American Culture

On this installment of ST, a look back at several of the more notable movies of 2015 with Michael Smith, the film critic at The Tulsa World. He joined this city's daily paper in 1996, and just to be clear about matters from the outset: Smith recently wrote in that newspaper that he thinks "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is the "best film in [that] franchise." Really? That good?

On this edition of ST, an enjoyable discussion with writer Alex Palmer, whose new book is called "The Santa Claus Man: The Rise and Fall of a Jazz Age Con Man and the Invention of Christmas in New York." This fascinating and often entertaining work of popular history describes the so-called Santa Claus Association, which thrived in New York City in the 1920s, while also depicting the origin and development of Christmas itself as the modern-day, consumer-driven juggernaut that we're all quite familiar with now.

On this edition of ST, we speak by phone with writer James Kaplan, whose essays and reviews have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Esquire, and elsewhere. The first volume of Kaplan's definitive biography of Frank Sinatra, "Frank: The Voice," appeared in 2010. Now comes the second half of that life, the widely acclaimed "Sinatra: The Chairman," which the author discusses with us today. As per Publishers Weekly: "The great singer-actor contains multitudes in this vast, engrossing biography of Frank Sinatra's mature years....

On this edition of ST, we get to know Doug Levitt, an American singer-songwriter...and former London-based foreign correspondent (who once upon a time reported for, among others, ABC and NBC). About a decade ago -- or about 100,000 miles ago -- Levitt started riding Greyhound buses all across this nation in order to gather stories, songs, pictures, and memories of those who travel by bus in America.

(Note: This interview originally aired in June of this year.) On this installment of our show, a conversation with the distinguished historian and scholar, Robert Middlekauff, who is the Preston Hotchkis Professor of American History, Emeritus, at the University of California, Berkeley.

On this edition of ST, an interesting discussion with Matthew Gavin Frank, a Michigan-based writer and creative writing teacher whose past books include "Preparing the Ghost," "Pot Farm," "Barolo (At Table)," and "Sagittarius Agitprop." He joins us to discuss his newest book, a collection of fifty essays that, all in all, offers a full-fledged culinary tour of the United States, with a "signature dish" for each state being described in fascinating and far-reaching detail.

In 1963, the up-and-coming pop artist Andy Warhol took a road trip across America, from New York to Los Angeles.

On this edition of ST, we speak with the author and journalist John Sedgwick, whose many books range from a psychological thriller, "The Dark House," to a multi-generational family memoir, "In My Blood." He joins us to talk about his newest book, a work of popular history entitled "War of Two: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the Duel That Stunned the Nation." Interestingly, Sedgwick has an ancestor who actually knew both Hamilton and Burr quite well, and it was his own research into the life and work of that ancestor which first led Sedgwick to think of writing this book.

On this installment of ST, we learn about a vivid and exciting new exhibition at Philbrook, "In Living Color: Andy Warhol and Contemporary Printmaking from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation," which will be on view through January 17, 2016. Mr. Schnitzer is our guest today.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we learn about a newly opened exhibit at Gilcrease, "Painted Journeys: The Art of John Mix Stanley," which will be on view through January 3rd. As is noted of this show at the Gilcrease Museum website: "More than 150 years after his Smithsonian gallery burned to the ground, John Mix Stanley is receiving a long overdue retrospective exhibition.

(Note: This interview originally aired back in May.) Our guest on this edition of StudioTulsa is Timothy Dwyer, a writer whose work has appeared in Time, Washingtonian, and TheAtlantic.com.

Our guest on ST is Erika Lee, who teaches history at the University of Minnesota, where she's also the Vecoli Chair in Immigration History and Director of the Immigration History Research Center. Lee tells us about her widely acclaimed new book, "The Making of Asian America: A History" (Simon & Schuster). As noted in this book's Introduction: "The 19.5 million Asian Americans in the United States today make up almost 6 percent of the total U.S. population. They increased in number by 46 percent from 2000 to 2010 and are now the fastest-growing group in the country.

On this installment of ST, we learn about the charmingly off-the-wall and/or downright ghoulish cartoons of Charles Addams, whose distictive, humorous drawings graced the pages of The New Yorker (and other magazines) for many years, and were the basis, of course, for "The Addams Family" (of TV and movie fame). More than 50 works by Addams are now on display at the Zarrow Center for Art and Education in downtown Tulsa; "Charles Addams: Family and Friends" will be on view through September 27th.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we listen back to show that first aired in May. At that time, we spoke with the well-regarded Atlanta-based author, Jim Grimsley, who is best known for his novels "Winter Birds," "Dream Boy," and "My Drowning." We chatted with Grimsley about his latest book, a memoir called "How I Shed My Skin: Unlearning the Racist Lessons of a Southern Childhood." As was noted of this account of the author's rural 1960s North Carolina childhood, per a book critic for The Charlotte Observer: "Excellent....

