Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen

Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen

www.pri.org/programs/studio-360
The Peabody Award-winning show from PRI


Extra: Guilty Pleasure: Comic Sans
Nov 12 • 10 min
The childlike, cartoonish typeface Comic Sans is the most hated font in the world. Twenty-five years after its release, it’s become notorious for showing up in seemingly inappropriate contexts, from office memos to newspapers and government documents. But…
Mark Morris, Carmen Maria Machado and ‘Rocky and Bullwinkle’
Nov 7 • 53 min
Kurt Andersen talks with the choreographer Mark Morris about how music has always been central to his work. The author Carmen Maria Machado reveals how an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” had the unlikely effect of helping her write her new…
Why Should Tenors Have All the Fun?
Nov 5 • 22 min
Mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton is a rising opera star, performing on some of the world’s most venerable classical music stages. In concert halls from London to New York, Barton not only flaunts her velvety rich tone, but also her commitment to social justice…
American Icons: The tales of Edgar Allan Poe
Oct 31 • 54 min
Edgar Allan Poe’s stories are so familiar they’ve become part of our cultural wallpaper. A raven croaking “nevermore?” An enemy bricked up in a cellar? A heart beating under the floorboards? These images are the stuff of our collective nightmares, but Poe…
Extra: New York Icons: ‘The Bell Jar’
Oct 29 • 32 min
The Bell Jar is often read as a sort of literary suicide note by poet Sylvia Plath. The autobiographical novel memorably follows her first attempt at taking her own life and her experiences living in a mental institution and undergoing electroshock…
Michelle Obama’s portraitist and ‘96 Tears’
Oct 24 • 55 min
Kurt Andersen talks with Amy Sherald, who painted the official Michelle Obama portrait, about her strict religious upbringing, the surreal experience of interviewing with the Obamas and why she’ll only ever paint African Americans. Our latest American…
Extra: Ranky Tanky: Live in Studio 360
Oct 22 • 28 min
Charleston band Ranky Tanky draws on the musical traditions of the Gullah culture from the Lowcountry region of the Southeastern U.S. They perform live in Studio 360 and then break the music down into its essential components, explaining what exactly…
‘The Searchers’ and ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’
Oct 17 • 54 min
Two highlights from our American Icons special series. First, producer Arun Venugopal revisits “The Searchers,” the John Ford film starring John Wayne that is widely regarded as a masterpiece, but which many see as racially problematic in the way that…
Extra: This Woman’s Work: ‘Hounds of Love’ by Kate Bush
Oct 15 • 29 min
This Woman’s Work is a series of stories from Classic Album Sundays and Studio 360 highlighting classic albums by female artists who have made a lasting impact on music and pop culture. This time we’re looking at the artist who inspired the name of this…
‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ and Liz Phair
Oct 10 • 55 min
Our latest Americans Icons segment is about “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Maya Angelou’s first book broke boundaries when it was published 50 years ago and still profoundly resonates with readers today. And Kurt Andersen talks with Liz Phair, the…
Antonio Banderas, the Joker’s makeup and ‘I Want You Back’ at 50
Oct 3 • 55 min
Kurt Anderson talks with Antonio Banderas about “Pain and Glory,” where he plays his longtime friend and collaborator –– and the director of this same movie –– Pedro Almodóvar. With the opening of “Joker,” starring Joaquin Phoenix, Kurt talks with Rick…
Extra: David Byrne and the birth of Talking Heads
Oct 1 • 15 min
David Byrne’s stage show “American Utopia” is heading to Broadway in October. The show will feature songs from his latest album of the same name, as well as some older works from his former band, Talking Heads. This month also marks the 35th anniversary…
Fred Wilson, Uta Hagen and ‘The Most Mysterious Song on the Internet’
Sep 26 • 54 min
Conceptual artist Fred Wilson has spent much of his career examining how museum collections are chosen and exhibited, so Kurt Andersen meets Wilson at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a chat and a tour. With this year marking the centennial of the birth…
Guest host Hari Kondabolu with Hannah Gadsby and more!
Sep 19 • 54 min
Stepping in for Kurt Andersen this week, guest host Hari Kondabolu, the stand-up comic, gets the hour started with a conversation with fellow comic Hannah Gadsby. They discuss the success (and blowback) from Gadsby’s Netflix special last year, “Nanette,”…
Extra: New York Icons: ‘Siembra’
Sep 17 • 25 min
Studio 360’s American Icon series has explored dozens of influential works of art and entertainment that have shaped who we are as Americans. Now we turn to our hometown of New York for a new batch of Icons stories about works of art that were born in the…
Guest host Hanif Abdurraqib!
