Kurt Andersen

Kurt Andersen is a writer and the host and co-creator of Studio 360 (and of the new occasional radio variety show Kings County).

His latest novel True Believers, according to Jon Robin Baitz's review in Vanity Fair, "is beautifully drawn," "a great American novel." The Washington Post calls it "a big, swinging novel...full of witty insights" with "plenty to keep us entertained," and The San Francisco Chronicle considers it "fiendishly smart, insightful and joyously loopy." Booklist says it's "an ambitious and remarkable novel, wonderfully voiced" with "spellbinding suspense, and according to The Winnipeg Free Press its "genre grafting" is "an unmitigated success."

His previous novel, Heyday, a New York Times bestseller, won the 2008 Langum Prize for the year's best work of American historical fiction. His earlier novel, Turn of the Century, was a national bestseller that Times reviewers called "wickedly satirical," "outrageously funny" and "the most un-clichéd novel imaginable," and that The Wall Street Journal called a "smart, funny and excruciatingly deft portrait of our age."

He is also the author of Reset, a book-length essay about the history and consequences of the 2008-09 financial crisis and recession, and of The Real Thing, a book of humorous essays. He has written and produced prime-time network television programs and pilots for NBC, ABC, and HBO, and co-authored Loose Lips, an off-Broadway theatrical revue that had long runs in New York and Los Angeles.

He is a regular contributor to Vanity Fair, The New York Times, New York and Time.

Andersen began his career in journalism at NBC's Today program and at Time, where he was an award-winning writer on politics and criminal justice and for eight years the magazine's architecture and design critic. Returning to Time in 1993 as editor-at-large, he wrote a weekly column on culture. From 1996 through 1999 he was a staff writer and columnist ("The Culture Industry") for The New Yorker, and from 2004 through 2009 wrote a column ("The Imperial City") for New York.

He was also a co-founder of Inside.com and Very Short List, editorial director of Colors magazine, and editor-in-chief of both New York and Spy magazines, the latter of which he co-founded.

He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, and is a member of the boards of trustees of the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the Pratt Institute. He lives with his wife in Brooklyn.

Web site: http://www.kurtandersen.com/

Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/kurtandersenbooks

Twitter:  @kbandersen

Shows:

Kurt Andersen appears in the following:

Extra Credit: A Gaggle of Plurals

Friday, April 04, 2014

We know all about schools of fish and gaggles of geese. Now Kurt Andersen wants you to create new collective nouns for curious groups of humans: including hipsters, critics, and venture capitalists.

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And the Oscar for Worst Award Show Goes To...

Sunday, March 02, 2014

We ended up again with awards that were all expected, except Best Picture -- we were betting on Gravity, as it seemed to have all the perfect elements for the top Academy Award: action, suspense, accessibility, emotion and uplift.

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Faking It: The Matrix

Friday, November 16, 2012

Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop, at the Metropolitan Museum, contains hundreds of strange and fascinating pictures, all of them altered in different ways. Wandering through the show, Kurt Andersen realized that each image could be plotted along two axes ...

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Gore Vidal: Fighting Words

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

My first experiences of Gore Vidal were not his writing, but as a pop cultural performer playing himself on television. When I was a little kid, he was a regular on late-night talk shows, chatting with Johnny Carson and then Dick Cavett about '60s politics and culture and ...

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Dylan, Hendrix, Lennon: The True Believers Soundtrack

Thursday, July 05, 2012

I have a new novel coming out next week, True Believers, that isn't easy to pigeonhole. So I'll defer to the novelist Scott Turow, who describes it as "one part bildungsroman, one part political thriller and one part contemplation on age." The part that's a bildungsroman is the story of my ...

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360 Staff Pick: 101 Things to Learn in Art School

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Since Kit White and I met when I was a freshman in college, I've just realized that means we've been friends for two-thirds of our lives. He is pretty much the same person he was then: philosophically serious but funny and fun, learned, lucid, wise, and a painter ...

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Apple, Steve Jobs, and Me

Thursday, October 06, 2011

I started writing on a computer in the early 1980s when I worked at Time magazine. The several of us younger writers, including Walter Isaacson, who were eager to abandon typewriters had to go to use special non-PC consoles in a special little room. There were no PCs, no on-screen icons, ...

