Midday | WYPR

Midday

Monday-Friday from noon-1:00, Tom Hall and his guests are talking about what’s on your mind, and what matters most to Marylanders:  the latest news, local and national politics, education and the environment, popular culture and the arts, sports and science, race and religion, movies and medicine.  We welcome your questions and comments. E-mail us at midday@wypr.org, tweet us: @middaytomhall, or call us at 410-662-8780.
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Meet the Midday team

Midday programs with Sheilah Kast as host ended on September 16, 2016

Archive prior to October 5, 2015

Kiirstn Pagan/Everyman Theatre

M Butterfly, the Tony Award-winning play is the current offering at Baltimore's Everyman Theatre, through Oct. 8. Everyman Theatre founder and Artistic Director Vincent Lancisi and Everyman Ensemble actor Bruce Randolph Nelson are in Studio A with Tom to talk about the production and to tell us about an extraordinary, chance meeting in France with Bernard Bouriscot,  the real diplomat at the heart of the M. Butterfly story.  

Maryland Humanities

Nigerian author and essayist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie joins Tom for the hour. Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus is this year's One Maryland One Book selection. Sponsored by Maryland Humanities, students and literature lovers across the state are reading and discussing the book.

Chimamanda is the author of two other novels: Half of a Yellow Sun, and Americanah, which is being made into a film. She published a short story collection in 2009 called The Thing Around Your Neck, and her 2012 TED Talk  was published as a book, called We Should All be Feminists.  Her latest book is Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in 15 Suggestions.

Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group Archives

Should Colin Kaepernick be playing in the NFL this season? Does the fact that he’s not playing have to do with how well he plays, or his sideline protests against police misconduct? Is the movement to boycott the NFL in support of Kaepernick, catching on and impacting NFL ratings?   

If you haven’t been boycotting the games, what do you think of the Ravens first two outings this year? The defense is hot, and the offense is hot enough to win. How will their trip across the pond to play in London on Sunday affect their performance in the coming weeks? While the Ravens head to England, the Orioles are headed south, in the standings. What happened to the team that showed so much promise, so many times, this year?

Baltimore Center Stage

The Christians, directed by Hana S. Sharif and written by Lucas Hnath, is set in a modern day Megachurch; the play explores what happens when the church's spiritual leader, Pastor Paul-- played by Howard W. Overshown -- stops believing in hell. The production features performances from local choirs including the Greater Baltimore Church of Christ Choir; New Psalmist Baptist Church Choir; and Community Choir of Baltimore Center Stage, a choir convened for this production. Center Stage transformed their theater for this production to look and feel like a church, the audience is invited to participate in the production as members of the congregation. 

AFP Photo/SCOTT OLSON

 

Protests in St. Louis continued last night following the acquittal of a white, former police officer, Jason Stockley, in the 2011 shooting death of black man, Anthony Lamar Smith. A recording device inside the former officer's vehicle captured Stockley saying he was “going to kill” Smith during a high speed pursuit. Prosecutors also accused Stockley of planting a gun inside of Smith's car after he was fatally wounded. Peaceful protestors marched through the city immediately after the verdict was announced, but by Friday evening, pockets of the protest erupted in violence.

marylandreporter.com

In the 1960's, the iconic developer and visionary Jim Rouse was inspired to create a new kind of city, one that was integrated and economically diverse, and which offered amenities like green space, recreation, and outstanding schools.  The result was Columbia, Md., which Money magazine called "the best small city to live in America."

Len Lazarick, editor and publisher of the website of MarylandReporter.com and resident of Columbia for over 40 years, joins us in studio to talk about his latest book Columbia at 50: A Memoir of a City.

Amy Davis

In 1950, when Baltimore’s population was at its peak, there were 119 movie theaters in Baltimore City. Today, there are five. Amy Davis has photographed more than 70 of Baltimore’s often neglected old movie theaters. In some cases, like the Hippodrome or the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway, the theaters have been lovingly restored. In other instances, only a shell or remnants of the buildings exist, and in several cases, the buildings have been razed. In telling the stories of these theaters and what happened to them along the way, Amy Davis has compiled a history not only of the theaters, but of Baltimore itself. The book is called Flickering Treasures: Rediscovering Baltimore’s Forgotten Movie Theaters.

