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.