Van Gogh - The Life

Feb 23, 2012

For 10 years, writers Gregory White Smith, Steven Naifeh and a team of researchers delved deeply into the life of Vincent van Gogh. They read the books he read in his day, dissected his numerous letters and scoured every text and record they could find on him. Their biography of the fabled artist lays bare van Gogh's deeply troubled, fanatic and passionate soul, and it offers a revisionist history of his death. Gregory White Smith joins Doug to talk about Van Gogh: The Life (Rebroadcast).

Friday, a conversation with Broadway and cabaret singer Klea Blackhurst. Blackhurst was born and raised in Salt Lake City and she's best known for her tribute to the legendary Ethel Merman. They say Merman could make you hear it in the balcony and Blackhurst has her own back-row belt. She'll be in town next week to receive the University of Utah's Distinguished Alumna Award, so we're taking the opportunity to rebroadcast our conversation with her about Merman, music and home. (Rebroadcast)

On Tuesday we're rebroadcasting our conversation with director Steve James. James made the extraordinary documentary "Hoop Dreams" in 1994. His most recent film, The Interrupters, premiered last year at Sundance and it's airing on PBS tonight. The film examines the complexities and realities of inner-city violence by following three violence prevention workers on the streets of Chicago. James spoke with Doug last year about the ideas in his films and the craft of making them. (Rebroadcast)

The Moth & The Flame

Feb 8, 2012

As new bands scramble for on-line attention with digital downloads, the Provo-based duo The Moth & The Flame are taking a different tack. Brandon Robbins and Mark Garbett aren't just about making music. They also want to create an aesthetic around their debut CD. They've called the cover art the opening track of their album and to make sure you see it, you can only buy their music in its physical form. Thursday, they'll join us in studio to talk about their collaboration and play their music.

Even if you're not an aficionado of classical music, it's very likely you would recognize the first four notes of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5. You know - it's the one that goes "DUH DUH DUH DUUUH." This weekend, the Utah Symphony is performing the iconic work under the direction of Maestro Thierry Fischer. We're using it as an opportunity to talk to music scholar Thomas Forrest Kelly about the night in 1808 when Beethoven's Fifth was first performed and about why it has endured for more than 200 years.

In the early 1970s, Sixto Rodriguez, a poet-musician from inner-city Detroit, produced two albums. His producers thought they would be hits, but they were utter flops – in America, that is. In South Africa though, Rodriguez was bigger than Elvis or The Rolling Stones, and his albums provided the soundtrack for white opposition to apartheid. Filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul has documented Rodriguez’ unlikely fall and rise, and he’ll talk with Doug about it on Friday.

Thursday, our guest is Oscar winning documentary filmmaker James Marsh. Marsh's films Man on Wire and Project Nim both earned him Sundance accolades, but this year he's at the festival with his latest narrative film. Clive Owen stars in the thriller set in 1990's Belfast, and he says Marsh brought a documentarian's sensibility to the work by "trying to capture the essence of something real." Doug talks to Marsh about Shadow Dancer and about the craft of documentary and dramatic filmmaking.

To some people, Stanley Kubrick's film THE SHINING set the standard for modern horror cinema. For others, it was the result of a talented filmmaker slacking off. And then there are the ardent fans convinced they've decoded the film's hidden messages of genocide, cabals and the nightmares of history.Rodney Ascher and Tim Kirk made a film about these conspiracy theorists that investigates the act of criticism and what it means to be a fan. They'll join Doug on Wednesday to talk about ROOM 237.

Tuesday, Doug is joined by legendary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman. A year ago, RadioWest and the Utah Film Center began our Through the Lens documentary film series with a conversation with Wiseman. His latest work is set to open later this month around the country. It's called "Crazy Horse," and it's a spare, unfiltered look inside a Parisian nude cabaret. Doug talks to Wiseman and others about his 44 year career and what the new film reveals about Wiseman's unique process.

"Cuddly as a Cactus" and "Charming as an Eel" hardly seem like descriptions of a beloved Christmas character, but fans of Dr. Seuss will immediately recognize the mean Mr. Grinch. From the 1957 children's book and the 1966 television adaptation, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is for many an integral part of the holiday season. Tuesday, we're talking about Dr. Seuss's tale and offering you a new reading by the actor Tobin Atkinson. (Rebroadcast)