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April 2014
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
 
On this April Fool’s Day, we feature two of the sharpest minds to ever perform in comedy. First, Marc Maron toiled for years without finding wide appreciation before starting the “WTF” podcast in 2009. Since then, he’s amassed a legion of devoted fans, kickstarted his comedy career, and nabbed TV and book deals. He speaks with Bob about his career and the book Attempting Normal, out in paperback next week. Then, we’ll pay tribute to a brilliant comedic mind who died young, but not before influencing a generation of comics including Marc Maron. American: The Bill Hicks Story is a film about the biting and expansive work of the Texas-born comic, made by documentarians Matt Harlock and Paul Thomas. The film is now available on DVD.
  
 
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
 
Errol Morris spent 33 hours with Donald Rumsfeld to make his new film, The Unknown Known. But unlike The Fog of War, his previous documentary about a former Secretary of Defense, the star of this film is unapologetic. Morris says that the movie he made with Rumsfeld is vastly different fromThe Fog of War: “It is a character study of a very different kind of character: it is about a mind that appears to be open but may in fact be locked up like a safe.”
 
 
Thursday, April 3, 2014
 
As fans gather to watch the NCAA basketball championships and obsess over their brackets, Bob Edwards takes a look at the treatment of athletes in big-time college sports and the impact of big-money sports programs on higher education. Bob’s investigation features SiriusXM’s own Dave Zirin and includes the voices of Len Elmore and other former players; college officials like University of West Virginia president Gordon Gee, who had a controversial tenure at Ohio State; and journalists who have covered college sports, including John Feinstein. It’s an hour-long look behind the hoopla, called Dropping the Ball: The Shady Side of Big-Time College Sports.
 
  
Friday, April 4, 2014
 
Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Then, two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee – for his work with The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash – David Crosby releases his first solo album in over 20 years. Producer Glyn Johns callsCroz the “best solo record Crosby has made, without a doubt.”
 
 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Bob talks with actress and writer Annabelle Gurwitch about her new book of essays titled I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50.  Every day, more than 10,000 Americans cross that threshold – and like Gurwitch – start receiving targeted mail from the AARP.  This coming-of-middle-age story covers that and other topics like aging out of your wardrobe, options for retirement and navigating the beauty counter at the department store.  Then, Bob talks to Afro-British novelist Helen Oyeyemi about her latest book Boy, Snow, Bird. 

 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

In 2011, author and SiriusXM Symphony Hall host Martin Goldsmith traveled through Europe to piece together the tragic tale of his grandfather and uncle, Alex and Helmut Goldschmidt.  Passengers on the doomed MS St. Louis, the father and son made it back to France only to be shipped to Auschwitz.  Goldsmith weaves their path into his contemporary journey in his new book Alex’s Wake: A Voyage of Betrayal and a Journey of Remembrance.  

 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Washington Post editor Steven Levingston’s new book, Little Demon in the City of Light: A True Story of Murder and Mesmerism in Belle Epoque Paris, tells the largely forgotten story of young Gabrielle Bompard.  Accused of murdering a wealthy Frenchman, Bompard claimed that she was under hypnosis.  Her trial was one of the most hotly debated cases in Paris at the turn of the 20thcentury.  Then, writer Meg Wolitzer’s novel, The Interestings, follows the lives and relationships of six teenagers who met at a summer camp for the arts in 1974 and is now available in paperback.  Wolitzer is the author of The New York Times bestseller The Ten-Year Nap, as well as a number of other novels.

 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tigers are beautiful, powerful and revered by many animal lovers around the world, but they’re also endangered by illegal poaching and loss of habitat. Steve Winter has been taking photographs for National Geographic since 1991, and his latest book is entitled Tigers Forever: Saving The World’s Most Endangered Big Cats.  His stunning images are accompanied by the writing of Sharon Guynup, who illuminates the people and organizations fighting to defend this noble creature.

