Wednesday, we're talking about the big bucks business of the contemporary art world with director Nathaniel Kahn. His new documentary film examines the role of art and artistic passion in today's money-driven, consumer-based society.

The 1952 film High Noon is a Hollywood classic about a man standing up for what he believes, even as his community abandons him. For the man who wrote the screenplay, it's a political parable about his personal struggles during the Red Scare.

Filmmaker Bill Morrison's latest film has very few words or talking heads. It's mostly made of clips from silent movies buried for decades beneath a swimming pool in the Canadian Yukon. 

Handel's Messiah

Dec 15, 2017
Kelsie Moore/KUER

We’ve just posted a film about an exquisite aria from Handel’s Messiah. So Friday, we’re talking about the oratorio. It’s a story with scandal, godliness, and of course, beautiful music.

Thursday, local booksellers Betsy Burton of The King’s English, Ken Sanders of Ken Sanders Rare Books, and Catherine Weller of Weller Book Works are stacking our studio with books they say should be on your holiday gift list. 

NPR is your guide to the best books of the year. With 374 titles for 2017, you'll find something that suits your palate. And this year, RadioWest made the list with featured links to three of Doug's great conversations.

The Ice Front

Oct 23, 2017
Guillaume Speurt, CC via Flickr,

Monday, we’re telling a thrilling story from World War II: a troupe of Norwegian actors resisting the Nazi occupation and risking their lives to keep a vile, anti-Semitic play from being staged. The Nazis were using it as a propaganda tool and forcing the National Theater to perform it – at gun point. Utah playwright Eric Samuelsen has dramatized the story of the actors who had to decide if they should take a stand. It’s called The Ice Front, and it’s the latest production of Plan-B Theatre Company.

Public domain via Flickr,

Following their silly romp through Arthurian legend, Monty Python took on something completely different for their second film. In it, the Pythons satirized the similarities between ancient Jerusalem and 1970s England: the terrorism, the authoritarians, the waning empires. And, oh yeah, they told a “shadow” version of the Christ story. Monty Python’s Life of Brian was a critical and commercial smash, and the subject of protests over its perceived blasphemy. Film scholar Darl Larsen joins us Tuesday to unpack one of the greatest comedies of all time.

When Bryan Fogel set out to make a documentary film about doping in cycling, he never figured he’d wind up in a global controversy. But that’s what happened. He met and befriended a talented Russian anti-doping scientist, Grigory Rodchenkov. Rodchenkov had actually been helping Russian athletes beat Olympic doping tests, at the behest of Vladimir Putin. Fogel’s film documents the unraveling of this conspiracy and the scientist-turned-whistleblower at its center. It’s called ICARUS, and Fogel joins us Monday to talk about it.

Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin is one of the dance world’s most important figures. He can be demanding and intimidating, but professional dancers have pushed beyond their personal limits to express his unique movement language. It’s called “gaga.” Naharin says it’s about listening to the body before telling it what to do. Wednesday, we continue our series on documentary film with a profile of Naharin’s life and work. Director Tomer Heymann joins us to tell the fascinating story of an artistic genius.