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Bob Elsewhere

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June 2009

Click here for a free podcast of the shows described below.


June 6-7, 2009



Historian and cultural educator Simon Schama didn’t look too far back in time for his latest book The American Future: A History. Using the 2008 presidential election as a reference point, Schama examines the history of four on-going social debates in the U.S.: war, religion, race and immigration, and economic division.

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from Helen Keller. As an infant, Keller was struck by a fever that left her deaf and blind. But with the guidance of her teacher Anne Sullivan, Keller learned to communicate through the eyes and ears of others. After graduating from Radcliffe College, Keller became a renowned author, activist and lecturer.



The Rote Kapelle, or Red Orchestra, was what the Gestapo called a group of ordinary Germans who tried to bring down the Nazi regime from within Germany. After years of research and exclusive interviews, Anne Nelson has published Red Orchestra: The Story of the Berlin Underground and the Circle of Friends Who Resisted Hitler.

Musician Yusuf Islam, also known as Cat Stevens, is one of the most beloved songwriters of his generation.But at the height of his fame in 1977 (and with 8 gold records under his belt), Stevens converted to Islam, changed his name, and left music to do philanthropic work in the Muslim community.Yusuf returned to music in 1995, and has a new album out titled Roadsinger.



June 13-14, 2009



In  the tradition of the 1973 classic book The Boys on the Bus, journalist Eric Boehlert offers Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press. Boehlert uses the 2008 presidential race to show how bloggers influenced voters, the candidates and their campaigns.

The new film Food, Inc. presents an enlightening and sometimes disturbing view of the American food system. Director Robert Kenner and food activist/producer Michael Pollan join Bob to talk about their new film and to discuss some of the problems and solutions for modern food.

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from Walter White. He was executive secretary of the NAACP from 1931 to 1955. As a writer and activist, White lobbied for federal anti-lynching laws and the desegregation of the United States armed forces. Although fair-skinned with blond hair and blue eyes, White considered himself an African-American.



Director Stephan Elliott talks with Bob about adapting playwright Noel Coward’s classic Easy Virtue for the big screen. This comedy of manners has a glamorous American woman (Jessica Biel) disrupting the quiet world of her new husband’s prim British family. Kristin Scott Thomas and Colin Firth co-star.

Jorma Kaukonen is one of the most accomplished guitar players in America. His intricate fingerstyle melodies are well known to fans that have followed his career from The Jefferson Airplane to Hot Tuna to solo work. Kaukonen joins Bob in our performance studio to play a few tunes and to talk about his latest CD, River of Time.



June 20-21, 2009




Playwright, screenwriter, and director Arthur Laurents has 50 years of accumulated Broadway experiences and memories. Among his notable accomplishments are directing newcomer Barbra Streisand in I Can Get It for You Wholesale and directing La Cage aux Folles, Broadway’s first openly gay musical. Laurents also wrote the books for West Side Story and Gypsy, which remain two of Broadway’s most legendary musicals. His memoir is called Mainly on Directing: Gypsy, West Side Story and Other Musicals.

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from actor and director John Cromwell. He directed some 40 films and is the father of actor James Cromwell, who’s also our guest and reacts to hearing his father’s essay for the first time.



Vin Scully has been calling baseball games on radio and television for almost 60 years now. He began in the booth with the legendary Red Barber in 1950, then moved with the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles for the 1958 season. Author Curt Smith joins Bob to discuss the long-overdue biography he’s written called Pull Up a Chair: The Vin Scully Story.

Just in time for Father’s Day, Bob talks with Michael Lewis about his new book Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood. The essays are true, hilarious, insightful and portray the disappointments and eventual joys of being a dad.


June 27-28, 2009



“Iran Inside Out” at the Chelsea Art Museum in New York presents more than 50 contemporary artists living both inside and out of Iran. The curators, Till Fellrath and Sam Bardaouil, describe the context and intent of the show, and four of the artists - Pooneh Maghazehe, Pouran Jinchi, Samira Abbassy, and Shoja Azari - discuss their art, the challenges they faced implementing this exhibit, and the importance of self-expression in the face of a repressive government..and pending revolution.

Then, we last had neuroscientist Daniel Levitin on the program when he wrote a book titled This Is Your Brain on Music. Now, Levitin expands on the subject, pairing up with musicians including Bobby McFerrin and Yo Yo Ma for the documentary “The Music Instinct: Science and Song.” The two-hour program investigates the connections between music and the human mind.

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from Louise Dickinson Rich. Her life in northern Maine became the fodder for her best-selling book, We Took to the Woods. Following her husband’s death, Rich moved with her children back to her hometown of Bridgewater, Mass., where she wrote numerous adult and young adult books.



After he left the White House, Harry Truman drove his car and his wife Bess from Independence, Missouri to New York City and back again, stopping at motels and diners just like any other tourists. Matthew Algeo retraces the excursion in Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure: The True Story of a Great American Road Trip. This Sunday would have been the Truman’s 90th wedding anniversary.

The Library of Congress adds 25 recordings deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” to the National Recording Registry each year. Eugene DeAnna, head of the Recorded Sound Section at the Library, joins Bob to discuss this year’s selections which include Marian Anderson’s recital at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939; the sounds of the ivory-billed woodpecker in the Louisiana swamp forest; Etta James’ “At Last”; Winston Churchill’s “Sinews of Peace” speech; and the original cast recording of “West Side Story.”