(Please note: This show originally aired back in May.) On this edition of ST, we're discussing an interesting new biography, "Jonas Salk: A Life." Our guest is Dr. Charlotte DeCroes Jacobs, the Shenson Professor of Medicine (Emerita) at Stanford University. Dr. Jacobs -- who's also the author of "Henry Kaplan and the Story of Hodgkin's Disease" -- remembers firsthand the polio scare of the middle 20th century, and thus also remembers Salk's widespread celebrity in this country; her heroic portrait of Salk was hailed as a "treasure trove of facts and stories" by Library Journal.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we are discussing a marvelous photography exhibit that goes on display tomorrow at the Gilcrease Museum here in Tulsa; "On 52nd Street: The Jazz Photography of William P. Gottlieb" will run from July 25th through October 11th. Our guest is Dr. Frank Goodyear, co-director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Maine, who's also the curator of this show.

Our guest on ST is Lennard J. Davis, an author and scholar who is also Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts in the Departments of Disability Studies and English at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

(Note: This interview originally aired back in March.) On this edition of ST, we speak with the writer J.C. Hallman, who was raised in Southern California, studied at the University of Pittsburgh and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and now teaches at Oklahoma State University.

Our guest is the author and former journalist Rinker Buck, whose book, "Flight of Passage," was praised by The New Yorker as "a funny, cocky gem." Buck's new book, which he talks with us about, is "The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey." In this bestselling work, the author and his brother travel the original trail -- over some two-thousand miles -- from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Baker City, Oregon. It's a journey made by mule-pulled wagon, no less -- like the pioneers did, a century ago -- and it lasts four months.

(Note: This interview originally aired in March of this year.) Our guest is the film historian and journalist Mark Harris, who's written for Entertainment Weekly, Grantland, New York Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other publications.

By all accounts, the recently-ended U.S. Supreme Court term has been an historic one. With major rulings concerning same-sex marriage, health care subsidies, lethal injection, religious symbols and free speech, social media and free speech, political redistricting, religious freedom in prison, and several other areas, the high court has put forth decisions in recent days and weeks that will undoubtedly influence American life in countless ways.

On this edition of ST, we speak with the Kentucky-based writer and historian, Emily Bingham, who is the author of "Mordecai: An Early American Family" (2003) and co-editor of "The Southern Agrarians and the New Deal." Bingham tells us about her newest book, which is actually a biography of her own great-aunt: "Irrepressible: The Jazz Age Life of Henrietta Bingham." As was noted of this volume in a starred review in Kirkus: "A colorful portrait of a daring woman....

One day in 1903, in the sandy, seaside Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed the direction of history. But it would take the world some time catch up with -- to both understand and appreciate -- what had happened that day. The age of flight had arrived, but its origin had been decidedly quiet, obscure, remote. And who exactly were Wilbur and Orville Wright, anyway? Our guest on ST is the distinguished American historian and biographer -- and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize -- David McCullough, who joins us to talk about his newest book.

On this installment of our show, a conversation with the distinguished historian and scholar, Robert Middlekauff, who is the Preston Hotchkis Professor of American History, Emeritus, at the University of California, Berkeley. Middlekauff -- whose earlier books include "The Mathers: Three Generations of Puritan Intellectuals, 1596–1728," which won the Bancroft Prize, and "The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763–1789," which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize -- joins us to talk about his latest book, "Washington's Revolution: The Making of America's First Leader" (Knopf).

The John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation here in Tulsa will present its 2015 Symposium on Reconciliation next week, from May 26th through the 29th, and the theme for this year's gathering is "The Media and Reconciliation." Our guest on StudioTulsa will give an address at this symposium; Isabel Wilkerson -- who won a Pulitzer Prize for her work as Chicago Bureau Chief of The New York Times, and whose bestselling nonfiction account, "The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration," won the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the 2011 Heartlan

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we chat with the well-regarded Atlanta-based author, Jim Grimsley, who is best known for his novels "Winter Birds," "Dream Boy," and "My Drowning." Grimsley has a new memoir out, "How I Shed My Skin: Unlearning the Racist Lessons of a Southern Childhood," which he tells us about. In this book, which looks back on his rural 1960s North Carolina childhood, he writes: "White people declared that the South would rise again. Black people raised one fist and chanted for black power.

On this edition of ST, we're discussing an interesting new biography, "Jonas Salk: A Life." Our guest is Dr. Charlotte DeCroes Jacobs, the Shenson Professor of Medicine (Emerita) at Stanford University. Dr. Jacobs -- who's also the author of "Henry Kaplan and the Story of Hodgkin's Disease" -- remembers firsthand the polio scare of the middle 20th century, and thus also remembers Salk's widespread celebrity in this country; her heroic portrait of Salk was hailed as a "treasure trove of facts and stories" by Library Journal.

On this edition of ST, we offer an interesting interview with John M. Kinder, an assistant professor of American studies and history at Oklahoma State University.

On this edition of ST, we listen back to an interview that was recorded about a year ago with Blake Bailey, who grew up in Oklahoma City, now teaches creative writing in Virginia, and is the author of three highly regarded literary biographies (of Richard Yates, John Cheever, and Charles Jackson). Bailey has now, in his newest book, turned his attention to his own roots -- and specifically to his late brother, Scott, whose too-brief life was marked by incessant tragedy, addiction, recklessness, and mental instability.

It's been observed by many that disparity between the rich and the poor in the U.S. is now approaching levels not seen since the Great Depression. But how did we get here? On this edition of ST, a we offer a chat with Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

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