American Culture

(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.

Stanford University

On this encore edition of StudioTulsa, our guest is Dr. Hazel Rose Markus, who is the Davis-Brack Professor in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and a pioneer in the field of experimental cultural psychology. She's also the co-author of the book, "Clash: Eight Cultural Conflicts That Make Us Who We Are," which examines the basic differences in how human beings relate to the world --- that is, the differences that define how we perceive other cultures and people unlike ourselves.  Dr. Markus is a pioneer in the study of independent and interdependent selves.

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.

On this edition of our show, we visit with D.J. MacHale, the bestselling YA novelist and veteran TV writer/director. MacHale is probably best known as the author of the ten-volume, YA fantasy book series called "Pendragon: Journal of an Adventure through Time and Space." He's also the author of the "Morpheus Road" trilogy --- you can read all about MacHale's literary output here, by the way --- and he's likewise been successful in the world of children's television.

"The Woody Guthrie Center is dedicated to celebrating Woody's life and legacy and educating a new generation about his important role in American history," as we read on the Center's website.

On today's ST, which originally aired earlier this year, we speak with the journalist, author, and veteran urbanologist Alan Ehrenhalt, whose books include "The United States of Ambition" and "The Lost City." Ehrenhalt's latest book, "The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City," is now out in paperback. This book argues that the roles and characteristics of America's cities and suburbs are basically changing places with one another --- younger adults and affluent retirees are moving into the city, while immigrants and the less affluent are moving out to the 'burbs.

Gilcrease Museum

Tulsa's Gilcrease Museum is currently showing one of the finest collections of early color printmaking, or chromolithography, in its exhibit called "Yellowstone and the West: The Chromolithographs of Thomas Moran," which is on display through September 8th at the museum. The exhibit features a suite of 15 prints commissioned and made by Louis Prang; these are prints of Moran's watercolors from his 1871 journey to Yellowstone as a member of the Hayden Expedition.

For this encore presentation of our show, we look back on a remarkable year in the tenure  of our nation's greatest president, Abraham Lincoln. Our guest is journalist David Von Drehle, author of "Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America's Most Perilous Year." Von Drehle argues that the truly pivotal year of the American Civil War was 1862 --- not 1863, as many historians have asserted. As 1862 opens, the war is going badly, Lincoln's own advisors are questioning his leadership, European powers are openly considering intervening on behalf of the South, the U.S.

On this installment of ST, we listen back to our conversation with the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edward Humes, who joined us earlier this year to talk about his latest book, which was at that time just out in paperback: "Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash." This book presents a fascinating and highly detailed profile of America's biggest export, its most prodigious product, and perhaps its greatest legacy: garbage.

On this edition of ST we are pleased to speak by phone with Steve Vogel, a veteran national reporter for The Washington Post as well as the author of "The Pentagon: A History" (2008).

(Please note: This show originally aired earlier this year.) When we say that someone is a "tinkerer," we might be offering a word of praise...or a put-down. Today's edition of ST explores the positive definition of the term "tinkerer," as a creative inventor or innovator.

Sure, you loved "The Catcher in the Rye" at the age of 16...but would you still love it? You appreciated "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Cannery Row" way back when, but would that still be the case today? And on the other hand, if the plays of Ibsen or Shakespeare didn't exactly knock you out during that long-ago sophomore year of college, do you think they'd still miss the mark? Or might they be worth another shot?

(Please note: This show first aired in December of last year.) On this edition of ST, we speak by phone with Jacob Tomsky, whose new book, "Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality," has been getting some glowing reviews from all over. A longtime veteran of the hotel biz, Tomsky here offers a detailed and unflinching yet also down-to-earth and amiable --- and, throughout, quite well-written --- autobiography about what it's really like to work (in every capacity) at an upscale hotel in America.

"How the 99 Percent Live in the Great Recession"

May 10, 2013

If the stock market these days is surging higher and higher, and if corporations near and far are reporting record-setting profits, why is the American middle class struggling to get by with less and less pay for more and more work? And why, in the years since the Great Recession first hit, does every facet of business and industry seem to have bounced back except for the American work force?

Food, glorious food --- it's so much more, of course, than what we eat. Food is memory, food is family, food is love, food is culture, and food is community.

The "new KAKC" --- an AM Radio titan from the annals of Tulsa broadcasting --- emerged in the middle 1950s, when rock and roll was just starting to make its very significant mark on American culture. KAKC was the Top 40 station in our community, and invariably one of the most popular stops on the radio dial, well into the 1970s.