Sep 12 • 54 min
The writer and poet Hanif Abdurraqib fills in for Kurt Andersen. Hanif talks to fellow writer — and fellow proud Midwesterner — Ashley C. Ford about some of her inspirations, including Toni Morrison (who, yes, was also from the Midwest). Then, with the…
Guest host Maeve Higgins!
Sep 5 • 54 min
Writer and comedian Maeve Higgins fills in as guest host this week, interviewing playwright Michael R. Jackson about his new musical “A Strange Loop” and artist-journalist Molly Crabapple about her illustrations of ISIS-occupied Syria. Plus, the creators…
Extra: Day Jobs — Unannounced Standardized Patient
Sep 3 • 11 min
Most artists have to lead a sort of double life: holding down a steady job during the day that allows them to do what they love in their free time. Alex Kramer is an actor who lives in Brooklyn, but he moonlights as an “unannounced standardized patient”:…
‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ continued
Aug 29 • 54 min
“The Handmaid’s Tale” is getting a sequel, “The Testaments,” so it’s a good time to look at what originally influenced Margaret Atwood, and how the book continues to influence others. First, Atwood herself talks about her inspirations for the book — the…
Shades of noir
Aug 22 • 54 min
When noir haunts and inspires. Portishead’s seminal album “Dummy,” which came out 25 years ago this week, was inspired by the band members’ obsession with mid-century spy movies. Karen Russell was struggling writing her first novel when she saw the…
Extra: Touring Edgar Allan Poe’s Baltimore with Laura Lippman
Aug 20 • 11 min
Laura Lippman is an Edgar Award-winning author of detective fiction, most famously for the Tess Monaghan series. And this summer, she has a new book on the New York Times Best Seller list called “Lady in the Lake.” Kurt Andersen recently visited Baltimore…
Taking stock of Woodstock
Aug 15 • 53 min
Fifty summers after Woodstock. First, Kurt Andersen talks with Sha Na Na co-founders Robert Leonard and George Leonard about the utter incongruity of a ’50s throwback band taking the stage at the festival. The Jimi Hendrix version of the national anthem…
Hallelujah
Aug 8 • 54 min
Nick Waterhouse, the Los Angeles-based musician who has cultivated a ’50s and ’60s inspired sound, joins Kurt Andersen to perform live and talk about his influences and his self-titled fourth album. For our latest installment of Guilty Pleasures, the…
Extra: Remembering Toni Morrison
Aug 6 • 19 min
Toni Morrison, the author of books including “Beloved” and “Song of Solomon,” died on August 5 at the age of 88. Her novels won the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize, and in 2012, Barack Obama awarded her a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Morrison’s work…
Extra: American Icons: ‘Mad Magazine’
Aug 6 • 21 min
After a 67-year run, the “usual gang of idiots” will no longer be serving up the snark. After the August 2019 issue of “Mad Magazine,” old material will be reprinted with new covers, but you won’t find any new parodies or cartoons in those pages, aside…
American Icons: ‘Moby-Dick’
Aug 1 • 53 min
August 1 marks the 200th anniversary of Herman Melville’s birth. To celebrate, we’re revisiting our Peabody Award-winning American Icons hour on his masterpiece, “Moby-Dick.” Melville’s white whale survived his battle with Captain Ahab only to surface in…
John Leguizamo, Nipsey Hussle’s legacy and re-choreographing ‘Oklahoma!’
Jul 25 • 53 min
Kurt Andersen talks with John Leguizamo about his latest one-man play, “Latin History for Morons,” and his career toggling between film and theater. The revival of “Oklahoma!” took a bold approach to updating the well-known musical, including the play’s…
Extra: This Woman’s Work: ‘The B-52’s’
Jul 23 • 30 min
Here’s another edition of This Woman’s Work, a series of stories from Classic Album Sundays and Studio 360 where we highlight classic albums by female musicians, women who continue to influence the world of pop culture and inspire others. This time, we’re…
On a high note
Jul 18 • 53 min
An episode about singers, alone and in harmony. The latest installment of This Woman’s Work, a series from Classic Album Sundays and Studio 360 highlighting classic albums by female artists, focuses on “Lady Sings the Blues” by Billie Holiday, whose role…
Lynn Shelton, Ursula von Rydingsvard and worshipping Cruella de Vil
Jul 11 • 53 min
Kurt Andersen talks with the director Lynn Shelton about how conspiracy theories and improvisation figure into her new film, “Sword of Trust,” which stars Marc Maron. Michael Bowen felt isolated growing up, but then he saw the animated feature film “One…
Extra: The Craft of John Leguizamo’s Theatrical Schizophrenia
Jul 9 • 26 min
John Leguizamo has a long and successful film and TV career. Early on he had recurring roles on Miami Vice and ER and worked with directors like Brian DePalma, Spike Lee, and Baz Lurhman. And he also provided a voice in the endless animated franchise Ice…
Live with Studio 360!
