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  • Considered the “Queen of American Folk Music,” Odetta introduced audiences worldwide to American roots music and especially African American folk, blues and gospel. She died earlier this month. When Rosa Parks was asked which songs meant the most to her, she replied, “All of the songs Odetta sings.” We hear Odetta in her own words and speak to Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, original member of the SNCC Freedom Singers and founder of Sweet Honey in...
    December 30, 2008 | Story
  • Harold Pinter, the Nobel Prize-winning British playwright, screenwriter, poet, actor and political activist died last week at the age of seventy-eight after a prolonged battle with cancer. In his 2005 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Pinter excoriated US foreign policy. "The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law," Pinter said. We play...
    December 30, 2008 | Story
  • Breyten Breytenbach is one of South Africa’s most famous poets. He’s also an award-winning writer and painter, and well-known as an anti-apartheid activist and outspoken advocate for justice around the world. The exiled poet was born to an Afrikaner or white South African family in 1939. He moved to Paris in the early 1960s and became deeply involved with the anti-apartheid movement. In 1975, Breytenbach returned secretly to South...
    December 26, 2008 | Story
  • Three days of mourning have been declared in the West Bank and Gaza to mark the death of Mahmoud Darwish, the Poet Laureate of the Palestinians. Darwish was considered one of the most important Arab poets, a towering literary figure for over four decades. The poetry of Mahmoud Darwish is well known and loved across the Arab world by people from all walks of life. [includes rush transcript]
    August 11, 2008 | Story
  • We bring you a conversation with performance artist Laurie Anderson. Her highly unusual style has made her a well-known figure in the world of avant-garde and experimental art since the 1970s. Her latest performance is called "Homeland," held at the Lincoln Center in New York City this week. We speak with Laurie Anderson about "Homeland," her role as an artist and why she says she "lost [her] country" following...
    July 23, 2008 | Story
  • The rock musical Passing Strange closes on Sunday after a six-month run on Broadway. The show won a Tony Award for best book. It was co-written by its star, longtime recording artist Stew and Heidi Rodewald. It was nominated for six other Tony’s including best musical. Acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee is planning to film the musical this weekend to bring it to a wider audience. We speak to Stew, the playwright, composer and narrator of ...
    July 17, 2008 | Story
  • Anna Deavere Smith has been hailed as the most exciting individual in American theater. She has won numerous awards, including two Obies, several Tony nominations and a MacArthur genius grant. She is best known for two plays examining race relations: Fires in the Mirror: Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and Other Identities and Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992. Her latest solo show is called Let Me Down Easy. [includes rush transcript]
    July 02, 2008 | Story
  • Forty years ago, the legendary Brazilian musician Gilberto Gil was a political prisoner. Today, he is a cabinet official in the Brazilian government. As protests raged across the globe in 1968, Gil was at the center of a cultural and political revolution in Brazil known as Tropicalia. The movement was seen as such a threat to Brazil’s military dictatorship that Gil was jailed, then forced into exile, where he would become one of the...
    June 25, 2008 | Story
  • Legendary comedian George Carlin died of heart failure on Sunday evening at the age of seventy-one. Carlin was one of the most well-known comedians of the past fifty years and was widely considered one of the top stand-up comics of all time. We play some of Carlin’s memorable routines and look at his legacy with Richard Zoglin, author of Comedy on the Edge: How Stand-Up in the 1970s Changed America. [includes rush transcript]
    June 24, 2008 | Story
  • In his first broadcast interview, Steve Kurtz discusses the bizarre case of how he became the focus of an FBI bioterrorism investigation. On May 11, 2004, his wife Hope Kurtz tragically died in her sleep. When he called 911 for help, a nightmare that would last for the next four years began to unfold. The police became suspicious of his art supplies and harmless bacteria cultures that he was using for an antiwar project about the public health...
    June 16, 2008 | Story