American Masters Podcast

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Episodes of American Masters Podcast

Although he became famous for his work as an actor in films like “Clueless”, “The Princess Bride” and “Toy Story,” Wallace Shawn is also an Obie Award-winning playwright and author, known for his experimental and challenging writing on class po
Miles Davis is widely regarded as one of the most innovative, influential and respected figures in music. To celebrate the new documentary on the jazz legend, American Masters - Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, filmmaker Stanley Nelson talks wit
The beginning of the universe might be the greatest origin story of all time, and theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku has made a career exploring this subject and others like it. Dr. Kaku is the co-founder of string field theory, which some s
Fresh off the heels of her brand new stand-up special “Weakness is the Brand,” comedian Maria Bamford sits down to discuss her disarming approach to comedy, including the hilarious ways you can turn life challenges into comedy gold. Recently, B
Noah Baumbach (“The Squid and the Whale,” “Margot at the Wedding,” “The Meyerowitz Stories”) talks about how and why he makes movies. Through equal parts comedy and drama, Baumbach’s films frequently deal with the pains of family life with stun
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage talks about the origin of her Broadway play, “Sweat,” and the time she spent developing the story through her conversations with working class residents in Reading, Pennsylvania. Her focus on the s
Actor, writer and director Ethan Hawke (“Before Sunrise,” “Training Day,” “First Reformed,” “Boyhood”) talks with his close friend and fellow actor Josh Hamilton about formative projects from Hawke’s career, reflecting on his own origin story a
Academy Award-winning actress Lee Grant (“Shampoo,” “In The Heat of the Night,” “Valley of the Dolls”) sits down with American Masters creator Susan Lacy for an in-depth conversation about her upbringing, surviving years on the Hollywood blackl
Academy Award-winning writer and actor Tarell Alvin McCraney talks about his semi-autobiographical play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” and the Academy Award-winning film “Moonlight” that followed. He discusses the centrality of Florida to
In 2019, Joy Harjo became the first Native American Poet Laureate of the United States. She joins us from her hometown Tulsa, Oklahoma to talk about the responsibilities that come with this honor and the importance of representing rich Native A
Best-selling author R.O. Kwon writes with an empathy that can attract religious and non-religious readers alike. She talks about her debut novel, “The Incendiaries,” a fierce story that deals with faith, loss and fanaticism, and describes how h
One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Mark Rothko’s signature style helped define Abstract Expressionism. After a screening of the new American Masters documentary, Rothko: Pictures Must Be Miraculous at the Museum of Modern
A confessional-style comic, Chris Gethard is unafraid to mine his past. He talks about cramming the entire set of his TV show, “The Chris Gethard Show,” into the back of his car’s trunk, and how he pulls off hour-long phone calls with strangers
Pop icons and twins Tegan and Sara look back at their early days during the height of grunge and rave culture in a new memoir, “High School,” and companion album, “Hey, I’m Just Like You.” The duo discuss the book’s honest account of the drugs,
Listen to a preview of what’s to come on Season 4 of the American Masters Podcast, featuring new interviews with artists and cultural figures including musicians Tegan and Sara, playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, Dr. Michio Kaku, actress Lee Gra
What does it mean to stand on the shoulders of giants? Listen to stories from this season of the American Masters Podcast, and learn more about the people who are changing the way we think. Guests include filmmaker Bo Burnham, musician Boots Ri
Viet Thanh Nguyen discusses growing up in the U.S. as a refugee from Vietnam, and how writing and reading helped him cope with this difficult experience. He explains how his Pulitzer Prize-winning debut novel “The Sympathizer” (2015) and short
Jeff Daniels discusses his Tony-nominated role as Atticus Finch in the Aaron Sorkin adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird” on Broadway. He describes the intense preparation that goes into workshopping characters like Finch, and what makes a grea
Musician-turned-filmmaker Boots Riley discusses his award-winning film “Sorry To Bother You,” and the importance of incorporating politics into his work. Riley is also a founding member and lead vocalist of The Coup, a hip-hop group with a penc
Restaurateur and chef David Chang explores the power of food as a cultural communicator and the influence of immigration on American cuisine. He talks about studying religion in college, his TV series Ugly Delicious and the role models who insp
Josh Hamilton speaks with actress Lois Smith about how she got her start and the many inspiring figures she’s worked alongside during her decades in film, TV and theater. Forging an enduring legacy, Smith’s film and TV roles include “Lady Bird,
DeRay Mckesson discusses his debut book “On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope.” He talks about his early days protesting on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, and the figures who have inspired him to take action. Mckesson presents an
Miranda July discusses how everyday connections, such as an unlikely friendship with her cab driver, can spark her creativity. She talks about some of her earliest works from childhood, explains her interdisciplinary approach to art and contemp
Sammy Davis, Jr., boldly strove to achieve the American Dream in a time of racial prejudice and shifting political territory. “American Masters – Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me" director Sam Pollard, writer and co-producer Laurence Maslon a
Bo Burnham is a comedian-turned-filmmaker who first found fame self-publishing bedroom performances to YouTube. He recently explored that personal experience by writing and directing his debut film, “Eighth Grade.” Josh Hamilton acted in the fi
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