Arts and Entertainment

Dance
5:58 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

In Seattle, Maurice Sendak's 'Wild' 'Nutcracker' Reaches Its Final Act

Stowell (right) says Sendak (left) needed some convincing before he signed on to design a new Nutcracker. Their version of the ballet debuted in 1983.
David Cooper Pacific Northwest Ballet

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 6:32 pm

In Seattle, the Pacific Northwest Ballet performs The Nutcracker to that same ubiquitous Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky score. The ballet tells the story of Clara, a young girl whose grandfather gives her a nutcracker at a party. One night, Clara goes searching for her nutcracker and walks right into a battle between a regiment of toy soldiers and a wily team of oversized rodents.

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Monkey See
6:03 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Videos Of Ray Rice, Eric Garner Among Biggest Media Moments Of 2014

Protesters in Boston during a December demonstration against the deaths of two unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers in New York City and Ferguson, Mo.
Charles Krupa AP

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 12:08 pm

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Music Interviews
1:17 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

In The Still Of The Night, There's A Riot In Garth Brooks

In his early 50s, after a long hiatus, the country singer has a new album and is touring. "Music keeps you eternally young," he says. "It just does."
Daniel Boczarski Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 6:30 pm

There was a long stretch in country music when there was no bigger star than Garth Brooks. He ruled the country charts throughout the '90s, filled stadiums, played 250 to 300 shows a year. In 2001, he called it off. He retired from the road and the studio, and went back home to Oklahoma to be a dad to his three young daughters.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
10:39 am
Fri December 19, 2014

George Shearing's Holiday Set On Piano Jazz

George Shearing.
New York Daily News Archive Getty Images

British jazz pianist George Shearing was a friend and frequent guest on Piano Jazz. On this special edition of the program from 2001, Shearing joins host Marian McPartland to celebrate the holidays in a jazzy way.

The two reminisce about seasons gone by and perform traditional and contemporary holiday tunes, including "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and "Away In A Manger."

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A Blog Supreme
8:57 am
Fri December 19, 2014

An Upset Either Way: Steve Lehman And Wadada Leo Smith Triumph

Wadada Leo Smith finished second in the NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll, separated by only 12 points from surprise winner Steve Lehman.
Scott Groller Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 5:17 pm

Could anyone have predicted that Steve Lehman and Wadada Leo Smith would place first and second in this year's NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll, among a field including previous winners Sonny Rollins, Vijay Iyer and Jason Moran, plus 2011 runner-up (and favorite going in) Ambrose Akinmusire? Not me, and I even had Lehman and Smith on my ballot, along with Rollins and Akinmusire.

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Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts
11:57 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Highlights From Winter Jazzfest 2014

Donald Harrison performs at Winter Jazzfest 2014.
John Rogers for NPR

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 2:07 am

In the dead of January in the Northeast, New York City's Winter Jazzfest manages a minor miracle. Over the course of two marathon nights, it brings crowds in the thousands out to jam-packed theaters and clubs to see dozens of varied and sundry bands.

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Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program
11:15 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

In Memory Of 2014: Jazz Night Looks Back

Gerald Wilson, 2010.
Charley Gallay Getty Images for NAACP

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 8:48 am

This year saw the passing of numerous jazz legends. In Jazz Night In America's year in review, we pay tribute to bassist Charlie Haden, pianist Horace Silver and composer/bandleader Gerald Wilson, among others. We'll listen back to great live performances recorded over the past 30 years from these musicians — all from the WBGO vault — and highlight remembrances from friends and loved ones.

Playlist

  • Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, "Teri" (Gerald Wilson)
  • Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, "Carlos" (Gerald Wilson)
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Code Switch
3:17 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

An Updated 'Annie' And The Tradition Of Nontraditional Casting

Quvenzhane Wallis (second from right) stars in an updated version of Annie, produced by Jay Z.
Barry Wetcher Sony Pictures Entertainment

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 8:07 pm

That lovable moppet with the red dress, the curly hair, the big dog, and the even bigger voice is back.

This time, though, Little Orphan Annie is back with a difference: Quvenzhane Wallis is playing an African-American orphan in an ethnically diverse, up-to-date world. And that got us thinking about other instances where producers have breathed fresh life into familiar shows by making them dance to a new beat.

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Author Interviews
1:40 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Early On, Comedian John Cleese Says, He Had Good Timing But Little Else

John Cleese, pictured above in 1976 with Monty Python's Flying Circus (from left, Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones), says he worked hard to learn physical comedy by imitation — "It was not something I was naturally gifted at," he says.
AP

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 8:41 am

Performing live comedy is like "a series of little scientific experiments," says John Cleese. "When you do comedy in front of an audience, they are the ones who tell you whether it's funny or not," he tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies, and each subsequent night on stage is an experiment in making jokes land better than the night before.

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Monkey See
11:53 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Deggans: 'Fargo,' 'True Detective,' 'Transparent' Top Best TV Of 2014

Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson star in HBO's True Detective.
Michele K. Short HBO

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 10:44 am

When I was a kid, I loved reading Gene Siskel's movie reviews for the Chicago Tribune.

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