Popular Culture Programs
Alan Alda: The Science and Art of Communicating

Interviewing a wide range of guests as host of “Scientific American Frontiers” on PBS propelled Alan Alda to investigate new ways to communicate complex ideas more effectively. He digs into the heart of what it means to be a true and empathetic communicator as he shares techniques, which also draw on the actor’s arts of storytelling and improvisation, that can be incorporated into everyday communications.

Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Creating the Visual World of Game of Thrones

Devoted followers of HBO’s Game of Thrones have production designer Deborah Riley to thank for the highly detailed environment against which the saga of power, family, revenge, and romance plays out. Riley talks about how she and a small army of craftsmen give the series its distinctive visual style, which draws on an imaginative mix of historical periods, styles, and cultural traditions.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Captain America’s Super-Soldier Serum: 1940s Fantasy Meets Modern Biotechnology

In the original Marvel Comics story, puny Steve Rodgers morphed into a shield-slinging avenger thanks to Professor Erskine’s mysterious chemical compound and a dose of “vita rays.” Eric Spana of Duke University explains how the mighty powers of biotechnology might make such a transformation possible today.

Friday, June 16, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
A Mingle With Marlene

Sip a cocktail in the presence of a Hollywood icon (in photos and film clips that is) during an evening in the stylish spirit of the Portrait Gallery’s exhibition Marlene Dietrich: Dressed for the Image. In an after-hours gathering, historian and exhibit curator Kate Lemay discusses the star’s career and her trademark glamour, as well the making of the retrospective.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
James Stewart: The Many Faces of a Prolific Actor

He peered through a rear window for Hitchcock, took a midnight swim with Hepburn, filibustered the Senate, and saved Bedford Falls. James Stewart was a versatile and meticulous actor whose dramatic range and emotional vulnerability were unmatched by his contemporaries in Hollywood’s big-studio heyday. Stewart biographer Donald Dewey offers a portrait of his rich—and yes, wonderful—life.

Thursday, July 13, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.