Dammann, Dr. Grace –Dr. Grace Dammann: In Her Own Words

In our last interview we visited with the producers and directors of the film “States of Grace,” about the life of a woman honored by The Dalai Lama for her medical work at the height of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco, Ca.

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with that woman, Dr. Grace Dammann.  Dr. Grace had a near death experience resulting from a head-on collision on the Golden Gate Bridge in 2008.  She awoke 48 comatose days later after multiple surgeries for, as she says, “trashed bones and internal organs.”  With her cognitive abilities in tact, she began rehabilitation and was able to go home a year later.  Now, in 2014 she has returned to work as the Medical Director of the Pain Clinic at the Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco, California, where she had previously worked as a physician for 18 years. 

Notwithstanding her confinement to a wheelchair she proudly describes her legal efforts to urge the Golden Gate Bridge Authority to install a dividing barrier intended to prevent future head-on collisions on the bridge.  The installation is scheduled to being in the fall of 2014.

Dr. Grace and I visited by phone from her home at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, in Muir Beach, California on May 23, 2014.  We began our conversation when I asked her describe her current station on the continuum of her life’s experience. 

The book Dr. Grace Dammann recommends is “The Last of the Just,” by Andre Schwarz-Bart. 

Click here or on the media player below to listen.

Cohen, Helen & Lipman, Mark –”States of Grace:”  Difficult to Imagine – Impossible to Comprehend

On May 21, 2008 Dr. Grace Damman was crushed in a head-on collision on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.  Her abdominal organs were shoved into her lung cavity and her bones and muscles were extensively injured. 

A practicing Buddhist, Dr. Grace engaged her spirituality to survive this crisis, heal and accept the new terms of her life.  Three years and 15 surgeries later, Dr. Grace Damman became the Medical Director of the Pain Clinic at San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital where she had previously worked as a physician for 18 years.

“States of Grace” is a documentary film about Dr. Grace Damman, produced and directed by Helen Cohen and Mark Lipman, our guests on this edition of Radio Curious.  We visited by phone from their home in San Francisco, California, on May 16, 2014, and began our conversation with Helen Cohen describing her friend, Dr. Grace.

The films Helen Cohen recommends are “The Kiss of the Spider Woman” and “Guest of Cindy Sherman.” The film Mark Lipman recommends is “Sherman’s March.”

Click here or on the media player below to listen.

Rosenwasser, Penny — From Fear to Love: A Judaic Perspective

When Penny Rosenwasser, our guest in this edition of Radio Curious, was a child in the suburbs of Virginia, people sometimes said, “You don’t look Jewish.”  She replied, “Thank you.” 

Her book, “Hope into Practice: Jewish Women Choosing Justice Despite Our Fears,” delves into the Jewish experience and its rich yet tragic cultural history. She explores internalized oppression and ways to face fear with a positive outcome, and describes steps to embrace who we are as a means to create a world based on love, tolerance and justice.

I spoke with Penny Rosenwasser from her home near San Francisco, California on May 5, 2014.  She began our conversation by describing a major theme of her book.

Penny Rosenwasser will be speaking in Redwood Valley, on May 18, at 4pm at Kol-ha-Emek 8591 West Road. Call 707 468 4536 for details.

The book she recommends is “The Colors of Jews: Racial Politics and Radical Diasporism,” by Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz.

Click here or on the media player below to listen.

Brizendine, Dr. Louann — The Female & the Male Brain: There is a Difference

Have you ever been curious about the difference between the male brain and the female brain? Well I have, for a long time. Dr. Louann Brizendine, founder of the Women’s Mood and Hormone Clinic at the University of California at San Francisco wrote two books about those differences. In 2006 she wrote a book called, “The Female Brain,” and in 2010 she wrote “The Male Brain,”–very different books about very different genders of our human species.

The interview with Dr. Louann Brizendine was recorded by phone from her home in San Francisco, Ca on March 21st, 2011. We began by discussing the mail brain and in particular, the chapter to her book titled “Seeing the World Through Male Colored Glasses.”

The book Dr. Louann Brizendine recommends is “The Emperor of All Maladies,” by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

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

Fogg, Laura — Traveling Blind

The ways different creatures, especially us humans, use our senses to guide ourselves through life has long attracted my curiosity.   I’ve often wondered how blind people seem able to orient themselves, and also wondered about their dreams. 

From time to time, over the years, I would see an attentive woman walk past my office window next to a young person of student age.  They would walk together talk, and the young person almost always carried a white cane with a red tip. 

