USModernist® Radio is underwritten by Diane Bald and The Budman Family, restoring significant architecture in Toronto, Los Angeles, Malibu and Palm Springs - and by Modernist Realtor Angela Roehl. Here are all our past shows!
Listen to one of the top-rated architecture podcasts as the USModernist® Radio crew talks and laughs with fascinating people who own, create, love, and hate Modernist architecture, the most controversial houses and buildings in the world. Current and upcoming architecture and design guests include Jeanne Gang, Inga Saffron, Myron Goldfinger, Kenneth Frampton, Angie Brooks + Larry Scarpa, Gisue Hariri, Sekou Cooke, Peter Bohlin, Peter Gluck, Jim Olson, Debbie Millman, Sarah Susanka, Daniel Libeskind, Barbara Bestor, Moshe Safdie, Alexandra Lange, Paul Goldberger, Tom Kundig, Harry Bates, Helena Arahuete, Kelly Lynch, Tim Ross, Raymond and Dion Neutra, Eric and Susan Saarinen, Katie Swenson, Bob Ivy, Jen Masengarb, Marty Hylton, Kira Gould, Shannon Battison, and many others.
Past and upcoming musical guests include Diane Schuur, Brenda Lee, Elijah Rock, John Armato, James Torme, Storm Large, Kate Earl, Nneena Freelon, Eden Atwood, Don Most, Rose Mallett, Marilyn Scott, Monika Ryan, Deena Martin, Alice Peacock, Gina Eckstine, Janis Siegel, Bria Skonberg, Sophie Milman, Lucy Woodward, Stacey Kent, Jane Monheit, Jennifer Warnes, Heather Rigdon, Dave and Darius Brubeck, Maria Maldaur, Eliane Elias, and many others.
Host and Executive Producer George Smart, one dark and stormy night in 2007, started what has become USModernist®, the largest open digital nonprofit educational archive for Modernist residential design in the world. George and his intrepid team of wildly dedicated and woefully underpaid volunteers and staff have won 17 local, state, and national awards, He appears in the 2020 architecture documentary Frey II by Jake Gorst.
Announcer, co-host, and engineer Tom Guild, legendary Raleigh FM DJ, grew up in a Durham Modernist house. He was on WRDU and WQDR back when humans actually played vinyl records over the airwaves using something called radio. Over the years, Tom recorded and mixed hours of top-notch audio including Porsche By Design for the NC Museum of Art. He met Mick Jagger. He has not met Frank Gehry. The security code for the show's recording studio, SoundTrax, is 8675309.
Sep 5 #264/Modernism in Florida + Cuba + San Diego: Charles Phoenix + Monty Freeman + Keith York
Today we travel to three sunny destinations outside of Palm Springs that were featured at this year’s Modernism Week lectures: Florida, Cuba, and San Diego. The New York Times calls Charles Phoenix “the King of Retro” for his spirited and hilarious slide shows celebrating the midcentury American lifestyle. Raised in Ontario, California not Canada, the son of a car salesman and a “happy homemaker,” Charles Phoenix grew up with a love of classic cars and an eye for design. He started collecting vintage Kodachrome slides in the 1990s and has been giving talks and creating colorful coffee table books, a YouTube video series of classic car joyrides, and fun double decker bus tours during Modernism Week.
90 miles south of Florida, there’s Cuba. The US can’t quite decide whether we’re still mad at Cuba, but the architecture lives on and architect Monty Freeman knows all about it. An award-winning New York architect who has repurposed timeless, modern spaces around the world, Monty is an expert on Cuban architecture and leads architectural tours when the US allows it. He’s currently renovating a midcentury home in Havana.
Keith York buys and sells architect-designed homes in San Diego. He created the Modern San Diego website to help the community understand the area’s rich architectural heritage, home to projects by architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Craig Ellwood, Gregory Ain, and Al Beadle. Keith recently curated the exhibit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Legacy in San Diego and is working on a book about architect Sim Bruce Richards. He lives in the Point Loma neighborhood and is restoring his second midcentury house. Here’s George’s conversation poolside with Keith York.