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Returning Home on September 11, 2001

Friday, September 09, 2011

On the morning of September 11, I was in midtown Manhattan, so I walked south – downtown.  There I encountered the wave of refugees walking north, people still wearing white breathing masks, people in suits covered head to toe in dust and soot. And finally, after an eight mile hike, I arrived home to my wife and kids Brooklyn, where our little backyard ...

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Osama bin Laden's Hollywood Ending

Friday, May 06, 2011

From the beginning it was like fiction.  The world’s most famous skyscrapers vaporized by two hijacked airliners.  The phrase you heard over and over again was: "it seemed just like a movie."  Yes, but the implausible opening sequence of a bad action movie — spectacular destruction orchestrated by a rich, ...

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The Book of Mormon Saves Broadway

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Book of Mormon is straight-up brilliant, by far the best new musical of the 21st century.

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Revolutionary Redux: 1848 and 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My last novel, Heyday, opens in 1848. When I wrote the book, I was struck by the resonance between the 1840s and the 2000s in America — the go-go economy, all the new technological marvels, the birth of marketing and youth culture... But these last two months, as the democratic protests and rebellions broke out and spread across North Africa and Egypt, I found myself once again gobsmacked by the historical parallels: the 2011 revolutions bear a lot of uncanny resemblances to the 1848 revolutions.

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"Painter of Light" Goes Bust

Monday, June 07, 2010

When I came across the work of the painter Thomas Kinkade, almost a decade ago, I was fascinated and appalled. As you know if you listen to the show, I'm really not a snob -- I loved The Hangover, for instance, and don't really get opera.

...
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360 Staff Pick: Honor Still Lost

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.

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Let's Take A Ride

Friday, September 04, 2009

They Might Be Giants is just about my favorite working band, and not just because they're also the only band -- apart from the Byrds, many many years ago -- with whom I've actually worked a show onstage and back stage. TMBG are smart and good and nice and funny. And live in Brooklyn. Really: what more could one want?

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Leaving Los Angeles

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My time in Los Angeles is coming to an end. I will miss the phantasmagorically perfect weather, the hiking trails (with coyotes!) 5 minutes from my house, the focused and talented students (and faculty) of Art Center, and all the interesting strangers who tend to be, I think, more gratifyingly...open than your typical New Yorker. But it'll also be good to get back to a place where urban life teems just outside one's front door, where I don't have to drive everywhere, and where the city (physically as well as culturally and intellectually) is more coherent, more truly (or at least obviously) a city.

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A day in the country

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I am not on the payroll of the California Travel & Tourism Commission, I swear. But as if the weather in general were not splendidly un-wintery enough, here's some of what I encountered a couple of hours west and north of Los Angeles, by aiming for Santa Barbara and then more or less aimlessly wandering. My daughter Kate provivded a perfect iPod score, dominated by Four Tet and the soundtracks of Jungle Book and Carnivàle.

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City of angels

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

When I visited Johannesberg a few years ago, I was startled by how much, townships aside, it reminded me of southern California -- the topography, the sunniness, the freeways, the shiny Americanism in general. So the other day when I interviewed the delightful founders of the cool South African rock band BLK JKS, Mpumi Mcata and Lindani Buthelezi, before their gig at the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History, I asked, a little nervously, if they agreed. Yes! They also thought it was cool (and, um, ironic) that they were about to perform next to ethnographic dioramas depicting indigenous Africa. The interview -- and exclusive acoustic performance! -- airs starting Friday.

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Desert Planes and Automobiles

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I’ve just spent a fascinating day in the desert an hour and a half north of Los Angeles.

It was an Art Center College of Design field trip. First stop was a hangar-cum-workshop at the Mojave airport – officially, and very grandly, the Mojave Air and Space Port -- where ...

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Kurt on the Red Carpet

Monday, February 23, 2009

Attending the Oscar ceremony last night, I realized why the pre-show red-carpet rigmarole has become more and more a focus of the television coverage over the last decade or so: that's the juiciest part of the quasi-official event, a reality-show The Day of the Locust without the apocalyptic ending.

First ...

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Post-Tokyo high

Monday, November 24, 2008

Last night I visited the new highrise called Tokyo Midtown, which is the tallest building in the city and on its lower floors contains -- thanks to vast swaths of wood, elaborate lighting, and other beyond-the-call-of-duty architectural and furnishing details -- the most convincingly, tastefully luxurious shopping mall I've ...

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