Profile: Montana Cowboy and Cowgirl Couple

Hollywood cowboys got nothin’ on the real thing. I travelled to Montana to explore the real Old West, and spent some time on the vast Skyline Ranch with Art and Vicki Robinson as they worked their horses in the back country.

Posted in Americana Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Old-Time Communists Reminisce (May Day)

People often think of the American Communists of the 1920s and 30s as angry political types alone. There is no denying that the systems that grew out of the Bolshevik and other revolutions failed miserably, largely discrediting Communism in practice. Still there a powerful spiritual vision underlying the embrace of Communism — equality, justice, brotherhood (generically understood), and a day when people would help each other without the self-interested and hamfisted mediation of the politicians, the police or the priests. For this interview connected with May Day 2004, I interviewed two darling octogenarian women living who remember their youths in Communist New York during the 1930s. The fact that I did it for the Voice of America heightened its appeal for me.

Posted in Americana, History, Holidays-Season Specific, New York, Oral History-oid, Spirituality Tags: , , , , , ,

Traditional Spiritual Music of Hawaii (Radio Smithsonian)

A look at the beautiful and diverse spiritual musical traditions of Hawaii, from chanting to slack-key guitar to unaccompanied a capella singing. Interviews and music recorded at the Folklife Festival in Washington DC for the late and much lamented Radio Smithsonian.

Posted in Music Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Loopy Art of English “Changeringing” (NPR 1989?)

English eccentricity, tradition, esthetics, mathematics, and a bit of obsessive-compulsiveness combine in the English art of changeringing or bellringing. I traveled to County Somerset in the heart of King Arthur country to get the lowdown and had a blast.

Posted in Arts, Music, Travel outside the USA Tags: , , , , , ,

“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: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Mr. Big” radio comedy (adapted from Woody Allen)

A gumshoe is hired find to find God. Straight radio theater comedy I adapted, directed and produced based on the classic Woody Allen story.

Posted in Americana, Arts Tags: , , , , ,

Poet Robert Bly and the Wild Man (CBC 1990)

This is a look at the Iron John aka the Wild Man, an archetypal figure representing the deep masculine found in the Grimm Brothers tales, and other traditions. This was popularized by the poet Robert Bly as a story with much to tell modern Western man, who may have lost touch with their own wildness, and therefore their capacity to protect others, and to live fully.

See also my profiles of Robert Bly himself elsewhere in this blog.

Posted in Books, History, Poetry, Profile, Religion, Spirituality Tags: , , , , , , ,

Wendy Doniger and the Magic of Hindu Myth (Univ. of Chicago)

On one level, this is a long form documentary about eminent (and eminently sparkling and intelligent) Wendy Doniger, the professor of Sanskrit and Hindu Mythology at the University of Chicago. On a deeper level, it is about Hindu myth, and Hindu gods, and the ways that the human and divine Narrator becomes part of the story He/She is telling. How those two themes interweave is the subject of the piece, which is one of my favorites from throughout my career.  Listen with the lights off!

Posted in Profile, Religion, Spirituality Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Corruption in American Politics is Nothing New

Americans were shocked by the boldness of the graft and other crimes allegedly committed by indicted former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and by the 20-plus politicians and others indicted for corruption in New Jersey recently. But corruption is nothing new in American politics, although the scope and definitions of corruption have changed over time.  This piece, which features Harvard University (and New Yorker Magazine writer) Jill Lepore and others, takes the long view.

Posted in Americana, History Tags: , , , , , ,

Profiles of People with Disabilities (Berkeley CA)

Americans with disabilities are, in one sense, just like everybody else: they come from varied backgrounds, and cope with the challenges life presents them in many different ways. But living a full, satisfying life with a physical or mental handicap is no ordinary struggle.  Adam spoke with several people living with disabilities in the San Francisco area, and learned a few of their remarkable stories.

Posted in Health, Profile, Science, Spirituality Tags: , , , , , ,
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