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September 2008


Monday, September 1, 2008

Bob talks to journalist Philip Dine about what happened to American organized labor and what can be done to restore its role as the defender of middle-class values and economic well being. Dine's new book is State of the Unions: How Labor Can Strengthen the Middle Class, Improve Our Economy, and Regain Political Influence. Then, he’s been a monk, a songwriter, and a poet. Bob speaks with singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen about his book of poetry called Book of Longing and a documentary entitled “Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man.” Cohen also talks about his newest collaboration, “Blue Alert,”with his one-time backup singer and lover, Anjani.



Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bob talks Memphis Music and radio with legendary music producer Jim Dickinson at his Zebra Ranch. Dickinson made his first record in 1958 and has worked with Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Jerry Wexler, and many other big names. Being out of the spotlight at his home studio in north Mississippi, where Bob visited him, is the place he says he is most comfortable producing records.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ruth Proskauer Smith turned 101 in August. She was one of the founders of what is now NARAL, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. However, when Smith began her advocacy in the 40’s, the goals were quite different. Bob visited her in her New York City apartment to talk about the changes she’s witnessed over the past century – from reproductive rights to her upper West side neighborhood. Then, Bob went to the lower East side to visit the Tenement Museum. The small one room apartments were home to families through the turn of the century – a time when immigrants sacrificed a life in Europe for opportunity in America. Those tenements symbolize the hardship immigrants underwent at that time, and strike easy comparison to immigration issues today.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Stanley Jordan is one of the 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.


Friday, September 5, 2008


Bob talks with XM's Rebecca Roberts from POTUS '08 (XM CHANNEL 130) about the Republican National Convention and the differences between John McCain's nomination acceptance speech and Barack Obama's, which he gave last week at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Then, Tia Lessin and Carl Deal were horrified by the destruction Hurricane Katrina brought to New Orleans. The filmmakers flew to Louisiana a week after the storm hit, with an idea of focusing on National Guardsmen. Then they met Kimberly Roberts and her husband Scott who were filming the hurricane on a secondhand camcorder. Lessin and Deal incorporate that raw footage -- documenting a frustrating wait for help -- into their new film, “Trouble the Water.” It is estimated that 19 million people in America struggle with depression and two-thirds never get help. Many of these individuals are young adults, living with haunting tales of self-injury that continuously go unnoticed. Finally, Bob talks with Jamie Tworkowski, Renee Yohee, and Josh Heartzler of the Florida-based non-profit organization To Write Love on Her Arms. They talk about their mission to present hope and find help for these young people struggling with problems such as depression, addiction, and suicide.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Bob talks politics with David Broder of The Washington Post. Then, the PBS documentary “Objects and Memory” examines the aftermath of 9/11 through World Trade Center relics and the significance they evoke.  Bob talks with filmmakerJonathan Fein, who also visited the site of the Oklahoma City bombing and the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial and explores the power and poignancy of objects retrieved from and left at those sites. We close the hour with a remembrance. On September 8, 1935, an unknown group called the "Hoboken Four" won first place on the Major Bowes' Amateur Hour, earning them a six month contract to perform on stage and radio across the United States.  Frank Sinatra was one of those four from New Jersey.  Shortly after that debut, the singer set out on his own and quickly gained popularity.  XM's Jonathan Schwartz talks about Sinatra's start and career in music which endured into the 90's.

 

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

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, in fact, she’s about to 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.

 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
 

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. He writes in the book that he sometimes finds life "an overrated way of spending time."  Later, Bob talks with Heidi Hyatt, wife of musician Walter Hyatt who died in a plane crash eight years ago.  During his lifetime Walter Hyatt was part of the Austin music scene and is credited with being the original Americana artist.  "Walter Hyatt: Some Unfinished Business, Volume One," is the first CD in a planned series of new works.

 

Thursday, September 11, 2008 

First-time filmmakers A.J. Ingoglia and Bob O'Reilly found inspiration in the experiences of their native Long Islanders after the World Trade Center's collapse on September 11, 2001.  Their short film titled “Paper Angels” offers a brief glimpse into the lives of two individuals brought together by the tragedy.

 

Friday, September 12, 2008

Satirical novelist Christopher Buckley comes in to chat about his latest novel Supreme Courtship, which takes on the most revered branch of our government.  Then, Bob speaks with actress Melissa Leo and director Courtney Hunt from the film "Frozen River."  The movie follows two women whose need for fast cash drives them to smuggle illegal immigrants across the frozen St. Lawrence River. The project started when Hunt read about northern American border smugglers who risk their lives to support their families.

Monday, September 15, 2008  

Bob talks politics with David Broder of The Washington Post . Then, Ed McClanahan has been a writer since the 1950s.  While a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, McClanahan became one of Ken Kesey's "Merry Pranksters."  He talks with Bob about his new book O the Clear Moment.  It's a collection of nine pieces of writing, most being published for the first time; taken together, they incorporate what McClanahan calls "an implied autobiography." 

