Silha, Stephen — The Puckish Whimsical Life of James Broughton

The puckishly whimsical life and times of poet and film maker James Broughton is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious in a visit with Stephen Silha, the producer and director of “Big Joy,” a biographical film of the life and times of James Broughton.

Broughton believed that in order to live an authentic life we each should follow our own weird. He says:

“I don’t know what the left is doing said the right hand.

But it looks fascinating.”

And:

“I may be infecting the whole body

said the Head

but they’ll never amputate me.”

Stephen Silha and I visited by phone from his home near Seattle, Washington on Mother’s Day, 2014.  He began our conversation by telling us what drew him to make a film about his friend James Broughton.

The book Stephen Silha recommends is “The Man Who Fell in Love With the Moon,” by Tom Spanbauer.

The music in this week’s edition of Radio Curious is “Twirl” by Norman Arnold, from the movie, “Big Joy.”

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Miller, Geoffrey — Does What You Buy Make You Happier?

Why do you buy what you buy? What do you hope to gain from it and will it make you a happier, sexier and more successful person? In these days of economic downturn many of us may be questioning whether we really need all this “stuff” and how it impacts our lives?

In this edition of Radio Curious we meet Geoffrey Miller, a tenured professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of New Mexico, and the author of “Spent: Sex, Evolution and Consumer Behaviour.” During our visit we discuss how our purchasing choices are driven by thousands of years of evolution, how marketers can take advantage of this and how we might try to better understand our consumer instincts.

I spoke with Geoffrey Miller from his home in Australia on May 29, 2009 and began by asking him to define his field of evolutionary psychology.

The book Geoffrey Miller recommends is “The Life You Can Save: Acting Now To End World Poverty,” by Peter Singer. 

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Basta, Michael — Relationship Warning Signs

Why some couples get along and others don’t, sometimes to the extent of terminating their relationship, is a curious question, the answer to which is likely to bring both pleasure and unhappiness to each of us. Michael Basta has been a licensed clinical social worker based in Sonoma, County California, since 1988. He is trained and certified as a Gottman Couples’ Therapist. This training identifies the traits and behaviors of couples that are useful to predict how long their relationship will last. Michael Basta visited Radio Curious on May 21, 2010, and began by describing the negative traits and behaviors that indicate a dark future for the relationship.

The book Michael Basta recommends is “The Female Brain,” by Dr. Louann Brizendine.

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Samson, Don — The Creative Imagination of Playwright Don Samson

The creative imagination of playwright Don Samson is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.  In May 2015, I had the good fortune of seeing a ten minute play entitled “Blind Date,” written by my long time friend, who lives in nearby Willits, California.  For many years prior to becoming a playwright, Don Samson researched and wrote legal briefs for criminal defense attorneys, an experience we also discuss in this program. 

After seeing the local production of “Blind Date,” I was curious about the circumstances that came to Don Samson’s mind when he created this play, so I invited him to visit the Radio Curious studios.  We met on May 22, 2015 and began our conversation with his description of those circumstances. 

Don Samson recommends the book, which is also a play, “Antigone,” by Sophocles.  

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Edward Sorel: An Actress, Her Lovers, and a Daft Caricaturist

Edward Sorel, a satirical caricaturist, and cartoonist, whose first book is Mary Astor’s Purple Diary: The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936, is our guest in this edition Radio Curious. Claiming to be daft about Mary Astor for about a half a century, Sorel describes Astor’s career as a Hollywood based actress who seemingly more than enjoyed a lustful and salacious life. Astor’s diary, which allegedly revealed the untold stories of her trysts and lovers, was the centerpiece of the sensational 1936 trial to determine the custody of her young daughter.

Sorel, whose pictorial satires have appeared on the covers of forty-six editions of The New Yorker magazine, visited Radio Curious by phone from his home in Harlem, New York City, on February 27, 2017. We began our conversation when I asked him for the background of his interest in Mary Astor and what drew him to write and illustrate his book Mary Astor’s Purple Diary.

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The books Ed Sorel recommends are: Iron Dawn: The Monitor and The Merrimack, and the Sea Battle that Changed History, by Richard Snowand Terrible Virtue, a Novel, by Ellen Feldman.

Maestriprieri, Dario — The Primate Within Us

 We humans are a lot like the other primates on earth, but because we don’t associate with them, we often assume that our interpersonal behavior—how we make friends, work together, interact with strangers, relate to our spouse—is the product of our unique personalities and environment.

