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Sitting down with some of the smarty-pants to whom the MacArthur Foundation just awarded its “genius” grants. Jesmyn Ward began writing about rural black American life after the horrors of Katrina and the loss of her brother. 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 and playing some delightful samples of it in our studio.