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Bob Edwards Weekend

December 2009



December 5-6




Ever the Englishman, writer, actor, and comedian Stephen Fry traveled across the United States in a black London cab, visiting all 50 states to experience first-hand what makes America unique.  Fry picked lobster pots in Maine, observed the primary election season in New Hampshire and participated in some improv on stage at Second City in Chicago.  Fry’s book is appropriately titled, Stephen Fry in America: Fifty States and the Man Who Set Out to See Them All. He also talks about the frequent collaborations with his college friend Hugh Laurie, including their roles as Jeeves and Wooster.


In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from Oscar and Esther Hirschmann.  They lived in New York City, where Oscar was a poet writing under the pen name of Oliver Hale. Their essay was the only statement on the original This I Believe series to be delivered by two people.





In Hollowing Out The Middle, authors Patrick Carr and Maria Kefalas examine the exodus from America’s small towns.  To do this, the two moved to a small town in Iowa where they conducted over a hundred interviews and ultimately traveled to fifteen Midwestern states.  Bob talks with Carr about his new book.


Douglas Gayeton, a multimedia artist and champion of the Slow Food movement, combined his two passions in his new book Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town.  With an introduction by Alice Waters, this illustrated memoir and lesson in regional cuisine, focuses on the small villages in Tuscany where the Slow Food Movement (a back-lash against fast food) is simply a way of life.


Rolling Stone contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis talks about Blues and Chaos, a collection of pieces written by legendary music critic Robert Palmer.  The articles, which appeared originally in Rolling Stone and the New York Times, were arranged thematically and edited by DeCurtis.


December 12-13 




In Enemies of the People: My Family’s Journey to America, journalist Kati Marton describes life in communist Hungary when her parents were accused of espionage and imprisoned for two years.  Marton went back and searched the archives of the Hungarian secret police to piece together her family’s history and their escape from Eastern Europe in the mid-1950s.  What Marton discovered were secret love affairs, and betrayals within the family and among friends.


In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from Norman Cousins. He was editor of The Saturday Review for 35 years. A noted author, he detailed his fight against two life-threatening diseases in Anatomy of An Illness and The Healing Heart. In addition to his literary career, he was an ardent critic of the nuclear arms race and the Vietnam War.




President of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Frances Beinecke, discusses the climate change legislation making its way through the Senate, the role the United States will have at the Copenhagen Climate Conference and explain why our national security depends on our ability to curb carbon emissions.  She’s also the author of a new book - Clean Energy Common Sense: An American Call to Action on Global Climate Change.


Growing up on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, Paul Nicklen started off as a biologist who liked to take pictures.  Eventually he realized that photography was the best way to get his message of wildlife appreciation and conservation to the public. His new book of photography is called Polar Obsession and it’s published by National Geographic.


December 19-20



Sean Lennon recently released a new CD, a soundtrack for a low-budget vampire flick called Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead. Lennon composed the moody, instrumental score on his home computer and he runs Chimera Music out of his kitchen. Lennon is the only child of John Lennon and Yoko Ono and he talks with Bob about vampires, music, working with his mom, memories of his father and the highs and lows of being the famous son of very famous parents.


In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from stage, film and radio actor Lionel Barrymore.  He won an Academy Award for “A Free Soul” (1931). He appeared in more than 200 movies, including It’s a Wonderful Life where he starred as Mr. Potter and he played Disko in Captains Courageous. Barrymore was also an accomplished author, composer, artist and director.




Terry Gilliam’s new movie, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, is a fantastical morality tale set in the present. The film stars Christopher Plummer as the title character, musician Tom Waits as the devil, and Heath Ledger as a mysterious stranger.  Ledger died during filming but Gilliam decided to have three other actors (Johnny Depp, Jude Law & Colin Farrell) fill in, sharing the role. Gilliam is one of the founding members of Monty Python, the comedy troupe that celebrated its 40th anniversary in October.


Rey Fresco is a new band made up of old high school friends from southern California. Bob talks to the members about their multicultural backgrounds, their catchy sound and their unusual instrumentation. The band’s lead instrument is a 36-string harp played by an ethnomusicologist, while the drummer taught himself to play AND to make his own drums from surfboard fiberglass. Rey Fresco’s debut CD is called The People and it features reggae, pop, country, Latin and soul influences.