Aug 29 #263/Voice of Reason: Melissa DelVecchio of RAMSA + Musical Guest Paul Marinaro
Earlier this year, our friends the classicists gathered via Zoom to discuss traditional and classical architecture. As the day unfolded, Modernism was predictably and continually pounded as the cause of all kinds of awful consequences on humanity. In football the referee would blow the whistle at this point for piling on. Then one lone voice of reason stood up. Today we welcome Melissa Delvecchio of Robert A. M. Stern Associates, or RAMSA, and later musical guest Paul Marinaro.
Aug 22 #262/Desert Modernism: Erik Rosenow + Kathryn McGuire + Christopher Domin +TikTok Architecture Critic Louisa Whitmore
Like so many people, Erik Rosenow moved to Palm Springs in 2008 for his love of midcentury architecture. He bought a 1959 Donald Wexler-designed house in El Rancho Vista Estates, founded a neighborhood community organization, and became President of the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation, where he’s still on the Board. They now live in a 1970s brutalist townhome attributed to William Cody. Erik is the author of The Architecture of Desert Leisure, with wonderful vintage photographs and advertisements to honor condos, the buildings that like Rodney Dangerfield, don’t get much respect.
Judith Chafee studied at Yale under architect Paul Rudolph. In 1959 she was the first woman to win the Koppers Architectural Student Design Competition - however, the award ceremony was held in a men's club and Chafee had to go through the kitchen to receive the plaque. She received a BA and MA in architecture from Yale in 1960 as the only woman in her class and worked for firms such as Eero Saarinen, Paul Rudolph, Edward Larrabee Barnes, and Walter Gropius. Notably she worked on the TWA building at JFK. She moved back to her roots in Tucson to start her own firm. Author Kathryn McGuire is an architect based in southern Arizona and worked with Judith Chafee for over 20 years. McGuire and Christopher Domin, who you may know was co-author of Paul Rudolph: The Florida Houses, wrote the award-winning book Powerhouse: The Life and Work of Judith Chafee.
August 15 #261/Al Beadle in Phoenix: John Anderson + Alison King
Today we’re talking about Phoenix, Arizona, home of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, Paolo Soleri’s Arcosanti, Modernist architect Al Beadle, and the world’s worst-named golf tournament, the Waste Management Open. Joining us is Phoenix architect John Anderson of 180 Degrees and legendary founder of ModernPhoenix.net, historian and preservationist Alison King.
August 8 #260/About Modernism Week + Palm Springs: Gary Johns + Michelle Boudreau + Steven Keylon + Dieter Crawford
Modernism Week in Palm Springs is a world-famous event but once you’re there you see how important it is to local people, economy, and preservation movement. Modernism Week began in 2006 as an offshoot of the Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale, which continues, and the annual Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture & Design Council Symposium, which did not. In February 2020, right before COVID, attendance was estimated at 162,000 across 375 events with people from all 50 and 25 countries, including our favorite guys and gals, Australian, who fly a long way to attend each year. We’ll talk with Modernism Week board members Gary Johns and Michelle Boudreau, Palm Springs historian Steven Keylon, and Urban Palm Springs CEO Deiter Crawford.
August 1 #259/Scholars: Joseph Giovannini + Kenneth Frampton + Musical Guest Ilene Graff
Beyond lovely coffee table architecture books with thoughtful, sometimes playful, meticulously strategized photos of brilliant Modernist buildings, there’s a whole other world of architectural scholarship. The core of architecture and urban planning scholarship offers large and complex design solutions for even larger and more complex social problems. It’s not easy getting people to admit something is a problem, then getting agreement on a solution, then finding the political will and money to get anything implemented. Design scholars have their own rhythmic and intense way of writing as they search to provide meaningful analysis about buildings, materials, design, planning, and social impact. All this can be a little intimidating for the general public. Imagine if Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang theory studied architecture instead of physics. Yet scholars are the R&D department for innovations that may come 5, 10, or even 50 years later. Joining us are two of the most celebrated, most wicked smart design authors - Joseph Giovannini and Kenneth Frampton. Later, music by the lovely Ilene Graff, who you might recall from Mr. Belvedere.
