American Masters Podcast

By American Masters | PBS

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This season the American Masters Podcast presents "Revolutionary Writers," 10 episodes that look at the artists that challenge and shape our thoughts through the power of the written word. The American Masters Podcast features new interviews with contemporary artists, along with previously unreleased interviews from the series’ 30+ years of award-winning documentary films. Subscribe now!

Episode Date
Susan Sarandon, Emina Soljanin, and Alexandra Dean on actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr
00:28:32
Young women entrepreneurs today can find inspiration in the story of Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr. In her time, she was known as the Most Beautiful Woman in the World, but it was her groundbreaking work as an inventor of a secure communications system that has turned her into a legend. Recorded live at the Whitby Hotel in New York, host Michael Kantor moderates a panel including Academy Award-winning actor Susan Sarandon, Rutgers professor and IEEE fellow Emina Soljanin, and filmmaker Alexandra Dean, as they discuss Lamarr’s legacy. Co-executive produced by Sarandon, and directed by Dean, with major support by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, “American Masters – Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” is streaming now at pbs.org/americanmasters and PBS OTT apps.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/zGFchaL1hag" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
May 24, 2018
2.10. The Poet: Dr. Maya Angelou
00:14:29
The venerable poet, writer, activist, dancer and singer Dr. Maya Angelou teaches that above all else, we are more alike than we are unalike. In this season's final episode, listen to Dr. Angelou share insights into her life as a teacher, what it takes to be courageous and an emotional story from her time in Ghana visiting a wharf where slaves were once sold and traded. [“American Masters – Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise” (2017)]. (Season 2, Episode 10 - Revolutionary Writers)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/pHWfk5q-b0w" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Dec 21, 2017
2.09. The Poet: Tracy K. Smith
00:48:09
We sit down with U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith to discuss the ideas that drive her writing. Considered among the best poets of her generation, Smith won the Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for her collection, "Life on Mars," which melds science and science fiction with the discoveries, failures, and oddities of the human experience. She reads poems from her past collections and from her forthcoming book, "Wade in the Water," to be published in April 2018. (Season 2, Episode 09 - Revolutionary Writers)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/nnRu1fTCJuQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Dec 12, 2017
2.08. The Songwriter: Willie Nelson
00:21:44
Willie Nelson is a superstar of country music (“Red Headed Stranger,” “Shotgun Willie,” “Stardust”). He reinvented the genre as one of the founding fathers of outlaw country, forging a style of music that went against the convention of its time. Filmmaker Steven Cantor sat down with Willie to talk about how he got his start in this 2002 interview. [“American Masters – Willie Nelson: Still Is Still Moving” (2002)]. (Season 2, Episode 08 - Revolutionary Writers)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/qY8aKVT_uN0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Nov 26, 2017
2.07. The Songwriter: Bonnie "Prince" Billy
00:47:38
Will Oldham is an enigmatic singer/songwriter who commonly performs under the name Bonnie "Prince" Billy. For decades, his music and lyrics have explored the human experience with great intensity and respect. With an ear finely tuned to history, Oldham speaks candidly about the role music plays in the past, present and future of our culture in this new interview. (Season 2, Episode 07 - Revolutionary Writers)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/8Ppm6a7rulY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Nov 05, 2017
2.06. The Horror Writer: Edgar Allan Poe
00:30:52
Edgar Allan Poe is a global literary icon, best known for his Gothic horror tales. Actor Denis O’Hare stars as Poe in the new documentary “American Masters – Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive.” Listen to O'Hare read “The Raven” and “Annabel Lee” with an original score by Damon Hardjowirogo (Infinity Shred), then learn about the poems and Poe’s legacy from Dennis Paoli, professor of gothic fiction at Hunter College. The documentary premieres October 30 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) and will be available to stream on Halloween via pbs.org/americanmasters and PBS OTT apps, as well as on DVD and digital download from PBS Distribution. (Season 2, Episode 06 - Revolutionary Writers)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/U2i5RXd7rFo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Oct 21, 2017
2.05. The Horror Writer: John Carpenter
00:23:52
Known as "The Horror Master," John Carpenter is Hollywood's ultimate auteur of fright. In this new interview, the writer, director and composer talks about his career and the constantly shifting horror landscape. Internationally renowned for genre classics including "Halloween," "They Live," "Escape from New York," "The Thing" and "Christine," he is touring this fall in support of his new album, "Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998." (Season 2, Episode 05 - Revolutionary Writers)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/B4awCY8zVqQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Oct 07, 2017
2.04. The Comedy Writer: Margaret Cho
00:34:59
In this new interview, comedian Margaret Cho talks about her career and the role comedy plays in dealing with the current social climate. An outspoken advocate for LGBT, Asian-American and women’s rights, Cho created the first primetime sitcom featuring an Asian-American cast, and currently she can be seen performing stand-up on her “Fresh Off The Bloat” comedy tour. (Season 2, Episode 04 - Revolutionary Writers)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/OLeI6RwWdeM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Sep 23, 2017
2.03. The Comedy Writer: Mel Brooks
