Architecture & Design

343: Moshe Safdie

He’s created buildings from Montreal (Habitat 67) to Singapore (Jewel Changi Airport), but Jerusalem — the center of three Abrahamic religions, where people have lived for 6,000 years – is different: “It takes an act of real arrogance to build in a city like that. It was quite emotionally wrenching.” Presented by the Center for … Continue reading »

Music

342: Herb Alpert

This trumpet player has sold 72 million albums worldwide, including five number ones, and also founded A&M records. Ordinarily we’d talk about his person, place, and thing, but instead we devote our conversation to his person, songwriter Burt Bacharach — 73 top-forty hits. One enormously successful musician talks about another, with respect and affection. Continue reading »

Music

341: Terence Blanchard

This trumpeter and composer is celebrated for his film scores, especially for Spike Lee. His opera Fire Shut Up in My Bones is slated to open the new season at the Met. In this episode, we break format; instead of person, place, and thing, we talk song, song, and song. A conversation about three pieces of music. Continue reading »

Poetry

340: Natasha Trethewey

Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize winner, author of the celebrated memoir Memorial Drive. As a child, she received three books from her father, meant to cultivate her literary sensibility and deepen her understanding of the world, particularly about race and class: Wuthering Heights, The Great Gatsby, Light in August.  If you were to pick three, what would they be? Continue reading »

Politics and Policy

339: Robert Reich

After serving as Secretary of Labor, he resumed teaching at UC Berkeley, gracefully relinquishing power, like Cincinnatus returning to the plow. Or not. “Actually,“ he says, “I have much more power as a professor than I did as a cabinet secretary.” Training a student cadre in the Oakland hills? Encouraging rigorous thought? One of those. Continue reading »

Movies / Television

337: Tommy Oliver

He double-majored in economics and digital media, and, unlike those in show business who enjoy the show but decry the business, “I love the business as much as I love the creative, as much as I love the technical.” The result? Black Love, the TV series he and his wife, Codie Elaine Oliver, created, is in its … Continue reading »

Dance

336: Annie-B Parson

She’s choreographed for everyone from Mikhail Baryshnikov to David Byrne. So where does she get her ideas? “I always loved this quote by Rousseau; he said, ‘My mind only works with my legs.’ Me too! When I am stuck, I just take a walk, and something unlatches.” Movement creates thought; thought creates movement. Photo by … Continue reading »

Dance

334: Mark Morris

He calls himself “a full-on, born-again atheist,” and yet this dancer and choreographer approaches his work reverently, in part as a quest for transcendence, honoring this ecumenical doctrine: “Most religions agree with don’t kill anybody, and I agree with that.” A conversation about classical Indian dance, modern American music, and the greatest cooking utensil of … Continue reading »

Movies

333: Sarah Megan Thomas

She says, “Virginia Hall was the first female field agent―spy―for Churchill’s secret army, the British SOE, and the spy the Nazis dubbed the most dangerous of all Allied spies in World War II.” She should know; she wrote and stars in A Call To Spy, a feature film about Hall’s exploits. Continue reading »

Theater

332: Bill Irwin

“I identify as a clown,” he says, understating his range as a performer, having portrayed George on Broadway in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf and Mr. Noodle on Sesame Street in Elmo’s World. And yet even a career as luminous as his has its disappointments: “I once asked John Cleese to play Pozzo in Waiting for Godot. Wouldn’t it have … Continue reading »