Last Build Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 07:00:00 -0400Copyright: PRI and WNYC
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 07:00:00 -0400
Kurt co-founded Spy magazine in 1986 — and Donald Trump was a fixture from the very first issue. In this sneak peek of this week’s episode, Kurt talks with Spy co-conspirator (and current New Yorker magazine editor) Susan Morrison about their days skewering the “shuttle-owning dilettante” who would become the Republican presidential nominee. They trace the history of the nickname “short-fingered vulgarian” from its conception in the offices of Spy to its appearance in the 2016 presidential race. “We had empirical evidence that it upset Trump,” Susan recalls. “He would circle pictures of his hands in gold Sharpie and send them to us.”
Listen to the full episode — all about the cozy relationship between show business and American politics — this Thursday.(image) 360 Preview: The Short-Fingered Vulgarian
Thu, 22 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400
There are so many ways the world could go wrong — electing the wrong candidate is only one of them. Charlie Brooker, creator of the hit sci-fi show “Black Mirror,” gets his dystopian ideas from our digital devices. Then, novelist Gary Shteyngart reads from his darkly funny book about the near-future, “Super Sad True Love Story.” And Janelle Monáe plays songs from the 28th century.(image) Dystopias
Tue, 20 Sep 2016 18:29:00 -0400
Edward Albee died last week, at 88. His most famous play, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” marked his Broadway debut and won Albee his first Tony Award. It’s a searing play about the toxic love we share with family — and the secrets we don’t share. Those themes would define Albee’s work for decades.
Back in 2004, Studio 360 sent reporter Sarah Lemanczyk to interview Albee about his decision, well into his 70s, to tinker with his very first produced play, “The Zoo Story.” Albee was about to debut a new first act as a sort of prequel to the original play. Lemanczyk was a huge fan of Albee’s, but she was appalled at this idea — and she had the audacity to tell Albee to his face.
(Originally aired: June 5, 2004)(image) 360 Extra: So Long, Edward Albee
Thu, 15 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400
On this week’s show, the art and science of singing. At the age of 92, Broadway lyricist Sheldon Harnick hasn’t lost any of the wit and insight that helped him write “Fiddler on the Roof.” Also, we find out what cutting-edge medical science can do to save the voices of aging singers. And indie singer-songwriter Angel Olsen plays live in our studio.(image) Angel Olsen, Sheldon Harnick, & The Science of Singing
Sun, 11 Sep 2016 09:00:00 -0400
On the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, we wanted to revisit Kurt’s conversation with an artist who had a special relationship with the World Trade Center site.
It had all the glamour, conspiracy, and danger of a classic heist movie, but it was real — and the hero was wearing slippers. In the early hours of August 7, 1974, 24-year-old Philippe Petit and some friends snuck to the top of the Twin Towers and rigged a 140-foot steel cable between them. And then, 1,350 feet above the ground and without a net, Petit walked, danced, and even lay down on the wire between them. The feat transfixed the world. It later became the subject of the 2009 Oscar-winning documentary “Man on Wire.”
Back in 2008, Kurt visited the site of the walk (at that point, Ground Zero) with Petit and director James Marsh. “I was a young wire-walker busy conquering an idea.” Petit explains, “I never thought of the consequences.”
(Originally aired: July 25, 2008)
Video: Philippe Petit walks between the Twin Towers (from "Man On Wire")
(image) 360 Extra: Philippe Petit, Man on Wire
Thu, 08 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400
How does a deadly plague inside “World of Warcraft” spread like a real virus? Also, rabies experts connect the dots between “The Iliad,” “Twilight,” and Louis Pasteur. And an apocalyptic world where children should be seen and not heard — the sound they make can be deadly.(image) Going Viral
Wed, 07 Sep 2016 09:00:00 -0400
Rachel Yehuda is a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. For years, Dr. Yehuda researched PTSD by measuring stress hormones in lab rats. But when she began investigating PTSD in Holocaust survivors, she found that her methods were hitting a little close to home:
“A man got up, and he said, ‘biologic science? Are you trying to give Hitler a posthumous victory?’...He was so angry. And all I could think of at that moment was that I missed my rats.”
