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Bob Elsewhere

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November 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Next, everyone’s favorite “little orchestra” is back with a new album of jazz standards from all over the world.  Pink Martini’s Get Happy features guest artists who include comedian Phyllis Diller, Rufus Wainwright, and NPR White House correspondent Ari Shapiro. Shapiro and Pink Martini band leader Thomas Lauderdale talk with Bob about their new album and collaboration.  Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Stanley Jordan possesses a generous soul, a brilliant mind, and two of the most skilled hands to ever touch a guitar.  For the last thirty years, the Princeton graduate has toured the world, thrilling crowds at every stop.  In addition to writing original compositions, Jordan is known for his innovative arrangements of pop tunes, often performing on two guitars at once, or with one hand playing guitar and the other piano, switching when necessary.  Five years ago, he wowed Bob with songs from his album, State of Nature, and now he’s back with a new release, Friends, featuring collaborations with Regina Carter, Bucky Pizzarelli and Christian McBride among others. 


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

It’s been more than twenty years since Scott Turow helped invent the legal thriller genre with his #1 bestseller, Presumed Innocent.  That book sold more than 6 ½ million copies and was on The New York Times bestseller list for 45 weeks.  Turow has remained a practicing lawyer over the years and has been very active in capital punishment reform in Illinois.  Now he’s releasing his newest suspense novel,Identical, which is loosely based on the myth of Castor and Pollux, the twin sons (one mortal and one immortal) of Zeus.  Then, like most things in our post-modern world, masculinity is being deconstructed.  Author and poet Carlos Andrés Gómez takes a hammer to the gendered notion in his memoir MAN UP: Cracking the Code of Modern Manhood.  Gómez talks to Bob about integrity, honor, and some other fractured nouns.  His book is now available in paperback.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pulitzer-Prize winning author Jared Diamond talks to Bob about his 48 years in Papua New Guinea, his interest in tribal culture, and his book The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn From Traditional Societies? It’s now available in paperback. Then, Jen Chapin is the daughter of the much-beloved folk legend Harry Chapin.  She’s also an acclaimed singer-songwriter in her own right, and has inherited her father’s knack for storytelling.  Chapin joins Bob in the performance studio to play tunes from her new album, Reckoning, which is drawing comparisons from Ani DiFranco to Joni Mitchell. 


Thursday, November 7, 2013

As a new American citizen, historian and best-selling author Simon Winchester burrowed into his adopted country’s history of unity for his new book The Men Who United the States: America’s Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics, and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible.  Then, internationally-known pianistHelene Grimaud becomes the first woman of this century to record the Brahms Piano Concertos, otherwise known as the “Mt. Everest” of piano works, with her new album Helene Grimaud: Brahms Concertos.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Next, the muddy Mississippi splits the United States in two, but it also helped make the country what it is today. From its role in the fur trade, to the French and Indian War to the Louisiana Purchase and beyond, the Mississippi, and the rivers that feed into it, have had an undeniable effect on our commerce and culture. Paul Schneider details the history of the Mississippi in the new book, Old Man River.  Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Dominic Fredianelli signed up for the National Guard after graduating high school, not so much out of a sense of patriotism, but because it seemed like the best opportunity around: one weekend of training a month, a $20,000 signing bonus, and much-needed college tuition support. Soon, 10 of Dominic’s friends also joined up. Heather Courtney’s film Where Soldiers Come From follows the effect one National Guard Unit’s Deployment has on this group of lifelong friends and the town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that they leave behind.  Next, Jan Scruggs is the Founder and President of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.  He’ll discuss the significance of the memorial, a book about it, Dreams Unfulfilled: Stories of the Men and Women on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the future “Education Center at the Wall.” Then, Linda Schwartz is the commissioner of the Connecticut State Department of Veterans Affairs and is leading the effort in that state to collect photos of all their Vietnam veterans to include in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Education Center in Washington, DC.  She’s a Vietnam veteran herself and will discuss the value of matching a face with a name, and of preserving their stories.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Scott Elliott talks to Bob about his second novel Temple Grove, which is the setting on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula where an environmentalist is trying to save the ancient Douglas firs from logging.  Elliott is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing and English at Whitman College.  Then, brothers David and Joe Henry examine the life of comedian Richard Pryor in their book Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

This week, 3 journalists from a now defunct Rupert Murdoch tabloid plead guilty to phone hacking charges.  The scandal had the potential to end the media tycoon, but Murdoch survived and continues to rule a multimedia empire that largely spews phony populism to serve a wealthy elite.  NPR’s media correspondent David Folkenflick takes an in-depth look into the media mogul’s life, business and scandals with his new book, Murdoch’s World: The Last of the Old Media Empires. Then, Paul Schomer of the blog is back to share some of his new music discoveries with us. We’ll get lost in Belgian Fog, hear about a tribute album to Sparklehorse, check in with The Shore - a Brit pop band with staying power, hear from New England’s Clara Berry and Woodlog…and check out a new Chicago band called Slow, Pioneers!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bob talks with former astronaut Chris Hadfield about a few of his 4,000 hours spent in space, and about his new book An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything.  Earlier this year while aboard the International Space Station, Hadfield attracted the world’s attention when he released a series of photos and educational videos about life in space. His version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” received over 10 million views in its first three days online.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Next, award-winning director Alex Gibney returns to discuss his latest documentary.  Since the story changed so drastically from the time he began the project, Gibney has been working on this one, then re-working it, for years now. The Armstrong Lie explores the rise AND fall of cancer survivor and 7-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. Gibney set out to chronicle Armstrong’s 2009 comeback at the world’s most famous cycling event but instead he captured an insider’s view as a racing legend collapsed.  Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Writer Chris West is best known for his China Quartet, a crime series set in contemporary China.  He turns his attention closer to home with his latest book A History of Britain in Thirty-Six Postage Stamps.  Then, Bob talks with Jimmy Carter and other members of The Blind Boys of Alabama about the Grammy-winning gospel group’s new album called I’ll Find a Way. It was produced by Justin Vernon of the indie folk group Bon Iver and features guest appearances by a new generation of fans of the Blind Boys.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Writer Stephan Talty’s (Agent Garbo) new book, The Secret Agent: In Search of America’s Greatest World War II Spy, tells the story of wealthy oil man Eric Erickson, who spied against the Nazis, won the Medal of Freedom, and saving thousands of Allied lives.  Then, former Poet Laureate Billy Collins is out with his first volume of new and selected poetry in twelve years. Aimless Love includes fifty new poems that touch on themes of love, loss, joy and poetry itself.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