00:18:34
Satire is often described as one of the most powerful tools against tyranny. Listen to a previously unreleased interview with legendary comedian Mel Brooks, who reveals how his experience as a soldier in the U.S. Army during World War II led to his groundbreaking satirical comedy “The Producers.” Brooks earned Oscar® and Tony® awards for writing the hit film and musical, cementing his status as one of America’s sharpest wits. [“American Masters – Mel Brooks: Make A Noise” (2013)]. (Season 2, Episode 03 - Revolutionary Writers)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/CK56HIe0jjE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Sep 12, 2017
Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi on artist Tyrus Wong
00:16:30
“American Masters: Tyrus” filmmaker Pamela Tom interviews filmmakers/artists Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi, who discuss their Oscar-nominated animated short “The Dam Keeper” and artist Tyrus Wong’s influence on their work. See their work and learn more about Wong in “American Masters: Tyrus,” premiering September 8 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) and streaming September 9 at http://pbs.org/americanmasters and PBS OTT apps.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/HXsbyVL8qKA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Sep 06, 2017
2.02. The Playwright: Arthur Miller
00:21:12
Witch hunts, political hysteria, and paranoia! Listen to previously unreleased interviews with Tony- and Pulitzer-winning playwright Arthur Miller and actresses Madeleine Sherwood and Lee Grant, who explore the themes of Miller’s landmark play The Crucible (1953). Published amidst the milieu of government persecution when McCarthyism struck Hollywood, the play is a stark and powerful allegory of the era with lasting implications. [“American Masters – Arthur Miller, Elia Kazan and the Blacklist: None Without Sin” (2003)]. (Season 2, Episode 02 - Revolutionary Writers)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/8spVxVTsrDk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Aug 27, 2017
2.01. The Playwright: Suzan-Lori Parks
01:07:03
Season 2 of the American Masters Podcast looks at the artists that challenge and shape our thoughts through the power of the written word. We begin with a new interview with Pulitzer Prize-winner and MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog, The Red Letter Plays, Venus), who discusses her writing, inspirations and teaching the arts, and performs original music. (Season 2, Episode 01 - Revolutionary Writers)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/nda3xzePt6w" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Aug 13, 2017
Ruben Santiago-Hudson on playwright August Wilson
00:25:09
Host and series executive producer Michael Kantor sits down with Ruben Santiago-Hudson, director of August Wilson’s Jitney, which makes its Broadway debut this week at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Santiago-Hudson discusses the impact that Wilson has made as one of the most prolific African-American playwrights of the 20th century. Tune in to your local PBS station for American Masters – August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand, which airs tonight, January 20th at 10 PM EST (Check your local listings).<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/sXYLi5IKXCw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jan 11, 2017
1.10. Filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady
00:26:09
Listen as host and series executive producer Michael Kantor sits down with Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, co-directors of American Masters – Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You. The two veteran filmmakers share their experiences working in the film industry, and most recently with nonagenarian producer Norman Lear as their subject. The documentary is streaming now at http://pbs.org/americanmasters and is available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD from PBS Distribution. (Season 1, Episode 10 - Women on Women)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/xZG5CQpmVp0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Oct 21, 2016
Norman Lear and comedian Hasan Minhaj
00:15:12
Comedian Hasan Minhaj, senior correspondent for The Daily Show, shares a personal story with legendary producer Norman Lear, recorded live at this summer’s New York premiere of American Masters – Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You. The documentary premieres nationwide Tuesday, October 25 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) and is available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD from PBS Distribution.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/7x4GC--moic" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Oct 10, 2016
1.09. Author Gloria Naylor on the American Dream
00:30:08
We remember novelist Gloria Naylor, who died September 28, 2016, at the age of 66. Best known for The Women of Brewster Place, which received the National Book Award in 1983, and was adapted into a 1989 miniseries produced by Oprah Winfrey, Naylor speaks compassionately and critically about the notion of the American Dream. She explores this theme in three American classics: Nella Larsen’s novel Passing (1929), F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925) and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (1939). This never-before-heard interview is from director Michael Epstein’s American Masters – Novel Reflections on the American Dream (2007). (Season 1, Episode 09 - Women on Women)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/AoOC7xAXOq4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Oct 08, 2016
Joan Baez and Dar Williams Sing “If I Wrote You”
00:05:30
Listen to singer-songwriters Joan Baez and Dar Williams perform as a duet in this impromptu rendition of “If I Wrote You”, written by Dar Williams. This exclusive performance is from the cutting room floor of award-winning filmmaker Mary Wharton’s American Masters – Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound (2009). (Season 1, Episode 08 Bonus Track - Women on Women)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/6tq6AO0HWpw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Oct 02, 2016
1.08. Singer-songwriters Dar Williams and Joan Baez
00:30:20