City of St. Petersburg

On this edition of the the Midday News Wrap:  An IED explosion rocks  the Parsons Green tube station in Southwest London during rush hour this morning leaving 23 people hospitalized.  It is the fifth act of terrorism in Britain this year.  The death toll from Hurricane Irma continues to rise as clean-up continues.  At least 39 people on the U.S. mainland, and at least 43 people in the Caribbean have died as a result of Irma.   

On Wednesday night, Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer issued a statement saying they a reached an agreement about DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  The President, however, tweeted on Thursday morning that there was no deal.  Also, the Department of Justice said this week that none of the Baltimore Police officers who were charged in the 2015 death of Freddie Gray will face federal civil rights charges in his death.   Discussing these issues and more,  Tom is joined by Michael Fletcher  of ESPN's The Undefeated and Andrew Revkin, senior reporter for climate and related issues at ProPublica.  

JHU Press

A new book from Johns Hopkins University Press chronicles the rich history of music in Maryland, from drinking songs in colonial Annapolis through the legacy of jazz greats like Charlie Byrd, who coincidentally, ended his storied career in our state capital. The book is called Musical Maryland: A History of Song and Performance from the Colonial Period to the Age of Radio. Authors Elizabeth Schaaf and David Hildebrand join Tom to explore the history of music in Maryland. 

Elizabeth Schaaf is the former archivist at the Peabody Institute. David Hildebrand is a scholar and performer who is the Director of the Colonial Music Institute.  

Everyman Theatre

Everyman Theatre's adaptation of the Tony Award winning play M. Butterfly stars Vichet Chum as Song and Bruce Randolph Nelson as Rene Gallimard. The Emmy award winning drama written by David Henry Hwang is based on the true story of the French diplomat who had a nearly two-decade affair with a Chinese opera performer and spy. The production is directed by Vincent Lancisi. 

M. Butterfly is at The Everyman Theatre through October 8th.

HBO

 

In another edition of Living Questions, our monthly series on the role of religion in the public sphere, which we produce in collaboration with the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies, we take a look at depictions of religious faiths in movies and on television.

A lot has changed since Charlton Heston  starred as Moses in the 1956 film The Ten Commandments. Show’s like Greenleaf on OWN take us behind the scenes at a Black Mega Church; HBO’s The Young Pope imagines an insurgent named Lenny Belardo rising to the Pontificate. How do these, and a host of other TV shows and movies feed our perceptions and even skepticism around organized religion? How does a movie like Silence, which tells the story of 17th century Jesuit Priests in Japan, help us understand religion in a historical context? How are we to appreciate the complexities of various faith traditions if directors and writers take artistic liberties in their story-telling?  

Courtesy Monica Reinagel

Many of us are carrying a bit more weight on our fragile frames than we would prefer. In fact, more Americans are obese than ever before.  

But what about folks who are overweight and whose cholesterol is okay, who have normal blood pressure, and whose other health indicators are not worrisome.   Some experts say that’s okay.  This idea, that you can be fit and  fat, has informed a movement called the Health at Every Size movement.

The Nutrition Diva, Monica Reinagel, joined Tom Hall in studio to talk about this.  She is an author and a licensed nutritionist.  She blogs at nutritionovereasy.com and she joins Midday for our Smart Nutrition segment every other month.  

JHU Press

  

Today, a conversation about Baltimore. People call it different things: Charm City or Mobtown, the City That Reads or the City That Bleeds, but whatever you call it, Baltimore holds an important place in the hearts of most of the folks who live here.  

Our town, like many American cities, is a place of contradictions. We are home to some of the best medical centers in the country, yet there is a 10 or 12 year difference in life expectancy from one neighborhood to another.  We have a vibrant creative community that helps us maintain a solid reputation as quirky and eclectic, and an inferiority complex that has us question our worth relative to places like Boston or Philadelphia.  Baltimore is smaller, more affordable and more intimate than New York, but our murder rate per 100,000 people is 10 times that of our northern counterpart.  Multi-million dollar homes in the Inner Harbor and Guilford are within walking distance of streets that have more boarded-up homes than occupied ones.  

