Sunday, August 29, 2010

Aug 30 - Sept 3 Programs

Jean's Pick of the Week: I was very pleased with the way our program about the so-called Ground Zero Mosque controversy turned out yesterday. The way Ed Linenthal and Moustafa Bayoumi complemented each other allowed for a rich diversity of responses, some of them downright inspiring. We talked about it at today’s editorial meeting and all agreed that we learned a lot from that program. Kudos to Here on Earth producer Saideh Jamshidi, our Iranian-American summer intern, whose last day was today.

Monday: Who we are in Antarctica: Lucy Jane Bledsoe is a science writer who's written a lot of award-winning fiction about Antarctica. In her latest book, a novel called The Big Bang Symphony, she describes the impact of Antarctica's extreme environment on three different women who go a long way to find their way home.

Tuesday: Remember Charlie Chan, that grammatically challenged, Chinese-aphorism slinging detective who became an icon of American film? More than just a discarded racial stereotype, his new biographer says we can learn a lot about American attitudes toward China from Charlie Chan.

Wednesday: Science, The Media, and the Public Debates: The debate about stem-cell research has flared up again since a federal judge put a halt to it last week. What are the cultural and political factors that influence such scientific issues? What makes them take a different course in different countries?

Thursday: Smaller Living Designs from Japan: Japanese architects may have a jump on the rest of the world in cultivating what is sure to become a top virtue of the 21st century: doing more with less. A new design trend in Japan -- kyosho jutaku -- is building creative houses on teeny tiny parcels of land. Architect Azby Brown will take us on a tour of the cutting edge in ultra-small living. He has lived in Japan for years and has written about sustainable living during Japan's Edo period, way before anyone was talking about global warming.

Friday: Eating Animals: Vegetarianism is nothing new, but for some reason Jonathan Safran Foer’s 2009 book, Eating Animals, sparked a nationwide conversation about how we eat. The paperback edition of this bestseller comes out this week and Jonathan Safran Foer joins us to continue the conversation he started, this Food Friday.

Now, isn't that a pretty great line-up? But it ain't nothin' without you!

I'm hoping to see some of you avid memoirists at the workshop I'm giving this weekend at Woodland Pattern Bookstore in Milwaukee.



Friday, August 20, 2010

Jean's Pick of the Week for August 16th

Jean's Pick of the Week: Why People Run:Well, let’s face it, it’s the end of August, school is about to begin again and we felt the need to lighten up. I hope you’ve enjoyed this week on Here on Earth as much as I have. It’s hard to pick a favorite – we even found a way to have fun with Inside Islam – but since I have to choose, I’ll pin my star on Born to Run. Christopher McDougall’s book about the ultrarunners of the Tarahumara has been out for a year, he’s done a slew of interviews, but you’d never know it from his level of enthusiasm, and what a great way to celebrate the gifts of an indigenous tribe. Long may they run.

August 23 - 27 Programs

Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010

Calling All Memoirists! I’ll be hosting a memoir writing workshop at Woodland Pattern Bookstore in Milwaukee next weekend on Saturday and Sunday. For those of you who don’t yet know, Woodland Pattern is one of the last great independent bookstores in the country, especially dedicated to supporting new and established writers and artists. I was thrilled when they asked me to teach this workshop, and I understand that there are still some places available. For more information, call Jenny Henry at 414-263-5001

Monday: Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter : is on a crusade to improve the lives of Americans with mental illness. In her new book, Within Our Reach, she says we still have a long way to go to remove the stigma that surrounds mental illness.

Tuesday: The Rise of A Middle Class in the Middle East : As part of the Inside Islam series this week we will discuss the force for change that is welling up in the Middle East - the rise of a mobile middle class of entrepreneurs, investors and consumers. Although almost invisible to the West, our guests see in this newest of social movements the key to tipping the scales of power away from extremism.

Wednesday: Mosque Madness:The proposal to build an Islamic Community Center that includes a mosque near Ground Zero in New York City has roused a hornet’s nest of controversy. Nine years after 9/11, what does it tell us about the state of American values, the purpose of a public monument, and the level of Islamaphobia?

Thursday: Healing From Trauma: Jim Finley grew up in a rough family in Akron, Ohio, and escaped into a Trappist monastery as soon as he could. Today he’s a clinical psychologist who uses principles derived from his monastery training to teach people how to heal from trauma.

Friday: TBA

Have a great weekend!


Friday, August 13, 2010

Aug 16-20 Programs

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I have another presentation coming up this month. I will be offering a premium two-day workshop on Writing a Literary Memoir at Woodland Pattern Book Center in Milwaukee on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 28-29. For more information, call 414-263-5001, or visit Deadline for sign-up is Friday, Aug. 20.

Jean's Pick of the Week: Having been a student of drama, I can’t resist a topic that leads with Greek tragedy. Theater of War allows us to confront the real psychic cost of warfare across nations and across time. A former West Point graduate I had a talk with recently told me that the only people who come back sane from the theater of war were psychopaths to begin with.

