“All-Seeing Eye of God” Goes from Blue to Brown

The Eye is also in the eye of the beholder.  When Saint Jerome’s, a church in the South Bronx, was constructed at the turn of the 20th century, it was built by immigrant artisans, mostly from Ireland and Italy, where the human eyes were often blue. So of course, they imagined the All-Seeing Eye of God as blue also, and that’s just how they painted the giant Eye-of-God mural on their church ceiling.  Now the neighborhood has changed, and almost all the services are in Spanish for the brown-eyed Mexicans who now live there. It came to be time to restore the mural, and so now God’s Eye is brown.  This is the story.


Posted in Immigrants and Ethnic Life, Religion, Spirituality, Uncategorized

“Deep-Down Irishness” (NPR 1989)

A survey look at what being Irish is all about deep down –from the “fairy faith” to its music, to Celtic myth, to sean nos and storytelling. Collected entirely in the West of Ireland down some very very back roads.

See also “Visions and Beliefs in the West Ireland,” which focuses on the spirituality and folkways of the Irish Gaeltacht.


Posted in History, Holidays-Season Specific, Immigrants and Ethnic Life, Music, Religion, Spirituality, Travel outside the USA Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Black “Born Again” Christian Hair Salons

The Bible says that a woman’s hair is a glory to her, and they take that quite literally at several African American beauty salons that are springing up in the Washington DC and other urban areas.  Come with me on my visit to a salon where being “born again,” amazing hair-dos and “prayerful” and joyous sisterhood intertwine in a sacred (often musical) weave.


Posted in Americana, Immigrants and Ethnic Life, Religion, Spirituality, Women

Gifts of the Rainforest: Indigenous Healing Systems of Belize (NPR)

A sound-rich odyssey in which Adam explores various healing systems that use the plants of the rainforest for physical and spiritual healing. Includes interviews with Mayan shamans, and peasant Catholic and Creole healers.


Posted in Health, Immigrants and Ethnic Life, Religion, Science, Spirituality, Travel outside the USA Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hillbilly Stereotypes

Adam went down to the coal-rich mountains of the southern Appalachian mountains, where “hillbillies” are presumed to live.  Through on-site interviews and a survey look at American pop culture, he examines the hillbilly stereotype, its roots and impact.


Posted in Americana, Immigrants and Ethnic Life Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Jewish Humor in America

A sound-rich look at the ways the Jews in America have influenced what Americans find funny, while expressing themselves and their take on life at the same time.


Posted in Americana, Immigrants and Ethnic Life, New York, Religion Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Migrant Farmworkers: How They Live and What They Do

If California were a nation of its own, it would have the twelth largest economy in the world; agriculture would be a huge percentage of it. Much of the labor that produces is done by migrant farm workers who come to the US, sometimes illegally, and follow the crops, before returning home to Mexico and places even further south. I spent some time with migrant farmworkers in California’s immense – and immensely fertile – Central Valley, and filed this report for the VOA.


Posted in Americana, Immigrants and Ethnic Life Tags: , , , , ,

Montana’s Blackfeet Indians: Tradition Meets Today

Native Americans are far more likely than their mainstream counterparts to die young and be poor along the way. This story examines, through interviews and sound, how the Blackfeet Tribe of western Montana are trying to hold on to traditional ways while bettering themselves economically.


Posted in Americana, Health, Immigrants and Ethnic Life, Religion, Spirituality Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Native American “Drying the Tears” Ceremony (post 9/11)

New York City was full of ritual, ceremony, art and other forms of creative and numinous expression in the months following September 11th. This tells the story of one old ceremony that Native Americans brought to the Museum of the American Indian, near Ground Zero after several months had elapsed. It was a ceremonial moment to mark the necessity for drying the tears and moving on.


Posted in Immigrants and Ethnic Life, Religion, September 11th and Its Aftermath, Spirituality Tags: , , , , ,

Profile: Art Spiegelman “Maus” Creator & Comics and Graphics Novel Artist

Art Spiegelman is most famous for his Pulitzer Prize winning work “Maus,” a graphic novel about the Holocaust in which Nazis are portrayed as cats, and Jews are depicted as mice.  In this profile, Spiegelman talks about his roots as a Mad Magazine afficionado, underground cartoonist, and his experience growing up in a Queens NY family overshadowed by the Shoah.


Posted in Americana, Arts, Books, History, Immigrants and Ethnic Life, New York, Profile Tags: , , , , , , ,
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