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Studio 360


Public radio’s smart and surprising guide to what's happening in pop culture and the arts. Each week, Kurt Andersen introduces you to the people who are creating and shaping our culture.

Public radio’s smart and surprising guide to what's happening in pop culture and the arts. Each week, Kurt Andersen introduces you to the people who are creating and shaping our culture.
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New York, NY





Public radio’s smart and surprising guide to what's happening in pop culture and the arts. Each week, Kurt Andersen introduces you to the people who are creating and shaping our culture.




Studio 360 WNYC Radio 160 Varick St. NY, NY 10013


Raising a glass ... to glass!

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of Tennessee Williams’ classic play, “The Glass Menagerie,” Studio 360 is devoting a whole hour to the art of glass. Kurt Andersen and architect Frances Bronet tour the glass towers of Midtown Manhattan to see firsthand the architectural legacy of the Bauhaus. After Hillary Clinton failed to break the glass ceiling in 2016, artist Bunny Burson found a use for her unused victory confetti. And Philip Glass shares how he went from taxi driver to star composer...


Extra: New York Icons: The Brill Building

For a few years in the late 1950s and early ‘60s, the heart of the music industry was an 11-story structure in midtown Manhattan: The Brill Building. There, and at the nearby 1650 Broadway, a group of very young songwriters including Carole King, Ellie Greenwich, and Cynthia Weil crafted their own take on rock and roll that was heavily influenced by their New York City setting. They churned out hit after hit for artists like The Shirelles, The Crystals, and Little Eva. But when the British...


‘The Talented Mr. Ripley,’ perfumer Tanwi Nandini Islam, and say “moist,” everybody!

Our latest American Icons feature explores Patricia Highsmith’s series that began with “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” and how Tom Ripley fits into an American tradition of protagonists struggling with identity and morality. Kurt Andersen visits perfumer Tanwi Nandini Islam as she concocts a fragrance based on Toni Morrison’s “Beloved.” And a favorite from our Guilty Pleasures series: Writer Sadie Stein on the word that so many find icky but that she really likes: “moist.” American Icons is made...


Extra From ‘Aria Code’: The shattered illusions of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly

On this Studio 360 extra, we’re sharing a podcast called “Aria Code.” Produced by WQXR and the Metropolitan Opera, it features singers and opera observers revealing the magic of a single song from an opera, followed by the aria uninterrupted. In this episode, host Rhiannon Giddens and her guests explore the power of hope in Puccini's tragic “Madama Butterfly,” as well as in a real-world Butterfly story. Then, you'll hear Ana María Martínez sing the complete “Un bel dì vedremo” aria onstage...


Jennifer Reeder, ‘Naked Came the Stranger’ and ‘Love Actually’

Kurt Andersen talks with director Jennifer Reeder about her path from making short arthouse films in the 1990s to her new film, “Knives and Skin.” Producer Sam Kim has the story of erotic potboiler “Naked Came the Stranger,” which climbed The New York Times bestseller list in 1969 but, it turns out, was meant to be a parody of the very bodice-rippers it was outselling. And Richard Curtis’ 2003 movie “Love Actually” is much parodied for its cheesy gimmicks and accelerated marriage proposals,...


Extra: The Symphonic Side of Wynton Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis is a jazz icon — a renowned trumpet player and composer, he is also the music director of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. But since the very beginning, classical music has been a part of his musical makeup. Marsalis tells Kurt Andersen about how a chance encounter on a New Orleans streetcar began his love of classical music and guides us through the composition of his “Swing Symphony.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


‘My Ántonia,’ Lynda Barry and Roger Deakins

Cartoonist Lynda Barry is famous for drawing the darkly funny strip “Ernie Pook’s Comeek” that appeared in alternative newsweeklies for three decades, but for the latest installment in our Guilty Pleasure series, she makes a case for why she loves perhaps the most mainstream and most mocked comic of all: “The Family Circus.” Our latest American Icon installment is about “My Ántonia” by Willa Cather, and why that novel — and author — have never really gotten their due. And Kurt Andersen talks...


Extra: New York Icons: West Side Story

West Side Story, the tragic musical about star-crossed lovers from two rival gangs, was a hit on Broadway in the 1950s and then exploded across the country when it came to the silver screen. At the time, New York City’s demographics and landscape were rapidly changing, and choreographer Jerome Robbins, composer Leonard Bernstein, author Arthur Laurents, and lyricist Stephen Sondheim wanted an updated Romeo and Juliet that wrestled with what that meant. Who could belong in this new America?...


