case for why his win as best actor in a comedy meant more than a typical Hollywood honor.

"This is about changing people's lives," said Tambor, who won his award playing a 70-year-old coming out as transgender. Earlier, while accepting his award on national TV, he dedicated his award and performance to the transgender community.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
8:07 am
Thu January 8, 2015

The Mystique of "Jeopardy!"

Hillary Huttenhower is a “Jeopardy!” champion and a materials engineer at United Technologies Corporation
Chion Wolf WNPR

What is it we salute when we salute the flag of Jeopardy?

I really don't know the answer nor do I know how to put it in the form of a question.

There are some obvious answers. Jeopardy celebrates competence. It acknowledges the idea there are things worth knowing and that people who know them deserve a slightly different status than people who don't.

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Television
2:22 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

'Empire': A World Of Unbuttoned Shirts And Dishy Music Stories

Jamal (Jussie Smollett) welcomes home his mother (Taraji P. Henson), but she has about as much more on her mind as this look makes it seem like she does.
Chuck Hodes Fox

Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 1:04 pm

Empire comes to Fox with an interesting pedigree: It was created by Danny Strong (who's written multiple award-winning projects for HBO) and Lee Daniels, who made Precious and The Butler — both films with a sheen of prestige, but both films to which people reacted in complex ways. It stars Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, who are both past Oscar nominees. The executive music producer is Timbaland, who's worked with all kinds of folks, including Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake.

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Television
12:34 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

Bianculli's Top 10: 2014 Was A 'Good Year For Programming'

Allison Tolman plays Deputy Sheriff Molly Solverson in the FX TV series Fargo. It's a breakout role for the actress who had done only theater and commercials.
Chris Large

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 2:47 pm

Although it wasn't a great year for the shows themselves, it was a good year for programming, says TV critic David Bianculli.

"In terms of what was happening on television, in terms of new and old formats and new, exciting players coming into the mix — [it was] another good year," Bianculli tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I'm actually kind of encouraged."

Bianculli reflects on how far TV has come.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:04 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Michael Price Says Goodbye to Goodspeed

Michael Price is the Executive Director of Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut
Chion Wolf WNPR

It doesn't really even make any sense what has happened at the Goodspeed Opera House every since  Michael Price took over the late 1960s. East Haddam, which is conveniently located near absolutely nothing, has played host to Mike Nichols, Idina Menzel, Jerry Herman, Mark Hamill, Kristin Chenoweth, Sutton Foster, Julie Andrews...I could go on.

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Television
3:24 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

A Tribute To Stephen Colbert, A Self-Proclaimed 'Junkie For Exhaustion'

Stephen Colbert will host his final episode of The Colbert Report Thursday after nine years on air.
Pool Getty Images

After nine years, Stephen Colbert is retiring the character he created for The Colbert Report, the conservative, self-important blowhard who opines about the news and the media. The final episode airs Thursday. Colbert will take over as host for The Late Show, replacing the retiring David Letterman.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
1:00 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

The Scramble: Hacks, Lawsuits, and "Sacred Journeys"

Leaked emails from executives at Sony are giving an inside look at the industry.
Wikimedia user Jelson25

Hollywood sometimes has an image problem and recently leaked emails from Sony executives are not helping that image. Responses from some of those executives, including filmmaker Aaron Sorkin, may actually be making it even worse. 

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Amusement Parks
10:33 am
Fri December 12, 2014

SeaWorld CEO Steps Down Amid Controversy, Drop In Attendance

In this handout photo provided by SeaWorld San Diego, mom and baby killer whale swim together earlier this month at SeaWorld San Diego's Shamu Stadium.
Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 1:44 pm

Plagued by controversy and sharp drops in attendance and stock prices, SeaWorld has announced that CEO Jim Atchison will step aside.

U-T San Diego reports that the amusement park also plans on cutting an unspecified number of jobs. Atchison, according to the newspaper, will receive a $2.4 million payout and become vice chairman of the board.

Chairman David F. D'Alessandro will take on the job of chief executive officer while a permanent replacement is sought.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Fri December 12, 2014

The Nose: The Pope's Pups, Sports in the Court, and The Lawyer Who Paid Too Much

Tracy Wu-Fastenberg is the Director of Development at the Mark Twain House & Museum.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Pope Francis changed our plans for The Nose today when it was revealed informally that the souls of animals may go to heaven. In fairness, the Pope was consoling a boy whose dog had died but nonetheless, the pronouncement kicked off a larger conversation that ranged from the outreach Christian wing of PETA - who knew there was one - to the National Pork Producers Council.  

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Television
4:26 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

'Sons Of Anarchy' Ends As A Macho Soap Opera Often Anchored By Women

Charlie Hunnam co-stars with Katey Sagal (center) and Drea De Matteo on FX's biker drama Sons of Anarchy.
Prashant Gupta FX Network

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 6:47 pm

Sons of Anarchy is probably the most macho drama on television, featuring a gang of gun-running, porn-making bikers.

But the biggest moment of the final season has featured a woman: Gemma Teller (played by Katey Sagal), mother to biker club president Jax Teller. Gemma admitted killing Jax's wife, Tara, and lying about it, which started a gang war.

When Gemma finally came clean, Jax insisted she pay the ultimate price.

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Electronics
6:07 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Inventor Ralph Baer, The 'Father Of Video Games,' Dies At 92

German-American game developer Ralph Baer shows the prototype of the first games console which was invented by him during a press conference on the Games Convention Online in Leipzig, Germany in 2009. Baer died on Saturday. He was 92.
Jens Wolf DPA /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 12:32 pm

Ralph H. Baer, the man widely acknowledged as the "father of home video games" for his pioneering work in electronics and television engineering, died on Saturday at his home in Manchester, N.H. He was 92.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:54 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Discovering Deliciousness!

