Episode 178: Hallgrímur Helgason
Art / Fiction

Episode 178: Hallgrímur Helgason

  Iceland is a paradise for writers, with its highly literate population, generous government grants and total absence of cockroaches. Unfortunately there are only 330,000 Icelanders, so even if they all buy your book your horizons are limited. Fortunately that’s why the novelist (and print-maker, and translator and more) Hallgrímur Helgason visited America. A conversation at the … Continue reading »

Art

Episode 174: Benjamin Swett

  Diane Arbus’s old contact sheets include images she never meant us to see, so would perusing them violate her rights as an artist? Photographer Benjamin Swett says he’d look at them with pleasure, and he makes a persuasive case that he’s not going to hell. Plus, the invention of the circular saw and celibacy reconsidered: surprisingly … Continue reading »

Music

Episode 172: Kenny Vance

  DJ Alan Freed, who might have coined the term “rock’n’roll,” was destroyed in the payola scandals of the fifties, but he was no more corrupt than his colleagues, says Kenny Vance. And Freed staged some of the first integrated rock shows. Does this mitigate his conduct? Sharp ideas about radio, rock, and the invention … Continue reading »

Theater

Episode 171: Michael Urie

  Some people who’ve profoundly affected our cultural life are esteemed by their colleagues but little known to us civilians. Actor Michael Urie, admired by both groups, reflects on one such person, James Houghton, founder of the Signature Theater. Plus transit tips and gift advice. With music from Patrick Farrell. A conversation in conjunction with the … Continue reading »

Science & Medicine

Episode 170: Siri Hustvedt

  Much admired for her novels, essays, and poems, she currently lectures in psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. During our conversation at the Brooklyn Historical Society, she spoke about “the Invisible College,” the mind-body problem, and her love of Virginia Woolf, despite Woolf’s lamentable ignorance of 17th century science. With music from Niall Connolly. … Continue reading »

Politics and Policy

Episode 169: Lippmann & Almontaser

  Rabbi Ellen Lippmann and Muslim activist Debbie Almontaser are united by their work for social justice and their affection for Kahlil Gibran. “You can’t really tell if he’s writing from a Christian perspective, a Muslim perspective, a Jewish perspective,” says Debbie. “It’s just so universal.” A conversation about common ground and the difference between … Continue reading »