American Culture

The "Collected Poems" of Ron Padgett

Apr 1, 2014

On this installment of ST, we are pleased to welcome Ron Padgett back to our show. This Tulsa-born, New York-based poet, translator, and editor published his "Collected Poems" last fall, and he'll be reading from that book at 7pm tonight (Tuesday the 1st) at the AHHA / Hardesty Arts Center in downtown Tulsa; this event is co-presented by Book Smart Tulsa, Louder Than A Bomb: Tulsa, and This Land Press, and it's free to the public.

"Play ball!" Weather allowing, 26 of the 30 teams that comprise Major League Baseball will be taking the field today. There may have been two games last week in Australia between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks, and a game last night between the Dodgers and Padres, but MLB's Opening Day for 2014 is actually today --- Monday the 31st --- and to mark the beginning of the new season, we at ST are pleased to present (as is our custom) a baseball-driven interview.

On this edition of ST, we're pleased to speak by phone with the terrific jazz singer Rebecca Kilgore, who'll be performing here in Tulsa tomorrow night (Saturday the 29th) in the Emerson Hall at All Souls Unitarian Church. The concert starts at 7pm; tickets (for $20 each) will be sold at the door.

This weekend, Tulsa Opera will continue its current season with the Oklahoma premiere of "Elmer Gantry," a Grammy Award-winning opera by Robert Aldridge. Based on the eponymous novel by Sinclair Lewis and the 1960 motion picture with Burt Lancaster and Jean Simmons, this classic piece recounts the rise and fall of a charismatic but unscrupulous thrill-seeker who joins the 1920s Evangelical movement of the American Midwest. "Elmer Gantry" will be staged at Chapman Hall in the Tulsa Performing Arts Center on Friday the 28th (at 7:30pm) and Sunday the 2nd (at 2:30pm).

"When the mathematician would solve a difficult problem," as Henry David Thoreau once wrote, "he first frees the equation of all incumbrances, and reduces it to its simplest terms. So simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real. Probe the earth to see where your main roots run." But how might one do so today, in this ever-hurried, hyper-complicated digital age? Our guests have some answers.

"A Streetcar Named Desire" --- which earned playwright Tennessee Williams the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948, was the basis for the classic 1951 film with Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh, and remains one of the fundamental if not defining works of the American stage --- is opening at 7:30pm tonight (Friday the 14th) here in Tulsa, in a new production at the Tulsa PAC's John H. Williams Theatre. This version of "Streetcar" is being produced by The Playhouse Tulsa; it's running through February 22nd.

Today we speak by phone with Molly Knight Raskin, a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in Psychology Today, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, and elsewhere; her TV credits include two PBS documentaries. Raskin is also the author of a new book, "No Better Time: The Brief, Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, the Genius Who Transformed the Internet," which The Daily Beast has hailed as "a fascinating biography, but...also a history of the Internet and those who took it from clunky dial-up service to the speed-of-light marvel.

There's an old Lenny Bruce one-liner that goes like this: "Everyday, people are straying away from the church and going back to God." In this day and age, there must be some truth to that idea; while it's true that more and more people in this country are giving up on the religion they grew up with or else rejecting organized religion entirely, it's also true that many who have turned away from religious institutions --- as well as many others who've lived wholly without religion --- really do hunger for something more than what contemporary secular life has to offer.

On this installment of ST, our guest is Sam Harris --- who grew up in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, and who is widely known and admired for his work as a singer and songwriter, and for his appearances on Broadway, film, and television; his legendary performances on TV's Star Search led to a multi-million-selling recording career. Harris --- who grew up, by the way, with Rich Fisher, our program's host --- has a new book out, an autobiographical collection of essays and stories called "Ham: Slices of a Life," and he tells us about this book on today's show.

On this edition of ST, we welcome Dr. Suzan Shown Harjo, a noted poet, lecturer, curator, and policy advocate. She'll soon be in our community to participate in the Greater Tulsa Indian Art Festival, which runs from Friday the 31st through Sunday the 2nd at the Glenpool Conference Center; Dr. Harjo will serve as the poet-in-residence at this festival.

"Here Is Where: Discovering America's Great Forgotten History"

Jan 24, 2014

On this edition of ST, an interesting chat with Andrew Carroll, a writer and historian best known for the Legacy Project, which he created, and which tirelessly archives wartime correspondence as culled from across the nation; Carroll is also known for "War Letters," a bestselling book which he edited, and which inspired an acclaimed PBS documentary.

(Note: This program first aired last year.) On our show today, we speak by phone with David Skinner, an editor and writer whose work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, The New Atlantis, Slate, The Washington Times, and other publications.

On this edition of The Best of StudioTulsa, we're listening back to our chat with A. Scott Berg, whose bestselling, highly regarded biographies include "Max Perkins: Editor of Genius" (winner of the National Book Award), "Goldwyn," "Lindbergh" (winner of the Pulitzer Prize), and "Kate Remembered." Berg's newest book is a life of America's 28th President, Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) --- it's titled simply "Wilson" --- and the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram calls it "a work of spectacular artistry and objective workmanship....

