Entries Tagged 'Radio' ↓

My Goodness: Are Pop Rocks Next On the Airlines’ Restricted Items List?

Here’s a question for travelers in our security-minded era: Should the TSA put Pop Rocks, above—the fizzy, crumbly, kids candy from the ’70s—on its air travel prohibited items list?

I ask because it’s long been known what happens to the human digestive system when you swallow Pop Rocks, then mix it with Coca-Cola, a drink available on every commercial flight: Your stomach explodes!

The effect on the individual is, obviously, catastrophic. As for the craft’s airframe, well, suppose this were to happen while flying over the Pacific, right?

Heh, heh. Of course, it’s nonsense, the idea that these two substances, when combined, detonate. It’s a 30-year-old, urban myth. But, as every parent knows, kids have lots of questions about how our bodies are affected by all kinds of phenomena, and why we work as we do.

Andrea and Julia Ditkoff sure did. For example, they wanted to know:

Why do you get a headache when you eat ice cream too quickly?

What’s that small, dewdrop-shaped thing in the back of your throat?

Why do people hiccup?

…not to mention the query which forms the title of their mother’s book, Why Don’t Your Eyelashes Grow?: Curious Questions Kids Ask About the Human Body, right, by Dr. Beth Ann Ditkoff.

In fact, they came up with all the interrogatives Dr. Ditkoff uses in her text. She thought her daughters’ inquiries were, indeed, provocative, but commonplace. Other children, and other adults, would want to hear the answers, also.

They will: Dr. Ditkoff is the guest today on a repeat edition of my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, June 18, at 2 pm ET.

You can listen to this thoughtful writer / physician’s ideas by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

Enraptured in the Harmonies of Winters’ Bittersweet Song.

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Cellist Stephanie Winters describes the sound of her 2004 debut album, Through the Storm, rereleased in an expanded version last year, as “beautiful sadness.”

In Portuguese the word is saudade—a sadness that makes one want to live again. In a spiritual sense this recording is my “blues”. I do not use that word to describe a musical style, but to suggest the transcendent honesty which musical expression enables.

seatedbywindow-lowIndeed, Winters, right, through often bottomless multitracking, saturates the newly added “Mercy Street,” made famous by Peter Gabriel; her vision of Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman”; or Thomas Dorsey’s renowned gospel standard, “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” with a somber cry. The whole work breathes deep mood, yet not melancholy. In a way, it feels like a film, a wordless one, perhaps, telling a story of love found, made, lost, and unforgotten.

Winters has performed and recorded with Richie Havens, Enya, Corrine Bailey Rae, Anne Murray, Paula Cole, and the O’Jays, among many others.

Stephanie Winters is the guest today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, April 23, at 2 pm ET.

You can hear her ideas and music by tuning in at 2 pm ET. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our live stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

How I’d Like To Fly the Friendly Skies.

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This week, Miramar, FL-based Spirit Airlines announced that, beginning in August, passengers would be charged up to $45 per bag, not to check luggage, but to carry it onto the plane.

Their foul money grab puts a cherry on top of what airline passengers have known, seemingly, for a generation: Unless you’re rollin’ solo, above, flying is the pits.

Not from outside the plane, however. It’s in that world, where flying’s grace and beauty is palpable, that aerial photographer Erik Hildebrandt reigns.

erikHildebrandt, right, has released over half a dozen books of his work through his own company, Cleared Hot Media, Inc. (The title is a military expression meaning one has permission to engage a target.) These include Anytime, Baby: Hail and Farewell to the U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat and his Front Row Center: Inside the Great American Air Show series, now up to four volumes.

Erik Hildebrandt is the guest today on this rebroadcast from my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, April 9, at 2 pm ET. During our talk, we discussed the process of making pictures, how airplanes are built, the notion of warfare and the reasons for it, and more.

As well, in a few weeks, in a never-before-aired, upcoming piece, I’ll talk to him about his work as a self-publisher, that being an increasingly meaningful preoccupation in this era of media independence.

You can learn more about his work by visiting his Vulture’s Row web site, or by tuning in today at 2 pm ET. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our live stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

Kaiku: The Sensual Sound of Cold Finland’s Hot Heart.

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finlandmapNew York-based vocalists Jaana Kantola and Paula Jaakkola, above, record as Kaiku (“echo”), mostly singing in Finnish, the vowel-rich tongue of their icy, Northern European homeland, right. (Fully 25% of Finland rests within the Arctic Circle. In winter, at the country’s most boreal point, the cold season lasts seven months, void of sunrises for 51 days.)

But if your stereotype of Scandinavia is frigid weather; clean, efficient municipalities; socialized medicine; and people whose dispositions are as nippy as the climate, Kaiku’s new, self-produced album, Usva, may send you for a delightfully ecstatic loop.

l_a92d0c320d5c4781b7835b4bd5dd1f2fUsva—the word means “mist,” evoking the hazy confusion of unrequited love—layers lush soundscapes that more evoke a warm Mediterranean sun than a distant, gray, Nordic light.

