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Valerie Boyd
Photo courtesy of Ms. Boyd

Biographer

Biographer Valerie Boyd talks about the life and work of Zora Neale Hurston. [28:17]

Headshot of a woman.
Photo by Carol Friedman

Pianist and 2108 NEA Jazz Master

Uncovering new dimensions of music.

Taylor Branch

Photo by J. Brough Schamp

Author

Taylor Branch discusses his trilogy of the Civil Rights Movement America in the King Years. [24:25]

Anthony Braxton
Photo by Carolyn Wachnicki

2014 NEA Jazz Master

Anthony Braxton may be considered avant garde but he embraces all musical traditions [40:50]

Headshot of a man.
Photo by Michael G. Stewart

Dancer, choreographer, executive director of Urban Artistry and of Next Level

Junious Brickhouse is a dancer, choreographer, and executive director of two cultural organizations—Urban Artistry and Next Level. He’s a powerhouse who is on a mission to teach and preserve urban dance traditions. There’s no question that urban dance is a vibrant and creative art form, and it’s one that’s deeply rooted in community. It is extremely democratic allowing people to tell their own stories through dance. Brickhouse sees hip-hop as modern folk art, and he is clear about its connection to the blues. As he says, like the blues, hip hop ”is rooted in our communities about things that makes us laugh and things that make us cry.” His realization of that connection brought Brickhouse to NEA Heritage Fellow and Piedmont Blues harmonica player Phil Wiggins. And he is now also dancing to the blues as part of Wiggins’ House Party. I spoke with Brickhouse backstage at an urban dance competition that he was hosting. It was a perfect setting for a dynamic conversation about urban dance both in community and around the world, his own experiences as a dancer, and his dedication to documenting hip hop’s deep value to American culture.

A woman smiles toward the camera.
Photo by Mark Higashino

Vocalist and 2017 NEA Jazz Master

Going her own way.

Headshot of a woman.
Photo by Joe Flood

Founder, CEO and President of the Capital Fringe Festival

Making theater happen in DC

Headshot of a woman.
Photo courtesy of Vermillion Films

Documentary Filmmaker

Documentary Filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky is the daughter of two deaf parents and the mother of a deaf son. Clearly she has thought long and deeply about deafness; as she says, “I’ve never known a life without deafness in it.” Her first feature documentary, the award-winning Hear and Now, told the moving story of Brodsky’s deaf parents, their decision in their mid-60s decision to have cochlear implants that allowed them to hear, and the consequences of that decision. In some ways she has returned to that topic with her latest film, Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements. It’s another family story that centers on her deaf son’s desire to play Ludwig von Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" interwoven with the story of her father growing old and forgetful, and Beethoven's life the year he was affected by deafness and wrote the iconic sonata. In this podcast, we go behind the scenes of the film with Brodsky and discuss it as a portrait of the place of sound and silence in life.

Headshot of a woman.
Photo by Stefanie Keenan

Painter and multimedia artist

Creating  language with paint.

Max Brooks
Photo courtesy of Crown Publishing Group

Author

Max Brooks, author of World War Z, really isn’t kidding when it comes to zombies.

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