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.More from Studio 360 With Kurt Andersen »

Most Recent Episodes

Making it in Cleveland

The coasts are not the only cultural centers in America: Kurt Andersen takes a trip to the FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art. A musician pays the bills as a Mastering Quality Control Technician for movies and TV shows. And what we can learn about the Bible from Beyoncé. This episode is brought to you by LinkedIn, the world's largest professional network and a better way to find great talent. Go to linkedin.com/studio360 for $50 off of your first job post.

Science and Creativity: Do Animals Have Culture? Part III

An ode to animals, read by the late poet Marianne Moore. Plus, since the dawn of humanity, more or less, people have used representations of animals to tell stories. But some artists have wanted to buck that trend, depicting animal stories from the animals' point of view. Laline Paull is one of these artists. Her novel The Bees was dubbed "Watership Down for the Hunger Games generation," but it might be more accurate to call it 1984 in a beehive. And Chicago filmmaker Jim Trainor thinks that authentic animal behavior provides all the plot an artist needs. In his short, hand-drawn films, Trainor supplies narration from the animals' perspective. But instead of the high drama of Laline Paull's work, Trainor's protagonists are utterly deadpan, even in grim situations. In one film, a lion taking over a pride remarks drily, "I killed my girlfriend's children — which is to say, I killed all the children of all of my girlfriends." Both Paull and Trainor get most of their facts right, but that's not what's important about their work. The artist's role is to imagine how others feel — other people, other creatures — and try to share that empathy.

Science and Creativity: Do Animals Have Culture? Part II

Biologist Roger Payne discovered whale song when he started studying a mysterious recording in 1966. The recording came from a sound designer doing military research, Frank Watlington, who was trying to record undersea dynamite explosions.Payne became obsessed with the recording, and made a startling discovery: the sounds were repeating. That means that they were scientifically classified as songs. Over the following years, Payne pressed the recordings on musicians, composers, and singers, including Judy Collins. In 1970, Collins used the recordings on her album Whales and Nightingales, which went gold and introduced millions to whale song. Collins devoted the royalties of those songs to Payne's conservation work. Just as Payne hoped, these strange, evocative sounds inspired the growing Save the Whales movement, and by 1972 the US had banned whaling and whale products. Plus, "seasons" of whale songs. Researchers looking at how the songs of whales change over time have learned that a new song can catch on and spread across populations of thousands whales in a matter of months, in much the same way that a hit song spreads across a country. Biologist Ellen Garland joins us in the studio to tell us more about that.

Science and Creativity: Do Animals Have Culture? Part I

Laurel Braitman is a historian of science and the author of Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves. She's particularly interested in animals held in captivity. "If their minds aren't stimulated and challenged they can end up with all sorts of disturbing behaviors," she explains. Braitman wondered if music could help counter animal anxiety and depression? This question led Braitman to arrange a series of concerts for all-animal audiences. Plus, we hear from Richard Prum, an ornithologist at Yale University, who discusses his latest work — the philosophy of aesthetics. It stems from his earliest research studying small South American birds called Manakins. Manakins are known for outlandish mating displays in which males perform an elaborate dance and to Prum's eye, the diversity and complexity of these dances could only be explained as an appeal to the birds' aesthetic preferences. In other words, it's art. "My hypothesis," he explains to Kurt Andersen, "is that ornament in manakins evolves merely because it's popular, or merely beautiful."

Drawn from experience

Kurt Andersen talks with comic artist Aline Kominsky-Crumb about her trailblazing work. In 1965, Wilson Pickett went to Stax Records in Memphis to record "In the Midnight Hour" — and nothing was the same after. And "Luke Cage" showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker breaks down how his love of hip-hop and other music shapes his show.

Here Comes the Pitch

The music documentary podcast Pitch, produced by Alex Kapelman and Whitney Jones, is returning after a three-year hiatus. Nine new episodes immerse in subjects including the music of ISIS, the hip-swaying, female-empowerment dance songs of Carnival, and blacklisted 1950s jazz musician Hazel Scott. "Her story is amazing," Whitney Jones tells Kurt Andersen about Hazel Scott. "She grew up with jazz legends just in her house. They were friends of her mom — Billie Holiday, Art Tatum, Lester Young — these were people she was just around as a kid and learned to play piano from." Kurt talks with Jones about the making of the new season, their partnership with Audible, and the interplay between politics and music.

American Icons: Monticello

Monticello is home renovation run amok. Thomas Jefferson was as passionate about building his house as he was about founding the United States; he designed Monticello to the fraction of an inch and never stopped changing it. Yet Monticello was also a plantation worked by slaves, some of them Jefferson's own children. Today his white and black descendants still battle over who can be buried at Monticello. It was trashed by college students, saved by a Jewish family and celebrated by FDR. With Stephen Colbert, filmmaker James Ivory and artist Maira Kalman. (Originally aired October 22, 2010)

Science and Creativity: Your Brain on Laughter Part III

When is humor appropriate in the medical field? Bioethicist Katie Watson, an Assistant Professor in the Medical Humanities & Bioethics Program of Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, has thought a lot about this issue. She moonlights as faculty at the Second City Training Center in Chicago, the teaching side of the famous improv comedy club.She has written about gallows humor in medicine, spoken about it at the Chicago Humanities Festival, and used the intersection of her interests to develop a workshop in "Medical Improv." Later, WNYC's Health Reporter Marry Harris and Kurt Andersen return to Laughter Yoga to give us the scoop on their experience.

Science and Creativity: Your Brain on Laughter Part II

Sophie Scott is fascinated by laughter—and she thinks that cognitive science and psychology are missing out by ignoring it. A cognitive neuroscientist at University College London, Scott studies and teaches us how to distinguish between "social" or "voluntary" laughter (the way you politely laugh at a co-worker's jokes) and "authentic" or "involuntary" laughter (the kind that causes you to gasp for breath). Chris Gethard, the host of "The Chris Gethard Show" on Fusion and the podcast Beautiful/Anonymous, talks a lot on his shows and in his standup about his own struggles with addiction and depression. He talks with Kurt Andersen about why it's so important for him to discuss those issues openly, and how mental illness has affected his comedy.

Science and Creativity: Your Brain on Laughter Part I

The practice of laughter yoga began in 1995, when it was invented by Madan Kataria, a doctor in Mumbai, India. Today, its practitioners attend thousands of classes offered all over the world. They say they gain health benefits, including stress reduction and an improved immune system. Kurt Andersen and Mary Harris, a health reporter at WNYC, were curious so they decided to attend a class in New York to find out - and tell us - what it's all about.

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