Listen to full interviews with Ben Burtt, Stanley Kunitz, and Elizabeth Streb.

This week, Kurt talks with Julie Burstein about the bricks and mortar of creativity. We hear from artists using the stuff that surrounds them in surprising, sometimes scary ways: the poet Stanley Kunitz befriends a couple of amorous snakes in his garden; dancer Elizabeth Streb convinces herself to jump through glass; and Ben Burtt explains how he hit pay dirt with a broken microphone cable: "When I carried the mic past the television set, [it] picked up a 'buzz' from the TV picture tube. ... I thought, 'Oh that buzz sounds dangerous.'" As dangerous as Darth Vader wielding a light saber.

You can hear longer conversations with the artists below -- and read more about them in Spark: How Creativity Works.


Ben BurttBen Burtt, sound designer

Ben Burtt created some of the most famous movie sounds, including R2D2's mechanical chatter and the whir of the light saber. He's also the voice of WALL-E, the starring robot in Pixar's 2008 animated movie. Kurt talks to Burtt about the legendary sounds of his career.

(Originally broadcast: June 27, 2008)

Stanley KunitzStanley Kunitz, poet

Stanley Kunitz has spent much of his 101 years working in gardens. We visit the former U.S. Poet Laureate on the tip of Cape Cod as he tends the lush green plot behind his home in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Produced by Wesley Horner.

(Originally broadcast September 29, 2001)

Elizabeth StrebElizabeth Streb, dancer and choreographer

Elizabeth Streb is a choreographer with few boundaries. She combines elements of dance, athletics, extreme-sports, circus arts, and action-movie stunt work into a new kind of movement, where she and her dancers dive through glass and fly on the trapeze. In 1997 she was awarded a MacArthur Foundation 'Genius' award. In a Studio 360 episode all about Toxicity, she and Kurt explore the dangerous sides of creating dance, music, and sculpture.

(Originally broadcast: March 5, 2005)

On site at her dance laboratory in Brooklyn, Elizabeth Streb tells Kurt about the genesis of her "extreme choreography." She says it started in her childhood, hunting fishing with her father. (Kurt spoke with her shortly after the release of her book Streb: How to Become an Extreme Action Hero.)

(Originally broadcast: April 30, 2010)

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