Midday Podcast | WYPR

Midday Podcast

Photo by ClintonBPhotography

It's Thursday, and that means theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom with her weekly review of one of the region's many thespian offerings.   Today, she talks about Everyman Theatre's new production of Intimate Apparel, a play that premiered in 2003 at Baltimore's Center Stage.  It's a contemporary work written in classic style by Lynn Nottage, the first female playwright to win two Pulitzers.  

Inspired by a true story, Intimate Apparel centers on Esther (played by Dawn Ursula), a self-employed African American seamstress in turn-of-the-century New York who is working hard - and saving her money - making beautiful undergarments for her well-to-do clientele.  But she dreams of a grander life, while nurturing her fondness for a Jewish fabric merchant (played by Drew Kopas). As an emotionally wrenching turn of events puts Esther’s dreams at risk, the play explores the tenacity of the human spirit against the powerful pressures of class, race and culture. 

The play is directed by Tazewell Thompson.

Intimate Apparel continues at Everyman Theatre through Sunday, November 19th.

Melissa Archer, MD Dept. of Housing & Community Development

At a packed Baltimore City Council hearing last week, housing advocates and others lent their support to a resolution put forward by Baltimore City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, which calls on the city to revive the Dollar House program of the 1970s and early 80s:  Back then, the city sold more than 180 abandoned houses for $1 apiece, and helped the buyers with financing and renovation assistance.     

Clarke, a Democrat, has represented the 14th District on the Baltimore City Council since 2004.  From 1987-95, she was president of the City Council, the first woman ever elected to that position.  She ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1995.

Clarke joined Tom today in Studio A. Later, Jay Brodie and Mike Posko joined the conversation.  Brodie was the commissioner of the city’s Housing Department from 1977 to 1984.  After that, he served as the president of the Baltimore Development Corp, the city’s quasi-public economic development arm. He did that for 16 years, serving under four mayors, until his retirement in 2012.  Posko is the CEO of Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake. Over the past 35 years, Habitat has built or renovated more than 700 homes throughout Central Maryland.

NASA

Jeffrey Kluger joins Tom in Studio A to talk about his latest book, Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon, in which he makes the case that Apollo 8's historic orbital flyby of the Moon -- the first human venture beyond the bounds of close-Earth orbit -- was as important, if not more important, than the later mission, Apollo 11, that actually landed men on the lunar surface.

Kluger has been a science editor and senior writer for Time Magazine for more than two decades.  He’s the author of eight other works of fiction and non-fiction, plus some books for young readers.

He grew up in Pikesville, and he’s back in town for a reading of Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story Of The First Mission To The Moon  this evening at The Ivy Bookshop in North Baltimore at 7 pm.  

Baltimore City Office of the Mayor

  

Today a conversation with Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh. She assumed office 11 months ago, and has undertaken a number of new initiatives in the areas of violence reduction and economic development. Earlier this month, Baltimore submitted a bid along with several cities across the continent to become the home of Amazon's second headquarters. A couple of weeks ago, the mayor and Governor Larry Hogan announced the next phase of the “North Avenue Rising” project, a $27 million dollar effort to improve transit and pedestrian options along North Avenue. Now that the mayor has chosen the members of the Civilian Oversight Taskforce, we'll talk about the status of the Baltimore Police Department's consent decree with the Justice Department; and the mayor's plan to curb violence in the city as the city mourns its 296th homicide this year.  

We'll also talk about the mayor's plan to help the estimated 2,600 people experiencing homelessness in Baltimore. Some advocates for the homeless say that the city isn’t addressing homelessness in a meaningful way. Last week, the mayor said it might cost as much as $350 million to end homelessness in the city. 

Photo courtesy npr.org

On Monday, the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his longtime business associate, Richard Gates, have been indicted by a federal grand jury on 12 criminal counts that include conspiracy and money laundering.  Manafort and Gates surrendered themselves to FBI officials Monday. The indictment contends that Manafort earned more than $18 million dollars for consulting work for pro-Russian interests, that he hid his wealth in off-shore accounts, and that he spent it on a “lavish lifestyle.”  Manafort and Gates have pleaded not guilty to the charges, but it was also revealed Monday that former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, who was quietly arrested by the FBI last July, pleaded guilty October 5th to charges related to his efforts to arrange meetings between the Trump campaign and Russian government officials.  

