Studio 360

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Tank and the Bangas Play Live

After winning NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest earlier this year, Tank and the Bangas went viral. The overnight success was well-deserved for the group that’s been performing together since 2011. In a unanimous vote, their entry video was chosen out of over 6,000 other submissions. The 7-piece band from New …

New Orleans

Howard Fridkin’s Guide to MPAA Ratings

The Motion Picture Association of America’s film ratings — G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17 — are used to determine which movies are or aren’t appropriate for younger moviegoers. But what makes, for example, a woman kissing a man OK for G-viewers, while a man kissing another man is PG or PG-13 worthy?<p>Howard …

Entertainment

Stevie Salas on Native American Rockers

Stevie Salas reveals the unsung contributions of Native American musicians to rock history. Drawing upon the 2012 Smithsonian exhibit, "Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians in Popular Culture," Salas’ new documentary, “RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World,” highlights rockers like Link Wray, …

Jimi Hendrix

Matt Walsh on Improvising for Film and TV

Classic movies lines from “Here’s looking at you, kid” to “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” were never in the script – they were actually ad-libbed on the spot. So how do actors improvise under the glare of lights and cameras? Matt Walsh, the co-star of HBO’s “Veep” and one of the founding members …

TV

Sam Adams, Host of “Conspiracy Thrillers Movie Club”

In this era of “alternative facts,” Slate senior editor Sam Adams feels like “paranoia has become the new normal.” So what better time to watch some classic conspiracy thrillers! In his new podcast, “Conspiracy Thrillers Movie Club,” Adams takes a deep dive into this genre and asks what these films …

Sam Adams

Jimmy Iovine on Selling Music for 40 years

Jimmy Iovine has been selling music to the world since the 1970s: he was a producer for Patti Smith, before running Interscope Records in the 90s, and now as an executive for Apple Music. He talks to Kurt about how he’s gone through the many upheavals of the music industry in the last 40 years.

Music Industry

Blondie on “Pollinator”

Blondie is back! The new wave icons behind "Heart of Glass" and "Call Me" are back with their eleventh studio album, "Pollinator." The new album features unexpected collaborations (Dev Hynes of Blood Orange, Charli XCX, Sia, among others) but still has that classic Blondie sound. Debbie Harry and …

Debbie Harry

Angie Thomas and TLC

Angie Thomas, author of the bestselling Young Adult book, The Hate U Give, grew up a TLC fanatic. But after dealing with serious bullying, she used TLC’s music — specifically the late Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes's words — to support her.

Bullying

“The B-Side” of Errol Morris

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris talks about his latest film, “The B-Side” — the warm and revelatory documentary about renowned photographer Elsa Dorfman. Morris tells Kurt how he captured surprising and candid moments during his interviews with Robert MacNamara and Donald Trump, and …

Donald Trump

Koch Money: To Take or Not to Take?

The Public Theater stirred up quite a controversy with their recent production of “Julius Caesar” that featured a very Trump-like Caesar, and in response, some of their corporate funders withdrew their sponsorship. Some critics shouted “censorship!” but if we’re concerned about the strings attached …

Julius Caesar

Algiers Live In-Studio

The four piece band Algiers fuse eclectic musical influences with radical politics to form their revolutionary sound. You can hear traces of punk rock, soul, and even Italian horror film soundtracks in their songs. And even though their dystopian sound and lyrics seem timelier than ever, they don’t …

Dystopia

The Many Myths of Tupac Shakur

With Tupac just getting the biopic treatment, producer Daniel Guillemette was interested in exploring the life of a guy who’s become more mythical than even most celebrities killed at an early age…and not only because he was hologrammed. When did the man start becoming the myth – and how'd that all …

Tupac Shakur

The Legacy of “OK Computer”

Radiohead’s futuristic, dystopian album “OK Computer” turns 20 in 2017. What inspired the band to abandon their more traditional rock roots for experimental, electronic sounds? DJ Colleen “Cosmo” Murphy — creator of Classic Album Sundays — talks to Kurt about the music that led to “OK Computer,” …

Albums

It’s Tommy Westphall’s Universe, We Just Live in It

When Tom Fontana was a producer on the show “St. Elsewhere” in the 1980s, he loved to push the boundaries of weirdness that he could get away with on network TV. For instance, he staged a crossover with “Cheers” — a sitcom — but they shot the sequence like a drama. And he pulled one of the …

TV

The Multiheroes of the Superverse

For a long time, mainstream scientists were deeply skeptical about the theory of multiple universes — but comic-book writers immediately saw the creative possibilities. University of Minnesota physics professor (and author of the book "The Physics of Superheroes") James Kakalios pays a visit to …