Monday: Roman Catholic Women Priests: The world was shocked when the Vatican recently equated the sin of pedophilia with the sin of women’s ordination. In spite of the ban, the ordination of Roman Catholic women priests goes on unabated. To talk about the issue, we’ll be joined by Maryknoll priest and activist, Roy Bourgeois, who has been excommunicated for his support of women’s ordination, and Reverend Alice Iaquinta, Regional Program Coordinator for Roman Catholic Women Priests in the U.S. who offers a structural critique of the Vatican’s rhetoric.

Tuesday: Why People Run: Born to Run is a book of wild narrative full of insane characters, extreme sports and one crazy idea: running barefoot is the answer to safe, pain-free and endurance. Christopher McDougall gathered information about Mexico’s Copper Canyon unknown tribe of the Tarahumara’s running style and put them in test. The result became a book that goes against all odds of multi-million dollar shoe making industry that promotes the jelly and soft cushion shoes.

Wednesday: Mullah Nasruddin: Islam’s Holy Fool:In his interfaith congregation in Seattle, Jamal Rahman, a Muslim Sufi minister and one of the Interfaith Amigos, usually opens his sermon by quoting his favorite Sufi visionary teacher: Mullah Nasurddin: “I am getting sick and tired of this lousy cheese sandwich,” complained Mullah repeatedly. “Mullah, tell your wife to make something different,” his co-workers advised. “But I am not married,” Mullah replied. “I am the one who is making these sandwiches.”

Thursday: The Adventures of Tintin:is one of Europe’s all time favorite comics. Not only did generations grow up with the reporter hero and his dog, Snowy (called Milou in French) but the comic has been translated into dozens of languages and adapted for television, film, radio and theater. We’re working on a program that will take us through the decades and around the world with this classic comic. My son Giancarlo loved his Tintin comics and I truly believe they were one of his major early influences on his international career.

Friday: Egyptian Comfort Food:

Nabil Seidah is a renowned biochemist, one of my husband’s closest friends, and a great Egyptian cook. He and his wife Anneke rolled out the red carpet for us when we visited them at their home in Montreal last winter where Nabil cooked complex earthy comfort food for us based on recipes, techniques, and ingredients he learned in his mother’s kitchen.

I’m off to Paint the Town Blue…Have a great weekend and stay in touch…


Thursday, August 05, 2010

Aug 9-13 Programs

On Thursday, August 12 from 6 to 9 p.m. I will attend "Paint the Town Blue," a major fundraising event for the Exchange Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, being held in the atrium of the Boardman Law Firm, One South Pinckney Street, 4th Floor, overlooking the Capitol in downtown Madison. I will also be signing copies of my award-winning memoir, I Hear Voices, which will be available for sale at the event to benefit the Exchange Center.

Contact: Sara at 608-729-1141 or

I'll be facilitating an exciting interfaith retreat which will take place next weekend, Aug. 13-15, at the Christine Center in Willard, Wisconsin. If you've never been to the Christine Center, it's in Amish country north of Black River Falls, where bear and deer and hummingbirds abound. It's a very special place run by a group of enlightened Franciscan nuns who have dedicated their pristine center to global transformation. Tapping into Rich Mystical Traditions will be team-led by Father Thomas Ryan and Rabbi Sigal Brier (see Wednesday's show below) who will explore together the role of creativity in spiritual life, the Sabbath practice, the Body in Prayer, mystical rhythms, and more.

Monday: Theater of War: Sophocles, the ancient Greek general and playwright, depicted the timeless psychological wounds inflicted by war upon warriors in his plays. In the Theater of War project, actors and actresses read Sophocles's plays to active service members and their families in military sites to show them that they are not alone, across time, in dealing with mental pain when they come back from battlefields. Bryan Doerries and Phyllis Kaufman, director and producer of Theater of War, tell us about their experience with the project.

Tuesday: The Oath: Abu Jandal is a taxi driver in Yemen who used to be Osama Bin Laden's bodyguard. His brother-in-law, Salim Hamdan, a Guantanamo Bay detainee and the first man to face the controversial military tribunals, once worked as Bin Laden's driver. In The Oath, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Laura Poitras tells the cross-cut tale of these two men whose fateful meeting propelled them on divergent courses with Al-Qaeda. The film opened this week in Madison.

Wednesday: An Interfaith Mash-Up: This is another program in our ongoing series on Interfaith Dialogue: A rabbi who teaches spiritual practices based on the Kabbalah teams up with a Catholic priest who teaches mediation and yoga as spiritual practice.

Thursday: The Senate has just confirmed Elena Kagan as the newest Justice on the Supreme Court. During her confirmation hearings, one topic especially caught our attention—Kagen's support for the practice of looking abroad for legal inspiration. Recently, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg seconded that opinion. We speak with legal scholars about the history and uses of turning to foreign law for good ideas.

Friday: Pickling and Preserving Summer's Bounty: Who better to lead us through the culinary spiritual exercises of mid-August when the garden is at its most robust than Wisconsin's own French chef, Monique Hooker.