American Culture

Today on our program, an interesting chat with Anand Giridharadas, a columnist for The New York Times who's also the author of "India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation's Remaking" (which the Financial Times called "a finely observed portrait of the modern nation"). Giridharadas joins us to talk about his new book, which is just out.

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.

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