 What if John F. Kennedy had taken the advice of some of his aids and left the top of his car on that fateful day in Dallas fifty years ago?  Journalist Jeff Greenfield explores how America and the world might have been different in his new book If Kennedy Lived.  Then, a capella group Pentatonix won season three of NBC’s The Sing-Off then released its first album in 2012. Since, the quintet has received over ten million YouTube hits and is ready to release another album. Vocalists Avi Kaplan and Kevin Olusola join Bob to discuss their sophomore album PTX Volume 2. 


Thursday, November 21, 2013

English writer, adventurer, historian, and traveler Patrick Leigh Fermor gained early notoriety for his war-time exploits in Greece, and later became known as the author of a 20th century’s travel classic.   A Time of Gifts details Fermor’s walk from Amsterdam to Istanbul in the 1930s and is one of the events featured inArtemis Cooper’s new biography Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure. Then, President John F. Kennedy is remembered by author Thurston Clarke, reporter Bob Schieffer and former White House adviser Lee White.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Then, Long-time PBS newsman Jim Lehrer has penned a novel rooted in one of American history’s great “what ifs.”  TOP DOWN: A Novel of the Kennedy Assassination tells the story of two men haunted by their role in the events leading up to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.

Monday, November 25, 2013:

 Actor and comedian Steve Coogan is best-known in his native Britain as his alter ego Alan Partridge, a satirical TV and radio presenter.  Coogan switched gears for his latest film, Philomenia, a drama co-staring Judi Dench.  Coogan plays a journalist who follows the story of a woman’s (Dench) search for her long-lost son.  Then, for the past 31 years, NPR listeners have heard Frank Tavares tell them that “support for NPR comes from…”  As his time as the “voice of NPR” comes to a close, Tavares tell Bob about his years behind the mic.  Tavares is also a professor of communication at Southern Connecticut State University and most recently, the author of a book of short stories, The Man Who Built Boxes and Other Stories.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ann Patchett is a best-selling novelist and the owner of an independent book store in Nashville.  All she’s ever wanted to do with her life is get paid to write fiction, but early in her career, that wasn’t a recipe for financial stability.  Instead, she wrote essays. Lots and lots of essays. They appeared in a range of publications from The Atlantic to Outside, and her new book, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, collects twenty-two of them. Taken together, they chronicle her path from a struggling young artist to a confident writer.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

On what would have been Albert Camus’s 100th birthday comes a book exploring the relationship between the famous philosopher and the French biologist Jacques Monod, a friendship that in many ways mirrors the relationship between religion and science. Camus and Monod both joined the French Resistance to help liberate their country from the Nazis. But after the war, each man took a very different path to try to make sense of the cruelty, death, and destruction they had seen. Brave Genius: A Scientist, a Philosopher, and Their Daring Adventures from the French Resistance to the Nobel Prize is authored by Dr. Sean Carroll, an internationally scientists who currently heads the Department of Science Education of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and is Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Wisconsin.  Then, Jean Grae is one of the few women in hip hop.  The South African born, New York raised emcee started her career in the 90’s and has since chartered a course in music that counters today’s popular twerking-Barbie aesthetic. Part of Grae’s popularity is her unconventional approach to dating, gender, race… Not to mention her lyrical skill, sharp wit, and aggressive technique rivals many of the übermasculine head knockers in her cypher. Grae’s been on hiatus for a number of years, for a number of reasons. She joins Bob to talk about her time off, her desires for marriage and a Grammy, and her latest creative iteration, an album in three cycles: Gotham Down Cycle 1: Love in Infinity, Gotham Down Cycle 2: Leviathan, Gotham Down Cycle 3: The Artemis Epoch.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

On this Thanksgiving Day we dip into our archive to bring back two of Bob’s interviews.  First, English writer, actor, and comedian Stephen Fry traveled across the United States in a black London cab, visiting all 50 states to experience first-hand what makes America unique.  Fry stopped in Georgia for Thanksgiving, marched in a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, learned how to pick a banjo with hillbillies, and palled around with Ted Turner on his Montana ranch.  Fry’s book is appropriately titled,Stephen Fry in America: Fifty States and the Man Who Set Out to See Them All.  Then, Bob talks with one of public radio’s favorite personalities. In the early 1970’s, Susan Stamberg was one of the first producers hired by the fledgling National Public Radio and later she became the first woman to anchor its nightly news program, All Things Considered. Bob talks with Stamberg about her experience as a radio pioneer, what she feels makes a great interview and the true story behind her mother-in-law’s Thanksgiving cranberry relish.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Then, Cuban-born world-class percussionist Pedrito Martinez immigrated to the United States and began his breakthrough by winning the 2000 Thelonious Monk Internationa Afro-Latin Jazz Hand Drum Competition.  After performing in groups such as Yerba Buena, his own band Pedrito Martinez Group is gaining worldwide acclaim and touring in support of their self-titled album.  Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.