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Podcasts

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Episodes

Between Speaking and Singing

10/18/2018
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Will spoken language become obsolete? What if, in the future, a simple conversation between two adults becomes a rarity, like an obscure musical piece that involves months of rehearsing and vocal training to be able to perform?

Duration:00:37:38

The Blindfold Challenge

10/4/2018
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In his audio diaries recorded while driving cross-country, artist David Wojnarowicz tries to describe how he feels after being diagnosed with AIDS. Writer Sandy Allen translates the autobiography of their schizophrenic uncle, presenting his hallucinations as facts. In the “Blindfold Challenge,” sighted people perform daily tasks while unable to see. Can art—or anything—help us understand a life different from our own?

Duration:00:47:20

The Secret Life of Plants

9/20/2018
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Stevie Wonder’s entire life, according to conspiracy theorists, is a lie. He’s been able to see all along. But what does that have to do with the idea that plants are conscious beings capable of communication?

Duration:00:32:04

Bingeing Texas

8/23/2018
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The national news media is mesmerized by a president who runs the White House like a reality show. Jen Rice takes a look at the weird relationship between political actors and public audience. In her recap of the 85th Texas legislative session, she explores the blow-out fights and cliffhangers that reality TV has made famous. What can Texas’s politics tell us about the current state of the U.S.?

Duration:00:57:42

Borderlands

8/9/2018
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This week, two stories from the U.S. borders. The first, from Javier Zamora, who crossed into the U.S. without his parents when he was nine years old. The other comes from our border with Canada, which Porter Fox navigated from end to end, by canoe, freighter, and rental car, encountering an increasingly policed border, Native American uprisings, and the unmistakable impact of climate change.

Duration:00:36:38

Two Years With Franz

7/26/2018
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The poet and Pulitzer Prize–winner Franz Wright recorded 546 audio tapes in the two years of his life after a terminal cancer diagnosis. The tapes show incredible vitality in the face of death. Over two years, Bianca Giaever listened to all 546 tapes, emerging with this hour-long story of poetry and mental illness and love. This story was originally produced by Bianca and Jay Allison for the public radio website Transom.org.

Duration:00:57:49

The Voice of God

7/12/2018
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Actor and writer Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), director Penelope Spheeris (Wayne’s World), and voice-over master Peter Coyote (Ken Burns’ documentaries, including The Vietnam War) describe voices from heaven, hell, and everywhere in between.

Duration:00:31:37

The Organist returns Thursday

7/10/2018
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From KCRW and McSweeney’s, the Organist returns with its fifth season on July 12!

Duration:00:01:42

Bonus: Neighborhood Secret

4/26/2018
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New Edition was an unlikely boy-band from Boston that launched Bobby Brown’s career and incubated the smooth 90s R&B of Bell Biv DeVoe.

Duration:00:34:20

Antigonick

12/30/2017
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Antigone is one of the most widely performed plays in the world. Poet Anne Carson’s experimental translation of Sophocles’ tragedy incorporates 2,500 years of its performance and interpretation. The play’s emotional core persists even as we view Antigone through all of the ways she has been viewed and used throughout her history.

Duration:00:52:30

How to Be in Two Places at Once: The Firesign Theatre in the US and Vietnam

12/14/2017
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Four comedians trained in poetry and psy-ops, Firesign Theatre created dense, album-length art-objects that could take multiple spins to understand. Comedy in the form of abrasive soundscapes that reviewers were as likely to call “frightening” as “funny.” This week, we explore how these albums were heard: in groups, at teenage house parties, in poet John Ashbery’s pot smoke-filled living room, and on military bases in Vietnam.

Duration:00:26:38

Antigonick

11/30/2017
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Antigone is one of the most widely performed plays in the world. Poet Anne Carson’s experimental translation of Sophocles’ tragedy incorporates 2,500 years of its performance and interpretation. The play’s emotional core persists even as we view Antigone through all of the ways she has been viewed and used throughout her history.

Duration:00:52:16

The Gospel of Ndegeocello

11/9/2017
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Meshell Ndegeocello’s debut album kicked off the era of neo-soul, inspiring Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, and D’Angelo. Twenty-three years later, Ndegeocello is still making art, but she’s expanded her medium with a new project that’s part theater, part church revival, with an unexpected saint at its center.

Duration:00:33:08

A 700-Foot Mountain of Whipped Cream

10/18/2017
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From in utero to the studio, Clive Desmond gives us a history of the golden age of radio ads, featuring Frank Zappa, Ken Nordine, Linda Ronstadt, and Randy Newman. While the 1960s shift in print and TV advertising has been heavily documented and mythologized by Mad Men, Madison Avenue’s radiophonic collision with the counterculture is less well known. Here, in Clive’s private tour, each jingle becomes a Proustian madeleine.

Duration:00:49:49

The Ideological Organ

10/5/2017
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In Stockholm, an organist plays hymns in a cathedral; at night, he sleeps in a makeshift recording studio in the cathedral’s basement where he composes otherworldly electronic music based on a Hungarian translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Duration:00:31:28

Incense, Sweaters, and Altadena: An Interview with Martine Syms

9/21/2017
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Fresh off her first solo show at the MoMA, Martine Syms talks with the Organist about how growing up in Altadena, a red-lined suburb of Los Angeles led to her fascination with DIY culture and conceptual art. Syms draws inspiration from both famed furniture designer Charles Eames and the Ten-Point Program of the Black Panthers as she pushes herself to continually experiment in new media and new forms.

Duration:00:26:50

Appendix: Still Not Dotcoms

9/14/2017
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At last! An unobstructed view of the internet’s lacunae: Brian McMullen reads his Still Not Dotcoms, an epic catalog of one thousand unclaimed URLs, in its totality.

Duration:00:39:31

magnificentwebsite.com

9/7/2017
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In this four-part episode, MF Doom, in absentia, sends imposters to wear his steel gladiator mask and rap at his concerts. Joshua Cohen, author of Moving Kings, writes a novel live online while heckled by Reddit-grade hate speech. Novelist Fiona Maazel explores the nascent form of the podcast from a 4 am retirement home toilet seat, as performed by actor Zoe Lister-Jones. Brian McMullen recites his epic catalog of unclaimed URLs.

Duration:00:34:27

The Show About the Show About the Show

8/10/2017
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In the vein of Werner Herzog, Larry David, and Spalding Gray, the radical documentaries of Caveh Zahedi find comedy in pushing social norms. His oddly life-affirming efforts to merge lived experience with art trigger the dissolution of his marriage. When our producer Rachel James visits the set of Zahedi’s The Show about the Show, she too becomes drawn into its inescapable vortex of metanarrative.

Duration:00:38:35

The Mother Road

7/27/2017
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If you drive along I-70 through Missouri, you’ll see site-specific contemporary art displayed on the billboards. What happens when that artwork says “Keep Abortion Legal”?

Duration:00:25:32