 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Then, most of Barbara Ehrenreich’s new book is based on a notebook she began when she was 14-years-old.  Ehrenreich, best-known for her social justice polemics (Nickeled and DimedBait and Switch), experienced a series of what she would later call “mystical” episodes in her childhood that reverberated throughout her life.  Raised by staunch atheists and rationalists (and identifying as both today), Ehrenreich goes back to consider the Big Questions that we all struggle with.  Her memoir is titled Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth about Everything. Finally, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi ruled Libya for 42 years until his assassination in 2011.  Showtime’s documentary, Mad Dog: Inside the Secret World of Muammar Gaddafi, airs on Friday, April 11th and Bob talks with producer Roy Ackerman about Gaddafi’s regime.

 

Monday, April 14, 2014
 
Conservationist and founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Dave Goulson found his passion for bees as a young boy in rural England. His book, A Sting in the Tale: My Adventures with Bumblebees, looks at why bees worldwide are declining and what we can do about it. Then, director Liza Johnson’s new film, Hateship Loveship, is an adaptation of a short story by Nobel laureate Alice Munro and stars actress Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) as the shy lead character. Bob talks with Johnson and Wiig about this story of unlikely friendship and love. Hailee Steinfeld, Nick Nolte, and Guy Pearce co-star. 
 
 
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
 
Four years ago, three American hikers in Iraqi Kurdistan accidentally crossed the border into Iran.  Captured by border patrol, they were accused of espionage and sent to Evin prison in Tehran.  Bob talks to Shane BauerJoshua Fattal and Sarah Shourd about their experience and book, A Sliver Of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran. Then, linguist and senior writer for the New York Times, Margalit Fox’s book The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code tells the fascinating tale of Linear B, a previously-unknown script discovered at the turn-of-the 19th century in the ruins of Knossos.  It’s now available in paperback.
 
 
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
 
Bob talks to Michael Lewis about high frequency trading on Wall Street. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department is investigating high speed trading, saying it rigs the market. Michael Lewis explains how this relatively new, shadowy industry operates, and the efforts of a handful of traders to rein it in, in his new book, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt. Then, for the past 18 years, photographer Robert Dawson traveled the United States cataloguing hundreds of public libraries.  His book, The Public Library: A Photographic Essay, combines his pictures with essays about our library system from America’s best writers and public thinkers.  Joining Dawson to talk with Bob about the state of this American institution is Luis Herrera, director of San Francisco Public Library.
 
 
Thursday, April 17, 2014
 
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Right Act, Bob speaks with two authors of new books that tell the story behind the creation of the landmark legislation. Clay Risen is an editor at New York Times op-ed section and the author of The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act. And Todd Purdum is a senior writer at Politico and the author of An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Then, we listen back to our talk with Jesse Winchester, who sadly lost his battle with cancer last week at age 69. In 1967, Winchester went to Canada to avoid being drafted into military service during the Vietnam War. While in Montreal, he wrote songs that were covered by various artists, but Winchester’s career as a performer suffered because he couldn’t tour in the United States. Only after President Carter’s amnesty in 1977 could Winchester return to the U.S. to perform for his American fans.
 
 
Friday, April 18, 2014
 
Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Then, actor John Torturro has appeared in four films by the Coen Brothers, nine Spike Lee joints and all three of the Transformers blockbuster movies. His latest film is Fading Gigolo, which he wrote, directed and stars in. It includes a stellar cast, featuring Woody Allen as Torturro’s pimp.  We’ll discuss the new movie and Torturro’s eclectic acting career.
 
 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Cornell University professor Suzanne Mettler talks to Bob about her latest book, Degrees Of Inequality: How the Politics of Higher Education Sabotaged the American Dream.  Then, we explore the story of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, a town that made big, defiant music.  In its heyday, Muscle Shoals’ FAME Studio produced hits such as “I’ll Take You There,” “Brown Sugar,” “When a Man Loves a Woman,” and “Freebird.”  Greg Freddy Camalier is the director of the documentary, Muscle Shoals,and tells Bob about the place and its unique sound.  Muscle Shoals airs tonight on the PBS series Independent Lens.