New York Icons: ‘The Bell Jar’ & ‘Siembra’

Studio 360’s American Icon series has explored dozens of influential works of art and entertainment that have shaped who we are as Americans. Now we turn to our hometown of New York for a new batch of Icons stories about works of art that were born in the city and impacted the lives of people everywhere. This hour: the 1963 book “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath, and the 1978 salsa album “Siembra” by Ruben Blades and Willie Colón. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Extra: Guilty Pleasure: Comic Sans

The childlike, cartoonish typeface Comic Sans is the most hated font in the world. Twenty-five years after its release, it's become notorious for showing up in seemingly inappropriate contexts, from office memos to newspapers and government documents. But librarian and technology educator Jessamyn West argues that hating on Comic Sans is elitist. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Mark Morris, Carmen Maria Machado and ‘Rocky and Bullwinkle’

Kurt Andersen talks with the choreographer Mark Morris about how music has always been central to his work. The author Carmen Maria Machado reveals how an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” had the unlikely effect of helping her write her new book about domestic abuse. And how the cartoon "Rocky and Bullwinkle" was strangely prescient about the Cold War. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Why Should Tenors Have All the Fun?

Mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton is a rising opera star, performing on some of the world’s most venerable classical music stages. In concert halls from London to New York, Barton not only flaunts her velvety rich tone, but also her commitment to social justice as an openly queer performer. Now, Barton and pianist Kathleen Kelly have put together a recital program that celebrates women, currently on tour. The pair perform three songs from the feminist recital tour live in Studio 360. Learn more...


American Icons: The tales of Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe’s stories are so familiar they’ve become part of our cultural wallpaper. A raven croaking “nevermore?” An enemy bricked up in a cellar? A heart beating under the floorboards? These images are the stuff of our collective nightmares, but Poe dreamed them all up first. For better and worse, Poe’s themes and obsessions continue to crop up throughout pop culture. He showed us the dark side of the American dream, and that’s something we can’t unsee. American Icons is made possible...


Extra: New York Icons: ‘The Bell Jar’

The Bell Jar is often read as a sort of literary suicide note by poet Sylvia Plath. The autobiographical novel memorably follows her first attempt at taking her own life and her experiences living in a mental institution and undergoing electroshock therapy, but its accounts of weeks spent in New York City preceding the breakdown provide a captivating picture, not just of Plath’s mental state, but of the impossible demands made of women in 1950s. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...


Michelle Obama’s portraitist and ‘96 Tears’

Kurt Andersen talks with Amy Sherald, who painted the official Michelle Obama portrait, about her strict religious upbringing, the surreal experience of interviewing with the Obamas and why she’ll only ever paint African Americans. Our latest American Icons feature: “96 Tears” by ? and the Mysterians, and how the band of Mexican American teens managed to top the charts and help fuel the growing Latin influence on pop music in the 1960s. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...


Extra: Ranky Tanky: Live in Studio 360

Charleston band Ranky Tanky draws on the musical traditions of the Gullah culture from the Lowcountry region of the Southeastern U.S. They perform live in Studio 360 and then break the music down into its essential components, explaining what exactly makes this “Gullah” and how that cultural heritage has informed American jazz. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


‘The Searchers’ and ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’

Two highlights from our American Icons special series. First, producer Arun Venugopal revisits “The Searchers,” the John Ford film starring John Wayne that is widely regarded as a masterpiece, but which many see as racially problematic in the way that Wayne’s character pursues revenge against the Comanche who killed his family in a raid. Then, producer June Thomas on the unlikely history of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” the movie that flopped in theaters when it was released in 1975, only...


Extra: This Woman’s Work: ‘Hounds of Love’ by Kate Bush

This Woman’s Work is a series of stories from Classic Album Sundays and Studio 360 highlighting classic albums by female artists who have made a lasting impact on music and pop culture. This time we’re looking at the artist who inspired the name of this series: the singer-songwriter, dancer and producer Kate Bush. With its sophisticated arrangements and embrace of technology, her self-produced 1985 album “Hounds of Love” pushed the boundaries of musical structure and personal expression....


‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ and Liz Phair

Our latest Americans Icons segment is about “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Maya Angelou’s first book broke boundaries when it was published 50 years ago and still profoundly resonates with readers today. And Kurt Andersen talks with Liz Phair, the trailblazing indie rocker who’s just published a memoir. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Antonio Banderas, the Joker’s makeup and ‘I Want You Back’ at 50

Kurt Anderson talks with Antonio Banderas about “Pain and Glory,” where he plays his longtime friend and collaborator –– and the director of this same movie –– Pedro Almodóvar. With the opening of “Joker,” starring Joaquin Phoenix, Kurt talks with Rick Baker, the celebrated makeup artist, about how Hollywood has clowned around with the character over the decades. This week marks 50 years since the release of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back,” a remarkable pop song recorded when Michael...