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Courtesy: UConn Muslim Student Association

The University of Connecticut’s Muslim Student Association is hosting a virtual art show and contest Thursday evening to raise awareness about the plight of China’s Uighur population.

Johnny Clez / Pixabay

The world of professional dance is competitive, ruthless and often reserved for a select few talented individuals. 

But since the start of pandemic, many dancers and dance professionals are stuck at home turning to social media as a creative outlet. And this hour, we dance!

Nana B Agyei / Creative Commons

Ghostwriting evokes an image of the writer who toils away in obscurity, secretly penning books credited to another. In reality, ghostwriters are just good at turning someone's undeveloped vision into a story that others want to read. Their services are in demand from people wanting help writing everything from celebrity memoirs to Instagram captions and online dating profiles.

Self-publishing is on the rise as our fixation on the solitary author and the stigma of ghostwriting recedes. Even rap and hip hop artists are getting on board.

This hour, we pull back the curtain on ghostwriting.

Ken Cormier

Many of us have retreated into hobbies and pastimes to deal with the stress of nearly a year of self-isolation and pandemic-related restrictions.

Quinnipiac English professor and poet Ken Cormier has taken it a step further, using his spare time to single-handedly create an indie pop album full of catchy hooks, wistful lyrics and masterful production value.

City of New Haven

The City of New Haven Department of Arts and Cultural Affairs is hosting a one-day virtual event to foster anti-racism in arts and culture.

Saturday’s event is titled "Unapologetically Radical" and is intended for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, as well as community activists, and arts organizations doing anti-racism work.

Michael Jackson

Avant-garde jazz trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith has been named a 2021 United States Artists Fellow. United States Artists is a national arts funding organization based in Chicago.

Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program / Facebook

Since its inception six years ago, the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program has become a focal point nationally for up-and-coming Native American playwrights, storytellers and actors.

Every year the program, also known as YIPAP, presents the Young Native Playwright’s Contest, the Young Native Storytelling Contest, and for the first time this year, the Young Native Actor’s Contest.

Janus Films

André Gregory has directed and acted in the theater for more than 50 years. He has appeared in a number of movies, including Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ, Woody Allen's Celebrity, Brian De Palma's The Bonfire of the Vanities, Peter Weir's The Mosquito Coast, and many more. He has starred in three movies about the theater with the playwright, actor, and comedian Wallace Shawn: A Master Builder, Vanya on 42nd Street, and the iconic My Dinner with Andre.

Gregory's memoir is This Is Not My Memoir. He joins us for the hour.

Well, less than two weeks into 2021 and the surprises just keep coming. Among the more pleasant ones so far: The popular app TikTok seems to have been taken over by sea shanties. Yes, sea shanties -- those catchy, sometimes bawdy songs of the sea. Just a few measures into one of these ditties and you can almost picture a ragtag group of sailors hoisting the jib in time with the rhythmic pounding of the shanty.

Beth Beverly / Diamond Tooth Taxidermy

When you think of taxidermy, you may imagine a trophy room in which mostly male hunters have mounted the heads of 12-point stags along wood-paneled walls. If so, your image would be incomplete.

Taxidermy has gone through many iterations since gentleman scientists turned to taxidermy to understand anatomy during the Enlightenment. Victorians added a touch of whimsy, decorating their homes with birds under glass and falling in love with Walter Potter's anthropomorphized cats.

Facebook

2020 is ending on a brighter note for Connecticut arts organizations, which have struggled to remain operational through the prolonged pandemic.

The Battle For Butter

Dec 27, 2020
Creative Commons

We tend not to think much about that pat of butter we put on our morning toast, including how the store-bought sweet cream butter we're eating likely pales in comparison to the rich, nutty flavor of  the cultured butter not found in many stores.

NPR's Book Concierge returns with more books than ever: 380+ new titles handpicked by NPR staff and trusted critics. Find eight years of Concierge recommendations all in one place – that's nearly 2,500 great reads.

Open the app now!

Facebook

Holiday shoppers now have an alternative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s called “Artists Sunday,” a new nationwide marketing initiative that encourages shoppers to take advantage of deep discounts on arts and crafts created by local artists.

Julianne Varacchi / Connecticut Public

Racial justice advocacy group CT Core – Organize Now! and spoken word artist Salwa Abdussabur are hosting the first Black Haven Film Festival. The live virtual event gets underway Friday.

Author photo of Rebecca F. Kuang
Kobi C. Felton

Rebecca F. Kuang started writing her first novel, The Poppy War, when she was just 19 years old. Now, the final installment in the author’s dark military fantasy series, The Burning God, comes out today.

This hour we talk with Kuang, who will also be starting a PhD program at Yale University in East Asian Languages and Literature. She has pursued an extensive academic career in modern Chinese studies—while also writing Nebula and Locus award-nominated fantasy novels.

