Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen

Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen
The Peabody Award-winning show from PRI
Rebels without a pause
Jun 21 • 54 min
Thirty years ago, Public Enemy brought the revolution to hip-hop with “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.” Kurt Andersen talks with the graphic designer Bonnie Siegler about the history of protest art. And the newspaper comic “Nancy” gets a…
Shadows in the Sunshine State
Jun 14 • 54 min
Fiction, fantasy and reality in the Sunshine State. Lauren Groff talks about writing — and surviving — in Florida. The writer Carl Hiaasen tells Kurt Andersen how he turns sleaze into sunshine noir. In Celebration, Florida, fantasy meets reality. How the…
The Director of Hereditary on Family, Kids and Other Horrors
Jun 12 • 15 min
After its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, critics have called Hereditary the scariest movie of the year — perhaps even the scariest movie since The Exorcist. It’s a supernatural film starring Toni Collette about a family dealing with horrifying,…
‘Fahrenheit 451’ rekindled
Jun 7 • 54 min
An American Icons special segment about “Fahrenheit 451,” the cautionary tale about authoritarianism and free speech that has seen a sales surge since the 2016 election. How Tony Visconti, Bowie’s longtime producer, captured the artist’s career in a…
Science and Creativity: Way to Go, Einstein Part III
Jun 5 • 15 min
Columbia University astrophysicist Janna Levin talks to Kurt Andersen about gravitational waves, the book she wrote about the breakthrough called “Black Hole Blues,” and the arduous, 50-year journey to finally hearing the sound that proves a 100 year old…
Science and Creativity: Way to Go, Einstein Part II
Jun 4 • 18 min
James Gleick tries to imagine what Einstein would have thought about time travel. “For a while, I was hoping I could find a letter from Einstein,” he says. “My dream was that he’d read the ‘Time Machine’ and said ‘Ah ha!’ But of course, there’s nothing…
Science and Creativity: Way to Go, Einstein Part I
Jun 3 • 20 min
When he was growing up in Germany in the 1880s and 90s, nobody had pegged Einstein as a genius. He dropped out of high school and had to apply twice to a university in Switzerland that accepted students without high school diplomas. He did well at…
American Icons: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
May 31 • 54 min
How do you build a monument to a war that was more tragic than triumphant? Maya Lin was practically a kid when she got the commission to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall. “The veterans were asking me, ‘What do you think people are…
American Animals: Bart Layton’s New Breed of True Crime
May 29 • 17 min
In 2012, Bart Layton made his directorial debut with The Imposter — an ambitious true crime story that mixes documentary and narrative filmmaking. His latest movie further blurs the lines between fiction and reality: American Animals depicts a 2004 book…
Muppet regime
May 24 • 52 min
The latest installment in Studio 360’s American Icons series: The Muppets — how the world fell for Jim Henson’s troupe of puppets. Plus, teleprompters were supposed to make cue cards obsolete, but not on “Saturday Night Live,” where “Cue Card Wally”…
Science and Creativity: The Multiverse Part III
May 22 • 16 min
For a long time, mainstream scientists were deeply skeptical about the theory of multiple universes — but comic-book writers immediately saw the creative possibilities. University of Minnesota physics professor (and author of the book “The Physics of…
Science and Creativity: The Multiverse Part II
May 21 • 19 min
“The Crawick Multiverse” is a sprawling piece of landscape art tucked into Dumfries and Galloway in the Scottish countryside, on the site of what used to be a coal mine. The artist Charles Jenks took the BBC’s Anna Magnusson on a tour of the site.The…
Science and Creativity: The Multiverse Part I
May 20 • 17 min
Mark Oliver Everett (AKA “E”) is best known as the singer, songwriter, and driving force behind the indie rock band Eels. A lesser-known biographical detail about Mark: his father, Hugh Everett III, proposed the “many worlds” interpretation of quantum…
Pet projects
May 17 • 54 min
A show about how — and why — pets become our muses. Elias Weiss Friedman, the photographer behind the blog The Dogist, shows Kurt how to photograph a pooch and get that cocked-head, raised-ears look. Dog trainer Teresa Miller explains how she trained the…
When Bad People Create Good Art
May 15 • 25 min
In the MeToo era, so many creative people are being outed as bullies, sexual predators, and worse. And for journalists who cover arts and entertainment, it’s been a bit of a tightrope: How can you write about House of Cards or The Cosby Show ever again…
One mom at a time
May 10 • 51 min
