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The Organist

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Location:

San Diego, CA

Networks:

KCRW

Description:

The Organist podcast is a monthly experimental arts-and-culture program hosted and distributed by KCRW. Edited by the award-winning monthly magazine, Believer, published in San Francisco by McSweeney's, it includes reported stories, interviews, comic radio drama, reviews, and more. The scope of the podcast reflects that of the print edition: its contributors take a thoughtful approach to pop culture, along with an irreverent attitude toward the highbrow. From philosophy to daytime TV, from poetry to martial arts, the show scrutinizes and interrogates the world with an affectionate and rigorous intelligence. Pieces from the podcast grow out of stories in the magazine, and vice versa.

Language:

English

Contact:

1900 Pico Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90405 310-450-5183


Episodes

The Show About the Show About the Show

8/11/2017
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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: 00:38:23


The Mother Road

7/28/2017
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If you drive along I-70 in rural Missouri, you’ll see site-specific contemporary art displayed on the billboards. What happens when that artwork says “Keep Abortion Legal”? This week we take a road trip with artist and curator Anne Thompson through the history of the roadside billboard: its aesthetic genius and its intersection with commerce and free speech.

Duration: 00:25:20


Private Ears

7/14/2017
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This week we’ll hear from two artists whose work investigates the growing prevalence of surveillance in societies around the world. Both Lawrence Abu Hamdan and Trevor Paglen approach their art as investigations: They see themselves as detectives, trying to document, though sound and image, corporate and governmental operations that are difficult for the average citizen to see or hear.

Duration: 00:40:09


Ravening for Delight

6/29/2017
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Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and the Alien movies all trace their tone of cosmic dread back to the horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, whose stories were published in pulp magazines in the 1920s and 30s. Paul La Farge’s latest novel, The Night Ocean, takes Lovecraft as its subject (or one of its subjects): It's a fictionalized investigation into Lovecraft's unusual relationship with one of his fans, a teenager named Robert Barlow.

Duration: 00:28:51


The Voice is a Thief

6/8/2017
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We explore the extremes of the human voice with essayist Elena Passarello, winner of New Orleans’ annual “Stella!” scream competition, in which participants channel Marlon Brando’s abject bawling. You’ll also hear Passarello’s rendition of how Koko, the gorilla with a lexicon of 1000 signs, tells the legendarily dirty vaudeville joke “The Aristocrats.”

Duration: 00:29:29


Appendix: Hypnotic Induction

6/1/2017
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“If you’re listening to this while driving a car, obviously, leave your eyes open.” In this special appendix to our recent episode on psychoacoustics, you’ll hear a hypnotic induction as performed and scored by the hypnotherapist Daniel Ryan.

Duration: 00:08:35


Sleeping Knowledge

5/26/2017
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How can sound heal a body? With our guides, Susan Rogers—who recorded albums for Prince and David Byrne—and hypnotherapist Daniel Ryan, we explore the psychoacoustic properties of lawn sprinklers and the human voice in a journey that encompasses magician David Blaine, “spiritual entertainer” Alan Watts, parents of crying children, and all of us.

Duration: 00:35:28


Episode 78: The Topiary

5/12/2017
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Martin Starr (Silicon Valley, Freaks and Geeks), Matt Bush (Adventureland), and Lilan Bowden (Parks and Recreation) star in this science-fiction audio drama. On a distant space colony, Leon carves erotic topiaries as a way to become closer to his coworker Michael—until the arrival of a visitor on the final tourist shuttle begins to turn the men against each other.

Duration: 00:29:10


Episode 77: The Self-Rattling House

4/27/2017
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In houses that double as musical instruments, Solange Knowles, Will Oldham, and five-year-old children perform on sonic architecture that reflects the raucous acoustics of life in New Orleans.

Duration: 00:26:35


Episode 76: A Radio Wave In My Brain

4/6/2017
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What is the position of acne-picking in contemporary literature? Otessa Moshfegh, author of Eileen and most recently the collection Homesick for Another World, writes descriptions of bodily functions that rival those of Louis CK. Moshfegh, who was raised in an immigrant family and trained in classical piano, pushes the sonic idiosyncrasies of English as she brings the reader into uncomfortable intimacy with her characters.

Duration: 00:26:19


Episode 75: The Cool Gaze of Madame Realism

3/23/2017
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Lynne Tillman writes art criticism starring a fictional character, “Madame Realism,” whose experience of art includes more than just the viewing of paintings. Here, Tillman takes the Organist on an expedition through the MoMA, and during a brief misunderstanding, along the sidewalk outside the MoMA…

Duration: 00:30:54


Episode 74: It's Very Indian to Watch AbFab

3/9/2017
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Tommy Pico’s first book is one long poem in the form of a text — call it an epic sext. But it doesn’t just chronicle Pico’s dalliances with "boys, burgers, and booze" — it rewrites the figure of the Indian, redefining what it means to be a Native American poet in the age of the Internet.

Duration: 00:24:53


Episode 73: What We Talk about When We Talk about Two Bears High-Fiving

2/23/2017
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Hermann Rorschach’s inkblot test has become ubiquitous in pop-culture as shorthand for both psychiatry and the subconscious. The first biography of Rorschach explores how our popular idea of the test gets it wrong.

Duration: 00:27:56


Episode 72: Baptism of Solitude: Paul Bowles's Morocco Tapes

2/9/2017
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Driving around Morocco in the late 1950s with counterculture icon Paul Bowles at the wheel, with a case of hot Pepsi, a brick of hash, and a massive, state-of-the-art Ampex tape recorder in the backseat.

Duration: 00:29:03


The Organist Holiday Special 2016

12/28/2016
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A special holiday presentation of The Organist, featuring some of the show’s best stories.

Duration: 00:57:05


Episode 68: The Metaphysics of Dub

7/8/2016
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The Nigerian-Jamaican- American writer Louis Chude-Sokei on black cyborgs, black blackface, and the intersections of race, technology, and robotics.

Duration: 00:25:58


Episode 66: Toward an Architectural Theory of Hugs

6/3/2016
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A conversation with Craig Dykers, of the Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta, on the invisible (but noisy) demands of building design.

Duration: 00:24:07


Episode 64: Christopher Owens Live

4/29/2016
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This week’s episode is a cut from our first live podcast event at PROXY in San Francisco: a conversation with the great songwriter Christopher Owens (also of the band GIRLS), who illustrates his talk with a set of live solo acoustic songs.

Duration: 00:34:56