Arts

Arts and culture

Each April 1st, practical jokers get their kicks pulling the wool over people's eyes. There are little white lies, cunning schemes and elaborate hoaxes. Pranksters are alive and well in music, too. Test your wits with these musical smart alecks who run the gamut from clever clowns to serious scam artists. Score high and feel a surge of superiority. Score low and fancy yourself a true April fool.

It was December 1990 — more than a year before the first Anonymous 4 album was released — when NPR invited four slightly shy women into our studio to sing 13th-century Christmas music. Back then, we already knew the manifold beauty of their sound, its purity and accuracy, was something unique.

Now, some 25 years and 21 albums later, the a cappella vocal quartet is calling it quits at the end of 2015. But not before one final visit to NPR.

Dan Steinberg/AP

Does anybody remember the days when people on TV had to be nice, honest people you could root for? After seven seasons of the groundbreaking TV show Mad Men, neither do we.

The final season of the show is about to launch and so we've invited Mad Men creator Matt Weiner to play a game called "Glad Men" — three questions about people who try to cheer other people up. We'll quiz him on the lives of a success coach, a motivational speaker and a happiness guru.

Hear Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! Saturday at 10:00 a.m. and Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

Janette Beckman

This weekend, the Amphion String Quartet joins with clarinetist David Shifrin for a concert at the Coronado Performing Arts Center in Rockford.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

The NIU School of Theatre and Dance opens its production of British playwright Peter Barnes’ ‘Red Noses’ Thursday night , March 26, at Huntley Middle School in DeKalb.  The play, set at a time the Black Death was killing millions of people in medieval Europe, is a comedy. 

Dogs barking, wind howling, ice crunching, then the sudden "ch-ch-ch-ch" of a sawing beat: That's composer Derek Charke's opening salvo in his transporting piece Cercle du Nord III.

Can robots think and feel? Could there be a day when computers control our lives?

Watch the Spike Jonze movie Her, in which Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with an operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), and you get the sense days like these might be just around the corner.

Lorraine Adams Courtesy of Henry Holt & Co.

For his latest book, The Whites, novelist Richard Price decided to use a pseudonym: Harry Brandt. (In retrospect he decided that was a bad idea: "It was going to be different from my other books and I wanted to signal that," he told Fresh Air, but by the time he realized it was just "another damn book by me" it was too late to withdraw the pen name.)

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