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Bob Edwards Weekend

December 2010

December 4-5, 2010



 In 1962, eleven-year-old Carlos Eire and his older brother Tony boarded an airplane in Cuba and left their parents and country behind, becoming not only refugees but also orphans. The brothers were two of 14,000 children airlifted out of “Castroland” in a mass exodus known as Operation Pedro Pan.  Carlos Eire is now a professor of History and Religious Studies at Yale University. He won a National Book Award for his memoir, Waiting for Snow in Havana. He picks up where that book left off, the moment he first set foot in Miami, with Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy.


In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Reg Stark. He is a native Texan who works as a full-time artist now that he’s retired. Stark and his wife Linda were married for 43 years before she died, but he’s kept a connection to her in an unexpected way. Stark has continued the habit she had of picking up discarded or forgotten pennies, and now he has so many that he’s lost count. They’re pennies from heaven, he says, and many times he has felt some force steering him to the next one.




We continue our Nashville series with a trip to Guy Clark’s house to discuss his career, his music and his handmade instruments. Bob talks with Clark in a basement room that performs double duty as a guitar building workshop and a song writing room. Then we meet with singer-songwriters Shawn Camp andBilly Burnette to talk about their Nashville careers and the craft and business of songwriting. They’ve each enjoyed a level of success as performers, but they’ve also had their songs recorded by huge stars and turned into number one hits.


December 11-12, 2010



When Classics professor Tom Payne noticed that his students were more interested in current celebrity scandal than in Homer’s epic poetry, he started weaving millennia old themes of fame and celebrity into his lectures.  Payne examines the similarities of then and now in his book Fame: What the Classics Tell Us About our Cult of Celebrity


Bob talks with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp about his early career, the music from his latest album No Better Than This, and about Mellencamp’s politics.


In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Cindy Lollar, a writer living in College Park, Maryland. Lollar and her partner Greta have been together for almost 25 years. She says the struggles they have faced and overcome together allowed them to feel married, long before they were allowed to legally marry.





We continue our Nashville series with Craig Havighurst, author of Air Castle of the South: WSM and the Making of Music City. He discusses the history of the Nashville radio station launched 85 years ago and still going strong today. Then we visit WSM’s historic and unique broadcasting tower for a tour from chief engineer Jason Cooper. The station’s studios were damaged in Nashville’s May flood and for the past seven months, WSM broadcast from its cramped transmitter building at the tower.


December 18-19, 2010




Kevin Spacey starred in The Usual Suspects, LA Confidential and American Beauty.  Now he portrays Jack Abramoff in Casino Jack. Spacey discusses the film, his famous impressions, and the director, George Hickenlooper, who passed away in early November.


It’s time for our annual tradition of helping you give the gift of good music for the holidays. Bob talks with Rolling Stone contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis about his list of the best CDs of the year.


In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Lawrence Kessenich.  He is a writer living in Massachusetts. As a teenager in the 1960s, Kessenich disagreed with his father over political issues. But he learned from his father’s example in the Catholic church to work on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged. Kessenich now tithes and leads anti-violence workshops in prisons.




We begin part four of our Nashville series Music City Mondays with Ray Stevens in his studio on Music Row. Stevens is best known for novelty songs like “Gitarzan” and “The Streak,” but he also won Grammy Awards for “Everything is Beautiful” and for his country arrangement on the jazz standard “Misty.”  Then we take a trip out of town to the Loveless Barn for an evening of live music. Every Wednesday night, Craig Havighurst and Jim Lauderdale co-host Music City Roots. Bob talks with them about their duties on the old-fashioned variety show and we also interview the program’s co-founders, Todd Mayo and John Walker.


December 25-26, 2010




Screenwriter and children’s novelist Frank Cottrell Boyce’s book Framed, about art theft in a small Welsh village, is a new Masterpiece Contemporary movie airing this weekend on PBS. Bob speaks with the writer about that project and about his career.


A few years ago, Ted Gup, a former investigative reporter for the Washington Post, opened his grandfather’s old suitcase to discover a remarkable 77 year old secret.  Gup writes about it in his new book A Secret Gift: How One Man’s Kindness—and a Trove of Letters—Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression


In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Laura Durham.  She lives in Salt Lake City where she works for several arts organizations including the Utah Arts Council. Durham writes about an event in grade school that helped her learn to be gracious to others, and accept graciousness from others — whether she’s earned it or not.




We continue our Nashville series with Marshall Chapman at the Country Music Hall of Fame. She was there to share her new CD Big Lonesome and her new book, They Came to Nashville, with her fans. Then Bob talks with writer Susan Gregg Gilmore at Belle Meade Plantation, the inspiration for the setting of her latest novel The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove.