Rosenthal, Ken Paul — The Space Between Brilliance and Madness

 

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In this program we discuss cultivating wellness in the space between brilliance and madness with Ken Paul Rosenthal, an independent film maker based in San Francisco, California. Rosenthal says his “work explores the geography of madness through the regenerative power of nature, urban landscapes, and archival footage from social hygiene films.”

His 2011 film “Crooked Beauty”, Crooked Beauty chronicles artist-writer Jacks McNamara’s journey from psych ward inpatient to pioneering mental health advocacy.  Rosenthal’s 2018 film “Whisper Rapture” Whisper Rapture is a ‘doc-opera’ about the life, music, and radical mental health advocacy of cellist-vocalist Bonfire Madigan Shive. The music you are hearing now is by Bonfire Madigan Shive on her cello, with permission.

Not a stranger to demons of the mind, Rosenthal readily shares his personal experiences, and describes how communities of like-minded people can collectively ease their individual pain by creatively navigating the space between brilliance and madness.

When Ken Paul Rosenthal and I visited by phone from his home in San Francisco, California on July 30, 2018, we began our conversation when I asked him to describe what many people call ‘mental illness.’

The books Ken Paul Rosenthal recommends are both by David Abram: “The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World,” and “Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology.” The film he recommends is “Leave No Trace,” about a father and daughter who lived off the grid in the wilderness.

www.kenpaulrosenthal.com   www.whisperrapture.com

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Golden, Victoria — An Orphan Train Survivor

Between 1854 and 1930, it is estimated that between 200,000 and 250,000 children were involuntarily put on Orphan Trains, and “placed out” in the southern and western United States.  Both protections for the health and safety of these children and record keeping of who they were, where they went and accounts of what happened to them are sketchy at best.

William Delos Vansteenburgh was one of the last of the “placed out” children on an Orphan Train.  At age four, he and his slightly older brother with whom he virtually lost contact, were “placed out” from Pennsylvania, after their mother died in 1930. William had clear memories of being loved and treated well until then.  After a long train ride he was removed from a station platform in Gallup, New Mexico, by Henry and Eleanor Walters, a childless couple. They gave him their last name, repeatedly abused him and treated him in a most wretched manner for five years.  He successfully ran away at age nine and was then free to create a unique adventure and life for himself until he died in Santa Rosa, California, in 2017.

Victoria Golden, our guest in this edition of Radio Curious, met William Walters in 2012. Intrigued by his story and keen memory for details, they met most every week for the next four years. Golden recreated his story into a memoir: “A Last Survivor of the Orphan Trains.”   Told in the first person, each page of Golden’s book could be a stand-alone short read.

Victoria Golden, also of Ukiah, California, visited the Radio Curious studios on July 24, 2018.  We began our conversation when I asked her to describe the kind of person that William Walters was.

The book she recommends is “Educated: A Memoir,” by Tara Westover.

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Mark Mello, Reflections on The Underground Railroad—What now?

New Bedford, Massachusetts, a sea port located in the southeast corner of Massachusetts, at the base of Cape Cod is the locale of our program. Early in New Bedford’s history a group of Quakers from Boston moved there and “New Bedford became a safe haven for formerly enslaved African-Americans” who had been able to escape bondage.

stories of those who safely arrived in New Bedford on the Underground Railroad are presented at the 34 acre New Bedford National Historical Park in the Old Town section of New Bedford.

This two part series on the New Bedford Underground Railroad with National Park Ranger Mark Mello was recorded on September 2, 2016, with the sound of wind and street traffic in the background. Part one begins with a historical perspective of the Underground Railroad and the way in which New Bedford, Massachusetts was a safe haven for former slaves.  Part two begins with Ranger Mello’s story of Nathan and Polly Johnson, a free black couple who lived and worked there–he as a pharmacist and she a confectionary.

The books Mark Mello recommends are “Fugitive’s Gibraltar: Escaping Slaves and Abolitionism in New Bedford, Massachusetts,” by Kathryn Grover; “Whale Hunt,” by Nelson Cole Haley; and “Leviathan,” by Philip Hoare.

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Mello, Mark –The Underground Railroad in New Bedford, Massachusetts

New Bedford, Massachusetts, a sea port located in the southeast corner of Massachusetts, at the base of Cape Cod is the locale of our program. Early in New Bedford’s history a group of Quakers from Boston moved there and “New Bedford became a safe haven for formerly enslaved African-Americans” who had been able to escape bondage.

stories of those who safely arrived in New Bedford on the Underground Railroad are presented at the 34 acre New Bedford National Historical Park in the Old Town section of New Bedford.

This two part series on the New Bedford Underground Railroad with National Park Ranger Mark Mello was recorded on September 2, 2016, with the sound of wind and street traffic in the background. Part one begins with a historical perspective of the Underground Railroad and the way in which New Bedford, Massachusetts was a safe haven for former slaves.