Professor Byron Warnken, who teaches constitutional and criminal law at the University of Baltimore,  joins Tom on the line to examine what the indictments mean and what might follow, as Special Counsel Mueller continues his investigation into connections between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Photo courtesy wikimedia commons

And now a Monday edition of Midday at the Movies, our monthly look at what’s new and notable in Hollywood and throughout the film industry.  Tom's joined in Studio A by our movie maven regulars:  Ann Hornaday is the film critic for the Washington Post, and Jed Dietz is the founding director of the Maryland Film Festival

Today, they consider the sexual assault and rape allegations that have been leveled against legendary Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein by dozens of women over the past several months:  Has public awareness of Mr. Weinstein's behavior altered the power dynamic for other major Hollywood producers and directors, and has it changed the work climate for the actors and other artists who depend on their favor?   

Then, Ann and Jed spotlight some of the interesting new films on the circuit this fall, including the recent collaboration by Selma director Bradford Young and Grammy Award-winning rap artist Common: two short films: Letter to the Free and Black America Again -- which have been finding audiences around the country and which showcased this past weekend at the Washington West Film Festival.

photo courtesy BCPS

Today, a Midday Newsmaker interview with Dr. Sonja Santelises, the president and CEO of the Baltimore City Public Schools.  School has been back in session for two months; for many more months than that, the Kirwan Commission has debated ways to re-vamp the funding formula for schools statewide.  Their findings were to have been released by the end of the year.  Now, it appears that we won’t hear their ideas until well into next year.  We’ll find out what that means for our city’s kids.  Dr. Santelises joins Tom for the hour in Studio A, and takes your questions and comments.

photo by Stephen Spartana

We're delighted to welcome to Midday's Studio A the internationally acclaimed classical musician,   Manuel Barrueco.  A few years ago, Fanfare Magazine called the Cuban-born artist the world’s greatest living classical guitarist, and it’s hard to dispute that encomium.  Three decades' worth of recordings and performances around the globe are the gold standard for legions of aspiring guitar players; for the past 25 years, he has shared his artistry and musical erudition with many of them at the Peabody Institute here in Baltimore.

This weekend, Manuel Barrueco comes to Towson University to open the Baltimore Classical Guitar Society's 30th anniversary season, with a program titled The Spanish Guitar.  The performance begins Saturday evening, October 28th at 8 p.m. in Towson’s Kaplan Hall.  Manuel will perform pieces by Fernando Sor, Granados, and Falla.  For directions and ticketing info, click here.

linkedin.com

Despite relentless efforts by the Republican-led Congress to repeal, replace, kill or cripple Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land.  But President Trump recently issued executive orders targeting key elements of the program: in particular,  he halted the insurance-company subsidies that help reduce premiums for low income Americans.  Now, just days before the start of the 2018 Open Enrollment Season (November 1-December 15, 2017), a bi-partisan effort is underway in Congress to restore those subsidies, and shore up the nation's troubled insurance marketplace.  But it's not clear when, or if, the measure will come to a vote.

Tom examines what’s ahead for American health care with two astute observers of health care policy and politics:  Julie Rovner is Washington correspondent for Kaiser Health News, an independent, non profit news organization; she joins us from KHN studios in Washington, DC.; and Joseph Antos  is a health policy scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research center.  He joins us on the line from the AEI studio in Washington.

Photo by Rosiland Cauthen

It's Thursday, and time for our visit from Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins us each week with her reviews of thespian offerings from the region's many stages. This week, Judy reviews Yellowman, the award-winning 2002 work by playwright  Dael Orlandersmith, now running at Arena Players.

A finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize Yellowman is a multi-character play -- with just two multi-role actors -- that builds on the memories of an African American woman who dreams of life beyond the confines of her small Southern hometown --and the light-skinned man whose life is intertwined with hers, with an ultimately tragic outcome. 

The play is directed by Rosiland Cauthen, and stars George Oliver Buntin as Eugene Robert Gaines, and Rosey Young as Alma.

The Diamondback

 

Last week, Sean Urbanski, a white former University of Maryland student, was charged with a hate crime in connection to the fatal stabbing of Lt. Richard Collins III, a black Bowie State University student. In May 2017, Lt. Collins was stabbed at a bus stop while visiting friends on the University of Maryland College Park campus. The entire incident was caught on camera. Prosecutors plan to seek life without parole if Urbanski is convicted; the trial is set to begin in January. At the time of the alleged murder, it was reported that Urbanski was the member of an online hate group that posted bigoted messages and memes called “Alt-Reich: Nation.” Authorities say further investigation into Urbanski’s cell phone and social media accounts uncovered evidence that suggested that the stabbing was indeed racially motivated.

