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Arts and Culture

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Laura Nyro's most famous compositions -- "Stoned Soul Picnic," "Stoney End," "When I Die," "Wedding Bell Blues," "Eli's Coming" -- are jewels of mainstream music, and her covers of songs like "Jimmy Mack" and "Gonna Take a Miracle" are legendary.

But she was uncomfortable under the spotlight and withdrew from it to become the Belle of Danbury.

Trinity College

Ugandan-American musician Samite Mulondo combines music and storytelling in his performances. This hour, Samite returns to our studios to talk about his newest piece, The Story Of Mutoto, which he performs at the University of Saint Joseph this weekend.

And  Hartford’s art house theater Cinestudio celebrates fifty years of showing films this week. We talk with Cinestudio’s founders, James Hanley and Peter McMorris.

Courtesy: The New Haven Museum

The New Haven Clock Company Factory opened on Hamilton Street in the mid-1800s. At its peak, it was the largest timepiece manufacturing facility in the world. Hundreds of Connecticut workers built clocks and pocket watches -- and later fuses during World War II. 

Giuseppe Milo / Flickr

Nyctophiliacs rejoice! The color you know and love (black) is now blacker than ever before.  And nevermind that black is not technically a color. The point is that as you were traipsing through graveyards and reveling under the night sky, scientists were busy inventing two new shades which are so dark they'd make Wednesday Adams reach for a flashlight.

Ballake Sissoko kora instrument
B. Peverelli

Sherif Sissoko says it would have been one thing if his brother Ballaké’s car had been vandalized. But his musical instrument?

“He was traveling to India, to Israel, to China with this kora,” said Sissoko, who lives in Hartford and is also a musician. “It’s personal. It’s like a piece of yourself.”

Home Box Office, Inc.

The Outsider is a planned 10-episode HBO miniseries based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. It airs on Sundays nights, and we're six episodes in so far. The premise is actually pretty simple: What if a guy actually were in two places at once? Then what? The ramifications of that, though, are about as complicated as you'd expect from Stephen King.

And: a look at the Gayle King/Snoop Dogg controversy, our latest edition of Carolyn Paine Explains a New Dating Term, and Netflix finally changes that one thing you've always hated... unless you didn't hate it.

Renty – an enslaved man whose photograph was commissioned by Harvard professor Louis Agassiz in 1850.
Courtesy of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University

 

Norwich, CT resident Tamara Lanier believes she is the descendant of two enslaved people—Renty and his daughter, Delia. They were photographed in 1850 for Harvard professor Louis Agassiz, as part of his research to advance the racist theory that Africans had different origins from Europeans. Lanier wants those early photographs, and has sued Harvard for “wrongful seizure, possession and expropriation” of them. 

Rgaudin / Wikimedia Commons

Love is in the air around Valentine’s Day, and for some it may be the time for a romantic proposal. Today, love is something most people are looking for in a partnership with a spouse, but that hasn’t always been the case: In fact, for much of history, marriage was an institution that had very little to do with love.

U.S. State Department

New England art is well represented in U.S. embassies around the world. And at least until recently, art from Connecticut was hanging in the embassy at the center of President Trump's impeachment.

DonkeyHotey / Flickr Creative Commons

What is real is no longer a question for philosophers alone. In today's world, it's a question we all contend with on a daily basis. Online, on television, in print and in public discourse, facts, feelings, and flat-out lies all share the same stage.

LOREN JAVIER / flickr creative commons

Every year, The Nose almost accidentally ends up covering a broad swath of the movies that wind up being nominated for Oscars.

I was a little worried this year, though, that some nonsense that's going on with the government (and its attendant preemptions) might prevent us from seeing and talking about as many of the awards season movies as we'd like to.

It turns out that, one way or another, we somehow got to 15 Oscar-nominated films accounting for fully 71 Academy Award nominations. Phew.

John Eckman / flickr creative commons

We've done this show every year around this time for some number of years now. Unless we missed a year or two in there somewhere. But we've probably tried to do this show for every year that The Nose has existed. Of course, we aren't really sure how many years The Nose has existed.

But the point is: The 92nd Academy Awards are this Sunday, and so this hour, it's the 2020 edition of The Noscars, which will cover movies from 2019 just like the 2020 edition of the Oscars covers movies from 2019. Or something.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

William Outlaw is a natural leader. He's been a key figure in helping to lower New Haven's homicide rate over the last decade. He's a strategist and an organizer who can size up a situation quickly. He can defuse a threatening situation with his charisma and charm. He can run a business. 