Her story was part of a live event hosted by Studio 360 and The Story Collider at WNYC’s Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, where scientists and comedians told true stories about their encounters with science. You can hear Aparna Nancherla’s tale of cheating her way to science fair glory in our September 1, 2016 episode.
Produced with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.(image) 360 Live: Dr. Rachel Yehuda Misses Her Rats
Tue, 06 Sep 2016 09:00:00 -0400
Herman Pontzer is a professor of anthropology at Hunter College, where he investigates human and ape evolution. A few years ago, while studying the Hadza hunter-gatherer tribe, Dr. Pontzer’s experiment almost went up in flames:
“We look at each other and we realize: everything we have is flammable. The tents, the sleeping bags, the computers…not to mention this five gallon cocktail of liquid nitrogen and Hadza pee.”
His story was part of a live event hosted by Studio 360 and The Story Collider at WNYC’s Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, where scientists and comedians told true stories about their encounters with science. You can hear Aparna Nancherla’s tale of cheating her way to science fair glory in our September 1, 2016 episode.
Tomorrow in the feed: why psychiatrist Rachel Yehuda misses her rats.
Produced with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.(image) 360 Live: Herman Pontzer Ends Up in the Hot Seat
Mon, 05 Sep 2016 09:00:00 -0400
Wyatt Cenac is a comedian and former correspondent for The Daily Show. He’s no scientist – but while completing a community service requirement in high school, he conducted a little experiment to answer one of modern science’s burning questions:
“I was like…how could Shaquille O’Neal drive on two beers? Or how could Shaquille drive on like three beers, and a couple shots of whiskey, and maybe some weed?”
His story was part of a live event hosted by Studio 360 and The Story Collider at WNYC’s Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, where scientists and comedians told true stories about their encounters with science. You can hear Aparna Nancherla’s tale of cheating her way to science fair glory in our September 1, 2016 episode.
Tomorrow in the feed: how anthropologist Herman Pontzer ended up in the hot seat.
Produced with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.(image) 360 Live: Wyatt Cenac Drives Drunk (for Science)
Thu, 01 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400
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 secret that destroyed her career in science before it started.(image) Back to School Special
Thu, 25 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400
Jace Clayton has traveled the world collecting and playing music as DJ /rupture, and he gives Kurt a lesson in spinning records. Plus, the singer-songwriter Lydia Loveless overcame her social anxiety by coming to terms with the fact that everyone is laughing at you. And indie lightning rod Amanda Palmer picked up the ukulele on a whim, but when she started playing Radiohead’s famously downbeat songs on it, she discovered the perfect mix of sweet and salty.(image) Amanda Palmer, Jace Clayton, & Lydia Loveless
Thu, 18 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400
Revered British critic Clive James aims his razor wit at the golden age of cable drama — and he finds that even shows with dragons deserve some respect. Plus, Nadja Spiegelman grew up in a family that encourages artistic expression — her mother is the New Yorker’s art editor and her father is the author of “Maus.” But when she started writing a memoir about her mother’s family, she discovered that not all truth-telling is welcome. And the trans actress Hari Nef lands the role of a lifetime, straight out of college.(image) Hari Nef, Clive James, & Nadja Spiegelman
Thu, 11 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400
Eric Whitacre has written extremely popular choral music — but his real breakthrough came when, over YouTube, he started inviting amateur singers from all over the world to join in. Also, how Aimee Mann tried to understand a friend’s death by writing a song. And composer Julia Wolfe digs deep into the culture of coal country with her Pulitzer Prize-winning oratorio “Anthracite Fields.”(image) Singing in the Chorus
Thu, 04 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400
Danny McBride has built a comedy empire by playing foul-mouthed, egotistical jerks — but he wants you to know that he’s not really like that. Also, the writer-director Sian Heder explains how a lousy job she took when she was just starting out inspired her new movie, “Tallulah.” And we travel back in time 200 years, to the climate catastrophe that inspired Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.”(image) Danny McBride, Sian Heder, & Frankenstein
Thu, 28 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0400
It’s been over 150 years since "On the Origin of Species" was published, but we’re still fighting over Charles Darwin’s big theory. One of Darwin's descendants, Ruth Padel, writes poems about her famous relative. Spencer Wells gathers DNA around the world to determine where we came from. An amateur paleontologist finds a way to believe in both God and the fossil record. Plus, a science fiction story by Lydia Millet imagines the downside of messing too much with our genes.
