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Betsy Kaplan has been producing episodes of The Colin McEnroe Show for a decade. Today is her last day. (Ostensibly, anyway. She's producing our show next Monday, which isn't really how last days are supposed to work. But it's very much how Betsy Kaplan works.) The Nose is crestfallen.

And: In the Heights is the big (and/or small) screen adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's multiple Tony Award-winning musical. It is directed by Jon M. Chu and stars Anthony Ramos. It debuted in theaters and on HBOMax on Thursday.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Independent record stores in Connecticut and around the world will celebrate “Record Store Day” this Saturday. For people who prefer their music in vinyl form, it’s practically a national holiday.

Scouse Smurf / 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.

bixentro / flickr creative commons

The word "bastard" hasn't always been meant to offend. Used simply as an indication of illegitimate birth at first, the label "bastard" didn't bring with it shame or stigma until long after it first appeared in the Middle Ages.

Today, while its original meaning has not been forgotten, its use is largely reserved for insult. Yet, ironically, the underdog status once associated with a person of illegitimate birth is now something our modern culture celebrates.

From Alexander Hamilton to Game of Thrones's Jon Snow, the bastard's ability to rise above his or her unfortunate circumstances to achieve greatness has become something to root for.

Shervin Lainez

In 2017, the genre-bending band Lake Street Dive went from a quartet to a quintet. The band members asked their newest musician, keyboardist Akie Bermiss, to come on board with a “marriage proposal.”

Still from the movie "Music" of actress Maddie Ziegler
HanWay Films

When the preview for musical artist Sia’s debut film Music was released---- it received backlash from individuals on the autism spectrum. But it also sparked a conversation about neurodiversity.

Kyle Kaplan / Amazon Studios

After a long absence from Twitter, Donald Glover last week, in a series of since-deleted tweets, blamed boring culture on cancel culture.

After a long absence from the popular culture, Sinéad O'Connor has a memoir coming out.

And: The Underground Railroad is a 10-part limited series on Amazon Prime. It's Barry Jenkins's adaptation of Colson Whitehead's 2016 novel.

Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz / Facebook

The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz will return to Bushnell Park this summer. The festival, which draws upwards of 50,000 people each year, was silenced in 2020 due to COVID safety precautions. Now, with the easing of restrictions, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said the festival and other arts and culture events are back this summer.

Ann Larie Valentine / flickr creative commons

Bob Dylan turns 80 years old on May 24. His first album, 1962's Bob Dylan, is in its 60th year on record store shelves.

We're at a point where, for most of us, there has simply never been a popular culture in which Dylan wasn't a towering figure whose influence seems to touch, well, everything.

This hour, a look at Bob Dylan at 80.

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

Who's afraid of the Bix bad Beiderbecke?

Hartford has an amazing jazz history, and Colin has a lot of jazz musician friends. This hour, a little onstage jazz party recorded in front of a live audience long before the pandemic put a pause on live audiences as a thing.

Colin and the panel look to make jazz accessible to mere mortals. They talk about what makes jazz jazz, invite the audience to sing, and teach the audience to scat.

New Haven Symphony Orchestra

Elementary school music programs have seen a drop in the number of students enrolling in band or orchestra. The pandemic has forced music teachers to abandon their typical recruiting methods. But now a coalition of Connecticut symphony orchestras has stepped in with a series of free online services to encourage potential musicians to sign up.

HBO

The 2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees have been announced. Artists like Foo Fighters, Jay-Z, Todd Rundgren, Tina Turner, LL Cool J, Kraftwerk, and Gil Scott-Heron got in. Folks like Iron Maiden, Chaka Kahn, Rage Against the Machine, Devo, and Dionne Warwick did not.

And: Mare of Easttown is a seven-episode HBO limited series starring Kate Winslet. The fifth episode airs Sunday.

If you listen to public radio, you recognize Chris Thile’s name. He was the host of Live From Here

And if you’re like me, you knew him from at least one of his gazillion other music projects, like his band Punch Brothers.

hobvias sudoneighm / flickr creative commons

Semiotics is the study of sign process, which is to say: it's the science of the search for meaning.

And then, part of the underlying premise of semiotics -- which just happens to be part of the underlying premise of The Colin McEnroe Show, itself -- is that there's meaning... everywhere.

Why do people smoke cigarettes even though everyone knows they're terribly harmful? Why do women wear terribly uncomfortable high-heeled shoes? Could it simply be because those things are... interesting?

Steve Jurvetson / Creative Commons

Alex Trebek’s imprint as the host of "Jeopardy" looms large over the show, making it hard for anyone else to live up to the impeccable standard he demanded during his 37 seasons as the show's iconic host. But more than a dozen guest hosts have tried, from big winner Ken Jennings to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Who will the next host be and what will the next iteration look like?