July 25 #258/Song and Dance: Ron Hicklin + Janet Borgerson + Jonathan Schroeder
Ron Hinklin is the most famous voice you’ve never heard of. A successful singer since his junior high school days, Ron led the group responsible for some of the most iconic sounds of the 1970s, including vocals on the Partridge Family hit “I Think I Love You,” for which Ron and his group nabbed a Grammy nomination. He also sang some of TV’s most memorable theme songs like MASH, That Girl, Batman, Happy days, Laverne and Shirley, and the famous Mickey D jingle You Deserve a Break Today. Popular music, from Big Band to Swing to Rock, had album covers and liner notes that inspired Americans yearning to be more modern. All this helped generate today’s huge consumer culture, and it’s the subject of a new book. Author Janet Borgerson is the senior Wicklander fellow at the Institute for Business and Professional Ethics at DePaul. Author Jonathan Schroeder is Professor of Communications at Rochester Institute of Technology. Together, they wrote Designed for Hi-Fi Living: The Vinyl LP in Midcentury America.
July 18 #257/Michelangelo Sabatino + Helen Staley + Musical Guest Don Most
Michelangelo Sabatino is Professor in the IIT College of Architecture. He has trained as an architect, preservationist, and architecture-art-design historian and has served on a number of not-for-profit organization boards ranging from the Society of Architectural Historians to Docomomo International. His books include Making Houston Modern: The Life and Architecture of Howard Barnstone and his latest, co-authored with Susan Benjamin, Modern in the Middle: Chicago Houses, 1929-1975. Later on, our oldest guest yet at 100, architect Helen Staley. And he's still got it after all these years, formerly Ralph Malph on Happy Days, singer Don Most.
July 11 #256/Mid-Century Cars and Trailers: Susan Skarsgard + Tom Dolle + Jeff Stork + Eric Bricker
The development of four-lane highways and interstates in the 1950’s and 1960’s created a huge surge in car travel. In a time before the minivan, families would pile in the station wagon or the Airstream and hit the road to discover America. Roadside motels sprung up everywhere and car culture exploded. Sports cars like the wildly famous Mustang defined cool, and what better than to drive around LA or Palm Springs, or anywhere, really, than in a cool car. Today we explore cars and trailers and Modernism with three guests: Susan Skarsgard, author of Where Today Meets Tomorrow: Eero Saarinen and the General Motors Technical Center; Tom Dolle and Jeff Stork, authors of Glamour Road: Color, Fashion, Style, and the Midcentury Automobile, and returning podcast guest Eric Bricker, producer of Alumination, a new film about the iconic Airstream travel trailer.
July 4 #255/Inga Saffron, Design Critic of the Philadelphia Inquirer + TikTok Architecture Critic Louisa Whitmore
Design critic Inga Saffron is the Philadelphia Inquirer’s most feared columnist. Raised in Levittown NY she always wanted to be a newspaper reporter - and her first beat was the Girl Scout newspaper. She attended New York University, studied in France, and settled in Dublin, Ireland writing Irish publications and Newsweek. Joining the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1984, from 1994-1998, she was their Moscow correspondent and covered the Yugoslav Wars and First Chechen War. Since 1999, she has written an architecture criticism column titled "Changing Skyline" winning multiple awards including the Gene Burd Urban Journalism Award, the Vincent Scully Prize, and the big one, the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. Later on, the Inga Saffron of the 2040's, TikTok architecture critic Louisa Whitmore.
Here are all our past shows!