Arts, Theater & Film

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, http://bit.ly/2yY699N

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, http://bit.ly/2y4mWaB

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.

A.O. Scott is a long-time film critic for the New York Times, so it may seem strange that he’s now questioning the value of his work ... what the point of criticism actually is. Scott has written a book arguing that critical thinking informs almost every aspect of artistic creation, of civil action, and of our interactions with each other. In that way, he says, we’re all critics. Scott joins us for a discussion about art, pleasure, beauty, truth, and of course criticism. (Rebroadcast)

Don Quixote

Sep 1, 2017
nicointokio via CC/flickr, http://bit.ly/1Ylc8J2

 

Today, Don Quixote is regarded as one of the most important novels ever written. But when it debuted 400 years ago, Miguel Cervantes’ book was deemed unworthy of serious artistic consideration. Ilan Stavans, a professor of Latin American and Latino Culture, has a profound affection for the tale of don Quixote de la Mancha, and he says the wandering knight’s adventure through life mirrors our own. Stavans joins us Friday to explore how Don Quixote rose to global success and gave rise to modernity. (Rebroadcast)

The film High Noon was a hit when it debuted in 1952, and it remains a revered Hollywood classic. But the tale of a sheriff awaiting a showdown held deeper meaning for screenwriter Carl Foreman. For him, it was a political parable. Communist fear gripped the nation, and Foreman was called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities to answer for his past. Journalist Glenn Frankel has written a book about the making of High Noon and its high-stakes allegory. He joins us Thursday to talk about it. (Rebroadcast)

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