Robert Downey Jr. returned to theaters last weekend as Sherlock Holmes, taking in nearly $40 million. That's not bad for a 124-year-old hero. The scholar Leslie Klinger says that the character has had enduring appeal since Arthur Conan Doyle first introduced him in 1887 because Holmes is the kind of person we'd all like to be: smart, always in command and always doing the right thing. Thursday, Klinger joins Doug to talk about Holmes, his loyal companion Watson and the world they inhabited.

Spell Talk

Dec 19, 2011
<a href="" target="_blank">Shannon Martinez</a> via <a href="" target="_blank"> Spell Talk </a>

Since Andrew Milne, Jared Phelps and Sammy Harper formed Spell Talk four years ago the band has quickly become one of the biggest fish in Salt Lake's admittedly small-pond music scene. They first drew crowds with a brand of droney, blues-inflected psych rock, but their latest release, Touch It, features the band's new sound: rock n' roll, raw, gritty and unadulterated. Spell Talk will play live in the RadioWest studio on Tuesday, and we'll review the best in local albums from the year that was.

<i>Image by <a href="">Lukas Goedde</a>/<a href="" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Wednesday, Bob Boilen of NPR's All Songs Considered joins us to talk about his favorite albums of 2011. You know the kind of album we're talking about. It's the one you listen to again and again from start to finish. Boilen had a hard time narrowing his picks down to ten this year because of the many new sounds and layers to explore. We'll talk about and play the music - and ask Boilen to explain why he says he can hear the end of rock and roll this year.

Handel's Messiah has become closely associated with the Christmas season, but when it was first performed in 1742, it was during the Lenten season. Friday on RadioWest, we'll look at how it is the depressed composer wrote one of the world's most enduring pieces of music in just 24 days. Doug talks to playwright and author Tim Slover for a biographical look at the oratorio. (Rebroadcast)

Thursday, we're talking about why you should read "Moby-Dick." Our guide is the historian Nathaniel Philbrick, whose award-winning book "In the Heart of the Sea" told the story of the real-life shipwreck that inspired Melville's novel. Philbrick says "Moby-Dick" is as close to an American Bible as we have. It's eloquently written, it's full of wisdom and you can return to it again and again. Nathaniel Philbrick joins Doug to share his passion for one of our nation's great literary works.

Tuesday, we're talking about one of the most enigmatic and fascinating characters in American music. La Monte Young was a pioneer of the minimalist movement and his work influenced artists like Terry Riley, Yoko Ono, The Velvet Underground and Brian Eno. So it may surprise you to hear that he was born in a log cabin in Idaho and worked the family farm on Utah Lake. BYU Professor Jeremy Grimshaw has just written a new biography and joins Doug to talk about Young's music and mysticism.

Thursday, Doug is joined by storyteller and humorist Kevin Kling. Kling is perhaps best known for his commentaries on NPR. His stories are autobiographical - funny, but deeply personal. Kling shares everything from holidays in Minnesota and performing his banned play in Czechoslovakia to living with a birth defect and surviving a near fatal motor cycle accident. He joins Doug to talk about the power of story to overcome tragedy. (Rebroadcast)

Veteran Utah playwright Aden Ross says she confers with William Shakespeare every day. When she's trying to make sense of something - artistically or politically - she says she turns to the Bard for answers. Her latest play is a look at modern politics, so it's fitting that she inhabits the stage with her own version of his characters - among them Lady Macbeth, Iago, Portia and the Fool. Wednesday, Aden Ross and others join us to talk about what Shakespeare can still teach us about our world.

<i>Image by <a href="">Gala Medina</a>/<a href="" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Monday on RadioWest we're presenting a radio play. Ballet West has a Dracula Festival going on, and we're getting into the act by broadcasting an adaptation of Bram Stoker's story. Really at its most basic, it's about a real estate transaction. This creepy count is trying to relocate from Transylvania to England, but something is not quite right about the guy. We'll give you the works: radio actors, sound effects and spooky music. It's the perfect thing for Halloween.

The Folka Dots

Oct 19, 2011
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Thursday on RadioWest we're getting old-timey with local roots group The Folka Dots. Marie Bradshaw, Corrine Gentry and Kiki Sieger got together last year to learn some cover songs and weave them into melodious three-part harmonies for the fun of it. That idea bloomed into a full-length album, "Down Below," and they're getting ready to record their follow-up this winter. The Folka Dots will be in the studio on Thursday to chat with Doug and play some old-timey tunes.