Asian Art Museum — The Dragon’s Gift – Sacred Arts of Bhutan

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In this edition of Radio Curious we would like to take you to the country of Bhutan, East of Mount Everest and bordered by India and Tibet. Bhutan is a mystical kingdom considered by many as The Last Shangri-La. We visit “The Dragon’s Gift: The Sacred Arts of Bhutan,” an exhibit which was displayed at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, California, in the spring of 2009.

We start in conversation with Therese Bartholomew, the curator of the exhibit who helps us to understand what inspired the exhibit and the trials and tribulations of transporting such valuable religious objects from monasteries at the top of Bhutanese mountains to the city of San Francisco.

We will also visit the exhibit itself and hear some of the ceremonies, meet the monks who have travelled with the exhibit and tour the museum docent Henny Tanugjaja.

Therese Bartholomew is the Curator Emeritus of Himalayan Arts at the Asian Art Museum San Francisco the book she recommends is “My Life and Lives, The Story of a Tibetan Incarnation” by Rato Khyongla Nawang Losang.  We visited with Therese Bartholomew from her home in San Francisco on the March 27, 2009 and began by asking her what makes Bhutan and Bhutanese arts so special?

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Anthony Adams Esq. :  A Deeply Romantic Public Defender, etc.

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Our guest in this edition of Radio Curious is Anthony Adams, Esq., is currently, among other things, a Deputy Public Defender in Mendocino County, California. He’s also poet, formerly a California State Parole Commissioner, and served in the California State Assembly.

At a local Bar Association gathering, Adams recited his poetry and shared stories about his work as a Parole Commissioner. I decided to invite him to be a guest and asked him to tell us about his life.

Anthony Adams visited Radio Curious on August 23, 2018, and described himself and an “interesting fellow…  A deeply romantic person.”  In the course of our conversation his self description revealed itself.  We began when I asked him about poetry related to his work.

The books Anthony Adams recommends are “Nine Horses: Poems,” by Billy Collins, a former national Poet Laureate; “The Dove Keepers,” by Alice Hoffman; and “1492: A Novel of Christopher Columbus, the Spanish Inquisition, and a World at the Turning Point,” by Newton Frohlich.

This program was recorded on August 23, 2018.

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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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Samson, Don — The Creative Imagination of Playwright Don Samson

The creative imagination of playwright Don Samson is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.  In May 2015, I had the good fortune of seeing a ten minute play entitled “Blind Date,” written by my long time friend, who lives in nearby Willits, California.  For many years prior to becoming a playwright, Don Samson researched and wrote legal briefs for criminal defense attorneys, an experience we also discuss in this program. 

After seeing the local production of “Blind Date,” I was curious about the circumstances that came to Don Samson’s mind when he created this play, so I invited him to visit the Radio Curious studios.  We met on May 22, 2015 and began our conversation with his description of those circumstances. 

Don Samson recommends the book, which is also a play, “Antigone,” by Sophocles.  

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Stephen Most — Documentary Filmmaker:  Stories Make the World Part One

Meaning, which comes from stories, is the topic of our two part series on how stories make the world. Our guest is Stephen Most, author of “Stories Make the World: Reflections on Storytelling and the Art of the Documentary.” In this book, Most shares his experience as a playwright, writer, and creator of documentary films over the past 50 plus years.

Steve Most and I first crossed paths in 1976. We soon determined we had both lived in Peru for several years ten years earlier, and have been friends since.  In his 2007 visit with Radio Curious, Most and I discussed his book “River of Renewal: Myth and History in the Klamath Basin.”

“Stories Make the World” is a crucial account of the principles and paradoxes that attend the quest to represent reality truthfully.  Most shows how documentary filmmakers and other nonfiction storytellers come to understand their subjects and cast light on the world through their art.  Click here to stream or download films in the “Stories Make the World.”

Steve Most visited the Radio Curious studios on August 4, 2017, to record this series on storytelling and the art of the documentary. The central theme of “Stories Make the World” is meaning comes from stories. We begin with Steve Most’s description of his initial experiences starting with his arrival to Peru’s north coast in 1964.  He contrasts information, including raw facts, and meaningful knowledge with a story.