American folk music icon Joan Baez began her singer-songwriting career during the 1960s counterculture movement and celebrated her 75th birthday this year. Listen in on this conversation between Baez and fellow singer-songwriter Dar Williams as they share anecdotes about life on the road together, their musical collaborations and how they’ve influenced each other’s lives and art. This never-before-heard interview is from the cutting room floor of award-winning filmmaker Mary Wharton’s American Masters – Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound (2009). (Season 1, Episode 08 - Women on Women)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/bAYu1WBvEEU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Sep 23, 2016
1.07. Nina Bernstein and June Norton on singer Ella Fitzgerald
00:20:07
Before jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald became the First Lady of Song and earned 13 Grammy Awards, she spent much of her teenage years as an orphan, finding odd jobs to get by and, at times, living on the street. Filmmaker Charlotte Zwerin interviews journalist Nina Bernstein and Fitzgerald’s longtime friend June Norton, who discuss one of the singer’s most difficult periods. Enduring harsh conditions at an abusive reformatory program in Hudson, New York, Fitzgerald faced prejudiced policies common in the institutional racism of the 1930s child welfare system. She battled through this adversity to achieve a career driven by sheer determination and talent [American Masters – Ella Fitzgerald: Something to Live For (1999)]. (Season 1, Episode 07 - Women on Women)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/9yRB4DX_jog" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Sep 10, 2016
1.06. Tennis players Venus Williams and Chris Evert on Billie Jean King
00:16:46
Celebrate the 2016 U.S. Open with tennis superstars Chris Evert and Venus Williams, who discuss athlete and social icon Billie Jean King’s impact both on and off the tennis court with filmmaker James Erskine. King won 39 Grand Slam titles, including a record 20 titles at Wimbledon, and was the first female athlete to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A lifelong champion for social change and equality, she’s created new inroads for both genders in and out of sports. [American Masters: Billie Jean King (2013)]. (Season 1, Episode 06 - Women on Women)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/ymeOK4KWRik" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Aug 28, 2016
1.05. Singer-songwriter Patti Smith on the Scene
00:18:31
Singer-songwriter, poet and visual artist Patti Smith discusses the early days of punk rock. In this never-before-heard interview from American Masters – Lou Reed: Rock-And-Roll Heart (1998) conducted by filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Smith paints a picture of the vibrant music scene of 1970s New York City, talks about her influences and shares her thoughts on art, poetry, censorship and punk. (Season 1, Episode 05 - Women on Women)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/f98cdm39QbA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Aug 12, 2016
1.04. We Love Lucy!
00:24:45
Late comedian, actress, producer and television legend Lucille Ball would have turned 105 years old this year on August 6. Celebrate her birthday with actresses Doris Singleton, Fran Drescher, and Carol Burnett, who discuss Lucy's successes and challenges as one of America's first women media moguls and television sensations. Lucy’s contributions helped flip the script on the role of women in comedy: an impact that is still felt to this day [American Masters – Finding Lucy (2000)]. (Season 1, Episode 04 - Women on Women)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/iqGugyiNzMg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jul 31, 2016
1.03. Comedian Betty White on Carol Burnett
00:22:21
American comedian, actor and nonagenarian Betty White sits down with director Kyra Thompson to discuss the life and career of comedian, actor, singer and writer Carol Burnett. White shares personal anecdotes from her time spent working with Burnett and talks about The Carol Burnett Show’s lasting influence, Lucille Ball and how comedy and audiences have changed [American Masters – Carol Burnett: A Woman of Character (2007)]. (Season 1, Episode 03 - Women on Women)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/ZmKgB5oEn1Y" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jul 15, 2016
1.02. Lena Horne on Lena Horne
00:29:25
American singer, dancer, actress and civil rights activist Lena Horne discusses the difficulties of navigating the 1940s and 1950s Hollywood studio system and her involvement in the civil rights movement. As a trailblazing person of color within the entertainment industry, Horne recollects times spent with Count Basie, Medgar Evers, Billy Strayhorn and others [American Masters – Lena Horne: In Her Own Voice (1996)]. (Season 1, Episode 02 - Women on Women)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/XkPTIoAE0F4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jul 03, 2016
1.01. Activist Gloria Steinem on Marilyn Monroe
00:23:16
The first season of the American Masters Podcast presents interviews with influential women discussing women who have impacted our cultural landscape. Who better to kick off the season than American journalist and activist Gloria Steinem? Listen to her conversation with the late documentary filmmaker Gail Levin as they take a critical look at the life and career of Marilyn Monroe [American Masters – Marilyn: Still Life (2006)]. (Season 1, Episode 01 - Women on Women)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/gBoTar3YZZU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jun 17, 2016
Introducing the American Masters Podcast!
00:01:08
The poet Muriel Rukeyser once wrote that the Universe is made of stories, not of atoms. The American Masters Podcast brings you previously unreleased long-form interviews from the series' 30+ years of award-winning documentary films. Listen to host and series executive producer Michael Kantor preview just a few of the many enduring voices from our archive that have left an indelible impression on our cultural landscape. Come back soon to hear our first full episode and subscribe now!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/AmericanMastersPBS/~4/jIAMdeZtKII" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Jun 10, 2016