Lung, Robin– Finding Kukan: A Hidden Glimpse into Wartime China

An artifact of Chinese-American heritage in the form of a long-lost film and the Asian American woman responsible for this film’s creation is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.

Our guest is documentary filmmaker Robin Lung, who made the film Finding Kukan. Finding Kukan tells the story of Li Ling-Ai, a Chinese-American woman who hired Rey Scott, an American photojournalist, to travel to China and capture the life of people in that war-torn country, including the massive bombing of the wartime capital. Their landmark film, Kukan, received one of the first Academy Awards for a feature documentary in 1942. Lung’s film, Finding Kukan, asks why we haven’t heard of Li Ling-Ai, and why all copies of her film Kukan seem to have disappeared.

This program was recorded on May 6, 2017, when she was in Southern California, right after Finding Kukan received the Audience Award at the 2017 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

You may listen to the full interview here.

The book which Robin Lung recommends is also a movie, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, by Margot Lee Shetterly.

Offen, Bernard: Surviving the Holocaust (Archive)

The internationally recognized date of Holocaust Remembrance Day corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar, a calendar based on the phases of the moon. That day also marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In Hebrew, Holocaust Remembrance Day is called Yom Hashoah. In year 2017 of the Gregorian Calendar Yom Hashoah falls on April 24.

From the Radio Curious archives, in honor of Yom Hashoah this year, we re-visit our 2005 interview with Bernard Offen. He survived five Nazi concentration camps in Poland, during his youth in World War II. Bernard Offen has led tours of these concentration camps and in doing says, “You don’t have to be a survivor or Jewish. It’s for all the wounded who want to understand the power of good and evil and want to create goodness in the world.”

When Bernard Offen visited the studios of Radio Curious in April 2005, we began our conversation when he described some of his early childhood experiences in Krakow, Poland in the years just prior to World War II.

The book Bernard Offen recommends My Hometown Concentration Camp: A Survivor’s Account to Life in the Krakow Ghetto and Plaszow Concentration Camp, which he wrote.

You can listen to the full interview here.

Patterson, Dr. Victoria: It Does Not Require Many Words to Speak the Truth

 

This week, we continue our discussion with ethnologist Dr. Victoria Patterson. We talk about how the United States treated the Native people of North America initially, and later during the westward expansion. We also discuss the consequences to the Native people when they entered into written treaties with the United States. Not having a written language, they relied on the carefully chosen words they spoke during the treaty negotiations and the words spoken by the representatives of the United States.

Dr. Victoria Patterson is an Ethnologist who has studied the Native people of what is now the United States for the past 40 years.  She lives and works in Ukiah, California. I invite you to listen to the 1999 two-part series with Dr. Patterson about the life of the Pomo People of northwestern California prior to contact with Europeans, and what occurred in the ten years thereafter.

We began this interview with her elaborating on and putting into context the statement of Chief Joseph: “It Does Not Require Many Words to Speak the Truth.”

You can listen to our discussion here.

The book Victoria Patterson recommends is “The Best American Travel Writing 2016,” by Bill Bryson.

This program was recorded on January 23, 2017.

The Galapagos Islands and Charles Darwin

Who was Charles Darwin and what led him to describe what we now call the theory of evolution? These curious questions are ones that I have been following since I was about ten years old. In 1978 I had the good fortune of visiting the Galapagos Islands, 600 miles west of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands in 1831 for month as part of a five-year voyage around the world. There he saw birds and animals that helped him formulate some of his ideas about evolution he published The Origin of the Species, 22 years later in 1853. Since then the world, science and religion has not been the same.

Now, at a time when concepts of evolution and natural selection are attacked from certain theological and political perspectives, “The Darwin Conspiracy,” a novel has been written by John Darnton, a writer and editor for the New York Times. “The Darwin Conspiracy,” although fiction, is said by John Darnton to be 90% accurate. It covers Darwin’s life and thinking before and after his publication of “The Origin of the Species.”

I spoke with John Darnton from his home in New York City at the end of October 2005. He began by describing who Charles Darwin was, in his time and place.

The book John Darnton recommends is “Snow,” by Orhan Pamuk.

Click here to listen now.

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.

Click here to listen.

McGourty, Glenn — Euphoria of Wine: Varietals and History

The lack of pure water was one of the several things that resulted in the development of wine as a source of potable liquid for human intake.  Putting that aspect of human history in a time and place in relation to social and political events, and the tracing of the different varietals of wine is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.

Our guest is Glenn McGourty, the Winegrowing and Plant Science Advisor at the University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources located in the hills a few miles northeast of Hopland, in rural Mendocino County, California. This locale has been called the university of our back yard by many of us who live nearby.

Glenn McGourty’s specialty is the history of wine and it’s evolution–how so many varietals came to be and were further developed.  When Glenn McGourty visited the Radio Curious studios on October 18, 2016, we began our conversation with his reflections on the history wine making.

The book Glenn McGourty recommends is “Cold Mountain,” by Charles Frazier.  

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

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.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

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.”

 Click here to listen or on the media player below.

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.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

Tom Weidlinger: “The Restless Hungarian”

The true, but stranger than fiction life story of Paul Weidlinger, characterized as The Restless Hungarian, is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.    At age 25 Weidlinger , who hid his Jewish roots in plain view, fled to Bolivia to escape the Holocaust.   Five years later he resettled in the United States and became one of the most important and creative structural engineers of the 20th Century.

“The Restless Hungarian” is a book and a feature-length documentary about to be the 30th movie written and produced by Tom Weidlinger, Paul Weidlinger’s son.   The story is set against the larger canvas of the Hungarian Jewish Diaspora, and reflects the experiences of so many immigrants who made a name for themselves in America after World War II.

The Beaconreader,  which funds journalism projects around the world is currently hosting a crowd source fund for “The Restless Hungarian”.

When award winning film-maker Tom Weidlinger, a previous Radio Curious guest, and I visited by phone  on January 9, 2016, we began when I asked to explain how the life experience of his father Paul Weidlinger is relevant today.

The book Tom Weidlinger recommends is “Euphoria,” by Lily King.

Please click here to begin listening.