The art of motherhood. Gloria Calderón Kellett talks about making “One Day at a Time” and the classic TV moms who influenced how she writes about motherhood. Novelists Louise Erdrich and Megan Hunter, along with Parley Ann Boswell, talk about the artistic…
Super humans
May 3 • 53 min
Creating superheroes. Kurt Andersen talks with “Superman” writer Gene Luen Yang on “Boxers & Saints” and “American Born Chinese.” Plus, the complicated — and sometimes divisive — issue of cosplay characters dressing up as a character of a different race.…
Ch-ch-changes: Making the Bowie Mashup
May 1 • 14 min
After touring the world for the last five years, the “David Bowie is” exhibit is making its final stand at the Brooklyn Museum. The show features over 400 pieces: diary entries, handwritten lyrics, artwork, and lots of unforgettable costumes.But Bowie’s…
One tall woman
Apr 26 • 53 min
Kurt Andersen speaks with Laurie Metcalf, the actor who is striking gold everywhere: she was nominated for an Oscar for her role as the mother in “Lady Bird,” stars in the Broadway play “Three Tall Women,” and, with most of the rest of the original cast,…
American Tricons
Apr 19 • 49 min
Three stories from the American Icons series. How “Amazing Grace,” a song written by a slave trader, came to be a civil rights anthem. Plus, a novel that featured “Amazing Grace” and helped popularize it, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book…
The Sound of One Claw Slashing (SNIKT!)
Apr 17 • 16 min
Now that it’s conquered the cineplex and Netflix, Marvel is going after your earbuds — with its first scripted podcast,Wolverine: The Long Night. It tells the story of Special Agents Pierce and Marshall, who arrive in a small Alaskan fishing town to…
A void: The Noid
Apr 12 • 52 min
An oral history of The Noid. It was a lighthearted Domino’s campaign, with claymation by the same designers who made the California Raisins — but it drove one man over the edge. Plus, Kurt Andersen talks with TV and magazine writer Nell Scovell about her…
Poets who know it
Apr 5 • 52 min
To celebrate National Poetry Month, we’re featuring some of our favorite American practitioners. Tracy K. Smith shares some of her surprising sources of poetic inspiration: David Bowie and the Hubble Space Telescope. And she chooses the winners to our…
A Room of Nell Scovell’s Own
Apr 3 • 17 min
You might not have heard of Nell Scovell, but you’ve definitely seen her work: she’s written for The Simpsons, Late Night with David Letterman, Murphy Brown and co-wrote the 2013 blockbuster book Lean In with Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl…
What Laurie Anderson lost
Mar 29 • 52 min
Kurt Andersen talks with performer and artist Laurie Anderson about her long career and her new book, “All the Things I Lost in the Flood,” and new album, “Landfall.” Jess Thom used to be kind of in denial about having Tourette syndrome, but then she…
The art of noise
Mar 22 • 53 min
A show about how sounds from household items and nature get turned into something else. First Kurt Andersen talks with Ben Burtt, the legendary sound designer who came up with the iconic noises in “Star Wars,” “WALL-E” and more. Then Kurt gets a lesson on…
When The Belly Room Grew — and Flopped — for Female Comics
Mar 20 • 15 min
In 1978, there were more female comedians in LA than ever before, and many of them were performing at the Comedy Store. But that didn’t mean they were treated fairly, or even given much of a chance to perform.The Comedy Store’s owner, Mitzi Shore, tried…
Babe I’m leaving
Mar 15 • 52 min
Just as art collector Peggy Cooper Cafritz was about to publish a book about the work of black artists she has championed, she died suddenly, and Kurt hears from some people who will miss her the most. Writer Richard Klin admits his love for one of the…
Late bloomers
Mar 8 • 52 min
Some of our favorite artists who hit their stride when the blush of youth was long gone. Hilton Als talks with Toni Morrison, who didn’t write her first novel until she was 39. David Chase was a writer and producer for television for decades, most…
The Brothers Weisberg on The Americans and Trumpcast
Mar 6 • 25 min
In 2013, novelist and former CIA officer Joe Weisberg created the FX TV series The Americans. It’s about a pair of Russian spies living as Americans in Washington D.C. Three years later, Joe Weisberg’s older brother, Slate’s editor-in-chief Jacob…
The shape of Oscar
Mar 1 • 53 min
Kurt Anderson talks with Doug Jones, the go-to guy to play creatures and monsters in Hollywood, about his performance in “The Shape of Water.” When it comes to political acceptance speeches at the Academy Awards, it’s a fine line between awe-inspiring and…
American Icons: The Lincoln Memorial
Feb 22 • 54 min
Kurt Andersen looks into how the Lincoln Memorial became an American Icon. Sarah Vowell discusses the battle over Lincoln’s memory, which lasted for three generations. Dorothy Height, a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, recalls witnessing Marian…
Wipe your nose!