Jul 4 • 54 min
Our recent live show was recorded in New York on a glorious spring day on the High Line, the elevated park. It begins with Kurt Andersen welcoming to the stage Friends Who Folk, the music comedic duo of Rachel Wenitsky and Ned Risely, who perform and…
‘Los Espookys,’ Stonewall on film and mistaking ‘multiple discoveries’ for stolen ideas
Jun 27 • 54 min
Kurt Andersen talks with Julio Torres and Ana Fabrega — two of the co-creators, writers, producers and stars of the new HBO series “LosEspookys.” Gauging how films have shaped — and skewed — our understanding of the Stonewall uprising, with Mark Segal,…
Extra: American Icons: Shaft
Jun 25 • 24 min
In 1971 Richard Roundtree stepped out of a subway entrance to the Oscar-winning sounds of Isaac Hayes, and changed American movie-making. The box-office success of Shaft, about a fiercely independent, courageous, and sexy private eye, led to an explosion…
John Cameron Mitchell, Taffy Brodesser-Akner and a Doom Metal Schoolteacher
Jun 20 • 54 min
Journalist Taffy Brodesser-Akner talks with Kurt Andersen about her first novel, “Fleishman Is in Trouble,” a book about divorce that has both humor and bite. John Cameron Mitchell was behind the punk musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” and his latest…
Extra: Nick Waterhouse Live on Studio 360
Jun 18 • 28 min
Los Angeles-based musician Nick Waterhouse weaves together classic rhythm and blues, jazz, and soul, lending his songs a ‘50s and ‘60s inspired sound. Waterhouse stopped by Studio 360 to tell Kurt Andersen about his self-titled fourth album. Learn more…
The Spektor of performing on Broadway
Jun 13 • 53 min
Singer-songwriter Regina Spektor talks with Kurt Andersen about her upcoming Broadway residency and, seated at a Steinway, performs some songs. The story behind the Empire Zinc strike 70 years ago and the film it inspired, “Salt of the Earth.” And how one…
Extra: Deadwood Creator David Milch on Swearing and Swearengen
Jun 11 • 18 min
To commemorate Deadwood and its long-awaited conclusion, Kurt Andersen revisits his 2006 conversation with the show’s creator, David Milch. They discuss the show’s reprobate cast of characters and their florid, profane dialogue. “I did a lot of research,”…
‘Booksmart’ besties, and ‘Ishtar’ reconsidered
Jun 6 • 54 min
In 1987 Elaine May’s comedy “Ishtar” was savaged by critics and flopped spectacularly, but it turns out that the movie is actually pretty funny — and the reason it failed is pretty complicated. Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, the stars of “Booksmart,”…
American Icons: ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ — Part Two
May 30 • 53 min
A half century later, Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” is still shaping our future. With no help from CGI, the movie predicted private space travel, artificial intelligence and much of Apple’s product line. It showed the promise and perils of…
How the Stars of Booksmart Became Best Friends to Portray Best Friends
May 28 • 23 min
Booksmart is a new movie directed by Olivia Wilde, about two smart young women, Molly and Amy, who are best friends finishing at the top of their class because they spent high school doing homework and volunteering instead of partying so they could get…
Drama club
May 23 • 53 min
Theater magic, starting with “Tootsie” composer David Yazbek and musical theater obsessive John McWhorter on the art and wonder of tongue-twisting patter songs. Kurt Andersen talks with performance artist Taylor Mac on writing the new Broadway play,…
This Woman’s Work: Billie Holiday’s Lady Sings the Blues
May 21 • 27 min
This Woman’s Work is a series of stories from Classic Album Sundays and Studio 360, highlighting classic albums by female artists that have made a lasting impact on music and pop culture. This time, we focus on Lady Sings the Blues by legendary jazz…
Why Werner Herzog loves cat videos
May 16 • 53 min
Kurt Andersen talks with filmmaker Werner Herzog about his latest documentary, “Meeting Gorbachev,” his unusual approach to narrating documentaries and their mutual obsession with cat videos. One of the busiest directors of TV comedy, Beth…
John Cameron Mitchell’s Genre-Defying Podcast Musical
May 14 • 25 min
In Anthem: Homunculus, John Cameron Mitchell and composer Bryan Weller have taken the podcast musical to new heights. They join Kurt to discuss the shows origins, and perform a song live in our studio. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit…
American Icons: ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ — Part One
May 9 • 54 min
A half century later, Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” is still shaping our future. With no help from CGI, the movie predicted private space travel, artificial intelligence and half of Apple’s product line. It showed the promise and perils of…
Karl Ove Knausgård and the musical activism of Ani DiFranco and Pete Seeger
