Forrington, Capt. Cass — A Beach Made of Glass and Hands in Acid: One Man and Many Stories

A former dump site at the edge of the Pacific Ocean in Ft. Bragg, California, is part of the story in this edition of Radio Curious.

Captain Cass Forrington, creator and owner of the Glass Beach Museum, and the author of “Beaches Of Glass, a History & Tour of the Glass Beaches of Fort Bragg, California,” is our guest.   He is also a Master Mariner, holder of an unlimited Master’s Certificate, allowing him to be the captain of any size sea going vessel.  He has many stories to tell.

Captain Cass and I sat on Glass Beach No. Two in Ft. Bragg, on a windy afternoon, June 2, 2012, with the waves lapping ten feet away.  We began when I asked him to describe Glass Beach.  But keep listening to hear his story about putting his hands in acid 40 years ago.

Captain Cass Forrington’s website is: captcass.com

Capt. Cass Forrington recommends a movie and a book. The book is “The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology,” by Ray Kurzweil.  And the movie is “What the Bleep Do We Know?”

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Trimpin — Music and Thought: Pushing the Limits

Pushing limits in music and thought is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious as we visit with Trimpin, a man who makes music from unusual instruments.  He is the star of documentary film about his life’s work Trimpin, who uses a single word for his name received a Mac Arthur Genius Grant 1997.

He asserts that he is trying to “go beyond human physical limitations to play instruments in such a way that no matter how complex the composition or the timing, it can be pushed over the limits.”  The music, he said, starts with a sound in his head.  He then transforms that notion for us to hear.  The film Trimpin will be show at the Mendocino Film Festival the first weekend of June 2012, in Mendocino California.

I spoke with Trimpin from his studio in Seattle, Washington, on May 19, 2012, and asked him to comment on the characterization where he is described as a mad-scientist, a magician, or possibly a tour guide.

Rather than recommending a book, Trimpin said that he gave up reading sometime ago and replaced it with thinking.  He’d “rather think than read,” he said.

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La Tigresa — One Woman’s Power: Fortitude and Poetry

Radio Curious Assistant Producer, Christina Aanestad speaks with performance artist and poet, La Tigresa about art and activism. La Tigresa made national headlines in 2000 for blockading a logging truck bare breasted while reciting poems of the Goddess, to save old growth redwood trees in Northern California.

The book La Tigresa recommends is “Pronoia is the Antidote to Paranoia,” by Rob Brezsny.

La Tigresa’s website is www.latigresa.net.

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Ensler, Eve –The Vagina Monologues

Radio Curious brings you an archived conversation with Eve Ensler, creator of the Vagina Monologues.

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Krol, Debra — Native American Art of the Southwest at the Heard Museum

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 2000 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.

The Heard Museum website is www.heard.org.

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Binder, Mark — The Music Played in His Head and He Began to Dance

Storytelling, like radio, brings pictures to the mind of the listener and allows each one of us to imagine what we hear.   Our guest on Radio Curious is story teller Mark Binder, author of “A Hanukkah Present:  Twelve Tales to Give and Share,” who describes what happens when the storyteller vanishes.  Radio Curious spoke with Mark Binder from his home in Providence, Rhode Island on December 16, 2011.  We began when I asked to discuss the importance of story telling around Hanukkah and other holidays of the winter season.

The book Mark Binder recommends is “The Best of Myles,” by Flann O’Brien.  His website is www.markbinder.com

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Dakin, Susanna — An Artist in the White House?

Imagine if you will an artist instead of a politician in the White House.  This possibility existed in 1984 in reality, not in the George Orwell novel.  Susanna Dakin, a sometimes resident of Santa Monica, California and sometimes of Mendocino County, California, a sculptor by training conceived of her national campaign for the presidency as a one-year durational art performance piece.  Although Sue Dakin as she is now known, was defeated having been effectively overshadowed by the second term campaign of Ronald Reagan, Dakin has continued to practice what she calls “system sculpture” in her political, spiritual and art life.

This unusual episode in American Presidential Campaign History is revealed in Dakin’s book An Artist for President:  The Nation is the Artwork and We are the Artists, published in 2011.

Maria Gilardin, host and producer of TUC Radio, and a friend of Sue Dakin and me, joined us in the studios of Radio Curious on November 25, 2011 in conversation with Sue Dakin about about her life and book.  Maria Gilardin’s website is www.tucradio.org.

The book Sue Dakin recommends is, “The Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History,” by S.C. Gwynne.

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Blank, Les — The Chef of Film Making

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Les Blank, film maker extraordinaire. Les Blank will receive the Albert Maysles award at the 2011 Mendocino Film Festival where his films “Burden of Dreams” and “The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins” will be presented.  John Rockwell, writing in The New York Times, describes Les Blank as, “…a documentarian of folk cultures who transforms anthropology into art.”

Though he had a long fascination with films, his career turned to film making after he saw “The Seventh Seal,” by Ingmar Bergman.   Our conversation, which was recorded by phone from his home in Berkeley, California on May 23, 2011, began when I asked him why he makes films.

The films Les Blank recommends are “The Seventh Seal” and “Through a Glass Darkly,” both by Ingmar Bergman.

Les Blank’s website is www.lesblank.com

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Saving a Small Town Post Office — Ukiah, California

The United States Postal Service has plans to close post offices in cities, small towns and rural areas across America. This edition of Radio Curious is a case study of how the federal government plans to close the main Post Office in Ukiah, California.  The Postal Service says it operates under a “corporate model” and is not subject to public information requests, even from local government. It is unwilling to share the bases of it cost analyses or even let the City of Ukiah conduct its own evaluations. We visit with three members of the Save the Ukiah Post Office Committee, Ukiah Mayor, Mari Rodin, Alan Nicholson and Mike Sweeney. They discuss the community efforts to save Ukiah’s downtown post office and why.

The interview was recorded April 11th, 2011.

The book Alan Nichols recommends is “House,” by Tracy Kidder.

The book Mari Rodin recommends is “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking,” by Malcolm Gladwell.

The book Mike Sweeney recommends is, “The Storms of my Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity,” by Dr. James C. Hansen.

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Reinhart, Ed — Boogie Woogie Pianist

In my opinion, when my friend Ed Reinhart comes here to Ukiah, it is well worth the effort to track him down and listen to him play someone else’s piano and sing along.

And that is what happened the last few days of 2010. The sign said Ed would be playing at the Himalaya Café at the south end of town on New Year’s Eve beginning at 6:30 pm. Now it may seem a bit early to start a New Year’s Eve Party, but Ed is always ready to do things his way, and under the guise of liking to get to bed early, he played and sang Old Lange Syne when it was New Year’s in New York, or in the Ukiah vernacular, 9 p.m.

Now Ed, who masquerades as Earl Dixon, a semi-unknown sort as he likes to say, and/or Rico Suave, a moniker he adopted while living in Ecuador, can play boogie-woogie piano better than most anyone. And that to me makes Earl and Rico all the more confusing as to who they may or may not be.

Ed, etc. have been guests on three previous editions Radio Curious, and those visits are available at www.radiocurious.org. Why so much Ed on Radio Curious? I like him and his music and enjoy our visits. We hope you do too. So Happy New Year to each of you and welcome to the first Radio Curious program recorded in our 21st year on the air.

This interview with Ed Reinhart was recorded in the studios of Radio Curious, in Ukiah, California on January 7, 2011.

The book Ed Reinhart recommends is “World Without End,” by Ken Follett.

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