For years, the name Tom Ford has been associated with fashion: He was, after all, the man credited with reviving the almost bankrupt Gucci empire, and then he started a couture label of his own. Ford has also earned plenty of attention for his provocative advertising, which often uses erotic imagery (including plenty of nudity) to sell fashion and fragrances. Now the Texas native, a onetime actor and model himself, has put his eye for design and his creative sensibilities to work in the service of silver-screen storytelling, translating a ’60s-vintage novel into an elegantly controlled, eloquently stylish film called A Single Man. (See and hear Bob Mondello’s review.) Based on the book by Christopher Isherwood, it stars British actor Colin Firth as a gay literature professor in 1962 Los Angeles, struggling to come to terms with the death of his lover in a society that still insists on the invisibility — the impossibility — of their relationship. Tom Ford joins Fresh Air host Terry Gross to talk about his rise from minor designer to fashion titan, and about his new venture into filmmaking.
University of Pennsylvania anthropologist PHILIPPE BOURGOIS spent 12 years studying, learning from and often living with a community of homeless heroin addicts and crack smokers in San Francisco. With photographer Jeff Schonberg, he documented their lives, survival mechanisms and perspectives, and their groundbreaking work of ethnography, called “Righteous Dopefiend,” is captured in book form and in two exhibits on display this month in Philadelphia. PHILIPPE BOURGOIS joins us in studio today to help us understand the dynamics of what he calls “a community of addicted bodies.”
Before Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Mahr” there was The Smothers Brothers. According to TV and culture critic, DAVID BIANCULLI, the three years’ run of The Smothers Brothers introduced the American TV-watching public to new art and artists and questioned the Johnson and Nixon administrations before CBS finally fired them after many battles of censorship. Based on interviews with the Smothers Brothers and other industry principals, Bianculli describes Tom and Dick Smothers’ lives both on-screen and off-screen in his new book, “Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.”
Son of the legendary Paul Simon, Harper Simon has inherited his dad’s knack for pulling together beautiful melodies. But Simon has tread his own musical path: His dreamy, folksy melodies are wholly his. Simon was on stage by the age of 12 as a guest on his father’s famous ’80s tour in support of Graceland. This fall, the younger Simon’s solo debut finally surfaced. Earning comparisons to the work of Bob Dylan and Elliott Smith, the album showcases traditional gospel influences, Americana, rock and, of course, folk.
[Video: Harper Simon – From The Morning (Nick Drake)]