Babe I'm leaving

Just as art collector Peggy Cooper Cafritz was about to publish a book about the work of black artists she has championed, she died suddenly, and Kurt hears from some people who will miss her the most. Writer Richard Klin admits his love for one of the more schmaltzy ballads of the '70s, "Babe" by Styx. Kevin Hall has a rare psychological condition known as the "Truman Show" disorder where he has delusions that he's starring in a reality show, and he joins Kurt along with journalist Mary Pilon, who just wrote a book about him. And finally, Joe Weisberg, co-creator of "The Americans," and his brother Jacob Weisberg, host of "Trumpcast," join Kurt to talk about how both of their projects were jolted by the Trump-Russia imbroglio.

Late bloomers

Some of our favorite artists who hit their stride when the blush of youth was long gone. Hilton Als talks with Toni Morrison, who didn't write her first novel until she was 39. David Chase was a writer and producer for television for decades, most famously as the creator of "The Sopranos," but he didn't fulfill his real ambition, to be a filmmaker, until he was in his 60s. Today Philip Glass is one of the best known living composers, but he tells Kurt Andersen how, until he was nearly 40, he was driving a cab to make ends meet. And a listener, Maureen Sestito, reveals how a novel inspired her to begin med school — when she was already in her 30s.

The Brothers Weisberg on The Americans and Trumpcast

In 2013, novelist and former CIA officer Joe Weisberg created the FX TV series The Americans. It's about a pair of Russian spies living as Americans in Washington D.C. Three years later, Joe Weisberg's older brother, Slate's editor-in-chief Jacob Weisberg, created the podcast Trumpcast. At first, it seemed like the creative pursuits of the Weisberg brothers had little to do with each other... until intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Kurt Andersen talks with Joe and Jacob Weisberg about the genesis of their shows and the unexpected ways they overlap."Were Donald Trump not been such an important character today," Joe Weisberg says, "we might have actually had the idea of putting him in [The Americans]."

The shape of Oscar

Kurt Anderson talks with Doug Jones, the go-to guy to play creatures and monsters in Hollywood, about his performance in "The Shape of Water." When it comes to political acceptance speeches at the Academy Awards, it's a fine line between awe-inspiring and awe-ful, so we check in with some pros, including Barack Obama's speechwriter, about how to nail them. Why Aisha Harris thinks the Oscars should add a new category: Ensemble Cast. And finally, Kurt Andersen makes a case for narrowing the Best Picture category, because he thinks some of this year's nominees are overrated.

American Icons: The Lincoln Memorial

Kurt Andersen looks into how the Lincoln Memorial became an American Icon. Sarah Vowell discusses the battle over Lincoln's memory, which lasted for three generations. Dorothy Height, a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, recalls witnessing Marian Anderson's historic concert there in 1939, and hearing Martin Luther King Jr. declare "I have a dream" in 1963. And a former White House aide sets the record straight on Richard Nixon's infamous 4 a.m. trip to the Lincoln Memorial, where he met with student protesters there to denounce the Vietnam War. Actor David Strathairn reads the Gettysburg Address, which is engraved on the Memorial, for Studio 360.

Wipe your nose!

Irish actress Denise Gough tells Kurt about her lean years before her two big breakout roles in London — both of which came to New York. A listener named Sam Cook left the church, but his love of Christian rock remains. In 1963, "The First Family" broke new ground for comedy by openly mocking — and impersonating — a sitting president. And finally Kurt talks with Melissa Spitz, who took to Instagram to document — and better understand — her mentally ill mother.

Learning to love Comic Sans

Kurt talks with Ruth Carter, the costume designer who recreated historically accurate clothing for period pictures like "Malcolm X," "Selma," and "The Butler," but for "Black Panther" came up with a bold look for the future. Randy Levin is one of those Billy Joel obsessives who even has recordings of Joel when he played in a psychedelic rock band in the 1960s, but after Levin had kids, he heard one familiar Joel song in a new — and profound — way. Comic Sans is the most hated font, hands down, but Jessamyn West likes it and says you should, too. And John McWhorter tells Kurt why he hates the book that every writer and nitpicky grammarian loves: "The Elements of Style" by Strunk and White.

Papa was a rolling stone

The musical children of musical stars. Sean Lennon on growing up with John and Yoko. Rosanne Cash's surprising musical guilty pleasure. Joshua Redman on his fellow saxophone player — and father — Dewey Redman. And a performance from Rufus Wainwright.

