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American Icons: ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ — Part One


Episode description

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 half 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 One, we look at the movie’s origins in 1960s New York and how it went from opening night bomb to counterculture icon. We’ll hear from effects wizard Doug Trumbull, actor Keir Dullea and superfan Tom Hanks, who has seen the movie more than 200 times.

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A Room of Nell Scovell’s Own

April 3rd, 2018

You might not have heard of Nell Scovell, but you’ve definitely seen her work: she’s written for The Simpsons, Late Night with David Letterman, Murphy Brown and co-wrote the 2013 blockbuster book Lean In with Facebook …

What Laurie Anderson lost

March 29th, 2018

Kurt Andersen talks with performer and artist Laurie Anderson about her long career and her new book, “All the Things I Lost in the Flood,” and new album, “Landfall.” Jess Thom used to be kind of in denial about having …

The art of noise

March 22nd, 2018

A show about how sounds from household items and nature get turned into something else. First Kurt Andersen talks with Ben Burtt, the legendary sound …

When The Belly Room Grew — and Flopped — for Female Comics

March 20th, 2018

In 1978, there were more female comedians in LA than ever before, and many of them were performing at the Comedy Store. But that didn’t mean they were treated fairly, or even given much of a chance to perform.
The Comedy …

Babe I’m leaving

March 15th, 2018

Just as art collector Peggy Cooper Cafritz was about to publish a book about the work of black artists she has championed, she died suddenly, and …

Late bloomers

March 8th, 2018

Some of our favorite artists who hit their stride when the blush of youth was long gone. Hilton Als talks with Toni Morrison, who didn’t write her first novel until she was 39. David Chase was a writer and producer for …

The Brothers Weisberg on The Americans and Trumpcast

March 6th, 2018

In 2013, novelist and former CIA officer Joe Weisberg created the FX TV series The Americans. It’s about a pair of Russian spies living as Americans …

The shape of Oscar

March 1st, 2018

Kurt Anderson talks with Doug Jones, the go-to guy to play creatures and monsters in Hollywood, about his performance in “The Shape of Water.” When …

American Icons: The Lincoln Memorial

February 22nd, 2018

Kurt Andersen looks into how the Lincoln Memorial became an American Icon. Sarah Vowell discusses the battle over Lincoln's memory, which lasted for …

Wipe your nose!

February 15th, 2018

Irish actress Denise Gough tells Kurt about her lean years before her two big breakout roles in London — both of which came to New York. A listener …

Learning to love Comic Sans

February 8th, 2018

Kurt talks with Ruth Carter, the costume designer who recreated historically accurate clothing for period pictures like “Malcolm X,” “Selma,” and …

Papa was a rolling stone

February 1st, 2018

The musical children of musical stars. Sean Lennon on growing up with John and Yoko. Rosanne Cash’s surprising musical guilty pleasure. Joshua Redman on his fellow saxophone player — and father — Dewey Redman. And a …

Will Super Bowl Ads lay off bikini babes for #MeToo?

January 30th, 2018

Even in this increasingly fragmented media age, the Super Bowl is one of those rare television events that really captures the country. Nearly one in three Americans -- more than 100 million -- tunes into the game. And …

Fantastic women

January 25th, 2018

Daniela Vega, who stars in the Oscar-nominated film from Chile, “A Fantastic Woman,” tells Kurt about her own experiences as a transgender woman that …

I killed Captain Kirk

January 18th, 2018

Looking back on the half-century-long legacy of Star Trek, including six television series and 13 feature films. First, Slate cultural critic Marissa …

Breaker 1-9

January 11th, 2018

How the oil crisis of the 1970s inspired C.W. McCall's novelty trucker hit "Convoy," launching a national CB radio craze. Theater designer Joshua …

Staff picks, 2017 (Volume 2)

January 4th, 2018

Kurt Andersen talks with Stevie Salas, whose documentary, “RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World,” highlights rockers like Link Wray, Jimi …

Staff picks, 2017 (Volume 1)

December 28th, 2017

Celebrating a year that couldn’t end quickly enough with some of our favorite segments. Academy Award-winner Thelma Schoonmaker, who has edited every …

Where is Bobbie Gentry?

December 21st, 2017

A theater in Memphis decided to stop showing “Gone with the Wind,” and Aisha Harris, a Slate culture writer and host of the podcast Represent, joins …

That’s What She Said

December 15th, 2017

Amid all the recent allegations of sexual harassment, June Thomas takes a look at how the issue is depicted on TV. “Watching television is something that millions of Americans do every night,” she says, “so storylines …

So you think you're creative?

December 14th, 2017

We're always talking about creativity, but what do we mean? Can we find creativity, can we measure it, can we encourage it? Kurt talks with Gary …

Gay theater, then and now.

