Agent Orange has been called the most destructive instance of chemical warfare in modern history. Sad to say the US government has been instrumental in the awful deaths caused by Agent Orange both in Vietnam and the United States. A powerful new documentary, The People Vs. Agent Orange, depicts the horrific story but also the courageous action by two extraordinary women, Tran To Nga and Carol Van Strum, who fought and sacrificed so much to bring the guilty parties responsible to account.
I was happy to speak with the directors and producers of the film, Alan Adelson and Kate Taverna, and also with one of those extraordinary women, Carol Van Strum, on Arts Express.
The film, The People vs Agent Orange is broadcast on PBS starting 6/28/21 and can be streamed via the PBS streaming app until July 11.
Click the triangle or mp3 link above to hear our interview, as broadcast this week on Arts Express Pacifica stations across the nation, and later in the week on WBAI FM NY.
The Conductor is an excellent documentary film about Marin Alsop, who struggles against enormous odds to become the first female conductor of a major symphony orchestra in the US. It’s a wonderful story told by Director Bernadette Wegenstein, with a compelling theme about the world of high stakes musicianship, along with the high cost of success for a woman in that field.
Click the triangle or mp3 link above to hear my review, as broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI FM NY and Pacifica stations across the nation.
My younger brother, David, who has a large family, was telling me how he loves to give his family various games to play at the dinner table at family occasions. At one point he proposed the following–what are your top 50 song recordings of all time? Here’s the caveat though–only one song allowed per artist (though we agreed you may choose The Beatles and a separate John Lennon solo song, for example). David’s family answers were fun to hear about, because his children range from their early teens to thirty.
After telling me about some of his own picks, David asked me about mine. So I thought about it for quite a while, and then I wrote up this list. It was tough! Because at some point I realized that there were lots of songs that used to mean a lot to me, but I haven’t heard them in a while. And often there were artists who were important to me, but no single song stood out. Also you could get trapped within one genre of music and leave out others that you had forgotten about. So my criteria became this: What songs could I not live without at this point? What songs, if you told me I could never hear them again, would make me feel sad?
There’s only one cheat here–#6, because technically the song was recorded while George was a Beatle. But the song is so identified with George, that I think I should be allowed to get away with it. I notice in shame almost no song is from after the 70s! If you’re a regular reader here, you’ll probably recognize more than a few here. Feel free to contribute your own list.
In no particular order:
1. If You Could Read My Mind–Gordon Lightfoot
2. My Favorite Things–John Coltrane
3. Hey Jude–Beatles
4. Famous Blue Raincoat–Leonard Cohen
5. Suzanne–Judy Collins
6. While My Guitar Gently Weeps–George H.
7. Like A Rolling Stone–Dylan
8. All The Things You Are–Ella Fitzgerald
9. If I Loved You–Carousel
10. Pleasures of the Harbor–Phil Ochs
11. God Only Knows–The Beach Boys
12. Tell Her No–The Zombies
13. Billy Jean—Michael J.
15. Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying–Gerry and the Pacemakers
16. Runaround Sue–Dion
17. Stay–the original
18. The Weight–The Band
19. Dawn–The Four Seasons
20. Maria–West Side Story
21. If I had a Hammer–Pete Seeger or Peter Paul and Mary version
22. The Lion Sleeps Tonight–The Tokens
23. You Can’t Hurry Love–The Supremes
24. Good Morning Heartache–Billie Holiday
25. The Boxer–Simon and Garfunkel
26. Hearts and Bones–Paul Simon
27. 525,600 minutes–Rent
28. All I Want–Joni Mitchell
29. Reason to Believe–TIm Hardin
30. Maggie Mae–Rod Stewart
31. Killing Me Softly–Roberta Flack
32. The Harder They Come–Jimmy Cliff
33. Georgia–Ray Charles
34. You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling–The Righteous Brothers
35. A Change is Gonna Come–Sam Cooke
36. I Only Want To Be With You–Dusty Springfield
37. Summer’s End–John Prine
38. Stayin’ Alive–The Bee Gees
39. American Pie–Don McLean
41. Take Five–Dave Brubeck
42. Rhapsody in Blue–Gershwin
43. Midnight Train to Georgia–Gladys Knight and the Pips
44. Sweet Dreams are Made of This–Eurythmics
45. I Will Survive–Gloria Gaynor
46. It’s Too Late, Baby–Carole King
47. Compared to What–Eddie Harris/Les McCann
48. Doctor My Eyes–Jackson Browne
49. Sweet Baby James–James Taylor
50. Do You Know The Way To San Jose?–Dionne Warwick
“Why I came here? Start the machine. I’ll tell you everything…Because the olive trees were bare, because the date trees gave no fruit…”
For the week of Father’s Day, A Fathers Day Fatherly Story. Performed by myself and Linda Shalom, as adapted from my novel, The New World, which begins with a Syrian-Jewish immigrant’s journey to this country at the turn of the 20th century.
Click the triangle or mp3 link above to hear our tale, as broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI FM NY and Pacifica stations across the nation.
Here’s Part Two of our Mark Harris interview about his wonderful new biography called Mike Nichols: A Life. In this part we focused on the director’s eclectic and fabled film career, including Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,The Graduate and Angels in America.
Click the triangle or mp3 link above to hear part one of the interview Mark gave on Arts Express, as broadcast yesterday on WBAI FM NY and Pacifica stations across the nation.
Monday morning, Brooklyn’s own The Five Discs with John Carbone on lead. While they never had any big commercial successes, this once inter-racial group was recognized by other Doo-Woopers as one of the great purveyors of that kind of song.