Maryland Historical Society

Tom speaks painter David Brewster and Alexandra Deutsch, the Director of Collections and Interpretation at the Maryland Historical Society, about the Society's current exhibition. Structure and Perspective: David Brewster Explores Maryland’s Social Landscape portrays Maryland's "social landscape" by juxtaposing pieces from the Society’s collection with paintings by David Brewster, who hails from Baltimore County but currently lives in Vermont. The show takes up several issues that resonate in contemporary culture like race, gender, sexuality, and the politics of immigration. 

Photo courtesy Creative Commons

Baltimore is home to approximately 50,000 small businesses, more than half of which are minority owned.  What do those businesses need to sustain themselves and to grow?  What do entrepreneurs who dream of establishing their own companies need to get started?

A new report prepared by Johns Hopkins University's 21st Century Cities Initiative looks at financing small business in Baltimore.  Today, a conversation with the authors of that report, about how we can help small business flourish, and how we can attract more companies to plant roots in Charm City.

Tom's guests today are former Treasury Department official Mary Miller, now a senior fellow with The 21st Century Cities Initiative; the program's executive director, Ben Seigeland Meridian Management Group president, CEO and co- founder Stanley Tucker, who specializes in financing minority and women owned firms. 

They join us today to talk about bringing the bucks to Baltimore business... 

AP Photo

It's another edition of the Midday News Wrap, our Friday discussion of some of the week's top news stories with a panel of journalists and commentators.  Joining Tom Hall on this week's panel: reporter Jenna Johnson, who covered the 2016 Trump Campaign.  Now, she covers the White House for The Washington Post, and she joins Tom on the line from The Post's radio studio.  Also on the panel and with us in Studio A is Pastor Shannon Wright.  She is the Third  Vice-Chair of the Maryland Republican Party and the first Black woman ever elected to any party office in Maryland.  In 2016, she was a Republican candidate for president of the Baltimore City Council.  She is also the co-host of the Wright Way With Shannon and Mike morning show  and a panelist on Roland Martin on News One.

Photo courtesy Liz Simmons

Now, a little music to take us into the weekend.  Low Lily is a vocal and string trio from Vermont whose modern acoustic sound also taps the roots of folk and fiddle music.  They join Tom live in Studio A. 

Low Lily is:  Liz Simmons on guitar.  Flynn Cohen on guitar and mandolin.  And Lissa  Schneckenburger on fiddle.

They’ll be playing at Germano’s Piattini in Little Italy here in Baltimore on Friday night.  Use the link to get details.

Photo courtesy The Aspen Institute

In his biographies of Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs, the historian Walter Isaacson has been drawn to his subjects by their uncanny capacity to make connections across disciplines, combining technical expertise with an artist’s eye for beauty, line and grace.  In his latest opus, Isaacson chronicles perhaps history’s greatest creative genius: the 15th century Italian artist, scientist and inventor, Leonardo Da Vinci.  From The Mona Lisa to The Last Supper, DaVinci's iconic paintings revolutionized how artists observed the world, and in fields as disparate as geology, botany, anatomy and engineering, he made lasting contributions.  Walter Isaacson joins Tom on the line from New York City to talk about the nature of genius, and the rewards of insatiable curiosity.

Photo by Matthew Murphy, 2017

It's Thursday, and that means our peripatetic theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, joins Tom in Studio A to review one of the region's many new stage productions.  Today, Judy's talking about the newly-revived traveling production of the Tony-Award-winning The Color Purple: The Musical, whose six-day run at The Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore continues until this Sunday, October 22.

 

On Saturday, thousands of runners will hit the streets to participate in the Baltimore Running Festival. More than 24,000 runners from all 50 states and 30 nations are expected to descend on the Charm City to run our historic streets. That’s a lot of folks taking a lot of steps, and that leaves a lot of room for twisted ankles, swollen knees and sore backs.  

Dr. Miho Tanaka is an orthopedic surgeon and the Director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Program at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Before moving to Baltimore, she was the team physician for WNBA teams the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Surge. She also served as assistant team physician for the Baltimore Orioles and professional women’s basketball team, the NY Liberty.

She joins Tom to talk about ways to avoid injuries on race day and beyond.

Photo courtesy Goucher College.

