Friday, August 07, 2009
John Hughes, the director who brought us the '80s classics 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off,' 'The Breakfast Club,' and 'Sixteen Candles,' passed away yesterday. Hughes was the undisputed master of the teen movie: the high school scene he depicted over twenty years ago is still imitated, never equaled. Maybe that's because he was truly sympathetic to teens and their problems.
Thursday, August 06, 2009
It's not every day that you see someone you know on your favorite TV show-- which is why I was so psyched to see Kurt on The Colbert Report Tuesday night. Stephen Colbert talked to Kurt about his new book Reset: How This Crisis Can Restore Our Values and Renew America. Their six minute conversation is really amusing: in part because Colbert’s questions are totally absurd, and in part because it's bizarre to see Kurt on the other side of the interview table.
Monday, August 03, 2009
We were quite taken with Jill Sobule when she came into the studio for a performance chat with Kurt earlier this summer.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Last night, I joined hundreds of nostalgic 30-somethings at a 30th anniversary screening of The Muppet Movie in Brooklyn. Seeing it on the big screen was pure delight, and proved the lasting genius of Jim Henson and co. Everything holds up: the snappy dialogue (Man in Swamp: 'You, you with the banjo, can you help me? I seem to have lost my sense of direction!' Kermit: 'Have you tried Hare Krishna?'); the irresistible soundtrack (the Electric Mayhem jams are the best); the hilarious cameos (Mel Brooks as Dr. Mengele-like mad scientist); and, of course, the unforgettable Muppets themselves (witness Miss Piggy transform from precious damsel-in-distress to gangster-ass-kicker, with her unmistakable battle cry: 'HEEEE-YAH!').
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Paul Giamatti is an award-winning actor, a graduate of Yale, a member of Skull and Bones, and… a soul singer?! The last one surprised us too when we rediscovered his performance in Duets (2000) – about karaoke singers. Kurt got the chance to chat with oh-so-modest Giamatti recently, who says, “I didn’t, and still don’t think of myself as a singer.”
Monday, July 27, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
This week on Studio 360, Nick Heling talks to Muslim punk rockers The Kominas about taqwacore, the movement inspired by novelist Michael Muhammad Knight's 2002 novel The Taqwacores. Photographer Kim Badawi met Knight shortly after Taqwacores was published, and in 2006 began tagging along on tours with taqwa bands The Kominas and Secret Trial Five, snapping pics of the scene in its infancy. Now that taqwacore is a raging adolescent, Brooklyn publisher powerHouse (which specializes in not-your-mamma's coffee table books) has come out with a beautiful new book of Badawi's photos: The Taqwacores: Muslim Punk in the U.S.A.. What I love about Badawi's photos are the juxtapositions: there's the obligatory sex, drugs, and thrashing guitars, but also veiled heads, prayer rugs, and band members bowed towards Mecca.
Friday, July 17, 2009
On July 4th, Kurt caught up with They Might Be Giants' John Flansburgh, John Linnell, and Marty Beller at the Aspen Ideas Festival and found out why the sun really shines. (The special show airs on Studio 360 this weekend.) Not in attendance were John and John's sock puppet alter egos - the delightfully orange emcees of the They Might Be Giants' Friday Night Family Podcast. If you haven't checked out the podcast yet, you're in for a treat. I may have mastered my ABCs and 123s long ago, but I still get a kick out of a puppet dressed like George Washington. Also in this episode (from President's Day weekend 2008) a psychedelic ode to the always under-appreciated number two.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Forsooth, the next item on our reference-book most-wanted list this fall is going to be the new Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary, due out in October. Forty-four years in the making, this puppy's got 800,000 words ('almost every word,' they claim, from Old English to the present)--that's more than double the size of Roget's International. Vasty. And, like Roget, it's organized by concept, so if you're looking for the perfect synonym for 'honey pie,' just flip right to the section on 'Terms of Endearment.'
Friday, July 10, 2009
Remember Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie? Kurt sat down with the up-and-coming Nigerian writer last December - on the 50th anniversary of the publication of Things Fall Apart - to ask how it felt being called the "21st-century daughter of Chinua Achebe." Her answer? Pretty good. Now Adichie's come out with a wonderful new collection of short stories called The Thing Around Your Neck. She read a selection from her story "The Shivering" at the Sydney Writers' Festival in May - it's subtle, funny, touching. Check it out (and start one minute in to get right to the story).
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
When Studio 360 asked the New York-based design firm Worldstudio to give the gay pride flag a 21st century makeover, we had to leave a lot of great conversations out of the final story. Here's a little bit more from the lively brainstorming session Worldstudio principle Mark Randall held with his team of designers, including Andrea Pellegrino, Nina Mettler, and Tom Koken.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
This is amazing. Especially a few minutes in when they bring out the banner with a giant Christ-like image of Michael. (See also my earlier post with their original "Thriller" performance from '07.) Thanks to Jocelyn Gonzales for this link.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Our gay pride flag redesign challenge drew lots of great listener entries — and no small amount of criticism (see here and here). Yesterday, Papermag ran an interview with Kurt about the kerfuffle. Why mess with a beloved symbol? Kurt: 'I think it’s an interesting way to make people look more closely ...
Thursday, June 25, 2009
This video of Filipino inmates performing a mass-ensemble dance to "Thriller" was circulating around the web a year or so ago. Given today's news, we thought it was worth another look. Jackson's death adds a dose of poignancy to the bizarre spectacle.