April 2, 2009...
President Obama may have attained "rock star status" while on the campaign trail. But this week in Washington - real rock stars...and country stars and jazz stars, took Capitol Hill by storm in hopes of convincing Congress to increase funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. Linda Ronstadt, Josh Groban and Wynton Marsalis all talked about how music shaped their lives. And about their fears that the tough economy will translate to less money for arts and cultural organization. It's a real risk, says Reynold Levy - president of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. He was in Birmingham last week for the Nonprofit Summit and talked with WBHM's Tanya Ott.
Playwright Del Shores is known for campy, bawdy comedies like Sordid Lives. But his play Southern Baptist Sissies takes a more serious tone. It's the story of four young gay men in Texas. Like Shores himself, they struggle with their sexuality in the shadow of the Southern Baptist Church. WBHM's Bradley George recently visited a rehearsal of the play at Birmingham's Terrific New Theatre and spoke with the cast.
Southern Baptist Sissies is at the Terrific New Theatre now through April 18. A film adaptation of the play is in production.
It's nothing new to write about life on the other side- the afterlife. But no one does it quite like Christopher Durang. The satirical playwright's masterful Miss Witherspoon finishes its run at the Birmingham Festival Theatre this weekend. And as WBHM's Nat Bonner reports - it might just teach audience members the meaning of life - if they listen carefully and they don't happen to get squashed by that pesky Skylab.
Since she moved to the Bronx from Suriname at age 12, Judith hasn't felt she fits in with any group. Dutch is her first language. She wants to be an opera singer. She's black. In Junior High, her peers wondered why she couldn't sing like 'Monica.' In High School, she remembers a girl from an African-American club telling her, "Dutch is not a Black language." She did not take up arms, as some outsiders have -- instead she took up poetry. This story was produced by Marianne McCune and Czerina Patel of WNYC's Radio Rookies.
April is National Poetry Month...and we could bring you an interview about teaching poetry. But instead, we offer a poem about teaching, from Paul McDonald.
Poets can use words to wage war on ideas...and music can, and has, been used a weapon as well, as producer Aaron Henkin documents in this report.
Tanya Ott produced this program of Tapestry, with help from Michael Krall, Bradley George, Nat Bonner, Paul McDonald, Aaron Henkin and the Radio Rookies team at WNYC in New York. I'm Greg Bass, and we'll see you next week.