KCRW's The Organist The Organist podcast is a monthly experimental arts-and-culture program hosted and distributed by KCRW. Edited by the award-winning monthly magazine, Believer, published in San Francisco by McSweeney's, it includes reported stories, interviews, comic radio drama, reviews, and more. The scope of the podcast reflects that of the print edition: its contributors take a thoughtful approach to pop culture, along with an irreverent attitude toward the highbrow. From philosophy to daytime TV, from poetry to martial arts, the show scrutinizes and interrogates the world with an affectionate and rigorous intelligence. Pieces from the podcast grow out of stories in the magazine, and vice versa. Weaving together the voices of its contributors, which include the brightest talents in literature and the arts, The Organist is an elegant, impressionistic, funny, and sharp cultural magazine that itself becomes an object of inquiry, discussion, and wonder. The program is hosted by Andrew Leland and produced by Ross Simonini.
KCRW's The Organist

KCRW's The Organist

From KCRW

The Organist podcast is a monthly experimental arts-and-culture program hosted and distributed by KCRW. Edited by the award-winning monthly magazine, Believer, published in San Francisco by McSweeney's, it includes reported stories, interviews, comic radio drama, reviews, and more. The scope of the podcast reflects that of the print edition: its contributors take a thoughtful approach to pop culture, along with an irreverent attitude toward the highbrow. From philosophy to daytime TV, from poetry to martial arts, the show scrutinizes and interrogates the world with an affectionate and rigorous intelligence. Pieces from the podcast grow out of stories in the magazine, and vice versa. Weaving together the voices of its contributors, which include the brightest talents in literature and the arts, The Organist is an elegant, impressionistic, funny, and sharp cultural magazine that itself becomes an object of inquiry, discussion, and wonder. The program is hosted by Andrew Leland and produced by Ross Simonini.More from KCRW's The Organist »

Most Recent Episodes

Incense, Sweaters, and Altadena: An Interview with Martine Syms

Fresh off her first solo show at the MoMA, Martine Syms talks with the Organist about how growing up in Altadena, a red-lined suburb of Los Angeles led to her fascination with DIY culture and conceptual art. Syms draws inspiration from both famed furniture designer Charles Eames and the Ten-Point Program of the Black Panthers as she pushes herself to continually experiment in new media and new forms.

Incense, Sweaters, and Altadena: An Interview with Martine Syms

Appendix: Still Not Dotcoms

At last! An unobstructed view of the internet's lacunae: Brian McMullen reads his Still Not Dotcoms, an epic catalog of one thousand unclaimed URLs, in its totality.

magnificentwebsite.com

In this four-part episode, MF Doom, in absentia, sends imposters to wear his steel gladiator mask and rap at his concerts. Joshua Cohen, author of Moving Kings, writes a novel live online while heckled by Reddit-grade hate speech. Novelist Fiona Maazel explores the nascent form of the podcast from a 4 am retirement home toilet seat, as performed by actor Zoe Lister-Jones. Brian McMullen recites his epic catalog of unclaimed URLs.

The Show About the Show About the Show

In the vein of Werner Herzog, Larry David, and Spalding Gray, the radical documentaries of Caveh Zahedi find comedy in pushing social norms. His oddly life-affirming efforts to merge lived experience with art trigger the dissolution of his marriage. When our producer Rachel James visits the set of Zahedi's The Show about the Show, she too becomes drawn into its inescapable vortex of metanarrative.

The Mother Road

If you drive along I-70 in rural Missouri, you'll see site-specific contemporary art displayed on the billboards. What happens when that artwork says "Keep Abortion Legal"? This week we take a road trip with artist and curator Anne Thompson through the history of the roadside billboard: its aesthetic genius and its intersection with commerce and free speech.

Private Ears

This week we'll hear from two artists whose work investigates the growing prevalence of surveillance in societies around the world. Both Lawrence Abu Hamdan and Trevor Paglen approach their art as investigations: They see themselves as detectives, trying to document, though sound and image, corporate and governmental operations that are difficult for the average citizen to see or hear.

Ravening for Delight

Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and the Alien movies all trace their tone of cosmic dread back to the horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, whose stories were published in pulp magazines in the 1920s and 30s. Paul La Farge's latest novel, The Night Ocean, takes Lovecraft as its subject (or one of its subjects): It's a fictionalized investigation into Lovecraft's unusual relationship with one of his fans, a teenager named Robert Barlow.

The Voice is a Thief

We explore the extremes of the human voice with essayist Elena Passarello, winner of New Orleans' annual "Stella!" scream competition, in which participants channel Marlon Brando's abject bawling. You'll also hear Passarello's rendition of how Koko, the gorilla with a lexicon of 1000 signs, tells the legendarily dirty vaudeville joke "The Aristocrats."

Appendix: Hypnotic Induction

"If you're listening to this while driving a car, obviously, leave your eyes open." In this special appendix to our recent episode on psychoacoustics, you'll hear a hypnotic induction as performed and scored by the hypnotherapist Daniel Ryan.

Sleeping Knowledge

How can sound heal a body? With our guides, Susan Rogers—who recorded albums for Prince and David Byrne—and hypnotherapist Daniel Ryan, we explore the psychoacoustic properties of lawn sprinklers and the human voice in a journey that encompasses magician David Blaine, "spiritual entertainer" Alan Watts, parents of crying children, and all of us.

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