Midday | WYPR

Midday

Photos courtesy Marin Alsop and Johnny Quirin

Today on Midday on Music, Tom is joined by Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Music Director Marin Alsop, who has been working hard to make the BSO as accessible and appealing as it can be. She began her historic tenure at the BSO in 2007, and in 2012 she also became the principal conductor of the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra in Brazil.  

Peter Kjome, who was appointed President and CEO of the BSO a year ago, also joins Tom and Marin in Studio A.

This weekend at the Meyerhoff in Baltimore and at Strathmore Hall in Bethesda, the BSO teams up with the Baltimore Museum of Art to present pieces by Maurice Ravel  (La Valse) and Claude Debussy (La Mer), two masters of musical impressionism. The performances will be accompanied by projections of Impressionist art, visuals provided by the BMA as a part of the BSO's ongoing Off the Cuff series.

The weekend also includes a new hip-hop version of Camille Saint-Saen's Carnival of the Animals and a piece by Baltimore native Philip Glass for two timpanists and orchestra.

Courtesy of Bruce F Photography

Today, Midday's intrepid theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck reviews the courtroom drama Inherit the Wind, now on stage at Vagabond Players.

Based on the 1925 Scopes "Monkey Trial," Inherit the Wind explores themes of science, religion, and intellectual freedom, as they swirled together in a historic courtroom debate over whether Charles Darwin's theory of evolution should be taught in public schools. Written in 1955 by playwrights Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, the play was a broadside at the contemporaneous McCarthy hearings, the infamous Senate campaign to purge suspected communists from jobs in the US government, industry and the arts.

Inherit the Winddirected by Sherrionne Brown, continues at Vagabond Players through Sunday, February 4, with show times on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here or at the door.

Samierra Jones

Today a conversation about the heating crisis in Baltimore city schools. School officials blame the problem on old buildings and underfunding. Gov. Larry Hogan points to what he calls mismanagement and ineptitude. So what’s really going on, and what should be happening moving forward? 

Governor Hogan also announced $2.5 million dollars in emergency aid for Baltimore schools. Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh directed the Department of Public Works to pitch-in and help with emergency repairs, and she called on the business and philanthropic community to help pay for it. A student at Coppin State University, Samierra Jones, started a GoFundMe page to raise money for space heaters and coats.   In a startling article in the Baltimore Sun, Luke Broadwater reported that the City has returned nearly $66 million dollars to state coffers that had been allocated for repairs. If money is short for needed repairs, how can this be? Many people concluded that the sub-zero temperatures outside exposed sub-par performance by school officials.  

Courtesy of Monica Reinagel and Dan Ariely

It’s the beginning of a new year, and for many of us, that means following up on resolutions to shed those extra pounds. Today, on this edition of Smart Nutrition, Monica Reinagel, the Nutrition Diva, joins Tom in Studio A to talk about a few weight loss strategies. They also check in with Duke University behavioral economist Dan Ariely about a strategy he’s developed to ease the angst of weight reduction.

Then, Monica and Tom discuss CRISPR-Cas9, a powerful new tool for genetically altering our foods, a new ranking of the best diets for 2018, and which ones might be worth trying.

Monica Reinagel is an author and a licensed, board-certified nutritionist.  She blogs at nutritionovereasy.com and she joins Midday for our Smart Nutrition segment every other month.  

Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and is the founder of The Center for Advanced Hindsight and co-founder of BEworks, Timeful, Genie and Shapa.

 

The 438th session of the Maryland General Assembly begins tomorrow and Baltimore City is certainly on the agenda. Governor Larry Hogan announced a plan to appoint an investigator to look into what he described as corruption, mismanagement and ineptitude in some Maryland school districts. This comes after the announcement of $2.5 million dollars in emergency funding to restore heating to many Baltimore City public schools. 

The new federal tax overhaul could mean more revenue for the state. How to spend it is a point of contention. Democrats say they have enough votes to pass their version of paid sick leave After threatening to “take the knee,” The Legislative Black Caucus is confident that their bill to increase diversity in the medical marijuana industry will pass.  Rachel Baye covers Maryland politics for WYPR. Erin Cox is The Baltimore Sun's State House bureau chief, they join Tom for a preview of the 2018 General Assembly. 

Courtesy of the Brookings Institute

When the sweeping Republican tax bill was pushed through and voted into law just before Christmas, critics ripped into it as a gift for the wealthy. Many of them focused on the benefits that it will bestow upon the wealthiest of all -- the top 1% — and especially the top 0.1%. Critics worry that the ultra rich are becoming wealthier, while incomes for most other Americans are stagnant.