(Originally aired November 20, 2009)(image) Evolution
Thu, 21 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0400
Actor Viggo Mortensen brings some of his own outdoorsy skills to his role as a dad raising his kids off the grid in “Captain Fantastic.” Also, with a new exhibit of her early photographs, it’s time to reconsider Diane Arbus’ conflicted legacy. And Kurt gets a lesson on speaking like a proper Brit from an accent coach.(image) Viggo Mortensen, Diane Arbus, & Perfecting a British Accent
Thu, 14 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0400
Is the old cliché true — is laughter the best medicine? Kurt Andersen and Mary Harris, host of the podcast Only Human, 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 Chris Gethard explains why he resisted getting help for his depression out of fear of losing his humorous edge — and how getting treatment transformed his career. And we find out when medical humor is — and is not — just what the doctor ordered.(image) Can Laughing Make Us Healthier?
Thu, 07 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0400
We all grow up, eventually. Kurt Andersen talks with Lois Lowry, whose novel “The Giver” helped define dystopian young adult fiction. Also, writer Junot Diaz explains why he couldn’t finish his Pulitzer-winning coming of age novel “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” until he turned 40. Plus, the story of how a Kiss album helped an immigrant kid feel a little less lonely.(image) Coming of Age
Thu, 30 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0400
The legal scholar and former Obama administration advisor Cass Sunstein explains the hidden lessons "Star Wars" teaches about the law, politics, and philosophy. Plus, we find out about a theater company that’s perfectly happy playing to an audience of one — in fact, it’s designed that way. And the indie rocker Margaret Glaspy plays a live solo set.(image) The World According to "Star Wars" & Margaret Glaspy Plays Live
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0400
This week, three live music performances by artists who have transformed themselves. First, the sisters of the pop group Haim got their start in their parents’ classic rock cover band — and went on to play with Stevie Nicks. Then, how a bad breakup led Basia Bulat to a musical breakthrough. And Shamir Bailey proves that musical style can be as fluid as gender identity.(image) Songs in the Key of Reinvention: Haim, Shamir, and Basia Bulat
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0400This is America’s vision of utopia. Generations of Americans have grown up with Walt Disney shaping our 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 of a perfect world. “Everything that you could imagine is there,” says one young visitor. “It's like living in a fantasy book.” And not just for kids: one-third of Walt Disney World’s visitors are adults who go without children. Visiting the parks, according to actor Tom Hanks, is like a pilgrimage — the pursuit of happiness turned into a religion. Futurist Cory Doctorow explains the genius of Disney World, while novelist Carl Hiaasen even hates the water there. Kurt tours Disneyland with a second-generation “imagineer” whose dead mother haunts the Haunted Mansion. We’ll meet a former Snow White and the man who married Prince Charming — Disney, he says, is “the gayest place on Earth. It’s where happy lives.” (Originally aired October 18, 2013) Special thanks to Julia Lowrie Henderson, Shannon Geis, Alex Gallafent, Nic Sammond, Steve Watts, Angela Bliss, Todd Heiden, Shannon Swanson, Katie Cooper, Nick White, Marie Fabian, Posey Gruener, Jason Margolis, Chris DeAngelis, Jenelle Pifer, Debi Ghose, Maneesh Agrawala, and Tony DeRose. Bonus Track: Cory Doctorow on the Disney theme parks Hear Kurt's full conversation with Doctorow about his life-long obsession with Disney in general, and the Haunted Mansion specifically. Video: Walt Disney's original plan for Epcot width="465" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/sLCHg9mUBag?wmode=transparent&autohide=1&rel=0&showinfo=0&feature=oembed&enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a5988232319702290542" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLCHg9mUBag"> Inside the Magic Kingdom Annabel Fabian, 9, and her mom Genie Cesar-Fabian, and Tigger (Marie Fabian) Above the firehouse on Main Street USA sits Walt's private study where he would work and