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Bob Elsewhere

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August 2009


Monday, August 3, 2009

One of the most legendary moments in rock-n-roll history started with an ad placed in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal: “Young men with unlimited capital looking for interesting, legitimate investment opportunities and business propositions.” The 40th anniversary of what was billed as “An Aquarian Exposition” is August 15th. Greg Walter worked on the backstage crew of Woodstock and came away with more than his share of stories, which he includes inWoodstock: A New Look, along with photograph she shot during the festival.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Every night, there are 250,000 homeless veterans and not nearly enough beds for them to sleep on. Of that total, 4,000 served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bob visits a shelter in Washington, DC dedicated to supporting homeless veterans to talk directly to former military men and women and the social workers who try to help them. Then Bob talks to Chad Lego who servedin Iraq from June 2007 to February 2008 andjoined the Circle of Friends for American Veterans to help those who find themselves without a place to call home. Lego attended the annual National Conference for Veterans and discusses the lack of services for our men and women in uniform once they are released from the military.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

This summer, Rock-n-Roll Hall of Famer Bonnie Raitt and Blues Hall of Famer Taj Mahal are traveling the country together on the “BonTaj Roulet” tour. “This tour is just what the doctor ordered,” Raitt says. “Taj and I have so much in common, but there’s so much unexplored territory between us.”There’s a charitable element to the “BonTaj Roulet” tour as well: a portion of ticket sales will go to charities voted on by the fans.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Legendary music producer Jim Dickinson has undergone several major medical procedures, including triple bypass surgery recently. As he continues to recover, a group of fans and fellow musicians will be honoring and aiding him with a series of benefit concerts in Memphis and Los Angeles. Bob interviewed Dickinson in 2008 at his Zebra Ranch. Being out of the spotlight at his home studio in north Mississippi is the place he says he is most comfortable producing records. The first benefit concert is Saturday at The Peabody Skyway in Memphis.


Friday, August 7, 2009

David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Next, independent film director Andrew Bujalski is at the forefront of the so-called “Mumblecore” movement. Bujalski often casts first-time actors and uses a small film crew, moving between locations quickly. The plots are slice-of-life, often lacking traditional Hollywood resolution. Bujalski’s latest film is called Beeswax, and it follows the difficult interactions of twin sisters Jeannie and Lauren, who run a business together. His previous films include Funny Ha Ha and Mutual Appreciation. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from Iowa native Anne Heywood. She held 34 different jobs before founding the Career Changing Clinic in New York City to help service men and women returning from World War II find work. Heywood was the author of There Is a Right Job for Every Woman.



Monday, August 10, 2009 


We revisit Bob’s conversation with Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. The book searches for vanished people, from Easter Island to the Vikings of Greenland. Diamond examines the environmental and cultural issues behind each people’s disappearance.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

We revisit two interviews from our archives- first, Bob talks to New York Times best-selling author Stephen Greenblatt about his book Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare. Then, legendary jazz pianist, singer-songwriter and composer Mose Allison.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We’ll start by revisiting Bob’s 2005 conversation with Anthony Bourdain, the sharp-tongued host of No Reservations on The Travel Channel. The program has been nominated for two Emmys this year. Bourdain is also the author of the 2000 book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. Then, we’ll replay Bob’s conversation with Julia Child’s grandnephew Alex Prud’homme about their bestseller My Life in France. Prud’homme completed his aunt’s memoirs after her death in 2001. The book was adapted into the new movie, Julie & Julia starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

We bring back Bob’s interview with Peter Ames Carlin, author of Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall & Redemption of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson. Carlin talks about Wilson’s relationship with his father, how The Beatles helped shape Wilson’s development as an artist and his triumphant return with his 2004 CD Smile.


Friday, August 14, 2009

David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics and then, in honor of the passing of Les Paul, we’ll revisit Bob’s April 2008 interview with the legend. Dissatisfied with the electric guitars sold in the 1930’s, Les Paul came up with what he called “The Log.” It was a bridge, pickup and guitar neck attached to a piece of fence post – and it worked. Paul’s innovations made rock and roll possible and his playing got him recognized as one of the 20th century’s guitar masters. Bob visits with him at the New York club where he stills plays a weekly gig with the Les Paul Trio. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from Bernard Baruch. He rose to prominence as a financier and member of the New York Stock Exchange. Baruch advised Presidents Woodrow Wilson during World War I, Franklin Roosevelt during the New Deal and World War II, and Harry Truman in the post-war era.


Monday, August 17, 2009

The manufacturing industry in the United States has long been in decline, but the loss of factory jobs has been especially brutal during the recession, with nearly two million disappearing since December 2007. Scott Paul is the Executive Director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing and he’ll explain howU.S. policies have undermined the manufacturing industry, contributing to today’s deep recession, and what might be done to help the recover jobs in the future. Then, when the United States entered World War II, advertising agencies on Madison Avenue stopped selling toothpaste and started selling Victory Gardens, scrap drives, and War Bonds. In his new book, All-Out for Victory,  John Bush Jones examines how advertisements helped support the war.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bob’s 2006 conversation with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Maraniss about his book, Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero. Roberto Clemente was a legendary athlete who helped the Pittsburgh Pirates win two World Series championships. Clemente died in a 1972 plane crash, as he led an effort to deliver aid to Nicaragua after an earthquake. Today would have been his 75th birthday.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

 Do you often honk at other drivers or think rude gestures are a good way to teach people better driving etiquette? Writer Tom Vanderbilt’s book Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us)examines traffic patterns and driving behavior to better understand our individual and collective psyche. A New York Times Notable Book for 2008, Traffic is now out in paperback. Then, singer-musician Judith Edelman started touring with the Bluegrass band, Ryestraw. She later started her own band and they played in concert halls, festivals and clubs across the country and the U.K. She released three albums, 1996’s “Perfect World,” 1998’s “Only Sun” and 2000’s “Drama Queen.”After a hiatus of nine years, Edelman returns with her latest album, “Clear Glass Jar.”