Linda Giuca is a freelance writer and editor and a co-author of New Haven Chef's Table: Restaurants, Recipes, and Local Food Connections.” She writes a weekly column with chef Chris Prosperi for the Hartford Courant
Chion Wolf

Food is so personal. You put it in your mouth. You probably even have very specific ways of putting it in your mouth.

One of our guests today, Dan Pashman, would want to know for example, whether when you get your movie popcorn you maybe eat a piece or two just dipping your head down to the container popcorn while you're walking from the snack bar to the screening room and if so, do you snare it bullfrog style, sticking it to your tongue as you lift it away.

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Entertainment
8:57 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Foxwoods Resort Postpones Bill Cosby Appearance

Bill Cosby

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 5:14 pm

Foxwoods Resort Casino says it has indefinitely postponed Bill Cosby's concert appearance that was scheduled for January.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Fri November 21, 2014

The Nose: Cosby, Nichols, Peter Pan and Family

Theresa Cramer is a writer and the editor of E-Content Magazine, where she covers the world of digital media.
Chion Wolf WNPR

You've probably heard, seen and read a lot about Bill Cosby this week, but I think today's Nose panel tears into the topic in some interesting ways. I hope you'll listen and maybe even comment down below. Later in this show, you'll hear us talk about Mike Nichols, a disagreement about how many people can live as a family in a one-family house, and whether Allison Williams can forbid us from live tweeting her live NBC appearance as Peter Pan.

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Remembrance
8:40 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Award-Winning Director Mike Nichols Dies At 83

Journalist Diane Sawyer and director Mike Nichols arrive at the AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards honoring Nichols on June 10, 2010, in Culver City, Calif. Nichols died Wednesday at the age of 83.
Chris Pizzello AP

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 10:08 am

Updated at 8:40 a.m.

Award-winning director Mike Nichols has died at the age of 83, ABC News announced in a statement.

"He was a true visionary, winning the highest honors in the arts for his work as a director, writer, producer and comic and was one of a tiny few to win the EGOT — an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony in his lifetime," ABC News President James Goldston said in the statement.

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The Faith Middleton Show
2:09 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Movies Now and for the Holidays

Credit Nomadic Lass/flickr creative commons

The day after Thanksgiving is not only the biggest leftover eating spree of the year; movie theaters are as packed as our stomachs are. To catch our list of what's playing now and what's coming for the holidays, listen to our conversation with Arnold Gorlick, founder of Madison Art Cinemas in Madison, Conn.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
1:00 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Is America Still Awash in a Sea of Twee?

Credit Thai Weber / Flickr Creative Commons

This is one of those shows where you may start by saying, "huh?"  But with any luck, 30 minutes from now, you'll start to say, "Oh!" 

I got interested in the word "twee" and in the idea that it's a mostly undocumented cross-platform artistic movement.

There is no question that, in the 1990s, a musical movement called "twee pop" arose, first in England, spearheaded by a label called Sarah Records. Acts like The Field Mice and Talulah Gosh were embraced as twee by fans who wore their twee-ness with pride.

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The Faith Middleton Show
11:11 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Actor Danny Aiello, The Godfather, and Madonna

Credit jnd_photography/flickr creative commons

In his new memoir, stage and screen actor Danny Aiello reveals that he was so poor growing up in New York that he worked as a numbers runner and burglar, specializing in robbing cigarette machines. He was also a street fighter, and bouncer, the type of late-night guard who didn't hesitate to slam a rowdy patron or rough up someone in the neighborhood who deserved it. 

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:00 am
Mon November 3, 2014

The Scramble: Automation, Visconti, Movie Cinemas

Credit Tom Jervis / Creative Commons

First up on the Scramble today, writer and thinker Nicholas Carr, whose new book, "The Glass Cage" is about our blind surrender to automation. Most tellingly about the way we surrender (unthinkingly) control to sophisticated computer tools. 

You'll hear for instance, the story of a luxury cruise ship that ran aground on a sand bar because the GPS was spitting out wrong information and the entire crew ignored visual evidence that should have been a dead giveaway.

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Humor
2:41 pm
Sat November 1, 2014

'Comedy Is Extraordinarily Difficult': John Cleese On Being Funny

John Cleese got his first big break in London's West End and as a script writer and performer on The Frost Report.
Andy Gotts Courtesy of Crown Publishing

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 4:48 pm

John Cleese is a big, tall, stiff-upper-lipped international symbol of British wit. He's made us laugh in Fawlty Towers and movies including Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Time Bandits, A Fish Called Wanda, and, recently, as the exasperated master of spycraft — Q — who gives James Bond some of his best toys to break.

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Entertainment
3:40 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

A Candid Memoir From Comedian Amy Poehler? 'Yes Please'

Amy Poehler plays Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation, which will air its final season next year. Poehler says, "It's a privilege in television to be able to have a proper goodbye."
Colleen Hayes NBC

When comedian Amy Poehler was in her 20s, she read her boyfriend's journal and found out that he didn't think she was pretty.

"It was almost like an itch being scratched, which was, 'Aha! I knew that you didn't think I was pretty!' ... And then it was followed by a real crash because ... my ego was bruised," Poehler tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Poehler says it taught her that the earlier you figure out your "currency," the happier you'll be. For Poehler, that meant not leaning on her looks to be successful.

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Television
1:00 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

'The Flash' Winks At History And Keeps Its Superhero Tone Light

After being struck by lightning, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) realizes he's gained super speed and takes on the persona of the Flash.
The CW

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 12:16 pm

The most telling feature of the CW's new superhero drama The Flash is the casting of John Wesley Shipp as the tragically and wrongfully imprisoned father of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), who in the opening hour becomes The Flash.

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