Laura Fogg is this woman, the author of “Traveling Blind:  Life Lessons from Unlikely Teachers,” and our guest in this archive edition of Radio Curious.  

Laura Fogg worked as a Mobility and Orientation Instructor for the Blind in Mendocino County for over 35 years beginning 1971.  She pioneered the use of the red tipped white cane with very young blind students some of whom had multiple impairments.  She traveled long distances over the rather spectacular back roads of Mendocino County to work with each student his or her home.

When she visited the studios of Radio Curious on December 1, 2008, I asked her about the lessons that she learned that have changed her life. 

The book Laura Fogg recommends is “My Year of Meats,” by Ruth Ozeki. Published in 1999.

Click here or on the media player below to listen.

Aptheker, Bettina — The Personal is the Political

Political intimacy is closely related to personal intimacy, just as social change is related to personal change. In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Bettina Aptheker, the author of “Tapestries of Life: Women’s Work, Women’s Consciousness, and the Meaning of Daily Experience.” At the time the program was recorded in 1997, Bettina was a professor of women’s studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz and open about identifying herself as a lesbian. When we spoke in February of 1997, we explored the relationship of personal intimacy and political intimacy.

The book Bettina Aptheker recommends is “Ceremony” by Leslie Marmon Silko. 

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

Erlick, Eli & Longchamp, Dr. Carla — Transgender Youth: One Family’s Experience Part One

This edition of Radio Curious is the first of two conversations with Eli Erlick, a woman, who was born a male, and her mother Dr. Carla Longchamp.  

Eli Erlick is the Founder and Executive Director of Trans Student Equality Resource, based in San Francisco, California and a student at Pitzer College in Claremont, California.  Dr. Carla Longchamp is a family physician in a rural northern California community.

Together they share their family’s experience when Eli realized that she was female, and her parent’s subsequent acceptance of who she is.  Our conversation, recorded on January 15, 2014, at Radio Curious, began when I asked Eli, when she knew she was a girl. 

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

Click here  to listen to part two.

 

 

Kennedy, Randall — Interracial Intimacies

Fears of interracial relationships, influenced over the centuries by racial biases and fantasies, still widely linger in American Society today.

Randall Kennedy, a professor at Harvard University Law School is the author of “Interracial Intimacies: Sex, Marriage, Identity, and Adoption,” in which he takes an in depth look at the issue of black and white relationships set against the ever-changing social mores and laws of this country.  From pre-civil war to the present, this book explores the historical, sociological, legal and moral issues that continue to feed and complicate those fears.

Professor Kennedy and I visited by phone in March 2003 and began by our conversation with his description of what he calls a “pigmentocracy” in the United States.  

The book Professor Randall Kennedy recommends is “The Biography of Walter White,” by Robert Jankin.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

Thomas, Sam — Midwives and Murder

The rather fascinating tale of midwifery and murder in York, England set in the mid 1640s is the topic of our conversation with Sam Thomas, author of “The Midwife’s Tale,” and “The Harlot’s Tale.”  While researching English history for his Ph.D. thesis, Thomas happened on to the Will of Bridget Hodgson, a midwife.  A fictionalized version of her life forms the basis for Thomas’s mystery series set in York, in which Bridget Hodgson is the protagonist.

Our conversation with Sam Thomas, recorded by phone on December 27, 2013 from his home near Cleveland, Ohio, where he teaches high-school history, begins with his characterization of York, England, in 1644.

The books Sam Thomas recommends are “An Instance of the Finger Post,” by Iain Pears, and “The Lock Artist,” by Steve Hamilton. 

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Bernstein, Paula & Schein, Elyse — Identical Twins Meet

In our unsatisfied curiosity about the difference between nature and nurture we visit with Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein.  These women are identical twins separated as infants and reunited in 2003 when they were 35 years old.  They are the authors of “Identical Strangers:  A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited.” 

Their mother, as we will hear was unable to care for them and as babies they were placed for adoption.

When we visited by phone on November 10, 2007, we discussed their separate childhoods, how they learned that they had a twin, their similarities and differences, and their attempt to learn about a study of twins in which they unknowingly participated.

We began when I asked them to describe aspects of their twin-ship which they still find strange.

The book that Elyse Schein recommends is “Later, At The Bar:  A Novel in Stories” by Rebecca Barry. The book that Paula Bernstein recommends is “Borrowed Finery:  A Memoir” by Paula Fox.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

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