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.

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

McPherson, Dr. Guy R.: Near-Term Extinction of the Human Species, Part 1 (Archive)

In September of 2015, Barry visited with Dr. Guy R. McPherson, co-author with Carolyn Baker of “Extinction Dialogs: How to Live With Death in Mind.” McPherson is Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. This archive program is the first of a series on near-term extinction of the human species. Dr. McPherson’s words about the possible effects of climate change are hauntingly prescient, heard a year and a half year later.

As you listen, consider the following: Is what McPherson predicted occurring? Has climate change affected your life? What have you done, or what are doing differently, as a consequence? What are your future plans regarding climate change?

The point from which average global temperature rise is measured dates back to 1750, the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and the time at which the ever increasing use of fossil fuels began. Since then, the planet has warmed by more than 1 degree centigrade. McPherson’s book Extinction Dialogs: How to Live With Death in Mind, explains how this small global rise in temperature is leading to a large scale mass extinction on the planet.

This interview was originally recorded on September 14, 2015.

You may listen to the full program here.

 

Grandin, Prof. Temple: What Autism Can Tell Us About Animals (Archive)

What animals think and how their thoughts might be understood is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious. A certain amount of insight into this curious question may be obtained from the book “Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior,” by Professor Temple Grandin.

Grandin, born in 1947, was diagnosed with autism at age 2 and did not begin to speak until she was 4 years old. She earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in animal science, and is now a professor of animal science at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colorado.

In her book “Animals in Translation,” Grandin explores the world of animals; their pain, fear, aggression, relationships and communication. She believes that autistic people at times think the way animals think, putting them in a strong position to translate “animal talk.”

We spoke with Professor Grandin from her office in Ft. Collins, Colorado, in March 2006. We began our conversation when I asked her to define autism.

You can hear the full interview here.

 

Words: How We Learn What They Mean When they are Spoken and Heard

Words: what they mean to the speaker and what they mean to the listener are the bedrock of human communication and cultural understanding.

Susanna Janssen, a teacher and dedicated advocate of learning foreign languages at any age, is the author of Wordstruck! The Fun and Fascination of Language, and our guest in this edition of Radio Curious. In Wordstruck! Janssen explores the multiple aspects of the meanings of words, how they translate from one language to another, and how she sometimes seems to have a different personality in different languages.

Susanna Janssen is dedicated to changing the linguistic culture of America by advocating the learning of foreign languages. She is a foreign language educator, as well as author, speaker, and newspaper columnist on all topics related to words, language, and culture. She is particularly interested in the benefits of learning two or more languages, and how doing so affects brain development, especially in early childhood.

The book she recommends is A Book of Roads: Travel Stories from Michigan to Marrakech, by Phil Cousineau. This interview was recorded on February 5, 2017.

You can listen to the full interview here.

 

Axt, Robert: Mixed Messages and Creative Imagery

Intelligence bears the precious gift,  of bringing into being  —  the dream only imagination —  makes possible our seeing.

And the dreams found deep within — the chambers of our hearts  — are best expressed and brought to life  —  by the creative arts.

This poem presents the world view of Robert M. Axt, our guest on this edition of Radio Curious.  Axt is a retired contractor who self-studied to become an architect, whose last name was changed three times by the time he was ten years old, and now in his mid-eighties, a poet and patron of the arts.

Act, who has lived in Ukiah, California, since the 1960s shared his childhood story in the November 2016 presentation of First Person Plural, a monologue series taught and directed by the Ukiah dramatist Ellen Weed.

Axt created an enriched family life for himself along with a live of artistic imagery which he manifests in his work as an architect and in his passion as a poet.

In the first half of this edition of Radio Curious, Axt reads his monologue, Mixed Messages.  It describes the loneliness and cruelty of his childhood, while living with relatives or step-parents, and often alone by himself after age 12.

In the second half we discuss how his life might have been had his father not been banished from his life at age 2, and his thoughts about the importance of fomenting the creative imagination.

The book he recommends is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, by Louis Carrol.

This program was recorded on December 11, 2016.

Click here to listen now.

 

Woodbine, Onaje Ph.D. — Black Gods of the Asphalt Part Two

The transcendent experience of street basketball is the topic of two conversations with Onaje X. O. Woodbine, author of “Black Gods of the Asphalt: Religion, Hip-Hop, and Street Basketball.” Woodbine grew up in the inner-city of Roxbury, Massachusetts, became a skilled street basketball player and attended Yale University on a basketball scholarship. After two years as a star player on the Yale team, he chose a different life path and quit.