Today's guest, Richard Reeves, says that the gap that poses the greatest threat to our culture isn’t the one between the insanely rich and the rest of us, but rather, it’s the gap between most people and the so-called Upper Middle Class, the top 20% of Americans, by wealth. That gap, Reeves says, is changing how families are structured and it’s informing our political and personal attitudes about everything. 

Richard Reeves joins Tom live from the studios of NPR in Washington, DC.

Danni Williams via Facebook

On this week's edition of the Midday News Wrap: The Labor Department announced that the economy added 148,000 jobs last month, fewer than expected. The stock market is at record levels. The unemployment rate remained steady at 4.1%. Very few other things appeared steady this week. Steve Bannon’s list of BFFs is considerably smaller this week. President Trump says Bannon has lost his mind. People at Breitbart News think Bannon may soon lose his job. The President tweeted about the size of his nuclear button. A new bombshell book by a journalistic flame thrower suggests that many in Trump’s circle question the President’s basic competence for his job, confirming the impression held by about 70 million voters in 2016. And President Trump dissolved the Voter Fraud Commission.

The New York Times reported last night that Special Counsel Robert Mueller appears to be investigating false statements made by the President and inquiries made by the Attorney General as a matter of possible obstruction of justice. And two new Democratic senators were sworn in this week: Doug Jones, the first Democrat to represent Alabama in 25 years, and Tina Smith, who replaces Al Franken as the junior Senator from Minnesota. The Senate now includes a record high 22 women in its ranks, and the Republican majority has been shaved to one.

In Baltimore, sub-zero temperatures have exposed sub-par performance by city and state officials, as classrooms in nearly one third of schools in Baltimore had heating problems. And the FBI made the stunning decision to refuse to accommodate Police Commissioner Kevin Davis’ request that it take over the investigation into the death of Detective Sean Suiter.

Joining Tom in Studio A to discuss this week's news: Julie Bykowicz covers national politics for the Wall Street Journal. Before joining the Journal, she covered the Trump White House for the Associated Press. Michael Fletcher is a senior writer at The Undefeated, the on-line platform of ESPN. He was for many years a national reporter for The Washington Post, where he covered economics and the White House. 

Rachael Boer Photography

Baltimore-based classical guitarists Jorge Amaral and Mia Pomerantz-Amaral joined Tom in studio to give us a fabulous preview of their concert this weekend.

Duo Amaral will be performing a program of Latin American music this Sunday, Jan. 7, at 3 p.m.,  in Columbia, Maryland, as part of the Sundays at Three Chamber Music Series. Click here for more information and tickets.

Photo by Jack English

On this month's edition of Midday at the Movies, Tom is joined by our regular movie maven Jed Dietz, the founding director of the Maryland Film Festival, and by special guest Max Weiss, the managing editor and film critic at Baltimore Magazine, who also writes about culture at Vulture.com, the entertainment website of New York Magazine.

Awards season is underway, and our guests weigh in on some of the films in contention for the year's first major awards presentation: the 75th annual Golden Globes, which happen this Sunday (January 7th at 8PM ET on NBC).  They'll talk about a few interesting omissions from the roster of nominees…and a couple of new biopics: one about Britain's World War II-era prime minister Winston Churchill, called Darkest Hourand a second, which opens tomorrow night, about another legendary figure, of a different sort: 1994 Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding, whose gritty backstory is the focus of I, Tonya.

And we field your calls, emails and tweets about the movies on your mind...

Spotlighters Theatre - Shaelyn Jae Photography

It's Thursday, and that means it's time for theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck to bring us her weekly review of one of the Baltimore-Washington region's thespian offerings, and this week it's First Date, a musical comedy now on stage at Spotlighter's Theatre

The minimalist romp finds blind-date novice Aaron (played by Reed DeLisle) set up with serial-dater Casey (Lindsey Litka), and their casual drink at a busy New York restaurant soon turns into a complex and comedic dinner for two that involves a suprisingly large cast of characters.

First Date is stage-directed by Fuzz Roark, with book by Austin Winsberg, music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weine, and musical direction by Michael Tan.

First Date continues at Spotlighter's Theatre through Sunday January 21.  For ticket info, click here.

(Adult Language and Situations - Parental Guidance Necessary.)

Today, we continue our series of conversations with members of the Baltimore City Council who came into office in late 2016 as part of a wave of energetic and idealistic legislators who were elected on the promise of change and new ideas.

One thing that hasn’t changed: Baltimore’s insistent and insidious plague of violence.  In 2017, record numbers of Baltimoreans, lost their lives to homicide. Today we’ll focus on Baltimore City and the issues before the city council as this New Year gets underway. 

pixabay.com

A warning to listeners who may be tuning in with young children: we will be talking about mature topics today on this edition of Midday Culture Connections.

