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,” her new show that she’s currently touring in the US, and her hilariously surreal encounter with Jennifer Anniston. Then Hari bravely reveals how in the mid-'90s, when all of hi... Read more
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 city and impacted the lives of people everywhere. This time: the album “Siembra” by Willie Colón and Ruben Blades, which many salsa fanatics thought was doomed when it came out on... Read more
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 Notorious B.I.G.’s hip hop classic “Ready to Die” turning 25 this week, we hear from one of its producers, Easy Mo Bee, and music writers Cheo Hodari Coker and Sowmya Krishnamurthy, ... Read more
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 and cast of “Felix Starro,” a new musical from the Ma-Yi Theater Company, which is celebrating 30 years of bringing the work of Asian American theater artists to the stage.
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”: someone who goes into hospital clinics undercover to evaluate residents on their performance. Alex says that at the end of... Read more
“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 rise of the Christian right in the 1980s and a woman in New England in the 17th century who was accused of being a witch. Then Ann Dowd, who portrays the character Aunt Lydia on the... Read more
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 classic noir film “The Night of the Hunter.” It helped her pull off the critically acclaimed “Swamplandia” and has been an inspiration ever since. And Kurt Andersen talks with Carter Bur... Read more
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 to talk to her for another story we’re working on: an American Icons hour about the tales of Edgar Allan Poe. Poe is best known for his gothic tales and poems, but he also wrote w... Read more
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 on the last day of the festival that embodies the chaos and distortion of the time. How the Sly and the Family Stone album "Stand!" dropped at a moment of intense cultural ... Read more
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 writer and “This American Life” producer Bim Adewunmi explains how the “Sweet Valley High” series is kind of preposterous and over-the-top — and completely obsessed her. And producer L... Read more
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 inspired countless readers … and writers, like “New Yorker” critic Hilton Als.When Als guest hosted Studio 360 in 2014, Toni Morrison was his first choice of interviewee. They spok... Read more
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 from the occasional one-off or special feature. To mark this end of an era, we’re revisiting our story on why “Mad” is an American Icon.
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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 the works of contemporary filmmakers, painters, playwrights and musicians. Kurt Andersen explores the influence of this American Icon with the help of Ray Bradbury, Tony K... Read more
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 famous “Dream Ballet.” The show’s choreographer, John Heginbotham, and dancer, Gabrielle Hamilton, discuss how they took it on, while dance journalist Gia Kourlas explains how the n... Read more
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 looking at the debut album from a band who seems to have landed here from outer space. Four decades ago, the B-52’s arrived on the Athens, Georgia party scene with killer gui... Read more
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 as an innovator we are still coming to grasp. Kurt Andersen talks with composer Eric Whitacre about how his virtual choir is changing the game of choral music. And Aimee Mann expla... Read more
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 Hundred and One Dalmatians,” and oddly enough, its villain, Cruella de Vil, gave him hope that he would fit in. And it can be hard to know what to make of Ursula von Rydingsvard’s s... Read more
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 Age, playing Sid the sloth.But alongside this life on screen, Leguizamo has also built a singularly successful theater career based on a form he helped pioneer — the funny autobiog... Read more
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 discuss how they’re truly devotees to the folk tradition, even though their songs are satirical. Next to join Kurt is former “Daily Show” correspondent Aasif Mandvi, who performs a sta... Read more
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, who participated in the riots, and Jude Dry, a film and television critic at IndieWire. And the phenomenon of “multiple discovery,” when artists come up with the same idea independen... Read more