Comics

Turning the Scottish Countryside into a Map of the Multiverse

“The Crawick Multiverse” is a sprawling piece of landscape art tucked into Dumfries and Galloway in the Scottish countryside, on the site of what used to be a coal mine. The artist Charles Jenks completed the project in 2015, and took the BBC’s Anna Magnusson on a tour of the site.<p>(Courtesy of the …

Dark Matter

The Theoretical Physicist Wore a Toga

It’s a basic human impulse to ask ourselves “what if?” What if I had made other decisions? Would things have turned out better, worse, or just different? Questions like that make the idea of multiple universes enticing — somewhere out there, they suggest, the road not taken actually was taken.<p>These …

Dark Matter

Hugh Everett Is Alive and Well in an Alternate Universe

Mark Oliver Everett (AKA "E") is best known as the singer, songwriter, and driving force behind the indie rock band Eels. His songs can be poppy, but there's always a hint of sadness in there — sometimes more than a hint.<p>A lesser-known biographical detail about Mark: his father, Hugh Everett III, …

Biographies

What Is the Multiverse (Or, How Can There Be Two Mr. Spocks)?

The parallel universe is a staple of science fiction. These other universes — almost like the one we know and love, but with subtle, uncanny differences — started showing up in programs like “The Twilight Zone” in the 1960s. That show’s 1963 episode "The Parallel" told the story of an astronaut who …

Dark Matter

Ben Blatt, Word Nerd

Ben Blatt’s new book, “Nabokov's Favorite Word Is Mauve: What the Numbers Reveal About the Classics, Bestsellers, and Our Own Writing,” takes a math nerd approach to popular books. He uses big data to analyze famous books statistically, and he’s discovered some surprising patterns. What words do …

New York Times

“Naked Came the Stranger”: An Oral History

<i>“Together like garden snakes, they contorted, moaned, gasped, clenched and throbbed.”</i><p>In 1969, the erotic potboiler “Naked Came the Stranger” climbed The New York Times bestseller list. According to the back cover, it was written by a “demure Long Island housewife” named Penelope Ashe. Except… that …

New York Times

“Homecoming King” Hasan Minhaj

Hasan Minhaj is probably not getting an invitation to the White House anytime soon. The 31-year-old comedian recently delivered a legendary roast of the President and his administration at the White House Correspondents Dinner— he also became the first Muslim and South Asian American to headline …

Comedy

Maria Konnikova, Host of the “The Grift”

Maria Konnikova wrote the book on con artists — literally, “The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It… Every Time” — and now she explores the subject further with her new podcast “The Grift.” Konnikova draws upon her background in psychology to explain the mentality behind these crimes, in terms of …

Psychology

Guilty Pleasure: “Do That to Me One More Time”

Husband and wife duo The Captain & Tennille are best known for their sappy love songs from the '70s. But Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash says they actually had some real musical chops — or at least one of them did. “Toni is the one who obsesses me," she says. "She sounds like a …

Soul Music

Manchester and the Terror of "Soft Targets"

Music Journalist Eve Barlow fondly remembers her time living in Manchester, where she fell in love with its rich musical history, from the Smiths to 808 State, and decided on her current career path instead of using her law degree. She talks to Kurt about the passion for music in the city, and why …

Ariana Grande

“Master of None” Co-Creator Alan Yang

Alan Yang is an Emmy award-winning TV writer and co-creator of the hit Netflix series “Master of None.” It stars Aziz Ansari who plays an actor living in New York City, trying to figure out his career and his love life. The show often includes parts of Ansari and Yang’s real-life experience. The …

Aziz Ansari

k.d. lang's Country Roots

Singer k.d. lang has embraced a bewildering range of musical genres — from cowgirl punk to Tony Bennett standards — but her fans don't seem to mind. She joins Kurt to look back on her career and talk about her roots in rural Canada.<p><i>(Originally aired: April 14, 2006)</i>

The Arts

Live In-Studio: Mac DeMarco

Mac DeMarco would lead you to believe that he's some kind of foolish, archetypal teen movie slacker, but the 27-year-old is one of the hardest working musicians today. His 2015 album "Another One," which DeMarco self-recorded and engineered in his home studio, sounds like a cassette tape of Harry …

Indie Music

Aha Moment: Karim Rashid

Industrial designer Karim Rashid creates ordinary household objects known the world over: he has more than 3,000 in production, including the Umbra “Oh Chair” and the Bobble Water Bottle which filters water as you drink. He found his calling early, when his family crossed the Atlantic Ocean by ship …

Atlantic Ocean

Seth Rogen, Lovable Man-Child

Over the past decade, the overgrown man-child has become the go-to comic type — and that’s due in large part to Seth Rogen, who has played a version of the lovable, foul-mouthed stoner in “Knocked Up,” ”Pineapple Express,” and ”Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” among many other movies. Rogen thinks the …

Film Industry