Studio 360 With Kurt Andersen 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.
Studio 360 With Kurt Andersen

Studio 360 With Kurt Andersen

From PRI

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.

Most Recent Episodes

Cracking cases

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: He helps unravel the mystery of an old "Sesame Street" cartoon called "Cracks." Many people who are middle-aged now remember it terrifying them as kids — and then the cartoon vanished. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jia Zhangke's Empathetic Eye

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 circuit. His latest film, Ash Is Purest White, appears at first to be a conventional mob epic, focused on a "gangster's moll" character played magnificently by Zhao Tao. But with a story beginning in 2001 and spanning 17 years, the movie is just as much about the effects of the rapid growth of China's economy on its society. The dramatic changes led some working-class Chinese to form criminal brotherhoods for support. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Why Yanni happened

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 and other musicians discovered an improbable vehicle to '90s stardom: the PBS pledge drive. Nat King Cole would be 100 this week, and to celebrate: an appreciation from both his biographer, David Mark Epstein, and actor Dulé Hill, who is currently playing Cole on-stage. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

The Playbill of Rights

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 Hollywood," an artful and even surreal look at how they dealt with their beloved grandmother's house after she died. How Niki Russ Federman meant to stay out of her family's smoked fish business, Russ & Daughters, and then found herself drawn in by klezmer music. And how Broadway productions are hosting special performances that take into account some of the heightened sensitivities and needs of audience members who are autistic. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Arresting Poetry

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 understanding and expressing his experiences on the job. "There are these moments in policing, distilled moments of a word, an image, a smell, a concept, that to me bespeaks of a kind of encapsulated poem right there." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

These go to 11

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 — Robert Johnson. And how "This Is Spinal Tap," which opened 35 years ago this week, helped create the template for other hilarious mockumentaries. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

The Oscar hour

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 You Ever Forgive Me?" and some of his other memorable roles, including in "Withnail & I." Finally, the invaluable yet seldom acknowledged job of a movement director, namely Polly Bennett, who helped Rami Malek embody Freddie Mercury in "Bohemian Rhapsody."

The Crack Monster: The Mystery Behind Sesame Street's Creepiest Cartoon

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 Crack Master." Decades later, Armond wasn't sure if the cartoon actually existed... until he discovered a subculture of obsessives who remembered the exact same thing. Armond details the bizarre rabbit hole he fell into trying to track it down. Plus, Sesame Street Executive Producer Ben Lehmann talks about the cartoon's disappearance and uncovers some of its elusive mysteries.

Sex seen

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 actors who are virtual strangers seem like they are deeply and lustilly in love during sex scenes. Desiree Akhavan's show "The Bisexual" takes on what she sees as an anti-bisexual bias, a bias she demonstrates with clips from shows including "Sex and the City" and "Orange is the New Black." Plus a look back at how "Reality Bites,"which hit theaters 25 years ago this week, helped channel the Gen X zeitgeist.

Honky tonk angels

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 career. Willie Nelson shares an Aha Moment about the song that changed his life. And the incomparable Dwight Yoakam performs live in studio.

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