Monday, April 20, 2009
In the 1st Century BC, Rome had survived two civil wars and successfully fended off a fair share of trouble makers: Gallic invaders, Etruscan bandits, Hannibal and his elephants. But in the summer of 73 BC, the world’s only superpower faced its gravest threat: a runaway slave named Spartacus. What began as a prison escape by a few dozen men armed with meat cleavers turned into a revolt of 60,000 slaves. Classics professor Barry Strauss says that while Spartacus has become the stuff of legend, the true story of the Thracian gladiator is much more impressive. He writes about it in The Spartacus War. Next, the musical A Chorus Line is still one of Broadway’s most popular and longest running shows, and the new documentary Every Little Step reveals the lives of its hard-working performers. Directors Adam Del Deo and James Stern filmed the dancers who went through the grueling process of auditioning for the musical’s 2006 revival. Every Little Step is now open in Los Angeles and New York.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Martin Goldsmith, host of Sirius XM’s Symphony Hall, talks about the musicians and composers who were imprisoned in the Nazi concentration camp Terezin. Then, Bob revisits his conversation with Nobel Peace Prize winner, author, activist and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
William Julius Wilson a prominent sociologist who has studied race for the last quarter-century. He has written several extremely influential books on the subject, including The Declining Significance of Race, The Truly Disadvantaged, and When Work Disappears. He is a recipient of the MacArthur “Genius Grant,” a National Medal of Science winner, and one of Time’s “25 Most Influential People in America.” His latest book is titled More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City. Then, after parting ways with many record labels over her career, Jill Sobule decided that next time, she’d make her own record, on her own label. To raise the necessary funds, she asked her fans for contributions. A donation of 50 dollars got you an advanced copy of the CD. The three fans who pledged five thousand dollars to the cause got a personal concert from Sobule. At the ten thousand dollar level, one fan got to sing on the album. Jill Sobule joins Bob to talk about “California Years” – her new fan-funded album.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Critic Joe Queenan calls himself a “fulltime son of a bit**.” No one in American culture is immune from his scathing observations — not Richard Dreyfuss, not Candice Bergen, not even Dan Quayle. Now he’s set his sights on the life of a poor young man, the son of an alcoholic high school dropout, who grew up in a Philadelphia housing project: himself. Queenan explains his life in a memoir, called Closing Time.
Friday, April 24, 2009
David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk about the latest news from the capital and beyond. Then, a look at the world of film with our resident entertainment critic David Kipen.