Interviews By Topic

Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed’s "Wild" is one of the most famous wilderness memoirs of our time. She especially appreciates writers who combine honesty with emotional intensity — writers who reveal themselves unflinchingly on the page. She recommends a memoir by the writer Poe Ballantine.More

a view of the Manhattan skyline from the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens.

One of the greatest walkers of our time, William Helmreich — known for exploring every street in New York City — was an early casualty of COVID-19. But composer David Rothenberg got to walk with him one last time, around wetlands in Queens.More

Andreas Weber in the Grunewald Forest in Berlin, Germany.

Andreas Weber is a German biologist and philosopher with a highly unconventional way of describing the natural world, one in which "love" is a foundational principle of biology.More

Site of Thoreau's Hut, Concord, Mass.

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life." Those famous lines from Henry David Thoreau's "Walden" have inspired generations of people — including his biographer, Laura Dassow Walls.More

Pamuk

The Turkish writer and Nobel laureate says his favorite novel — the 800-plus-page Russian novel bursting with characters living the life of imperial Russian society — is a complex miracle of a book.More

sky

Magician Nate Staniforth has a dangerous idea for you. Tonight, after dark, go outside and look up to the sky.More

Magic mushrooms and our primate ancestors

Magic mushrooms go way back in human history. Some people even believe psychedelic mushrooms helped create human consciousness. We examine the "Stoned Ape Theory."More

Writer Eugenia Bone’s obsession with mushrooms began with her love of eating them. She shares notes from her hunts for morels as well as three recipes for how to best enjoy fungal delicacies. More

A still from "Fantastic Fungi." (Moving Art)

Fungi contain vast, untapped potential, says Louie Schwartzberg — to remediate pollution, reverse climate change, even address chronic disease and mental disorder — something he argues in his film "Fantastic Fungi."More

Mushrooms on a tree

Paul Stamets may be the most passionate mycologist on the planet. He tells Steve why new medicines and technologies derived from mushrooms might save life as we know it.More

J woodson

The author of "Another Brooklyn" recommends a James Baldwin novel she says belongs on everyone's bookshelf.More

plant

Plants are intelligent beings with profound wisdom to impart—if only we know how to listen. And Monica Gagliano knows how to listen.More

Vijay Iyer

Celebrated jazz pianist Vijay Iyer talks improv and basketball with Steve backstage before a show.More

Nicole Paris

Father-daughter beatboxers Nicole Paris and Ed Cage take vocal percussion from the cradle to the stage.More

Bobby McFerrin

Famous for his smash hit "Don’t Worry Be Happy," Bobby McFerrin is way more than that song. McFerrin talks to Steve about an eight-year project called "Vocabularies."More

Värttinä

Here’s a very short taste of the power of music. It’s the Finnish acapella group Värttinä.More

Lisa Bielawa

With "Broadcast From Home," New York City composer and musician Lisa Bielawa hopes to set the thoughts and emotions of quarantine to music, in the voices of anyone willing to contribute a performance. More

Brandy Clark

One of Charles’ favorite musician interviews is with country music star Brandy Clark. Brandy and Charles have a similar upbringing and he had a strong connection with her album “Big Day in a Small Town.”More

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