Christian McDonalf

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A bookseller and writer chooses his favourite audio options for those occasions when actually reading a book would be ill-advised<p>You can’t read books all the time; trust me, I’ve tried (and like I said to the officer, at least I wasn’t texting and driving). The next best thing is a good books …

Books

Jakarta Vinyl

2015 marked the tenth straight year of growth for vinyl record sales in the U.S. New pressing plants are coming online, and existing ones are running around the clock to try and keep up with demand.<p>In Jakarta, Indonesia, vinyl is also back, but not vinyl production. The last pressing machines in …

The “Wild Side” Behind Lou Reed’s “Walk”

"Walk on the Wild Side” was released in 1972 on Lou Reed’s second solo album, “Transformer<i>.</i>” Though musically this is the most pop-oriented tune on the record, and arguably of Lou Reed’s career, lyrically the song was bold for mainstream rock music.<p>The words talked about a lifestyle foreign to …

How Creative Are You?

The man nicknamed “the father of creativity” was psychologist E. Paul Torrance. In the 1940s he began researching creativity to help improve American education. In order to encourage creativity, we needed to define it — to measure and analyze it. We measured intelligence with an IQ score; why not …

The Neuroscience of Jazz

Charles Limb is a professor of otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins Medicine who has a sideline in brain research; he’s also on the faculty at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. He wants to know what happens in our brains when we play piano. Simple: stick a musician in an fMRI machine, and see what …

Gary Marcus: Enhancing Creativity

Gary Marcus, who directs New York University’s Center for Language and Music, talks with Kurt Andersen about scientific efforts to find and describe creativity. They discuss experiments that produce images of musicians’ brains doing different kinds of musical tasks. “This is pioneering research,” …

Imaginary Friends Forever

Lots of kids have imaginary friends — a young Kurt Andersen had a gaggle including Robbie Dobbie, Crackerpin, Jimmy the Cat, a poodle called Genevieve. Marjorie Taylor, a psychology professor at the University of Oregon, has been looking at imaginary friends and the children who have them. “They …

Sam Raimi

Kurt talks with filmmaker Sam Raimi about the horror movie genre. Best known for directing "Spider-Man," Raimi's roots are in cult classics like “Evil Dead” and “Army of Darkness.” He tells Kurt about the limitations of digital effects and the relationship between horror and comedy.

Zombies

To make a convincing zombie, it's all in the pacing. George Romero invented the modern zombie with his 1968 film “Night of the Living Dead,” and he still likes them old-fashioned — slow-moving but hard to stop. "I don't know if you're aware of the rift in the zombie community," says Ruben …

Horror School

At Tom Savini's Special Make-Up Effects School in Pennsylvania, it's not books the students are cracking open, but heads. A veteran of horror movies like "Friday the 13th," Savini teaches students how to make the disgusting riveting. Matthew Cavnar finds out how the tradition of hand-made special …

No Tell Motel

Thriller movies had been set in motels before but "Psycho" marked a major turning point. Studio 360's Jonathan Mitchell traces how motels have evolved on screen: from 1940s noir to kitschy B-movie horror.

Wes Craven

Master of suspense, Wes Craven has been orchestrating horror for more than four decades. It began with “The Last House on the Left” (1972), continued with Freddy Krueger and “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984), and went mainstream with the “Scream” series (beginning in 1996).<p>Host Kurt Andersen …

Jacob Collier Live In-Studio

Jacob Collier racked up millions of views on YouTube with his intricate, multi-instrumental covers of classics like “Don’t You Worry ‘bout a Thing” by Stevie Wonder and “Pure Imagination” from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”<p>But here’s the rub: how does he perform these complex songs in a …

Diversify your income: All my ideas for making money online

You needed more income streams yesterday.<p>“Many small streams will form a big river.” — Swedish proverb<p>Most Americans have one stream of income (a …

Cthulhu's evil overlord: the monstrous world of HP Lovecraft

HP Lovecraft wrote some of the most bizarre, imaginative and influential horror stories in the English language. But he was also a dangerous bigot. Is that why Hollywood still fears him?<p>HP Lovecraft’s tentacles are all over the modern horror movie. The cult author's squelchy, slithery yarns …

Danny McBride Isn’t a Jerk, He Just Plays One on TV

The actor and writer Danny McBride has made a career playing mean, egotistical, foul-mouthed leading characters… that you can’t help but love anyway. He’s played a washed up Taekwondo instructor in “The Foot Fist Way,” a self-centered actor in “This Is the End,” and a baseball player turned …

