Arts and Culture | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

Arts and Culture

Universal Pictures

The raft of renaming going on right now obviously hasn't spared popular culture. The Dixie Chicks and Lady Antebellum are now The Chicks and Lady A, respectively. Björk's record label changed its name. Democrats want to rename John Wayne Airport. FedEx has formally asked the Washington Redskins to change their name, and Guilford's board of education voted to drop the town's "Indians" nickname. And, while Splash Mountain is going to keep being called Splash Mountain, it won't be based on Song of the South anymore.

And: The King of Staten Island is the sixth feature film directed by Judd Apatow. It stars Pete Davidson (who also co-wrote the movie with Apatow and Dave Sirus) as a 24-year-old high school dropout who lives with his mother on Staten Island. It's available for rental on digital platforms.

Wilson Ring / AP Photo

For more than a decade, Vermont tattoo artist Alex Lawrence has been offering to remove racist tattoos — such as swastikas or the white supremacist slogan “white power” — for free. Recently, as protests over police violence continue and his work has gotten more exposure, Lawrence has seen an uptick in clients taking him up on the offer.

Joe Giron / www.pokerphotoarchive.com

Maria Konnikova, best-selling New York Times author and a regular contributor to The New Yorker, has long been interested in understanding the balance between skill and luck. How much of her life could she take credit for and how much was the luck of her draw? So, she took a year away from work to become a professional poker player. 

New Haven Symphony Orchestra
New Haven Symphony Orchestra / Facebook

The New Haven Symphony Orchestra will not perform in front of a live audience until 2021. Instead, the ensemble will focus on virtual programming. The decision is a response to the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, John Belushi, John Candy, Rick Moranis.

Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Beverly Hills Cop, Caddyshack, The Jerk, Ghost Busters, ¡Three Amigos!, Funny Farm, Spaceballs, Stripes.

We maybe didn't properly appreciate it at the time, but the 1980s were one of the most fertile periods ever for screen comedies and screen comedians.

This hour, a look at the mavericks who shaped a whole comedy aesthetic and at some of the most popular movie comedies ever made.

Image Catalog / Creative Commons

Your sex life doesn't have to suffer just because you're cooped up at home every day. Researchers say that sex is a healthy way to calm the anxiety of pandemic, even if you live alone. Virtual dating, masturbation, and coronavirus-related porn are more popular than ever.

Jericho Brown in 2019
Brian Cornelius

At the start of this year, Jericho Brown addressed the graduates of the Bennington Writing Seminars Class of January 2020. 

He said, “If you can't imagine these last few days without trees, I know you can't imagine life without poetry. Literature fills needs we did not know we had. Poems and stories plant seeds for things we did not know we needed."

Jericho Brown is this year’s Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry for his book, The Tradition, a collection of poetry questioning why and how we’ve become accustomed to violence and trauma.

This hour, Jericho Brown joins us to discuss his work, and advice for new poets.

Yale School of Music

The Yale School of Music is implementing a series of initiatives in an effort to address issues of racism and diversity at the school and beyond.

Warner Bros.

The movie musical died a long, slow death a long time ago. Right?

Well, except that there's La La Land. And Moana. And The Greatest Showman and A Star Is Born and Mary Poppins Returns. Oh, and Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman. And Frozen II and The Lion King and Aladdin.

Those are just from the last five years. And I could keep going, but then I might forget to mention that Steven Spielberg's version of West Side Story is scheduled to come out this year or that the Hamilton movie comes out next week.

This hour, a long look at the long-dead movie musical. Long live the movie musical.

Pedro Ribiero Simoes / Creative Commons

It's nice to meet you! How do you like it here in Connecticut? 

Small talk is both the bane of our existence and essential in our existential quest to understand our place in the world.

Whether you like it or hate it may depend, in part, on whether you like speech that establishes and maintains relationships or speech that provides information. 

We talk to a humorist, writing teacher, meteorologist, and philosopher about small talk. And we want to hear about your small talk stories. 

Hartford Stage
Courtesy Hartford Stage

Three months of COVID-related measures continue to take their toll on arts and culture organizations in the state. The prolonged closure of Connecticut’s performing arts venues and museums has cost those organizations nearly $29 million, according to the national arts advocacy organization Americans for the Arts. 

david siu / flickr creative commons

Nobody likes termites. They get into the wood in our homes and can lead to infuriating and expensive repairs. What's to like?

It turns out, there's a lot to like termites. Scientists study how they build their mounds for clues to solving some of the world's most pressing problems, like mitigating the effects of drought, building colonies on Mars, and creating biofuels.

Bob Jagendorf

Pride Month is looking a little different this year. Traditionally, Pride is marked by big parades and celebrations. But social distancing and racial unrest means that celebrations won't look the same as they did years prior. This hour, we discuss how the Connecticut LGBTQ community is celebrating this year.

Suzanne Proulx / http://www.suzanneproulx.com

Dust is a fascinating substance. Our bodies are always shedding dust from our skin, hair, and nails, leaving little bits of DNA wherever we roam. Dust floats unseen through the air around us. It's light. It's hard to see unless it lands on a contrasting surface or crosses the path of a ray of sunshine. It can travel far and wide.  

Facebook

For the last several months, nine African American men -- fathers -- have been workshopping their own personal stories of fatherhood. “The Fatherhood Manologues” is a Moth-style storytelling project that has its virtual debut on Father’s Day.

