Art

A production of Shakespeare’s The Two Noble Kinsmen is opening this weekend in Salt Lake, and if you’re intimidated by the Bard’s language, here’s the good news: it’s in modern English. Oregon Shakespeare Festival hired 36 playwrights to rework Shakespeare, among them the University of Utah’s Tim Slover. But here’s the question: after 400 years, should we be messing with William Shakespeare? Doug talks to scholars Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, James Shapiro, and to Slover about “translating” a classic.

God Knows Where I Am

In 2012, Linda Bishop was found dead in an abandoned house in New Hampshire after a brutal winter. She’d been living on apples and rainwater, and she’d kept a journal. She was a well-educated mother diagnosed with severe mental illness. Drawing from her journal, filmmakers Jedd and Todd Wider made a touching portrait of Bishop’s life and its challenges. Their documentary God Knows Where I Am is the next film in our Through the Lens series, and the Widers join us Tuesday to talk about it.

The Long Walk

Mar 30, 2017
GARY DAVID GOLD FOR OPERA SARATOGA

In his memoir, Brian Castner comes right out and tells you he’s crazy. Castner was the leader of a bomb disposal team in Iraq, a gory, dangerous job. But he never considered what life would be like when he got home. So to try to figure out who that crazy person was, he started writing. His 2012 book is the basis for an opera that’s being performed in Salt Lake City. Thursday, Castner and others join us to talk about the costs of war, and how you make art out of an experience like that.

Courtesy Photo

Thursday, we’re talking about one of the great classics of American theater, A Streetcar Named Desire. It was 70 years ago when Marlon Brando first played Stanley Kowalski on Broadway, but the themes of sexual violence, homophobia, addiction, and family strife still resonate today. A new production at Salt Lake City’s Grand Theatre opens this week, so we’re exploring Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece and how it’s become, as one guest puts it, enshrined in America’s psyche.

Courtesy Photo

Thursday, we’re talking about the lives of refugees with the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen. Nguyen came to this country when he was four, and he says there’s a tendency to separate the stories of immigrants from the stories of war. The people who seek refuge here though, he says, often have war stories to tell. Nguyen is in Utah, and joins us to explain what it’s like to be an outsider.

From book cover, Open Midnight

Wednesday, our guest is writer and environmental advocate Brooke Williams. Williams spent a year alone verifying maps of the southern Utah desert, where he felt a deep connection to the landscape. He wanted to understand that connection, and found an answer in the imagined story of his ancestor William Williams. Nature and wilderness, he concludes in his new book, are part of his DNA. Brooke Williams joins Doug to talk about listening to the “archaic whisper” of the past, and how saving the land can save us.


Kirsten Johnson’s 25-year career as a documentary film cinematographer has taken her around the world, often to regions of conflict. Her own film, Cameraperson, is a memoir of her life’s work assembled from a collage of cutting-room-floor footage. It’s also a keen examination of the dilemmas and blind spots that riddle documentary filmmaking. Johnson joins us Monday as we continue our Through the Lens series on documentary film with an exploration of what it’s like to be behind the camera.

Courtesy Plan-B Theatre Company

Hildegard of Bingen was a 12th century abbess, composer, healer, and visionary. Everyone from the Pope to the lowliest novitiate believed she was in direct communication with God. But mid-life, Hildegard's visions changed, and some historians believe it was because she fell in love with another woman. The story is the basis of Utah playwright Tim Slover’s latest work, and Friday, we’re talking about this fascinating woman, and the search for balance between spirituality and the gift of love.

Sundance 2017: 78/52

Jan 26, 2017

Thursday, we're wrapping up our coverage of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival with director Alexandre Phillipe and his documentary film 78/52. The film’s title refers to the 78 setups and 52 cuts that make up one of the most iconic moments in cinematic history: the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s film Psycho. Phillipe’s film is equal parts love letter and textual analysis. It examines the scene’s audacity both in the context of the film and in the broader context of American society on the brink of upheaval.

Art and Activism

Jan 18, 2017

Wednesday, the legendary choreographer and dancer Bill T. Jones is among our guests. We recorded a conversation last night at Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City. We were also joined by playwright Taylor Mac and director Niegel Smith. It was a conversation about getting an audience to be part of the process. We also talked about the ways artists are often activists, and what it will mean to make art at this transitional moment in American culture.

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