As a street outreach worker in New Haven, he uses all the same skills today that he used when he co-ran New Haven's largest cocaine gang in the 1980's. 

puppet slam
Facebook

When you think of puppetry, you may think of the Muppets, or King Friday and the other hand puppets on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. But puppetry can also be a powerful way to convey more adult themes and emotions.

UConn’s Puppet Arts Program, along with the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, explores the edgier side of the art form with the Winter Puppet Slam this Friday night.

zigazou76 / Flickr Creative Commons

B.F. Skinner thought pigeons were so smart they could be used to guide missiles during WWII. He proposed a system in which pigeons would essentially pilot the missile. Skinner said pigeons could be trained to peck at a screen to adjust the trajectory of a missile toward its target. Project pigeon was funded but never used. It's one of the many reasons I could talk about pigeons all day. 

Simsbury High School is using the school’s musical production as a way to talk to students about issues of race and discrimination.

The musical Hairspray is set in 1962 Baltimore.

Teenager Tracy Turnblad has secured a spot on the Corny Collins Show, a local TV dance show. The dancers on the show are white, but once a month the show has “Negro Day.” Tracy, who is white, campaigns to make the show integrated.

Rob Mead Photography

Actor John O’Hurley is probably best known for his guest-starring role on Seinfeld as Elaine’s boss, J. Peterman, the pompous and often clueless catalog guru. In real life, the West Hartford native is a busy performer and an accomplished singer and dancer. He brings his one-man show to the Ridgefield Playhouse this Sunday.

Nestled in the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library at Yale University is an audio and video collection featuring many of the major musical figures of our time. 

The Oral History of American Music includes interviews with a wide range of musical figures, from Charles Ives to Laurie Anderson.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Sam Mendes's World War I drama, 1917, is currently the #1 movie in America. It won Golden Globe Awards for Best Director and Best Picture -- Drama, and it's nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, and Cinematography. The cinematography nomination is probably the least surprising one, as the entire movie is shot to look as though it was one long, unbroken take.

Connecticut Public Radio will present special holiday programming on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Please join us as we celebrate the life of Dr. King!

Connie Tsang

According to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the artists in most museums’ collections are 87% male and 85% white. Only 27% of major exhibitions are devoted to women artists world-wide. The New Britain Museum of American Art has taken the initiative to buck that trend. 

makelessnoise / Creative Commons

We like to open the phones and hear what's on your minds. We never know what you're going to say but we love that you call us to say it. 

MATT DWYER / CONNECTICUT PUBLIC RADIO

One year ago today, in the early morning hours, flames destroyed the long-closed American Shakespeare Festival Theater in Stratford.  

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

The Rise of Skywalker is the third and final movie in the third (and final?) trilogy -- the sequel trilogy in the trilogy of trilogies -- in the main, so-called "Skywalker Saga" of the Star Wars narrative. It's the eleventh Star Wars movie overall, the fifth since Disney bought Lucasfilm and took over the franchise, and the second directed by JJ Abrams (after The Force Awakens, the first of the Disney Star Wars films and the highest-grossing movie in the history of the United States). It is... somewhat divisive. The Nose weighs in.

And: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced that they're backing away from their role as royals.

Plus: Winter. You either hate it, or you love it.

Robert C. Demarest / Wikimedia Commons

Ram Dass' 1971 book, "Be Here Now," was the gateway drug into spirituality for a lot of young people seeking answers in the era of Vietnam.

Dass first tried being a psychology professor at Harvard, where he and colleague Timothy Leary, sought God through experiments with psychedelics. Then, he went to India and found his guru, who taught him how to feel high without the drugs. 

Connie Tsang

When you got to an art gallery, how much of what you see has been made by women? Women artists are underrepresented in most museums. But this year, a special series at the New Britain Museum of American Art will exclusively feature exhibitions by female artists. This hour, we talk with the museum’s director, Min Jung Kim.

The National Arts Program

Artists in Hartford and Middlesex counties are encouraged to submit their latest creations to the 2020 National Arts Program. Hartford is one of 90 venues nationwide chosen to participate in the program. The project culminates in a juried show, where artists in a host of categories can win cash prizes.

America and Iran have not had an easy relationship since 1979, when 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days by students supporting the Iranian Revolution. The resulting rise of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini further weakened the relationship.

Julia / Flickr Creative Commons

They're in the books we read, the shows we watch, and the art we hang on our walls. They conjure notions of might, magic, romance, and more. Castles, perhaps as much as any other architectural structure in history, define the landscape of our fantasy and imagination.

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