Monday, August 10, 2015: Rolling Stone contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis has appeared on this program every year since 2005. For five years, he was our regular music reviewer. And every year, he comes back at Christmas time to review his favorite songs and albums of the past 12 months. In 2005, he talked to Bob about his book titled In Other Words: Artists Talk About Life and Work. It was a collection of his own writings and interviews with some of rock and roll’s biggest stars. Then Bob talks with DeCurtis about a later book. Blues and Chaos is a collection of pieces written by legendary music critic Robert Palmer. The articles, which appeared originally in Rolling Stone and the New York Times, were arranged thematically and edited by DeCurtis.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015: There’s an old adage that only two things in life are certain: taxes and death. But modern medicine has made the latter less certain. These days, dead people can live for a long time on life support. For instance, stroke victims are regularly kept alive long enough to donate their organs, and brain-dead pregnant women are sometimes kept alive long enough to deliver their babies. Dick Teresi details the long, complicated history of the changing definition of death in his book, The Undead: Organ Harvesting, the Ice-Water Test, Beating-Heart Cadavers – How Medicine Is Blurring the Line Between Life and Death.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015: Bob talks to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Ron Suskind, and his wife, Cornelia Kennedy, about the challenges of raising their autistic son, as detailed in Suskind’s book titled Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism. Just before his third birthday, their chatty, cheerful son suddenly stopped talking or making eye contact. He eventually re-learned how to express himself by watching, memorizing, and impersonating characters from Disney animated films. Then a different look at Disney. Director Don Hahn and producer Peter Schneider discuss their documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty. It’s a behind-the-scenes view into the turf battle at the Disney studios between the old animators and new innovators as the studios made the difficult transition from the bleak 1980s to its glory days following the success of The Little Mermaid.
Thursday, August 13, 2015: Berlin was divided on this date in 1961. Two days later, work began on The Berlin Wall, the famous symbol of division between East and West … The Iron Curtain. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck is the director and screenwriter of the political thriller, The Lives of Others. The Oscar-winning film begins in East Berlin in 1984, ends in 1991 and focuses on the Stasi, the German Democratic Republic’s vast network of informers that at one time numbered 200,000 people. Then an earlier chapter in Berlin’s history. The Berlin Airlift has been called the first battle of the cold war. For almost a year, young men flew old planes over Berlin dropping food, fuel, medicine — even candy — to the two million people below. In his book Daring Young Men, historian Richard Reeves tells the stories of the civilian airmen who carried out one of history’s largest humanitarian campaigns.
Friday, August 14, 2015: In 1939, this was the opening weekend for a bold new film. Bob talks with historian John Fricke about the cast and history of the American classic The Wizard of Oz. Then, we’ll help celebrate the 70th birthday of Steve Martin. The actor, comedian, writer, musician and all around Renaissance man returned to the banjo on his second album Rare Bird Alert. Martin is joined on the CD by bluegrass group The Steep Canyon Rangers, with special guests The Dixie Chicks and Paul McCartney singing a couple of Martin’s original tunes.