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Posts Tagged ‘pico iyer’

City of angels

When I visited Johannesberg a few years ago, I was startled by how much, townships aside, it reminded me of southern California — the topography, the sunniness, the freeways, the shiny Americanism in general. So the other day when I interviewed the delightful founders of the cool South African rock band BLK JKS, Mpumi Mcata and Lindani Buthelezi, before their gig at the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History, I asked, a little nervously, if they agreed. Yes! They also thought it was cool (and, um, ironic) that they were about to perform next to ethnographic dioramas depicting indigenous Africa. The interview — and exclusive acoustic performance! — airs (and becomes podcastable here) starting Friday.

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After the interview, I headed west to Santa Monica, where I snapped this picture of the heavenly sunset from my car, and then had dinner with four uncannily beautiful and accomplished women (Kerry Washington, Cecelia Peck, Tricia Brock, Anne Kreamer) and three guys.

Thursday I’m off to Santa Barbara, where I’m having lunch with my pal Pico Iyer, who is more like an angel than anyone I’ve ever met.

I love L.A.

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Ladies and Gentlemen…

Greetings from Studio 360’s home base in New York City!

After weeks of listening to tape and mixing (and remixing) our stories, we’re proud to post the first sounds of our trip to Japan. On this past week’s show, we broadcast an interview with the writer Pico Iyer in Nara Park (remember Bad Bambi?), a lesson in Japanese tea ceremony, and Pejk’s trip to a mysterious forest at the base of Mt. Fuji.

Also, with the help of Matthew Cavnar, we present the first of three Studio 360 high-definition shorts. The first is from Kurt’s conversation with Pico in Nara Park:

We’ve got a full episode of material from Japan in this week’s (upcoming) episode. Hope you’ll tune in!

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Pico Iyer and Kurt

Pico Iyer and Kurt

Yesterday the whole team was in Nara (30 minutes by train from Kyoto) to meet with the writer Pico Iyer — we’ve turned to him several times on the show for his keen, beautifully expressed observations of life in various corners of the world. Pico first came to Japan 20 years ago — and although he has long lived near Nara with his Japanese wife, he explained why he is and will always be a foreigner there. Yet his insights about language, politeness, rebellion, and deference (and a ton of other Japanese things) revealed so much to us about the art we’ve seen (as well as our own experiences) thus far in the trip.

We taped Kurt’s conversation with Pico in Nara-koen — a giant park that covers the east side of the city. It’s home to several famous temples and shrines — and 1200 deer that roam free throughout the park. (Suddenly I was five years old again and had the urge to scream “Bambi!” But I didn’t.) In days of old, the deer were considered to be messengers of the gods — today they’re official national treasures. And noisy ones: they kept making this eerie whining sound to each other — some a high-pitched screech, others a low moan (mating calls?). After the interview, Pejk wandered around the park to get more of those sounds. The deer weren’t as friendly as the ones drawn by Disney.

– Jenny Lawton

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