entertain guests at Disneyland (Andy Castro/Flickr) Izzy Kleiman has been an Annual Passholder to Disneyland since she was 5 (Katie Cooper) Disney incorporates tiny details into the park design, such as Sleeping Beauty's woodland friends perched outside her castle (Loren Javier/Flickr) Michael Clowers and Clay Chaffin (who played Prince Charming) at Walt Disney World in 1989; the couple has been together ever since (Clay Chaffin) Entrance to the Haunted Mansion, an attraction in New Orleans Square, where facades are copied from real buildings in New Orleans (Loren Javier/Flickr) Madame Leota in the Haunted Mansion was modeled after the face of Leota Toombs Thomas, who worked in the model shop where Haunted Mansion was developed (Loren Javier/Flickr) Julie, Marita, and Jim, the Siegel family of Celebration, Florida, in front of their home with host Kurt Andersen (Jenny Lawton) Celebration is proud of its Disney lineage: some of its electric transmission towers are shaped like Mickey Mouse (Dough4872/Wikimedia Commons) To celebrate the winter holidays, downtown Celebration is covered in "snoap" — a soapy snow substitute that falls from the streetlamps (Andrew Simpson/Flickr) [...]American Icons: The Disney Parks
Thu, 09 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0400
Comedian Maria Bamford is primed for a well-deserved breakthrough with her new show, “Lady Dynamite.” We get a live performance from Fantastic Negrito, who sings about hot-button issues like race and gentrification. And we find out what it really takes to get tickets to “Hamilton.”(image) Maria Bamford, Fantastic Negrito, and Scoring Tickets to “Hamilton”
Thu, 02 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0400
In this week’s special fashion episode, Kurt gets some style advice from the industry’s most quotable observer, Simon Doonan. We take a look at how World War II shaped New York Fashion Week. Plus, Isabel Toledo became an internationally recognized designer after dressing Michelle Obama for her first Inauguration — we take a peek inside her studio.(image) Couture de Force
Thu, 26 May 2016 00:00:00 -0400(Studio 360) This is the monument that changed how America remembers war. 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 going to do when they first come here?’” she remembers. “And I wanted to say, ‘They’re going to cry.’" Her minimalistic granite wall was derided by one vet as a “black gash of shame.” But inscribed with the name of every fallen soldier, it became a sacred place for veterans and their families, and it influenced later designs like the National September 11 Memorial. We’ll visit a replica of the wall that travels to veterans’ parades around the country, and hear from former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel about how this singular work of architecture has influenced how we think about war. Bonus Track: Kurt Andersen's full interview with Maya Lin Hear Kurt's full interview with Lin about what it was like to stir up a national controversy at such a young age, and how her artistic career has evolved in the three decades since the memorial was created. Bonus Track: Angela Matthews remembers Joseph Sintoni Angela Matthews reads the letter she left at The Wall for her high school sweetheart, Joseph Sintoni. It was featured in Laura Palmer's book Schrapnel From the Heart. Images from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Memorial Resource Center A watercolor from Maya Lin's entry to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial 1981 design competition. She designed the memorial at only 21 years old as part of her architecture classwork at Yale University. (Library of Congress) The 1982 Veterans Day dedication of The Wall (Courtesy of Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund) The view from the top of the wall, looking toward the Lincoln Memorial (undated) (Library of Congress ) The Three Servicemen in color in 2011 (Courtesy of Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (Dan Arant)) Kurt Andersen and journalist Laura Palmer visit the memorial in 2012 (Eric Molinsky) Aseneth Blackwell remembers her husband, veteran Frederick D. Blackwell, at her visit to The Wall on Memorial Day 2012 (Eric Molinsky) Offerings left on Memorial Day 2006 ( Library of Congress (Carol M. Highsmith)) Kurt (R) interviews Duery Felton (L), the curator of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial collection (Eric Molinsky) The peace poncho Kurt mentions in the radio program, sitting below a bag of bullets and a pack of Lucky Strikes (Eric Molinsky) Sharon Denitto helps visitors to The Moving Wall locate names of loved ones (Courtesy of Sharon Denitto) [...] American Icons: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Tue, 24 May 2016 11:48:00 -0400(image) Podcast Special: Why Hodor is the Heart of "Game of Thrones"