 

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The average American uses 150 gallons of water per day. In the developing world, the average is five. Even then, the water is often contaminated: The United Nations estimates that dirty water is responsible for the deaths of 500 children each day. Water is 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.  Then, Bob talks with Joan Osborne for her new album, Little Wild One , in which she draws from two of her favorite poets, Walt Whitman and Alan Ginsberg. The album reunites Osborne with the team that worked on her debut album, Relish, which sold five-million copies and was nominated for six Grammys.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The hour begins with Rebecca Roberts from XM's POTUS '08 discussing the election. Then, Bob talks with 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 (1959), to his best known work Portnoy's Complaint (1969), to his more recent 'American Trilogy' which includes the books American PastoralI Married a Communist and The Human Stain.   His newest, Indignation , is Roth's twenty-ninth book. It's set during the second year of the Korean War and the narrator is Marcus Messner, a 19-year-old son of a Newark kosher butcher. 

 

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Millions of Americans are being affected by the current economic crisis and the government is stepping up in many ways but are they also letting some people off the hook? Bob talks with Harvard economist Richard Parker about the banruptcy of financial firm Lehman Brothers, the government's takeover of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and a report that states two-thirds of U.S.-based corporations did not pay taxes between 1998 and 2005

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 .

 

Friday, September 19, 2008

King Kaufman joins Bob to talk about the week in sport and, then, after 25 years 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 as Pizzarelli and his band play a compilation of their favorite Rogers' tunes.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Bob talks politics with David Broder of The Washington Post. Then, Jerry Jeff Walker was one of the pioneers of outlaw country or redneck rock, but if he ever fit into a mold—he’d break it. He talks with Bob about his memoir Gypsy Songman, which is what he also sometimes calls himself. Jerry Jeff is the man who wrote the classic tune, “Mr. Bojangles.”


Tuesday, September 23, 2008 

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.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008 

Isaias Perez was one of the 400 "illegal" immigrant workers arrested this year during the raid on a meatpacking plant in Iowa. Over and over again, Perez told his lawyer, "I'm illegal, I have no rights. I'm nobody in this country. Just do whatever you want with me." In his book, Illegal People, David Bacon tells Perez's story to illustrate how globalization is criminalizing immigrant workers. Then, Lila Downs didn't always appreciate her multi-cultural background. Her Irish-American father taught at the University of Minnesota, her mother is Mixtec Indian from Oaxaca, Mexico -- and for a while she rejected all of that to be a traveling "Deadhead." But through music, she embraced her Mexican heritage, now performing passionate songs in Spanish and English. In 2003, she was the first Latina to perform during an Academy Awards show with her Oscar-nominated song, "Burn It Blue," which was featured on the Frida soundtrack. She talks with Bob about her life, career and her most recent album titled Shake Away.


Thursday, September 25, 2008 

Bob talks with Rebecca Roberts of POTUS '08 about the latest news from the campaign trail. Then, New York Times reporter Sarah Lyall moved to London 15 years ago, sending back reports on her new countrymen's habits, national character, and eccentricities. She discusses with Bob what emerged from that trip, A Field Guide to the British: The Anglo Files, Lyall's essays on England's personality and the social changes that are altering this traditional nation.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Bob talks with director Spike Lee about his career and his latest film, Miracle at St. Anna.

Bob talks with Heidi Hyatt, the widow of musician Walter Hyatt, who was tragically killed in plane crash 8 years ago. During his lifetime the singer/songwriter was part of the Austin music scene and he is credited with being the original Americana artist. Heidi talks with Bob about Walter Hyatt: Some Unfinished Business, Volume One, the first in a series of new works by Hyatt.


Monday, September 29, 2008


Bob talks politics with David Broder of The Washington Post . Then, Alex Gibney is the director of Taxi to the Dark Sidewhich won a Peabody Award and this year's Oscar for Best Documentary. The film examines the fine line between interrogation and torture and tells the story of an innocent Afghan taxi driver who died after five days in US custody. Gibney originally spoke with Bob in January about the movie. On Monday,  Taxi to the Dark Side makes its television premiere on HBO. Alex Gibney returns to tell us what's changed in US interrogation policy since he made his film.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

In the early 1970s, a young writer named Paul Theroux traveled by train through Europe and Asia. The resulting book, TheGreat Railway Bazaar , launched Theroux's career and set a high standard for the modern travelogue. Theroux talks with Bob about why, more than 30 years -- and more than 30 books -- later, Theroux has made the trip again, searching for differences and similarities, both in himself and the many countries he visits. His book is Ghost Train to the Eastern Star .