May 2 • 53 min
Kurt Andersen talks with novelist Karl Ove Knausgård about his nonfiction book about Norwegian painter Edvard Munch. Ani DiFranco’s new memoir chronicles the ups and downs of being a feminist folk hero. Pete Seeger would have been 100 this week, and Kurt…
Ali Smith’s great post-Brexit novel
Apr 30 • 16 min
Ali Smith’s 2016 book Autumn was heralded as the first great post-Brexit novel. Kurt talks with her about politics, art, and the very nature of time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Patti Smith’s ‘Horses,’ Susan Choi and a police poet
Apr 25 • 54 min
Kurt Andersen talks with Susan Choi, whose engrossing new novel about on- and offstage drama at a performance arts high school is called “Trust Exercise.” How Edward Doyle-Gillespie ended up writing poetry about being a Baltimore cop. And This Woman’s…
Daveed Diggs and Suzan-Lori Parks, ‘In the Pines’ and supernumeraries
Apr 18 • 53 min
Kurt Andersen talks with playwright Suzan-Lori Parks about “White Noise,” along with one of the play’s stars, Daveed Diggs from the original cast of “Hamilton.” Iggy Berlin explains what he does as an extra for operas and ballets, where they’re called…
In the Footsteps of Merce Cunningham
Apr 16 • 11 min
This month marks the birth centennial of American dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham. His defiant work transformed contemporary arts beyond dance. Cunningham talks about movement and technology, and dancers Daniel Roberts and Bill T. Jones tell us…
Portraits of the artists
Apr 11 • 54 min
At 82, the writer Frederic Tuten has published a memoir of his formative years in New York, “My Young Life,” and Kurt Andersen strolls the East Village with him as he reminisces. Cartoonist Cathy Guisewite looks back at how some of her own struggles and…
This Woman’s Work: Patti Smith’s Horses
Apr 9 • 25 min
Studio 360 is teaming up with Classic Album Sundays for a series of storiescalled This Woman’s Work, highlighting classic albums by female artists. We’ll talk about records that represent women musicians at the peak of their creative powers, and whose…
Mob mentalities
Apr 4 • 53 min
Understanding our fascination with the criminal underworld. Jia Zhangke’s takes an empathetic look at criminal brotherhoods in China in his new gangster film “Ash Is Purest White.” Stand-up comics reveal what it was like working in Vegas when mobsters…
Susan Choi’s Surprising Side Project
Apr 2 • 20 min
Susan Choi’s new novel, Trust Exercise, is a story about trust, betrayal, and the blurry lines between fiction and real life. It focuses on a group of teenagers at a performing arts high school in the 1980s and their fraught relationships with the…
Remembering Agnès Varda
Mar 31 • 21 min
The trailblazing filmmaker Agnès Varda died on Friday of breast cancer at age 90. In tribute to her, we’re revisiting Kurt’s 2017 interview with Varda and her collaborator JR. Their Oscar-nominated movie, Faces Places,documents their loving — albeit…
Let’s do the time warp
Mar 28 • 54 min
Our monsters, ourselves: Why creatures repel us, yet attract us. Our latest American Icons segment is about “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” and producer June Thomas reports on how the movie became an audience-participation phenomenon — and gave a sense…
Cracking cases
Mar 21 • 53 min
Kurt Andersen talks with Marcia Clark, prominent again after two highly regarded television shows revisited her role prosecuting the O.J. Simpson case, and who now has a new legal-drama TV show, “The Fix.” And producer Sam Kim takes on a case of his own:…
Jia Zhangke’s Empathetic Eye
Mar 19 • 20 min
For much of his career, Jia Zhangke’s films were officially banned in his home country, China. But through austere, realist movies like Still Life, Platform, and The World, Jia became one of the most celebrated directors on the international arthouse…
Why Yanni happened
Mar 14 • 52 min
Kurt Andersen talks with director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck about his new film “Never Look Away,” and why the director interviewed the artist Gerhard Richter extensively to make a film that is only kind of about Richter. Plus, how Yanni, John Tesh…
The Playbill of Rights
Mar 7 • 51 min
Kurt Andersen talks with Heidi Schreck about her new play, based on oratory competitions she took part in as a teenager, called “What the Constitution Means to Me.” Siblings Elan and Jonathan Bogarín join Kurt to talk about their new documentary “306…
Arresting Poetry
Mar 5 • 13 min
Edward Doyle-Gillespie always found writing stories cathartic, a way to process whatever was going on in his life. But as a police officer in Baltimore, witnessing people in the most desperate conditions, he increasingly turned to poetry as a vehicle for…
These go to 11
Feb 28 • 51 min
