Popular Culture

On this installment of our show, we speak by phone with the writer, critic, and journalist Thomas Mallon, whose critically acclaimed novels include "Henry and Clara" and "Dewey Defeats Truman." Mallon frequently writes for The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, and The Atlantic, and his newest novel, just out in paperback, is "Watergate." Hailed as "wildly entertaining from beginning to end" (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) and "a brilliant presentation, subtle and sympathetic but spiked with satire" (The Washington Post), this novel was named a New York Times Notable Book as well as a S

"Hidden Cities: A Memoir of Urban Exploration"

Mar 27, 2013

If you're something of a daredevil, and further, if you've ever wondered what it'd be like to climb to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge --- or wander amid the catacombs beneath Paris, or maybe just take an up-close look at a "ghost station" within the far-reaching New York City subway system --- you might be a latent "urban explorer." Our guest on ST is an active explorer of this sort; Moses Gates, who joins us by phone, is also an urban planner, a licensed New York City tour guide, and an assistant professor of demography at the Pratt Institute.

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.

(Please note: This interview originally aired in November of last year.) On this installment of ST, a fascinating book about culture, cuisine, customs, cutlery, crockery, and civilization itself.

(Please note: This program originally aired last year.) On this edition of our show, we speak by phone with the author and writing instructor B. A. Shapiro about her widely praised novel, "The Art Forger." In 1990, more than a dozen works of art (today worth, in sum, $500+ million) were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history, but in this equally fascinating and entertaining novel, our heroine --- Claire Roth, a struggling young artist --- learns more about this theft than she ever bargained for.

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.

Our two guests on this edition of ST are Michael Wright and Steven Marzolf. Both are directing plays currently being presented in repertory by the TU Department of Theatre and Musical Theatre; Wright is directing Neil Simon's classic comedy/drama, "Biloxi Blues," which opens tonight, and Marzolf is directing John Murrell's "Waiting for the Parade," which opened last night. Both plays concern the Second World War, yet they differ in some interesting ways --- for example, Simon's play is essentially an all-male saga about coming of age amid the struggles of basic training in the U.S.

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.

On today's ST, we're spinning a seriously tasty variety --- a gumbo, in fact --- of great Mardi Gras music with Denis McGilvray, a local music blogger and longtime New Orleans music enthusiast.

(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.

Tulsa Ballet will soon present "Lady of the Camellias," with performances scheduled for February 1st, 2nd, and 3rd at the Tulsa PAC.

Marcel Proust has his little madeleine cakes. Calvin Trillin has Arthur Bryant's BBQ in Kansas City. And Tulsa-based writer and editor Mark Brown has, well, his mother's bygone fried chicken. Food, for so many of us, is about much more than taste and sustenance, much more than flavors and rations. It's about culture, society, tradition, and practically everything else --- about the past, the seasons, our memories, our loved ones. Food is as basic to the human species as are celebrations, rituals, fingerprints, or dreams.

Talk about the influential use of language.... Did you know that "bloviate," "lunatic fringe," "iffy," "military-industrial complex," "Anglophobia," "public relations," and "ottoman" are all terms or phrases that have been either coined or popularized by various U.S. Presidents over the years?

Today on ST, we speak with the bestselling author of "Just My Type" and other works of wide-ranging, culturally- or historically-driven nonfiction, Simon Garfield. His new book, "On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks," is just out. It's a detailed yet accessible survey of the age-old relationship between man and map, if you will, a study of why we as human beings are (and always have been) so fixated upon mapping things. Cartography, after all, seems to be as defining a characteristic for us (as a species) as, say, language or creativity or play.

On this "best of" edition of our show, we're listening back to a discussion we had by phone last year with Jack Hitt, who's a contributing editor to The New York Times Magazine, Harper's, and public radio's This American Life.

On this "best of" edition of our show, we're listening back to a discussion from earlier this year with Professor David Blight, the acclaimed Civil War historian based at Yale University.

The Best of ST in 2012: Bob Balaban

Dec 27, 2012

On this "best of" edition of our show, we're listening back to a discussion with the well-known Hollywood actor --- and children's book author --- Bob Balaban. When we spoke with Mr. Balaban by phone, back in early October, he had just put out a book called "The Creature from the Seventh Grade: Boy or Beast" (Penguin Young Readers Group). We spoke with him about this work, and about his efforts as a writer and actor --- and film producer / director / screenwriter --- more generally.

The Best of ST in 2012: Arlie Russell Hochschild

Dec 26, 2012

On this "best of" edition of our show, we're listening back to a discussion with the noted sociologist and bestselling author, Arlie Russell Hochschild. The focal point of our interview is Hochschild's latest book, "The Outsourced Self: Intimate Life in Market Times." You can read a full description of this discussion --- and hear a free, on-demand "stream" of same --- at this link.

Our guest on this installment of ST is J.B. Kaufman, an author and film historian on the staff of the Walt Disney Family Foundation. He's just put out an extensively detailed and lavishly illustrated coffee-table book, "The Fairest One of All: The Making of Walt Disney's 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.'" This year marks the 75th anniversary of this classic film's initial release, and Kaufman's hefty volume explores every facet of the making of the film, with pages and pages of never-before-published facts and artwork.

Remembering Dave Brubeck, a Jazz Titan

Dec 6, 2012

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we remember the great jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck, who died yesterday at 91. (He would have turned 92 today, the 6th.) Rich Fisher spoke with Brubeck back in the fall of 1996, prior to a Tulsa concert appearance. Brubeck's quartet with saxophonist Paul Desmond and drummer Joe Morello was among the most popular bands (of any sort) of the 1950s and '60s, and even today, their 1959 album, "Time Out," remains one of the most popular jazz recordings of all time.

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 rather glowing reviews from all over lately. 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. New York Times critic Janet Maslin has thus called this book "Mr.

How many cigarettes are sold each year, worldwide? Believe it or not, six trillion. Our guest, who calls the cigarette "the deadliest artifact in the history of human civilization," was the first-ever historian, several years ago, to testify in court against Big Tobacco. On this installment of ST, which first aired earlier this year, we speak with Robert N. Proctor, Professor of the History of Science at Stanford University.

On today's show, we speak by phone with Davy Rothbart, a writer, editor, filmmaker, and contributor to public radio's "This American Life." He's also the founder/publisher of the popular "Found Magazine," which collects discarded notes, letters, photos, lists, and drawings that are both discovered and sent in by its readers.

On this installment of ST, a fascinating book about culture, cuisine, customs, cutlery, crockery, and civilization itself.

"It's always five o'clock somewhere," as the old saying goes. And this expression, of course, was as true in the 1770s or 1860s or 1930s as it is today --- and maybe it's all the more fitting right this instant, as we approach the holiday season. On today's show, therefore, we are discussing the histories, traditions, origins, myths, and/or recipes related to various cocktails.

On this edition of ST, we speak with the renowned artist, art director, cartoonist, and illustrator Wayne White --- along with the filmmaker Neil Berkeley, who's directed a documentary about White's influential and still-thriving career, "Beauty Is Embarrassing." This film premiered at SXSW in Austin, Texas, earlier this year, and it will be screened tonight, the 15th, at the Philbrook Museum of Art (at a "Third Thursday" event, beginning at 5:30pm), and tomorrow night, Friday the 16th, at the Circle Cinema (at 6pm).

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