Feb 15 • 54 min
Irish actress Denise Gough tells Kurt about her lean years before her two big breakout roles in London — both of which came to New York. A listener named Sam Cook left the church, but his love of Christian rock remains. In 1963, “The First Family” broke…
Learning to love Comic Sans
Feb 8 • 53 min
Kurt talks with Ruth Carter, the costume designer who recreated historically accurate clothing for period pictures like “Malcolm X,” “Selma,” and “The Butler,” but for “Black Panther” came up with a bold look for the future. Randy Levin is one of those…
Papa was a rolling stone
Feb 1 • 53 min
The musical children of musical stars. Sean Lennon on growing up with John and Yoko. Rosanne Cash’s surprising musical guilty pleasure. Joshua Redman on his fellow saxophone player — and father — Dewey Redman. And a performance from Rufus Wainwright.
Will Super Bowl Ads lay off bikini babes for #MeToo?
Jan 30 • 16 min
Even in this increasingly fragmented media age, the Super Bowl is one of those rare television events that really captures the country. Nearly one in three Americans — more than 100 million — tunes into the game. And while the NFL viewership in past eras…
Fantastic women
Jan 25 • 53 min
Daniela Vega, who stars in the Oscar-nominated film from Chile, “A Fantastic Woman,” tells Kurt about her own experiences as a transgender woman that she brought to the role. How the artist Linden Frederick got writers including Dennis Lehane and…
I killed Captain Kirk
Jan 18 • 52 min
Looking back on the half-century-long legacy of Star Trek, including six television series and 13 feature films. First, Slate cultural critic Marissa Martinelli tells Kurt about the new TV show, “Star Trek: Discovery.” Writer and producer Ronald D. Moore…
Breaker 1-9
Jan 11 • 48 min
How the oil crisis of the 1970s inspired C.W. McCall’s novelty trucker hit “Convoy,” launching a national CB radio craze. Theater designer Joshua Dachs tells Kurt how stages have evolved over the centuries — and why so many productions are now drawn to…
Staff picks, 2017 (Volume 2)
Jan 4 • 48 min
Kurt Andersen talks with Stevie Salas, whose documentary, “RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World,” highlights rockers like Link Wray, Jimi Hendrix, Jesse Ed Davis, and Robbie Robertson. Bestselling Young Adult author Angie Thomas on how the late TLC…
Staff picks, 2017 (Volume 1)
Dec 28, 2017 • 57 min
Celebrating a year that couldn’t end quickly enough with some of our favorite segments. Academy Award-winner Thelma Schoonmaker, who has edited every Martin Scorsese movie for the nearly four decades, talks with Kurt about editing Scorsese’s latest film,…
Where is Bobbie Gentry?
