Studio 360 With Kurt AndersenThe Peabody Award-winning Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, from PRI, is a smart and surprising guide to what's happening in pop culture and the arts. Each week, Kurt introduces the people who are creating and shaping our culture. Life is busy – so let Studio 360 steer you to the must-see movie this weekend, the next book for your nightstand, or the song that will change your life. Produced in association with Slate.
The Peabody Award-winning Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, from PRI, is a smart and surprising guide to what's happening in pop culture and the arts. Each week, Kurt introduces the people who are creating and shaping our culture. Life is busy – so let Studio 360 steer you to the must-see movie this weekend, the next book for your nightstand, or the song that will change your life. Produced in association with Slate.More from Studio 360 With Kurt Andersen »
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 tone for our shared ideas on the subject." How do the writers of Mad Men, Great News, and The Office tackle the issue and mine it for laughs? Have these depictions evolved since the days of The Mary Tyler Moore Show?
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 into an fMRI machine and has them improvise; an intrepid reporter gets her creativity tested and scored; and a little girl introduces us to her imaginary friends (all of them). (Originally aired: November 23, 2012)
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 audiences, and what's the future hold for plays about the LBGT community? Plus, Barry Blitt, the illustrator whose work is frequently featured on the cover of The New Yorker, gives Kurt a tour of his work studio — and some insights into how he creates his brilliant and hilarious illustrations.
Studio360 | New Yorker Cover Illustrator Barry Blitt
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 retrospective of his most memorable work. Blitt invited Studio 360 to meet him at his home in Connecticut—which happens to be the former home of Arthur Miller—for a walk-though of his home studio, creative process, and some of his most iconic illustrations. "What you're looking for is life in the line" he says about finding his finished product, "sometimes you'll do a drawing that doesn't look enough like Hillary and you draw it a second time the second time it looks more like her but the first time there was some magic or discovery in the actual line work and it's better drawing and that's the one you use."
Studio360 | New Yorker Cover Illustrator Barry Blitt
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 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.
This week, a triple header from the series American Icons, which focuses on works of art that changed the way we think about America. First is Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Scarlet Letter": his 1850 novel about a woman being shamed for having an affair. Anna Sale produced this Icon segment in 2013, before starting her hit podcast Death, Sex and Money. Just four years later, her interpretation of the classic novel resonates very differently in 2017, as the country grapples with how to define consent and sexual misconduct. Cole Porter's "Anything Goes," on the other hand, celebrates the opposite tendency in American culture: the devil-may-care slide towards looser morals. And in "Untitled Film Stills," Cindy Sherman captured the way that being a woman—or maybe being a person—is just playing a role.
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 Baby" character he voices: "I poop. They wipe. I'm the boss." Filmmaker Taika Waititi, who is best known for his low-budget comedies like "Eagle vs. Shark," talks about how he managed to inject his dry wit, and knack for improvisation into his big-budget superhero movie, "Thor: Ragnarok." And Eve Ewing joins Kurt to talk about the many hats she wears: poet, sociologist, artist and Twitter star.
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 characters try desperately to connect with one another, but get bogged down by small talk. And Taylor Mac goes where no drag performer—or any performer—has gone before: he produced a 24-hour review of the entire history of American pop music, and plays some delightful samples of it in our studio.
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 and YouTube phenom John Green talks about his new book "Turtles All The Way Down," and how he treats mental health in his life — and in his work.
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 decided to become a belly dancer after seeing the video for U2's "Mysterious Ways." A reporter has an illuminating – and awkward – talk with her parents about how they became obsessed with the sexiest of dances, the tango. A scientist takes up ballet in his forties – and applies scientific principles to get better at it. And Christopher Wheeldon shares how he helped bring "An American in Paris" to the stage.