Actor Jack Black on this edition of Fresh Air. He´s best known for his scene-stealing performance in High Fidelity as a sarcastic record store clerk opposite John Cusack. He is also the lead singer of the rock-folk comedy group Tenacious D. They appeared on HBO, went on tour, and recorded an album. Black´s other roles include the films Shallow Hal, Orange County, and Saving Silverman. He´s currently starring in the film The School of Rock. (Broadcast Date: September 29, 2003) 1. Language: English. Narrator: Terry Gross. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/rt/whyy/031008/rt_whyy_031008_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
The big, splashy comic book movie has become a fairly predictable piece of Hollywood machinery. Cast a few wisecracking superheroes, mix in some alien bad guys and fancy special effects, and ka-ching: another summer blockbuster rolls off the assembly line. So it’s easy to forget just how radical and fresh Men In Black seemed when it came out in 1997. Based on a Marvel comic, the smart, funny sci-fi adventure starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones was hugely popular with critics and audiences. The franchise returns this weekend with Men In Black III. Then, remember the prime-time soap opera from the 1980s about a wealthy Texas family in the oil business? Dallas has been off the air for 20 years but it´s still considered one of the most successful television shows in history, and next month the cable network TNT will launch a new season of the series. Studio 360 listener Laura Detre nominated Dallas on our American Icons website, and we liked her idea so much, we sent Julia Barton to Southfork Ranch (and beyond) to understand how Dallas changed the way the world sees America. After that, a generation ago, the singer-songwriter Dave Alvin founded the rootsy-rock band The Blasters with his brother Phil in Los Angeles — and they made an indelible mark on the early 1980’s punk scene. ´´We became you know, I won’t say rock stars,” Alvin remembers. ´´We became cult heroes.” And finally, on a given weekend, you might find Gabriel Kahane performing a piano sonata in a concert hall … or stumble upon him at a bar, playing with a rock band. He composes classical music for chamber groups and orchestras — but he also writes and sings his own indie pop songs. [Broadcast Date: May 26, 2012] 1. Language: English. Narrator: Kurt Andersen. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/rt/stud/120526/rt_stud_120526_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
You probably shop at Costco for great deals on buckets of salsa and crates of toilet paper. But earlier this fall, the discount giant began selling high-quality fine art — including works by Matisse and Warhol — in its online store. Next, from a wannabe rock star in School of Rock, to a Mexican wrestler in Nacho Libre, Jack Black is probably the closest thing in Hollywood to a superstar clown. He’s been described as ´´big, obnoxious, and funny in a slightly terrifying way.”Then, the Cold War was terrifying, but we have to admit: it made for some great entertainment, from Dr. No to Dr. Strangelove. And then there was the kid-friendly version: The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. That all-American squirrel and his pal the moose first sauntered across TV screens in 1959, hotly pursued by Boris and Natasha — the Russian-accented spies with a knack for falling on their own grenades.And finally, Diana Krall’s interpretations of mid-century jazz standards have won her two Grammys and sold many millions of albums worldwide. For her new record — Glad Rag Doll — the singer and pianist mined the music of her childhood. Although she grew up in the 1970s, she was raised on her dad’s collection of 78 rpm records from 1920s and ´30s. [Broadcast Date: October 13, 2012] 1. Language: English. Narrator: Kurt Andersen. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/rt/stud/121013/rt_stud_121013_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Charlie Brooker was inspired by The Twilight Zone to create his sci-fi series Black Mirror, in which digital technology keeps biting us back in the spookiest ways. And we hear about folklorist Alan Lomax, who brought the blues to a wider audience, but enforced his own kind of musical segregation. And a conversation with the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith about her obsession with David Bowie. [Broadcast Date: February 7, 2015] 1. Language: English. Narrator: Kurt Andersen. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/rt/stud/150207/rt_stud_150207_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
When legendary rocker Alice Cooper moved into a mansion in Connecticut, the locals ran for cover – all except Bette Davis, who asked him to turn the volume up. Also, when the author of the latest James Bond novel threw shade on Idris Elba as the fan-favorite choice for a black James Bond, the internet struck back. And the musical ´´Mamma Mia!´´ ends an improbable Broadway run. [Broadcast Date: September 5, 2015] 1. Language: English. Narrator: Kurt Andersen. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/rt/stud/150905/rt_stud_150905_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
This week in Studio 360, using music to change the world. Pete Seeger, who died this week at age 94, told Kurt Andersen a few years ago about his most important work: singing at college campuses for bus fare. And when the Black Panthers wanted to spread their message, they formed an R&B band, complete with jumpsuits. With Koyaanisqatsi, 30 years ago, Godfrey Reggio hoped to change the world; he’s still trying in a profound new film, Visitors. Plus, tired of Wes Craven’s movies scaring the bejeezus out of you? Here’s your chance to get back at him, with our Scary Short Film Fest. [Broadcast Date: February 1, 2014] 1. Language: English. Narrator: Kurt Andersen. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/rt/stud/140201/rt_stud_140201_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
DNA tests are uncovering family histories. In some cases they´re also revealing mixed bloodlines and the buried history of slavery. For African Americans, this can be emotionally-charged. What do you do when you find out one of your direct ancestors was a slave owner? And does it open the door to new conversations about racial justice and social healing? [Broadcast Date: March 14, 2018] 1. Language: English. Narrator: Anne Strainchamps. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/rt/tbon/180314/rt_tbon_180314_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
´´I am amazed that this show is on the air — constantly amazed — because on paper this show shouldn´t work,´´ Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan tells Kurt Andersen. It’s the story of Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston), an underachieving high school chemistry teacher and suburban dad in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He begins cooking crystal meth in desperation, worried about his medical bills and the future of his pregnant wife and handicapped son. But it gets worse: as the series progresses, Walter spirals downward from a good person making bad choices into a remorseless drug kingpin. ´´We´re taking our good guy and we´re making him bad,´´ Gilligan says. Next, and you thought Schindler’s List was long? At 3 hours, 15 minutes, it’s a trailer compared to a film called The Clock, which clocks in at 24 hours. Directed by Christian Marclay, The Clock is a mash-up of more than a thousand movie clips — even Marclay doesn’t know how many. Each shows characters discussing the time, or a clock in the frame, so that the film itself functions as a timekeeping device. Sounds more like an endurance test than a work of art, but it’s a surprisingly popular one: last summer, four thousand people showed up for a screening at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Among them, one man stayed the duration without a wink or — he claims — even a bathroom break. KCRW’s Matt Holzman found out what makes The Clock so watchable.Then, Porgy and Bess was groundbreaking: an opera about poor African-Americans in South Carolina, starring a cripple, a tramp, and a drug dealer. There’s a new production on Broadway now entitled The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, but it’s not the one George and Ira presented in 1935. Audiences get new dialogue, back stories, and orchestrations courtesy of playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, director Diane Paulus, and musical director Deirdre... 1. Language: English. Narrator: Kurt Andersen. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/rt/stud/120721/rt_stud_120721_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.