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17 Segments




Edmund White and "A Boy's Own Story."

Novelist Edmund White's newest work, "A Boy's Own Story," follows a young gay man growing up in the midwest in the 1950s. The novel has some autobiographical elements. White joins the show to discuss his life, growing up as a homosexual person, and his novel.


Nostalgic Yearnings for Bygone Times

Guest critic David Marc looks at the growing popularity of 1950s TV sitcoms. He thinks the trend reveals a troubling desire for an idealized suburban culture where whiteness and paternal authority ruled.


Early Rock and Roll With a Message.

Rock historian Ed Ward takes on the notion that old-time rock and roll had no message or meaning, that it was simply fun. This is the message that the purveyors of collections of 50s and 60s hits are conveying in ads that recall the "fun" of the era without also evoking the harsher realities.


John Waters Discusses His New Musical Film.

Filmmaker John Waters. His latest film is "Cry Baby," a juvenile delinquent love story set in the 1950's, which brings together such performers as Patty Hearst, Johnny Depp (of Fox's tv show "21 Jump Street"), Ricki Lake, David Nelson, and Polly Bergen. Waters is known for his independent, off-beat films, such as "Pink Flamingos," "Female Trouble," and "Polyester." In 1988 Waters entered the mainstream with his popular film, "Hairspray."


A Novel Thirty Years in the Making.

Book critic John Leonard reviews "The Runaway Soul," the long-awaited first novel from writer Harold Brodkey. (It's published by Farrar Strauss).


A Congenial Remembrance.

Book critic John Leonard reviews "New York in the Fifties," a new memoir by Dan Wakefield. (Published by Houghton Mifflin)


Avant-Garde New York Poet David Lehman

Lehman is the series editor of "The Best American Poetry." His new book "The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets" (Doubleday) is a cultural history about a group of poets in the 1950s who he says helped to reinvent literature, like John Ashbery, Frank O'Hara, Kenneth Koch, and James Schuyler. They took their cue from the Abstract Expressionistic painters of the time who were also in New York.


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