American Culture

On this presentation of ST, our guest by phone is Tavis Smiley, the renowned broadcaster, author, political commentator, publisher, and columnist. Tomorrow night, Thursday the 28th, Smiley will be given the Tulsa Library Trust's 2016 Sankofa Freedom Award during a free-to-the-public ceremony at the Rudisill Regional Library in North Tulsa. (The library is located at 1520 N.

On this installment of ST, we learn about "The Vaudeville Museum" -- a special evening of Vaudeville history, perspective, and performance -- that will be staged at TU's McFarlin Library at 7pm both tonight and tomorrow night (the 22nd and 23rd). It's an interactive, interdisciplinary, and free-to-the-public presentation that's recently been created by Machele Miller-Dill, Director of TU's Musical Theatre Program, who also performs in this throwback event and is one of our guests today.

On this edition of ST, we chat with author Stewart O'Nan about his latest book, "West of Sunset," which is just out in paperback. It's a novel that imagines the final years of F. Scott Fitzgerald's life, when he was living and working in Hollywood in the 1930s...and trying, more or less in vain, to re-capture the literary greatness of his earlier years.

On this edition of ST, we chat with The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, who's the president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP. Rev.

(Note: This interview originally aired in June of this year.) 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?

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.

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