Janet Cardiff’s “Forty Part Motet”

Janet Cardiff’s “The Forty Part Motet” is a 21st-century art installation that reworks a very old choral composition — Thomas Tallis’ “Spem in Alium,” written over 500 years ago. In 2000, Cardiff, a Canadian artist, recorded 40 individual vocalists singing “Spem in Alium,” each on a separate …

Aha Moment: Edith Piaf

The French singer and cultural icon Edith Piaf had a tumultuous life — from the cabarets of Nazi-occupied Paris to a long battle with addiction. Marion Cotillard’s Oscar-winning portrayal of Piaf in “La Vie En Rose” prompted Studio 360 listener Bill Mankin to write us about how he fell for</i> …

How to survive (and thrive) when life punches you in the face

A few weeks ago, one of my students posted this in my Facebook mastermind group (<i>emphasis mine</i>):<p>Let me start by saying that I applaud this woman for having the courage to step up, share her story, and ask for help so she can overcome this and move forward again. It’s actually pretty damn hard to …

Self-improvement

Who is Banksy and what is his real name? The man behind the myths and rumours

The anti-establishment artist has always kept his name and identity a closely guarded secret, but a Sunday newspaper investigation in 2008 "revealed" who they believe to be the Scarlet Pimpernel of modern art.<p>By remaining anonymous he has created an air of mystery which has helped him to become one …

I Spent Friday the Thirteenth Looking for Ghosts in an Abandoned Insane Asylum

Larundel Mental Asylum was closed in 2001. It's since developed a reputation for being haunted, which is a big drawcard.<p><i>This post originally appeared on VICE Australia.</i><p>Australia has a relatively dark history of mental illness treatment. It wasn't until the early 1900s that "lunatic asylums" even …

Six Ways The Most Productive People Send Emails

Here’s what the experts (and the data) say about sending emails fast and getting useful responses faster.<p>There’s nothing like an overcrowded inbox to make you long for the days of smoke signals and carrier pigeons.<p>But unless you’ve been living under a rock without a Wi-Fi signal, email plays a huge …

The Chart That Explains Everyone

Now that Dungeons & Dragons has been around since the 1970s, many former players have gone on to become successful novelists, playwrights, screenwriters and video game designers. And, when you ask them, many of those former players say that D&D was a foundation of their creative process. And they …

Robin Hood

Richard Russo & Jenny Boylan on Plot Twists in Books – and Life

Richard Russo was in his early forties when he published "Nobody's Fool" in 1993. The novel focused on the residents of a fictional mill town in upstate New York called Bath, including Sully, who Paul Newman played in the movie version of the book, and his slow-on-the-uptake friend, Rub. Today …

William Bell’s Soul Revival

In the 1960s, Stax Records in Memphis was the center of southern soul music, giving rise to artists like Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Booker T. Jones, and the singer songwriter William Bell.<p>Bell signed with Stax in 1961, when he was just 22 years old. In 1967, he wrote his biggest hit, “Born Under a …

American Icons: "Untitled Film Stills"

<b>These are snapshots of America's collective unconscious.</b><p>Cindy Sherman grew up in the era when old movies filled our late nights. She wrote about going to a dinner party with her parents when she was a child, and ending up in the basement watching “Rear Window” alone. As an artist in the 1980s, she …

American Icons: “The Outsiders”

(Studio 360)<p><b>This is the underbelly of teen America.</b><p>Susan Eloise Hinton was a teenager when she wrote “The Outsiders,” a story of rival gangs in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She used the pen name “S.E.” so readers wouldn’t know her gender, and bought a Camaro with the earnings. “Some of [the novel’s] faults, …

Frank Langella Isn’t Scared of Epic Problems

Frank Langella’s career has been full of complex characters with very dark sides. In the 1970s, he starred in a production of “Dracula” that went from Broadway to the movies. And three decades later, he went from the stage to the screen again: he originated the role of Richard Nixon in the play …

Rebecca Miller’s Plan

Rebecca Miller subscribes to the truism “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” Miller writes novels and stories that she adapts into screenplays — and then she directs the movies herself, movies like “Personal Velocity” and “The Private Lives of Pippa Lee.”<p>Her new movie, “Maggie’s …

Tom Sachs - The Curse of Creativity

Tom Sachs caught the attention of the art world in 1994, when he created ‘Hello Kitty Nativity’ – a Christmas window display for the department store …