Before there was Covid, before there was Swine flu, there was a then mysterious sickness called Lyme disease. When Lyme disease was first identified in 1975, little did the medical community suspect that soon Lyme disease would become the center of one of the most controversial, divisive, and vicious medical debates in medicine today. A new film called The Quiet Epidemic explores that controversy by focusing on one young girl from Brooklyn and a doctor who refuse to abide by the conventional medical wisdom. I talked with the directors of The Quiet Epidemic, Lindsay Keys and Winslow Crane-Murdoch, for Arts Express radio.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the inteview as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio show on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the country.
What does it take for a writer/actress to perform a play she’s written about prisons, at a prison? And in particular, at one of the most notorious prisons in the country, Angola, the Louisiana State Penitentiary, America’s largest prison-plantation. A new documentary about that performance and its aftermath, titled Angola Do You Hear Us?, has been shortlisted for the Oscar for Documentary Short Subject. I was happy to speak with the director of the film, Cinque Northern, and the playwright/performer, Liza Jessie Peterson.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the interview as broadcast on the Arts Express radio program today, aired on WBAI -FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
Why would a man shoot himself in the chest 192 times? In a country that worships guns, explosives, and comic book super heroes, what kind of stories move product? And finally in a country that professes to be deeply Christian and compassionate is there a second chance for all of us—even the worst among us? All this and more are explored in a really intriguing documentary called 2nd Chance. I was happy to talk to the director of 2nd Chance, Ramin Bahrani.
To hear the interview as broadcast today on the Arts Express program on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation, click on the triangle or mp3 link above.
Well time flies when you’re having fun, and here we are at the 8th iteration of the Shalblog Industries® (division of Axlotl International) daily blog anniversary. As is our wont on such occasions (and who wouldn’t want to wont on such an occasion?) herewith a list of some of our favorite radio work of the past year that you may have missed.
The twists and turns of the last three years add up to several lifetimes. But somehow, with all of Covid’s initial attendant panic, fear and isolation, and the major film studios shut down, filmmaker and writer Peter Hedges decided to make a film during the very heart of the pandemic. The result was a unique film project called The Same Storm, the interlocking stories of some two dozen characters facing life as the world turned upside down. I was very happy to be talking with the creator of TheSame Storm, Peter Hedges.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear my interview with director Peter Hedges as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI-FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
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.
** Fighting Times: Organizing on the Front Lines of the Class War: a special extended conversation with veteran union UAW organizer and hellraiser, Jon Melrod
**Little Amal Comes to Brooklyn: Little Amal is a 10-year-old refugee from Syria. She is also a 12-foot puppet who has traveled 5,000 miles across Turkey and Europe and now to Brooklyn, in search of her mother. A photo essay.
** Dennis Broe on Robert Colescott’s Anti-Racist, Anti-Imperialist paintings
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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.
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.
In 1995, the students of a secondary school in Scotland, found out they were the victims of a hoax. Their popular student companion of the previous year, Brandon Lee, turned out not to be who he seemed to be, but an imposter. Now, one of those school students, Jono McLeod, who grew up to be a filmmaker, has made a film that takes that shaggy dog story further yet, as Jono and his former school companions investigate the effect that the student they knew as Brandon Lee had on all of them. And in a virtuoso turn, Alan Cumming plays the camera-shy Brandon.
I was very happy to interview the director of the film, My Old School, Jono McLeod, and its star, Alan Cumming, for Arts Express radio heard on WBAI-FM NYC and Pacifica stations across the nation.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the interview as broadcast today
For decade after decade, musician and composer Paul Winter has been making beautiful music, blending the sounds of the earth and nature with his signature soprano saxophone. In an extraordinary life filled with adventure and achievement, he has won seven Grammy awards, played for the Kennedys at the White House, and he has been artist in residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City for forty years–and that’s just scratching the surface. I was happy to interview Paul Winter for the Arts Express radio program.
Click on the triangle or MP3 link above to hear the interview with Paul Winter as broadcast on Arts Express on WBAI-FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
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.
I interviewed the great world musician Paul Winter last week, and the conversation took a side turn to Paul talking about his collaborations with his friend, the high wire artist, Phillipe Petit. They are both artists in residence at the Cathedral of St John the Divine in NYC. I had to cut this part from the edited interview, but I thought readers of this blog might enjoy hearing Paul Winter’s thoughts about Petit.
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.
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 ThePrice 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.
Imagine a world where meat is produced from animal cells rather than a slaughter house. Dr. Uma Valeti, the co-founder and CEO of Upside Foods claims such a world is now within reach. A new film documentary, Meat the Future—that’s meat spelled M-E-A-T–follows Dr. Valeti over a five-year period as he attempts to make his dream a reality. From the world’s first cell-based meatball which cost $18,000 per pound to the establishment of a growing industry, Meat the Future presents a different kind of meat-eating future. I was happy to have as my guest on Arts Express, Meat the Future’s director, Liz Marshall.
Click on the triangle above to hear my interview with director Liz Marshall, as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI FM NY and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
In 2002 a Mauritanian engineer named Mohamedou Slahi was bundled onto a military transport plane and imprisoned by the US at Guantanamo for 14 years enduring years of physical and psychological torture. He wrote a book about it while he was in there that eventually got made into a film called The Mauritanian. But after the film’s release, journalist John Goetz found himself enlisted by Slahi on an obsessive mission that Goetz could never have predicted. Goetz documents his journey with Slahi in a new film called Guantanamo Diary Revisited. I was very happy to speak with Goetz about his new film.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the interview with John Goetz as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica stations across the nation.
Amiri Baraka was an internationally known poet, playwright, political activist and theorist. But as prolific and influential as he was, the rest of his family, including his wife Amina and children Ras and Middy, are just as special. A recent documentary called Why is We Americans provides a portrait of the Baraka family and how they helped shape modern Newark, NJ, the nation, politics, arts and subsequent generations. I was happy to talk with the directors of the film, Why is We Americans, Udi Aloni and Ayanna Morris, and also one of the subjects of Why is We Americans, Amiri Baraka Jr, known as Middy.
Click on the grey triangle or MP3 link above to hear the interview as broadcast recently on Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
When I was a child, my father took me to a Shangri-la. A beautiful high-ceiling building filled with people sitting at tables; the walls were made up of scores of little windowed cabinets filled with slices of lemon meringue pie, or coconut crème pie, or bean soup or dozens of other treats. And if you put your nickels into the magic slot, the window popped open and it all could be yours. Of course, I’m talking about the Automat. I was happy to speak with Lisa Hurwitz who has made a nostalgia-filled film documentary called The Automat.
Click on the gray triangle or mp3 link above to hear the discussion of The Automat with director Lisa Hurwitz, as broadcast today on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
If you’re not totally glued to your computer email 24/7 you may have noticed that the US Postal Service mail delivery has been getting more and more chaotic and sporadic over the last few decades. Filmmaker Jay Galione has come out with a documentary film that helps to unravel the labor battleground that is the US Postal Service in a deeply personal film, The Great Postal Heist. I was happy to interview Jay for Arts Express radio.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the interview as broadcast today on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica stations across the nation.
There’s a long history of actors and variety performers who have had their first taste of theater with a basement childhood puppet stage. But actor Robert Brock of Lancaster PA was determined to make good on his childhood dream of building a marionette theater for the public and living in an apartment upstairs. Now in a new documentary, director Alexander Monelli brings to life the joys and woes of Robert’s single-minded adult pursuit of his childhood dream in Monelli’s new film Marionette Land.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the interview with Alexander Monelli, as broadcast yesterday on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica stations across the nation.