 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

In a memorable episode of the hit TV show Seinfeld, a frustrated Elaine tracks down The New Yorker’scartoon editor to get him to explain to her a particularly perplexing cartoon. Turns out, he didn’t get it either – he just “liked the kitty.” Elaine is not alone. In their annual Cartoon issue, The New Yorker runs a feature titled “I Don’t Get It” where the year’s most confounding cartoons are explained. Many of those cartoons were likely drawn or edited by Bob Mankoff. He published his first cartoon in The New Yorkerin 1977 and is now that magazine’s cartoon editor. His new memoir is titled How About Never – Is Never Good for You? My Life in Cartoons.  Then, Bob talks to Indiana University professor Jacinda Townsend about her first novel, Saint Monkey, which tells the complicated story of two black girls living in eastern Kentucky after the Korean War.  

 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

James Vincent McMorrow burst onto the music scene with his debut album, Early in the Morning, which featured the striking and evocative song “We Don’t Eat.” Now, the Irish singer-songwriter is back with his sophomore effort, Post-Tropical, which places his lilting falsetto on a new collection of beautiful songs with a backdrop of lush instrumentation.

 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

In November of 1961, Michael Rockefeller vanished off the coast of Southwest New Guinea while on an art-collecting mission.  Despite an exhaustive search, his body was never found and the case remains a mystery. But author Carl Hoffman thinks he may have solved it.  Tracing Rockefeller’s final journey, he tells the story of what he found in a new book titled Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art.  Then, in 2004, Peruvian writer Isabel Allende joined the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  The award-winning author talks with Bob about her book Maya’s Notebook, as well as Allende’s particular contribution to Arts and Letters. Maya’s Notebook is now available in paperback.

 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Next, if you google the name Vivian Maier today, you will get nearly a million hits. But just a few years ago, you would have gotten one: an obituary from the Chicago Tribune placed by three people unrelated to her. Vivian Maier died in 2009, and the fascinating story of her posthumous rise to fame is told in a new documentary titled Finding Vivian Maier. The film was produced by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel.  Then, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.

 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Next, if you google the name Vivian Maier today, you will get nearly a million hits. But just a few years ago, you would have gotten one: an obituary from the Chicago Tribune placed by three people unrelated to her. Vivian Maier died in 2009, and the fascinating story of her posthumous rise to fame is told in a new documentary titled Finding Vivian Maier. The film was produced by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel.  Then, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.

 

Monday, April 28, 2014

British artist Ralph Steadman started as a social and political cartoonist in the 1960s, but his work gained international fame after teaming up with journalist Hunter S. Thompson.  Called the “last of the original Gonzo visionaries,” director Charlie Paul’s documentary, For No Good Reason, looks at the life and work of this remarkable artist.  Then, based on the best-selling autobiography, the new film The Railway Man tells the story of Eric Lomax (played by Colin Firth), a former POW forced to work on the “Death Railway” in Thailand during WWII.  Decades later, he traveled to Japan to confront his torturer.  Eric died before the film was completed, but his wife Patti Lomax (played by Nicole Kidman) talks with Bob about their story.  They are joined by producer/screenwriter Andy Peterson.

 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cesar Chavez died two decades ago but his legacy is still felt today.  Miriam Pawel is the author of The Crusades of Cesar Chavez, the first comprehensive biography of the labor leader that explores his work on behalf of migrant workers and his “profound humanity.”  Then, Mark Leibovich is a long-time reporter for the New York Times and before that The Washington Post.  His book,This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral, is a skewering of Washington DC’s incestuous “media industrial complex” and the egos therein.  It’s now available in paperback.

 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bob talks to Ukrainian activist Kateryna Mikhno about the events in Ukraine. She just returned from a trip to Kiev and Eastern Ukraine.  Next, Bob talks with Jessie Austrian and Noah Brody, actors from Fiasco Theater.  They’ll discuss their production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona and why William Shakespeare’s work is still relevant today - nearly 400 years after his death.  Finally, Paul Schomer of the blog Radiocrowdfund.com shares some new music discoveries with Bob. This time we’ll hear songs from Old Hours, Land Lines, Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, Will Phalen and Holy Wave.