December 7th, 2017

New York Times theater critic Jesse Green and playwright Paul Rudnick join Kurt to discuss groundbreaking gay theater over the past 50 years. How …

Studio360 | New Yorker Cover Illustrator Barry Blitt

December 1st, 2017

Illustrator and political cartoonist Barry Blitt is best known for his New Yorker covers. Over the past three decades, he’s paired his signature ink …

American Icons: The Disney Parks

November 30th, 2017

Generations of Americans have grown up with Walt Disney shaping their imaginations. In 1955, Disney mixed up some fairy tales, a few historical facts, and a dream of the future to create an alternate universe. Not just …

American Tricon

November 22nd, 2017

This week, a triple header from the series American Icons, which focuses on works of art that changed the way we think about America.
First is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Scarlet Letter”: his 1850 novel about a woman being …

I'm the Boss, Baby

November 16th, 2017

Alec Baldwin, who these days may be best known for his depictions of President Trump on “Saturday Night Live,” joins Kurt to discuss how he has played many villains in his career, and their points of view might best be …

The Agonies of Small Talk

November 9th, 2017

Sitting down with some of the smartypants whom the MacArthur Foundation just awarded its genius grants. Jesmyn Ward began writing about rural African American life after the horrors of Katrina and the loss of her …

Tracey Ullman is such a character

November 2nd, 2017

Tracey Ullman is back, this time on HBO, and she talks with Kurt about her new series and her hilarious impersonations of celebrities including Judi Dench and Angela Merkel. An artist finds a use for Hillary Clinton’s …

Dance Studio 360

October 26th, 2017

Twyla Tharp is the most celebrated American choreographer working today, but that doesn’t mean she’d hoity-toity, and she talks with Kurt about choreographing to such accessible music at the Beach Boys, Billie Joel and …

Sugar Mouth

October 19th, 2017

Artists Agnès Varda and JR were born 55 years apart but have so much in common, and made a lovely film, “Faces Places.” Have horror movies jump scares, like when the axe-wielding maniac lurches out of the bushes, gone …

American Icons: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

October 12th, 2017

This is the story of America’s fight against authority.

Ken Kesey had worked in a mental hospital, but his first novel was really a parable of what …

Michael Chabon Sings!

October 6th, 2017

Danny Strong joins Kurt to talk about how he began his career as an actor, evolved into as a writer of movies like “Game Change,” and just made his …

Does Laughter Yoga Work?

September 28th, 2017

Is the old cliché true — is laughter the best medicine? Kurt Andersen and Mary Harris, a health reporter at WNYC, go to a laughter yoga class to find …

Harvard’s Full of Morons

September 21st, 2017

Steven Spielberg doesn’t like to talk about filmmaking much, but he talked (and talked, and talked) to documentary filmmakerSusan Lacy, who sits down with Kurt Andersen to discuss her definitive portrait of the master. …

Learning to Love “Fuller House”

September 14th, 2017

John McPhee is the godfather of a certain kind of long-form creative non-fiction, and over the past half-century, he’s written over 100 articles for The New Yorker. He sits down with Kurt to talk about his new book, …

Back to School Special

September 7th, 2017

School is back in session, so Studio 360 is hitting the books. Kurt calls up his favorite teacher from high school to compare notes. The novelist …

Casting ‘Moonlight’

August 31st, 2017

Some of our favorite recent stories about movies. Kurt talks with Jenny Slate about how her movie career blossomed long after her inglorious stint on Saturday Night Live. Yesi Ramirez breaks down how she cast the Best …

Sing your “I want” song

August 24th, 2017

Our favorite recent segments about the stage. Kurt talks with Frank Langella about his screen and stage career since his breakout role as Dracula in …

Say it loud: “moist”

August 17th, 2017

Some of our favorite recent stories about books and the people who make them. Kurt talks with Claudia Rankine about capturing what racism really feels like in “Citizen: An American Lyric,” and to Helen Oyeyemi about her …

When music punches you in the face.

August 10th, 2017

Some of our favorite recent stories about music.What drove Carrie Brownstein to actually punch herself in the face when she was on tour with Sleater-Kinney, the haunting beauty and artistry of the “Twin Peaks” score, …

American Icons: Moby-Dick

August 3rd, 2017

Herman Melville's white whale survived his battle with Captain Ahab only to surface in the works of contemporary filmmakers, painters, playwrights and musicians. Kurt Andersen explores the influence of this American …

Nikola Tesla: Strange Genius

August 1st, 2017

The astounding mad scientist life of Nikola Tesla. Just who was this pioneer of radio, radar, and wireless communication? We discover his legacy in …

Ready to “Rumble”

July 27th, 2017

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 …

American Icons: Native Son

July 20th, 2017

This is the novel about racism that America couldn't ignore.

