Studio 360

Each week on PRI's Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, guests and the host entertain listeners while examining, commenting on, and providing insight into cultural ideas and trends. American newspapers and general-interest magazines today devote less and less of their coverage to the most ambitious and important new literature, filmmaking, music, dance, theater, visual art, and design. If it isn't a current mass-media phenomenon — a Hollywood movie, a hot TV show, a big videogame, or pop music release — it probably isn't covered at all on the airwaves. This is the context in which PRI's Studio 360 rises to fill that gap left by mainstream media. No other U.S. broadcast program covers the whole culture — "high" as well as "low," classical and vernacular, the challenging and the pop — in such fresh, smart, deep, incisive, idea-driven fashion.

Sunday 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM on WUSF 89.7

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Kurt Andersen

Kurt Andersen is a novelist. His latest book, Heyday, has been called "delightful, intelligent," and "a true novel of ideas" by Publishers Weekly, and "a terrific," "utterly engaging novel" by Library Journal. His earlier novel, Turn of the Century, was a New York Times Notable Book 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 author of The Real Thing, a book of humorous essays. He has written and produced prime-time network television programs and pilots for NBC and ABC, and co-authored Loose Lips,... Read More...

From Studio 360

  • Ready to “Rumble”
    <p>How many f-bombs and gun shots determine a movie’s rating? Howard Fridkin reveals the process of rating movies. Plus, how Native Americans shaped rock and roll history, and a live performance by NPR Tiny Desk Contest winners Tank and the Bangas. </p>
  • American Icons: Native Son
    <p><strong>This is the novel about racism that America couldn't ignore.</strong></p> <div class="embedded-image"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="" alt="" width="100%"></div> <p>The story of a young man in the ghetto who turns to murder was an overnight sensation. Richard Wright set out to confront white readers with the most brutal consequences of racism, and finally lay to rest the stereotype of the passive Uncle Tom — “he literally wanted to create a bigger Thomas,” one scholar argues. But some think Native Son exploited the worst stereotypes of black youth. “Is this giving me permission to go kill white women?” wondered a young Carl Hancock Rux. “Is that what we’re supposed to be doing now?”</p> <p>We trace the line from Bigger Thomas to Notorious B.I.G., and visit a high school drama class acting out Native Son, and struggling to grasp the racism their grandparents experienced. With Nathan McCall, Carl Hancock Rux, and Richard Wright's daughter, Julia Wright.</p> <p>(Originally aired September 6, 2013)</p> <p>Thank you to the following for their time and research: Frankie Bailey, Timuel Black, James Campbell, The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, Thomas Cripps, Dolores Fish, Rebecca Hall, Margot McMahon, Gabriel Mendes, Bayo Ojikutu, Howard Pitsch and the Fort Greene Association, Tim Samuelson, and Malcolm Wright.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Bonus Track: Nathan McCall on how <em>Native Son </em>changed his life<br></strong>Hear producer Amanda Aronczyk's full interview with Nathan McCall, author of <em><span class="book"><a title="buy this book at Amazon" target="_blank" href="">Makes Me Wanna Holler</a></span></em>.</p> <p><div class="inline_audioplayer_wrapper"><div id="audioplayer_idp1582896d7f72c8c-0af5-49b2-aa7f-1e16679c5b66" class="player_element" data-url="" data-width="400" data-title="" data-brand="" data-thumbnail="" data-download="true" data-may-embed="true"></div></div></p> <p><a name="video"></a><strong>Video: Richard Wright's screen test for the original film of <em>Native Son</em></strong></p> <p><div class="user-embedded-video"><div id="videoplayer_idp222019249ebd507-7d29-419a-ae2f-a5bdad8428e5"><iframe width="465" height="349" src=";autohide=1&amp;rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;feature=oembed&amp;enablejsapi=1" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" id="a383245044840699425" class="youtube_video" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" data-original-url=""></iframe></div></div>  </p> <p><a