The books Mark Mello recommends are “Fugitive’s Gibraltar: Escaping Slaves and Abolitionism in New Bedford, Massachusetts,” by Kathryn Grover; “Whale Hunt,” by Nelson Cole Haley; and “Leviathan,” by Philip Hoare.

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Sisk-Franco, Caleen — Puberty Rights of the Winnemem Wintu

In this edition of Radio Curious, our assistant producer Christina Aanestad is the guest host in a conversation about puberty rights for young women within the Winnemem-Wintu tribe in Northern California. This visit with Caleen Sisk-Franco, the Spiritual Leader and Chief of the Winnemem-Wintu was recorded near Mt. Shasta, California in August 2010. In the last few years, the tribe has revived an ancient ritual, the Puberty Ceremony-which honors and celebrates a girls transition into womanhood.

The “Middle Water People” are a small tribe near Mount Shasta, in Northern California. During World War 2, they were relocated and their homeland was flooded to make the shasta dam. Nearly 80 years later, the tribe has reinvigorated one of its ceremonies, there, called the Puberty Ceremony, which honors a girls transition into womanhood. For 3 days and nights, men sing and dance on one side of a river, while the women, pass on traditions to girls on the other side.

But holding a ceremony on stolen land can be a challenge. The forest service refuses to grant the tribe private access to their ancestral land along the McCloud river, because they are an “unrecognized” tribe. Their ceremony is held with recreational boaters driving by, and camping as the tribe holds it’s right of passage. Under the guidance of their Chief and Spiritual Leader, Caleen Sisk Franco, the Winnemem-Wintu have sued the federal government to protect their rights and their ancestral land. She describes the puberty ceremony and it’s importance to their way of life.

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Funk, Indigo — One Student’s Response to Gun Violence

Our guest in this edition of Radio Curious is Indigo Funk, a 2018 graduate of Ukiah High School, here in Ukiah, California.  Funk was the winner of the 2017 California Lions Clubs’ state-wide student speaker contest, when he answered the question: “Is the right to privacy a threat to national security?”

Funk, who will begin his college career at Brown University in Providence Rhode Island, in the fall of 2018, caught my attention when I heard him speak, rather eloquently, at the March 24, 2018, Ukiah version of the national student March For Our Lives organized here by Ukiah High Students.

When Indigo Funk arrived the Radio Curious studios on June 15, 2018, to record this interview, I asked him if he’d like to read Frank Bruni’s Op-Ed column entitled “How to Lose the Mid-Terms and Re-elect Trump,” that had been published two days prior in the New York Times.

Bruni’s article challenges the effectiveness of Robert De Niro’s “profanity-laced comment about President Trump,” for which he received a standing ovation at the June 10, 2018 Tony Awards in New York City.

Bruni shares De Niro’s anger but challenges his expression.  In his op-ed piece, Bruni wrote, “When you answer name-calling with name-calling and tantrums with tantrums, you’re not resisting him. You’re mirroring him. You’re not diminishing him. You’re demeaning yourselves. Many voters don’t hear your arguments or the facts, which are on your side. They just wince at the din. You permit them to see you as you see Trump: deranged.”

Bruni then posed the question: “Why would they (the voters) choose a different path if it goes to another ugly destination?”

When Indigo Funk finished reading Bruni’s Op-Ed, he said he had just been thinking about that issue. So we began our conversation when I asked him to share his thoughts.

The book Indigo Funk recommends is “The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League,” by Jeff Hobbs.

This program was recorded in the studios of Radio Curious on June 15, 2018.

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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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Miller, Geoffrey — Does What You Buy Make You Happier?

Why do you buy what you buy? What do you hope to gain from it and will it make you a happier, sexier and more successful person? In these days of economic downturn many of us may be questioning whether we really need all this “stuff” and how it impacts our lives?

In this edition of Radio Curious we meet Geoffrey Miller, a tenured professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of New Mexico, and the author of “Spent: Sex, Evolution and Consumer Behaviour.” During our visit we discuss how our purchasing choices are driven by thousands of years of evolution, how marketers can take advantage of this and how we might try to better understand our consumer instincts.

I spoke with Geoffrey Miller from his home in Australia on May 29, 2009 and began by asking him to define his field of evolutionary psychology.

The book Geoffrey Miller recommends is “The Life You Can Save: Acting Now To End World Poverty,” by Peter Singer. 

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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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Basta, Michael — Relationship Warning Signs

Why some couples get along and others don’t, sometimes to the extent of terminating their relationship, is a curious question, the answer to which is likely to bring both pleasure and unhappiness to each of us. Michael Basta has been a licensed clinical social worker based in Sonoma, County California, since 1988. He is trained and certified as a Gottman Couples’ Therapist. This training identifies the traits and behaviors of couples that are useful to predict how long their relationship will last. Michael Basta visited Radio Curious on May 21, 2010, and began by describing the negative traits and behaviors that indicate a dark future for the relationship.

The book Michael Basta recommends is “The Female Brain,” by Dr. Louann Brizendine.

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