With everyone texting, Twittering and on Facebook today, there can be little doubt that we live in the age of the incredible shrinking message. Being able to cut through the plethora of voices and posts we read everyday to get someone’s attention requires new rules of writing not found in Strunk and White. We are living in a world wide Algonquin Round Table and to get someone’s attention you need to be pragmatic, economic, witty and creative. Tonight on Inquiry we talk with CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON, verbal branding consultant, blogger and author. His new book, MICROSTYLE: THE ART OF WRITING LITTLE, details this new “rhetoric for the web age” and is for anyone who texts, writes copy or designs a brand. Tune in and learn about the new rules for this new literacy. Johnson’s website is: http://www.thenameinspector.com
Tonight on Inquiry, we welcome HONEE HESS, Director of Education at the Worcester Art Museum and KATRINA STACEY, Assistant Curator of Education at the Worcester Art Museum. They introduce an upcoming exciting exhibition at the museum titled IN SEARCH OF JULIEN HUDSON: A FREE ARTIST OF COLOR IN PRE-CIVIL WAR NEW ORLEANS. This complex exhibition, which involved “detection, speculation and invention” attempts to piece together the details of the life of this important American artist. This is Part One of a series about this show.
Joan Jett was and continues to be one of the hardest playing and hardest working musicians in rock. The fact that she was a pioneer for women to be considered serious players in the rock world is only one of her many accomplishments. Today, in her 50s, she continues to play and write and music that is quintessential rock and roll. Tonight on Inquiry we talk with prolific author DAVE THOMPSON about his new biography: BAD REPUTATION: THE UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY OF JOAN JETT. Tune in and learn about Jett’s early days in the Runaways and how the Black Hearts eventually came to be.
In the late 70s and early 80s, bands like The Talking Heads, Devo, the B52s and OMD help define an exciting and progressive modern pop music that was called “New Wave”. But is there an easy definition for this extremely varied music ? Tonight on Inquiry, we talk with THEO CATEFORIS, Assistant Professor of Music History and Culture in the Department of Art and Music Histories at Syracuse University. His new book ARE WE NOT NEW WAVE? MODERN POP AT THE TURN OF THE 1980S brings a surprising scholarly analysis to this progressive music that defined a generation of alternative music listeners. Tune in and find out why Devo epitomizes a neurotic disorder of the late nineteenth century and how Adam Ant found his groove in the Burundi Beat.
Since our nation’s inception, governments at the local, state and federal levels have advanced programs to promote American’s health. Probably no other program has been as controversial and widely debated as the national government’s sex education campaigns. Kicked into high gear during Word War I, and begun to control the national epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases, these programs have been complicated by racist assumptions, local faith-based resistance and an inability to actually talk openly about the subject. Our guest tonight is writer ALEXANDRA M. LORD, who previously served as a historian with the United States Public Health Service. Tonight she discusses her unique and fascinating history CONDOM NATION: THE U.S. GOVERNMENT’S SEX EDUCATION CAMPAIGN FROM WORLD WAR I TO THE INTERNET.
What’s the oldest song in the world? Did Ben Franklin invent a musical instrument that drove people mad? What are the actual lyrics to the classic rock song “Louie Louie”? All these fascinating stories are in writer and documentary film maker RICK BEYER’S latest rollicking compendium THE GREATEST MUSIC STORIES NEVER TOLD: 100 TALES FROM MUSIC HISTORY TO ASTONISH, BEWILDER AND STUPEFY. Tune and find out where to find the largest man-made dog in the world and other wild tales.
In the spring of 1975, a group of diverse physicists gathered in Berkeley and formed The Fundamental Fysiks Group to investigate and ponder some of the wild and wooly philosophical and metaphysical questions posed by quantum physics. They were interested in psychic phenomena, so-called Eastern Mysticism and new ways of looking at reality. What followed was a tale involving some of the leading physicists of the day as well as such controversial figures as Uri Geller and Werner Erhard founder of EST. At the legendary Esalen Institute, numerous physics seminars were held among the hot tubs, psychedelic drugs, and free love. But what came out of all this New Age craziness were some of the best-known popular books on quantum theory and, eventually, the foundation for quantum encryption. Join us on Inquiry tonight for our conversation with DAVID KAISER, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he teaches in the Program in Science, Technology and Society. His book, which tells this whole crazy story, is titled HOW THE HIPPIES SAVED PHYSICS: SCIENCE, COUNTERCULTURE, AND THE QUANTUM REVIVAL.
There is a real passion for the writing of Jane Austen today. There are also the many movies and television series of Jane Austen novels, Jane Austen paper dolls, action figures and numerous Jane Austen “spin off” novels, one that even combines Pride and Prejudice and zombies. It is a veritable Jane-o-mania! But what is it about her novels, written long ago in Regency England that appeals to audiences today? Tonight’s guest on Inquiry is RACHEL M. BROWNSTEIN, Professor of English at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center. Her new witty and insightful book, WHY JANE AUSTEN?, answers what is uniquely special about Jane Austen’s writing and why she is such an easy author to fall in love with.
Every bird’s nest is a wonderful example of non-human architecture. Imagine trying to weave and intricate tight cup of moss, lichen and spider’s webs using only your mouth and sometimes your feet! Yet birds do this every breeding season. Tonight on Inquiry, we welcome PETER GOODFELLOW, retired English teacher and lifelong birder, who has written one of the most beautiful books on the nests that birds create and how they build them: AVIAN ARCHITECTURE: HOW BIRDS DESIGN, ENGINEER AND BUILD. From simple scrapes in the ground, to monumental platforms high in trees, from enormous mounds of sand to mind-boggling complex hanging woven baskets, birds create structures of stunning complexity and variety. If you have ever marveled at the nest of a robin or oriole, be sure to tune in.
Everyone knows how critical mathematics is to the hard sciences like physics. But how important is math to biology? Tonight’s returning guest is IAN STEWART, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics and active researcher at Warwick University in England. Professor Stewart believes that we are now seeing a dramatic change in the role importance of mathematics; logic and topology plays in genetics; studying viruses and even looking for extraterrestrial; life. His latest book, THE MATHEMATICS OF LIFE, wonderfully illustrates this new “biomathematics” and declares it to be the next major revolution in the Life Sciences. Tune in for a surprising and thought provoking discussion on the maths of life.
Horror films have been made since the beginning of cinema. Thomas Edison made one of the earliest film treatments of the Frankenstein novel. And since those early days, horror films have had a long, complex multinational history . Tonight’s guest on Inquiry is Dr. WHEELER WINSTON DIXON the James Ryan Endowed Professor of Film Studies and professor of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. His latest book on film history is one of the most complete and far ranging histories of this genre: A HISTORY OF HORROR. Tonight we discuss the beginnings of the horror film and concentrate on the fascinating story of the British film company Hammer Films, which in the 1960s reinvigorated the cinema of horror with classic films like The Curse of Frankenstein and Dracula, Prince of Darkness and made international stars of Peter Cushing and Christopher Leee. If you are passionate about horror films, don’t miss tonight’s show!