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cheng Chui Ping, also known as Sister Ping, was one of the criminal world’s most unlikely leaders, and yet for almost 20 years she headed a vast Chinese-American criminal underworld who dealt primarily in smuggling people. Patrick Radden Keefe charts Sister Ping’s rise and fall, and chronicles the violent world she commanded in The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream. Then, a look at the rest of the film world with our resident entertainment critic David Kipen.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Davis Guggenheim the director of An Inconvenient Truth talks about his new film, It Might Get Loud. It chronicles the meeting of three masters of the electric guitar: The Edge of U2, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and Jack White. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from George Mardikian. His first job in America was washing dishes in a San Francisco cafeteria; he eventually bought the place and built it into a renowned restaurant. For his work to improve food service for combat troops in Korea, Mardikian was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award an American can receive.


Monday, August 24, 2009

In our nation’s current debate on immigration, the issue’s most overlooked group are the thousands of Latin American children who make their way each year to the United States. Director Rebecca Cammisa spent months following various unaccompanied children as they rode “the Beast,” a freight train bound for America and a new life. Her documentary Which Way Home shows the dangers of this journey, and these children’s remarkable courage and resourcefulness. Then, it’s been 13 years since her last recording, but Buffy Sainte Marie is back with a new CD called “Running for the Drum.” She’s also a visual artist, an educator and a social activist for Native American issues. The CD package also includes a DVD documentary that covers it all called “Buffy Sainte Marie: A Multimedia Life.”


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In 1982, William T. Vollmann traveled with the mujahedeen forming the basis of his first non-fiction publication, An Afghanistan Picture Show, or, How I Saved the World. His book, Central Europe, won the 2005 National Book Award for Fiction. The writer has now amassed more than 13,000 pages of published material. In Imperial, Vollmann details the border region of the Imperial Valley in southeast California, and the complex social and economic history of the people at the crux of U.S.-Mexico relations. Then, Andrew Blechman was shocked when his older New England neighbors put their house up for sale. He was even more surprised when he learned they were moving to The Villages in central Florida. It’s the world’s largest gated retirement community, takes up more space than Manhattan and includes a golf course for every day of the month. Blechman explores this rapidly growing trend in his book titled “Leisureville: Adventures in America’s Retirement Utopias.” It’s now out in paperback.


 Wednesday, August 26, 2009

North Korea is in the news almost daily, but one consistently overlooked story concerns the existence of North Korean gulags. Recently published testimony from survivors and former guards who fled the country detail the horrific conditions at the labor camps: 12- to 15-hour days of hard labor, malnutrition, death by age 50. No outsiders have ever visited the camps, but Blaine Harden has been studying high-resolution satellite photographs and talking with survivors and former guards. Blaine recently wrote a lengthy article about the North Korean prison camps for the Washington Post. Then, singer-songwriter Noëlle Hampton career kicked off when she won the highly competitive Lilith Fair Talent Search in 1998 and ended up performing at the event along with Sarah McLachlan, Natalie Merchant, The Indigo Girls and so many more. She then got the opportunity to open for many national acts including Bob Dylan.In conjunction with her husband andmusical partner, André Moran, Noelle has co-produced and released an EP and two full length albums on her own. Their independent release, “Under These Skies,” sold thousands of copies. She now joins Bob to talk about her new CD, “Thin Line.”


Thursday, August 27, 2009

In the 1960s Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Florence Ballard became The Supremes, Motown and America’s biggest singing sensation. With 12 number one hits to their credit, The Supremes are still America’s most successful vocal group in history. Biographer Mark Ribowsky charts their rise to the top and what it cost them, in his book The Supremes: A Saga of Motown Dreams, Success, and Betrayal. Then, Bob talks with Dave Zirin about baseball’s approaching post-season, and the beginning of regular season NFL games. 


Friday, August 28, 2009

David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Next, in October of 2006, one of the most gruesome crimes in New Orleans history was committed. A twenty-eight year old Iraqi War veteran killed his girlfriend, dismembered her body, and then jumped from a rooftop bar in the French Quarter. Soon after the murder-suicide, journalist Ethan Brown moved to New Orleans to find out more.  The book he’s written is not a true-crime tabloid story, but a complicated portrait framed by two recent tragedies, Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq War. His book is called Shake the Devil Off. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from Margaret Sanger.  She was the founder and president of the American Birth Control League, which later became Planned Parenthood. She organized the first World Population Conference in Geneva in 1927. Even into her 80s, Sanger traveled the world helping to establish birth control clinics.


Monday, August 31, 2009

For years, newspapers and TV news coverage based on fact-finding reporting has served as a powerful watchdog over our government and commercial world.  Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Alex S. Jones argues in his bookLosing the News: The Future of the News That Feeds Democracy that as traditional news media falls in the wake of new media’s need for quick information, our democracy will weaken.  Then, folklorists Nancy Groce and Steve Winick from the American Folklife Center bring audio treasures related to the theme “Home, Sweet, Home.”