Daodejing

Any course can be taken
as the right course to take,
but no course like that
can be the course taken always.

Any name can be named
to determine what is or should be,
but no name like that
can be what determines them always

Those are the opening lines of one of the oldest pieces of literature known, the Tao Te Ching. Aside from the Bible, it is also probably the most translated piece of literature known, written in about 400BC. Now, in a new translation by Brook Ziporyn transliterated as the Daodejing, English readers can get some new insight into this provocative and ambiguous classic, which I’ll be reading from.

If you’ve never encountered the Daodejing, you may be startled by its startling modern dialectical approach to life. This new translation with be published this January by Liveright Publishing; you can find more info here.

Click on the triangle or the mp3 link above to hear the reading as heard today on the Arts Express radio show broadcast today on WBAI FM NY and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

And for our NY friends–we’re on at a new time on WBAI FM: Wednesdays, 9pm.

Julian Assange In His Own Words

Julian Assange, the most important news publisher of our time, is unjustly imprisoned in Belmarsh Prison in England, with the threat of extradition to the US hanging over him. He is charged with violations of the Espionage Act, for publishing the truth about US war crimes. Prosecution under that act will gag him from talking in court about the very war crimes he revealed in secret documents.

There has been a global outcry at Assange’s imprisonment. Recently, Karen Sharpe has edited a book for the publisher OR Books consisting of quotes from Julian Assange’s speeches and writings called Julian Assange In His Own Words. With permission of the publisher, we present to you a reading from the book by some of our radio friends inspired by Assange’s courageous acts. It is critical that Assange’s words and ideas not be silenced; only massive public protest can hope to free him.

And so, now, with the help of our radio friends, Julian Assange In His Own Words.

Click on the grey triangle or mp3 link to hear the segment as broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

Leaving WWII Behind: David Swanson

As wars rage all around us, one war, WW II, still stands as the exemplar for the Good War. But is that a useful or accurate designation? And if not, why does that view still have such an outsized influence in the national discourse? I spoke with David Swanson who has written a book called Leaving World War II Behind which challenges the notion of WWII as the Good War.

Click on the grey triangle or mp3 link above to hear my interview with David Swanson on the Arts Express radio program on Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

A Public Service: A Guide For Whistleblowers

Fewer than 10 years ago, former NSA employee Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the US government’s illegal, unconstitutional, worldwide warrantless surveillance. Throughout history, brave whistleblowers have risked their lives and livelihoods for what they considered the greater good. But what is the cost these whistle blowers pay, and more importantly, how do the successful whistleblowers succeed?

I was happy to talk with author Tim Schwartz who has written a how-to guide for would-be whistle-blowers, uncovering many of the traps and missteps one can fall into, A Public Service: Whistleblowing, Disclosure, and Anonymity.

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the conversation with Tim Schwartz as broadcast today on the Arts Express program on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

Fighting Times

As corporations are making record profits, workers are being squeezed more than ever. But workers are fighting back in surprising ways. Jon Melrod, has been involved as hell raiser and union organizer for decades, ever since his groundbreaking union organizing on the shop floor for the United Auto Workers in the 70s and 1980s. He’s now written a rip-roaring memoir called Fighting Times: Organizing on the Front Lines of the Class War about his fight to make workers lives better, and I was happy to get the chance to interview him.

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear my interview with Jon Melrod, as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

June Magazine Jewels

June is Busting Out All Over! This month:

** Castro’s Spies: Director Gary Lennon phones in from Dublin to talk about his documentary depicting the heroic undercover Cubans infiltrating Miami, known as the Cuban Five.

** Decolonizing Museums: A review of the new book by Shimrit Lee on the service of museums to imperialism

** Lost People, Places and Spaces: Dennis Broe on the international crime novel writing festival in Lyons

and more!!

View online here: June 2022 Arts Express Magazine

Decolonize Museums

A memorable day in any big city child’s upbringing is when they first enter a large museum and experience the wonders of a giant dinosaur, skeleton, or an ancient mummy. But in a new book, Decolonize Museums, our guest Shimrit Lee suggests that maybe museums are not as innocent as they seem…

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear my interview with Shimrit Lee as broadcast today on the Arts Express program on WBAI and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

“A Spectre is Haunting Europe…”

It’s May, and May brings up thoughts of Mayday and revolution and Karl Marx’s birthday, May 5,1818, so I thought it might be worthwhile to read from the surprisingly readable Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels.