Dec 21, 2017 • 55 min
A theater in Memphis decided to stop showing “Gone with the Wind,” and Aisha Harris, a Slate culture writer and host of the podcast Represent, joins Kurt to talk about what many see as a nostalgia for slavery in the movie. At 50, there are two central…
That’s What She Said
Dec 15, 2017 • 14 min
Amid all the recent allegations of sexual harassment, June Thomas takes a look at how the issue is depicted on TV. “Watching television is something that millions of Americans do every night,” she says, “so storylines about sexual harassment can set a…
So you think you’re creative?
Dec 14, 2017 • 56 min
We’re always talking about creativity, but what do we mean? Can we find creativity, can we measure it, can we encourage it? Kurt talks with Gary Marcus, a psychology professor about what science tells us about creativity. A researcher puts jazz musicians…
Gay theater, then and now.
Dec 7, 2017 • 56 min
New York Times theater critic Jesse Green and playwright Paul Rudnick join Kurt to discuss groundbreaking gay theater over the past 50 years. How will plays like “Angels in America” and “Torch Song Trilogy,” which are being revived, hold up for today’s…
Studio360 | New Yorker Cover Illustrator Barry Blitt
Nov 30, 2017 • 16 min
Illustrator and political cartoonist Barry Blitt is best known for his New Yorker covers. Over the past three decades, he’s paired his signature ink and watercolors with his dry wit. This past fall he published a beautiful coffee-table book that’s a…
American Icons: The Disney Parks
Nov 30, 2017 • 55 min
Generations of Americans have grown up with Walt Disney shaping their imaginations. In 1955, Disney mixed up some fairy tales, a few historical facts, and a dream of the future to create an alternate universe. Not just a place for fun, but a scale model…
American Tricon
Nov 22, 2017 • 51 min
This week, a triple header from the series American Icons, which focuses on works of art that changed the way we think about America.First is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Scarlet Letter”: his 1850 novel about a woman being shamed for having an affair. Anna Sale…
I’m the Boss, Baby
Nov 16, 2017 • 55 min
Alec Baldwin, who these days may be best known for his depictions of President Trump on “Saturday Night Live,” joins Kurt to discuss how he has played many villains in his career, and their points of view might best be summarized by the words of the “Boss…
The Agonies of Small Talk
Nov 9, 2017 • 55 min
Sitting down with some of the smartypants whom the MacArthur Foundation just awarded its genius grants. Jesmyn Ward began writing about rural African American life after the horrors of Katrina and the loss of her brother. The playwright Annie Baker’s…
Tracey Ullman is such a character
Nov 2, 2017 • 55 min
Tracey Ullman is back, this time on HBO, and she talks with Kurt about her new series and her hilarious impersonations of celebrities including Judi Dench and Angela Merkel. An artist finds a use for Hillary Clinton’s unused victory confetti. And Author…
Dance Studio 360
Oct 26, 2017 • 56 min
Twyla Tharp is the most celebrated American choreographer working today, but that doesn’t mean she’d hoity-toity, and she talks with Kurt about choreographing to such accessible music at the Beach Boys, Billie Joel and Fran Sinatra. How Yillah Natalie…
Sugar Mouth
Oct 19, 2017 • 57 min
Artists Agnès Varda and JR were born 55 years apart but have so much in common, and made a lovely film, “Faces Places.” Have horror movies jump scares, like when the axe-wielding maniac lurches out of the bushes, gone from a reliable technique to a…
American Icons: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Oct 12, 2017 • 54 min
This is the story of America’s fight against authority.Ken Kesey had worked in a mental hospital, but his first novel was really a parable of what happens when you stand up to the Man—a counterculture fable that doesn’t end well. Despite his far-reaching…
Michael Chabon Sings!
Oct 5, 2017 • 55 min
Danny Strong joins Kurt to talk about how he began his career as an actor, evolved into as a writer of movies like “Game Change,” and just made his directorial debut with “Rebel in the Rye,” which is about the circumstances under which J.D. Salinger wrote…
Does Laughter Yoga Work?