Elizabeth Strout is Tom's guest for this edition of Midday.  She is the author of six novels and many short stories; her most recent book is a series of linked tales called Anything is PossibleLinking stories together was a structural device that Ms. Strout also employed in what is perhaps her most well-known work, Olive KitteridgeThe 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 is speaking at Goucher College this afternoon and again this evening.  For more information, click here or contact the Kratz Center for Creative Writing at kratz@goucher.edu

Photo by Zach Gross

Tom spends the hour today with Van Jones, a Yale-educated lawyer, former Obama Administration advisor, founder of several social justice organizations, and a commentator and host on CNN.  He's also an author, whose latest book is called 'Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart – How We Come Together'.

In his new book, Jones asserts that even in our current climate of strident bifurcation in the political arena, there are some issues about which voters and leaders of all political stripes can agree.  “Common pain should lead to common purpose,” he writes.  He criticizes both major political parties for letting down America time and again, and he suggests that a rebellion, like the one we witnessed last November, was justified.  A dedicated Democrat, Van Jones just thinks "the wrong rebel won."

He joins us today from NPR studios in Washington, D.C.

photos courtesy BBJ, CBS.

On this edition of the Midday News Wrap, ​our Friday review of some of the week's top news stories, Tom is joined in Studio A by Heather Mizeur, a former delegate in the Maryland General Assembly who ran a vigorous but unsuccessful campaign in 2014 for the Democratic nomination for governor. Mizeur recently launched a non-profit group called MizMaryland-Soul Force Politics, which is producing a policy blog and a podcast that Mizeur is hosting.

Melody Simmons also joins Tom in the studio.  Simmons is a veteran journalist and a reporter for the Baltimore Business Journal, which, on Wednesday, published her long piece -- in a BBJ series called "The Amazon Effect” – about the economic impact various Amazon projects will have on the city, and what they might cost in taxpayer subsidies.

Jacob Lawrence is one of the most important and renowned artists of the 20th Century. His paintings and prints offer rich portrayals of black life including his famed Migration Series which captured the mass migration of African Americans from the South to the North and Western US after the first World War, and his Toussaint L'Ouverture series about the famed leader of the Haitian Slave Revolt. 

Now, over 50 of Jacob Lawrence’s paintings and prints are on display at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture to celebrate what would have been Lawrence’s 100th birthday.  Charles Bethea, the chief curator and Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the Lewis Museum, joins Tom to talk about the Maryland Collects: Jacob Lawrence exhibition.

Photos courtesy Asma Uddin, Union Theological Seminary

Welcome to 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.

Today: a conversation about religious freedom in the United States.  President Donald Trump continues to advocate for restricting access to the US for Muslims from certain countries, and he nominated Sam Brownback, a strict religious conservative, to head the Office of International Religious Freedom in the State Department.  Mr. Brownback, the highly unpopular governor of Kansas, will leave that post with the Kansas economy in tatters, but his appointment to oversee religious freedom world-wide is being hailed by evangelicals - and others - as a good choice.  Perhaps his most well-known involvement with a religious freedom case in the US is his advocacy for a Kansas florist who refused to make an arrangement for a same sex couple’s wedding. What does that portend for America’s posture in other countries where LGBT citizens face discrimination? 

Joining Tom today to discuss "religious freedom" in America today:  The Rev. Dr. Serene Jones. She is the president of the Union Theological Seminary in New York. She is the first woman to head the historic institution.  She also holds the Johnston Family Chair for Religion and Democracy at UTS. She is the Immediate Past President of the American Academy of Religion, and she served for 17 years on the faculty of Yale University.  She joins us from Argot Studios in New York.

Asma Uddin joins us as well.  She is the founder and editor-in-chief of altmuslimah.com, and the co-founder of altFem Magazine and altVentures Media, Inc. She is a lawyer and a scholar who speaks frequently about American and international religious liberty.   She speaks to us from NPR Studios in Washington, D.C.

________________________________________________________________________

Photo by Britt Olsen-Ecker

It's Thursday, and that means our peripatetic theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, is back in Studio A with a review of one of the region's many thespian offerings.  This week, Judy joins Tom in a conversation about  Lear, a new production of a 2010 play by Young Jean Lee, now on stage at Single Carrot Theatre.

An artful weave of Elizabethan and modern pop cultures, Lear is a riff, of sorts, on Shakespeare's tragedy, "King Lear," that shows how dysfunctional, selfish and self-absorbed children can still wreak havoc on their elders -- and themselves.  

Lear is directed by Andrew Peters, with costume design by Nicki Siebert.  The play stars Surasree Das as Goneril, Paul Diem as Edgar, Tim German as Edmund, Chloe Mikala as Cordelia, and Elizabeth Ung as Regan.

Lear continues at Single Carrot Theatre through Sunday, October 29th.

