Go Set a Watchman

Jul 15, 2015

The popularity and influence of Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird has transcended generations. For 55 years, fans of Lee’s writing had only that novel to go on, so it’s understandable that the release yesterday of her new book, Go Set a Watchman, has stirred up a lot of interest. It’s also generated intense debate. Wednesday, biographer Charles Shields joins us as we discuss Lee’s new novel and try to understand it through the lens of her life, her legacy, and America’s history of racial tension.

Gwendal Uguen via CC/Flickr,

Witch weighing, African swallows, a bloodthirsty bunny, God himself… We’re talking of course about Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Sure, the movie is epically silly, but behind the humor lay countless cultural and historical references. According to BYU film studies professor Darl Larsen, in crafting their 1975 cult-classic film the Pythons drew from Arthurian legend, the Medieval period, and the hard times of 1970s Great Britain. Larsen joins us Thursday for something completely different.

The Utah Arts Festival is now underway, so #CreativeUtah No. 5 is the final challenge in our creativity series. We've partnered with the Festival to inspire you to see the art around you. This week, we're asking you to find "Unintentional Art." We were inspired by Davy Rothbart, creator of Found Magazine. The idea of the magazine is simple, they collect and publish stuff that readers have found and sent into them - notes, photos, cards, whatever. Rothbart says it's a way to connect to people we share the world with. RadioWest producer Elaine Clark spoke with him.

#CreativeUtah: Paper

Jun 26, 2015

Here's #CreativeUtah challenge no. 4. Take a piece of paper and ... do something with it. You can draw on it, write all over it, stain it, tear it, etc. It may seem like "just a piece of paper," but for Marnie Powers-Torrey of the University of Utah's Book Arts Program, it's much, much more. Doug sat down with her to ask what she loves about paper, and how you can create with it.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published 150 years ago, and though you may have never read the book, you probably know the story. But what about the stories behind the story? Tuesday, we’re talking about the real lives that led to Alice’s adventures. Just who was Charles Dodgson, also known as Lewis Carroll, the man who wrote the books? And who was Alice Liddell, the young girl who inspired the tales? Oxford lecturer Robert Douglas-Fairhurst will be our guide to the secret history of Wonderland.

This week for our #CreativeUtah challenge, we're asking you to listen, really listen to the sounds around you. The idea is to put a sort of frame around a moment of audio - something commonplace or rare - and record it. Since the industrial revolution, mechanical and technical sounds have become part of our world and part of the art of experimental music composers. We asked musicologist Jeremy Grimshaw how modern composers have used found sound and what to listen for when you're recording your own.

Local Music: Salazar

Jun 11, 2015

A somber vibe echoes through the debut album of indie-folk band Salazar. It's the vibe of "saudade," a Portuguese idea that singer-songwriter Alexander Woods says can't be directly translated. It describes the deep longing you feel for somebody or something that’s going away and might not come back. Woods and the musicians of Salazar join us Thursday as we continue our series on Local Music. We'll talk to them about "saudade," about their music, and about the band of musician-friends known as Dirty Provo.

Josh Weathers, VideoWest

So, here's #CreativeUtah Challenge No. 2. This is our partnership with the Utah Arts Festival, and each week between now and the festival, we're posting a short podcast to help inspire you to be an artist yourself.

This week, we're asking you to capture a moment of motion on video and post it online with the hashtag #CreativeUtah. Don't overthink it - this could be as short as a 6 second Vine.

#CreativeUtah: Haiku

Jun 1, 2015

For the first in our #CreativeUtah Challenges, a partnership with Utah Arts Festival, we're asking you to write a haiku. It's the very short, traditional Japanese poem with a particular structure: usually (but not always) 3 lines - 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables. We sat down with Jackie Osherow, Utah poet and distinguished professor of English at the University of Utah. She doesn't write haiku herself, but she's a fan. We asked her to read some classic examples and talk about what the masters have to say about the form.

The Water Knife

Jun 1, 2015

In his new novel, the writer Paolo Bacigalupi imagines what would happen if our greatest fears for water in the West came true. He sets his story of speculative fiction in a near future when extreme drought has the poor paying $6 for a gallon of water while the rich live in lush high-rise cities. Western states war with each other for dwindling water shares and hire mercenary “water knives” to claim the few sources left. Bacigalupi is coming to Utah, and he joins us Monday to talk about his novel The Water Knife.