Sep 28, 2017 • 55 min
Is the old cliché true — is laughter the best medicine? Kurt Andersen and Mary Harris, a health reporter at WNYC, go to a laughter yoga class to find out. Also, we hear from a neuroscientist who studies laughter and moonlights as a standup comedian. Comic…
Harvard’s Full of Morons
Sep 21, 2017 • 55 min
Steven Spielberg doesn’t like to talk about filmmaking much, but he talked (and talked, and talked) to documentary filmmakerSusan Lacy, who sits down with Kurt Andersen to discuss her definitive portrait of the master. Any classical musician will tell you…
Learning to Love “Fuller House”
Sep 14, 2017 • 55 min
John McPhee is the godfather of a certain kind of long-form creative non-fiction, and over the past half-century, he’s written over 100 articles for The New Yorker. He sits down with Kurt to talk about his new book, which is part memoir, part tutorial for…
Back to School Special
Sep 7, 2017 • 54 min
School is back in session, so Studio 360 is hitting the books. Kurt calls up his favorite teacher from high school to compare notes. The novelist Nicholson Baker signs up to be a substitute teacher. And comedian Aparna Nancherla reveals the shocking…
Casting ‘Moonlight’
Aug 31, 2017 • 55 min
Some of our favorite recent stories about movies. Kurt talks with Jenny Slate about how her movie career blossomed long after her inglorious stint on Saturday Night Live. Yesi Ramirez breaks down how she cast the Best Picture winner, Moonlight. A film…
Sing your “I want” song
Aug 24, 2017 • 54 min
Our favorite recent segments about the stage. Kurt talks with Frank Langella about his screen and stage career since his breakout role as Dracula in the 1970s. A budding soprano describes her unusual day job: determining exactly when subtitles should…
Say it loud: “moist”
Aug 17, 2017 • 54 min
Some of our favorite recent stories about books and the people who make them. Kurt talks with Claudia Rankine about capturing what racism really feels like in “Citizen: An American Lyric,” and to Helen Oyeyemi about her very un-Disney re-imagining of Snow…
When music punches you in the face.
Aug 10, 2017 • 55 min
Some of our favorite recent stories about music.What drove Carrie Brownstein to actually punch herself in the face when she was on tour with Sleater-Kinney, the haunting beauty and artistry of the “Twin Peaks” score, and Shamir plays insanely catchy music…
American Icons: Moby-Dick
Aug 3, 2017 • 54 min
Herman Melville’s white whale survived his battle with Captain Ahab only to surface in the works of contemporary filmmakers, painters, playwrights and musicians. Kurt Andersen explores the influence of this American Icon with the help of Ray Bradbury,…
Nikola Tesla: Strange Genius
Aug 1, 2017 • 48 min
The astounding mad scientist life of Nikola Tesla. Just who was this pioneer of radio, radar, and wireless communication? We discover his legacy in the work of today’s scientists and artists. Samantha Hunt’s novel The Invention of Everything Else is a…
Ready to “Rumble”
Jul 27, 2017 • 55 min
How many f-bombs and gun shots determine a movie’s rating? Howard Fridkin reveals the process of rating movies. Plus, how Native Americans shaped rock and roll history, and a live performance by NPR Tiny Desk Contest winners Tank and the Bangas.
American Icons: Native Son
Jul 20, 2017 • 55 min
This is the novel about racism that America couldn’t ignore.
Off Script
Jul 13, 2017 • 55 min
This week, Kurt goes through the looking glass into the world of conspiracy thrillers. Plus, Matt Walsh breaks down how he improvises comedy on the set of “Veep.” And Jimmy Iovine explains how he sold music in the ever-shifting music industry.
American Icons: The Great Gatsby
Jul 6, 2017 • 55 min
Episodes of false identity, living large, and murder in the suburbs add up to the great American novel.