After graduating from Yale, Woodbine earned his Ph.D. in religious studies from Boston University. His book, “Black Gods of the Asphalt” presents a social-anthropological view of this inner-city sport where coaches often assume the role of father, mentor and friend. He contrasts the lessons learned on the street basketball courts, with those learned at the predominantly white basketball courts and locker rooms of Yale University.

Onaje Woodbine visited with Radio Curious by phone on August 13, 2016, from his home in Andover, Massachusetts. In part one we discussed his experiences growing up and playing on the basketball courts in the inner city and how that differend from the Ivy League schools he later went to. In part two, we began our conversation when I asked him to explain the ethnographic research and methods he used in making his book, “Black Gods of the Asphalt.”

The book Dr. Onaje Woodbine recommends is “Jesus and the Disinherited” by Howard Thurman.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

Woodbine, Onaje Ph.D. — Black Gods of the Asphalt Part One

The transcendent experience of street basketball is the topic of two conversations with Onaje X. O. Woodbine, author of “Black Gods of the Asphalt: Religion, Hip-Hop, and Street Basketball.” Woodbine grew up in the inner-city of Roxbury, Massachusetts, became a skilled street basketball player and attended Yale University on a basketball scholarship. After two years as a star player on the Yale team, he chose a different life path and quit.

After graduating from Yale, Woodbine earned his Ph.D. in religious studies from Boston University. His book, “Black Gods of the Asphalt” presents a social-anthropological view of this inner-city sport where coaches often assume the role of father, mentor and friend. He contrasts the lessons learned on the street basketball courts, with those learned at the predominantly white basketball courts and locker rooms of Yale University.

Onaje Woodbine visited with Radio Curious by phone on August 13, 2016, from his home in Andover, Massachusetts, and began part one by describing his relationship with his father, Dr. Robert Woodbine.  In part two he discusses the ethnographic research and methods he used in making his book, “Black Gods of the Asphalt.”

The book Dr. Onaje Woodbine recommends is “Jesus and the Disinherited” by Howard Thurman.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

Dr. Elizabeth Allen – Changes In Segregation Since 1952 – Part 2

In this edition of Radio Curious, we’ll visit again with Dr. Elizabeth Allen, a Professor of nursing at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. As a high school student, Dr. Allen was one of the first African American students to integrate the West Virginia high schools in 1957.

We begin our conversation with Dr. Allen when she discusses how she was able to successfully get through the educational system, and what changes have occurred in education since then, as they relate to African American students.

The book she recommends is The Price of Loyalty by David Susskind with former US Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neil.

This episode originally broadcast in May, 2004

Dr. Elizabeth Allen – Changes In Segregation Since 1952

In May, 1954 the United States Supreme Court unanimously declared, ”segregation in public education is a denial of the equal protection of the laws.”  Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, was a leader of many that gave strength and support to the initial struggles for equal civil rights and equal access for all people regardless of skin color. Now 62 years later the concept of affirmative action admission policies for racial equality in public universities continues.

 In this 2004 archive edition of Radio Curious we visit with Dr. Elizabeth Allen, now a Professor Emeritus of Nursing at the University of Michigan.  As a high school student in 1957, Dr. Allen was one of the first African-American students to integrate the West Virginia high schools.  Later she was a Captain in the U.S. Army as Combat Nurse in Viet Nam, prior to obtaining a Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in nursing and becoming a professor of nursing at the University of Michigan.

This is the first of a two part series recorded in April 2004, in commemoration of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, recorded in late April 2004, Dr. Elizabeth Allen and I began our visit with her description the changes in racial segregation between 1954 and 2004.

 Dr. Elizaeth Allen is an avid romance reader and recommends any book written by Linda Howard.  She also recommends “The Price of Loyalty” by David Suskind with former US Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill.

This interview as originally broadcast in May 2004.

Click here to begin listening

Barnes, Annie Ph.D. — Racism in America

Racism has, for too long, been a part of the American experience: the Civil War and the constitutional amendments that followed, the Supreme Court decisions ordering the desegregation of schools, and the Civil Rights movements did not end racism in America.

Annie S. Barnes, holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the University of Virginia and is a retired professor of sociology and anthropology at Norfolk State University in Virginia. She is the author of “Everyday Racism, A Book for All Americans,” a book based on the racist experiences suffered by 146 black college students. Professor Barnes describes the effects of racism on black people, and what all people can do to combat it.

The book Annie S. Barnes recommends is “Driving While Black: Highways, Shopping Malls, Taxi Cabs, Sidewalks: How to Fight Back if You Are a Victim of Racial Profiling,” by Kenneth Meeks.

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.