Thu, 19 May 2016 00:00:00 -0400
Writing the song “Born Under a Bad Sign” made William Bell a soul legend, but he never recorded it himself — until now. Also, the writers Richard Russo and Jennifer Finney Boylan talk about plot twists in their long friendship. And we ask whether Sylvia Plath’s poetry can ever get out from under the shadow of her suicide.(image) William Bell, Richard Russo, Jennifer Finney Boylan, & Sylvia Plath
Thu, 12 May 2016 00:00:00 -0400
Frank Langella has been drawn to characters with dark sides, from Dracula to Richard Nixon. But his latest Broadway role is his scariest yet — an old man with dementia. Also, a conversation with the writer/director Rebecca Miller, whose movie “Maggie’s Plan” is a romantic comedy with a very funny twist. And we’ll hear how Dungeons & Dragons invented the perfect personality test.(image) Frank Langella, Rebecca Miller, & Character Alignment
Thu, 05 May 2016 00:00:00 -0400
This week, three American Icons. First, a Jewish milkman from a Russian village becomes an American everyman — and a Broadway star — in “Fiddler on the Roof.” Then, Cindy Sherman photographs herself as characters from imaginary movies, and starts a revolution in feminist self-portraiture. And, just a teenager herself, S. E. Hinton rewrites the rules of young adult novels with “The Outsiders.”(image) “Fiddler on the Roof,” "Untitled Film Stills," & “The Outsiders”
Thu, 28 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400
In a career full of surprises, the actor Tilda Swinton has become an icon — but she’s never thought of what she does as acting. Also, we hear from the team behind a new opera about John F. Kennedy’s last night. And the band Yeasayer brings its experimental brand of indie pop to our live studio.(image) Tilda Swinton, JFK the Opera, & Yeasayer Plays Live
Thu, 21 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400
This week, Kurt Andersen gets a master class in musical theater from veteran Broadway producer Jack Viertel. Also, we hear from the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Anna Quindlen about how she managed a midlife career switch with aplomb. And the surprising story behind how Marvin Gaye came up with one of the greatest R&B songs ever.(image) A Master Class in Musical Theater & The Origin of the World’s Sexiest Song
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400
On the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, we look at the ways his work continues to change and adapt to the culture we live in. In the 19th century, Shakespeare’s work got caught up in minstrel shows — and African-American actors are still struggling to claim the Bard as their own. Also, we find out how a father-son team is changing the way Shakespeare sounds by bringing back his original pronunciation. And we go inside the pioneering immersive theater experience “Sleep No More,” which might be the longest-running Shakespeare adaptation ever.(image) All Shakespeare All the Time
Thu, 07 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400
Enya started out in her family’s traditional Irish band, Clannad, before she discovered the layered vocal sound that launched her pop career. Plus, the Starship Enterprise seeks out new life and new civilizations in Washington, DC. And movie critic A.O. Scott sticks up for all the haters out there.(image) Enya, Enterprise, & A.O. Scott
Thu, 31 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0400
In this week’s special episode of Studio 360, we’ll hear artists in conversation with other artists. The actor, author, and singer Molly Ringwald talks with pioneering photographer Laurie Simmons. Teen style blogger turned magazine editor turned Broadway star Tavi Gevinson talks with the actor Ben Whishaw, her co-star in “The Crucible.” And the actor and memoirist Alan Cumming sits down with his friend, the pop legend Cyndi Lauper.(image) Artists Talking to Artists
Thu, 24 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0400
