Monday, February 28, 2011: Charles Burnett is an independent filmmaker whose first movie made while a student at UCLA in 1977 has become a cult classic. The Killer of Sheep examines life for Black Americans in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles from the perspective of a man who works at a slaughterhouse. Burnett reflects on his life and work, and talks about how African Americans and American culture have shaped each other.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011: Instead of a pen name, Wesley Stace has a microphone name. Stace performs music under the stage name, John Wesley Harding. He’s currently at work on his 16th album, a collaboration with members of the Decemberists. Under his real name, Stace has written three novels. For the latest, he’s combined his musical and literary lives: Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer comes with a soundtrack. The book is about a young composer living in post-WWI England who is a victim/suspect in a triple murder. The musical backdrop for the story involves British folk musicians putting up a fight against the atonal music coming out of Germany at the turn-of-the-20th-century.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011: The ancient Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is said to be one of the happiest places on earth and one that has been isolated from industrialization until relatively recently. In fact, Bhutan measures its success in Gross National Happiness rather than in GNP. Radio journalist Lisa Napoli moved to Bhutan to help start a radio station, Kuzoo FM. She writes about it all in her new book, Radio Shangri-La: What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth. Then, in 1872, several dozen Chinese boys were sent to America by their Emperor. It was part of the Chinese Educational Mission and the hope was that after a few years in New England prep schools and colleges, the boys could return as leaders and usher China into the modern age. Authors Liel Leibovitz and Matthew Miller share that story in Fortunate Sons: The 120 Chinese Boys Who Came to America, Went to School, and Revolutionized an Ancient Civilization.
Thursday, March 3, 2011: Bob talks with Sean Lennon and his girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl about their band The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger. Sean is the only child of John Lennon and Yoko Ono and Charlotte is better known as a fashion model who is now returning to her musical roots. They’ve released the band’s first CD called Acoustic Sessions and they perform several of the songs for us in studio.
Friday, March 4, 2011: National Journal Group Congressional correspondent Susan Davis joins Bob to talk about politics and other news. Then, writer Paula McLain combines fact and fiction in The Paris Wife, a historical novel about Hadley Richardson, the first wife of American writer Ernest Hemingway. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Elise Forier Edie. She is a professional playwright, a teacher and also an addict. In her essay, Edie writes frankly about the realities of addiction and recovery. She says that through all the changes in her life, her addiction remains. Each day, she fights a careful, methodical battle against her addiction, trimming her life into manageable moments.