Artfully blending accordion, cello, piano, and bass on compositions like “Stay Your Hand,” “Illusions,” and the title track, Jaakola and Kantola, above, consider their ardent, ”organic sound,” not some Culture Day demo but, “a mixture of rhythmic world music and traditional Finnish songs.” “Sure we come from Finland,” Kantola notes, “but our music is more like via Finland.”

Jaana Kantola and Paula Jaakkola are the guests today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, April 2, at 2 pm ET.

Further, if you’re in New York City next week, Kaiku will be playing, Wednesday, April 7th, 8 pm, at Fat Baby (112 Rivington Street; corner of Essex).

You can hear these thoughtful artists’ ideas by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our live stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

Tammy Wynette’s Wail of Woe.

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Even in country songcraft, where beers are consistently diluted with tears, the late Tammy Wynette, above, had a penchant for melancholy–like a rural Mary J. Blige–that was both supreme and legendary.

As was her voice. Describing a stage performance of her hit recording, “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” biographer Jimmy McDonough notes,

31When she gets to the chorus, Wynette [right] belts out the words with the force of an air-raid siren, yet barely bats an eyelash. There’s zero body language—the drama’s all in the voice. She doesn’t act out the song or punch her fist in the air; in fact, she barely moves an inch. Tammy the statue. Until a Tinseltown choreographer teaches her some questionable dance steps in the mid-eighties, Wynette will remain frozen onstage. The anti-style of Tammy’s wax-figure performances absolutely mystified Dolly Parton. “I could not believe that all of that voice and all that sound was comin’ out of a person standin’ totally still. I’d think, ‘How is she doin’ that?’ It seems like you’d have to lean into your body or bow down into it or somethin’ to get all of that out. I’ve never seen anything like it to this day. I was in awe of her. I thought she had one of the greatest voices of all time.”

06Virginia Wynette Pugh (1942-1998) did have one of the the most sonorous instruments in the history of popular music. Her classic, “Stand By Your Man,” below, may be the best known example of her gift. Yet she lived a life of drama that exceeded even her most poignant records. She was married five times, including a tempestuous relationship with country superstar George Jones, right; suffered almost continuous, acute discomfort from nearly thirty surgeries; was addicted to painkillers; and died at the age of 55, reportedly looking years older.

1000071158lIn his book on her life, Tammy Wynette: Tragic Country Queen, writer Jimmy McDonough, right, who has also profiled rock legend Neil Young and filmmaker Russ Meyer, plumbs the depths of her artistry, her sadness, and her demons.

Few recording artists achieve the kind of success Tammy Wynette did. In total, she had more than twenty number one hits, several of which she’d co-written. Tammy was the first country artist to go platinum, and her total sales now loom somewhere past the thirty-million mark. If there is one person who her musicians and producers compare her to, it is Elvis. … Tammy sings of cheating husbands, suffering wives, kids’ lives wrecked by divorce. The down and dirty stuff that grinds us all down on a daily basis. If you’re a woman, she could be singing your life. If you are a man, she might be compelling for darker reasons. Wynette sings of love in a rather disturbing fashion. Her music ain’t for sissies.

Jimmy McDonough is the guest today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, March 19, at 2 pm ET.

You can hear his ideas by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our live stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

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Hip-Hop’s Caucasian Invasion.

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So-called “ghetto parties,” like the one depicted above, were only one of the topics Racialicious‘ Carmen Van Kerckhove, writer Jason Tanz (Other People’s Property), and I addressed when we met a few years ago to discuss “White People and Hip-Hop.” (Since you’re wondering, my favorite detail is the “TUPAC LIVES” tattoo on the bicep of the red-scarfed brunette, middle row.) Arguably, the types of interactions white people have with the culture are far more varied.

More, the question became, how should we see these contacts when people have them? What do they mean for the culture of hip-hop? How do they affect, or describe, the larger issue of race?

I didn’t necessarily expect it would be, but the piece, for me, turned out to be a major moment, and touchstone, in my work attempting to clarify these critical subjects. (It was podcasted on Addicted To Race, Racialicious‘ internet series, in 2007.)

Of course, I’ve also addressed these issues, here, on MEDIA ASSASSIN, and in other places; for example, my “Fight the White Rap History Rewrite” post on rapper Asher Roth, or “The Unbearable Whiteness of Emceeing: What The Eminence of Eminem Says About Race,” which I wrote for The Source.

However, after doing so once, before, a couple of years ago, I’ve decided to re-air this talk with Carmen Van Kerckhove and Jason Tanz. They’re guests, today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, March 12, at 2 pm ET.

You can hear their ideas, and my own, by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our live stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

The Dream of the Blue People.

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avatar-james-cameron-interviewjpg-670a6289770f7c9e_largeThroughout his career, writer/director James Cameron, right, has pushed an insistent, technologically-demanding style of filmmaking seemingly up a cliff. From seeing Star Wars, as a 22-year-old truck driver in his native Canada, to becoming creator of the highest-grossing film in history—1997′s $1.8 billion Titanic—he has taken hold of the film industry by sheer force of will. Meanwhile, with each advancing step, the creator has fought off naysayers and second-guessers, each expecting his next outrageous vision to be his final folly.

