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Bob Elsewhere

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May 2010


Monday, May 3, 2010

Father Gregory Boyle is a Jesuit priest in East Los Angeles.  Since 1984, he’s helped thousands of young Latinos give up the gang life, find jobs, and lead productive healthy lives.  In his book, “Tattoos on the Heart,” Father Greg tells the stories of gang-bangers who went straight—but also the stories of those he was unable to reach.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

On May 4, 1970, a student protest against the Vietnam War on the Kent State campus ended in tragedy when members of the Ohio National Guard shot and killed four and wounded nine Kent State students.Dr. Jerry M. Lewis witnessed the campus shootings and since then has been involved in researching and memorializing about the fatal incident. Dr. Patrick Coy is director of Kent State’s Center for Applied Conflict Management which was founded as a result of the shootings. The two will discuss the 40th anniversary of the historical events and the role of student activism in American culture. Then, following the Greensboro sit-ins fifty years ago, young black students formed a revolutionary grassroots organization. Charles Cobb was one of the founding members of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee or SNCC (pronounced “Snick”). He describes the events of early 1960 and how their methods helped paved the way for civil rights.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Jennifer Mascia has written a memoir about unwittingly growing up as the daughter of a Mafia contractor. Her book is titled “Never Tell Our Business to Strangers.” Then, the genesis for Angela Easterling’s new album, BlackTop Road, can be traced to 1791, the year her mother’s family started their farm in Greer, SC that eventually was cut by a road that now bears their name. After writing the songs for the CD, Easterling only had one producer in mind. Will Kimbrough says, “I produced Angela Easterling’s record, but all I had to do is show up for class and play along. She is a powerful, focused artist who has done her homework.”


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bob talks with Alex Gibney about his latest documentary, “Casino Jack and the United States of Money.”It follows the rise and fall of super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Then, it’s been four years since Isabel Allendepublished a novel. She returns to the world of historical fiction with “Island Beneath the Sea,” the story of a slave girl in 19th Century Haiti. Allende immersed herself in the complicated cultural history of Haiti, researching the period when slaves rebelled, overthrowing their French masters. Bob talks with Allende about the new novel, the history of Haiti, and the crippling legacy of governmental oppression.


Friday, May 7, 2010

David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Next, Bob talks with Judith Shulevitzabout her new book “The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time.” Shulevitz’s book is exploration of the Sabbath in American history and also a personal meditation on sacred time in our accelerating lives. Then,  this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.



Monday, May 10, 2010 

Writer Ruth Reichl was the last editor-in-chief for Gourmet, former food critic for both the New York and Los Angeles Times, and the author of three bestselling memoirs.  Her latest memoir, NotBecoming My Mother and Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way, is a tribute to her mother, Miriam Brudno, whose larger than life personality dominated Reichl’s younger years.  Then, Bob speaks with fourth-generation shrimp-boat captain, mother of five and sudden environmentalistDiane Wilson about her book An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas.  She recounts some of her more radical acts of civil disobedience like embarking on hunger strikes, chaining herself to a 74-foot tower, and deliberately sinking her own shrimp boat. 


Tuesday, May 11, 2010  

Bob talks with environmental writer Bill McKibben about his new book Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.  McKibben has been offering suggestions about how to avoid problems associated with climate change for more than two decades.  With climate change now upon us, McKibben’s new book lays out our limited choices to save our planet and ourselves.  Then, Dmitry Orlov grew up in Russia in the waning years of communism, attended high school in America, and regularly returned to Russia as it collapsed into debt.  Unfortunately, he sees an awful lot of similarities between the USSR and the USA and he talks about it in his new book Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010   

National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore has spent the last two decades taking pictures of North America’s endangered animals and plants. His new book titled, Rare: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species is intended to inform, caution, and inspire people to stem the decline of Earth’s biodiversity. An exhibit of Sartore’s photographs is on display at National Geographic Museum through October.  Then, philosophy in America is alive and well and slapped on the back of our cars.  In less than 140 characters, the humble bumper sticker has been a platform for a national conversation about the human condition.  Bob speaks with philosopher and water polo coach Jack Bowen about his new book If You Can Read This: The Philosophy of Bumper Stickers.


