Friday, November 13, 2009
This week Kurt talks with the Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, who's made a career of films about passionate, quirky women: 'Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,' 'Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!,' 'Volver,' among many others. Almodóvar's new movie, 'Broken Embraces,' opens this weekend. Like his other films, it draws from a rich, quintessentially Spanish palette, filled with the vibrant streets, landscapes, and colors of Almodóvar's home country.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Last week, Irish playwright Enda Walsh's The New Electric Ballroom opened to rave reviews at St. Ann's Warehouse in Dumbo, Brooklyn. I fell in love with Walsh's work reading his first play, Disco Pigs, while living in Cork City, Ireland. Walsh isn't just a playwright, but a wordsmith in the truest sense; he blasts language to pieces and then re-invents it. In Disco Pigs, Walsh synthesized Cork slang and poetic puns into a new language for two wild best friends, Pig and Runt, creating 'a whirl dat no one can live sept us two.'
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
If you don't know anyone who's served in the military, Veteran's Day is a holiday that's easy to disregard; even if you have the day off, for the most part, business continues as usual. We decided instead to take a moment to look back at some of the stories we've aired on Studio 360 that came from soldiers themselves. Below, a sampling of our favorites. Listening to these voices could be a nice way to pay tribute, and, maybe, help us get to know some vets a little bit better.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I was lucky enough to be a fly on the wall for Kurt's interview with David Hockney last week. It was a revelation to hear him talk about his way of seeing. And I was surprised to learn that he has started painting on his iPhone, using the 'Brushes' application, to 'paint' lovely little pictures that he then sends off to his friends.
Monday, November 09, 2009
Say you’re from the future, a future in which time machines exist. Why not take a trip back to the good old 21st century? And join us here at WNYC on Tuesday, November 17, as Kurt hosts the live taping of our show all about time travel. You’ll meet some of the great scientists and fiction writers of our time as they grapple with this age-old fantasy, and hopefully you can enlighten us.
Friday, November 06, 2009
Generally when somebody says to the editor of a radio program "I’m going to get a grant to do long-form multimedia reporting with a poet writing about the working poor," the editor gets a look on his face. Poetry and poverty -- not the most popular subjects in the rundown. But when that somebody is very persuasive, and also one of the most talented and tenacious producers in public radio, the editor swallows the small thing in his throat and says sheepishly "Great. When’s our first edit?"
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
If you're planning to see 'Amelia,' the new Amelia Earhart biopic now in theaters, keep an eye out for recent 'Studio 360' guest Gore Vidal -- or at least the actor playing him. The film takes place long before he became notorious for his envelope-pushing novels and on-air political smackdowns with William F. Buckley. At the time he knew the famous female aviator, Vidal was still a kid. But it turns out that his father, Gene, was an able pilot in his own right and one of Earhart's great loves.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
In our contest-obsessed culture, it’s easy to tune out awards hoopla. But England’s Mercury Prize has done what a meaningful award should do: shine a light on an artist who deserves it. Twenty-six year-old Speech Debelle was virtually unknown before she won the prize last month. Her debut record, Speech Therapy, is filled with hopeful, street-sassy rapping over organic beats. Brushes, upright bass, piano and clarinet back up Debelle’s rhymes about growing up in London. She’s had some tough times, but doesn’t let it get her down. The best track, “Spinning,” opens with her staccato flow: “This is for the tat on my wrist/ this is for the black of my fist/ this is for the S in my lisp…” and leads into an irresistible schoolyard chorus: “The world keeps spinning… nobody knows where it will take us, but I hope it gets better.” With this delightfully catchy song, you feel like it is.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Errant kid-carrying balloons, planes that overshoot the runway by 150 miles -- these days, preternatural occurrences are the stuff of cable news. But 50 years ago, viewers tuned in to 'The Twilight Zone' to get their weekly eeriness fix. Before the 'The Twilight Saga,' and before 'Paris Hilton’s My New BFF' became the creepiest show in TV history, Rod Sterling's groundbreaking sci-fi series premiered on a Friday night in October 1959. Not only did it offer far-fetched premises and unexpected twists; there was also a heavy dose of social commentary shrouded in all of the fantasy and suspense.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
When I first read this 1974 novel, set in West Germany around the time of the Red Army Faction, it seemed very foreign to me in every sense. A serious terrorist threat? Law enforcement overreach to deal with it? Powerful, sensationalist right-wing media whipping up the panic? Well, times have changed, and the resonances today are different for American readers. I discovered as much earlier this year, when Penguin asked me to write an introduction for this new paperback edition.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
With Halloween fast approaching, the swag coming into the studio this week has taken a spooky turn. We appreciated these vampire teeth, which accompanied The Vampire Archives: The Most Complete Volume of Vampire Tales Ever Published...
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I know I’m well past the age of someone who should be doing this, but every once in a while I like to watch Saturday morning cartoons. Last weekend while watching “Jane and the Dragon” (great show, by the way), I saw a commercial for a new cereal called Raisin Brahms.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Even if you don't know it, you've probably already heard the music of Orba Squara. The New York City-based singer-songwriter Mitch Davis' one-man band is responsible for the effervescent tune featured in the iPhone commercials that have been blanketing the airwaves for the last couple of years. The song is called 'Perfect Timing (This Morning),' and it's one of many tracks from Orba's debut album that have popped up in unexpected places.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Seniority rules at Yale, but not entirely. The Whiffenpoofs are the century-old men's a cappella ensemble, limited to 14 vocalists from each year's senior class – you’ll hear them on this week's show. But there’s a noteworthy junior who’s hot on their heels.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Out of 1,262 artists from 41 states and 15 foreign countries, Ran Ortner was declared the winner at ArtPrize, the festival that took over Grand Rapids, Michigan for the last couple of weeks. There were balloon sculptures and paper airplane demonstrations, but in the end, the public got behind Ortner's two-dimensional painting, 'Open Water no.24,' and made its creator $250,000 richer. Ortner will be on the show next week to tell Kurt how his life as a struggling artist has been forever changed.