Kurt talks with Jessica Lange talks about the thrill of playing an evil witch on American Horror Story. We learn how Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, a radical, polyamorous book of poems became an American Icon. And an artist paints combat scenes in Iraq after being inspired by Winslow Homer's Civil War paintings.
The Oscar-winning actress Jessica Lange started her career as the ultimate ingénue — the beautiful helpless blonde in King Kong, then the sweet soap opera actress in Tootsie. Her roles have gotten steadily darker, and now she’s leading the cast of the FX series American Horror Story. “The rational and the reasonable, that stuff doesn’t interest me as much as the emotional frailty or borderline madness,” Lange tells Kurt. (Originally aired: November 1, 2013)
A consummate patriot, Walt Whitman set out to invent a radically new form of poetry for a new nation. His book was first viewed as bizarre and obscene — one reviewer said that the author should be publicly flogged. But revising and adding to the book until his death, Whitman accomplished his goal, creating a new Bible for American poets. Poet Matt Miller reveals a secret to the making of this unprecedented work. (Originally aired: September 27, 2013)
Steve Mumford traveled to Iraq several times to chronicle the war as a painter and illustrator. Mumford traces his desire to chronicle military life to the paintings Winslow Homer made during the Civil War. In Iraq, Mumford was constantly mindful of Homer’s approach to his Civil War paintings. “It was exactly that insistence that he had on being true to not just what he saw, but to the spirit of what he saw, that makes the work seem so contemporary today. And it’s certainly something that I strive for.” (Originally aired: March 22, 2013)
Slideshow: Illustrating War