Kuang’s stories weave the fantastic with her deep knowledge of twentieth century Chinese history.

Have you been reading The Poppy War trilogy?

Cuatro Puntos

The Hartford-based music ensemble Cuatro Puntos and the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford have partnered for a yearlong series of virtual concerts and discussions that intersect music and positive social change around the world.

Tim Matson / Pilobolus

Nearly 50 years ago, a group of Dartmouth College students met in a dance class. That chance encounter would later evolve into the world-renowned, Connecticut-based modern dance troupe Pilobolus.

Alonso Nichols

Liliana Cruz of Boston has just been selected for a school desegregation program. At dawn, she takes the bus to a mostly-white high school in the suburbs. There she makes friends, endures microagressions and racism, wrestles with her identity and finds her voice. That's the premise of Jennifer De Leon's debut novel “Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From,” which came out this year. 

Andry Fridman / Creative Commons

In the 1990s, the Southport Sockmen, otherwise known as Steven Bain and Steven Gawthrop, paid drunk people in Liverpool bars and clubs to give them the socks they were wearing. The Sockmen took photos of each “donor,” before placing each sock and its matching donor photo in a plastic bag. The police found 4,000 pairs of socks piled 18 inches deep when they arrived to arrest the pair for “acts of gross indecency.” The socks were also hanging from the furniture and lampshades -- and some were in the microwave. 

Yale Repertory Theatre

Gov. Ned Lamont has announced a new grant program that will help arts organizations impacted by COVID-19. The $9 million COVID Relief Fund for the Arts will support not-for-profit performing arts centers, performing groups like orchestras and theaters, and community arts schools.

Hartford Opera Theater

Zoom meetings have become a ubiquitous part of pandemic life. Business meetings, social functions -- really any gathering that used be held in person has moved to Zoom or a similar platform. Now that virtual world has become the setting of a new chamber opera being performed this weekend by Hartford Opera Theater -- live, on Zoom.

West Hartford Art League

The pandemic has interrupted a lot of industries, including the arts. Artists and museums have been hit particularly hard by this pandemic, but it has not stopped them from creating and sharing their work with the public. This hour, we hear from artists and curators on how they're sharing their craft with the public, while in quarantine.

A man in a hazmat suit represents the first COVID-19 testing site.
Hector Pachas

To close out the annual Stamford Innovation Week, community members say they had to get creative in COVID times to bring people together safely to celebrate. A group of 30 transformed three floors of a parking garage into a drive-thru interactive art exhibit. 

TOONMAN_blchin / Wikipedia

The art of tattooing has been traced back 7,000 years. While the significance or reason behind the oldest-known tattoos are total speculation, we do know that often, they were applied as sacred rites, and awarded as a signifier of adulthood. In Ancient Egypt, it’s likely they were used as a means of safeguarding women during pregnancy and birth. And in the ancient Greco-Roman world, they were applied on enslaved people who got caught trying to escape.

But today, the reasons for getting a tattoo are as distinct as the person getting them. Sometimes, it’s a memorial to a person or an experience or an idea. Sometimes, it’s nothing more than something that just looks really cool!

Now and then, though, the meaning changes, and the artwork needs to be covered up. So today, you’ll hear stories about how people have used tattoos to allow their skin to, shall we say, evolve.

The Ella Burr McManus Trust / Wadsworth Atheneum

Hartford’s Wadsworth Atheneum, the Old State House and the Hartford Public Library are offering a series of self-guided walking tours showcasing the art and history hiding in plain sight in the capital city.

theater closed sign
Corey Doctorow / Creative Commons

Hartford-area arts organizations impacted by COVID-19 can apply to participate in a new program aimed at building audience and capacity post-pandemic. The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving’s Catalyst for the Arts will feature six weekly group sessions, as well as private coaching sessions facilitated by HFPG and the consulting firms Fathom, CO:LAB and the Free Center.

For eight years, I hosted a storytelling show at the Mark Twain House, called The Mouth-Off. Five times a year, storytellers would take the stage with their true story on that night’s theme. Now that the pandemic has cancelled the remainder of this year’s season, I wanted to take the opportunity to play you some of my favorites.

You’ll hear all sorts of stories in this episode, but the one thing they all have in common? They all deal with relationships with authority figures - like parents, employers… or police.

Bob Ross, Inc.

It's been 25 years since Bob Ross died and 26 years since his The Joy of Painting went off the air. But there are 52 episodes of the show available to stream on Netflix. Bob Ross and Chill is a thing. The 403 full episodes available on YouTube have accumulated something approaching 250 million views. And last summer, The New York Times did a big Bob Ross investigation.

This hour: a look at the undying force for permed hair and puffy little clouds and happy little trees that is Bob Ross.

Plus: Could we do a show about Bob Ross without also talking Thomas Kinkade? No we could not. And so no we do not.

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