The sexual assault allegations against powerful men in Hollywood and pretty much every other industry has shined a light on the pervasiveness of predatory sexual behavior. Today, we’ll examine the ways hypersexualized images of women on television, on the internet and in print distort the ways our culture views and treats women. Scholars have called it “pornification.”  

 Pornography dominates the internet. More people view internet porn every month than click on Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined. So how does pornography affect mainstream popular culture? And how do the images of women we encounter every day affect the ways women view themselves and the ways men view and interact with women?

(This conversation originally aired on November 15, 2017.)

A student is suspended from the University of Tulsa for statements his husband made on Facebook; posters advertising “Straight Pride Week” ordered removed from bulletin boards at Youngstown State University. A law professor is asked to resign when she wears blackface to a Halloween party, to promote a conversation about race. Today on Midday, a conversation about free speech on college campuses. Are trigger warnings and safe spaces in higher education stifling intellectual thought and violating the first amendment or creating intellectually diverse and inclusive campuses? 

Photo by Robert Kniesche/Baltimore Sun

(This program was originally aired live on October 10, 2017)

In this archive edition of MiddayWYPR and the Baltimore Museum of Industry team up for a special program -- presented as part of BMI's Issues in Industry series -- examining Baltimore's calamitous de-industrialization, the challenge of rebuilding the city's workforce, and the future of work in Baltimore's increasingly dynamic industrial landscape.  Broadcast in front of a live audience at BMI's Communications Gallery, the hour-long discussion featured Midday host Tom Hall moderating a guest panel that included Anita Kassof, BMI’s executive director; Dr. Nicole King, associate professor and chair of the Department of American Studies at UMBC;  Phillip J. Pack, a retired Sparrows Point steelworker and union trainer; Lauren Purviance, with Jane Addams Resource Corp., a Baltimore job training firm; Dr. Julianne Malveaux, a labor economist, author, media commentator and CEO of Economic Education, LLC; and Joe Jones, Director, Center for Urban Families, a Baltimore nonprofit.

The panel also addressed emailed and tweeted questions and comments from the live audience.

Copyright Epic Photography Jamie Schoenberger

(This program originally aired on October 24, 2017.)

Tom’s guest today is Alice McDermott, the New York Times best-selling author of eight novels. Three of them, After This, At Weddings and Wakes and That Night, were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. Another novel, Charming Billy, won the National Book Award in 1998.

Her eighth novel, The Ninth Hour, published last September, is a profound and moving contemplation on the big issues: love, family, faith, religion and bringing meaning to one’s life. The story is told with tenderness and compassion, by an artist at the height of her creative and literary powers.

Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, NPR and others have named The Ninth Hour one of the best novels of 2017.  Listen to this archive edition of Midday,  and you'll understand why.

Photo courtesy Goucher College.

(This program originally aired live on October 17, 2017)

Elizabeth Strout is Tom's guest in this archive edition of Midday.  Strout is the author of six novels and many short stories; her most recent book is a series of linked tales called Anything is Possible.  Linking stories together was a structural device that Ms. Strout also employed in what is perhaps her most well-known work, Olive Kitteridge.  The book earned her the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction , and Frances McDormand starred in an adaptation of the story for HBO that won eight Emmy Awards.

Strout writes about people with big hearts who often live in small towns:  A disgruntled former school teacher, Somali immigrants, a school janitor, a successful writer who returns to rural Illinois to reunite with her estranged siblings.  We meet these and many, many more complicated and brilliant and flawed and eloquent characters who are powerfully and compellingly portrayed by a writer whose tremendous gifts of observation and explication are imbued with great magnanimity and compassion.

Elizabeth Strout was a guest speaker at Goucher College hours after our show and again later the same evening.  For more information, click here or contact the Kratz Center for Creative Writing  at kratz@goucher.edu

Maryland Humanities

*This program originally aired on September 21, 2017.  

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.

photo courtesy Gil Sandler

On this Friday before Christmas 2017, a spritely and indefatigable 95-year-old raconteur joins Tom in Studio AHis name is Gilbert Sandler, and as WYPR listeners well know, Gil has been telling his Baltimore Stories on this station for the past 15 years.  On this particular Friday afternoon, as he prepares to retire the series next Friday, the story he tells is the story behind this popular and enduring narrative.

