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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Popular Culture Programs

Wednesday, June 16, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

There are songs so familiar they seem part of us. In this series with writer and filmmaker Sara Lukinson, find out how some of our favorites from the American songbook came to be and how they speak to generations of listeners. This session highlights Summertime and My Favorite Things.

Thursday, July 15, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET

Join American music specialist and Gershwin scholar Robert Wyatt as he reviews the lives of the Gershwin brothers, from their simple roots, through their Tin Pan Alley apprenticeship, to the glory years that were too short.

Monday, July 19, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Many film directors disguise their bold artistic intentions, often burying something quite profound beneath a story’s glossy surface. Join Yale University film professor Marc Lapadula for a dive into some remarkable examples of cinematic mastery that reflect technical innovation and complex thematic construction.

Saturday, July 24, 2021 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET

Saul Lilienstein takes a joyful and serious look at the Beatles’ music, its roots and influences, and its relationship to the period of social change that provided a backdrop to their years at the top of the charts.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Media and communications expert Brian Rose surveys the extraordinary landscape of American TV comedy, examining how it has evolved since the 1950s. 

Thursday, August 5, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Artists, activists, and radio DJs transformed music into a political weapon and unifying force in the Civil Rights Movement, delivering powerful messages of hope to the Black community and beyond. Historian Leon Burnette explores how the music that grew out of a seminal era became an indelible part of America’s social and cultural heritage.

Thursday, September 2, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

For more than seven decades, Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks made America laugh—either through their remarkable solo careers or their legendary partnership. Discover the extraordinary comic talents of these giants of American comedy who conquered every medium they took on: television, films, Broadway, recordings.