From WNYC Studios and MoMA, A Piece of Work is everything you want to know about modern and contemporary art but were afraid to ask. Hosted by Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson, this 10-episode podcast explores everything from Pop art to performance in lively conversations with curators, artists, and Abbi’s friends, including Hannibal Buress, Tavi Gevinson,… Continue reading A Piece of Work
H. P. Lovecraft’s tales of cosmic horror have long inspired obsessive fandom. His short stories, in the hundred years since they were first published, have extended their tentacular influence to Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, the Alien movies, Dungeons & Dragons, and beyond. Paul La Farge’s new novel, The Night Ocean, traces Lovecraft’s unusual friendship with a 16-year-old fan… Continue reading Ravening for Delight
You’ve heard of a band playing a house party, but what if the band played the house itself? A new music venue in New Orleans called Music Box Village is investigating the acoustic possibilities of architecture. Rob Walker reported this story and I edited and produced it for The Organist (KCRW).
Sometimes you don’t like what everyone expects you to. When you’re a critic, that can look contrarian or intentionally provocative. Longtime Pittsburgh theatre critic Ted Hoover is neither of those things, but he does throw some very entertaining shade on Shakespeare in this feature I produced for Studio 360.
On the 100th anniversary of the publication of the theory of relativity, I produced an episode of Studio 360 (PRI + WNYC) looking at how Einstein upended the way we see space and time, his effect on pop culture, and how one of his most preposterous ideas was ultimately proven right. For this hour, I came… Continue reading Way to Go, Einstein
For this episode of Studio 360, Kurt Andersen and Only Human host Mary Harris go to a session of laughter yoga to find out about the health effects of laughter. We trace the origin of laughter with researcher Robert Provine, and look at laughter’s effect on the brain with neuroscientist Sophie Scott. Chris Gethard talks about… Continue reading Is Laughter Good for Your Health?
The novelist Hilary Mantel has definitively updated our idea of Henry VIII—and our notion of what historical fiction can be. In her stylistically daring and formally inventive novels “Wolf Hall” and “Bring Up the Bodies,” she focuses on a less well-known figure who’s always been depicted as kind of a weasel: Thomas Cromwell. He was the son of a blacksmith who… Continue reading Hilary Mantel Reimagines History
Claudia Rankine’s 2014 book of poetry Citizen: An American Lyric became the first book ever nominated in two categories by the National Book Critics Circle Awards — poetry and criticism. That reflects the book’s varied literary approaches as well as its timely, acute critique of racism in contemporary American culture. I produced this interview for Studio 360.
Break-ups pretty much always suck. But when you’re a songwriter, at least you might be able to get some material out of it. Not so long ago, the Canadian songwriter and singer Basia Bulat suffered her own difficult split. She pulled herself together, wrote a set of acoustic breakup songs, and drove south from Toronto to Louisville,… Continue reading Basia Bulat’s Pop Transformation
When a friend showed Nathan Salsburg some old records he had come across while clearing out an abandoned house, Salsburg at first wasn’t interested. He’s the curator for the Alan Lomax Archive, so he knows most old records are junk. But when he saw a rare 78-rpm Mississippi John Hurt, he knew his friend was onto something. That… Continue reading The Music Collector
Recently, the Fort Worth Opera decided to commission a new opera to tell the story of JFK’s final night—a night he spent with the first lady in a Fort Worth hotel room. They turned to two up-and-coming stars of contemporary opera, the composer David T. Little and librettist Royce Vavrek. I interviewed Little and Vavrek and… Continue reading JFK Sings on the Moon