Click on the grey triangle or mp3 link above to hear the reading as broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the country.

The Silk Stocking Sisters

In 1954, the Supreme Court issued their ruling on Brown vs. Board of Education, which was supposed to end segregation in US public schools. While that struggle was most visible in the South, it was occurring in different ways up North. In her book, Desegregation of the New York City Schools: A Story of The Silk Stocking Sisters, author Dr. Theresa Canada was part of a desegregation experiment herself as a student in NYC in the early 1960s.Through her own example and the oral histories of others, A Story of The Silk Stocking Sisters provides insight into the slow process of desegregation and eventual re-segregation within the New York City Public Schools during that time and the lessons learned. I was happy to speak with Dr. Theresa Canada about her experiences.

Click on the grey triangle or mp3 link above to listen to my interview with Dr. Theresa Canada as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica stations across the nation.

The Price of Immortality

Some people seek immortality through fame, but others want physical-body-forever immortality. A new book, The Price of Immortality, explores the numerous paths that people have sought to extend their lives—and the hucksters and scam artists who have taken advantage of them. I was happy to have as my guest, the author of The Price of Immortality, Peter Ward.

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear my interview with Peter Ward, as broadcast today on Arts Express radio, heard on WBAI FM and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

Ballad Of An American: The Autobiography of Earl Robinson

Earl Robinson may not be so well known nowadays as he once was, but in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, a huge number of Americans knew his music. He was the composer of “The House I Live In,” “Joe Hill,” “Ballad for Americans,” and many others. Singers of his works included Paul Robeson, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Joan Baez, and Three Dog Night. His music crossed the boundaries of folk, Broadway musical, classical, and even rock. Throughout his life he was driven by a need to improve working people’s lives, and he was a longtime member of the Communist Party, which resulted in his being called before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. His autobiography, Ballad of an American, written in collaboration with author Eric Gordon, was released in 1998, and has been out of print. Now it is being re-released, and we are happy to bring you, through the permission of Eric Gordon, this extract from the book, where we enact, in Earl’s words, his tangle with the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.

Click on the triangle above to hear the reading as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI-FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the country.

War Is A Racket

Wherein your correspondent reads from the classic anti-war book by America’s most decorated soldier, US Marine Major General Smedley Butler.

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer; a gangster for capitalism…”

Click on the gray triangle or mp3 link above to hear War is A Racket as broadcast today on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

Border Crossings

A while ago we brought you an excerpt from Manuel Tiago’s The 3rd Floor, stories of the Portuguese Communist resistance under fascism. Now Eric Gordon has translated into English another book of Tiago’s called Border Crossings, a collection of short stories about the everyday lives of those who worked for the party resistance and had to flee from town to town and country to country as they carried out their assignments.

Tiago, whose real name was Álvaro Cunhal, based these stories on his longtime experiences in the Portuguese Communist Party. As Eric Gordon writes in his introduction, “One theme that pops up in story after story here is that of communication, cooperation and collaboration. No one makes these journeys alone. They are aided by a global support system that recognized the critical importance of these crossings.”

I would add that these stories taken as a whole add up to a three dimensional portrait of ordinary people doing heroic things in extraordinary times.

Here’s one story from Border Crossings called “Women over the Soajo.”

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the story as broadcast today on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica stations across the nation.

“They’re Worse Than You Thought And More Evil Than You Thought”

Alessandro Delfanti’s new book about Amazon is an excellent primer. Here’s the short version: the situation is worse than you probably thought, Amazon is more dangerous than you thought and they’re certainly more evil than you thought. But other than that…

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear my review of the book as broadcast today on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica stations across the nation.

The Quiet Zone

Green Bank, West Virginia is a remote community with a claim to being the quietest town in America. Cell phone, WiFi and other electronic noise are tightly monitored. But when journalist Stephen Kurczy took a deep dive into the apparently sleepy town, he found a Twin Peaks-style stew of surveillance, Nazis, forbidding caves, murder and suicide. I was happy to talk with Steve about his new book detailing all this and more, The Quiet Zone.

