Sunday, May 24, 2009

May 25-29 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Taqwacores: A New Way to be Muslim in the West. For anyone who has ever grappled with doctrinal religion, Michael Muhammad Knight’s very American, very punk rock take on Islam is really refreshing. His novel, The Taqwacores, about a group of punk rock Muslims who live together in a house in Buffalo, New York, really does read a lot like Catcher in the Rye. We didn’t talk much about sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but we did talk quite a bit about idolatry, the problems with organized religion, and how to relate directly with the Divine. Interestingly enough, callers connected not as punk rockers, but as seekers.

Monday, Memorial Day: An Ecology of Music: You’ll enjoy listening again, if you haven’t heard it before, to this program with John Luther Adams, one of our most original composers. It was one of my favorite programs of 2008. John Luther Adams lives in Alaska where he immerses himself in the primal, grandiose soundscapes of the arctic out of which he makes music that will make your hair stand on end.

Tuesday: What can you tell about a person from the way they die? In The Book of Dead Philosophers, Simon Critchley, Professor of Philosophy at the New School in New York, explores death, our last taboo, from a most unusual perspective. He recounts the demise of famous philosophers, revealing how their variously tragic, amusing, and bizarre ends can help us lead richer lives.

Wednesday: “Fugee” Soccer (as in Refugee) When New York Times journalist Warren St. John wrote about a soccer team in Georgia made up of child refugees from all over the world, Universal Studios jumped on the film-rights. Warren St. John’s new book about the team, Outcasts United: A Refugee Team, An American Town, chronicles the hard work and heroic journeys of the players and sheds light on what it takes to build a community when we seem to have little in common.

Thursday: Samuel Charters, one of the very first musicologists to study Afro-American music, has summed up his life's work in A Language of Song, which details his journey to Africa and to find Africa-influenced music in the United States, Brazil, and the Carribean.

Friday: Sex, Death, and Oysters: When food writer Robb Walsh discovered that the local Galveston Bay oysters were being passed off as Blue Points and Chincoteagues in other parts of the country, he decided to look into the matter. His new book, Sex, Death and Oysters: A Half-Shell Lover's World Tour, documents a five-year adventure that docks everywhere from oyster reefs to oyster bars and from corporate boardrooms to hotel bedrooms in a quest for the truth about the world’s most profitable aphrodisiac.

I’m going to be gone for a couple of weeks. Veronica Rueckert will be hosting Here on Earth until my return on June 8.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!


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