Jjron / Wikimedia Commons

Aaron Rodgers leaked his dissatisfaction with the Green Bay Packers just before last week's NFL opening round. The NFL draft drew about 2 million people and has become something of a cultural event. In essence, he made himself the story within the story. So, what's going on with Aaron Rodgers? Does he have a future with the Packers, another NFL team, or will he head to Jeopardy and date Shailene Woodley?

Trevor / flickr creative commons

As we were preparing for our show on underdogs, I kept saying that we shouldn't overlook the fact that, often, to be an underdog in the first place, you have to be relatively bad at the thing you’re an underdog about.

The more we talked about it, the more I found myself making the case that losers and losing are fascinating.

And they are. There's a whole podcast about political candidates who lost. We romanticize losers in movies and TV and songs and stories.

Republic Records

Taylor Swift has announced plans to re-record six of her previous albums in order to own master recordings of her older catalogue. Fearless (Taylor’s Version), which came out last Friday, is the first of these six re-recordings to be released. Fittingly, this would appear to be the sixth Nose that is substantively about Taylor Swift.

And: If you're socially anxious (and who isn't, really?), you're gonna miss Zoom when it's gone. Oh, and speaking of social anxiety, meet Prancer, the Chihuahua who hates almost everyone.

Patrick Fore - Unsplash / Illustration by Chion Wolf

Reprise Records

Joni Mitchell's album Blue turns 50 this year. It may not have the artistic sophistication of her later albums, but Mitchell's vulnerability endeared her to fans, if not early critics unused to such intimate storytelling. That was okay with Mitchell. She said her "music is not designed to grab instantly. It's designed to wear for a lifetime, to hold up like a fine cloth."

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

Elvis left two legacies. Musically, he pulled several American musical traditions out of the shadows, braided them together, and made them mainstream. Personally, he created a far darker template for the way a musical celebrity could be devoured by the very fame he avidly sought.

Recorded live in front of an audience -- long before the pandemic hit -- as part of Colin's Freshly Squeezed series at Watkinson School, an hour about the artist who defined the birth of rock and roll and was the genre's first superstar.

Guy Walker Wolf III died on February 13th, 2021. He was 77 years old.

There are many ways to describe Guy, but I’d say we who knew him would all agree that he could be described as the captain of his own ship. And he was my stepfather. I’ve known him since I was 11.

Throughout the process of his death at home, I was compelled by the people who were a part of guiding us through it.

So today, I’m gonna introduce you to the people who helped Guy die, and who helped us celebrate him. From the hospice workers who came to the house, to the funeral home director, to the cantor who sang at his mass.

You’ll meet his wife, my mom, and hear about how she made the choices she did, and how it feels to be a new widow. And at the end of the show, you’ll hear a little something from Guy.

Leeber / flickr creative commons

On March 6, Lou Ottens died in Duizel in the Netherlands. He was 94. I don't think I had ever heard of Ottens before, but the news of his death quickly filled my social media feeds. Ottens, you see, invented the compact cassette in the 1960s.

There's a certain romance to the cassette tape, right? They're more fun than mp3s, for sure. And it turns out they're having a little mini resurgence right now.

Still from the movie "Music" of actress Maddie Ziegler
HanWay Films

When the preview for musical artist Sia’s debut film Music was released---- it received backlash from individuals on the autism spectrum. But it also sparked a conversation about neurodiversity.

Miseal Martinez

When singer Niu Raza wrote the song “Madagascar,” she wanted to capture the feeling of home through her lyrics and sound.

In an interview with NEXT, Raza said she brought in traditional Malagasy singing from her home country of Madagascar and blended it with the influences of pop music and Afrobeat. “Madagascar” is featured on her first full-length album “Mm-hmm,” which was released earlier this year.

Kevin Kennedy / The Sphinx Organization

Sphinx Virtuosi is a conductor-less chamber ensemble comprising 18 Black and Latinx classical musicians. The group will present a virtual concert this weekend and then launch a mentorship program for student musicians from Bridgeport.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public

This hour, we talk about two Connecticut dance halls, each springing from the vision of two very different men who took their respective dance halls down very different paths. One's dream soared, bringing thousands of concert-goers to over 3,000 acts over an 11-year history. The other's dream stalled, his elaborate dance hall sitting idle for decades.

Brandon Carson / Creative Commons

We reair Colin's 2016 interview with Patti Smith at the Immanuel Congregational Church in Hartford when she was in town for a Mark Twain House event. The church was filled to the rafters with a capacity crowd of 700 people who remained enraptured by her presence throughout the entire evening. If you don't know her, you may come to love her after hearing this very funny and endearing interview. 

Chion Wolf

As part of our Reports From Recovery series, today we’re hearing from two women whose heroin addictions shook up their lives, and put them right up close to the edge of existence.

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.

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