Thursday, May 13, 2010  

Yisrael Campbell was born in Philadelphia and grew up in a Catholic household. He was known as Christopher back then. As a teenager, he got hooked on drugs, and recovery led him not just to sobriety, but also to Judaism. Campbell became an actor and stand-up comic, touring with the Israeli-Palestinian Comedy Tour, which seeks to reduce tensions in the Holy Land. Campbell has a one-man show off-Broadway. It’s called Circumcise Me Then, singer-songwriter Dan Reeder’simagination, humor and honesty are what led John Prine to sign him to his label.  Reeder is known for his blunt lyrics about what irritates him in life.  His new CD titled This New Century is Reeder’s most polished effort, complete with his signature mix of multi-tracked harmonies with himself and played on homemade instruments.  Reeder is now on tour with John Prine.


Friday, May 14, 2010  

David Broder of The Washington Post joins Rebecca Roberts to talk politics.  Next, mystery pervades the career of singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen, the most successful artist that many Americans have never heard of.  He’s never had a song hit the Top 10 of a major chart, and yet he consistently plays sold-out shows for audiences that number in the thousands.  Bob sits down backstage at The Birchmere to talk with Keen about his life and career in music.  His latest CD is titled The Rose Hotel. Then, another installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.



Monday, May 17, 2010 


After retiring from 60 Minutes, Mike Wallace began speaking publicly about his struggles with depression. Wallace talks to Bob about the continuing stigma attached to mental illnesses. Then, one simple question sent journalist and running enthusiast Christopher McDougall across the globe: Why does my foot hurt?  In his quest, McDougall ran endurance races across America, visited science labs at Harvard, and spent time with a tribe in Mexico’s Copper Canyons, whose speed and health could match any Olympic marathoner.  McDougall’s book is titled Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.



Tuesday, May 18, 2010 


For three years, director Joe Berlinger gathered the footage for his documentary Crude.  In the classic battle between the haves and the have-nots, Crude examines both sides of the legal case known as the “Amazon Chernobyl.”  30,000 residents of the jungles of Ecuador claimed that the American oil giant Chevron contaminated an area roughly the size of Rhode Island, resulting in high levels of cancer, birth defects, and other health problems.  Then, ninety-percent of the world’s sewage is dumped - untreated - into oceans, rivers and lakes. Almost half of the world’s population has no access to a toilet.  Inadequate sanitation kills more people in developing nations than AIDS, tuberculosis, or malaria and dirty water remains the world’s number one health risk.  In her book, The Big Necessity, journalist Rose George argues that the way a society disposes of its sewage tells you a lot about its economy, politics and religion. 



 Wednesday, May 19, 2010  


Ross Donaldson is part of the team that is helping to re-build Iraq’s medical system.  His specialty is a relatively new and growing field at medical schools: humanitarian medicine.  In, The Lassa Ward: One Man’s Fight Against One of the World’s Deadliest Diseases Donaldson writes about researching — and catching a deadly disease in Sierra Leone.  Dr. Donaldson is also the author ofTarascon Medical Translation Handbook, a manual that helps healthcare workers communicate with their patients in 18 different languages.  Then, Bob speaks with classical pianist Leon Fleisher, who lost the use of his right hand to a neurological movement disorder.  An experimental treatment relieved his condition enough to allow him to perform two-handed once again on his CD The Journey. 



Thursday, May 20, 2010 


 Bob talks to nutrition writer Michael Pollan about his book, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.  Pollan is the author of New York Times bestsellers The Omnivore’s Dilemma and The Botany of Desire.



Friday, May 21, 2010 


David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics.  Next, The McCallen Building was the first LEED certified structure built in Boston.  To environmentalists, the green building methods are forward-thinking and socially responsible but the construction workers who actually put the place together didn’t see the point at first. The film The Greening of Southie documents the ascent of The McCallen Building, explains LEED certification and illuminates their specific building techniques.  The film is narrated by the building owner, architects, project managers…and most notably, the formerly skeptical construction workers. Filmmakers Curt Ellis & Ian Cheney join Bob to discuss their documentary and the green building movement in general. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with curator Dan Gediman about the essay of Maria von Trapp.  She was the mother of seven girls and three boys, known as the world famous Trapp Family Singers. The story of their flight from Austria during Nazi occupation became the basis for “The Sound of Music.” Trapp and her family settled in Vermont where they operated a lodge and music camp.