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Off Script

July 13th, 2017

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 …

American Icons: The Great Gatsby

July 6th, 2017

Episodes of false identity, living large, and murder in the suburbs add up to the great American novel.

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Bee is for Blondie

June 29th, 2017

Should arts organizations accept money from the Koch brothers? Art critic Philip Kennicott weighs in. Plus, Oscar-winning director Errol Morris talks …

Tupac and Art Rock

June 22nd, 2017

This week, an episode about groundbreaking pop music: The music that preceded and followed Radiohead’s landmark album, “OK Computer.” Plus, an …

Across the Multiverse

June 15th, 2017

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 …

Homecoming Attractions

June 8th, 2017

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 …

American Icons: I Love Lucy

June 1st, 2017

This is where television invented itself.

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Manchester, United

May 25th, 2017

This week, a conversation with music journalist Eve Barlow about the terror attack in Manchester and the city’s rich musical history. Plus, “Master of None” co-creator Alan Yang reveals behind-the-scenes stories from …

Whoa, Canada

May 18th, 2017

This week, as President Trump threatens Canada, we salute our neighbors to the north. Kurt gets his Canadian knowledge tested, k.d. lang talks about her Canuck roots, and Mac DeMarco plays live. 

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Twin Peek

May 11th, 2017

This week, we head back to “Twin Peaks.” “Fargo” showrunner Noah Hawley talks about the impact of David Lynch’s cult TV show. Plus, what it was like …

American Icons: Buffalo Bill

May 4th, 2017


This was the American spectacle that colonized our dreams.

He was the most famous American in the world — a showman and spin artist who parlayed a …

Handmaid in America

April 27th, 2017

This week, why Margaret Atwood dedicated “The Handmaid’s Tale” to a woman known as Half-Hanged Mary. Plus, the Kinks’ Ray Davies shares his playlist of his favorite American songs, and the story behind that album with …

Fan Overboard!

April 20th, 2017

This week, Studio 360 gets obsessed about fandom: a look inside the world of black cosplayers at ComicCon, Kurt visits a Japanese pop culture …

How Sweet the Sound

April 13th, 2017

How a church hymn became an American anthem: the surprising and complicated story behind “Amazing Grace.” Plus, a conversation with novelist Yewande Omotoso about her book, “The Woman Next Door.” And Aimee Mann reveals …

American Icons: Superman

April 6th, 2017

Disguised as a mild-mannered reporter, Kurt Andersen explores the history of Superman with cartoonists Jules Feiffer and Art Spiegelman, director …

“Shaft” and Present

March 30th, 2017

This week, the story of “Shaft.” Plus, learn the lingo in a TV writers’ room with “Veep” showrunner David Mandel. And Kurt talks to author Osama …

Pet Projects

March 23rd, 2017

This week, Kurt heads to a dog park and learns how to take the perfect pet portrait. Plus, the story behind “Share A Smile Becky,” Mattel’s attempt …

Magnetic Feels

March 16th, 2017

This week, Kurt talks to comedians Kate Berlant and John Early about their absurdist new series, “555.” Plus, how filmmaker Garry Fraser went from being a heroin addict in Scotland to working on “T2: Trainspotting” — a …

American Icons: Monticello

March 9th, 2017

The home of America’s aspirations and deepest contradictions.

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Getting into 'Get Out'

March 2nd, 2017

This week, Kurt talks to writer/director Jordan Peele about his new horror film “Get Out.” Plus, how Leonard Bernstein brought classical music from the concert hall to the living room. And Afropop band Sinkane performs …

Political Art

February 23rd, 2017

This week, a look at artists — from the left to the right — getting political.  Conservative painter Jon McNaughton talks about creating art in the …

Oscar Preview

February 16th, 2017

This week, we preview the Academy Awards. The casting director of “Moonlight” talks about the complicated process of finding the right actors for three different time periods. Plus, “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle …

Love is on the Air

February 9th, 2017

Where do you turn when you’re heartbroken in the dead of night? Delilah, of course — her radio call-in show pairs romantic advice with the perfect song. Plus, we discover the surprisingly sweet couple behind one of …

Here’s Looking at You

February 2nd, 2017

This week, Kurt talks to former NEA chairman Dana Gioia about how the Trump Administration may target federally-funded art. Plus, screenwriter Robert …

The Scene and the Unseen

January 26th, 2017

This week, a conversation with Oscar-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker, the story behind Marilyn Monroe’s most iconic moment, and a New York Times critic picks the timeliest show on TV.

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American Icons: The Wizard of Oz

January 19th, 2017

This is America’s dreamland.