Guest host Molly Ringwald sits in for Kurt Andersen this week. She interviews author Lauren Groff, whose novel “Fates and Furies” tells the story of a marriage twice — once from each spouse’s perspective. And boy, their versions do diverge. Then, we hear a live performance from the cabaret legends Kiki and Herb, the characters brought to life by Justin Vivian Bond and Kenny Mellman. They’ve been on hiatus for almost a decade, but they haven’t mellowed a bit.(image) Molly Ringwald Hosts: with Lauren Groff, Kiki and Herb
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0400
As Kurt Andersen prepares to finish his latest book, we ask: What are the challenges with finishing a creative project? How do you know when it’s really done? Artists Maria Schneider, Tony Kushner and Alejandra Deheza tell us about their experiences trying to finish work. We’ll also hear from psychologist Adam Grant about the art of procrastination and neuroscientist Heather Berlin about what our brains are doing when we’re being creative.(image) Finishing School
Thu, 10 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0500
The old ad said “StarKist don’t want tunas with good taste — StarKist wants tuna that taste good.” But some animals may have good taste after all. Scientists are recognizing cultural traits and behaviors in a growing number of species. We’ll hear from an ornithologist whose radical new definition of art includes the activities of birds and flowers. In the 1970s, whale songs showed up on the pop charts. But how do whales pick their own song of the summer? And we’ll visit a very exclusive concert: wolves only.
(Originally aired December 11, 2014)(image) Do Animals Have Culture?
Thu, 03 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0500
No one plays a lovable jerk like Jeff Daniels — but it’s hard to love the jerk that he is in his latest role, as a pedophile in Broadway’s “Blackbird.” Plus, we hear from David Foster Wallace’s biographer D.T. Max about why “Infinite Jest” is still so important, 20 years after it first came out. And the punk-rock songwriter Shilpa Ray draws on her classical Indian music training in a live performance.(image) Jeff Daniels, David Foster Wallace, & Shilpa Ray Plays Live
Tue, 01 Mar 2016 19:00:00 -0500
The director Ridley Scott is one of a very rare species: a director of influential films that have also been commercially successful. His movies have covered a huge range of settings and genres, from “Thelma and Louise” to “Gladiator” and “Black Hawk Down.” But some of his most beloved movies are science fiction. His breakout film, “Alien,” is still scary now, nearly four decades after it came out. Scott went on to make another science fiction classic, “Blade Runner,” in 1982.
But after that, he mostly stayed away from sci-fi — until "Prometheus," a prequel to "Alien," came out in 2012. Now Scott is embracing the genre again. In his latest movie, "The Martian," Matt Damon plays a marooned astronaut who has to figure out how to survive on Mars. Scott has two more "Alien" prequels in the works, along with a "Blade Runner" sequel.
In a special podcast-only edition of Studio 360, Kurt sat down with Scott to talk about sticking to his directorial vision — and how seeing Stanley Kubrick's "2001" in an empty movie theater convinced him to change careers.(image) 360 Directors' Cut: Ridley Scott
Thu, 25 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500
Tom McCarthy's Oscar-nominated movie “Spotlight” turns the tedium of news-gathering into gripping drama. Also, the heroine of Alexander Chee’s new historical novel, “The Queen of the Night,” is a megastar soprano with lots of secrets — and someone who knows them all is spilling the beans. And we find out why photographer Dorothea Lange grew to despise her most famous Depression-era picture, “Migrant Mother.”(image) Tom McCarthy, Alexander Chee, & “Migrant Mother”
Mon, 22 Feb 2016 18:00:00 -0500
Investigative journalism isn't sexy or glamorous. It’s making lots and lots of phone calls to strangers — and to people who don't want to talk to you. It's reading endless boring documents. It's working on stories that don't pan out, or even when they do, often go unnoticed. Which makes the movie “Spotlight” all the more remarkable. It’s about the discovery by a team of investigative reporters at The Boston Globe of pervasive sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests in Boston, the church’s attempt to cover up that scandal, and the eventual realization that this story went way beyond Boston.
