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Bob Elsewhere

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The Bob Edwards Show Schedule (March 2-6, 2015)


Monday, March 2, 2015: Our favorite ex-con Louis Ferrante is back with a book just out in paperback titled Mob Rules: What the Mafia Can Teach the Legitimate Businessman. He shares nuggets of advice good for the boardroom and the backroom such as, “never bad mouth the boss” and “the importance of networking: it’s good to go to a funeral as long as it’s not yours.” Ferrante served eight and a half years in prison for refusing to incriminate his associates in the Gambino family, since then he’s gone straight and now lectures groups of at-risk teens across the country.  Then, singer-songwriter Richard Buckner explains his penchant for moving and his love of touring.  He also plays a few songs in our performance studio and talks about his music and career.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015: On August, 7, 1974, a young Frenchman named Philippe Petit pulled off the “artistic crime of the century.” After eight months of planning, Petit, aided by a band of co-conspirators, rigged a wire between the tops of the Twin Towers and then spent nearly an hour dancing between the two.  The cops were waiting for him when he finally came off the wire.  Unsure of what crime he had committed, the NYPD charged him with “Man on Wire.”  That’s the name of the Academy Award-winning documentary directed by James Marsh. The two men join Bob to discuss the film and the inspiration.  Then Bob spends more time with Petit, who still practices the high wire three hours a day, six days a week. Petit is also a busker, juggler, pick-pocket artist and author. His latest book is titled Creativity: the Perfect Crime.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015: Julian Barnes has written novels, several collections of essays and stories, and a book titled Nothing to Be Frightened Of. Bob talks with Barnes about his book, which is part essay and part memoir, and is described as a meditation on religion, mortality and the fear of death. Barnes writes in the book that he sometimes finds life “an overrated way of spending time.”


Thursday, March 5, 2015: Andrew Blechman was shocked when his older New England neighbors put their house up for sale.  He was even more surprised when he learned they were moving to The Villages in central Florida.  It’s the world’s largest gated retirement community, takes up more space than Manhattan and includes a golf course for every day of the month.  Blechman explores this rapidly growing trend in his new book titled Leisureville: Adventures in America’s Retirement Utopias. With Facebook, Skype and Twitter you never have to lose contact with anyone ever again.  So how well do you know the family next door?  After a terrible tragedy on his suburban street, Peter Lovenheim wanted to know what it took to build friendships with the people closest to you- or at least the ones who are nearby. He is the author of In The Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time. 


Friday, March 6, 2015: Photographer Danny Clinch has spent his career connecting the realms of visual and sonic art. Through collaborations with musicians like Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and James Brown, Clinch explores the intrinsic link between music and images. Filmmaker Tom Shadyac flourished in Hollywood with the hit comedies Ace Ventura, Liar Liar and Bruce Almighty under his belt.  Then a near-fatal bike accident broke his fairytale spell, and when he recovered from his coma, he set out to rediscover life and sort out “what’s wrong with the world.”  Shadyac’s documentary is called I Am, and in it, he interviews great thinkers such as Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in searching for the meaning of life.



Bob Edwards Weekend (February 28-March 1, 2015)


Political reporter Jesse Holland seeks to answer a big question about notable tourist attractions in the nation’s capital - “Where’s the Black history?” Holland walks and talks with Bob on Capitol Hill about the contributions that African Americans have made to historic sites discussed in his book Black Men Built the Capitol: Discovering African American History In and Around Washington, D.C.

MIT history professor Craig Steven Wilder has documented a shocking history of Ivy League universities.  Not only were they funded by slave-owners and built by slave labor, many actually had slaves working on the campus – and had their endowments enriched by the slave trade.  Wilder’s book is titled Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities



In the 1930’s, Rosetta Tharpe started singing at the southern Pentecostal church with her preacher mother, but soon Tharpe crossed over to rock-and-roll and was filling stadiums with thousands of  fans. She was Americas first female “stadium rocker.”  Bob talks to Gayle Wald, author of the biography titled Shout, Sister, Shout! The Untold Story of Rock-and-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Grammy award-winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre is one of the few living composers who has topped the classical charts.  Best-known for his “Virtual Choir” projects on YouTube, Whitacre is a musician who pushes the boundaries of music and still finds popular acclaim.  He talks with Bob about his collaborative online work and about the spiritual music from his album Water Night.


The Bob Edwards Show Schedule (February 23-27, 2015)


