“The Century in Sound: An American’s Perspective”

This is a 38-minute narration-free documentary of the 20th century using (other than my one minute spoken introduction) only archival sound, speeches and other audio artifacts of that talkative 100 years. The montage is of my own making and perspective as the American I happen to be, and hopefully, will take the listener of whatever provenance or vintage, on a real voyage.

It was prepared for worldwide broadcast on the Voice of America on New Year’s Eve 1999; it subsequently won the Grand Prize and the Gold Medal at the New York Festivals, and a Special VOA award. I was later flattered to learn it is often used in journalism classes.

A note on how to listen to it: all on one 38 minutes go, with the lights off. It’s fun to try identify the source of the sound you are hearing the first time around. Then check your impressions against the complete list of sound elements which I hope to post as a sidebar on this blog (when I learn how to do it.) You can also write me and request an email copy, no prob.

Posted in Americana, Arts, History, Holidays-Season Specific, Long form docs (15" and up)

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

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)

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

Karme Choling Tibetan Buddhist Community in Vermont

Tibetan Buddhism has changed and blossomed in the American context.  Nowhere has it taken deeper root than in the Karme Choling (Tail of the Tiger) center in Barnet Vermont, in the heart of the Green Mountains. This is not a monastery; men and women live together, cook together, make drama together and walk a path toward enlightenment together.  This long form doc explores this community and the Buddhist and all-to-human-experience this pressure cooker brings alive.

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

Nanotechnology and Molecular Machinery

Nanotechnology, which deals with matter in billionths of a meter, allows for the manipulation of matter on an atomic scale. As such, it may represent humanity’s most profound and far-reaching scientific frontier.  This documentary looks at how it works, and what is possible, and what to prepare for, willy-nilly.

The story won VOA’s Annual Award or “Best Original Script.”

Posted in Long form docs (15" and up), Science Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ram Das on Spirituality and the Dying Process (RAW INTVW)

Ram Das aka Richard Alpert, the author of “Be Here Now,” is one of the spiritual giants of the 20th and 21st century. This is a raw interview I did with him in connection with a 20 minute story I was doing for VOA about spirituality and the dying process, and how several spiritual tradition can use the imminence of death as a way to “wake up” and get real.

I offer this interview warts and all (they are all mine). Also see my interview with Steven Levine (author of “Who Dies?” on the same theme, and the finished doc, which is also in this blog.

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

Spirituality and the Dying Process (documentary)

Almost all the world’s religions and spiritual paths agree: how you you live is how you die, so you better get ready.  This long form doc explores the wisdom of several perspectives on this urgently relevant topic.  Listen, laugh, and get going! Includes lots of talk with Ram Das and Steven Levine, Robert Thurman, and many others.

Also of interest: Ram Das long form raw interview connected with this story.  Also Steven Levine’s interview.

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

The American Search for Spirituality

Americans are searches, pioneers, restless, and often lonely for spiritual refreshment and a path.  This 20 minute mini-doc explores some various faces of these urges.

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

The Changing Lifestyles of the Bedouin Arabs

The Bedouins are ancient clan-centered nomads of the Middle East who have relied on goatherding and camels for millennia. Abraham, for example, was a Bedouin. In modern times, the nomadic way of life, which depended on free movement and embraced a culture of both hospitality and revenge has been threatened due to land enclosures and the lures of Western way of life. In this archival piece, I spent lots of time with the Bedouins of the Negev Desert, and spoke with people from several generations (including an old sheik) to plot their heritage and current predicament.   (NPR “Horizons”; 30 minutes)

Posted in Immigrants and Ethnic Life, Long form docs (15" and up), Travel outside the USA Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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