Joe Flood/Flickr

Today, a conversation about the Trump administration's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA.  Since Atty Gen. Jeff Sessions announced the end of DACA, serious questions have been raised regarding the impact of this decision on the young people who participated in the plan.

Courtesy MPT

On this anniversary of 9/11, we look back at another time when America was attacked, during the war of 1812, and we consider the complexities and uncomfortable truths about a figure who emerged from that war as a well-known hero.  Francis Scott Key is heralded not for his bravery on the battlefield, but rather for his poetic prowess.  

There is a lot, however, that most people don't know about the attorney and wordsmith, but a new docudrama abut this enigmatic figure aims to reconcile that. "F.S. Key:  After the Song" will air on Maryland Public Television and nationwide in three parts, beginning tomorrow night.  

Phillip J. Marshall, the writer, director and editor of the series joins Tom in the studio.

  

Tom is joined by Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the senior senator from Maryland. This morning, he led an interfaith meeting to respond to the violence in Charlottesville.  We’ll talk about President Trump’s pandering and bigoted response to that dark day, his decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, and the prospects for tax reform.  

Senator Cardin is the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We’ll also talk about the growing tensions with North Korea and the president’s recent comments about the prospects of a military conflict. 

Photo courtesy Andrea Carlson

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist  Andrea Carlson performs tracks from her latest album 'Love Can Be So Nice'  live in the Midday studio. Carlson is appearing at Germano’s Piattini this evening, and her performance is one of many that is included in the 3rd annual Madonnari Festival, a celebration of music, Italian food and art. Jennifer Chaparro, artist and winner of the International Chalk Festival, will also join us in studio to chat about the annual event where artist from Baltimore and all over the world will be canvasing the streets of Little Italy with chalk and chalk tempura art.  

photo courtesy HBO.com

It's Midday at the Movies, our monthly conversation about new flicks and new trends in the film industry. Tom's guests today are Maryland Film Festival founder and director Jed Dietz, and Baltimore Magazine's managing editor and film critic Max Weiss, who also writes about culture at Vulture.com, the entertainment website of New York Magazine.

The last four months of the year are typically when movie  studios give us their best shot, with an eye on the year-end deadline for the awards season.

So what happened this year?  This summer's movie season included more flops than an Olympic track meet.  Can the film industry bounce back from one of its worst summers in 25 years? 

Tom and his guests discuss how a new crop of films, in theaters as well as on streaming Internet services, could help turn things around.  They'll  be talking about the new HBO series from director David Simon and George Pelacanos called "The Deuce",  which premiers Sunday September 10th,  and about the new movies coming to local theaters, including Ingrid Goes West, Logan Lucky, Okja, and Beach Rats, among others.

photo courtesy Hippodrome Theatre

It's Thursday, and that means our theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in the studio with her weekly report on the region's thespian landscape.  

This week, Judy looks ahead to the 2017-2018 season and spotlights some of the local and touring productions slated to grace the region's stages in the coming months, including two notable musicals coming to the Hippodrome:  Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's sequel to his Phantom of the Opera, called Love Never Dies, and The School of Rock.  

The Kids Count Report: Tracking Child Welfare in America

Sep 6, 2017
Photo Credit datacenter.kidscount.org

It's back-to-school time for many of our nation's young people, and today we are taking a look at the status of children in our state and across the country.   The 2017 Kids Count Data Book,  a new report from the Baltimore-based Annie E Casey Foundation, ranks all 50 states by measures of health, education, economic well-being and more.  As more than 16 million American children currently live in poverty, our panel considers how to best meet the challenges that this most vulnerable segment of our population faces.  Where does Maryland stand in the rankings?  And how can obstacles be overcome through more effective policies and social services?     

Tom is joined in Studio A by Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Casey Foundation; Becky Wagner, executive director of Advocates for Children & Youth  in Baltimore (the Maryland partner for the Casey Foundation’s  Kids Count project); and Dr. Camika Royal, assistant professor of Urban Education at Loyola University Maryland and co-director of Loyola’s Center for Innovation in Urban Education. 

