Midday | WYPR


©2016 Succession H. Matisse / ARS NY

*This conversation originally aired on October 21, 2016. 

  Midday at the Museum:  Tom is joined in the studio by the recently appointed director of the Baltimore Museum of Art, Christopher Bedford, and by Katy Rothkopf, BMA curator of the new Matisse/Diebenkorn Exhibition. They'll be talking about this first major attempt to explore the influence of French artist Henri Matisse on the work of American artist Richard Diebenkorn. 

Co-organized with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) , Matisse/Diebenkorn brings together 92 objects—including 36 paintings and drawings by Matisse and 56 paintings and drawings by Diebenkorn—on loan from museums and private collections throughout the U.S. and Europe. The artworks, reflecting a wide range of styles and subjects, reveal the impact of Diebenkorn’s contact with the French artist’s work, and offer a new perspective on both painters. The BMA is the only East Coast museum mounting this ticketed exhibition. Matisse/Diebenkorn will be on view at the BMA October 23, 2016 – January 29, 2017

Will Kirk

This conversation originally aired on October 21, 2016. 

Midday at the Museum:  In our second segment today focused on notable new museum exhibits, Tom is joined in the studio by Dr. Marvin Pinkert, the Executive Director of the Jewish Museum of Maryland, for a conversation about the work of the JMM and one of its popular new exhibits: "Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America."  The exhibit examines how medicine -- from traditional therapies to ritual procedures to public health practice -- has shaped the ways Jews are perceived, and the way they perceive themselves, for centuries. The exhibit will be on view at the Jewish Museum of Maryland through January 16th, 2017.

It’s time now for What Ya Got Cookin', where we talk about recipes, food trends, traditions and good eats with our resident foodies John Shields, chef, author and owner of Gertrude’s Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art and Sascha Wolhandler who runs Sascha’s 527 Restaurant and Catering with her husband Steve Susser.  

No doubt most Thanksgiving cooks have planned a menu, done most of the shopping, and are ready to rock and roll.  

But let’s say, for argument’s sake, you are, in fact, the one doing the cooking tomorrow, and you haven’t done some or all of the above. Sascha and John are here to walk you through this.  And, even if you’re all set in terms of preparations we might unearth some ideas that you want to incorporate into your Thanksgiving festivities.  

Peggy Fox/K. Wilson

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, 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?

Our guests today in Studio A are Jill Jonnes and Erik Dihle.

Jill Jonnes is an author, an 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.


Today, in the November installment of our monthly series, Living Questions, a look at Native American spiritual practice and the sanctity of tribal land.  We’ll examine how tribal traditions have factored into the months-long conflict between the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of North Dakota and Energy Transfer Partners, a Dallas-based company trying to complete the 1200-mile Dakota Access Pipeline at a Missouri river crossing near the tribe’s reservation.  The standoff at Standing Rock has become an historic gathering of Native Americans and other activists.  We’ll talk with Akim Reinhardt, a professor of American Indian history at Towson University,  Ann Duncan, associate professor of religion at Goucher College, and Richard Meyers, an Oglala Sioux and coordinator of the American Indian Studies program at South Dakota State University, who’s joined the Standing Rock protests.  Spiritual practice and the intersection of religious freedom, property rights, and the US Constitution -- and your calls -- in this edition of Midday's Living Questions.

Creative Commons

The debate over the future of hydraulic fracturing in Maryland is heating up, with growing numbers of towns and counties across the state voting to ban the controversial natural gas-drilling method, also known as “fracking.” In January, state lawmakers will have to decide if they want to impose a permanent ban on fracking, or allow it to proceed when the moratorium ends next October. But with a changing political and economic landscape, dueling studies of fracking’s impact on the environment and new state drilling regulations, it is not clear how this long-running debate will be resolved. 

Drew Cobbs, the Executive Director of the Maryland Petroleum Council, and Mitch Jones, an anti-fracking activist and a senior policy advocate at Food and Water Watch, join guest host Nathan Sterner to explore the risks and benefits and the uncertain road ahead for fracking in Maryland. 

Photo courtesy Yudhijit Bhattacharjee

Before Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning earned notoriety for their theft of US government secrets, there was Brian Patrick Regan.  This hour,  guest host Nathan Sterner delves into the bizarre story of this little-known American spy.  In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Regan used his position in a US intelligence agency to steal huge amounts of secret government data, and tried to sell it off to foreign governments.

He was brought down, in part, because of his dyslexia.

A new book on the case is called “The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell: A Dyslexic Traitor, an Unbreakable Code, and the FBI's Hunt for America's Stolen Secrets.” Nathan talks with author Yudhijit Bhattacharjee in the first part of the hour.

Photo by Katie Simmons-Barth

For her regular Thursday review of regional theater, Midday's drama critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins senior producer Rob Sivak in the studio with her take on American Hero, a dark comedy by Bess Wohl that's been getting its regional premiere at the  RepStage Studio Theatre, on the campus of Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland.  Directed by Suzanne Beal, the play is set in a small subshop where three "sandwich artists" are trying to learn their new craft: a teenager, a single mom, and a dropout from the corporate banking world, all of whom are barely hanging on to the bottom rungs of the economic ladder.. When unexpected events shake things up in the subshop, they find themselves allied against the uncertainties and inequities of America's post-recession economy.

American Hero continues at the RepStage in Columbia,Maryland through Sunday, November 20.

It’s the Midday Healthwatch with Dr. Leana Wen, the Health Commissioner of Baltimore City.  There’s good news for babies in Baltimore: the infant mortality rate fell to record low levels in 2015.  And there is an effort afoot to help those healthy babies grow into healthy teenagers.  We’ll look at the ways the city is implementing its new Youth Health and Wellness Strategy.  Plus, the future of Obamacare:  If President Elect Trump makes good on his promise to repeal and replace the ACA, what will that mean for local health departments struggling to address the needs of the uninsured, and the under-insured?  Even though rates for some plans are rising, is the ACA still a good deal for some people?

Dr. Leana Wen joins Tom in the studio for an hour of conversation about important public health issues affecting the people of Baltimore, and she takes your calls, emails and tweets.

Plank Industries

Kevin Plank founded Under Armour in 1995. Ten years later, he took the sports apparel company public, and today, as Plank himself said last week, Under Armour employs around 350,000 people worldwide. It is behind only Nike in the US, in the highly competitive sports apparel industry. Kevin Plank has big plans for Under Armour, and for the city of Baltimore.

Today, a conversation with the guy who runs Mr. Plank’s private company, Plank Industries.

Tom Geddes is the CEO of Plank Industries, whose portfolio includes, among other things, horse racing, rye whiskey, a tech incubator, and Sagamore Development, the company behind the huge plan to create what many are calling a “city within a city” on the waterfront in South Baltimore.

Port Covington will include a new corporate headquarters for Under Armour, coupled with housing, retail establishments, and recreation.

The city of Baltimore has committed nearly $660 million in what’s known as a TIF, or Tax Increment Financing, which will provide infrastructure to support all the new buildings and parks in Port Covington. The State and Federal government may chip in as well. The total price tag for Port Covington is expected to be in the neighborhood of $5 billion. The company has also committed to hiring local residents for some of the construction jobs and permanent jobs, and they’ve agreed to about $100 million to fund things like job training, affordable housing, and profit sharing with the city.

Many observers call the company’s commitment to the Community Benefits Agreement historic, with the potential to set the standard for such development projects nation-wide.  

Tom Geddes is our guest for the hour, and he takes your calls and emails as well.