There have been many enjoyable memoirs about an actor’s life in theater and film– the autobiographies of Laurence Olivier and Marlon Brando come to mind–but one of my favorites is David Hare’s Acting Up. The British-born David Hare is not a professional actor, but rather an acclaimed playwright and director who talked himself into taking the main–and only–role in his play Via Dolorosa. He kept a diary of his rehearsals and performances, and published it. Here’s a radio piece I did recently, expanding on a brief essay I had written previously.
Click the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the piece, as broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI FM NYC, and Pacifica stations across the country.
If ever there was an immortal movie monster, it was Frankenstein, or more correctly Frankenstein’s monster. And of course the role of the monster was originally played by Boris Karloff who starred in scores of horror films. A new film documentary, Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster explores just who this amazing actor was. I was happy to interview filmmakers Thomas Hamilton and Ron MacCloskey about Karloff and their film.
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.
More and more today’s world is looking Kafkaesque, so I thought this week we’d go back to the original. The Franz Kafka’s short story, “A Hunger Artist,” was published in final form in 1924. In it, Kafka tells a tale that almost any artist today can identify with. Kafka edited the story on his death bed as he lay dying from tuberculosis at the age of 40.
Click on the grey triangle or mp3 link above to hear the story, which I adapted and performed, broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the country.
This September we celebrate the birthday of author Sarah Jewett, who was born September 3rd, 1849. Her short stories and poetry were infused with local color and country life, but there are deeper themes running through her work as well: feminist critics have championed her writing for its rich account of women’s lives and voices, and ecologically minded critics have praised her works for her deep love of the natural world.
I adapted and performed on the radio one of her most famous stories, “A White Heron,” in which a young girl has to decide what’s most important to her in life.
Click on the grey triangle or mp3 link above to hear the story as broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the country.
We were happy to bring on a new contributor to Arts Express radio, storyteller David Lepelstat. David is a storyteller who has appeared twice on The Moth Radio Hour podcast telling original stories from his childhood. Here in an Arts Express exclusive, he tells a story of youth and the lure of New York City, written and performed by himself.
Click the triangle or mp3 link above to hear David’s story as broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI FM NYC, and Pacifica stations across the country.
California is once again on fire and it’s unlikely to end anytime soon. But the firefighters fighting those fires include a large number of incarcerated youth who have been trained to combat the fire on the ground. I was happy to speak with filmmakers Drew Dickler and Jake Hochendoner, director/producers of a wonderful documentary film, Fireboys, about those youth who are risking their lives to fight the fires.
Click the triangle or mp3 link above to hear my interview with Jake and Drew, as broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI FM NYC, and Pacifica stations across the country.
American artist Eli Valley created his Diaspora Boy comics because of his anger with the corruption of American Jewish institutions and so-called Jewish “leaders” that he was constantly exposed to. His response was a savage comic strip with a visual style that mixed the 50s Mad’s Harvey Kurtzman and the 60s R. Crumb.
I broadcast a radio commentary about the collected strips that Valley published in book form, and I also read one of his 9-panel cartoons on the air.
Click the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the commentary, as broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
“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.
**Prairie Miller Challenges Ken Burns on his Politics-Free Hemingway **The Paintings of Iraqi/Palestinean artist Thaer Abdallah **Dennis Broe on Depictions of Middle Class Drug-Dealing in Modern TV As A Marker of Class Anxiety
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.
This April is the 457th Anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth and I have to admit that everything I thought I knew about William Shakespeare’s life may well be wrong. My faith was recently shaken by both the film Last Will and Testament and the book North by Shakespeare. Both works posit that heresy of heresies that William Shakespeare of Stratford-Upon-Avon was not the fellow who wrote the 37 plays usually attributed to him.
For the skinny, click on the triangle or mp3 link above and listen to the story as broadcast today on the Arts Express program on WBAI FM radio and Pacifica stations across the country.
I first heard poet Paul Hostovsky reading in a poetry series out of Boston called Rozzie Reads. His poems immediately struck me as funny, closely observed crafted stories, the kind you come home and tell your intimate other about.
Paul’s work for the past decades situates him in a unique position with regard to language: Hostovsky is a sign language interpreter and a Braille instructor who has been a recipient of an award from the American Association of the DeafBlind “for being a devoted friend and ambassador by promoting the interests and well-being of DeafBlind Americans.”
Click on the triangle or the mp3 link above to hear the poems as broadcast yesterday on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica stations across the nation.
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.
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.
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.
I was happy to become acquainted recently with Toronto-based writer Molly Peacock and to help produce a selection of her poems for broadcast, voiced by the always wonderful Mary Murphy.
Whether Molly is writing as a poet, biographer, essayist or novelist, we love how her multi-genre literary work is always infused with both playfulness and rigor.
Molly’s latest poetry collections are The Analyst: Poems andCornucopia: New and Selected Poemspublished by W.W Norton and Company. She is a former President of the Poetry Society of America and Poet-in-Residence at the American Poets’ corner. She’s also the co-founder of Poetry In Motion on New York’s subways and buses and the founder of the series The Best Canadian Poetry.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear a selection of Molly’s poetry as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
Roy Zimmerman has been described as “Lenny Bruce meets Stephen Sondheim meets Phil Ochs in Brian Wilson’s living room.” He’s a master of satirical political songwriting, the lyrical heir to Tom Lehrer, as well as a damned fine musician. I’ve been listening and laughing at his sharp wit for years, and I was very happy to do an extended interview with him.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear Part One of my interview with Roy as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
“Well everyone’s all aflutter these days with our newly elected overlords, and far be it from me to burst anyone’s bubble. I mean, what fun is it in having enemies if you can’t beat up on them and blame them for all the country’s ills? Of course our unelected overlords still continue apace, but today I want to talk about a different level of reality that remains largely unspoken...the one incontrovertible fact about life in these United States regardless of who is ruling is thefollowing…”
Click on the triangle or link above to hear it as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
Two weeks ago I drove down to the wonderful Garden for Sculpture, an outdoor sculpture museum in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, which features, among many others, the works of Seward Johnson and three-dimensional sculptural reproductions of paintings by Monet and Manet. I bought my timed tickets online, stuffed some COVID masks in my pocket, and jumped into the car. So come along with me on this little adventure, and you can join me virtually as I head down the highway and tour the Garden For Sculpture, on location.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear our report as broadcast today on WBAI FM NY and Pacifica stations across the nation.
I thought it would be fun to read an excerpt from my novel, The New World. It’s a tale set in New York City that follows the struggles and triumphs of four generations of strivers, lovers, and grabbers- of-life.
This excerpt focuses on 20 year-old David Walker who has just been discharged from the army in Iraq for trying to shoot up his sergeant. Fortunately for David, he was able to cash in some chips to get out from the brig and escape with only a dishonorable discharge. Now returned home to live with his mother, he wonders how he’ll survive, with his major skill being cheating at cards. And despite many attempts to track down the old love of his life, Jennifer, he cannot find her.
Click on the triangle or link above to hear the excerpt as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the country.
Our friend of the blog, Dennis Mayne, wrote me and said that since I like tap dancers so much I just had to read Rusty Frank’s book, TAP!: The Greatest Tap Dance Stars & Their Stories, where she interviewed all the tap dancing legends! Well, I got the book, and for the last month every morning with my coffee I have been delightedly reading these wonderful primary source interviews with Bunny Briggs, Jimmy Slyde, Hermes Pan, Shirley Temple, Ann Miller and so many more. Fortunately I was able to contact Rusty and we had a delightful interview about her book and she even gave me a little on-air tap dancing lesson!
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear my interview with Rusty Frank as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.