Silha, Stephen — The Puckish Whimsical Life of James Broughton

The puckishly whimsical life and times of poet and film maker James Broughton is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious in a visit with Stephen Silha, the producer and director of “Big Joy,” a biographical film of the life and times of James Broughton.

Broughton believed that in order to live an authentic life we each should follow our own weird. He says:

“I don’t know what the left is doing said the right hand.

But it looks fascinating.”

And:

“I may be infecting the whole body

said the Head

but they’ll never amputate me.”

Stephen Silha and I visited by phone from his home near Seattle, Washington on Mother’s Day, 2014.  He began our conversation by telling us what drew him to make a film about his friend James Broughton.

The book Stephen Silha recommends is “The Man Who Fell in Love With the Moon,” by Tom Spanbauer.

The music in this week’s edition of Radio Curious is “Twirl” by Norman Arnold, from the movie, “Big Joy.”

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Cherney, Darryl — Who Bombed Judi Bari?

In 1990, Earth First! activists from Mendocino County were on a road trip to rally support for a summer effort to help protect old growth redwoods in northern California. For years prior, logging practices took well over 90% of the original redwood growth in the area. Darryl Cherney and Judi Bari, the organizers, were in their car in Oakland, California, on May 24, 1990 when a bomb exploded underneath the driver’s seat where Judi Bari sat.

She and Darryl Cherney were immediately arrested suspected of bombing themselves. Although charges were never filed against the two, authorities have yet to locate the bombers. They sued and won a jury award of four million dollars against the Oakland Police Department and the FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation, for violating their 1st and 4th amendment rights.

The film, “Who Bombed Judi Bari?” produced by Darryl Cherney, attempts to answer the question posed in the title and examines their struggle with law enforcement in finding the real bomber and chronicles the history of the local environmental movement here, in northern California.

Christina Aanestad, the Radio Curious assistant producer spoke with Cherney about the film he produced and his experiences resulting from the bombing. They visited on March 29, 2011, at the studios of KMEC radio, inside the Mendocino Environmental Center, a hub for social and environmental movements, including Earth First! They began when Christina asked Darryl Cherney to describe the attempted assassination against him and Judi Bari.

The book he recommends is, “The Alphabet Versus the Goddess” by Alan Shlain.

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Reuther, Sasha — The United Auto Workers Union: Its Effect on American Life

As we all know every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  The reaction, however is not necessarily equal in time or unity.  It’s often spread over time with serial impacts.

In this edition of Radio Curious we focus on the treatment of workers in the automobile industry in the United States beginning in the early years of the 20th century. The story is portrayed in “Brothers on the Line,” a film about Walter, Ray and Victor Reuther, three brothers from West Virginia who organized the United Auto Workers Union beginning in the 1920s. With access to the National Archives, the Wayne State University Labor History Library and family records, Sasha Reuther, Victor’s grandson, directed the film.  It chronicles the working conditions and the successful strikes at the big three auto plants in Michigan; the political power of the United Auto Workers Union, and its involvement in the civil rights movement.  It also explains why Detroit, Michigan became the richest city in the United States in the 1950s.

Sasha Reuther and I visited by phone from his office in New York City on May 7, 2012.  We began when I asked him what happened once the automobile became a useful, if not necessary tool of life.

The book that Sasha Reuther recommends is “U.A.W. and the Heyday of American Liberalism, 1945 -1968,” by Kevin Boyle.

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Krol, Debra — Native American Art of the Southwest

Founded in 1929, the Heard Museum’s mission is dedicated to “educating people about the arts, heritage and life ways of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, with an emphasis on American Indian tribes of the Southwest.” Committed to the sensitive and accurate portrayal of Native arts and cultures, the museum successfully combines the stories of American Indian people from a personal perspective with the beauty of art, showcasing old and new hand woven baskets, Kachina dolls, other art and cultural objects.

The museum showcases the art and regalia of Apache, Hopi, Navajo, Pueblo, and Yaqui, to name a few.  More than 2,000 items make up the museums exhibition.  Artwork ranging from pottery, baskets, beadwork, dolls and paintings are on display.

Our guest is Debra Krol, the communications manager who shared portions of the Heard Museum with me on December 10, 2011.  We began our conversation with Krol when she introduced us to the Heard Museum and the unique features that reflect the evolution of south western Native American art.

Debra Krol recommends two books: “Ishi’s Brain,” by Orin Starn, and “Indians, Merchants and Missionaries: The legacy of Colonial Encounters on the California Frontiers”, by Kent G. Lightfoot. Our interview with Orin Starn may be found here

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Jenkins, Clay & Jefferson, Thomas –The Author of the Declaration of Independence

Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States of America, is respected by some as one of the leading political theorists of American history.  He conceptualized a government originating in the households of the individual citizens, and stemming from a questioning and rebellious public, requiring, he believed a primarily agrarian population.

Our guest in this archive edition of Radio Curious is Thomas Jefferson, personified by Chautauqua scholar Clay Jenkinson.  We met in Ukiah, California in May, 1994, and discussed what has changed in the United States since Mr. Jefferson took office as President in 1803, and the concepts he believed necessary to maintain a democracy. 

The book Mr. Jefferson recommends is  “The History of the Peloponnesian War,” by Thucydides, and the book Clay Jenkinson recommends is “In the Absence of the Sacred,”  by Jerry Mander.

This interview with Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, as personified by Chautauqua scholar, Clay Jenkinson, was recorded in the studios of Radio Curious on May 21, 1994.