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Edward Sorel: An Actress, Her Lovers, and a Daft Caricaturist

Edward Sorel, a satirical caricaturist, and cartoonist, whose first book is Mary Astor’s Purple Diary: The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936, is our guest in this edition Radio Curious. Claiming to be daft about Mary Astor for about a half a century, Sorel describes Astor’s career as a Hollywood based actress who seemingly more than enjoyed a lustful and salacious life. Astor’s diary, which allegedly revealed the untold stories of her trysts and lovers, was the centerpiece of the sensational 1936 trial to determine the custody of her young daughter.

Sorel, whose pictorial satires have appeared on the covers of forty-six editions of The New Yorker magazine, visited Radio Curious by phone from his home in Harlem, New York City, on February 27, 2017. We began our conversation when I asked him for the background of his interest in Mary Astor and what drew him to write and illustrate his book Mary Astor’s Purple Diary.

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The books Ed Sorel recommends are: Iron Dawn: The Monitor and The Merrimack, and the Sea Battle that Changed History, by Richard Snowand Terrible Virtue, a Novel, by Ellen Feldman.

Martin, Buzzy — Teaching Guitar in San Quentin Prison

Buzzy Martin began teaching music to at risk kids in Juvenille Hall. He then taught guitar in San Quentin Prison for three and a half years, where he gained a unique “insiders” perspective about prison life, prisoners, and the guards. His book, “Don’t Shoot! I’m the Guitar Man,” chronicles his experiences teaching prison inmates, including rapists, child molesters and murderers how to play the guitar. Martin shares his experiences with incarcerated youth, to teach them that prison is not a “badge of honor,” and he reveals how music can be a universal language to open the hearts of people who may think they don’t have one.

Buzzy Martin’s memoir will be made into a movie. Visit his website for more information. 

The interview with Buzzy Martin was recorded on October 11th, 2010.

The book he recommends is, “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, A Toltec Wisdom Book,” by don Miguel Ruiz.

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Samson, Don — The Creative Imagination of Playwright Don Samson

The creative imagination of playwright Don Samson is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.  In May 2015, I had the good fortune of seeing a ten minute play entitled “Blind Date,” written by my long time friend, who lives in nearby Willits, California.  For many years prior to becoming a playwright, Don Samson researched and wrote legal briefs for criminal defense attorneys, an experience we also discuss in this program.

After seeing the local production of “Blind Date,” I was curious about the circumstances that came to Don Samson’s mind when he created this play, so I invited him to visit the Radio Curious studios.  We met on May 22, 2015 and began our conversation with his description of those circumstances. 

Don Samson recommends the book, which is also a play, “Antigone,” by Sophocles.

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Vogel, Barry and Gravois, John — A Interview with Radio Curious Host Barry Vogel

For this edition of Radio Curious, broadcast at the beginning of our 25th year on the air, I invited my friend John Gravois to interview me about my experiences, reflections and thoughts over the past 24 years that I’ve been the host and producer of Radio Curious. 

John Gravois is the deputy editor of Pacific Standard magazine and a contributing editor to the Washington Monthly. His work has appeared on This American Life, in The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, and Slate, among others. He lives in Albany, California.

John Gravois and I visited in the studios of Radio Curious on December 27, 2014.  We began our conversation with his comments about the archives found on the Radio Curious website.

The books that I recommend are “The Warmth of Other Suns:  The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration,” by Isabel Wilkerson and “Jacobson’s Organ and the Remarkable Nature of Smell,” by Lyall Watson.

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Pereda, Marcos — The New Cuba: Reflections, Stories and Song

Marcos Pereda, a native of Havana, Cuba, and a singer-songwriter who lives in Ukiah, California, is our guest in this edition of Radio Curious. The background music in this weeks program is a song titled “Center” that he wrote and then performed on his guitar in our studios.  Pereda returned from a two month visit in Havana on December 20, 2014; he traveled there to attend his mother’s funeral. 

In our visit, recorded on December 22, 2014, Pereda shares his music and songs, his thoughts and experiences about life in Cuba and in the United States, and his hopes for the new relationship between the the two nations.  We began our conversation when I asked him to tell us about his mother. 

Marcos Pereda’s email is: marcosinsonte@hotmail.com.

The book he recommends is “The Little Prince,” by Antoine St. Exupery.

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