Bee is for Blondie
Jun 29, 2017 • 55 min
Should arts organizations accept money from the Koch brothers? Art critic Philip Kennicott weighs in. Plus, Oscar-winning director Errol Morris talks about interviewing Elsa Dorfman and Donald Trump. And Blondie’s Debbie Harry and Chris Stein share music…
Tupac and Art Rock
Jun 22, 2017 • 53 min
This week, an episode about groundbreaking pop music: The music that preceded and followed Radiohead’s landmark album, “OK Computer.” Plus, an exploration of how the life of Tupac Shakur was mythologized — even by Tupac himself. And gospel punk band…
Across the Multiverse
Jun 15, 2017 • 51 min
Universe not big enough for you? There’s always the multiverse — many universes, scattered through time and space. In one world, you might drive a bus; in another, you might be a Formula One racer. If the idea sounds familiar, that could be because it has…
Homecoming Attractions
Jun 8, 2017 • 51 min
This week, Kurt talks with “Daily Show” Correspondent Hasan Minhaj about surviving the Trump Administration. Plus, the story behind one of the great literary hoaxes of the century: “Naked Came the Stranger.” And statistician Ben Blatt uses data analysis…
American Icons: I Love Lucy
Jun 1, 2017 • 51 min
This is where television invented itself.
Manchester, United
May 25, 2017 • 52 min
This week, a conversation with music journalist Eve Barlow about the terror attack in Manchester and the city’s rich musical history. Plus, “Master of None” co-creator Alan Yang reveals behind-the-scenes stories from the Netflix series, and an expert on…
Whoa, Canada
May 18, 2017 • 52 min
This week, as President Trump threatens Canada, we salute our neighbors to the north. Kurt gets his Canadian knowledge tested, k.d. lang talks about her Canuck roots, and Mac DeMarco plays live.
Twin Peek
May 11, 2017 • 51 min
This week, we head back to “Twin Peaks.” “Fargo” showrunner Noah Hawley talks about the impact of David Lynch’s cult TV show. Plus, what it was like growing up where the show was filmed, and the composers behind “X-Files” and “Breaking Bad” discuss the…
American Icons: Buffalo Bill
May 4, 2017 • 51 min
This was the American spectacle that colonized our dreams.He was the most famous American in the world — a showman and spin artist who parlayed a buffalo-hunting gig into an entertainment empire. William F. Cody’s stage show presented a new creation myth…
Handmaid in America
Apr 27, 2017 • 52 min
This week, why Margaret Atwood dedicated “The Handmaid’s Tale” to a woman known as Half-Hanged Mary. Plus, the Kinks’ Ray Davies shares his playlist of his favorite American songs, and the story behind that album with George Carlin’s classic bit, “Seven…
Fan Overboard!
Apr 20, 2017 • 51 min
This week, Studio 360 gets obsessed about fandom: a look inside the world of black cosplayers at ComicCon, Kurt visits a Japanese pop culture paradise, and an atheist proselytizes “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
How Sweet the Sound
Apr 13, 2017 • 51 min
How a church hymn became an American anthem: the surprising and complicated story behind “Amazing Grace.” Plus, a conversation with novelist Yewande Omotoso about her book, “The Woman Next Door.” And Aimee Mann reveals her biggest influences and performs…
American Icons: Superman
Apr 6, 2017 • 51 min
Disguised as a mild-mannered reporter, Kurt Andersen explores the history of Superman with cartoonists Jules Feiffer and Art Spiegelman, director Bryan Singer, novelists Michael Chabon and Howard Jacobson, and the 1978 Lois Lane, Margot Kidder. Is this…
“Shaft” and Present
Mar 30, 2017 • 52 min
This week, the story of “Shaft.” Plus, learn the lingo in a TV writers’ room with “Veep” showrunner David Mandel. And Kurt talks to author Osama Alomar about his collection of very short fiction, “The Teeth of the Comb & Other Stories.”
Pet Projects
Mar 23, 2017 • 51 min
This week, Kurt heads to a dog park and learns how to take the perfect pet portrait. Plus, the story behind “Share A Smile Becky,” Mattel’s attempt at creating a Barbie doll that used a wheelchair. And Carter Burwell, who scored the music for films by…
Magnetic Feels
Mar 16, 2017 • 51 min
This week, Kurt talks to comedians Kate Berlant and John Early about their absurdist new series, “555.” Plus, how filmmaker Garry Fraser went from being a heroin addict in Scotland to working on “T2: Trainspotting” — a movie about heroin addicts in…
American Icons: Monticello
Mar 9, 2017 • 51 min
The home of America’s aspirations and deepest contradictions.