Will Super Bowl Ads lay off bikini babes for #MeToo?

Even in this increasingly fragmented media age, the Super Bowl is one of those rare television events that really captures the country. Nearly one in three Americans — more than 100 million — tunes into the game. And while the NFL viewership in past eras has been overwhelmingly male, that's no longer true: for the Super Bowl, nearly half of television viewers are women. And yet, commercials that air during the Super Bowl are infamous for their retrograde, sexist portrayals of women. But in this year of Me Too, will commercials finally reflect a more enlightened view of women? Jeanine Poggi from AdAge joins Kurt to review some of more sexist spots from recent Super Bowls — and a few feminist moments. Poggi says that advertisers — and their agencies — should be on notice. "Any advertiser who this year goes into the Super Bowl with an ad that's showing women half-dressed or any of the stereotypes we've seen in the past, like the nagging woman," Poggi says, "will get a lot of blowback."

Fantastic women

Daniela Vega, who stars in the Oscar-nominated film from Chile, "A Fantastic Woman," tells Kurt about her own experiences as a transgender woman that she brought to the role. How the artist Linden Frederick got writers including Dennis Lehane and Elizabeth Strout to write short stories based on his paintings. A grieving widow finds comfort in the least likely of places: the cheesy movie, "Practical Magic." And finally Kurt talks with biographer Walter Isaacson, who says that even though Leonardo da Vinci is known as the original Renaissance man, one of his occupations is often overlooked: theater producer.

I killed Captain Kirk

Looking back on the half-century-long legacy of Star Trek, including six television series and 13 feature films. First, Slate cultural critic Marissa Martinelli tells Kurt about the new TV show, "Star Trek: Discovery." Writer and producer Ronald D. Moore reveals his childhood fascination with Star Trek and his later experiences as a writer for the show. Linguist Arika Okrent explains the fictional Klingon language. Finally, we hear about how the make-believe products on the show inspired inventors to make them real, and how the Enterprise starship prop from the original series came to be displayed so prominently in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Breaker 1-9

How the oil crisis of the 1970s inspired C.W. McCall's novelty trucker hit "Convoy," launching a national CB radio craze. Theater designer Joshua Dachs tells Kurt how stages have evolved over the centuries — and why so many productions are now drawn to unconventional spaces. And June Thomas looks at how sexual harassment is depicted on television.

Staff picks, 2017 (Volume 2)

Kurt Andersen talks with Stevie Salas, whose documentary, "RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World," highlights rockers like Link Wray, Jimi Hendrix, Jesse Ed Davis, and Robbie Robertson. Bestselling Young Adult author Angie Thomas on how the late TLC performer Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes spoke to her at a very troubling point in her life. And the real story by "Naked Came the Stranger," the 1969 bodice-ripper which turned out to be a hoax by a bunch of bemused newspaper journalists.

Staff picks, 2017 (Volume 1)

Celebrating a year that couldn't end quickly enough with some of our favorite segments. Academy Award-winner Thelma Schoonmaker, who has edited every Martin Scorsese movie for the nearly four decades, talks with Kurt about editing Scorsese's latest film, "Silence," and some classic scenes she edited in movies including "Raging Bull" and "Goodfellas." Yewande Omotoso's joins Kurt to talk about her new novel, "The Woman Next Door," which explores racial tension in post-apartheid South Africa. And "The Godfather: Part III" is a movie everyone loves to hate, but critic Ted Gioia believes the film is actually a masterpiece.

Where is Bobbie Gentry?

A theater in Memphis decided to stop showing "Gone with the Wind," and Aisha Harris, a Slate culture writer and host of the podcast Represent, joins Kurt to talk about what many see as a nostalgia for slavery in the movie. At 50, there are two central questions surrounding the song, "Ode to Billie Joe": Why did Billie Joe McAllister jump off the Tallahatchie Bridge, and why, decades ago, did the woman who sang it, Bobbie Gentry, disappear from public view? And finally, Kurt talks to another Omahan done good, the director Alexander Payne, about his new movie, "Downsizing."

That's What She Said

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?

So you think you're creative?

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)

Gay theater, then and now.

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."

American Icons: The Disney Parks

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.

American Tricon

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.

I'm the Boss, Baby

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.

The Agonies of Small Talk

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 such a character

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.