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Bob Edwards Weekend

May 2011


May 7-8, 2011


By age 15, Bill Hicks already knew he would spend his life as a standup comedian. Less than twenty years later, he would pass away of cancer, but in the interim Bill Hicks made his name as one of the boldest and most original comics of all time. Known as a “comedian’s comedian,” no topic was too close or too weighty for Hicks to tackle: his own family, America, religion and eventually consciousness itself. Paul Thomas andMatt Harlock honor Hicks in their film, American: The Bill Hicks Story.

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Suzanne Biemiller. These days, we have lots of ways to keep in touch with loved ones far away. Most of them involve quick notes and status updates. Biemiller says there’s no substitute for the sound of a familiar voice over the telephone. She began calling her mother regularly when she went away to college, and they still talk on the phone all the time, even though they now live in the same city.



Caroline Kennedy is best-known as the only daughter of President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, but she is also a well respected author and book editor.  In a new poetry collection titled She Walks in Beauty, Kennedy focused on poems that celebrate and honor womanhood. senior book critic Laura Miller offers a few book titles to add to your spring reading list.

Bob talks with Brian Setzer about his four decades in the music business, the hits in the 1980s with The Stray Cats, his 18-piece “orchestra” and his latest CD, Setzer Goes Instru-mental. The eleven tracks feature Brian Setzer on guitar and banjo playing a mix of original compositions and covers like Blue Moon of Kentucky, Be-Bop-A-Lula and Earl’s Breakdown.


May 14-15, 2011




Stanley Ann Dunham was born in Wichita, Kansas, yet married a man from Kenya and ultimately raised a future President of the United States.  New York Times reporter Janny Scott interviewed nearly 200 people to complete A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother.  Bob chats with Scott about the President’s mother and how she didn’t live to see her son’s political success.


Maya Soetoro-Ng was inspired to write her first children’s book, Ladder to the Moon, by her daughter’s questions about her mother, cultural anthropologist Ann Dunham.  Soetoro-Ng is the half-sister of President Barack Obama and a writer and educator.


In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Scott Shackelford. For fans of science fiction, stories that take place beyond the stars, with a cast of droids and aliens, are so compelling that they sometimes intrude into their actual lives. Shackelford and his father share a devotion to the science fiction genre, which he says has strengthened their relationship over the years.




Few sculptors can claim the renown and success that Richard Serra has achieved in his forty year career.  But a new show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City titled Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective focuses on Serra’s skills on paper, a segment of his work often overlooked by the public.  This is the first retrospective of Serra’s drawings and shows the varied abilities of this visionary artist. 


Director Mark Goffman’s documentary Dumbstruck takes viewers to the annual Vent Haven Convention in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky—the ventriloquism capital of the world—and inside the lives of five passionate ventriloquists.  Full of eccentric characters, Dumbstruck reveals the human side of this world of dummies.


May 21-22, 2011


Bob talks with funny man Harry Shearer about his deadly serious documentary titled The Big Uneasy. It tells the story of the 2005 flooding of New Orleans, the unnatural disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina. The focus is on three scientists who tried to warn of the danger or investigate the aftermath of the flooding and the many obstacles they faced.

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Michele Weldon.  She has three sons who have many fathers. After Weldon’s ex-husband disappeared from the family, she says teachers and coaches stepped into the void, becoming father figures. Those relationships have helped guide her sons through adolescence, and have shown them that they are worthy of being loved.


Film and stage legend Julie Andrews is one of the English-speaking world’s most beloved entertainers.  First gaining critical and popular success as Eliza Doolittle in the 1956 Broadway production of My Fair Lady, Andrews went on to star in Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Victor Victoria and many other films and Broadway productions.  In recent years, Andrews has become a prolific children’s book author, often partnering with her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton.  Their most recent book is The Very Fairy Princess Takes the Stage.

Loyalty Day was made official in 1958, the original purpose was for Americans to reaffirm their loyalty to the United States. Loyalty oaths have a problematic history in this country, starting with the Revolutionary War. George Washington was for them, but so was Joe McCarthy who believed you were not patriotic enough unless you took one. Loyalty is a tricky virtue, the foundation for love and family, but also the cause of much misery and betrayal, especially when loyalties collide. Pulitzer Prize winning Wall Street Journal columnist Eric Felten offers mediation on the subject in his new book, Loyalty: The Vexing Virtue.