Recently in Aha Moments

Aha Moment: Talking Heads

Friday, January 20, 2012

When Amy Douglas was a teenager, her parents sent her to a boarding school for troubled kids deep in the Arizona desert. There she fell deep into a depression and struggled with an eating disorder. Then a cassette copy of The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads helped ...

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Aha Moment: From Proto-Punk to Perception

Friday, November 18, 2011

Larry Rosenblum is a professor of psychology with a focus on perception — he’s written a book about the senses called See What I’m Saying. Rosenblum credits a musical revelation with leading him down that path. Growing up with 1970s prog-rock, he thought that virtuosity and spectacular showmanship were the hallmarks ...

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Aha Moment: Sandra Bernhard

Friday, October 28, 2011

“Larger-than-life” doesn’t do justice to performer Sandra Bernhard. She can be cartoonishly tough and irreverent, but also intensely sincere. Her breakout role came in Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy (1983), in which she plays an obsessed fan who helps kidnap the talk show host ...

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Aha Moment: Doc Watson & Abigail Washburn

Friday, October 14, 2011

Abigail Washburn thought she had her goals set. She was on her way to a career in international law based in China when a bluegrass musician stopped her in her tracks. At a party, she heard a recording of Doc Watson singing “Shady Grove” and she fell in love with the banjo. “I was struck by it as something ...

Bonus Track: “Burn Through” from City of Refuge

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Aha Moment: From Crowded House to ESG

Friday, August 19, 2011

Neil Finn is the lead singer of Crowded House, a band which had its share of big hits in the 80s and 90s. (Admit it, you belted along to “Don't Dream It's Over.”) Growing up in New Zealand, Finn was raised on the Beatles and David Bowie: “I was playing piano and playing guitars and trying to emulate those guys,” he remembers ...

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Aha Moment: Brian Blade and Joni Mitchell

Friday, August 12, 2011

Brian Blade is a drummer's drummer. He's played with Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Norah Jones, and Bob Dylan. He also leads his own ensemble, The Fellowship Band. Growing up in Shreveport, Louisiana, Blade was raised on gospel, soul, and funk. But when he when he was 16 ...

Bonus Track: “The Dawntreader”

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Aha Moment: Cy Twombly

Friday, July 22, 2011

In July we lost one of the great American painters — Cy Twombly, who was 83. Twombly defied categories. Unlike the abstract painters of the previous generation, like Jackson Pollock and Willem DeKooning, Twombly’s work was playful...

Bonus Track: Music Inspired by Twombly's Painting

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Aha Moment: Rudresh Mahanthappa Finds His Roots

Friday, June 24, 2011

When jazz saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa was still a student at Berklee College of Music, his older brother gave him an album called Saxophone Indian Style — as a joke. Mahanthappa had been suspicious of American jazz’s sampling of Indian...

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Aha Moment: Gentleman’s Agreement

Friday, June 10, 2011

Listener Susan Evans grew up in rural Louisiana during the 1950s and 60s. Her first year of high school was also the first year of federally enforced integration in her town — and that did not sit well with her white parents. It wasn’t until years later that ...

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Aha Moment: Designer Karim Rashid

Friday, May 20, 2011

Industrial designer Karim Rashid creates ordinary household objects known the world over: he has more than 3000 in production, including the Umbra “Oh Chair” and the Bobble Water Bottle which filters water as you drink.  He found his calling early, when his family crossed ...

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Aha Moment: John Darnielle and Black Sabbath

Friday, May 13, 2011

Twenty years ago, just as indie rock started to be called indie rock, John Darnielle founded one of its great bands — The Mountain Goats. The New Yorker called Darnielle "America's best non-hip hop lyricist"; his songs are moody, literary, some might say a bit navel-gazey. ...

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Aha Moment: Antony Hegarty

Friday, January 14, 2011

The frontman for Antony and the Johnsons says everything changed for him when he discovered the Japanese modern dance, butoh. Hegarty talks about the butoh master, Kazuo Ohno, and describes his growing fascination with the minimalist and sometimes grotesque art form.

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Aha Moment: Cary Grant in “Holiday”

Friday, October 01, 2010

Carolita Johnson, a New Yorker cartoonist, was a teenager when she heard Cary Grant exclaim that the world was full of possibilities. "Holiday" set Carolita on a free-spirited, 13-year journey that changed her life.

Weigh in: Has a work of art changed your life?

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Aha Moment: Star Trek

Friday, September 17, 2010

In college, Ronald D. Moore's Captain Kirk dorm room poster prompted teasing, but his passion for the original "Star Trek" has paid off. A few years ago he transformed the sci-fi TV genre when he reimagined the cheesy 1980s "Battlestar Galactica" into a gripping allegory for ...

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Aha Moment: "The Searchers"

Friday, July 16, 2010

Vito Acconci's work as an artist and architect often confuses the boundaries between public and private space. In 1964 Acconci saw a movie that would shape his career as an architect: John Ford's "The Searchers," starring John Wayne.

Weigh in: Has a work of art changed ...

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Aha Moment: To Kill a Mockingbird

Friday, July 09, 2010

Indie rockers Ra Ra Riot found sonic inspiration in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Singer Wes Miles explains that like the book, their song "Each Year" explores issues of prejudice.

Weigh in: Has a work of art changed your life?

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Aha Moment: Pinocchio

Friday, July 02, 2010

Robert Braczyk has always been handy, working first as cabinetmaker and then as a sculptor for 25 years. But there was one profession he always wanted: Toymaker. And it all started with seeing Geppetto's workshop in Walt Disney's Pinocchio.


Aha Moment: The Dream Syndicate

Friday, May 28, 2010

For more than fifteen years Sam Coomes led the band Quasi along with the drummer Janet Weiss - who has been his ex-wife for most of that time. Coomes tells the story of how he found his calling as a rock musician. It all began ...

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Bonus Track: "Little White Horse"

Friday, May 28, 2010

From Quasi's new album, American Gong.


Aha Moment: e.e. cummings

Friday, April 30, 2010

As a child Quang Bao fled Vietnam and lived in a refugee camp with his family. They eventually settled in Sugarland, Texas, and he was in high school when he discovered e. e. cummings. "i like my body when it is with your" set him on the path ...

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