What does it mean when the recent financial meltdown is fully understood by only one American citizen (or two, at the most) out of every 100 randomly chosen individuals? What should we make of law-makers --- based in Washington, DC, or elsewhere --- who debate nuclear policy when they've never taken a class in physics? What happens when people everywhere become more and more reliant on technology even as they understand less and less of it?

Our guest on this edition of StudioTulsa is A.O. Scott, who's been a film critic at The New York Times since 2000. Scott will appear at a "Talking Heads" lecture/Q&A this evening (Thursday the 4th) at Congregation B'nai Emunah in Tulsa, near 17th and Peoria. The event begins at 7pm, and there's an optional dinner beforehand, beginning at 5:45pm.

"Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes"

Apr 1, 2013

The 2013 Major League Baseball season officially got underway yesterday, Sunday the 31st, with a night game between the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers. Welcome back, baseball! And therefore, on this edition of ST, we're talking about the life, career, and influence of one of the all-time great hitters, Hank Greenberg, who joined the Detroit Tigers in 1933 and went on to share the spotlight with the legendary sluggers of that era, including Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, and Lou Gehrig.

Today on ST we speak by phone with Benjamin Lytal, who grew up in Tulsa and now resides in Chicago, and who has written for The Wall Street Journal, The London Review of Books, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Sun, The Believer, McSweeney's, and other publications. Lytal's first novel, "A Map of Tulsa," has just been published, and he'll be doing a free reading/signing in connection with this book tonight (Tuesday the 26th) at the Harwelden Mansion here in Tulsa at 7pm.

"Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch" (Encore presentation.)

Mar 25, 2013

(Please note: This program originally aired last year.) On this installment of our show, better living through savvy verb deployment. Our guest is Constance Hale, the bestselling author of "Sin and Syntax" and other books on language, writing, and word choice. A veteran journalist and teacher, Hale has a new book out called "Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch: Let Verbs Power Your Writing." It's a work in four chapters, each as informative as it is entertaining, and it's that rare example of a "how to" book on English usage that's genuinely accessible from start to finish.

Our guest is Richard Soudriette, who's the President of the Center for Diplomacy and Democracy, which is based in Colorado Springs. He also served as founding President of IFES, or the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, from 1988 to 2007. Under Mr. Soudriette's leadership, IFES grew into one of the premier organizations offering technical assistance around the globe in matters related to elections, civil society, rule of law, and governance. Thus he's played a key role in launching networks of elections officials in Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia.

On today's ST, we speak by phone with the journalist, author, and veteran urbanologist Alan Ehrenhalt, whose books include "The United States of Ambition" and "The Lost City." Ehrenhalt's latest book, "The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City," is just out in paperback. This book argues that the roles and characteristics of America's cities and suburbs are basically changing places with one another --- younger adults and affluent retirees are moving into the city, while immigrants and the less affluent are moving out to the 'burbs.

On this installment of ST, we speak by phone with the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edward Humes, whose previous books include "Force of Nature" and "No Matter How Loud I Shout," and whose latest book, just recently out in paperback, is "Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash." This book presents an unsettling yet fascinating and highly detailed profile of America's biggest export, its most prodigious product, and perhaps its greatest legacy: garbage.

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967), the great American critic, fiction writer, poet, and satirist --- that famously witty (and frequently scathing) scribe whose many brilliant assertions include "I don't care what is written about me so long as it isn't true" and "if all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn't be a bit surprised" --- is now back in business. That is, she's cracking wise all over again, in a manner of speaking, in a new book.

On StudioTulsa today, we speak by phone with Dr. Steve Perry, a passionate, down-to-earth, and plainspoken --- make that outspoken --- education-reform advocate who's best known as the founder and principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut. This school has sent one-hundred percent of its predominantly low-income, minority, first-generation high-school graduates to four-year colleges every year since its first class graduated in 2006. Dr.

When Bruce Sorrell was starting his tenure, about a year ago, as Executive Director of Chamber Music Tulsa, someone told him that this outstanding organization --- which will turn 60 next year, and which has been bringing world-class music ensembles to our community for decades --- was "one of Tulsa's best-kept secrets." As he tells us on this edition of ST, Sorrell wants to change this.

When we say that someone is a "tinkerer," we might be offering a word of praise...or a put-down. Today's edition of ST explores the positive definition of the "tinkerer," as a creative inventor or innovator.

(Please note that this interview originally aired in October of last year.) Our guest is Jeanne Marie Laskas, the director of the writing program at the University of Pittsburgh. She's also an acclaimed journalist whose writing has appeared in GQ, The Washington Post Magazine, Smithsonian, and Esquire.

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