AP Photo

Is the 45th president of the United States unfit to serve in the nation's highest office?  More than 64,000 mental health professionals have signed a petition that says that Donald Trump manifests a serious mental illness and should be removed from office under the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

But how could those mental health professionals come to that conclusion without having examined Mr. Trump, and should they share an opinion about him without his consent?   

Dr. John Gartner joined host Tom Hall in studio.  He is a psychologist and the founder of an organization called Duty to Warn.  He taught at the Johns Hopkins Medical School for 28 years and continues to practice in Baltimore.  He has written two books, and he contributed to a book released last week called The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.

Dr. Allen Dyer joined Tom on the line from NPR in Washington, D.C.  He is an M.D. and holds a Ph.D. in Ethics.  He is a professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at George Washington University Medical School. He was a member of the American Psychiatric Association’s Ethics Committee when the so-called Goldwater Rule was written more than 40 years ago.

Photo by Robert Kniesche/Baltimore Sun

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 features guest panelists 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 addresses emailed and tweeted questions and comments from the audience.

Fern Chen/Baltimore Brew

Today, a conversation about the legacy of Christopher Columbus. Is it appropriate to celebrate the Italian explorer with statues, street names, and a federal holiday?

While many enjoyed the Columbus Day Parade in Little Italy yesterday that celebrates the explorer’s courage and determination; others point to Columbus' role in establishing trans-Atlantic slave trade; and to the atrocities he and others committed against the native people who were already living in the lands he so-called discovered. 

Most jurisdictions in the United States celebrate Columbus' landing in what is now the Bahamas on the second Monday in October. In Los Angeles, that won’t be the case much longer. LA County voted to begin celebrating Indigenous People’s Day in 2019. South Dakota began celebrating “Native American Day” in 1989. Native American organizers in Baltimore are working on a proposal that will change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day. In August, a Columbus monument in Baltimore that's considered to be the oldest in the country was vandalized. There are calls for other Columbus statues, including the one in  Druid Hill Park, to be removed.

flickr

On this edition of the Midday News Wrap,  we look at President Trump's visit to Puerto Rico and his talk of relief efforts for the US territory in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. 

The National Rifle Association, the powerful gun lobby, issued a statement about "bump stocks," the device that the Las Vegas mass shooter used to increase the carnage he inflicted. “The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semiautomatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles," the statement read, "should be subject to additional regulations.”

President Trump is reportedly planning to de-certify the Iran nuclear deal, leaving it to Congress to think about pulling out of the agreement altogether. Reports are that his top advisers are recommending the US stay in.  Last night while posing for a picture with military leaders and their wives, Trump described the moment as the "calm before the storm."  The Commander in Chief did not elaborate further.

And here in Baltimore, a highly respected lawyer from a prominent local law firm has been appointed to serve as the monitor of the Consent Decree between the Police Department and the Department of Justice. 

Tom discusses these and other of the week's top news stories with reporter John Lemire, who covers the White House for the Associated Press; Charles Robinson Political/Business reporter for Maryland Public Television; and Andrew Green, the Opinion Editor of the Baltimore Sun.  

Scott Free Productions

Today, it's another edition of our monthly Midday at the Movies, and movie mavens Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post, and Jed Dietz , founding director of the Maryland Film Festival, are here to help Midday senior producer and guest host Rob Sivak size up some of the new releases hitting local theaters this weekend, including Bladerunner 2049, the long-awaited sequel to director Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic. And we’ll be talking about the trove of independent films making their way through the US and international festival circuit, including the Toronto and the more recent Milwaukee Film Festivals that Ann’s just back from and will tell us more about.

Iron Crow Theatre

It's Thursday and that means Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins us to spotlight one of the region's thespian offerings.  Today, she talks with Midday senior producer and guest host Rob Sivak about "The Cradle Will Rock," a 1937 "play in music" written by the late Marc Blitzstein that's getting a spirited revival by Iron Crow Theatre, at the Theatre Project, now until Sunday, October 8th.

Blitzstein’s pro-union, anti-capitalist musical was the first ever shut down by the federal government.  It's an allegorical but in-your-face indictment of capitalism and socio-political corruption -- too-familiar themes in today's headlines.  Even as it attacks the wealthy class and the political power it unjustly wields, it also pays homage to the oppressed and the poor, and those struggling to survive. Brechtian in its bold scope and style, The Cradle Will Rock is considered by many critics to be one of the most historically significant works in American theater.

The Cradle Will Rock revival by Iron Crow Theatre continues at The Theatre Project until Sunday, October 8th.

Pages