Popular Culture

On this edition of our program, we speak with Jeff Martin, the creator and host of Book Smart Tulsa, the popular reading series here in our city that's now celebrating its fifth anniversary. Book Smart is marking the occasion with three different events this week, on Tuesday the 11th, Thursday the 13th, and Friday the 14th.

"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.

The Tulsa Voice, a new publication on the city's print-media landscape which hits newsstands every first and third Wednesday, and which grew out of the now-defunct Urban Tulsa Weekly, has been attracting the attention of readers for its sleek design, quality writing, and focused arts/cultural coverage. The publication originated late last year, and our guest today on ST is Natasha Ball, its managing editor, who addresses The Tulsa Voice's presence and purpose in our community --- as an arbiter and chronicler of the local arts scene as well as an observer and participant in same.

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.

"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 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 StudioTulsa, our last newly recorded program of the year, we tap into the unmistakable holiday cheer that's currently wafting through our offices like so much thick fog in a John Durkee crack-of-dawn weather report. In other words, we sit down with a few of our co-workers here at Public Radio Tulsa to chat about which Christmas songs matter most to them and why.

On today's show, we speak with John Wooley, host of the popular "Swing on This" program here on Public Radio 89.5, which airs every Saturday night at 7pm. Wooley is also a prolific and longtime writer/critic/advocate/fanboy concerning many various facets of American pop culture: horror movies, Western Swing music, comic books, pulp fiction, Oklahoma music and filmmaking, etc.

(Please note: This interview first aired earlier this year.) Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) was a key player in the electrical revolution that transformed life itself at the dawn of the twentieth century. His inventions, patents, and theoretical work formed the basis of modern AC electricity, and significantly contributed to the development of radio and TV. Like his competitor Thomas Edison, Tesla was also one of America's first celebrity scientists --- yet he's not nearly as famous as Edison today. Why? Our guest is W.