With the release of his latest work, Avatar, above, however, Cameron has shattered expectations, as well as creative and financial barriers, to make what is, after five weeks, already the second-highest-grossing film in history, with eyes on its older sister’s No. 1 position.

116347_keegan_rebeccaWho is James Cameron, and what makes him the man and artist he is? In her new book, The Futurist: The Life and Films of James Cameron, author Rebecca Keegan, right, works to get inside his life and thinking. By interviewing Cameron, his family, and his numerous collaborators, the journalist gives a detailed, never-before-seen picture of this remarkable, often confounding auteur; the drive behind the driver, so to speak.

Rebecca Keegan is the guest today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, January 15, at 2 pm ET.

That conversation, though, will be preceeded by a discussion of the crisis in Haiti. This week’s devastating 7.0 earthquake, which killed an estimated 45-50,000 people, deepens the woes of the Western hemisphere’s poorest nation. We’ll examine the disaster, and the forces at work, globally, that keep the country in its troubled state.

You can hear Rebecca Keegan’s thoughts, and others, by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our live stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

UPDATE: These are links to the Haiti pieces from which I read during today’s NONFICTION broadcast:

Why We Are Partly Responsible for the Mess that is Haiti by Thomas Fleming

Haiti: the land where children eat mud by Alex von Tunzelmann

Also recommended:

Catastrophe in Haiti by Ashley Smith

The Sweetest Sound: John Rutter’s Cambridge Singers Breathe New Life Into Christmas’s Traditional Carols.

la-ghirlandata-1873La Ghirlandata (1873) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

John RutterAs a composer and arranger of Christmas carols, London-born John Rutter, right, works within what is arguably one of the most beloved, and oldest, forms of Western music, with a template laid down during the European Middle Ages.

It’s to his credit, then, that, whether re-interpreting long-cherished classics, or creating new ones, his works all shine with a lively and audacious sparkle. As sung by his much-beloved Cambridge Singers, favorites such as “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” or “Deck the Halls” unfold as though they were spirited, new, open-sea sailing anthems. Meanwhile, his own signature works are burnished with the passionate soulfulness of deeply reflected Christian faith and tradition.

I discovered Rutter’s portfolio when I came upon his own masterpiece, “What Sweeter Music,” wafting from a Volvo commercial, of all places. It is, without question, one of the most profoundly gorgeous pieces of hymnody I have ever heard.

John Rutter is the guest on the last edition, this year, of my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, airing this Christmas afternoon, Friday, December 25th, at 2 pm ET. Today’s is a special, holiday edition of the broadcast that we’ve aired once a year for about seven years now.

On this show, John will talk about, among other topics, his upbringing; spirituality in music; why he started his own label, Collegium; and the reasons that writing a carol is harder than writing a symphony, all between selections from his 2002 release, The John Rutter Christmas Album.

You can hear this thoughtful artist’s ideas by tuning in at 2 pm ET. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

Let’s Just Say That This Would Be MTV Cribs‘s Shortest Episode.

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At 102 sq. ft., Jay Shafer’s Weebee model home, above, is not even the smallest design that he offers through his Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. (That honor goes to his 65 sq. ft. XS-House.)

But it’s the Weebee that got him into author Mimi Zeiger‘s Tiny Houses. In it, Zeiger documents what appears to be a burgeoning movement, seemingly driven toward answering one poignant question: What is the absolute least amount of space that I need to take up in order to live, and by which I can meaningfully reduce my burden on the planet?

With the opposing, little-lamented “McMansion” boom now made disgustingly quaint by the housing crisis and collapse, “the desire to downsize and be more ecologically and economically prudent is a concept many are beginning to embrace,” says her book’s web page.

Tiny Houses, thus, runs whole hog with this notion, featuring modular as well as prefab homes all the way from a relatively palatial 1187 sq. ft….down to a sliver of 10, though most would agree that her Casulo “house” really stretches the limits of that word.

However, Zeiger’s point is not only to present compelling design, but to have

people challenge themselves to live “greener” lives. By using a thoughtful application of green living principles, renewable resources for construction, and clever ingenuity, these homes exemplify sustainable living at its best.

Mimi Zeiger is the guest today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, April 25, at 2 pm ET.

You can hear her ideas by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

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Own It Like Oprah.

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The awesome success of TV magnate Oprah Gail Winfrey—estimates put her income somewhere in the area of $1 million a day—suggests that limits for women in entertainment are astoundingly high.

But where should you start, if you hope to have a real and prosperous career in the field? In her new book, Put Your Dreams First: Handle Your [entertainment] Business: Industry Secrets for Your Success, industry veteran Thembisa Mshaka discusses how career goals can be best met by an application of smarts, hard work, respect, and “going the extra mile.”

Thembisa Mshaka is the guest today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, October 9th, at 2 pm ET.

Then, I was probably just as shocked as you were to hear this morning that President Barack Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

What do you think about the honor, and what does it mean? We’ll be taking calls from our listeners, during the second half of the broadcast, about the stunning news.

You can hear Ms. Mshaka’s and our listener’s ideas by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.