“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: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Alan Ginsberg Tribute (1998)


Posted in Arts, Buddhism, Poetry, Profile, Religion, Spirituality Tags: , , , , , , ,

Allen Ginsberg Raw Interview February 3, 1994

Allen Ginsberg was one of the greatest poets, and most generous Americans of the 20th century.  I interviewed him quite a bit in 1994 in connection with the publication of his collected poems, and for later for the post-mortem tribute I produced after his death in 1996 (also on this blog).  I thought my conversation with him (warts and all) might be of interest to those who knew or know and appreciate him.  So I put it up here with no editing at all, just for bumps.


Posted in Americana, Buddhism, Poetry, Profile, Religion, Spirituality

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

Buddhism in the USA

Buddhism, once thought exotic has been mainstreaming at the rate of mind.  As with other cultures, Buddhism has moved through our culture without force, but by adapting itself to the strengths and shortfalls with what it finds.  This piece, which features Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, the late Rick Fields, David Phillips, Helen Tworkov, Sogyal Rinpoche and other luminaries, explores how Buddhism seems tailor-made for the American ethos, and acts as an antidote to our excesses. Narrated by Jessica Berman.


Posted in Americana, Buddhism, Long form docs (15" and up), Religion, Spirituality

Carl Jung’s “Red Book”

Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung created the psychological theory of archetypes and the collective unconscious. He advocated the scientific exploration of dreams, mythology, religion and art to understand the mind. Yet, unknown to millions of the people who have followed Jung’s work over the decades, Jung developed most of those ideas during a period of intense crisis and creativity between 1913 and 1918. He chronicled that voyage of self-discovery through words and images in what he called “The Red Book.”


Posted in Religion, Science, Spirituality Tags: , , , , , ,

Gary Snyder: Poet and Zen Bio-Regionalist (Earth Day)

For nearly 60 years, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gary Snyder has combined an environmental awareness shaped by America’s Far West with a Zen Buddhist perspective that celebrates and reveres the natural world.


Posted in Americana, Buddhism, Poetry, Profile, Spirituality Tags: , , , , , , ,

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: , , , , , , , , , , ,

How Dost Thou Love Me? – Everyday Americans Talk About What Makes Them Feel Cherished

For some people, Valentine's Day is a time be sentimentalValentine’s Day is usually associated in the public mind with candy and lots of pink hearts. But beneath the fun and frippery lies a core human need — to feel loved, cherished and cared for by one’s romantic partner. I spoke with a random sampling of happily-bonded everyday Americans about the things that make their hearts feel full.


Posted in Americana, Holidays-Season Specific, Person on the Street Interviews, Spirituality Tags: , , , ,
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