American Masters Podcast
Season 4 – Origins
The new season of the American Masters Podcast features 10 biweekly episodes exploring the origin stories of artists and cultural figures. We hear from guests who have created bold new works through an investigation of their own personal history and learn how their upbringings may have influenced their careers. This season’s guests include musicians Tegan and Sara, playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, Dr. Michio Kaku, comedian Chris Gethard, author R.O. Kwon and more! Listen to season 4 of the American Masters Podcast on pbs.org/americanmasters, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play Music, and other podcast apps.
Episode 1: Music duo Tegan and Sara
Release Date: October 9, 2019
Pop icons and twins Tegan and Sara look back at their early days during the height of grunge and rave culture in the new New York Times best-selling memoir, “High School,” and companion album, “Hey, I’m Just Like You.” The duo discuss the book’s honest account of the drugs, music and relationships they each explored in their formative years, and how they crafted a new album from recently discovered high school demo tapes.
Episode 2: Comedian Chris Gethard
Release Date: October 23, 2020
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 every week on his podcast, “Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People.” Amidst a tumultuous cultural change, Gethard also discusses the current state of comedy and his comedy special, “Career Suicide,” which chronicles his history with depression and anxiety.
Bonus Episode #1: Christopher Rothko and Kate Rothko Prizel
Release Date: October 30, 2019
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 Art in New York, Rothko’s daughter and son, Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko, sat down with series executive producer Michael Kantor and director Eric Slade to discuss their father’s legacy.
Episode 3: Author R.O. Kwon
Release Date: November 6, 2019
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 her own loss of faith in high school, and the grief that followed, led to this bold new work.
Bonus Episode #2: Poet Joy Harjo
Release Date: November 13, 2019
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 American storytelling traditions. She talks about the transcendent nature of language, our human origins as storytellers, our innate connection to the Earth, and lessons she learned from one of her inspirations, writer N. Scott Momaday. This new bonus episode coincides with the upcoming premiere of American Masters – N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear, premiering Monday, November 18 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/americanmasters and the PBS Video app in honor of Native American Heritage Month.
Episode 5: Playwright and actor Tarell Alvin McCraney
Release Date: November 20, 2019
Academy Award-winning writer and actor Tarell Alvin McCraney sits down with American Masters executive producer Michael Kantor in a candid conversation 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 his work, and the importance of building a sense of community above all else. McCraney’s recent work includes the TV series “David Makes Man” on the OWN Network, the Broadway play “Choir Boy,” and a run of shows as part of the prestigious Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago.
Episode 5: Actress Lee Grant
Release Date: December 4, 2019
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 in an in-depth conversation about her upbringing, surviving years on the Hollywood blacklist during the McCarthy era, and her long career as an actress and documentary filmmaker. Grant describes how key moments of difficulty in her life emboldened her toward new heights.
The American Masters Podcast is produced by Joe Skinner. Michael Kantor is executive producer.
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