 In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Dario Maestripieri, author of “Games Primate Play: An Undercover Investigation of the Evolution and Economics of Human Relationships.” He’s a professor Comparative Human Development, Evolutionary Biology, Neurobiology and Psychiatry, and Behavior Neuroscience at the University of Chicago.

 Professor Maestripieri and I visited by phone from his office in Chicago, Illinois on April 16, 2012 and began with his description of the close relationship humans have with other primates.

 The book Professor Dario Maestripieri recommends is “Auto-da-Fe,” by Elias Canetti.

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Clancy, Susan Ph.D. — Sexual Abuse of Children and the Catholic Church

 This conversation discusses the myth of when and how trauma from child sexual abuse occurs. Our guest, Susan A. Clancy, Ph.D., and author of “The Trauma Myth:  The Truth About the Sexual Abuse of Children – and Its Aftermath” discusses how childhood sexual abuse abuse is perceived by the victim; the effects of denial, minimization and blame; and how this issue within the Catholic Church is not being resolved.

 Dr. Susan A. Clancy is the Research Director of the Center for Women’s Advancement, Development and Leadership at the Central American Institute for Business Administration in Nicaragua.  This interview with Susan A. Clancy was recorded on April 12, 2010, from her home in Managua, Nicaragua.

 The books Dr. Susan A. Clancy recommends are “Happiness: A History” by Darrin M. McMahon and “In The Woods,” by Tana French.

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Ley, David — The Myth of Sex Addiction, Part One

 Most people are familiar with sex. Some like it. Some like it a lot and seek to engage in sex more than others. Some people are inclined to think that the desire for “too much sex,” however much that may be, is due to a mental disorder.

 In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with David J. Ley, Ph.D. the author of “The Myth of Sex Addiction.”

 In this first of two conversations with Dr. Ley, the argument that “sex addiction” is a fraudulent concept is presented. In part two we discuss the evolutionary development of human sexuality and the many cultural approaches to sexual expression.

 We spoke by phone from his office in Albuquerque, New Mexico on August 6, 2012, and began part one when I asked him to explain why he characterizes “sex addiction” as a fraud, not as a disorder.

 The books Dr. David Ley recommends are “Nymphomania: A History,” by Carol Groneman, and “Is There Anything Good About Men?: How Cultures Flourish By Exploiting Men.”

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Ebershoff, David — How Many Wives are Enough?

Polygamy used to be a central aspect in Mormon beliefs.  However, it has not been for over 100 years now, due partly to considerable effort by Ann Eliza Young, one of Brigham Young’s many wives.

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with David Ebershoff, author of “The 19th Wife,” the story of Ann Eliza Young, and her realization and then quest to let the world know that marriage should only pertain to two people, instead of one man and a plethora of wives who were referred to as “sister wives.”  We discuss what marriage is, how religion plays a large role in many people’s lives, and how the quest that Ann Eliza had effected her world and the world we live in today.

Our conversation, recorded on August 29, 2008, began when I asked David Ebershoff why Ann Eliza wanted to apostate (or leave without approval) from the Mormon Church in relationship to the politics then and now.

The book that David Ebershoff recommends is, “American Wife: A Novel” by Curtis Sittenfeld.

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Reese, Father Tom — Pope Francis & the Catholic Church: A Discussion with a Priest, Part Two

Marriage, divorce and the role of women in the Catholic church are some of the topics of this edition of Radio Curious, the second of two visits with Father Tom Reese, a member of the Society of Jesus.  In the first visit, we discussed his view of Pope Francis, the role of prayer, and the possibility of opening the priesthood to women. 

Father Tom Reese entered the Jesuits in 1962 and was ordained in 1974.  Currently he is a senior analyst with the National Catholic Reporter. He was appointed by President Obama to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent, bipartisan federal commission that reviews the facts and circumstances of religious freedom violations and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. 

Martha McCabe, our guest host, is a retired higher education legal counsel and civil rights attorney with masters degrees in history and creative writing.  Brought up as a Roman Catholic, she graduated from Jesuit Santa Clara University and is now a secular Buddhist.  As a novelist, she was a guest on Radio Curious in 2006. 

When Martha McCabe visited with Father Tom Reese by phone on August 14, 2015, she began their conversation by inquiring about marriage in the Catholic Church.  While the Vatican views marriage as a sacred pact between two people, it forbids its priests from entering into that union.

The book Father Tom Reese recommends is “Laudato Si,” Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on climate change

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Click here to listen to part one.

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