Midday Podcast | WYPR

Midday Podcast

photo courtesy hessgunshow.com

Tom speaks with the artist and curator behind a provocative art exhibition called Gun Show.  The installation is currently at University of Maryland-Baltimore County's Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture in Catonsville.  David Hess is the artist, and Dr. Kathy O’Dell is the UMBC curator who's put together this thought-provoking installation, which examines the ubiquity of guns in American culture, and what that signifies about our values as a nation.   

Gunshow will be on display at UMBC until October 14th.  Dr. O’Dell will lead a gallery talk next Friday, October 6th and the following Wednesday, October  11th; both talks will begin at noon.  For more information click here.  

photo courtesy Pixabay

We’ve all heard of the campaigns in the US to legalize medical and recreational uses for marijuana -- the cannabis plant with potent therapeutic and hallucinogenic properties.  Less well-known is the campaign to legalize marijuana’s weaker cousin -- hemp -- an industrial crop that won’t get you high, but yields a high-quality fiber and oil that’s used to make thousands of products, from rope to soap. 

Hemp is grown commercially in about 40 countries around the world, including Canada, but not in the United States, where, since the 1970s, the federal government has classified hemp, like marijuana, as a dangerous drug.  But things are changing.  A resurgent interest in the economic potentials of this age-old crop has led the federal government and many states to take the first steps toward legalizing hemp production. Maryland has been slow to take those steps, but there are signs of change here , too, and we’re going to talk about that with three guests today who’ve taken a keen interest in hemp... 

Joining Tom in the studio is David Fraser-Hidalgo. He’s a Maryland State delegate - a Democrat who has represented District 15, including Montgomery County, since 2013.  He has also co-sponsored a series of hemp legalization bills over the past few years, including an unsuccessful measure introduced earlier this year during the 2017 General Assembly session. 

Also in the studio is Rona Kobell. She’s a writer for the Chesapeake Bay Journal, a former Baltimore Sun reporter, and the author of an Abell Foundation report published this past spring, called Hope for Hemp: A Misunderstood Plant Prepares for its Comeback.

And joining us on the line from public radio station WMRA in Harrisonburg, Virginia, is Glenn Rodes.  He’s a farmer from Rockingham County in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. He is a partner in Riverhill Farms, and works with his parents, two brothers, and four nephews. The Mennonite family raises turkeys, operates a dairy, grows crops, feeds beef cattle, and does custom harvesting.  They also grow a bit of hemp.  Glenn Rodes is one of two farmers who’ve partnered with James Madison University on a hemp research project to explore ways to grow the industrial crop with existing farm equipment.

photo courtesy Red Branch Theatre Company

It's Thursday, and that means Midday's theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, once again joins Tom in the studio, this week with her review of a new musical production of The Bridges of Madison County, by the Red Branch Theatre Company in Columbia, Maryland.

Based on the best-selling 1992 novel by Robert James Waller (who died this past March at the age of 77), the musical adaptation describes a four-day romantic encounter between Francesca (played by Erin Granfield), a married but lonely Italian housewife in Iowa, and a traveling National Geographic photographer named Robert Kincaid (played by Ryan Burke). 

The sentimental storyline is enriched with a musical score by Tony Award®-winning composer Jason Robert Brown and book by Pulitzer Prize winning Marsha Norman.  The Red Branch Theatre Company production is directed by Clare Shaffer, with music direction by Paige Rammelkamp.

The Bridges of Madison County (which contains adult language and themes) continues at the Red Branch Theatre Company through Saturday, October 14.

Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun

The Excel Academy, a high school on the west side of Baltimore, in Poppleton, has just under 100 students, many of whom have been working to overcome behavioral problems; some are dealing with homelessness or pregnancy. And there is another, heartbreaking problem that these students have had to cope with. Six of their classmates have been killed in street violence over the last year. Six kids, from one school.

To date, 263 people have been killed in Baltimore in 2017. Of those 263 people, 26 were children and young people who did not live long enough to celebrate their 21st birthdays. Most were teenagers. Two were babies. 

Today on Midday, a conversation about what the constant trauma of street violence does to the mental and emotional health of young people. Tom is joined by a panel of guests. 

Writer and poet Kondwani Fidel wrote about his experience growing up in Baltimore in a cover story for the City Paper titled How a young boy has been decaying in Baltimore since age 10: A Death Note.

penguin random house

Author and musician James McBride joins Tom to talk about his latest collection of stories Five Carat Soul. McBride won the National Book Award for his novel, The Good Lord Bird. He’s written an internationally acclaimed memoir, The Color of Water, and a novel about the Underground Railroad called Song Yet SungHis 2002 novel, Miracle at St. Anna was made into a hit movie by Spike Lee.

The stories in Five Carat Soul are tragic and hilarious. In one four-part story, we meet the members of the Five Carat Soul Bottom Bone Band -- Goat, Beanie, Bunny, Dex, Ray Ray and Butter. We meet many more unforgettable characters, including a toy broker on a quest to procure a most unique train with a complicated history; a Union Soldier who unexpectedly becomes an adoptive parent; the devil, and a lion named Harold.  

Courtesy Chris Van Hollen

US Senator Chris Van Hollen was elected to represent Maryland in the Senate last November after serving seven terms in Congress. He currently serves on the Budget, Banking, Agriculture and Appropriations Committees. The senator joins Tom in the studio to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing our nation, including the Graham-Cassidy healthcare proposal and a Medicare-for-all bill from Sen. Bernie Sanders; the big data breach at Equifax; mounting tensions on the Korean Peninsula; and the impact of the growing NFL protests. Sen. Van Hollen also fields questions from Midday listeners.

flickr

Three million people are without power in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.  And the latest deadly earthquake in Mexico has left more than 280 dead as search and rescue efforts continue.

Many critics, both foreign and domestic, considered President Donald Trump’s debut address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York a different kind of natural disaster, this one of the diplomatic variety.  He threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea and referred to Kim Jong-un as “Rocket Man,” a soubriquet the President appears to think is funny.   Kim Jung-Un, however, found the President's comments to be less than amusing, blasting Trump as a  "dotard," and a "frightened dog."

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.

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. 

 

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. 

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