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Magruder, Kate & Shirley, Dame — Women and the Gold Rush Part One

When word that California had gold in its creeks and streams reached the United States of America in 1848, fortune seekers from all over the world soon began to arrive by boat, covered wagon, and on foot. Some people made their fortunes by selling provisions or services and very few actually found enough gold to take home. Louise Smith Clapp of Amherst, Massachusetts, using the name of Dame Shirley, wrote detailed and vivid descriptions of the life and ways of the gold seekers and of mid 19th century California. In this two-part program, we will talk to Dame Shirley in the person of Kate Magruder, a Chautauqua performer and participant with the California Council for the Humanities Sesquicentennial Project, Rediscovering California at 150.

The book Dame Shirley recommends is “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.” Kate Magruder recommends “Days of Gold,” by Malcolm Rhorbough & “The Shirley Letters,” by Dame Shirley.

This interview was originally broadcast on March 16, 1999. 

Click here to listen to part one or on the media player below.  Click here to listen to part two.

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Appelbaum, Ralph:  Holocaust Remembrance and the Responsibility of Bystanders


To create thought around Yom Hashoah, known in English as Holocaust Remembrance Day, I offer you an archive interview with Ralph Appelbaum, the designer the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in Washington D.C., which opened in April, 1993, when this interview was recorded.

When Ralph Appelbaum and I were Peace Corp volunteers in the mid 1960s, living in nearby towns in southern Peru, we often shared our future plans. This interview shares the story of one of Ralph’s plans which he manifested on a material plane, about 30 years later.

Appelbaum says that a museum’s architecture should focus on the experience by creating time and space events. In the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Appelbuam’s design depicts the suffering, torture and death of millions of people during World War II in Europe, on land controlled by fascist Nazis. He also directs attention to the responsibility of bystanders.

Please keep in mind that this interview was recorded in April 1993. That was when Ralph Appelbaum and I visited by phone from his loft in New York City. We began when I asked him to describe his vision of a museum designer.

The audio of this program was enhanced by Gregg McVicer of UnderCurrents Radio, who was our guest in 2013.

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Eickhoff, Diane — The Revolutionary Heart and Life of Clarina Nichols

The life of Clarina Nichols and her work in the early women’s rights movement in the United States has been greatly overlooked. As one of the country’s first female newspaper editors and stump speakers, Clarina Nichols spoke out for temperance, abolition and women’s rights at a time when doing so could get a woman killed. Unlike other activists, she personally experienced some of the cruelest sufferings that a married woman of her day could know. In her pursuit for justice she traveled westward facing all of the challenges of being a single mother and a women’s rights activist of her day with good humor and resourcefulness. Clarina Nichols is portrayed by Diane Eickhoff in this chautauquan style interview.  We began when I asked Clarina about her childhood.

The book Clarina Nichols recommends is “The Sexes Throughout Nature (Pioneers of the woman’s movement),” by Antoinette Louisa Brown Blackwell.

The book Diane Eickhoff recommends is “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 911” by Lawrence Wright.

This program was originally broadcast on January 13, 2007.

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Phillips, Barbara — The Dialogue of Race

This is the second of two interviews with civil rights Attorney Barbara Phillips. She is a contributor to the book “Voices of Civil Rights Lawyers: Reflections From the Deep South: 1964-1980,” whose editor, Kent Spriggs, we interviewed in December 2017.

In part one, Phillips shared stories and experiences from her 40 year legal career as a community organizer and civil rights lawyer. In this, part two of our conversation, we discuss her essay “Framing the Contemporary Dialogue of Race,” that is featured in “Voices of Civil Rights Lawyers.” We discuss the changing rhetoric about race, the Second Reconstruction and a Supreme Court decision addressing race prior to the 1980s. These decisions defined a broad scope for just and equal rights for black people in the United States.

As a retired civil rights attorney and retired professor of law at the University of Mississippi, and formerly a Program Officer of the Ford Foundation in the Human Rights unit of the Peace and Social Justice Program, she continues her life’s work as a community organizer in Oxford, Mississippi, and continues promoting community justice programs around the world.

When Barbara Phillips and I visited by phone from her home in Oxford, Mississippi, on March 6, 2018, we began our conversation when I asked her about the essay “Framing the Contemporary Dialogue About Race.”

The books Barbara Phillips recommends are “Whats the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America,” by Thomas Frank, and “Transforming Feminist Practice: Non-Violence, Social Justice, and the Possibilities of a Spiritualized Feminism,” by Leela Fernandes. 

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Phillips, Barbara — Protecting and Defending Civil Rights

We continue our series on “Voices of Civil Rights Lawyers,” a book in which our guest Attorney Barbara Phillips is a contributor, and Attorney Kent Spriggs, our guest in December 2017, is the editor. Now retired, Barbara Phillips first worked as a community organizer in rural Mississippi.  Later, as an attorney she protected and defended the civil rights of women and people of color while based primarily in Mississippi and then California. Eventually, she became a professor at the University of Mississippi Law School.

In this, part one of two interviews with Barbara Phillips, she shares her stories and experiences of her 40 year legal career.  In part two we discuss her essay in “Voices of Civil Rights Lawywers” titled “Framing the Contemporary Dialogue of Race.”

When she and I visited by phone from her home in Oxford, Mississippi, on March 5, 2018, we began our conversation when I asked her to describe her experience as an intersectional black, female lawyer.

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