Gil and Tom are joined by Fred Rasmussen of the Baltimore Sun, a longtime friend and associate who provides a retrospective on the many quirky and fascinating characters Gil has introduced us to over the years.

photo by Rob Sivak/WYPR

To finish up our week on this Friday before Christmas, we turn to a choir that has recently been formed at Paul’s Place, a service organization in the Washington Village/Pigtown neighborhood of Baltimore.  Paul’s Place has provided services for the people in that neighborhood for more than 30 years, including hot lunches, clothes, health care, and programs for children. Several members of the Voices Rise Choir  -- Marvin, aka "Wolfman;" Luther; Deborah Travers; Chris Nephew; Wanda Lewis; Marc; Deborah and Ser Floyd -- have been kind enough to come to our studio today and sing us a few Christmas carols.  They're accompanied in the studio by guitarist Dr. Jeremy Lyons.

The directors of the Voices Rise Choir are two brothers who are graduates of the Peabody Institute, Douglas Benjamin and his brother, Benjamin Buchanan.  

It’s Tube Talk on Midday. Nostalgia seems to be in on the small screen. Remakes of One Day at a Time and She’s Gotta Have It on Netflix are gaining popularity with younger audiences. But do television reboots and remakes, really work? Plus, which shows are sidelined, and which ones are continuing in the wake of the sexual misconduct scandal rocking Hollywood? And, black actors make up 20 percent of TV series regulars, so why are fewer than 5 percent of TV writers, black?   

Bridget Armstrong is a producer for Midday. Jamyla Krempel is a digital producer for WYPR. They join Tom to discuss the television highs and lows of 2017. 

ClintonBPhotography

It's Thursday, and that means it's time for our peripatetic theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, to join  us with her latest take on the region's thespian offerings. Today, she reviews "The Revolutionists," the new play by Lauren Gunderson that's now on stage at Baltimore's Everyman Theatre.

A comic spin on the bloody 18th century uprising known as the French Revolution, the play brings together former queen Marie Antoinette (played by Beth Hylton), assassin Charlotte Corday (Emily Kester), playwright Olympe de Gouges (Megan Anderson), and Caribbean spy Marianne Angelle (Dawn Ursula), as the people of France struggle against an oppressive monarchy and take to the streets for equality and freedom.  The sparks fly in what Everyman Theatre calls "a funny new work about feminism, legacy and standing up for one’s beliefs."

"The Revolutionists" -- directed by Casey Stengl, with costume design by David Burdick -- continues at Everyman Theatre through Sunday, January 7. 

Photo courtesy State's Attorney's Office

(The text of a statement sent Friday, Dec. 22 to Tom Hall by the defense counsel for Keith Davis, Jr., the Columbia man whose recent conviction on second-degree murder charges is discussed in Wednesday's Midday show, is posted  at the bottom of this Web article)

Tom's NewsMaker guest today is the State’s Attorney for the City of Baltimore, Marilyn Mosby.  In the 2014 primary, she defeated her former boss, Greg Bernstein, by ten points, a decisive victory, before running unopposed in the general election.  She was swept into office by tapping into widespread dissatisfaction with increasing crime.  Mosby promised to reduce it. 

Two years into her term, her Office has a conviction rate of 79% in homicide cases.  The clearance rate of cases for the Baltimore Police department has also improved. 

But Baltimore struggles with an epidemic of violent crime that has reached record levels, and the police department has been rocked by internal corruption.     

How do we fix this?  State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby joins Tom, and takes your questions, for the hour.

To watch the conversation we streamed live on Facebook, click here

_________________________________________________________________________ 

Christmas is less than week away, and while the halls may be decked, the pressure is on to adorn the centerpiece of every holiday celebration, the table.  As we skid full steam ahead into Christmas and New Years, many of us will have to confront the tricky task of choosing the right wines for holiday celebrations.  

The revival of the cocktail is still going strong. While wine is a safe and classic option, the addition of a signature cocktail or punch bowl to your holiday gathering can add a layer of color and creativity to your upcoming soiree. 

Tim Chin, known to many as the Boy with the Blue Beard, is a food photographer, blogger, craft bartender, and  local food and wine personality.  He joins Tom in Studio A to share some timely cocktail and holiday punch bowl recipes.  Here are two of his favorites: 

Tim's Holiday 75

  • 2 oz. Jack Daniels Rye Whiskey
  • 1 oz Le MONADE Cranberry Sage Shrub
  • shake and strain over ice; top with brut champagne
  • Garnish w/ fresh cranberry, sage leaf and lemon peel.  

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D) joins host Tom Hall for the hour. Maryland’s senior senator is a member of the Senate Finance Committee. He is also the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Senate Republicans are confident that their tax bill will be approved this week. With so much attention on the tax bill, it’s easy to overlook other major stories, such as: Without a Continuing Resolution by Friday at midnight, the government will shut down. Last week, the White House and the State Department sent conflicting signals about conditions for talks with North Korea.  And, the President’s declaration that the embassy in Israel would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has engendered a storm of criticism. 

