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

  • John Cameron Mitchell, Taffy Brodesser-Akner and a Doom Metal Schoolteacher
    Journalist Taffy Brodesser-Akner talks with Kurt Andersen about her first novel, “Fleishman Is in Trouble,” a book about divorce that has both humor and bite. John Cameron Mitchell was behind the punk musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” and his latest project is “Anthem: Homunculus,” a podcast musical. Mitchell and composer Bryan Weller perform music from the podcast in our studio. And our latest installment of Day Jobs features Steve Von Till, the guitarist in the post-metal band Neurosis, who also has a decidedly more subdued career — as an elementary school teacher.&nbsp;<br><br>Learn more about your ad choices. Visit <a href=""></a>
  • Extra: Nick Waterhouse Live on Studio 360
    Los Angeles-based musician Nick Waterhouse weaves together classic rhythm and blues, jazz, and soul, lending his songs a ‘50s and ‘60s inspired sound. Waterhouse stopped by Studio 360 to tell Kurt Andersen about his <a href="">self-titled fourth album</a>.<br><br>Learn more about your ad choices. Visit <a href=""></a>
  • The Spektor of performing on Broadway
    Singer-songwriter Regina Spektor talks with Kurt Andersen about her upcoming Broadway residency and, seated at a Steinway, performs some songs. The story behind the Empire Zinc strike 70 years ago and the film it inspired, “Salt of the Earth.” And how one scene from “Finding Nemo” inspired Kiki Kienstra to up and move to Mexico.<br><br>Learn more about your ad choices. Visit <a href=""></a>
  • Extra: Deadwood Creator David Milch on Swearing and Swearengen
    To commemorate <em>Deadwood</em> and its long-awaited conclusion, Kurt Andersen revisits his 2006 conversation with the show’s creator, David Milch. They discuss the show’s reprobate cast of characters and their florid, profane dialogue. “I did a lot of research,” Milch says. “Everyone without exception said that in the mining camps, the language was of an unrelieved coarseness and obscenity.“<br><br><br><br><br><br>Learn more about your ad choices. Visit <a href=""></a>
  • ‘Booksmart’ besties, and ‘Ishtar’ reconsidered
    In 1987 Elaine May’s comedy “Ishtar” was savaged by critics and flopped spectacularly, but it turns out that the movie is actually pretty funny — and the reason it failed is pretty complicated. Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, the stars of “Booksmart,” tell Kurt Andersen about how they became friends after they were cast as friends — and they bring a playlist of some of their favorite on-screen friendships. The final episode of the original “Star Trek” series aired 50 years ago this week, and Ronald D. Moore reveals how watching reruns of the show made him a science-fiction fan and ultimately led to becoming staff writer for “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and, in a movie for the franchise, to killing off his hero, James T. Kirk.<br><br>Learn more about your ad choices. Visit <a href=""></a>
  • American Icons: ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ — Part Two
    A half century later, Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” is still shaping our future. With no help from CGI, the movie predicted private space travel, artificial intelligence and much of Apple’s product line. It showed the promise and perils of technology and explored life’s biggest mystery: Are we alone in the universe? In Part Two of our look at the movie in our American Icons series, we visit the same IBM research lab that helped inspire HAL. We meet CIMON, a real-life AI robot on the International Space Station and Garrett Reisman, a former NASA astronaut who blasted the “Blue Danube” in the space shuttle. Plus we speak to New York Times critic Wesley Morris, filmmakers Christopher Nolan and Tom Hanks, artist James Turrell and U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith.<br><br>Learn more about your ad choices. Visit <a href=""></a>
  • How the Stars of Booksmart Became Best Friends to Portray Best Friends
    <em>Booksmart</em> is a new movie directed by Olivia Wilde, about two smart young women, Molly and Amy, who are best friends finishing at the top of their class because they spent high school doing homework and volunteering instead of partying so they could get into good colleges. Only to realize that their hard-partying classmates <em>also</em> got into those same good schools. Queue the wild, wacky, booze-fueled odyssey to get to the mega-party. But the depiction of the two girls and their friendship is not generic, but specific, and fresh, and believable. The stars, Beanie Feldstein (<em>Lady Bird</em>) and Kaitlyn Dever (<em>Justified</em>), talk with Kurt Andersen about stereotypes, role models, and how they decided to become roommates before shooting the film and actually became friends before portraying them.&nbsp;<br>They also share their favorite on-screen friendships that inspired the enchanting bond between their characters.&nbsp;<br><br><br><br><br><br><br>Learn more about your ad choices. Visit <a href=""></a>
  • Drama club
    Theater magic, starting with “Tootsie” composer David Yazbek and musical theater obsessive John McWhorter on the art and wonder of tongue-twisting patter songs. Kurt Andersen talks with performance artist Taylor Mac on writing the new Broadway play, "Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus." And the odd mixture of religious fervor, class concerns and gender politics that made performing Shakespeare outdoors so popular in the United States.&nbsp;<br><br>Learn more about your ad choices. Visit <a href=""></a>
  • This Woman’s Work: Billie Holiday’s Lady Sings the Blues
    This Woman’s Work is a series of stories from <a href="">Classic Album Sundays</a> and Studio 360, highlighting classic albums by female artists that have made a lasting impact on music and pop culture.<br>This time, we focus on <em>Lady Sings the Blues</em> by legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday. It was released in 1956 to coincide with her autobiography of the same name. By this point in her career, when she was just in her early 40s, Holiday’s voice had taken on a fragile and worn quality. Hardship, abusive relationships, and addiction had taken their toll on her famous instrument.&nbsp;<br><br>Learn more about your ad choices. Visit <a href=""></a>
  • Why Werner Herzog loves cat videos
    Kurt Andersen talks with filmmaker Werner Herzog about his latest documentary, "Meeting Gorbachev," his unusual approach to narrating documentaries and their mutual obsession with cat videos. One of the busiest directors of TV comedy, Beth McCarthy-Miller, tells Kurt how she has gone about directing “SNL,” sitcoms and that notorious Super Bowl halftime show that popularized the term “wardrobe malfunction.” And 35 years ago, Prince went from a popular musician to a phenomenon, with the release of “When Doves Cry,” and the movie he wrote it for, “Purple Rain.” Two members of Prince’s band, Wendy Melvoin and Matt “Doctor” Fink, as well as music journalist and author Alan Light, tell the story of that remarkable song.<br><br>Learn more about your ad choices. Visit <a href=""></a>