The People Vs. Agent Orange

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.

Take the Star Out of the Window: John Prine

Sometime in the early 1970s, on a very cold winter day, I was walking along Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan and saw a stash of record albums in a trash can. Never one to miss an opportunity for free, I grabbed them even though I had never heard of any of the musicians. One of them appeared to be an album of country-western tunes, and though NYC had recently gotten its first country-western radio station, WHN, back then that wasn’t the kind of music I usually listened to.

However, I put John Prine’s Diamonds in the Rough album on the turntable, and it became one of my favorites of the year and thereafter. There were so many great songs on it, including Take the Star Out of the Window, which to the best of my knowledge they never dared play on WHN. In a time of polarized madness over the Vietnam War, though, this song seemed to be a few minutes of sanity and reality.