Tom asks Sen. Cardin about these crucial issues and more. And the senator answers listener questions. 

Photo by Kathleen Cahill

Today on Midday: Helicon, the renowned traditional music trio is here.

Tomorrow they continue a great Baltimore holiday tradition with their 32nd annual Winter Solstice Concerts  at Goucher College’s Kraushaar Auditorium.

Helicon will be joined tomorrow by Charm City Junction and other performers, including the North American Step Dance champion Jonathan Srour.

Today, we’re keeping up a tradition of our own. For the many years, Helicon has treated us to a preview of their Winter Solstice concert here in Studio A.

Helicon’s Chris Norman plays wooden flutes and small bagpipes. Robin Bullock plays guitar, cittern, and mandolin, and Ken Kolodner plays hammered dulcimer and fiddle. Also here, from Charm City Junction: Brad Kolodner and Patrick McAvinue, the 2017 International Bluegrass Musician Association Fiddler of the Year.  The great old-time musician and vocalist Rachel Eddy is also here. They’ll all be performing at the two Winter Solstice concerts tomorrow, at 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm. Click here for tickets. 

Shaé McCoy of Coyophotos

Welcome to another edition of Living Questions, a monthly series we've been producing in collaboration with the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies  (ICJS), exploring the role of religion in the public sphere.  Today we'll meet three young African-American women with a decidedly spiritual agenda: bringing their conversations about faith, friendship and racial identity in a podcast called “For Collard Girls.” (Think collard greens and pastoral collars.)

Connecting with religious women of color, using touchstones of hip-hop culture, poetry, and biblical interpretation, their frank conversations about faith guide listeners along their spiritual paths. 

Joining Tom in the studio to talk about their project are podcasters Laura Kigweba James, the recently-appointed pastor at the Mt. Vernon Place United Methodist Church here in Baltimore;  Tamika Young Savage, a seminarian studying to obtain her Master of Divinity degree at United Lutheran Seminary in Pennsylvania, who is also a Vicar of Christ Lutheran Church in DC; and Maya Camille, aka Camilla the Killa, a Baltimore-based poet and spoken word artist whose writing addresses aspects of the spiritual in our lives; Maya also works with Baltimore's S.A.N.D. Gallery, an exhibition and event space whose name stands for "Sell Art, Not Drugs."

Photo by Richard Anderson

It's Thursday, so it's time for our weekly visit from theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins us today with a review of Lookingglass Alice, the new spin on the Lewis Carroll classic that's now on the boards at Baltimore's Center Stage.

In this modern re-telling (which is suitable for audiences age 6 and up), Alice is a young African-American woman (played by Markita Prescott), who falls through the Looking Glass and finds herself on a journey of self-discovery and fulfillment.  Along the way, she encounters the familiar and the fantastical, and comes face to face with the intimidating Red Queen (played by Patrice Covington), along with a surreal parade of oddities that challenge Alice to stand strong and speak her mind.

Lookingglass Alice, directed by Jeremy Cohen and with costumes by David Burdick, continues at Baltimore's Center Stage through Sunday, December 31st.   Ticket info: click here.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Democrat Doug Jones narrowly defeated Republican Roy Moore in a surprising upset for the open Alabama Senate Seat. It is the first time a Democrat has won the seat in 25 years. Today on Midday, reaction from Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) who heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. 

Black voters turned out in record numbers and overwhelmingly supported Doug Jones, while a majority of white voters stuck with Moore, despite allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls as young as 14. Georgetown University Law Professor Paul Butler joins Tom to analyze the results and answer the question; has the Trump tide begun to turn? 

Paul Butler is a former federal prosecutor. He teaches law at Georgetown University, but this year, he’s a visiting professor at his alma mater, Harvard Law School. His most recent book is titled Chokehold: Policing Black Men – A Renegade Prosecutor’s Radical Thoughts on How to Disrupt the System

 

Now we turn to a Soulful Rock and Roll tribute to the legendary Jimi Hendrix. This Saturday at the Creative Alliance acclaimed soul singer Navasha Daya will headline a benefit concert honoring the rock and roll icon. The proceeds from the concert go to the Youth Resiliency Institute's Baltimore Guitarists Against Violence program which provides opportunities for students who are interested in guitar to perform, connect with professionals and even record. 

Navasha Daya is a soul singer, cultural arts activist and Co- Founder and Director of Healing and Performing Arts for the Youth Resiliency Institute.

Pages