Hand it to AMC's Mad Men: on its own, it has reshaped the way we think about the 1960s. Much of that is the work of costume designer Janie Bryant, whose outfits and shifts in style signal the tensions of 1960s America.
Next, sellers and publishers of books from all over the world convened in New York this week for their annual convention, Book Expo America. Conference discussions focused on e-books, social media, and self-publishing, but the real buzz was about an old-fashioned phenomenon: a printed and bound bestseller that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere.
Then, the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey, about a young woman named Anastasia and her bondage-loving boyfriend Christian, has been jumping off shelves (and into e-book download queues) since it was released by Knopf’s Vintage imprint earlier this year.
Following that, what would Canada and the US look like if we gave each other a makeover? Kurt Andersen joins forces with Jian Ghomeshi, host of the CBC’s daily arts and culture program Q, for our new redesign project. All through June, the two programs will be giving each countries' brand identities a much needed jolt.
Then, each of us can call to mind a clear image of many dinosaurs. That’s surprising, since no human ever set eyes on one. The images that we have derive largely from the work of one man, Charles R. Knight.
Then, over the last 50 years, the writer Paul Theroux has visited most of the countries on Earth, traveling in a deep, slow, observant way most of us never do. And his novels are often about people more or less like him: people who rip themselves out of “normal” Western lives, go somewhere alien, and maybe find out who they are.
And finally, Doc Watson, a giant of American folk music, died last month at 89. Watson’s guitar and banjo playing was a powerful force in the 1960s folk revival, and his long career has inspired generations of musicians, among them Abigail Washburn. She was on her way to a career in international law based in China when she heard a recording of Doc Watson singing “Shady Grove” at a party. She fell in love with the banjo. “I was struck by it as something that sounded uniquely American. I had this revelation: I just don't know enough about America. I love this place China … but I don't know enough about my own country’s roots and culture and traditions.” [Broadcast Date: June 9, 2012]