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Photo by Laurie Kieth

Cartoonist and Multimedia Artist

Cartoonist and multimedia artist Liz Reed is co-creator with her husband Jimmy of Cuddles and Rage—it’s a world inhabited by food with quirky personalities. Liz calls it “disturbingly cute,” which seems about right. In one-panel cartoons, dioramas, and animated short videos, Liz and Jimmy Reed create work that is cute—but it always has a twist. Take Dr. Taquito—a serial killer of food, who gives cooking lessons—ruthlessly shredding lettuce and chopping tomatoes as the poor vegetable victims try to get away. It’s an unashamedly playful and dark imaginative work. In today’s podcast, Liz takes through the creation and evolution of the singular world of Cuddles and Rage.

Watch video: Cooking with Dr. Taquito: 3 Ingredient Pancakes.

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Photo courtesy of CSSSA

Director California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA)

A conversation with Michael Fields, director of California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA). For 32 years, CSSSA has been training the next generation of artists. Each summer, CSSSA gives approximately 500 motivated and talented California high school students in the visual, literary, performing and media arts an intensive learning experience. Conducted by distinguished arts professionals, the four-week residential program is designed to hone the students’ artistic skills and to help give each student a sense of their potential as creative artists. Michael Fields discusses the thinking that went into the program’s creation, its rigorous course of study, and the talented students who rise to the challenges.

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Courtesy of Jennifer Haigh

Novelist and NEA Literature Fellow

In Jennifer Haigh’s fifth novel Heat and Light, she returns to the fictional town of Bakerton, Pennsylvania: its prosperity withered with the closing of the coalmines. So when it’s learned that the area is rich in natural gas, many people are eager to sign over their mineral rights to energy companies. And the debate about fracking and all that it entails upends the community. Jennifer Haigh knows her subject well; she was raised in a former coal town that also sits on deposits of natural gas. In our conversation she talks about her hometown and how it’s become the basis for much of her writing, the pull of the past on the present and the legacy of North Appalachia’s geology.

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Photo by Nazia Abbas

Poet and essayist Seema Reza investigates loss and love with ruthless honesty and lyrical power in her book, When the World Breaks Open. In this week’s podcast, Reza discusses writing her life and her determination to reveal herself on the page through poems, essays, fragments and observations, recipes—whatever it took to tell her story precisely and thoroughly. The result is at times heartbreaking but not grim. She owns her sorrow, but she’s also fierce and joyful in her determination to be known for herself.

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Photo by John Peden

Guitarist and 2018 NEA Jazz Master

Guitarist and 2018 NEA Jazz Master Pat Metheny creates music that challenges easy description: he can play free jazz (as he did with Ornette Coleman in Song X) as well as acoustic guitar and pretty much everything in-between. In this tune-filled podcast, we talk to Pat Metheny about the music he plays, the people he’s played with and making the music you want while making a career in music.

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Photo by Justus Poehis

Poet and 2015 NEA Literature Fellow

Her poetry collection Scriptorium illuminate her Appalachian Roots.

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Photo by Carol Friedman

Pianist and 2108 NEA Jazz Master

Uncovering new dimensions of music.

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Photo by Alysa Turner

Urban Arias Opera Company

Contemporary opera for contemporary audiences.

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Photo by Dese’Rae L. Stage

Author of The Big Read selection "Station Eleven"

A novel about what endures when civilization ends.

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Photo by Jerris Madison

Vocalist and 2018 NEA Jazz Master

Making music without boundaries.

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Photo by Bill Phelps

Rapper, Singer, and Writer

Finding the intersection of science and love.

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Photo by Kim Meijer

Actor and Voice Artist

An aural shape-shifter.

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Photo courtesy of the author

Novelist, essayist, graphic novelist

His novels take a satirical look at race and identity.

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Photo by Kwaku Alston

Actor

Taking on the role of a lifetime: Rosa Parks in Behind the Movement

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Film director

The making of the independent film Little Boxes.

Please note: This interview took place before the unexpected death of Nelsan Ellis who stars in the film Little Boxes.

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