“Spotlight” is up for six Oscars, including best original screenplay and best director. Tom McCarthy wrote the screenplay and directed the film. In this extended conversation with Kurt Andersen, McCarthy explains how he went from actor to writer and director, and compares his time playing a crooked reporter in “The Wire” to interviewing the real investigative journalists that broke the Globe’s story.(image) 360 Directors' Cut: Oscar-Nominee Tom McCarthy, "Spotlight"
Thu, 18 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500
From “The Revenant” to “The Martian,” why do so many of this year’s most celebrated films hark back to a genre we thought was long gone — the Western? Plus, we hit the streets of Boston to find out why so many actors find a certain Northeastern accent so hard to pull off. Wendell Pierce of “The Wire” and “Selma” gives the Academy some pointers to fix their #OscarsSoWhite problem. And we finally find out what the heck a gaffer does.(image) Oscars Special: Return of the Western, Boston Accents, and #OscarsSoWhite
Mon, 15 Feb 2016 18:00:00 -0500
Emma Donoghue’s 2010 novel "Room" tells the uncomfortably real story of a young mother and her 5-year-old son held captive in an 11-by-11-foot room. The boy narrates the book, and not only does he not understand that he and his mother are prisoners — he has no knowledge about the world beyond their four walls. The novel was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize before it even came out, and became an instant bestseller. Now Donoghue has adapted her book into a movie starring Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, directed by Lenny Abrahamson. “Room” is up for 4 Academy Awards — including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. In this extended conversation with Kurt Andersen, Abrahamson and Donoghue explain how writing this film was like working on a nature documentary — and how the right collaboration is a lot like marriage.(image) 360 Directors' Cut: Oscar-Nominees Lenny Abrahamson & Emma Donoghue, "Room"
Thu, 11 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500
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 underwear. And Canadian songwriter Basia Bulat used a broken heart to propel her from subdued folk to floor-stomping pop.(image) Valentine’s Day Special: with DJ Delilah and Basia Bulat
Mon, 08 Feb 2016 18:00:00 -0500
Back when Jimmy Carter was president, an Australian director named George Miller made his first, super-low-budget movie. It starred a little-known Australian actor named Mel Gibson. “Mad Max” was a hit, and Miller’s vision became the blueprint for post-apocalyptic cinema. Now, at 70, Miller has resurrected the franchise he invented. In "Mad Max: Fury Road," a warrior played by Charlize Theron runs from a tyrannical warlord. Like all the "Mad Max" films, it’s high on epic action and low on dialogue. “Fury Road” is up for 10 Academy Awards — including Best Picture and Best Director. In this extended conversation with Kurt Andersen, Miller explains how he created some of this year’s most thrilling action scenes with very little CGI — and why "Mad Max" would be better in black-and-white.(image) 360 Directors' Cut: Oscar-Nominee George Miller, "Mad Max: Fury Road"
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500
George Miller launched his directing career with the first “Mad Max” movie — and 40 years later, “Mad Max: Fury Road” is his most acclaimed yet. Also, the singer Lorely Rodriguez has her mother to thank for becoming the pop sensation Empress Of. Plus, the writer Terence Winter on HBO’s new series about 1970s rock ‘n roll, “Vinyl.”(image) George Miller, Empress Of, & HBO’s “Vinyl”
Mon, 01 Feb 2016 18:00:00 -0500
Adam McKay has made his mark on comedy many times over. But the director of “Anchorman” and “Talladega Nights” switched gears in his latest movie, “The Big Short,” which is about the financial collapse of 2008. Sure, CDOs and synthetic CDOs might seem a little arcane, but McKay says it’s not really that complicated. “You’re really moving money and debt around and then they give it strange names and act like no one should understand,” says the director. “The Big Short” is up for 5 Academy Awards — including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. In this extended conversation with Kurt Andersen, McKay explains how great characters can make anything compelling to watch — and how he and Will Ferrell almost broke the internet with the help of his then two-year-old daughter.(image) 360 Directors' Cut: Oscar-Nominee Adam McKay, "The Big Short"
