Popular Culture

(Note: This interview originally aired in January.) For a number of different -- and often unsettling -- reasons, issues of race and racism have by now come into focus in American life in a pervasive manner that we, as a society, have not seen in decades. Or maybe, actually, we as a nation have never been as racially aware, or as racially alert, as we are at this moment. Thus we're discussing an important textbook in this regard; "Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice" first appeared back in the 1990s, and it has just been published in a new (fourth) edition.

(Note: This interview originally aired back in February.) The author and journalist Mark Whitaker is our guest on StudioTulsa. A former managing editor of CNN Worldwide, and a previous Washington bureau chief for NBC News, Whitaker has a new book out, which he tells us about.

Our guest is the the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Lawrence Wright, who joins us to discuss his new book. "God Save Texas" is a collection of stereotype-busting essays exploring the history, culture, and politics of Lone Star State. As was noted of this book by Jennifer Szalai of The New York Times: "Vivid.... Omnivorous.... Affectionate and genial.... [Wright] captures the full range of Texas in all its shame and glory.... An illuminating primer for outsiders who may not live there but have a surfeit of opinions about those who do....

LOUIS LAMONE, PHOTOGRAPHER; BILL SCOVILL AND NORMAN ROCKWELL, CA 1962; INKJET PRINT, NORMAN ROCKWELL COLLECTION, ©1962 NORMAN ROCKWELL FAMILY AGENCY.

On this encore edition of StudioTulsa, we revisit an interview from back in February regarding "Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera." This show -- now on view at Gilcrease, but closing on June 10th -- is the first-ever exhibition to explore in depth the famous illustrator's richly detailed study photographs, images that he used, quite carefully, as reference points for his iconic paintings. Our guest is Stephanie Haboush Plunkett, the deputy director and chief curator of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass.

Photo by Valery Lyman

Our guest is the photographer and filmmaker Valery Lyman, who now has a striking show on view at Living Arts in downtown Tulsa called "Breaking Ground." This show, per the Living Arts website, aims to travel "through the American psyche and landscape. Documentary artist Valery Lyman has been photographing and recording audio in the Bakken region of North Dakota over the course of five years, documenting the rise of the oil industry there and the substantial migration that went along with it.

Our guest on ST is the best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Rick Bragg, who's known for his books "All Over but the Shoutin'" and "Ava's Man." His new book, which he tells us about, is "The Best Cook in the World." In this work, Bragg sets out to preserve his heritage as well as his family history by telling the stories that framed his mother's cooking, her upbringing, her education, her child-rearing, and so forth -- from her own childhood into old age. As Bragg tell us, in the American South just like everywhere else, good food always has a good story behind it.

On this edition of ST, we learn about the first-ever Tulsa Lit.Fest, an impressive array of free-to-the-public events that will happen here in our community from tomorrow (the 19th) through Sunday (the 22nd).

(Please note: This show first aired back in December.) Artificial "machine" intelligence is, of course, a part of our lives now -- we have cruise control in our cars, automatic checkout services at the supermarket, and (most importantly?) those smartphones in our pockets. But what will life be like when artificial "sentient" intelligence becomes the norm? And when will that happen?

Our guest is the Tulsa-based author Joe Johnston, who's originally from Missouri, and who's written many books over the years on various topics. He joins us to talk about his newest publication, a folksy, far-ranging, and conversational history of Southern cooking -- from sun tea and fruitcake and vegetables to "the Colonel's chicken" and BBQ and beyond.

The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, which is part of the National Park Service, will soon host a three-day symposium here in Tulsa regarding the preservation of roadside architecture and attractions. It happens April 10th through the 12th, and it will include 20+ invited as well as solicited papers, an evening neon-sign tour, and a half-day field session exploring local roadside attractions and issues related to their preservation.

The Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa will now be known as AHHA Tulsa. As per the AHHA website: "The organization's Board of Directors voted recently to change the name to something modern that encompasses the organization's mission to cultivate creativity in Tulsa, while also honoring its decades-long history.