Kurt Andersen talks with author N.K. Jemisin about writing, politics, and her new book “How Long ‘til Black Future Month?” Our latest American Icons segment is about “Cross Road Blues,” the song that helped to posthumously popularize — and mythologize —…
The Oscar hour
Feb 21 • 51 min
The annual Oscar hour. Kurt Andersen starts it off with his takeaway from this year’s crop of nominees: some actors delivered great performances in films that overall were not so great. Then Kurt talks with Richard E. Grant about his nomination for “Can…
The Crack Monster: The Mystery Behind Sesame Street’s Creepiest Cartoon
Feb 19 • 27 min
In the mid-1970s, Jon Armond was traumatized by something he saw on Sesame Street. It was a cartoon about a little girl who encounters creatures formed by the cracks on her bedroom wall — including a horrifying, screaming face who called himself “The…
Sex seen
Feb 14 • 51 min
As Cupid takes aim this week, a look at how sex and sexuality are handled — and mishandled — on-screen. Kurt Andersen speaks with Slate’s Jeffrey Bloomer on depictions of first-time sex. Intimacy-scene consultant Alicia Rodis describes how she helps…
Honky tonk angels
Feb 7 • 51 min
An hour on country music: past, present and future. Nashville-based music reporter Jewly Hight gives Kurt an update on how women artists in country music are forging new paths in an industry that’s become unwelcoming. Dolly Parton reflects on her long…
Behind the Curtain at Autism-Friendly Broadway Shows
Feb 5 • 13 min
In 2015, an autistic boy disrupted a performance of The King & I on Broadway, reacting loudly to a scene where a slave is whipped. He and his mother were asked to leave the theater. After the performance, one of the actors from the ensemble posted a…
Found in translation
Jan 31 • 53 min
Natasha Wimmer, whose translations of Roberto Bolaño are extraordinary, tells Kurt Andersen about her rules of the road. Plus, the play “Behind the Sheet” helps to expose and reassess J. Marion Sims, a pioneer in gynecology whose advances came at the…
Shall we dance?
Jan 24 • 52 min
An hour on continuing innovations in American dance. Choreographer Donald Byrd uses dance to illuminate what it means to be black in America. Elizabeth Streb speaks with Kurt Andersen about how she defies gravity with her “extreme action” techniques. And…
From Aria Code: Dalila, the Femme Fatale
Jan 22 • 31 min
On this Studio 360 extra, we’re sharing a great new podcast called Aria Code. Produced by WQXR and the Metropolitan Opera, it features singers and other thinkers decoding the magic of a single piece from an opera, followed by the music uninterrupted. In…
The mother of all abstraction
Jan 17 • 52 min
Thanks to a new exhibit at the Guggenheim, the art world is rediscovering Hilma af Klint. How was this Swede so ahead of her time, and will she finally get her due? Lee Israel’s memoir about forging letters by famous writers, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,”…
Digging into ‘Doug’
Jan 10 • 52 min
The story of “Doug,” the Nickelodeon cartoon from the ’90s that used a minimalist approach but had a profound impact on young viewers. Kurt Andersen talks with Rina Banerjee, who makes enchanting installations and who is the subject of a retrospective…
Tales from the Script
Jan 8 • 15 min
John August, the host of Scriptnotes, explains his approach to screenwriting. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Best of 2018, part 2
Jan 3 • 52 min
Some of our favorite stories from the past year. First, Kurt Andersen speaks with Daniela Vega, who delivered a stunning performance in “A Fantastic Woman.” Casey Trela is a musician in Los Angeles with a Kafkaesque day job: he watches movies and TV shows…
Best of 2018, part 1
Dec 27, 2018 • 54 min
Some of our favorite stories from the past year. First, the musical equivalent to stock art, library music, where composers anonymously churned out some of the strangest, funkiest — and most recognizable — music of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. The Domino’s…
Welcome to The Jungle
Dec 25, 2018 • 18 min
Here in America, despite the hysteria whipped up in the weeks leading up to the November midterm elections, there was no influx of migrants from the south. In other words, nothing like what happened a few years ago, when hundreds of thousands refugees…
A movie hallmark, and Hallmark movies
Dec 20, 2018 • 53 min
An American Icons segment about “The Searchers,” John Ford’s problematic masterpiece featuring John Wayne. Kurt Andersen talks with Carol Stabile about an aspect of the Red Scare that’s received scant attention: the 41 women who were blacklisted from…
Art that grows on you
Dec 13, 2018 • 53 min
The stuff you love as kids — that still deserve love when you’re grown up. Kurt Andersen talks with author Bruce Handy about how the best children’s literature can still enthrall adults — and then Bruce’s and Kurt’s kids join them to weigh in. Jim Henson…
Can You Ever Forgive Lee Israel?