Getting into ‘Get Out’
Mar 2, 2017 • 52 min
This week, Kurt talks to writer/director Jordan Peele about his new horror film “Get Out.” Plus, how Leonard Bernstein brought classical music from the concert hall to the living room. And Afropop band Sinkane performs live in our studio.
Political Art
Feb 23, 2017 • 51 min
This week, a look at artists — from the left to the right — getting political. Conservative painter Jon McNaughton talks about creating art in the era of the Trump administration. Plus, the Black Panthers’ brief foray into the music business. And Philip…
Oscar Preview
Feb 16, 2017 • 52 min
This week, we preview the Academy Awards. The casting director of “Moonlight” talks about the complicated process of finding the right actors for three different time periods. Plus, “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle guides Kurt through the classic…
Love is on the Air
Feb 9, 2017 • 52 min
Where do you turn when you’re heartbroken in the dead of night? Delilah, of course — her radio call-in show pairs romantic advice with the perfect song. Plus, we discover the surprisingly sweet couple behind one of history’s naughtiest gag gifts: edible…
Here’s Looking at You
Feb 2, 2017 • 52 min
This week, Kurt talks to former NEA chairman Dana Gioia about how the Trump Administration may target federally-funded art. Plus, screenwriter Robert D. Siegel reveals how a real-life story becomes a Hollywood movie. And Karina Longworth and Noah Isenberg…
The Scene and the Unseen
Jan 26, 2017 • 52 min
This week, a conversation with Oscar-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker, the story behind Marilyn Monroe’s most iconic moment, and a New York Times critic picks the timeliest show on TV.
American Icons: The Wizard of Oz
Jan 19, 2017 • 52 min
This is America’s dreamland.
Marilyn Monroe’s Long-Lost Skirt Scene
Jan 16, 2017 • 9 min
Marilyn Monroe’s most iconic moment — standing over a subway grate as her white dress billows up — was originally filmed in Manhattan in 1954. But a crowd of onlookers forced the producers to reshoot the scene in a Hollywood sound stage, and footage from…
POTUS as Tastemaker
Jan 12, 2017 • 52 min
Our inauguration special: A review of Barack Obama’s arts legacy, how fashion goes from inside the beltway to the runway, and “Game Change” co-author John Heilemann talks about the cultural tastes of Donald Trump.
How to Remember
Jan 5, 2017 • 52 min
This week, Kurt talks to Adam Driver, an architect tries to build a museum in Iraq, how Sly and the Family Stone created a pop music masterpiece, and Taylor Mac does a decade-by-decade revue of American pop.
Kurt’s Favorite Conversation of 2016
Dec 31, 2016 • 23 min
Jack Viertel is a human encyclopedia of musical theater. He’s the producer of hit Broadway shows like “Hairspray,” “Kinky Boots,” and “The Producers.” And he’s also the artistic director of Encores, a New York series that resurrects vintage musicals.…
Designing Life
Dec 29, 2016 • 52 min
From “Semi-Living Dolls” to glowing florescent illustrations, artists are using the tools of synthetic biology to grow their own materials and create works of art that are, essentially, alive. It’s one thing to wag our fingers at big scientific…
The Eerie Familiarity of “Man in the High Castle”
Dec 26, 2016 • 18 min
The Man in the High Castle, the Emmy Award winning TV series, imagines a world in which the Nazi’s won WWII. Set in the 1960s, the show blends actual pop cultural imagery and artifacts with fictional interpretations of an alternative ending to the war.…
Get a Clue
Dec 22, 2016 • 52 min
This week, Kurt creates a crossword with a New York Times puzzle-maker, a neuroscientist explains why so many people share the same false memory, and a theater company brings August Wilson back to his boyhood home.
