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Bob Elsewhere

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September 2008

September 6-7


Tia Lessin and Carl Deal went to New Orleans a week after Hurricane Katrina with the idea of focusing a documentary on the work of National Guardsmen during the disaster. Then the filmmakers met Kimberly Roberts and her husband Scott who filmed their experiences on a secondhand camcorder. Lessin and Deal incorporate that raw footage -- documenting a frustrating wait for help -- into their new film titled “Trouble the Water.”

Ruth Smith turned 101 in August.  She was one of the founders of what is now NARAL, an organization which fights for the reproductive rights of women.  But when Smith began her advocacy in the 1940’s, the goals were quite different.  Bob visited Smith in her New York City apartment to talk about the changes she’s witnessed over the past century – from birth control and abortion rights – to the changes in her upper West side neighborhood.


Stanley Jordan is one of the world’s most innovative jazz guitarists.  Known for his “tapping technique,” which he demonstrates for Bob, Jordan has inspired an entire generation of musicians. Jordan joins Bob in the studio to play a few tunes, discuss his career and his passion for music therapy.

September 13-14

Hour One

Satirical novelist, Christopher Buckley comes in to chat about his latest novel Supreme Courtship, which takes on the most revered branch of our Federal Government.

After the publication of Thomas Frank’s 2004 book, What’s the Matter With Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America, columnist George Will called the author “a formidable controversialist -- imagine Michael Moore with a trained brain and an intellectual conscience.” Frank talks with Bob about his new book, The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule, in which he distinguishes between conservatism in Kansas and conservatism-in-power. 

Hour Two

Bob speaks with actress Melissa Leo and director Courtney Hunt about their film Frozen River. The movie follows two women whose need for fast cash drives them to smuggle illegal immigrants across the Canadian border. 

In 1957, Joan Baez bought her first guitar for $50. Two years later, she made her debut at the Newport Folk Festival, astounding the audience with her unique three-octave vocal range. Bob talks with Baez about Day After Tomorrow - her first new studio recording in five years. They’ll also talk a little politics. Baez has always spoken her mind and next week, she’ll receive the Spirit of Americana Free Speech Award from the Americana Music Association, which recognizes artists who have challenged the status quo through their music and action.

September 20-21


Bob talks with writer Philip Roth who claims that his two closest friends are "sheer playfulness" and "deadly seriousness." Both are routinely found in his writing from his first novella, Goodbye, Columbus, to his best-known Portnoy's Complaint, to his more recent American Pastoral. Now Roth has written his 29th book. Indignation is set during the second year of the Korean War and Roth’s narrator is Marcus Messner, a 19-year-old son of a Newark kosher butcher. Read more about Philip Roth at our blog.

After 25 years of making records, jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli finally decided it was time to honor one of America's greatest composers. Bob talks to Pizzarelli about his album, With a Song in My Heart, which pays tribute to the late Richard Rogers. 

Bernard-Henri Levy is a French philosopher and one of Europe's best-selling authors. For his 2006 book, American Vertigo, Levy retraced the footsteps of an earlier Frenchman, de Tocqueville. He talks with Bob about his new book, Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism.

The average American uses 150 gallons of water per day. In the developing world, people are lucky to find five gallons and that water is often contaminated. The United Nations estimates that dirty drinking water kills about 500 children each day. Water is now the third largest industry in the world, right behind electricity and oil. But can anyone really own water? That's the question Irena Salina investigates in her documentary, Flow: For Love of Water.  Read more at our blog.

September 27-28


Julian Barnes is the author of ten novels, several collections of essays and stories, and most recently, Nothing To Be Frightened Of . Bob talks with Barnes about his book, which is part essay and part memoir, and is described as a meditation on religion, mortality and the fear of death.

Spike Lee has made feature films and documentaries about race relations, urban crime, poverty and political issues. Usually his movies speak for themselves. Bob talks with Lee about his film career, from She's Gotta Have It to Do the Right Thing to When the Levees Broke to his latest movie, a World War Two drama titled Miracle at St. Anna .


Journalist and photographer David Bacon covers labor and immigration issues in his new book Illegal People . He illustrates how globalization and even some well-meaning legislation creates the need for people to migrate and criminalizes immigrant workers.

Jackson Browne has been called a "thinking man's rock star." The confessional singer-songwriter is known for his introspective and poetic lyrics but is also the creative force behind the Eagles' first hit, "Take It Easy." Bonnie Raitt, The Byrds, Gregg Allman and many others have recorded songs by the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. Browne discusses his life and most recent album, Time the Conqueror , his first studio recording in six years.