Click the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the interview, as broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI FM NYC, and Pacifica stations across the country.

The Joy of Sweat!

It’s the dog days of summer and wherever there are men and women, there’s sweat. Canadian science journalist and teacher, author Sarah Everts, has taken a deep dive–ahem–into that pool of sweat, telling us everything we wanted to know about it in her new book, The Joy of Sweat.

Click the triangle or mp3 link above to hear my interview with Sarah, as broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI FM NYC, and Pacifica stations across the country.

The Voyage

“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.

Mike Nichols, A Life: Part Two

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.

Part One is here:

Mike Nichols, A Life by Mark Harris: Part One

The Graduate, Angels in America, The Odd Couple, Barefoot in the Park, The Gin Game, Hurley Burley, Silkwood, Postcards From The Edge, Heartburn, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Streamers, The Real Thing, Spamalot, Working Girl and more were all directed by the same man–Mike Nichols. In a career that spanned over fifty years simultaneously in both film and theater, Mike Nichols proved that he was one of America’s best directors. Now Mark Harris has written a comprehensive new biography of Nichols, which provides great insight into Nichols’ life and career. I had the pleasure of having a very enjoyable conversation with Mark about Nichols, who Mark knew well.

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.

Part Two is here:

Every Body is Everybody: Part One

Everybody has a body and Everybody is the name of a new book by art and social critic Olivia Laing, which takes off from the ideas of Wilhelm Reich. It’s a  book about bodies in peril and bodies as a force for change and what are the limits of pleasure and freedom.

I had a fascinating conversation with Olivia about her book. Click on the grey triangle or mp3 link above to hear Part One of our conversation, as broadcast today on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

Part Two is here: https://jackshalom.net/2021/05/16/everybody-by-olivia-laing-part-two/

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo: The Last Interview And Other Conversations is a new collection of several of Kahlo’s magazine and newspaper interviews. As a bonus, art historian, critic and author Hayden Herrera provides within an excellent introduction to the life and work of the extraordinary Mexican artist and activist. I was happy to interview Hayden for Arts Express.

To listen, click on the triangle or mp3 link above and listen to the interview as broadcast today on WBAI FM radio and Pacifica stations across the country.

The Lost Family: How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are: Part Two

Last week we brought you Part One of our interview with journalist Libby Copeland, author of The Lost Family: How DNA Testing has Upended Who We Are. We spoke about how the DNA tests offered by companies such as Ancestry and 23and me can have unintended consequences when people thought to be close biological relatives turn out to be no such thing. This week in Part Two we turn our attention to the larger societal issues including surveillance and privacy of genetic data.

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear Part Two of my interview with Libby Copeland, as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

Part One can heard here:

The Lost Family: Part One

With TV shows like Henry Louis Gates’ Finding Your Roots, and aggressive advertising of DNA testing by companies like Ancestry.Com, millions have spit into a tube to find the names of their particular ancestors and relatives, and more generally to confirm their ethnic heritage. But these appealing tests have some far-reaching consequences that most of us have not even considered. Award-winning Washington Post reporter Libby Copeland has written about the unforeseen consequences of these genetic tests in a beautifully structured and comprehensive book called The Lost Family: How DNA is Upending Who You Are.

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear Part One of my interview with Libby Copeland as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

Part two is here:

“How To Make A Million Dollars”

Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock was sometimes called “The Canadian Mark Twain.” Unlike Twain, he was a staunch conservative, but that didn’t stop him from launching humorous attacks on the parasitical millionaires with whom he came into contact. Here’s a short story of his I performed called “How to Make a Million Dollars.”

To listen to the story as broadcast today on Arts Express radio on WBAI-FM and Pacifica stations across the nation, click on the triangle or mp3 link above.

AMORALMAN: A True Story And Other Lies

Derek DelGaudio, whose theater piece, In & Of Itself was an unlikely hit, has turned that audience-centric play into a film with the help of director Frank Oz. DelGaudio has just published a memoir of his life as a card mechanic, called AMORALMAN: A True Story and Other Lies and it continues with DelGaudio’s obsession with identity and reality.

Click the triangle or MP3 link above to hear my commentary on both the film In & Of Itself and AMORALMAN, as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI-FM NY and Pacifica affiliates across the country.