 

Farrar, Straus, and Giroux,

With the Baltimore City Council, the Mayor, the Police Chief and the City States Attorney advocating for mandatory minimum sentences for gun possession, a conversation about incarceration, race, and criminal justice. African Americans are 6x more likely to imprisoned for drug charges, even though blacks and whites use drugs at similar rates. Overall, African Americans are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of whites? How did we get here? What laws and policy shaped our bias criminal justice system, and what role did African American political, law enforcement and religious leaders play in shaping that system? James Forman Jr. is a professor of law at the Yale Law School and the author of Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America.

Sheri Parks is an Associate Dean for Research, Interdisciplinary Scholarship and Programming at the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of MD College Park, where she is also an Associate Professor in the Department of American Studies. She’s the author of Fierce Angels: Living with a Legacy from the Sacred Dark Feminine to the Strong Black Woman. 

MikeRowe.com

(This program was originally broadcast on September 21, 2016)

Mike Rowe joins Midday host Tom Hall to talk about rolling up his sleeves and getting down to work in some of the hardest professions on Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs and later on Somebody’s Gotta Do It, which aired on CNN from 2014 until May 2016.

These days, in addition to hosting a podcast called The Way I Heard It, Mike has turned his focus to closing the skills gap by providing scholarships through the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, for people who want to learn a skill or trade that is in high demand. Mike says the desire to start the foundation came from meeting thousands of skilled workers who make good livings and are passionate about their careers. Many of the folks he shadowed did not have advanced degrees, a point that isn’t missed on Mike. He says as a society we put too much emphasis on obtaining a four-year degree as the only path to success and not enough on obtaining a skill set in a specific vocation that could lead to a successful career.

Mike also shares how he got his big break into showbiz when Tom Hall hired him for an opera in 1983.

Courtesy Harper Collins Publisher

(This program was originally aired on June 5, 2017)

With more than 6,000 hours of shows logged during an influential career that spanned more than 30 years, David Letterman’s impact on the landscape of late-night is unquestioned.    On today's Midday, a closer look at the life and work of the trend-setting funny man, through the eyes of a writer-journalist who's spent the past three years sizing up the Letterman legacy.

Doug Mills/NY Times

(This program originally aired on May 17, 2017.) 

Our country is becoming increasingly diverse. People of color will outnumber non-Latino, white Americans in 30 years. Are our newsrooms representative of our increasingly diverse nation? It’s a question that news organizations are grappling with across the country. Last month, NPR’s Ombudsman Elizabeth Jensen published a report that said that in 2016, of the 350 employees in the NPR news division 75.4 percent were white. In the commentary Jensen wrote "There's simply no way around it: If the goal is to increase diversity in the newsroom, last year's was a disappointing showing” 

Last December, New York Times Public Editor Liz Spayd published a frank piece about the lack of diversity in their newsroom. Of course NPR and the New York Times are not alone. In 2014, minorities made up 22 percent of television journalists, 13 percent of radio journalists, and 13 percent of journalists at daily newspapers. That’s according to the Radio Television Digital News Association and the American Society of News Editors. People of color make up about 15% of the programming staff at WYPR.

Photo courtesy Creative Commons

 (We originally aired this program on June 28, 2017.)

There's no shortage of think pieces exploring the ways Millennials -- that is, folks born between 1981 and 1996 -- differ from older generations. Those pieces often describe a generation of entitled, lazy, participation-trophy babies.  But some experts say that perception is wrong and reflects our society's misunderstanding of Millennials and their relationship with technology. 

James VanRensselaer Homewood Photography

(We originally aired this program on June 20, 2017.)  

Last month (May 2017), the stabbing death of Bowie State University student and 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III grabbed national headlines, and left students and faculty wondering how the frightening and tragic incident could have happened on a college campus. Collins, who was black, was stabbed on the campus of the University of Maryland, College Park by UMd student Sean Urbanski. Urbanski, who’s white, was a member of an online hate group that shared bigoted memes and messages. While Urbanski has not been charged with a hate crime, students of color at UMd say Collins’ death is not an isolated incident and that racial climate on campus is fraught with bias and bigotry. In early May, a noose was found hanging in UMd frat house. 

