Early on in his career, he was skinny as a rail and looked like a stiff wind would blow him over. But when he sang, all eyes were riveted on him. He was Frank Sinatra: “The Voice”. Tonight on Inquiry, we speak with novelist and non-fiction writer JAMES KAPLAN about his monumental and deeply entertaining biography FRANK: THE VOICE. Tune in and learn about Frank’s start with the Harry James Orchestra, his breakthrough years with Tommy Dorsey and finally his start as a major independent act with his hordes of swooning booby soxers and swooning adults too.
KRISTIN HERSH is a songwriter, guitarist, writer and founder of the rock band Throwing Muses. During the 80s, as the band was just starting to take off, Kristin discovered she was bipolar, had a breakdown AND she became pregnant . All of this while she continued to write amazing music AND the band was trying to lay down tracks for their first album. Tumultuous doesn’t begin to describe those times for Kristin. All along she kept a diary and now has written a truly fascinating memoir of those tumultuous days. A really unique insight into the creative life of a unique artist, Kristin’s book is titled RAT GIRL: A MEMOIR. Kristin has also founded the Coalition of Artists and Stake Holders (CASH) a new musical project that presents artists with a new way to market their music without record companies. To access CASH’s website and download some of Throwing Muses’ songs for Rat Girl, go to: http://cashmusic.org .
Eels are among the world’s least understood and appreciated fish. They live in our streams and rivers, yet migrate all the way to the Sargasso Sea to breed. Tonight on Inquiry, we welcome back writer, angler and artist JAMES PROSEK who talks about his unique new book EELS: AN EXPLORATION, FROM NEW ZEALAND TO THE SARGASSO, OF THE WORLD’S MOST MYSTERIOUS FISH. Prosek spends time with traditional eel fishermen who build stone weirs to catch the migrant eels just like peoples have been doing for thousands of years. He also visits with Maori tribesmen from New Zealand and the Eel Clan of the remote island of Pohnpei, both groups of people who worship eels and incorporate them into their mythologies. What Prosek discovers is that humans ideas about eels cannot be explained by simple natural history, but are a fish that exist in the imaginations and spirituality of people. Tune in for an unexpected look at a very unusual fish.
As we approach the holidays our attention turns to getting together with friends and relatives. Much of the holiday season is spent enjoying great food and wine. This week Al is joined by Pat Stotesbery, proprietor of Ladera winery in Napa California. Pat shares some simple ideas for getting the most out of your food and wine match-ups. He'll even offer advice as to purchasing wine for gift giving. Airs Sunday evening, November 21, at 10:30 PM.
This week, Steve talks with Julie Rawson of Many Hands Organic Farm and the Northeast Organic Farming Association. They'll be talking about the business and economics of the slow-food movement. Airs Sunday, November 21 at 10 pm!
New words and concepts like “unparticles”, “Anthopocene” , “qubit”, “mashup”, and “cloud computing” seem to be generated every day and become common parlance in science, computing and technology circles. Where do these words come from? Why do some words succeed in becoming popular while others just fade away? Tonight’s guest is JONATHON KEATS, an artist and writer, who writes the Jargon Watch column for WIRED magazine. His new book, VIRTUAL WORDS: LANGUAGE ON THE EDGE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY is a series of thought-provoking explorations and meditations on the meaning and social impact of this new virtual lexicon. Tune in and learn why Hormel likes Monty Python but not certain anti-Spam filters.
Horatio Nelson once wrote: “I cannot command winds and weather”. But for hundreds of years, people have been trying to do exactly that: to make it rain; chase away storms and change the climate of our planet. Even today, certain geo-engineers are proposing vast schemes to alter our climate to stave off global warming. But as historian of science and technology, JAMES RODGER FLEMING, shows us, all these ideas about changing our weather are rooted in “hubris and tragedy”. Many of these climate altering schemes, new and old, are also quite bizarrely funny and farcical. Tune in tonight as we talk about shooting hail with crossbows; using cannons to bring rain and throwing vast amounts of chemicals into the ocean to change its color to prevent the planet from heating up. Professor Fleming’s vastly entertaining and important history of science is FIXING THE SKY: THE CHECKERED HISTORY OF WEATHER AND CLIMATE CONTROL.
The two Voyager probes were launched August 20 and September 5, 1977. 33 years and 21 billion kilometers later, these two spacecraft are still sending back valuable information about our solar system and they have power for another 10 more years of observation. It is truly a mind-boggling achievement of people and technology that is largely forgotten by most people. Our guest tonight is STEPHEN J. PYNE, Regents Professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University and an award-winning environmental historian. His new book VOYAGER: SEEKING NEWER WORLDS IN THE THIRD GREAT AGE OF DISCOVERY is the first history to conceptually place these Voyager missions in the long history of human voyages of discovery and is one of the finest books written about our ideas about space exploration. These Voyager missions are unique and quite different from all other explorations that have gone on before in human history. Tune in and find out why.
The first great highway system in the United States was the Boston Post Road, a network of two roads that connected Boston to New York City. Beginning as a hodgepodge of Native American trails, by the early 1700s, this was the only connection that towns like Providence, Springfield and Worcester had with the big cities. The nation’s first regular newspaper was delivered to the taverns along its route, and news of the Revolution was spread rapidly to the towns found along its muddy roads. Then came canal fever, the railroads, the bicycle craze and eventually the automobile, all of which forever affected the towns and cities along this road. Tonight on Inquiry, we welcome ERIC JAFFE, writer and editor, who talks about his latest fascinating history of transportation THE KING’S BEST HIGHWAY: THE LOST HISTORY OF THE BOSTON POST ROAD: THE ROUTE THAT MADE AMERICA.
He provided the soundtrack for several generations of Americans trying to navigate the rocky shoals of romance and grapple with love and heartbreak. And he became one of 20th-century pop culture’s quintessential men of contradictions: the bullying tough guy whose singing could radiate a remarkable tenderness and vulnerability; the ring-a-ding-ding Vegas sophisticate with an existential outlook on life; the jaunty urbanite who could deliver a torch song like no one else. Fans could recognize his voice from two or three perfectly phrased syllables, and they knew him instantly from his style: the rakishly tilted hat, the coat slung over one shoulder, the Camels and Jack Daniel’s. Join host Al Vuona as he talks with James Kaplan, author of Frank - The Voice, about singing sensation Frank Sinatra. That's Sunday, November 14th at 10:30 pm!