Monday, February 23, 2015: With the end of the Civil War and the passage of the 13th Amendment, 4 million former slaves embarked on new lives with the promise of freedom. But labor laws and practices that arose during the post-Emancipation era effectively created new forms of slavery in the South that persisted well into the 20th century.  Bob talks with Sam Pollard director of a documentary based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Douglas A. Blackmon that explores this little-known history of forced labor. Both the book and the film are called Slavery By Another Name.  Then we revisit music and conversation with the American Spiritual Ensemble. The group was founded by Everett McCorvey in 1995 and is based in Lexington, Kentucky. Dr. McCorvey and twenty-five members of the Ensemble discuss and perform examples of the American Negro spiritual — music created by slaves with African roots and biblical text.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015: Bob talks with Lakesia Johnson about women such as Sojourner Truth, Angela Davis, and Michelle Obama.  Johnson is an English professor and the author of Iconic: Decoding Images of the Revolutionary Black Woman which documents the lives and trials of African American women who refuse to be stereotyped. Then, Bob talks with actress and writer Annabelle Gurwitch about her book of essays titled I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50.  Every day, more than 10,000 Americans cross that threshold – and like Gurwitch – start receiving targeted mail from the AARP.  This coming-of-middle-age story covers that and other topics like aging out of your wardrobe, options for retirement and navigating the beauty counter at the department store.  Gurwitch’s book just came out in paperback.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015: Bob talks with public broadcasting’s Tavis Smiley who takes a closer look at the final year of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life in his book titled Death of a King.  It’s a book Smiley calls his “personal love letter to Dr. King,” but he also doesn’t shy away from writing about King’s flaws and mistakes.  Then, Bob visits with Michael Eric Dyson to evaluate the fate of Black America over the past 40 years — how it has advanced, where it hasn’t, and how black leaders can best affect racial justice going forward. Dyson is the author of many books, including April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Death and How It Changed America.

Thursday, February 26, 2015: Randall Kennedy is one of this country’s leading thinkers.  He teaches law at Harvard and comments extensively on race, politics, and our judicial system.  He talks with Bob about his book titled The Persistence of the Color Line: Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency.  Racial “passing” is a controversial topic in American history.  Bob talks with author Marcia Dawkins about her book Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing And The Color Of Cultural Identity.

Friday, February 27, 2015: In This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible, award-winning civil rights scholar Charles Cobb Jr. describes how the Second Amendment  became an integral part of survival and liberation for blacks in America — from the troublesome years of Reconstruction through the civil rights movement.  Then we go further back in the archives, for Bob’s 2008 visit with Cobb to discuss an earlier book - On The Road to Freedom: A Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail.  Cobb takes us to places where pioneers of the movement marched, gathered, spoke, taught, where they were arrested, and where they lost their lives.


Bob Edwards Weekend (February 20-21, 2015)


From April to November 1919, white mobs led race riots and lynchings across the country, from Bisbee, Arizona to New York City. Attacks occurred in more than three dozen cities and by the end of it, hundreds of blacks were dead.  Cameron McWhirter writes about this little-remembered period of history in his book, Red Summer: The Summer of 1919 and The Awakening of Black America.

One of the most famous photographs to come out of the Civil Rights era is of a black high school girl, dressed in white, walking stoically in front of Little Rock Central High School, while behind her stands a white girl screaming racial epithets, her face twisted in rage.  The two girls are now grown women.  In 1962, Hazel Bryan Massery tracked down Elizabeth Eckford and apologized, and the two had a public reconciliation in 1997. Journalist David Margolick tells the history of their lives and complicated relationship in his book, Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock.



On February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated by members of The Nation of Islam – an organization that he had just left and denounced.  We’ll remember the life and work of the civil rights activist 50 years after his death.  We’ll hear archival tape and memories from former guests Clarence Jones, Peniel Joseph and Belva Davis.

Peanuts and the gang are some of the most beloved comic characters of the American newspaper.  Their creator, Charles Schulz drew their antics and quips for fifty years, until his death in 2000.  Bob talks with both Schulz biographer David Michaelis and PBS director David Van Taylor about their surprising discoveries of the life of Charles Schulz.


Jon Cleary

NOTE: This blog entry frist appeared in July 2010

by Chad Campbell, senior producer 

Jon Cleary shares his natural habitat with Bob and GeoffreyHave you ever heard someone complain that they were meant to be born in a different era or another decade? Well it seems like Jon Cleary was born in the wrong place. But as he told us, if he actually was a New Orleans native, he might have been obsessed with British music instead. Cleary was born in 1962 and grew up in a musical family in Kent, England. One of his uncles used to visit New Orleans frequently and he would come back with stories about the culture of the place - and with records by local legends like Professor Longhair. As soon as he could manage it, Cleary took his guitar and moved to The Big Easy. He quickly determined that the piano was a better fit, so he watched and learned for a couple of years, teaching himself the city’s keyboard stlye. Cleary has now been in New Orleans for more than 30 years, easily the majority of his life and he lives in Bywater, the city’s “last forgotten, old funky neighborhood.” He lives above an old hardware store and his home studio shares the downstairs storefront space with his seamstress wife’s costume design workshop. Bob sat next to Cleary at one of his FOUR pianos and got a New Orleans musical history lesson as Cleary answered questions about himself and played samples from local legends like Jelly Roll Morton, James Booker and Professor Longhair. Here’s a video of one of the demos he gave us.

Bob (wearing his New Orleans hat) outside Jon Cleary’s houseCleary has soaked it all in, including a love for Cuban piano music, a close musical cousin of New Orleans style, and plays it through his own musical filter. He could probably play anything on piano, but prefers “funky and syncopated” with his regular band, The Absolute Monster Gentleman. But right now Cleary is touring with Piano, Bass and Drums, a new side project he assembled which delivers a stripped down sound. They’re currently touring the UK, then Cleary returns for a solo show in New Orleans on August 11, then he takes PB&D to Brazil for a few shows.


Click here to see more pictures of our first New Orleans adventure.