Talks from the 92nd Street Y

If you’re not a New York­er, the 92nd Street Y prob­a­bly means lit­tle to you. But, if you’re a Man­hat­tan dweller, you know that it is a cul­tur­al pil­lar of the city, a place where you can always find good talks being giv­en by lead­ing news mak­ers, artists, authors and thinkers.

Hav­ing recent­ly left NYC for shiny, hap­py Cal­i­for­nia, it was a plea­sure to dis­cov­er that the “Y” now runs a blog and, bet­ter yet, a pod­cast (iTunesFeed) fea­tur­ing high­lights of note­wor­thy talks. Here’s a sam­ple of the audio clips that you’ll encounter: A seg­ment from David Hal­ber­stam’s 11th and last appear­ance at the Y (mp3) before his recent fatal car acci­dent; Kurt Von­negut, who also died recent­ly, read­ing (mp3) from his book Break­fast of Cham­pi­ons; and Robert Alt­man (yes, he died too not too long ago) talk­ing (mp3) about what turned out to be his last film, A Prairie Home Com­pan­ion.

Now, I real­ize that this sounds more grim than it is. No, the pod­cast col­lec­tion fea­tures more than talks by the recent­ly deceased. The last I heard Syd­ney Pol­lack is still alive, and here he is talk­ing (mp3) about his doc­u­men­tary, Sketch­es of Frank Gehry. And to end on a some­what pos­i­tive note, here you have Bri­an Wil­son, of Beach Boys fame, dis­cussing the film Beau­ti­ful Dream­er: Bri­an Wil­son and the Sto­ry of Smile. Smile is one of the more famous “unfin­ished” albums in rock his­to­ry.

For more pod­casts along these lines, please see our col­lec­tion of Arts & Cul­ture Pod­casts.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.