Our guest is Bruce D. Haynes, a professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Davis. He's the co-author of a new memoir, "Down the Up Staircase: Three Generations of a Harlem Family," which interestingly blends personal narrative, African-American social history, and the literary and academic cultures of Harlem and New York City.

On today's edition of StudioTulsa, we are listening to another installment in the Museum Confidential podcast series, which is co-created by Jeff Martin (with Philbrook Museum of Art) and Scott Gregory (with Public Radio Tulsa). In this episode, writer and Philbrook staffer Mark Brown speaks about his in-depth profile of Eugene Kingman (1909-1975) -- the first-ever Director of Philbrook, who was also a versatile painter and cartographer -- which appeared in that museum's newsletter in 2016.

Photo Credit: Miami Art Guide

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we are pleased to chat with the world-renowned tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, who has performed or recorded over the years with everyone from George Harrison and Yo-Yo Ma to Van Morrison and Mickey Hart (to name but a few). On this coming Friday night, the 30th, the nonprofit South Asian Performing Arts Foundation will present a special concert featuring Mr. Hussain alongside Rakesh Chaurasia, an up-and-coming and well-respected flute virtuoso. The concert begins at 7:30pm in the John H. Williams Theatre at the Tulsa PAC.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with the Austin-based, Montana-raised filmmaker Alex Smith, who's currently visiting TU in order to screen and answer questions about his feature film, "Walking Out." (The film will be shown tonight, the 13th, at the Lorton Performance Center; the screening is free to the public.) Smith and his twin brother Andrew work together on various film and TV projects, and "Walking Out" is their most recent movie.

Our guest on this edition of StudioTulsa is Eric Schlosser, the well-regarded American journalist and filmmaker whose bestselling books include "Fast Food Nation" (2001), "Reefer Madness" (2003), "Chew on This" (2006), and "Command and Control" (2013). This last-named title reveals the details of America's ongoing efforts to prevent nuclear weapons from being stolen, sabotaged, or detonated by accident.

(Note: This show originally aired back in October.) On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with Dr. John Bargh, a social psychologist at Yale who's widely seen as a leading expert on the unconscious mind. He joins us to discuss his new book, "Before You Know It: The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do." As was noted of this volume in a starred review in Library Journal: "Although the work [in this book] is girded with years of studies and research, humor and use of personal anecdotes keep the writing accessible.

Our guest is Tom Clavin, the popular historian whose latest book, "Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West," is just out in paperback. As was noted of this book by the Houston Press: "Thorough, compelling, and entertaining.... Clavin sprinkles in fascinating tidbits about life and culture in the Old West.... In 'Dodge City,' Clavin vividly re-creates a time, a town, and an era that it seems incomprehensible occurred less than 150 years ago.

Louis Lamone, Photographer; Bill Scovill and Norman Rockwell, ca 1962; Inkjet print, Norman Rockwell Collection, ©1962 Norman Rockwell Family Agency.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we learn about a new exhibition at Gilcrease Museum; "Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera" is the first exhibition to explore in depth the famous illustrator's richly detailed study photographs, which he used, quite carefully, as reference points for his iconic paintings.

On this edition of ST, we learn about "Four Chords and a Gun," a newly created non-musical play that looks at the iconic punk band known as The Ramones -- and in particular, at their efforts to record an album with the eccentric yet legendary music producer, Phil Spector. The play was written by John Ross Bowie, an actor best known for his roles on TV's "Speechless" and "The Big Bang Theory." As we learn on today's show, "Four Chords and a Gun" focuses on the years 1979 and 1980, when The Ramones stood on the very edge of breaking into stardom.

The author and journalist Mark Whitaker is our guest on StudioTulsa. A former managing editor of CNN Worldwide, and a previous Washington bureau chief for NBC News, Whitaker has a new book out, which he tells us about. It's an "expansive, prodigiously researched, and masterfully told history" (Kirkus Reviews) called "Smoketown: The Untold Story of the Other Great Black Renaissance." As was noted in an appreciation of this book in USA Today: "Pittsburgh was one of the country's citadels of black aspiration in music, sports, business, and culture.