Penguin Random House

“Do black lives matter to the courts?” It’s the question raised time and time again when unarmed black men are killed by police and the officers are either not indicted, or not convicted. It’s the question raised by NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill in a new collection of essays called Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution and Imprisonment.

Professor Angela J. Davis is the collection's editor. She's a law professor at American University's Washington College of Law. She's also the author of several books, including Arbitrary Justice: The Power of the American Prosecutor.

Sherrilyn Ifill, with her colleague Jin Hee Lee, co-wrote the essay in Policing the Black Man,  titled "Do Black Lives Matter to the Courts?" Sherrilyn is also the author of On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century

Photo by George David Sanchez

(This program originally aired on April 25, 2017)  

Today, it’s Midday on Mid Life.  Mid Life can be a dizzying hash of juggling jobs, keeping a marriage vibrant, tending to children as they enter adulthood, and caring for parents as they enter their twilight years.  No wonder the term “midlife” so often has the word “crisis” attached to it like a tentacle.     

But our 40s, 50s and 60s can also be a time when we come into our own, forge new relationships, and discover fresh things about the world and ourselves. 

In her most recent book, Life Reimagined: The Science, Art and Opportunity of Midlifeformer NPR correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty takes a clear-eyed look at the challenges and joys of being old enough to know better, and young enough to enjoy the new things that life might have to offer. 

(Barbara Bradley Hagerty talked about her book April 26th at the Towson Unitarian Universalist Church on Dulaney Valley Road in Lutherville, Maryland.  Her talk was sponsored by Well for the Journey, a spiritual wellness center offering classes and workshops in Towson.)

The Urban Forest: Why It's Crucial

Aug 24, 2017
Photos by Peggy Fox/K. Wilson

(This program originally aired on Nov. 22, 2016)

When you look up, what do you see? If you’re in Baltimore and many other U.S. cities, what you see are trees. When viewed from above, the tree canopy, as it is known, covers more than 27% of Baltimore. And, if today’s urban arborists have their way, that figure will be significantly higher 20 years from now.

Today, a conversation about urban forests. What purpose do they serve in our daily lives? Who planted them, and why? What lessons did we learn from the mid-20th century disaster known as Dutch Elm Disease, or the Emerald Ash Borer infestation, which have decimated the urban tree-cover in cities across the U.S.? And what do today’s science and technology reveal about the importance of the grown environment in American cities?

Tom's guests in Studio A are Jill Jonnes and Erik Dihle.

Jill Jonnes is an author, a historian, and self-described “tree-hugger.” She’s also the author of six books. Her latest is called “Urban Forests: A Natural History of Trees and People in the American Cityscape.” She’s the founder of the Baltimore Tree Trust. She was a scholar in residence at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington and has been both a Ford Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities scholar. She is based here in Baltimore. She'll be reading from "Urban Forests" tonight at the Ivy Bookshop in Baltimore at 7 pm. 

Erik Dihle is Baltimore City’s Arborist and Chief of Urban Forestry. He leads Tree Baltimore, the city’s tree planting initiative, which works with non-profit partners, including the Baltimore Tree Trust, to increase the city’s tree canopy.

Nina Subin

(This program originally aired January 18, 2017)  

This week, we are taking a look back at the Presidency of Barack Obama. Tom is joined by Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, a searing provocateur whose unstinting critique of the historic nature of Obama’s tenure includes what he considers to be the missed opportunities to advance the cause of racial equality. One of Dyson’s chief criticisms is the President’s reluctance to hold white people at least partially responsible for black suffering.  

In his latest book, Tears We Cannot Stop: A  Sermon to White America, Dyson argues that the responsibility lies not just with uninformed bigots, but with people who may consider themselves enlightened and fair-minded, but who can’t accept the truth of racial history.  < Dr. Michael Eric Dyson is a sociology professor at Georgetown University. He is the author of 18 other books, including The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America.

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