Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sept 21-25 Programs

Jean's Pick of the Week: I went home Tuesday night with a headache and spent the rest of the evening on the couch reading Juan Gabriel Vasquez wonderful book, The Informers. About halfway through, my husband, who grew up in Latin America, asked me if I was learning anything about Columbia. After I thought a minute, I had to say, "No." The whole first third of the novel -- and this is one of the reasons it was so absorbing -- is devoted to an exploration of the intricacies of a complex relationship between a father and a son who both share the same name -– Gabriel Santoro. The son writes a book that causes his father to denounce it and reject him. The son shows up unannounced in his father's class and sits in agony for a whole week while his father steadfastly ignores him. It's only after the father has a heart attack that the two reconcile, and it's fascinating to watch the power dynamic shift between them. I really recommend this novel. You will learn a lot about Columbia, but you'll also learn a lot about family dynamics.

It's been a scramble this week, but we got it together:

Monday: U.N. International Peace Day: Former Prime Minister of Norway, Kjell Magne Bondevik, and his colleague, Ambassador Thomas Loftus, share the ongoing work of the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights. (These are the folks who brokered the Middle East peace accord). They’ll be participating in the Lubar Institute symposium, "Negotiating Religion Internationally" in Madison on Friday, September 25.

Tuesday: Bronx Princess: Breaking away from family is never harder than when you’re growing up between two cultures. In this POV documentary, we meet Rocky Otoo who grows up in the Bronx rebelling against her mother’s strict rules and flees to her father, a chief in Ghana. Out of the frying pan into the fire?.

Wednesday: Teaching Through Hip-Hop: Alex Kajitani [kah-ji-TAH-ni] was a struggling new teacher at a tough, inner-city school in San Diego. Fed up with students unable to remember simple math concepts but every word of the latest rap song, he began teaching math through hip-hop. It worked so well that his math rap is now a teaching tool used nationwide. We’ll talk with Alex and other educators about the pros and cons of hip-hop in the classroom.

Thursday: Beethoven in Afghanistan?: William Harvey is a young classically trained violinist, but he sees a role for music well beyond the doors of symphony hall. He’s the Executive Director of Cultures in Harmony, an organization that uses music as a medium for cross-cultural understanding. And he’s heading to Afghanistan.

Friday: Rosh Hasahana, the Jewish New Year begins today (Sept. 18) at sundown, but since we couldn’t find a Jewish cook with an hour to spare just before the holiday meal, we’ve decided to postpone our conversation about Syrian Sephardic holiday cooking until next Friday, (Sept. 25th) when the holiday season will still be in full swing. Jennifer Abadi, author of A Fistful of Lentils will be joining us.

Shana Tovah!


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