Sullivan, Michael Gene Political Theater, Black Men and the Police

From the archives of Radio Curious:

Theatre as a commentary on the condition of society is the subject of this edition of Radio Curious.  The topic is the relationship of police and black men in America in 2015.  Our guest is Michael Gene Sullivan, the resident playwright, director and a principal actor in 2015: Freedomland,” this year’s production by the San Francisco Mime Troupe.

The first question and answer on the frequently asked questions page on the San Francisco Mime Troupe website is:  “Why do you call yourself a Mime Troupe if you talk and sing?”  The answer is:  “We use the term mime in its classical and original definition, ‘The exaggeration of daily life in story and song.’”

When Michael Gene Sullivan and I visited by phone from his home in San Francisco on June 29, 2015, I asked him if “2015: Freedomland” was an exaggeration of daily life in story and song from his perspective.

The book Michael Gene Sullivan recommends is “The Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Force,” by Redley Balko.

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Bayer, Jaciara — Transracial Adoptions and White Privilege

Radio Curious discusses transracial adoptions with Jaciara Bayer, a 30 year old Brazilian born woman, who is currently studying for a master’s degree in social work at the California State University at Hayward.

Jaciara Bayer was adopted and brought to the United States at age 11 months by her single, white-American mother and grew up in Ukiah, California.

A transracial adoption, which may be an international adoption, is the primary focus of Jaciara Bayer’s plan of study for her master’s degree. Sharing her personal experiences, she tells us of being told she’s different, growing up in a white family and white privilege. When Jaci, as she is often known, and I visited in the studios of Radio Curious on March 23, 2015, she began with her earliest memories.

The book Jaciara Bayer recommends is “In the Meantime: Finding Yourself and the Love You Want,” by Iyanla Vanzant.

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Blevis, Marcianne — Jealousy

Are you jealous?  Have you ever been?  Do you know the origin of your jealousy? Jealousy often goes hand in hand with feelings of love, but where does this emotion come from, and how can we manage it?

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Marcianne Blevis, author of “Jealousy: True Stories of Love’s Favorite Decoy.”  In this book, Marcianne Blevis, who lives and works in Paris, France, reveals different ways jealousy affects different people and suggests methods to understand and manage what can be a very destructive yet elusive emotion.

She examines the deeper consequences of jealousy and inquires if jealousy is useful to us and if this ‘extraordinary passion,’ in reality is ‘a strategy for survival’.

I spoke with Marcianne Blevis from her home in Paris, France on February 2nd, 2009, and began by asking her to explain what jealousy is.

The book Marcianne Blevis recommends is “Aux confins de l’identité” (title translated by Marcianne Blevis as “At the Frontier of Identity”) by Michel De M’uzan. This book is currently published only in French.  

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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.

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Werdinger, Roberta: Barbed Wire and Flowers

Barb Wire and Flowers: A daughter’s story of her perception and relationship with her father.  He, a survivor of the holocaust, and she, his adult child describes the strength of his life incumbent on her youth, and their visit to one of the two concentration camps where he was interned by the Nazis in World War Two.

Roberta Werdinger, a storyteller, writer, publicist, editor, is our guest in this edition of Radio Curious.  Raised as a non-secular Jew and ordained as a Buddhist Monk, plans to include Barbed Wire and Flowers in the memoir she is currently writing.  I heard her public reading of Barbed Wire and Flowers here in Ukiah in June, 2016 I invited her to visit Radio Curious.  She did on November 21, 2016.  Our visit begins with her reading, and I invite you listen for the next 17 minutes. Our conversation follows.

This program was recorded on November 21, 2016.

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President Jimmy Carter – Life After the Presidency

The Virtues of Aging

Considering the alternatives, growing older is really not all that bad. The frame of mind that we develop and carry with us as we age controls much of how we feel and behave. James Earl Carter Jr., more often known as Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the US, is the author of a book called, “The Virtues of Aging.” President Carter’s book covers issues from Social Security and medical expenses to the importance of staying active and involved. I spoke with President Jimmy Carter by phone, in the fall of 1998, and I asked him what prompted him to write the book.

President Jimmy Carter recommends “The Age Wave: How the Most Important Trend of Our Time Can Change Your Future,” by Ken Dychtwald.

Originally Broadcast: December 4, 1998

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Dyer, Michael — The Life of Whalers in the 19th Century

Whaling in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the home of Herman Melville, author of “Moby Dick,” is our topic today.  Our guest is Michael Dyer, the senior historian at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.  The Whaling Museum reveals the lives of the largest mammals on earth.  The museum’s social history collection shares the monumental stories of those who spent their human lives whaling at sea between the New England coast and half way around the world, as well as their families who yearned for their return.  It explains how the seamen lived at sea, who they were, as well as the captains and owners of the sailing vessels and all those in between. It also explains the economics of the whale oil that lit and lubricated the industrial revolution.

In part one of our series on whaling I met with Mike Dyer at the New Bedford Whaling Museum on September 2, 2016.  To put matters it into perspective, we began with I asked him to describe the sperm whale.

In this program, part two of our visit with Mike Dyer, we began when he described the lives of the men who went to sea to hunt the whales.

The book Mike Dyer recommends is “Marine Mammals of the Northwestern Coast of North America,” by Charles Melville Scammon.

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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.

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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.

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Stiefel, Frank — “Ingelore” Speaking Without Hearing

What would it be like for you if you were deaf? If you could not speak your first word until you were six? If you had three years of education, your first language was German, and you later emigrated to another country where they speak English?  Ingelore is the first name of a woman who was born in Germany in 1924, and came to America in 1940 at the beginning of the Third Reich, right after Kristallnacht. The film “Ingelore” was made by Inglelore’s son Frank Stiefel, and it tells his mother’s story.

In this edition of Radio Curious, we begin with Ingelore in her own words from the documentary “Ingelore.” As you hear her ability to articulate words in English it’s important to remember she cannot hear.

This interview was recorded on May 29th, 2010 with Frank Stiefel from his home in Santa Monica, California.

The books that Frank Stiefel recommends are “Hand Of My Father,” by Myron Uhlberg, and “The Road,” by Cormac McCarthy.

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