Monday, May 24, 2010  

Some worry the nation’s high court has shifted too far to the right and see the recent nomination of Elena Kagan as perpetuating that trend.  Bob hosts a roundtable discussion to talk not only about the Kagan nomination, but also more generally about how the court is shaping up ideologically, recent rulings of the Roberts court, and a bit about the lower Federal courts.  Dahlia Lithwick is a contributing editor atNewsweek and senior editor at Slate where she covers the Supreme Court.  Randy Barnett is a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and author of Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty.  Geoffrey Stone is a professor at the University of Chicago Law School and author of Top Secret: When Our Government Keeps Us in the Dark. 


Tuesday, May 25, 2010  

Mark Rothko was an abstract expressionist painter who pioneered the way for American artists.  He died tragically in 1970, leaving behind two children and hundreds of marked up pages in the form of a manuscript on his views on art.  Christopher Rothko talks about the book he and his sister eventually published The Artist’s Reality: Philosophies of Art, and the legacy of his father’s work.  Then, curator Harry Cooperwalks Bob through the new exhibit In the Tower: Mark Rothko at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Tower Gallery.  This is a rare chance to see Rothko’s 1964 black-on-black canvases that the artists created in conjunction with his work for the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas.  


Wednesday, May 26, 2010   

Writer Sue Miller is the best-selling author of While I Was Gone (1999), The Senator’s Wife (2008) and Inventing the Abbotts (1987). Her latest novel, Lake Shore Limited, is named after fictional playwright Billy Gertz’ masterpiece.  The play, which Gertz wrote after the September 11th attacks, is about waiting to hear from a loved one after a terrorist attack.  Then, in April, Bob went to New Orleans for the first weekend of the city’s annual Jazz and Heritage Festival. Today, we offer a sampling of the 12 interviews which range from up and coming locals like Stanton Moore and Trombone Shorty to established New Orleans royalty like Allen Toussaint and Irma Thomas to foreign musicians who came to visit and never left like Jon Cleary, Anders Osborne and Theresa Andersson.  We’ll bring you those interviews every Wednesday from now until the end of July - starting with Bob’s conversation with Dr. John backstage at the Jazz Fest’s Blues Tent.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Joe Solmonese, president of the gay rights advocacy organization Human Rights Campaign, joins Bob to talk about the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy and employee non-discrimination legislation making its way through Congress.  Then, on April 20th, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing eleven workers and threatening wildlife throughout the Gulf of Mexico.  Richard Charter is a Senior Policy Advisor for the Marine Programs at Defenders of Wildlife and he has more than 25 years of experience working on offshore drilling issues and oil spill crises.  Jacqueline Savitz is a Senior Marine Scientist for Oceana where she focuses on toxicology.  They’ll discuss the rules and regulations for maintaining an offshore oil rig, the ongoing recovery effort, and the impact of the leak on the environment.


Friday, May 28, 2010 

David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics.  Next, writer Dean King’s book Unbound A True Story of War, Love and Survival follows the story of 30 Chinese women who joined Mao Tse-tung’s Red Army in their 4,000 mile trek across mainland China.  These women fled their homes in search of a better life, and remarkably, all survived the grueling journey.  Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with curator Dan Gediman about the essay of Oscar Hammerstein II.  He wrote the book and lyrics for many operettas and musical comedies. He also wrote Show Boat with composer Jerome Kern. Later, with composer Richard Rodgers, Hammerstein wrote some of his greatest musicals, including Oklahoma!South PacificThe King and I, and The Sound of Music.


Monday, May 31, 2010 


On June 17, 1965, the first B-52 raids were launched against Viet Cong targets in South Vietnam.  Months later, Porter Halyburton was a Navy jet pilot shot down and taken prisoner of war.  He was presumed dead, his wife was notified, and they conducted a memorial service for him.  Meanwhile, he was held captive in the Hanoi Hilton and other North Vietnamese prisons for seven and a half years before his release.  He describes how he survived that torture.  Then, Bob speaks with sculptor Ed Hamilton from Louisville, KY. He has created many noted public installations, including the African American Civil War Memorial in Washington, DC, memorials to Joe Louis and Booker T. Washington, and a statue of York, the slave who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their expedition of the Louisiana Purchase. His autobiography is called The Birth of an Artist: A Journeyofcover