name="photos"></a><strong>Photos: The Stivers High School for the Arts' production of <em>Native Son</em></strong></p> <div class="embedded-image"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="" alt="Native Son American Icons Studio 360" width="600" height="402"><div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">Eric McCalister as Bigger Thomas in the Stivers High School for the Arts' production of <em>Native Son</em></div> <div class="image-credit">(Tom Patterson)</div> </div> </div> <p> </p> <div class="embedded-image"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="" alt="Bigger (Eric McCalister) writes a ransom note while Clara (Ashley Brooks) begs him to stop. (Tom Patterson) " width="600" height="389"><div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">Bigger (Eric McCalister) writes a ransom note while Clara (Ashley Brooks) begs him to stop. (Tom Patterson)</div> <div class="image-credit"></div> </div> </div> <p> </p> <div class="embedded-image"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="" alt="Native Son American Icons Studio 360" width="600" height="399"><div class="image-metadata"> <div class="image-caption">Clara (Ashley Brooks) cries in fear when she learns that Bigger (Eric McCalister) has killed young, white Mary Dalton. In the dramatic adaption of <em>Native Son</em>, the character of Clara fills the role of Bessie in the novel. (Tom Patterson)</div> <p> </p> </div> </div>
  • Off Script
    <p>This week, Kurt goes through the looking glass into the world of conspiracy thrillers. Plus, Matt Walsh breaks down how he improvises comedy on the set of “Veep.” And Jimmy Iovine explains how he sold music in the ever-shifting music industry. </p>
  • American Icons: The Great Gatsby
    <p><strong>Episodes of false identity, living large, and murder in the suburbs add up to the great American novel.</strong></p> <div class="embedded-image"><img class="mcePuppyImage" src="" alt="The Great Gatsby Feature Card_Big" width="100%"></div> <p>Studio 360 explores F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and finds out how this compact novel became the great American story of our age. Novelist Jonathan Franzen tells Kurt Andersen why he still reads it every year or two, and writer <a href="" target="_blank">Patricia Hampl</a> explains why its lightness is deceptive. We’ll drive around the tony Long Island suburbs where Gatsby was set, and we’ll hear from <a href="" target="_blank">Andrew Lauren</a> about his film "G," which sets Gatsby among the hip-hop moguls. And <a href="" target="_blank">Azar Nafisi</a> describes the power of teaching the book to university students in Tehran. Readings come courtesy of Scott Shepherd, an actor who sometimes performs the entire book from memory.</p> <p><em>(Originally aired November 25, 2010)</em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p>
  • Bee is for Blondie
    <p>Should arts organizations accept money from the Koch brothers? Art critic Philip Kennicott weighs in. Plus, Oscar-winning director Errol Morris talks about interviewing Elsa Dorfman and Donald Trump. And Blondie’s Debbie Harry and Chris Stein share music that inspired their new album. </p>
  • Tupac and Art Rock
    <p>This week, an episode about groundbreaking pop music: The music that preceded and followed Radiohead’s landmark album, “OK Computer.” Plus, an exploration of how the life of Tupac Shakur was mythologized — even by Tupac himself. And gospel punk band Algiers plays live in the studio. </p>
  • Across the Multiverse
    <p>Universe not big enough for you? There’s always the multiverse — many universes, scattered through time and space. In one world, you might drive a bus; in another, you might be a Formula One racer. If the idea sounds familiar, that could be because it has obsessed science-fiction and comic-book writers for decades. But artists and writers aren't the only ones fascinated by multiples — some physicists think the multiverse could be very real.</p> <p><em>(Originally aired December 10, 2015)</em></p>
  • Homecoming Attractions
    <p>This week, Kurt talks with “Daily Show” Correspondent Hasan Minhaj about surviving the Trump Administration. Plus, the story behind one of the great literary hoaxes of the century: “Naked Came the Stranger.” And statistician Ben Blatt uses data analysis on classic novels and discovers some surprising patterns.</p>

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