Sit down with some of the smartypants whom the MacArthur Foundation just awarded its genius grants. Jesmyn Ward began writing about rural African American life after the horrors of Katrina and the loss of her brother. The playwright Annie Baker’s characters try desperately to connect with one another, but get bogged down by small talk. And Taylor Mac goes where no drag performer — or any performer — has gone before: producing a 24-hour review of the entire history of American pop music. She plays some delightful samples of her work in our studio.