Episode #1219

Mississippi Delta Blues & Jodie Foster

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Friday, May 13, 2011

The Mississippi River floods downtown Memphis on May 9, 2011. The Mississippi River floods downtown Memphis on May 9, 2011. (memphisweather1/flickr)

Jodie Foster explains what it was like to direct Mel Gibson in the new film The Beaver: "There's a little madness in there," she tells Kurt Andersen. Pop star Suzanne Vega creates a song cycle based on the life of the novelist Carson McCullers. And from the floodwaters of the Mississippi, great music rises.

When the Floodgates Open

The Mississippi River is overflowing as it hasn't in most of our lifetimes. The situation is being compared to the devastating flood of 1927, which inundated 27,000 square miles. That disaster led to a new era of flood-control construction, including locks, dams, levees, and spillways throughout the waterway. The 1927 flood also inspired a generation of the blues musicians, like Kansas Joe McCoy and...

Bonus Track: Music from the 1927 flood

Comments [4]

Jodie Foster Directs 'The Beaver'

The new film The Beaver, starring Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster, combines comedy and harrowing drama in a hybrid rarely seen at the movies. Gibson plays Walter Black, a deeply depressed businessman whose life has gone down the tubes. His luck starts changing when he discovers he can ...

Comments [3]

Fakespeare Sonnets: The Winners

For his novel, The Tragedy of Arthur, Arthur Philips wrote an entire play that was a forgery of Shakespeare. (He described the creative process in his interview with Kurt Andersen last week.) We asked our listeners to get in on the act, and take a stab at a fake Shakespearean...

Outstanding Forgeries: Listen to the winning sonnets

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Aha Moment: John Darnielle and Black Sabbath

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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Suzanne Vega on Carson McCullers

Singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega (of the massive 1980s hits "Tom’s Diner" and "Luka") tells the life story of one of her favorite writers in a new one-woman show called Carson McCullers Talks About Love, several decades in the making. In nearly all her work (The Member of the Wedding, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter), McCullers wrote about the loneliness of...

Video: Suzanne Vega performs "Song of Annemarie (Terror, Pity, Love)"

Comments [1]

Comments [1]

H. Clarke Romans from Tucson, Arizona

This comment is about the interview with Jodie Foster and her movie 'The Beaver'. In short it is not appropriate to use labels like 'crazy', 'nutty', 'whacky', 'fully crazy' when talking about people (even movie characters) with serious mental illnesses. It may seem trivial to celebrity persons, but it is not to those who suffer from these illnesses. The impact of language on people is huge. People at NPR know this very well! While I applaud Kurt Anderson for interviewing Jodie Foster and her for making the movie which illustrates the stuggles of the mentally ill none of us need to be degraded by those we admire. My son was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was sixteen and suffered many undeserved indignities in his life. He is deceased now so he doesn't have to hear it anymore, but there are many who do so I urge you to avoid those thoughtless epithets.

May. 29 2011 03:10 PM

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