Thu, 28 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0500This is an American revolution set down on the page. Studio 360 When Malcolm X was assassinated at 39, his life story nearly died with him. Today “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” — a favorite of President Obama and Justice Clarence Thomas alike — stands as a milestone in America’s struggle with race. The autobiography is also a Horatio Alger tale, following a man’s journey from poverty to crime to militancy to wisdom. Muslims look to Malcolm as a figure of tolerance; a tea party activist claims him for the political right; Public Enemy’s Chuck D tells us, “This book is like food. It ain’t McDonald's — it’s sit down at the table and say grace.” (Originally aired September 24, 2010) Passages from "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" were read by Dion Graham. Bonus Track: Painting an Icon Artist Charles Lilly's painting of Malcolm X adorns the cover of the Ballantine Books edition of “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.” In this bonus cut, he explains his famous work. Bonus Track: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar remembers Malcolm X NBA Hall of Fame member Kareem Abdul-Jabbar talks about hearing Malcolm X speak as a teenager in Harlem and the profound impact “The Autobiography” had on him in college. Video: A tour of Alex Haley's studio frameborder="0" height="465" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8Yb9OlEVrjo" width="620"> Alex Haley wrote "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" based on a series of interviews. Haley and Malcolm initially had very different views on the type of book they would create. (Courtesy of Bill Haley) Martin Luther King and Malcolm X waiting for a press conference. (Marion S. Trikosko, Courtesy of The Library of Congress) From R to L: The first edition cover of "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," followed by two later covers (Melvin Reeves, Permission courtesy of Barney Rosset/Kyle Pellett, Permission courtesy of Barney Rosset/Courtesy of Ballantine Books) Alex Haley’s Hamilton College ID card where he was a writer-in-residence (Courtesy of Bill Haley) [...]American Icons: "The Autobiography of Malcolm X"
Mon, 25 Jan 2016 18:00:00 -0500
Filming “The Revenant” in the freezing cold of Alberta nearly did him in, but Alejandro González Iñárritu isn’t complaining. “That’s our job,” says the director. His last film, “Birdman,” won big at last year’s Oscars, and “The Revenant” is up for 12 Academy Awards — more than any other film this year. Iñárritu downplays the controversy over the harsh shooting conditions, which prompted one crew member to call the film a “living hell.” In this extended conversation with Kurt Andersen, Iñárritu explains why he’s driven to extreme challenges — and why filming trees terrifies him.
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0500
When Samantha Hunt needed a fictional cult for her new novel, “Mr. Splitfoot,” she invented her own — she even wrote its scripture. Plus, the members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band make their first-ever trip to Havana, and discover the Cuban connection to New Orleans jazz. And singer-songwriter Walter Martin plays songs from his concept album on a very unlikely subject: art history.(image) Samantha Hunt, Preservation Hall in Havana, & Walter Martin Plays Live
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0500
The director Alejandro González Iñárritu explains why filming “The Revenant” under punishing conditions made it the film that it is — a box office smash nominated for 12 Oscars. Also, we hear the story behind the stand-up album that made absurdist comedy mainstream: Steve Martin’s “A Wild and Crazy Guy.” And we say goodbye to the great David Bowie.(image) Alejandro Iñárritu, Steve Martin, & David Bowie