Dec 11, 2018 • 14 min
Lee Israel’s memoir, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” tells the story of her years forging letters by famous writers like Dorothy Parker and Noel Coward. Her book has recently been adapted into a new film starring Melissa McCarthy as Israel. Kurt Andersen…
Unhung heroes
Dec 6, 2018 • 54 min
Why is contemporary culture obsessed with how well-endowed men are and yet in classical art men are so small? Kurt Andersen unravels the mystery with a classics scholar, Andrew Lear. Stacey Rose is a playwright, but when she’s not working to take…
My fair lyricist
Nov 29, 2018 • 53 min
Kurt-ain call — a show about what goes into making great theater. First, a look at Alan Jay Lerner on the centennial of his birth. The lyricist for “My Fair Lady,” “Gigi” and “Camelot” was as complicated as he was talented. Then Jack Viertel, the theater…
Aha Moment: An Odd Path to Plath
Nov 27, 2018 • 12 min
One day at school in the early 1990s, Shane McCrae watched a TV movie about teen suicide. The first half was all exactly what you would have expected: cheesy platitudes, heroic teachers, and feathery haircuts. Then, a character quoted the poetry of Sylvia…
American Tricons: Harley, Hendrix and O’Keeffe
Nov 22, 2018 • 54 min
Three American Icons that embody our nation’s counterculture. First: it’s not the fastest or fanciest bike out there, but Harley-Davidson has become synonymous with the motorcycle for many Americans. Then, why Georgia O’Keeffe fled the East Coast for New…
Settlers, unsettled
Nov 15, 2018 • 53 min
Kurt Andersen talks with Missy Mazzoli and Karen Russell about Mazzoli’s new opera, “Proving Up,” based on a short story by Russell about a family’s bleak prospects in post-Civil War Nebraska. Buffalo Tom singer Bill Janovitz talks about how, when the…
To Distill a Mockingbird
Nov 13, 2018 • 24 min
A new theatrical version of To Kill a Mockingbird is opening on Broadway next month, adapted for the stage by Aaron Sorkin and starring Jeff Daniels as Atticus Finch. So in anticipation of this Broadway debut, we’ve put together some of our favorite…
The deal of the art
Nov 8, 2018 • 53 min
Kurt Andersen talks with Amy Cappellazzo of Sotheby’s and filmmaker Nathaniel Kahn about the art market and Kahn’s new documentary, “The Price of Everything.” How the masterful Talking Heads album “Remain in Light” drew on inspiration from radio…
Done and doner
Nov 1, 2018 • 53 min
Kurt Andersen talks with Morgan Neville about his documentary that focuses on an Orson Welles film that was completed long after Welles died. Maria Schneider’s album “The Thompson Fields” took a circuitous path, and she discusses it both as it’s being…
Home, Sweat Home
Oct 30, 2018 • 13 min
Lynn Nottage’s play Sweat won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2017. It tells the story of a group of friends who work in a factory in Reading, Pennsylvania and are reeling from layoffs and racial tension. The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit took the show to…
Scents and sensibilities
Oct 25, 2018 • 53 min
Kurt Andersen talks with Sandi Tan, who shot a film as an 18-year-old in Singapore in 1992, but the footage disappeared. She finally got her hands on the footage a few years ago, and the mystery of its disappearance is the subject of her new documentary,…
Pure speculation
Oct 18, 2018 • 53 min
Speculative fiction — the catch-all term for non-realist genres — in its many forms. Remembering the irascible speculative fiction writer Harlan Ellison. How reading a sex scene in an Isaac Asimov book changes an adolescent’s understanding of gender…
Day Jobs: Respiratory Therapist
Oct 16, 2018 • 10 min
Stacey Rose is a playwright in Saint Paul, Minnesota but by day — and sometimes also by night — she’s a respiratory therapist. Stacey is also a fellow with the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab and her play, “The Danger: A Homage to Strange Fruit” just…
All most famous
Oct 11, 2018 • 54 min
Kurt Andersen and Theresa Rebeck discuss her new play about the most acclaimed actress of her day, Sarah Bernhardt. Justine Bateman’s new book examines being inside — and then outside — the fame bubble. A listener finds something surprising inside a book…
Mind the Generation Gap
Oct 4, 2018 • 54 min
Kurt talks to the author Daniel Torday about his new book, “Boomer1,” a dark satire about the tension between millennials and baby boomers coming to a head. Then a segment about something boomers couldn’t stand about the generation that preceded them: its…
Don McLean’s “American Pie”
