When Malcolm X was assassinated at 39, his book nearly died with him. Today The Autobiography of Malcolm X — a favorite of President Obama and Justice Clarence Thomas alike — stands as a milestone in America’s struggle with race. The Autobiography is also a Horatio Alger tale, following a man’s journey from poverty to crime to militancy to wisdom.
"this was terrific everyone should listen to this"
When Malcolm X was assassinated at 39, his life story nearly died with him. Today The Autobiography of Malcolm X — a favorite of President Obama and Justice Clarence Thomas alike — stands as a milestone in America's struggle with race. The autobiography is also a Horatio Alger tale, following a man's journey from poverty to crime to militancy to wisdom. Muslims look to Malcolm as a figure of tolerance; a tea party activist claims him for the political right; Public Enemy's Chuck D tells us, "This book is like food. It ain't McDonald's — it's sit down at the table and say grace".
Studio 360 looks at the places "where art and real life collide," exploring the creative influence and transformative power of art in modern life through richly textured stories and insightful conversation. Hosted by Kurt Andersen.
"Stimulating and Diverse - always interesting"
"Not an Audiobook, but a Waste of Time!"
Are we entering a golden age for women directors in Hollywood? Kurt Andersen talks with Sarah Polley and Lynn Shelton about how the industry has changed, and where the glass ceiling remains. We'll hear a report from Comic-Con, the bleeding edge of American pop culture. And Dirty Projectors, who make experimental rock you can dance to, perform live in the studio.
Kurt Andersen finds out how Big Data is helping us decode our culture. The mobile video app Vine brings us six-second dispatches from soldiers in Afghanistan. Thirty years ago, Sue Grafton started a series of novels named for the alphabet, with W if for Wasted out next month. She looks ahead to the end of the series — then, “a long nap.”
Kurt Andersen sits at the piano with Marvin Hamlisch, the composer of The Sting, A Chorus Line, and other classic scores, in this interview from 2009. Hamlisch, who died this week, knew as well as anyone on earth how to get a melody stuck in your head. The literary shape-shifter Julian Barnes tries to figure out what makes a Barnesian novel. And a middle-aged couple rekindle their romance with tango.
One of the most famous choreographers working today, Twyla Tharp is the person you call when you want to turn Billy Joel songs into Broadway catnip or get horses dancing in Central Park. Also, we hear what made The X-Files such a good fit for the conspiracy-minded 1990s, and why we’re primed for it to come back now. And the director Sebastian Schipper explains how he shot a feature-length thriller over the course of two hours in Berlin - in just one take.
Writing the song "Born Under a Bad Sign" made William Bell a soul legend, but he never recorded it himself - until now. Also, the writers Richard Russo and Jennifer Finney Boylan talk about plot twists in their long friendship. And we ask whether Sylvia Plath's poetry can ever get out from under the shadow of her suicide.
Art is changing medicine. Music helps patients recover in a burn unit and medical students learn how honing their narrative skills will make them better doctors. Kurt Andersen talks with the writer Chris Adrian about how his day job as a children’s cancer doctor finds its way into his novels. And an ER doc reveals which hospital television show tells it like it is.
Karen Hollander is a celebrated attorney who recently removed herself from consideration for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Her reasons have their roots in 1968 - an episode she’s managed to keep secret for more than 40 years. Now, with the imminent publication of her memoir, she’s about to let the world in on that shocking secret - as soon as she can track down the answers to a few crucial last questions. A resonant coming-of-age story and a thrilling political mystery, True Believers is Kurt Andersen’s most ambitious novel to date, introducing a brilliant, funny, and irresistible new heroine to contemporary fiction.
"very listenable political mystery/ romance"
This week, we talk about telling stories in science through words and pictures. The new book The Where, the Why, and the How pairs explanations of scientific mysteries with playful, intriguing illustrations by 75 artists. Kurt Andersen speaks with one of the book’s editors, and gives our listeners a new challenge. And in two true stories from a live Studio 360 event, a mother loses her memories, a father protects his, and their children spend their lives trying to understand what memory is and how it works.
The actor Sam Rockwell explains why acting in every frame of the movie Moon can't compare to the difficulty of playing a damaged rodeo cowboy in Sam Shepard's play Fool for Love. Also, reporter John Seabrook breaks down exactly what makes a pop hit – and how formulas can't completely account for their magic. And Jenny Slate challenges you to create your own super-short holiday movie.
Actor Viggo Mortensen brings some of his own outdoorsy skills to his role as a dad raising his kids off the grid in Captain Fantastic. Also, with a new exhibit of her early photographs, it’s time to reconsider Diane Arbus’ conflicted legacy. And Kurt gets a lesson on speaking like a proper Brit from an accent coach. [Broadcast Date: July 21, 2016]
Walt Whitman loved America — so much so that it got a little creepy sometimes. But he accomplished his goal, writing a new Bible for American poetry to reflect the democracy and diversity at the heart of this country, and we explore Leaves of Grass in an episode of American Icons. Kurt talks with Linda Ronstadt about being a generation’s most beloved singer, and the disease that made her retire. Plus, we’ll get creative with drones that don’t spy or kill: they dance.
Kurt Andersen speaks with Pete Seeger, Sharon Jones, and others about why "This Land is Your Land" endures, as part of our American Icons series. Later in the hour, writer Anne Lamott and musician Andrew Bird let us in on their creative processes. Hint: one involves holing yourself up in a barn in the middle of nowhere.
The comedian Reggie Watts doesn't tell jokes: he's a pianist who can mimic any musical genre and a multilingual savant who's a genius with accents. Watts performs live in our studio and shows Kurt how he uses improvisation to make every show unique.
Ron Howard's latest film, In the Heart of the Sea, puts us in the whaling ship whose catastrophic sinking inspired Moby Dick. Kurt gets a sneak preview of the future of virtual reality storytelling – and finds the future is a bit disorienting. And the songwriter and musician Son Little plays live.
Tonight on the program, a discussion about where America will be after the election. Charlie is joined by presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin; Walter Isaacson, founder and C.E.O. of the Aspen Institute; Jeff Greenfield of Politico and PBS Newshour Weekend; Kurt Andersen, host of WNYC’s Studio 360; and Cokie Roberts of ABC News.
In his latest movie, The End of the Tour, Jason Segel stretches from the goofy, lovable characters he normally plays to the role of the tragic genius David Foster Wallace. Also, the writer and director of The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Marielle Heller, explains why a relationship between a 15-year-old girl and a 35-year-old man might be empowering. And the indie rock band Yo La Tengo agrees to play a cover of your choosing.