For a number of different (and often unsettling) reasons, issues of race and racism have by now come into focus in American life in a pervasive manner that we, as a society, have not seen in decades. Or maybe, actually, we as a nation have never been as racially aware -- or alert -- as we are at this moment.

Artificial "machine" intelligence is, of course, a part of our lives now -- we have cruise control in our cars, automatic checkout services at the supermarket, and (most importantly?) those smartphones in our pockets. But what will life be like when artificial "sentient" intelligence becomes the norm? And when will that happen? On this edition of ST, we're talking about various AI-related matters with Amir Husain, an inventor and computer scientist whose new book is called "The Sentient Machine: The Coming Age of Artificial Intelligence." As was noted of this book by Prof.

(Note: This show originally aired in August of this year.) Our guest is author Ladee Hubbard, who joins us to discuss her first novel. It's called "The Talented Ribkins." It's a creative and widely acclaimed book about race, class, politics, and America itself...and it focus on, of all things, a family of super-heroes. And per a starred review of this novel by Kirkus: "Crafty and wistful.... Hubbard weaves this narrative with prodigious skill and compelling warmth. You anticipate a movie while wondering if any movie could do this fascinating family, well, justice.

On this edition of our show, we speak with Dr. Matthew Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at UC Berkeley, where he directs its Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab. Dr. Walker joins us to discuss his new book, "Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams." As per The New York Times Book Review, this book is "a thoughtful tour through the still dimly understood state of being asleep.... [This] is a book on a mission. Walker is in love with sleep and wants us to fall in love with sleep, too. And it is urgent.

On this edition of our show, we speak with Rachel Keith, the Director of Collections and Exhibitions at Philbrook Museum of Art here in Tulsa. She tells us about the newly-opened and totally original exhibition, "Museum Confidential," which will be on view at Philbrook through early May of next year. As noted of this show at the Philbrook website: "Visitors [to Philbrook] often ask what goes on behind-the-scenes.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with Dr. John Bargh, a social psychologist at Yale who's widely seen as a leading expert on the unconscious mind. He joins us to discuss his new book, "Before You Know It: The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do." As was noted of this volume in a starred review in Library Journal: "Although the work [in this book] is girded with years of studies and research, humor and use of personal anecdotes keep the writing accessible.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak by phone with Angélique Kidjo, the internationally acclaimed Beninese singer-songwriter and activist, who routinely speaks out for human rights and female empowerment as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Named "Africa's premier diva" by Time Magazine and "the undisputed queen of African music" by The Daily Telegraph of London, Kidjo creates infectious music that draws upon Afropop, Caribbean zouk, Congolese rumba, jazz, gospel, and Latin styles; she has collaborated in the recording studio with (to name but a few) Alicia Keys, Bono, and Philip Glass.

On this edition of ST, we chat with the New York-based author and journalist Jennifer Egan, whose newest novel, the much-praised "Manhattan Beach," is just out. As was noted of this book in a starred review in Kirkus: "After stretching the boundaries of fiction in myriad ways...Egan does perhaps the only thing left that could surprise: she writes a thoroughly traditional novel. Realistically detailed, poetically charged, and utterly satisfying: apparently there's nothing Egan can't do." And further, per Dwight Garner in The New York Times: "Immensely satisfying....

On this edition of ST, we chat with Jimmy Webb, who grew up in rural Oklahoma before going out to Hollywood, while still a teen, to break into the songwriting biz...and who eventually created such classic pop tunes as "Wichita Lineman," "By The Time I Get To Phoenix," "Up, Up and Away," and "MacArthur Park." Webb will soon perform (on the 14th) with the Bartlesville Symphony, singing and playing his wonderful songs while also telling plenty of stories. He shares a few of those stories with us today -- many of which also appear in his recent memoir, "The Cake and the Rain."

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