Oct 2, 2018 • 14 min
It was late in 1971 when the singer-songwriter Don McLean released his song, “American Pie.” Today, everybody still seems to know all the words… but nobody seems to know what those words really mean. Who is the “jester [who] sang for the King and Queen/In…
Hawkish
Sep 27, 2018 • 53 min
Ethan Hawke came of age as a Gen X heartthrob, but he’s stayed relevant and is as busy as ever. He’s appeared recently in Paul Schrader’s “First Reformed” and the Nick Hornby adaptation “Juliet, Naked,” and the fourth film he’s directed, “Blaze,” is out…
Pacific Northbest
Sep 20, 2018 • 53 min
Swingin’ on the flippity-flop in the PNW. Sub Pop CEO Megan Jasper on her legendary hoax on The New York Times with her lexicon of grunge terms. Carrie Brownstein on Sleater-Kinney and the difference between TV stardom and music stardom. What residents in…
BoJack Horseman’s Raphael Bob-Waksberg
Sep 18, 2018 • 23 min
BoJack Horseman, Netflix’s animated series about a washed-up ’90s sitcom star living in the Hollywood Hills, is beginning its fifth season. Its protagonist is half-horse, half-man, and its tone is half-jokes, half-existential-angst. That’s a study in…
Apocalypse, wow
Sep 13, 2018 • 53 min
Ann Dowd, who won an Emmy for her portrayal of Aunt Lydia on “The Handmaid’s Tale,” joins Kurt to talk about playing characters — many of them terrifying — for three decades. In the 1960s, when hippies turned to Christianity in what’s commonly called the…
EGOT to have it
Sep 6, 2018 • 53 min
Only 12 entertainers have won the EGOT sweep: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. In this hour of Studio 360, we look back at some of our favorite stories about EGOT winners. Composers Robert Lopez and Marvin Hamlisch both perform in our studio. Mel Brooks’…
Link Wray’s “Rumble”
Sep 4, 2018 • 7 min
Young guitarists emulate standard-bearers like The Kinks’ Dave Davies, Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, and Eric Clapton. But when those guitarists were making their mark in the 1960s, they worshipped their own guitar hero: Link Wray. Sixty years ago, in 1958,…
A room with a viewfinder
Aug 30, 2018 • 53 min
Kurt Andersen talks with the celebrated architect Liz Diller about how making buildings is like making movies, and she picks some of her favorite examples of films that use architecture brilliantly. How court-ordered psychotherapy helped spur the material…
Framing the debate
Aug 23, 2018 • 53 min
What happens when artists get political. Kurt talks to conservative painter Jon McNaughton about protest art in the age of Trump. The dramatic use of masks in the paintings of Detroit’s Tylonn Sawyer. Our American Icons series looks at the song “Dixie,”…
The Remarkable Bounce of Blindspotting
Aug 21, 2018 • 21 min
The excellent new movie Blindspotting deals in complex ways with issues of race, gentrification, and police brutality. But it’s a drama both leavened and enhanced by its unique use of rap and verse. Co-writers and stars Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) and Rafael…
The golden age of anonymous music
Aug 16, 2018 • 53 min
Some of the greatest film music of the 20th century came from readymade stock albums recorded by virtually anonymous musicians. Author David Hollander and composer Keith Mansfield tell the story of vintage library music. How Lucille Fletcher’s thrilling…
Studio 360 Presents: Hit Parade
Aug 15, 2018 • 75 min
Studio 360 presents a special bonus episode of another great podcast — Hit Parade. This week, one of music’s most iconic personalities — Madonna — is turning 60 years old, and Hit Parade is here to celebrate her. Host Chris Molanphy, a music journalist…
Walden pondered
Aug 9, 2018 • 53 min
In “Walden,” Henry David Thoreau helped shape the way we think about nature and our place in the world. An American Icons segment examines why many readers think that Thoreau was a genius while others think he’s a hypocrite. A second American Icons…
Happy Bernstein to You!
Aug 7, 2018 • 10 min
This month, the music world is celebrating what would’ve been Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday. As conductor of the New York Philharmonic, he changed the way audiences understood classical music. Five musicians from the Philharmonic remember playing…
Everyone’s a comedian
Aug 2, 2018 • 53 min
Ken Jennings got famous for his record-breaking run on “Jeopardy!” But he stayed famous for his keen wit, and he joins Kurt Andersen to talk about his new book on the history and future of comedy, “Planet Funny.” Mira T. Lee explains how a Picasso…
Whee!
