Gilbert, Ronnie — A Memorial Tribute

In this edition of Radio Curious we honor and pay tribute to folk singer Ronnie Gilbert, who died on June 6, 2015 at the age of 88. She is well known for her powerful contralto voice as a member of the Weavers, the extraordinarily popular folk music quartet that in 1950s and 1960s. She also had careers as an actor and a psychologist.

From the Radio Curious archives, recorded in September 1996, Ronnie Gilbert describes her introduction to music and dance, how the Weavers came together; their blacklist experience; her thoughts about turning 70 years old when this program was recorded in 1996; and her friendship and work with Holly Near. We conclude with Holly Near recalling her friendship with Ronnie Gilbert.
The books Ronnie Gilbert recommends are “The Moors Last Sigh” by Salman Rushdie, “Making Movies” by Sidney Lumet and “Eyewitness: A Personal Account of the Unraveling of the Soviet Union” by Vladimir Pozner.

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Lowe, Felicia — Chinese Immigration:  The Veil of Secrecy and Silence

Secrecy of and revelation about the trip to America to secure a new life during the Chinese Exclusion era is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious. 

Our guest is Felicia Lowe, whose filmChinese Couplets” tells her mother’s story.  Felicia Lowe was met with refusals and silence when as a child she asked her mother about her childhood. This shroud of silence was lifted when Felicia Lowe’s daughter found an old family photograph taken in China and asked her grandmother to tell the story related to the photograph. 

The film “Chinese Couplets” shows and tells the story of a childhood in rural China, the new identity to secure passage to America, the fear of deportation if the truth were known, and a prosperous and successful life of an immigrant Chinese woman in Oakland, California.   The film “Chinese Couplets” will be shown at the Mendocino Film Festival on Saturday, May 30, 2015 at 10 am in the Village of Mendocino, California.

When Felicia Lowe and I visited by phone from her home in San Francisco, California, May 17, 2015, I asked her to tell us about her mother.

The book Felicia Lowe recommends is “The Blues Eye,” by Toni Morrison.

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Schwartz, Lacey — Nobody Discussed It:  Lacey Schwartz and “Little White Lie”

The secret revealed in the life of Lacey Schwartz, born in 1987 to a white Jewish family in rural upstate New York, where she grew up, is that her biological father was black.  The few who knew her truth remained silent until after her first year of college when she asked her mother why she looked the way she did.  Lacey Schwartz is the producer and director of the film Little White Lie,” which documents her family secret.

“Little White Lie” will be shown at the Mendocino Film Festival on Friday, May 29, 2015, at 5:30 pm, in the Village of Mendocino, California.

Lacey Schwartz and I visited by phone from her home near New York City, on May 11, 2015.  First we hear a clip of Lacey’s voice taken from the introduction of the film “Little White Lie,” and later intersperse our conversation with clips from the film. 

The book Lacey Schwartz recommends is “How It Feels to Be Free:  Black Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement,” by Ruth Feldstein.

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Marshall, Joseph Ph.D. — Black Lives:  Alive and Free

Keeping young black men alive and free is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.  Our guest is Dr. Joseph E. Marshall, who in 1987 co-founded the Omega Boys Club of San Francisco, now called “Alive and Free,” of which he is the executive director.

Alive and Free is a community violence prevention effort for at-risk inner city youth and a surrogate family support system for young black men and women, based in San Francisco, California, to encourage their academic pursuits and obtain financial help for college.  

Joseph Marshall is also the host of Street Soldiers Radio, broadcast every Sunday evening on KMEL 106.1 FM at 8 pm.  In 1994 he received a McArthur Foundation Genius Award for his skills and accomplishments.

Dr. Joseph E. Marshall and I visited by phone, from his office in San Francisco, California on May 4, 2015, and began our conversation with his description of Alive and Free.

The books Joseph Marshall recommends are “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” and “Street Soldier:  One Man’s Struggle to Save a Generation – One Life at a Time,” by Joseph Marshall and Lonnie Wheeler.

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Bayer, Jaciara: Transracial Adoptions and White Privilege

We continue our discussion of racism and white privilege in Mendocino County, California, with 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 Van Zant.

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Durham, Bill — Racism in America:  One Man’s Experience

Radio Curious continues its series racism in a conversation with Bill Durham, a 59 year old black man, originally from Ohio who grew up in family of civil rights activists and now lives in Mendocino County, California.  We explore the effects of racism in the United States and how to end it.  Bill Durham, works as a journeyman carpenter, and hosts Club FM, a weekly blues, jazz and rock music program on KMEC radio in Ukiah, California with the moniker of MC Squared.

In this program, recorded on February 12, 2015, at Radio Curious, Bill Durham shares his experiences of being black in America, starting when he was very young, and his ideas on how to relieve racism.

The book Bill Durham recommends is “Supernatural:  Meeting with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind,” by Graham Hancock.

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Massey, Orell — Racism in a Rural California Sheriff’s Department Part Two

Radio Curious continues our series on racism in Mendocino County, California. Our guest is Mendocino County Deputy Sheriff Orell Massey who, for the past 20 years has been the only black law enforcement officer in the county’s history.  A native of South Carolina, Deputy Massey was a 21 year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps assigned to the Foreign Service Embassy detail before he moved to Mendocino County. When I asked Sheriff Massey to be a guest on this program and share his experience as a black Deputy Sheriff, he asked:  “Are the people of Mendocino County ready to hear what I have to say?”    

In part one of our conversation, Deputy Massey describes some people’s reaction to him while he is in on duty.

In part two, recorded on February 1, 2015, in the Radio Curious studios, Deputy Massey gives his personal response when asked, “what is it like to be the only black Deputy Sheriff ever in the history of Mendocino County?” Later he shares stories about his off duty life, his goals and aspirations.

The book Deputy Massey recommends is “Code Talker:  The First and Only Memoir By One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of World War Two,” by Chester Nez and Judith Schiess Avila.

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

Rovics, David — The Art of Political Song

Songs of a political nature are not surprising given the similarities and parallel community structures of politics and religions, with each community promoting the behaviors and concepts it supports as being the most appropriate.  The art of political song, which has been crafted and heard world wide since time immemorial, is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.

In this program we visit with singer–songwriter David Rovics, a veritable troubadour and folk musician of our time.  He visited the studios of Radio Curious on December 9, 2012, and began our conversation when he described his work, his songs, and how he creates them.  

The following is his biography taken from his website. 
”David Rovics grew up in a family of classical musicians in Wilton, Connecticut, and became a fan of populist regimes early on. By the early 90′s he was a full-time busker in the Boston subways and by the mid-90′s he was traveling the world as a professional flat-picking rabble-rouser. These days David lives in Portland, Oregon and tours regularly on four continents, playing for audiences large and small at cafes, pubs, universities, churches, union halls and protest rallies. He has shared the stage with a veritable who’s who of the left in two dozen countries, and has had his music featured on Democracy Now!, BBC, Al-Jazeera and other networks. His essays are published regularly on CounterPunch and elsewhere, and the 200+ songs he makes available for free on the web have been downloaded more than a million times. Most importantly, he’s really good. He will make you laugh, he will make you cry, he will make the revolution irresistible.”

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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.

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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 Marcianne Blevis, author of “Jealousy: True Stories of Love’s Favorite Decoy.”  In this book Marcianne Blevis,  a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst 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 is this ‘extraordinary passion’ in reality ‘a strategy for survival’.

I spoke with Marcianne Blevis from her home in Paris, France on February 2, 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.

Click here or on the media player below to listen.