For over a decade The New Yorker Festival has brought together influential minds in art, science, politics and humor to discuss a variety of cultural trends including music, economics, film, fashion and literature. Hosted by The New Yorker magazine, this year’s festival runs from September 30 through October 2 and features panel discussions on topics such as modern journalism, alternative reality fiction, capital punishment and minority politics. Editors and staff writers from The New Yorker will interview well-known contributors to the magazine, such as humorist Steve Martin and author Jonathan Franzen. The festival will also feature a live version of The New Yorker magazine’s Cartoon Caption Contest.
This weekend, FORA.tv will present select programs of The New Yorker Festival live and on demand. Here are some of the highlights.
For over 40 years Steve Martin has written for and performed in television, film, music and on stage. He won his first Emmy in 1969 at the age of 23 as a writer on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and performed his offbeat comedy routine for sold-out audiences throughout the 1970s. Despite never being an official member of the Saturday Night Live cast, Martin often made guest appearances that consistently drove high ratings and hosted SNL more than 15 times. On September 30, Peter Schjeldahl, the magazine’s art critic, will sit down with Martin at the New Yorker Festival to discuss his work as an author and talk about a lesser-known aspect of his multifaceted creative life, his private art collection.
British biologist Richard Dawkins has spent the better part of his career writing about evolution and criticizing the intelligent design and creationism movement. He has written a number of popular science books, including The Selfish Gene, The God Delusion and The Greatest Show On Earth. On October 1, Henry Finder, the editorial director of The New Yorker, and Dawkins will discuss the nature of reality. This family-oriented event is recommended for ages 10 and up and will cover Dawkins’ new illustrated science guide for adults and young people, The Magic of Reality.
Atul Gawande, a surgeon and staff writer for The New Yorker since 1998, primarily writes about medicine and the medical industry. However, he’s also a huge music fan and counts Brooklyn-based indie rock band The National as one of the mainstays on his operating-room playlist. On October 1, Gawande and the National will discuss music, band culture, touring and the band’s new album, “High Violet.”
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. was the first woman to serve as Speaker of the US House of Representatives. As speaker, she presided over several important legislative acts, including Obama’s health-care reform act. Pelosi is currently House Minority Leader, a position she also held from 2003 to 2007. On October 2, Jane Mayer, a staff writer at The New Yorker, who contributes pieces on American politics and culture, will discuss Pelosi’s current role as minority leader as well as her thoughts on the current state of American politics, gridlock in Washington and how leadership positions shape the role of women in public service.
New Yorker staff writer Malcolm Gladwell has written articles on economics and culture since 1996 and has several best-sellers to his name, including The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking and Outliers: The Story of Success. In 2009, Gladwell published “What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures,” a compilation of his articles from The New Yorker. On October 2, Gladwell will discuss “The Virtues of Obnoxiousness,” and will touch upon his research techniques and his fascination with epidemiology.