Hernán Piñera / flickr creative commons

We've done this show every year since 2013. We almost certainly didn't do it 2012. But we did in 2011. And there's good circumstantial evidence that we did it in 2010 too, but no actual record of that possibly inaugural episode survives.

Point is: Our song of the summer show is a bit of a tradition. It's a tradition that... makes some people angry, we realize. It's a tradition that we're not sure has ever made anyone happy.

And that all has to do with how we define the term. We use the Amanda Dobbins definition:

Yale Repertory Theater
Yale Repertory Theater

The Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre will skip the entire 2020-21 season in response to COVID-19.

In a press release, the school says the decision was made due to the “incompatibility of theatrical production with the best public health practices in response to COVID-19.”

Pixabay

Father’s Day is next weekend. How will you spend Father’s Day? Will you have a socially distant celebration with your Dad? What is it like being a dad in 2020? On the next Where We Live, we’ll talk about social expectations for fathers as caregivers, and the impact an involved father has on the entire family, emotionally and financially.  

GUESTS:

eggy band
Eggy / Facebook

Self-isolation and social distancing have forced musical groups -- choirs, orchestras and other ensembles -- to temporarily disband or use unsatisfactory videoconferencing to rehearse because of the pandemic. But one Connecticut band whose members share a house in Woodbridge decided to self-isolate together, and they are making the most of it.

Miramax, LLC

No Country for Old Men. Fargo. The Big Lebowski. Raising Arizona. Barton Fink. Miller's Crossing. Blood Simple. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

Over the past 36 years, Joel and Ethan Coen have reliably been among the most recognizable voices in moviemaking.

This hour: a Noseish look at the work of the Coen brothers.

For nearly 200 years, the term “female husband” was used to describe an individual assigned female at birth who chose to live fully as a man.

Historian Jen Manion, a professor at Amherst College in Massachusetts, said from the 1700s to early 1900s, the British and American press wrote about "female husbands" in a mostly salacious and sensationalized way. And when their assigned gender was revealed, they were usually detained by police and run out of town.

The pandemic took its toll on Connecticut’s creative sector, especially performing artists. Safe social distancing meant closed theaters and music venues, and an end to live performances. But many artists decided to take their talents online, in the virtual world. 

time magazine titus kaphar
Time

Audio Pending...

This week’s Time Magazine cover is a painting by New Haven artist Titus Kaphar created in response to the killing of George Floyd. 

The painting, Analogous Colors, is powerful -- a black mother, eyes closed, holds her child close to her body. But Kaphar cuts the image of the child out of the canvas, revealing a mother holding the empty silhouette of her baby.

Do You Speak Corona?

Jun 10, 2020
EpicTop10 / Creative Commons

It took two years for the word AIDS to get from coinage to dictionary. It took COVID-19 thirty-four days. The pandemic has inspired a thousand new or repurposed words, slang, nicknames, and neologisms.

It has changed the way we speak.  

Amazon.com, Inc.

We've all seen any number of emails and Tweets and Facebook posts this week from companies supporting protests and the like. Entertainment industry firms have jumped on that bandwagon too, but The Washington Post's Alyssa Rosenberg has a different idea about how those particular players might be able to help: by shutting down all the police movies and TV shows.

And: Comedian Sarah Cooper has found an elegant, perhaps surprisingly effective way to lampoon the president. She just lip syncs to his own words.

And finally: The Vast of Night is the feature film debut of writer and director Andrew Patterson. He financed its $700,000 budget himself, and after its premiere at last year's Slamdance Film Festival, Amazon acquired it. The Twilight Zone-style sci-fi mystery debuted on Amazon Prime last weekend.

Facebook

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, theater companies in Connecticut are promising to do more to deal with racial injustice in their communities and within their own workplaces.

Betsy Kaplan

When did the horrors that once seemed unthinkable become commonplace? 

Alexandra Petri, satirist and columnist for The Washington Post, says this is an alarming and terrible time. Everything is more absurd but not much is funny. How do you make people laugh without losing sight of what's happening?  

Netflix, Inc.

Hannah Gadsby has been a prominent comedian in Australia for going on 15 years. In America, though, she arrived seemingly from nowhere in 2018 with a Netflix special called Nanette, which won a Peabody and an Emmy. Douglas is Gadsby's follow-up Netflix special. It's, as she calls it, her "difficult second album that is also [her] tenth and some people's first."

And: I Know This Much Is True is a six-part HBO miniseries set in Connecticut and based on the Wally Lamb novel of the same name. Mark Ruffalo plays two twin brothers, one who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and one who doesn't. Three episodes have aired so far.

Tony Fischer / Flickr

As the world waits for an end to Covid-19, billions of people find themselves betwixt and between two realities: The pre-pandemic reality we knew, and the post-pandemic reality that is yet to come. As author and Professor of Theology Shelly Rambo wrote in the wake of hurricane Katrina, "Life as it once was cannot be retrieved,... life ahead cannot be envisioned."

Hartford's Artists Collective
Shana Sureck / WNPR

A group of Black and Latino artists will convene today for the first time to find ways to support and diversify Greater Hartford’s arts community.

The Artists of Color Advisory Group was formed in response to a study by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. Its 2019 Greater Hartford Arts Landscape Study concluded that the region had a wealth of diverse artists but a limited amount of opportunities for them.

Pages