Jul 26, 2018 • 53 min
Pressing play — stories about children and how recreation is a form of creation. Kurt Andersen takes a field trip to Governors Island with design critic Alexandra Lange to learn about the history of playgrounds — and see some extraordinary slides. Paola…
A Wild and Crazy Anniversary
Jul 24, 2018 • 11 min
It was 40 years ago when Steve Martin released the concert album, “A Wild and Crazy Guy.” These days Martin is known as an actor, a novelist, a playwright, an accomplished banjo player, a major art collector. But before all that, he was best known for…
Making it in Cleveland
Jul 19, 2018 • 53 min
The coasts are not the only cultural centers in America: Kurt Andersen takes a trip to the FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art. A musician pays the bills as a Mastering Quality Control Technician for movies and TV shows. And what…
Science and Creativity: Do Animals Have Culture? Part III
Jul 17, 2018 • 13 min
An ode to animals, read by the late poet Marianne Moore. Plus, since the dawn of humanity, more or less, people have used representations of animals to tell stories. But some artists have wanted to buck that trend, depicting animal stories from the…
Science and Creativity: Do Animals Have Culture? Part II
Jul 16, 2018 • 17 min
Biologist Roger Payne discovered whale song when he started studying a mysterious recording in 1966. The recording came from a sound designer doing military research, Frank Watlington, who was trying to record undersea dynamite explosions.Payne became…
Science and Creativity: Do Animals Have Culture? Part I
Jul 15, 2018 • 23 min
Laurel Braitman is a historian of science and the author of Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves. She’s particularly interested in animals held in captivity. “If their minds aren’t…
Drawn from experience
Jul 12, 2018 • 53 min
Kurt Andersen talks with comic artist Aline Kominsky-Crumb about her trailblazing work. In 1965, Wilson Pickett went to Stax Records in Memphis to record “In the Midnight Hour” — and nothing was the same after. And “Luke Cage” showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker…
Here Comes the Pitch
Jul 10, 2018 • 26 min
The music documentary podcast Pitch, produced by Alex Kapelman and Whitney Jones, is returning after a three-year hiatus. Nine new episodes immerse in subjects including the music of ISIS, the hip-swaying, female-empowerment dance songs of Carnival, and…
American Icons: Monticello
Jul 5, 2018 • 53 min
Monticello is home renovation run amok. Thomas Jefferson was as passionate about building his house as he was about founding the United States; he designed Monticello to the fraction of an inch and never stopped changing it. Yet Monticello was also a…
Science and Creativity: Your Brain on Laughter Part III
Jul 3, 2018 • 16 min
When is humor appropriate in the medical field? Bioethicist Katie Watson, an Assistant Professor in the Medical Humanities & Bioethics Program of Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, has thought a lot about this issue. She moonlights as…
Science and Creativity: Your Brain on Laughter Part II
Jul 2, 2018 • 25 min
Sophie Scott is fascinated by laughter—and she thinks that cognitive science and psychology are missing out by ignoring it. A cognitive neuroscientist at University College London, Scott studies and teaches us how to distinguish between “social” or…
Science and Creativity: Your Brain on Laughter Part I
Jul 1, 2018 • 13 min
The practice of laughter yoga began in 1995, when it was invented by Madan Kataria, a doctor in Mumbai, India. Today, its practitioners attend thousands of classes offered all over the world. They say they gain health benefits, including stress reduction…
Filth
Jun 28, 2018 • 54 min
Filth in all its forms: whimsical and mundane, literal and figurative. Kurt talks to America’s auteur of the scatological, filmmaker John Waters. Writer Henry Alford and comedian Dave Hill visit a museum exhibit where all the art is made of dirt or trash.…
Behind the Harlem Sound of Luke Cage
Jun 26, 2018 • 17 min
On Luke Cage, the Marvel series on Netflix, music is almost everything. “I’m a hip-hop showrunner,” says showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker. “It just permeates every decision we make on the show because we’re not just making decisions about plot. The whole…
Rebels without a pause
Jun 21, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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, 2018 • 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…
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. Learn…
American Icons: Native Son
Jul 20, 2017 • 55 min
This is the novel about racism that America couldn’t ignore. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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. Learn more…
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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit…
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.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit…
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.” Learn more about…
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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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. Learn more about…
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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
American Icons: The Wizard of Oz
Jan 19, 2017 • 52 min
This is America’s dreamland. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit…
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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit…
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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit…
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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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. Learn more…
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. Learn more…
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. Learn more about your ad choices.…
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.” Learn more about your ad…
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…