Nature and New Yorkers

There is nature IN New York, there is nature as TRANSMUTED through the sensibility of New Yorkers, and there is New Yorkers AS nature herself. This piece explores them all. Another love letter to my Gotham home.


Posted in Americana, New York

The Pentacle and the Wand: Contemporary Witchcraft in America

The witch has come in for some pretty hard knocks in previous centuries, but lately there has been a resurgence of interest in what she has to offer both as a way of seeing, and a way of being that is female, strong, earthy, connected and wise. This is a half hour documentary that explores witchcraft in all its wholesomeness and mystery. Appearances by Z. Budapest, Starhawk, Gina Banghart, Matthew Fox, Joseph Campbell and many others. Come on in! The magick’s fine!

(Also of interest: my NPR long form documentary “The Goddess in the USA” )


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

The Mormon “Hill of Cumorah” Pageant

Every year, upwards of 700 Mormons take over the hill in upstate New York where they believe their founder, Joseph Smith, discovered the golden tablets making up the Book of Mormon. They reenact the history of the world and the history of their people on into the Future in ‘them thar hills,’ and believe me, it is both strange and impressive, even for “Gentiles” like me. Here is my sound-soaked report about it from a few years back.


Posted in Americana, Religion, Spirituality

Children Ponder the Gettysburg Address

Often praised as the greatest speech of all tine, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (November 19,1863) still resonates and moves Americans who hear it and memorize it.  The famous words were the subject of a teaching unit for sixth graders at the John Eaton School in Washington DC, which culminated in a recital and some interviews at the Lincoln Memorial itself.  I was there!
Here’s a link to the Address : http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/speeches/gettysburg.htm


Posted in Uncategorized

Chinese and Jewish Ma Jong Cultures

In New York, one can walk through both solidly Jewish neighborhoods and completely Chinese neighborhoods and hear the same strident, even merry, clickety clack of ma jog tiles.  Players in both worlds have developed their own cultures and phrasing. For instance, the Chinese phrase for the sound the tiles make when they are mixed up translates as “twittering of the sparrows.” In Jewish-English, it’s merely “smooshing.” This story explores both worlds.


Posted in Uncategorized

Capital Punishment in America

To Kill or Not to Kill? This question lies at the heart of an American debate, and calls forth fundamental values and opinions about the sanctity of life and the sanctity of justice.  This 1995 doc, which features once condemned men, as well as the late Sister Helen Prejean (who figured prominently in “Dead Man Walking” explores many views and offers no answers. Not for the squeamish.


Posted in Uncategorized

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

Columbus: Man and Myths

Explorer. Hero. Genocidal Conqueror. Genius.  Inventor. Adventurer. Fool. Prophet.  All these names have been used to describe the “discoverer” of America.  But what do we really know about the man who sailed the ocean blue in 14 hundred and ninety two?  This long form doc, explores the many faces of Columbus as he has come down to us, and the enigma he represents within our own national history and character. (produced in conjunction with the 500th anniversary of 1492).


Posted in Americana, History, Long form docs (15" and up), Profile

Celebrity Versus Heroism in American Culture

We in the USA toss off the word “hero” quite easily in the media, and even in everyday speech.  However, sometimes, what might really be meant is “celebrity,” which is not the same thing. This long form documentary contrasts celebrity and heroism, and explores what the conflation of these two ideals has to say about who we are right now, and what being human might be about deep down.


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

Arlandria Renters Strike (VERY archival)

This is the first piece I had on the air for which I was actually paid (God bless Pacifica).  It dates back to 1986, and chronicles one rent fight in a low income area of Arlandria Virginia, just outside DC.


Posted in Uncategorized
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