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Marilyn Monroe’s Long-Lost Skirt Scene

January 16th, 2017


Marilyn Monroe’s most iconic moment — standing over a subway grate as her white dress billows up — was originally filmed in Manhattan in 1954. But a crowd of onlookers forced the producers to reshoot the scene in a …

POTUS as Tastemaker

January 12th, 2017

Our inauguration special: A review of Barack Obama's arts legacy, how fashion goes from inside the beltway to the runway, and "Game Change" co-author …

How to Remember

January 5th, 2017

This week, Kurt talks to Adam Driver, an architect tries to build a museum in Iraq, how Sly and the Family Stone created a pop music masterpiece, and Taylor Mac does a decade-by-decade revue of American pop.

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Kurt's Favorite Conversation of 2016

December 31st, 2016


Jack Viertel is a human encyclopedia of musical theater. He’s the producer of hit Broadway shows like “Hairspray,” “Kinky Boots,” and “The Producers.” And he’s also the artistic director of Encores, a New York series …

Designing Life

December 29th, 2016

From "Semi-Living Dolls" to glowing florescent illustrations, artists are using the tools of synthetic biology to grow their own materials and create …

The Eerie Familiarity of "Man in the High Castle"

December 26th, 2016


The Man in the High Castle, the Emmy Award winning TV series, imagines a world in which the Nazi’s won WWII. Set in the 1960s, the show blends actual …

Get a Clue

December 22nd, 2016

This week, Kurt creates a crossword with a New York Times puzzle-maker, a neuroscientist explains why so many people share the same false memory, and a theater company brings August Wilson back to his boyhood home.

Learn …

Human Intelligence: A Holiday Tale

December 19th, 2016


Kurt Andersen’s version of a Christmas story doesn’t have your typical talking snowman or mistletoe. Instead, this holiday tale involves …

Close Encounters

December 15th, 2016

This week, a stereophonic odyssey into the Amazon, the otherworldly nature of octopuses, and why a theater critic thinks Shakespeare is much ado about nothing.

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Vince Guaraldi: A Charlie Brown Christmas

December 12th, 2016


Nothing takes the edge off the holidays quite like the soundtrack to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” by Vince Guaraldi. The jazz musician and composer …

Way to Go, Einstein

December 8th, 2016


This week, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity: how Einstein upended the way we see space and time, his …

It’s Only Post-Natural

December 5th, 2016


If you take a trip to your local natural history museum, you’ll likely discover the story of our planet told through vast collections of species, …

And Don’t Call Me Shirley

December 1st, 2016

An hour about spoofs, parodies, and lampoonery. Mel Brooks and David Zucker talk about the art of mocking movies. Then, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost deconstruct action flicks. And a live, unplugged …

Sharon Jones's Soul Revival

November 28th, 2016


Sharon Jones burst onto the music scene about 10 years ago — she was backed by The Dap-Kings, a straight-out-of-the-1960s funk band with a fantastic horn section.  And at just 5 feet tall, Sharon had all of the funk and …

All Shakespeare All the Time

November 24th, 2016

On the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, we look at the ways his work continues to change and adapt. In the 19th century, Shakespeare’s work got caught up in minstrel shows — and African-American actors …

Remembering Ultra-American Musician Leon Russell

November 21st, 2016


Leon Russell passed away last week — he was 74. During the 1970s, he forged a musical career unlike almost anyone else’s before or since: an …

Y’all, Youse, or Yinz?

November 17th, 2016

On this week’s show, novelist Brit Bennett reads from her debut novel, “The Mothers.” Plus, Josh Katz gives us a tour of American regionalisms. And Leonor Caraballo and Abou Farman create art in the face of the cancer. 

DJ Shadow’s Record-Breaking Album

November 14th, 2016


Twenty years ago this week, DJ Shadow set a Guinness World Record for creating an album made up entirely of samples, many of them from LPs he rescued from the 50-cent bin. But “Endtroducing” is also musically and …

This Land is Trump's Land

November 10th, 2016

This week: How a former reality TV star was elected president. Then, Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith writes a poem inspired by a Baton Rouge …

Live from New York, It’s Election Night!

November 7th, 2016


Nobody defined the satirical style of “Saturday Night Live” more than Jim Downey. He wrote for the show for over 33 seasons and was SNL’s head writer for 10 years. Downey gives us a behind-the-scenes look at how SNL …

Eugenia Cheng, Guilty Pleasures & Jacob Collier

November 3rd, 2016


On this week’s show, Eugenia Cheng whips up a delicious math lesson for Kurt. Plus, writer Sadie Stein defends one of the most detested words in the English language. Then, an art historian and a scientist explore the …

Spooky Scary Studio 360: How to Make Your Skeleton Scary

October 31st, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Jack Handey, thinker of Deep Thoughts, takes on the ultimate holiday question: If a skeleton’s not scary, what’s the point of having …
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