On this edition of The Best of StudioTulsa, we revisit our conversation with the celebrated young writer Nathaniel Rich (born 1980), whose essays and short stories have appeared in Harper's, McSweeney's, and elsewhere, and whose latest novel is called "Odds Against Tomorrow." Rich speaks with us about this entertaining and thoughtful work, which takes place in a New York City of the very near future, and which tells the story of one Mitchell Zukor, a gifted young mathematician and "disaster-probability expert" who works for a financial consulting firm called FutureWorld.

On this edition of ST, we are discussing a soon-to-open exhibit at the Gilcrease Museum here in Tulsa, "Buffalo Bill's Wild West Warriors: Photographs by Gertrude Käsebier," which will go on view Sunday, November 24th. Our guest is Michelle Delaney, director of the Consortium for Understanding the American Experience at the Smithsonian Institution.

On this installment of ST, we speak by phone with Dr. Richard Kurin, the Smithsonian Institution's Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, who oversees most of the organization's various museums as well as many of its educational programs. An anthropologist and cultural historian by training, and a former Fulbright fellow with a doctorate from the University of Chicago, Dr.

Our guest is John Zogby, founder of the famed Zogby Poll and veteran political/cultural analyst, who did a pair of events here in Tulsa earlier this week and stopped by our studios while he was in town.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Tony Kushner, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who's well-known and widely celebrated for his drama, "Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes," which first appeared in the early 1990s, and which was thereafter converted into an HBO-TV miniseries  that was directed by Mike Nichols.

There's saving. There's keeping. There's collecting. And then there's hoarding. Compulsive hoarding is a problem in our society, and has long been seen as such, but it was only officially deemed a mental disorder with its inclusion, earlier this year, in the newest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (or DSM). In other words, from a clinical/medical/scientific perspective, researchers have only begun to study hoarding in a serious way over the last couple of decades. On this edition of ST, we offer an interesting discussion with Dr.

Today on StudioTulsa, we're joined by our friend and colleague Richard Higgs, a local writer who's well-known as one of the co-hosts of Folk Salad, the long-running folk & blues & Red Dirt (& alt-country & Americana & singer-songwriter & what-not) radio show heard Sunday evenings at 7pm here on Public Radio 89.5. Higgs has a new book out, "Then There Is No Mountain: An American Memoir," which he discusses with us today.

(Please note: This show first aired earlier this year.) Our guest is the celebrated American author, Philip Caputo, who was a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist in Chicago before going on to write several notable works of fiction, nonfiction, and memoir, including 1977's "A Rumor of War," one of the most highly praised and widely read volumes ever published on the Vietnam War.

Today we speak with Mary Kay Zuravleff, an acclaimed author with Oklahoma roots who's now based in Washington, D.C., where she serves on the board of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. She'll be in Tulsa tonight (Tuesday the 1st) to participate in a "Book Smart Tulsa BBQ" at Harwelden Mansion, which begins at 6pm.

On our show today, we speak by phone with David Skinner, an editor and writer whose work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, The New Atlantis, Slate, The Washington Times, and other publications. He's also the editor of Humanities magazine, which is published by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and he joins us to discuss his book, "The Story of Ain't: America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published," which is just now out in paperback.

On this installment of ST, we speak with Ann Wright, a retired U.S. Army Reserve Colonel and a twenty-nine-year veteran of the Army and Army Reserves. A well-known peace activist, Col. Wright obtained a master's as well as a law degree at the University of Arkansas; she also earned a master's in national security affairs from the U.S. Naval War College. In 1987, she joined the Foreign Service and served as U.S. Deputy Ambassador in Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan, and Mongolia.

Our guest is Ari Kelman, an Associate Professor of History at the University of California at Davis. Prof. Kelman discusses his interesting new book, "A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek," which was published earlier this year by Harvard University Press. As we read of this volume at the Harvard U.

We speak today by phone with Katy Butler, an accomplished journalist whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Vogue, The Best American Science Writing, The Best American Essays, and The Best Buddhist Writing.

On this installment of ST, we offer a conversation with P.J. O'Rourke, the well-known conservative American satirist and journalist who's been writing articles and books about --- and just basically poking fun at --- politics, economics, culture, and current events for nearly forty years now. O'Rourke's bestselling books include "Give War a Chance," "Holidays in Hell," "Parliament of Whores," and "The CEO of the Sofa" --- and his newest book, "The Baby Boom," is due out later this year.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Susan Kates, an associate professor of English and Women's Studies at the University of Oklahoma, who tells us about her new book, an autobiographical collection of essays called "Red Dirt Women: At Home on the Oklahoma Plains." Born and raised in Ohio, Kates now considers herself an Oklahoman --- she's been teaching at OU for the past two decades or so --- and this book quite deliberately traces her development from immigrant to native.

(Note: This program originally aired earlier this year.) Food, glorious food --- it's more, of course, than what we eat. Food is memory, family, love, culture, and community.

Whether it's the endless instability of the Middle East or the vexing reality of climate change or understanding Wall Street's complex economics, life today is getting ever-more complex. How will this complexity ultimately affect society? What happens when life becomes literally too complicated for human beings? On this encore edition of ST, we listen back to an interesting discussion with an expert on these matters.

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