Recently in Aha Moments

Aha Moment: Perry Mason vs. "The Paper Chase"

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Jonathan Amsbary grew up on the idealized, "Perry Mason" version of what a lawyer could be. But "The Paper Chase" showed him what kind of person he didn't want to be. 

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Aha Moment: Talking Heads

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Amy Douglas was suffering from depression and an eating disorder at a boarding school for troubled kids. Then she stumbled on the cassette tape that changed her life.


Aha Moment: The Rolling Stones and Of Montreal

Thursday, July 02, 2015

As a teenager, Kevin Barnes from the band Of Montreal learned the Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb,” and those simple chords changed the course of his life.


Aha Moment: John Darnielle and Black Sabbath

Thursday, June 25, 2015

John Darnielle has been compared to the greatest lyricists in pop music history. But his biggest influence wasn’t the American songbook, it was heavy metal.


The Pantheon: A Lesson in Designing With Light

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Steven Holl is one of America’s most respected architects. When he first went to Rome as a student, he discovered the building that would shape his career.

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How "Finding Nemo" Changed My Life

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A kindergarten teacher with a comfortable job watched “Finding Nemo” on a whim. She didn’t realize how it would change her life. 

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Aha Moment: “Love and Rockets”

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Comics and graphic novels haven’t traditionally been welcoming places for women. Jessica Abel, a graphic novelist and teacher, is working to change that. 


Aha Moment: Sandra Bernhard on Carol Channing

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sandra Bernhard’s breakout role was as an obsessed fan in “The King of Comedy,” but her real-life obsession with Carol Channing changed her life.

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Aha Moment: Lee Ann Womack

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sometimes a song on the radio can change your life. How “I Hope You Dance” saved one woman from a very expensive mistake.


Aha Moment: Jane Austen & Clueless

Thursday, January 08, 2015

A TV writer learned about love — and how to write a great love story — from the novels of Jane Austen.

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Aha Moment: Bono and Belly Dancing

Friday, October 31, 2014

She gave up ballet, but Yillah Natalie discovered her life’s work in U2’s “Mysterious Ways”: belly dancing.

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How Devo Became Devo

Friday, October 24, 2014

Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale were students at Kent State in 1970, when the shootings led them to reject the counterculture they had been part of. 

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Aha Moment: Jack DeJohnette Discovers the Drums

Friday, August 29, 2014

The legendary jazz musician originally started out as a piano player, until a great record turned him on to the possibilities of drumming.


Aha Moment: Ditching Punk for Opera

Friday, August 22, 2014

A punk rocker teen thought 18th century costumes had major Goth appeal. When she saw them on stage in an opera, she fell in love with a new (old) style of music.

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Aha Moment: Doc Watson & Abigail Washburn

Friday, August 15, 2014

Abigail Washburn is a leading light of the Americana music scene. But she was on her way to study international law and practice in Beijing when a record by Doc Watson convinced her to pick up the banjo instead.

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Aha Moment: Aladdin, Iago… and Owen

Friday, August 08, 2014

When Owen Suskind was three years old, he was diagnosed with regressive autism. Doctors told his parents, Ron and Cornelia, that he might never speak again. But Ron found a way to connect with his son, using scenes from Disney films.

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Aha Moment: Mary Karr's "Entering the Kingdom"

Friday, May 09, 2014

Ten years ago, Beth Greenspan put a poem in her wallet that she’s carried ever since. Her son was just on the verge of adolescence, and she was wistful. “I noticed that his wrists were starting to get thicker, his hands were starting to look bigger. His hand was almost the size of my own hand.”

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Aha Moment: Matisyahu

Friday, April 25, 2014

In the mid-2000s, Matisyahu perfected a chart-topping blend of reggae and Hasidic Judaism. His shows were packed with young Orthodox men as well as dreadlocked hippies. Matisyahu, formerly Matthew Miller, explains how he discovered the power of reggae as a high school dropout ...


Aha Moment: I Am Hamlet

Friday, April 04, 2014

As a teenager, Jeff House watched Christopher Plummer play Hamlet on TV with his big sister, who was enthralled; House was nonplussed. “The language didn't make sense,” he remembers. And the hero was all doom and gloom, consumed by questions about the nature of existence ...

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Aha Moment: Madonna’s “Live to Tell”

Friday, March 14, 2014

Holly Welker was already doubting her Mormon faith when she went on her mission to Taiwan. She found herself in a strange city with few friends, suffering from a crisis of faith as well as symptoms of depression. She found an unlikely source of solace during a visit to a night market. ...

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