Studio 360

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The Peabody Award-winning Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, from PRI and WNYC, is 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. Life is busy – so let Studio 360 steer you to the must-see movie this weekend, the next book for your nightstand, or the song that will change your life.
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Creepers, Golliwog, Spalding

January 18, 2038 - 11:14pm
Kurt Andersen talks to novelist Anne Rice about the mystery and allure of monsters across movies, art, and literature.
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Sideshow Podcast: Kutiman Keeps Making Music Thru You(Tube)

October 21, 2014 - 8:00am

If YouTube had an A&R genius, his name would be Kutiman. The Israeli musician and video editor, whose real name is Ophir Kutiel, charmed millions in 2009 with Thru You, an album of music he created by selecting YouTube musicians’ videos and layering them into new tracks.  Earlier this month, Kutiman released Thru You Too. The novelty has worn off, but the new record shows that Kutiman’s method was never just a gimmick: he makes terrific songs that happen to use videos as his instruments.  

The idea came to him while watching an instructional drumming video featuring the famed session drummer Bernard Purdie. “Apparently he’s the most amazing drummer in the world, and I didn’t know,” Kutiman says. His first intuition was to write bass and guitar parts to accompany Purdie, but he ended up finding other music on YouTube that gelled with the drums. He kept layering samples and videos until he ended up with “The Mother of All Funk Chords.” His art form had found him.

On Thru You Too, Kutiman is still sampling and layering, but his focus is now is more on the songwriting. “The first one was more about the concept and I tried different genres,” he says. “This time I really felt like creating this album of ballads, of singers, trying to make people forget it’s coming from YouTube.” His sophomore effort hasn’t garnered nearly as much press, but his fans stayed loyal: the album’s first single, “Give It Up,” hit a million views shortly after being uploaded last month. 

Kutiman’s work violates YouTube’s terms of service, but no one seems to mind. It probably helps that he doesn’t make any money from the project. “It’s not for the money,” he says. “I earn my living producing, playing, and performing.” Since becoming internet-famous, he has directed a Maroon 5 music video, performed at the Guggenheim Museum, and collaborated with PBS Digital Studios to create “Thru Tokyo” – a live version of the mash-up form he perfected from his bedroom. Together, the various gigs pay for the groceries. “I don’t eat much,” says Kutiman. 

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Alison Bechdel, Blake Mills, & Musicians Fight for Royalties

October 17, 2014 - 12:00am

In her memoir Fun Home, cartoonist Alison Bechdel — a newly minted MacArthur Fellow — told the difficult story of her childhood in the family funeral home with a closeted gay father. Now her family’s most private moments are jumping from the comic-book page to a Broadway musical. We go inside a beloved Nashville music studio saved from the wrecking ball at the eleventh hour. Rosanne Cash explains why the great performers of classic American pop don’t get royalties, but their younger successors do. And Blake Mills, guitar virtuoso turned singer-songwriter, performs live.

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Frances McDormand & Fiddler on the Roof

October 10, 2014 - 12:00am

Frances McDormand makes it a point to play strong, complicated female characters. Her latest role is one of her thorniest yet: she plays the title character in the miniseries Olive Kitteridge. Olive is a small-town Mainer, frustrated, occasionally unpleasant — and she teaches math. We hear from John Luther Adams, the Alaskan composer who didn’t have running water till he was nearly forty. Plus, the unlikely success of Fiddler on the Roof. The characters are Old Country Jews, but it’s really about everyone who made their home here in the US.

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