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Earlier this week, Darci Kistler swung by Studio 360 on her way home from rehearsal. A beloved soloist with the New York City Ballet, Kistler was the last principal chosen by ballet giant George Balanchine, before his death in 1983.  After a laudable 30-year career, she’ll dance her final performance on June 27th.

Kistler was just fifteen when she joined the NYCB.  By seventeen, she was a principal dancer – and she found her meteoric rise exciting.  But with colleagues that were many years her senior, Kistler admitted to Kurt that she was often lonely in those early years.  She ultimately found love at the NYCB – she told Kurt the story of how Mr. B played matchmaker for her and (now husband) Ballet Master Peter Martins:

We’ll broadcast more of Kurt’s conversation with Darci Kistler in the coming weeks.

— Becky Sullivan

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UPDATE: Kurt’s interview with Darci Kistler aired the weekend of June 26th – listen to it here:

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Valentine’s Day is just two weeks away – and we’re hoping that 2010 can be the year of the new-and-improved Valentine.  We’re thrilled that so many talented folks have submitted their ideas to “Be My Valentine: A Studio 360 Design Challenge.”

And doesn’t a competition merit a celebrity judge?  One who is familiar with the trials and triumphs of modern love?

We’re pleased to announce that best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert, of Eat, Pray, Love fame, will review your entries and decide which Valentine makeover she [hearts] most. We’ve wrangled her for judging duties while on tour for her new book: Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage. She’ll pick her fave listener design and tell us what it’s like to have Julia Roberts act out her life story. (The movie version of E,P,L comes out in August.)

Be sure to submit your redesigned Valentines by midnight Sunday February 7.

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A couple weeks ago, Kurt spoke with director James Cameron about his spectacular new movie Avatar.  He told Kurt that while the technology he used to craft the movie is important, at heart it’s a love story: it’s just that instead of boy meets girl, it’s boy meets twelve-foot blue humanoid-cat… by posing as a virtual twelve-foot blue humanoid cat, himself.

Pure fantasy?

Well just a couple of months ago a Japanese man married his virtual girlfriend, a character from the Nintendo DS game “Love Plus.”  The man Sal9000, and the bride Nene Anegasaki, wed at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.  The ceremony was broadcast live online, and among the human attendees were Sal’s best friend, an emcee, and, of course, a priest.  The virtual world was represented by the bride’s girlfriend, who toasted the new couple’s happiness.

Boing Boing contributor and Studio 360 pal Lisa Katayama made this report of the ceremony:

And on this week’s show — a special episode all about JapanLisa takes Kurt into a Tokyo sticker picture booth.  When Lisa offers to make him into “a beautiful girl,” will Kurt lose himself in his own virtual world?  Find out this weekend!

– Michael Guerriero

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