Kurt Andersen, host of Studio 360 on NPR, is a journalist and the author of the novels Hey Day, Turn of the Century, and The Real Thing. He has written and produced prime-time network television programs and pilots for NBC and ABC, and co-authored Loose Lips, an off-Broadway theatrical revue that had long runs in New York and Los Angeles. He is a regular columnist for New York Magazine, and contributes frequently to Vanity Fair. He is also a founder of Very Short List.
Andersen began his career in journalism at NBC's Today program and at Time, where he was an award-winning writer on politics and criminal justice and for eight years the magazine's architecture and design critic. Returning to Time in 1993 as editor-at-large, he wrote a weekly column on culture. And from 1996 through 1999 he was a staff writer and columnist for The New Yorker. He was a co-founder of Inside.com, editorial director of Colors magazine, and editor-in-chief of both New York and Spy magazines, the latter of which he also co-founded.
From 2004 through 2008 he wrote a column called "The Imperial City" for New York (one of which is included in The Best American Magazine Writing 2008). In 2008 Forbes. com named him one of The 25 Most Influential Liberals in the U.S. Media.Anderson graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, and is a member of the boards of trustees of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the Pratt Institute, and is currently Visionary in Residence at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He lives with his family in New York City.
Kurt Andersen: I remember, it wasn’t even an interview I was doing. It was a run on the show. And it was about the connections between heavy metal music and German music of the 19th Century. And so of course we talked about Wagner. And so there was this moment; the way the piece was cut it, it was cut directly from a piece of Wagner to a German heavy metal band called Lonstein. And I just loved the idea of hundreds of thousands of public radio listeners all over America suddenly jumping out of their chairs when Wagner became heavy metal. I like to think that the tens of thousands of people who are reading this novel that I’ve written about the middle of the 19th Century will actually have their brains permanently re-wired to think about the middle of the 19th Century in a different way as a result of having read this book. So, to the degree that that’s true, that’s a hugely gratifying, albeit small, impact.
Recorded On: July 5, 2007