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Bob Edwards Weekend

April 2011

April 2-3, 2011


Bob talks with actor, comedian, writer and musician Steve Martin about his return to the banjo on his second album titled Rare Bird Alert, a follow-up to his Grammy winning debut, The Crow.  For his latest CD, Martin is joined by bluegrass group The Steep Canyon Rangers, with special guests The Dixie Chicks and Paul McCartney singing a couple of Martin’s original tunes.

Frontline correspondent Lowell Bergman investigates the multi-billion dollar business of the NCAA.  His report is called Money and March Madness.

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Nicholas Capo. This time of year, sports fans are in the grip of college basketball tournaments. We idolize the players, but few of us ever witness the hard work behind the excellence. Nicholas Capo learned those habits from his father, who excelled at high school basketball. As an English professor, Capo passes on his father’s lessons of discipline and devotion to budding writers.


Thirty years ago, John Hinckley Jr. opened fire outside of a Washington hotel wounding Ronald Reagan and three others. On March 30, 1981, the president lost half of his blood and came closer to dying than most people realize. In Rawhide Down, Del Quentin Wilbur lays out the minute-by-minute account of the assassination attempt. “Rawhide” was Reagan’s Secret Service code name.

Thomas McCarthy is an actor who’s appeared in HBO’s The Wire, and the film, Good Night, and Good Luck.  He’s also the writer and director behind The Station Agent and now, Win Win, a film about a struggling attorney who’s taken on too much responsibility, including the care of an estranged teenage boy.  McCarthy introduces actor Alex Shaffer in this latest film, which stars Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan.


April 9-10, 2011


David Kirp is an early childhood education and development expert who served on President Obama’s transition team.  Kirp joins Bob to talk about his new book, Kids First: Five Big Ideas for Transforming Children’s Lives and America’s Future.

In celebration of 40 years on the air, the PBS series Masterpiece presents a new Upstairs Downstairs, a continuation of the popular original series from the 1970s.   Dame Eileen Atkins and Jean Marsh, who were part of the original cast, return to their roles as Lady Maud and her housekeeper Rose Buck, in addition to a new group of actors for this updated version.  Bob talks with executive producer Rebecca Eaton about the return of this PBS classic.  It airs this weekend.

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Mary Plouffe, a clinical psychologist in Maine. In a way, she’s paid to be a serial conversationalist, chopping up her interactions into hour-long segments. Plouffe believes in the power of talk therapy, of course, but she says the silent moments she shares with her patients are just as important.


Political journalist Jeff Greenfield wonders how the United States would have fared if certain events had happened differently.  Looking back, he says minor changes such as a cancelled meeting, a chance encounter, or a shift in the weather could have given us different leaders with different beliefs.  Greenfield’s book is Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan.

For 50 years, the male choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo has kept alive the sounds of traditional South Africa.  This three-time Grammy award winning group was that country’s first black musicians to receive gold record status.  Their most recent album is a collection of traditional tunes called Songs From a Zulu Farm.


April 16-17, 2011


Bob talks with actress Robin Wright and screenwriter James Solomon about their new film The Conspirator. Solomon is a former journalist who has spent the last 18 years researching, writing and trying to get the larger story of the plot to kill Abraham Lincoln to the movie screen. Wright plays Mary Surratt, a southerner who ran a boarding house in DC and the only woman accused in the plot. The Conspirator is directed by Robert Redford, co-stars James McAvoy and opens this weekend.

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Colette Decker.  She grew up on a farm in Wyoming, one of ten children. Harvest dollars didn’t stretch far, and each of the kids went to work early, even as their classmates had time for games or after school activities. Decker says she and her siblings knew they had less than others, and that created an intense drive to succeed — a hunger for achievement that would have been absent in an easier childhood.


Bob talks with Bob O’Neil, Director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, about the Center’s annual “Muzzle” Awards—a dishonor given out to those who committed the most egregious or ridiculous affronts to free expression in the past year.  This is the 20th anniversary of the Muzzles and we’ll also look back and hear where some of the most infamous winners are now.

Filmmaker Tom Shadyac flourished in Hollywood directing the hit comedies Ace Ventura, Liar Liar and Bruce Almighty.  Then a near-fatal bike accident broke Shadyac’s fairytale spell, and when he recovered from his coma, he set out to rediscover life and sort out “what’s wrong with the world.”  For his documentary called I Am, Shadyac interviews great thinkers such as Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.


April 23-24, 2011


Fifty years ago, a young, white lawyer from Boston headed to the deep South to help black Mississippians fighting for the right to vote. Gordon Martin served as a Justice Department attorney for the prosecution of a watershed lawsuit, a case that predated the national Civil Rights movement and helped reshape the South. Martin has written a book about the experience titled Count Them One by One

Professor Edward Glaeser argues that cities are not the dirty, poor, sickly, and environmentally unfriendly places that many believe them to be.  Glaeser is a professor of economics at Harvard University and has traveled the world studying the economics and demographics of urban areas.  His book is Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier.

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Connie Spittler.   Many people celebrate Earth Day every year, but the Earth itself measures time differently than we do. There’s a slow pace, a vastness of time, in the natural world that’s difficult for us to comprehend.  Spittler finds solace in that impossibly long time span, when she gazes on the Catalinas Mountains in Tucson. Seasons change, good times and bad times come and go, and still the mountains remain, blushing pink in the sunset of every day.


Bob talks with former journalist turned filmmaker David Simon. He’s the creator of the critically acclaimed HBO series The Wire and now the second season of Treme premieres this weekend.  Simon’s latest HBO series is based in New Orleans and tells the city’s story in the months and years following Hurricane Katrina. David Simon recently received a MacArthur “Genius” Grant for his body of work and season one of Treme is now available on DVD.

Davis McAlary played by actor Steve Zahn is one of the main characters on Treme. During our last trip to New Orleans, we visited with “The Real Davis” and talked about how his life overlaps with the character. Davis Rogan is a local musician, a former DJ and a consultant for the HBO series. He welcomed us into his Treme home and talked with Bob about the show, his music and his city. Rogan’s CD “The Real Davis” is now available.


April 30 – May 1, 2011


Over the years, Colin Thubron’s work has taken him to some of the most remote lands in the world, from the desert of the ancient Silk Road to the corners of Russia.  Thubron, who is often called our greatest living travel writer, recently journeyed to the sacred mountain Kailas in Tibet, holy to both Buddhists and Hindus.  He recorded his experiences in his book To a Mountain in Tibet.

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Marianne Rogowski.  She is the youngest of six children. Throughout her childhood, her mother never turned off the kitchen light. She said it was a beacon for her children, a symbol that they would always be welcomed, no matter their failings. Rogowski watched her older siblings learn that lesson of their mother’s unconditional love, and then experienced the welcoming shelter of the late-night light firsthand in college. She has made the same pledge to her own children.


Renegade filmmaker Morgan Spurlock joins Bob in studio to talk about his latest feature targeting the advertising industry, Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.  Spurlock’s previous documentaries include Supersize Me, Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden, and Freakonomics.

Queen of Bluegrass Alison Krauss reunites with her band Union Station after a seven year exploration of other projects, the most notable of which was her collaboration with rocker Robert Plant.  Krauss and band member Dan Tyminski discuss their latest album Paper Airplane.