Human Intelligence: A Holiday Tale
Dec 19, 2016 • 23 min
Kurt Andersen’s version of a Christmas story doesn’t have your typical talking snowman or mistletoe. Instead, this holiday tale involves extraterrestrial surveillance and melting polar ice caps. “Human Intelligence,” was produced for radio by Jonathan…
Close Encounters
Dec 15, 2016 • 52 min
This week, a stereophonic odyssey into the Amazon, the otherworldly nature of octopuses, and why a theater critic thinks Shakespeare is much ado about nothing.
Vince Guaraldi: A Charlie Brown Christmas
Dec 12, 2016 • 7 min
Nothing takes the edge off the holidays quite like the soundtrack to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” by Vince Guaraldi. The jazz musician and composer always wanted to write a standard. And since the “Peanuts” holiday special first aired in 1965, its score…
Way to Go, Einstein
Dec 8, 2016 • 49 min
This week, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity: how Einstein upended the way we see space and time, his effect on pop culture, and how one of his most preposterous ideas was ultimately proven right.
It’s Only Post-Natural
Dec 5, 2016 • 12 min
If you take a trip to your local natural history museum, you’ll likely discover the story of our planet told through vast collections of species, vibrant dioramas and exhibits on the evolution of life on earth. But historically, these institutions have…
And Don’t Call Me Shirley
Dec 1, 2016 • 52 min
An hour about spoofs, parodies, and lampoonery. Mel Brooks and David Zucker talk about the art of mocking movies. Then, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost deconstruct action flicks. And a live, unplugged performance by “Weird Al” Yankovic.
Sharon Jones’s Soul Revival
Nov 28, 2016 • 16 min
Sharon Jones burst onto the music scene about 10 years ago — she was backed by The Dap-Kings, a straight-out-of-the-1960s funk band with a fantastic horn section. And at just 5 feet tall, Sharon had all of the funk and spark of James Brown. The band was…
All Shakespeare All the Time
Nov 24, 2016 • 52 min
On the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, we look at the ways his work continues to change and adapt. In the 19th century, Shakespeare’s work got caught up in minstrel shows — and African-American actors are still struggling to claim the…
Remembering Ultra-American Musician Leon Russell
Nov 21, 2016 • 12 min
Leon Russell passed away last week — he was 74. During the 1970s, he forged a musical career unlike almost anyone else’s before or since: an ultra-American mix of country, blues, gospel, and rock n’ roll, collaborating with musicians from all those…
Y’all, Youse, or Yinz?
Nov 17, 2016 • 52 min
On this week’s show, novelist Brit Bennett reads from her debut novel, “The Mothers.” Plus, Josh Katz gives us a tour of American regionalisms. And Leonor Caraballo and Abou Farman create art in the face of the cancer.
DJ Shadow’s Record-Breaking Album
Nov 14, 2016 • 10 min
Twenty years ago this week, DJ Shadow set a Guinness World Record for creating an album made up entirely of samples, many of them from LPs he rescued from the 50-cent bin. But “Endtroducing” is also musically and compositionally inventive, and it caught…
This Land is Trump’s Land
Nov 10, 2016 • 52 min
This week: How a former reality TV star was elected president. Then, Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith writes a poem inspired by a Baton Rouge protester. And we explore the creation of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.”
Live from New York, It’s Election Night!
Nov 7, 2016 • 7 min
Nobody defined the satirical style of “Saturday Night Live” more than Jim Downey. He wrote for the show for over 33 seasons and was SNL’s head writer for 10 years. Downey gives us a behind-the-scenes look at how SNL crafted political sketches throughout…
Eugenia Cheng, Guilty Pleasures & Jacob Collier
Nov 3, 2016 • 52 min
On this week’s show, Eugenia Cheng whips up a delicious math lesson for Kurt. Plus, writer Sadie Stein defends one of the most detested words in the English language. Then, an art historian and a scientist explore the connection between bird plumage and…
Spooky Scary Studio 360: How to Make Your Skeleton Scary
Oct 31, 2016 • 6 min
Happy Halloween!Jack Handey, thinker of Deep Thoughts, takes on the ultimate holiday question: If a skeleton’s not scary, what’s the point of having one? He offers a few tips on how to make your skeleton live up to its reputation so you’re not burying…