Friday, September 24, 2010

Sept. 27 - Oct. 1 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Raving about Rara! If you were tuning in to Here on Earth on Thursday when we hosted the Brooklyn-based Rara band DJA-Rara live in Buck studio, you might have thought you had the wrong channel. The riotous cacophony of homemade instruments, horns, cymbals, drums, and rattles, played by 15-odd Haitian rabble rousers raised the rooftop and evoked the sound of joyous revolution. To quote our technical director Joe Hardtke: “Every once in a while, public radio needs to take off its white-collared shirt and get a little rough and dirty.”

Monday: Building with Whole Trees: Living in a treehouse is every kid’s dream. Visionary architect Roald Gundersen has turned this dream into an ecologically sound reality: houses made from whole, unmilled trees. We’ll explore our relationship to the forest and the spiritual dimensions of shelter with Roald and with Sister Gabriele Uhlein, a Franciscan nun and future resident of one of his treehouses.

Tuesday: Jerusalem's Sacred Esplanade: Jews and Christians call it the Temple Mount, Muslims call it the Noble Sanctuary, but for the new book Where Heaven and Earth Meet scholars from all three religions call it “Jerusalem's Sacred Esplanade.” We’ll talk with Jewish and Islamic scholars about the meaning of the sites. Plus, Norway’s former Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, joins us to talk about his work in creating a “Universal Code on Holy Sites."

Wednesday: The New Bilingual Literature: Susana Chávez-Silverman’s memoirs might make you look twice unless you, too, grew up in a bilingual family. Susana is one of only a handful of bilingual writers who code switch mid-sentence, moving back and forth between Spanish and English.

Thursday: The Politics of the Brokenhearted: Just when you were about to despair of our democracy, along comes Parker Palmer with an invitation to participate in a conversation on the politics of the brokenhearted for citizens who want to reclaim the heart of American democracy and help heal the deep divides that threaten it.

Friday: The Honey Trail: From the Mississippi Delta, to the jungles of Borneo, to the deserts of Yemen, Grace Pundyk visited ten countries in her pursuit of liquid gold, vanishing bees, and a place to call home. Amazingly enough, she was also eager to get up at 4:00am to join Here on Earth from Singapore for this edition of Food Friday.

Have a great weekend!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Sept 20-24 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Thursday’s show on Mexican Independence Day. I think we succeeded in getting underneath the steady drum beat of headlines about drug cartel murders and government corruption to a feel for what the real Mexico has to shout about.

Monday: The Syringa Tree: The Syringa Tree is a gripping play about a young girl growing up in an Africaner family in apartheid South Africa. On the boards at APT this season, Colleen Madden turns in an astonishing virtuoso performance, playing all 24 characters. We’ll talk with Colleen and director Michael Wright.

Tuesday: Marrakech Gets a Facelift: In the October issue of Conde Nast Traveler, Raphael Kadushin reports how a dynamic group of local Moroccans and European expats came together to revive Marrakech's medina--one of the world's greatest, intact, walled medieval city centers, effectively salvaging not just the historic quarter but much of its rich culture as well.

Wednesday: Ramsey Clark Speaks Out on American Torture: For his new book, The Torturer in the Mirror, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark teamed up with Iraqi dissident Haifa Zangana and sociology professor Thomas Reifer to reveal the scope of American culpability in the torture carried out during the war on terrorism. Ramsey Clark takes a historical view of torture and Professor Reifer discusses the ways the Obama administration has so far failed to clean up the policies of his predecessor.

Thursday: Madison World Music Festival: For a sneak preview of one of this year’s most exciting performances from this year’s UW-Madison World Music Festival, join us for a special live performance from DJA-Rara, the Brooklyn-based Haitian rara band. There are many explanations of the origins of rara, but whatever its beginnings, this raucous, peripatetic, and subversive music has endured and been embraced by the Haitian American community in New York City as an expression of Haitian pride, culture and identity.

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.

Wedding Report: And yes, I did survive three days of wedding festivities in Minneapolis last weekend when my son, UMN Ottoman historian Giancarlo Casale married UMN Ottoman art historian Sinem Arcak. The celebration began with an all-female henna party on Friday night that ended in a ritual mock kidnapping, followed on Saturday by a lamb and camel-rib roast held in Giancarlo’s backyard where an extraordinary Italian feast was prepared and furnished for the rehearsal supper entirely by the father of the groom, followed on Sunday by a mid-afternoon ceremony in Loring Park that featured vows and readings spoken in three languages – English, Turkish, and Aramaic, (I read the from Walt Whitman’s 1855 Preface to Leaves of Grass). The whole bash concluded with a Turkish feast prepared and orchestrated by the mother of the bride. Much dancing and drinking of wine. Altogether an extraordinary and exhausting affair. I came home nursing blisters on both feet.

Still recuperating!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Get Thee to a Winery

Jean Feraca to Present a Day of Reflection on Benedictine Hospitality at Holy Wisdom Monastery

More than a dozen years ago I spent a formative summer at St. Ben’s, as it was called in those days, which I wrote about in my memoir in a chapter called “Get Thee to a Winery.” I was at a critical juncture in my life – contemplating a possible third marriage to a Jewish atheist scientist as I reflected on the mistakes of the past. The answers I received during those weeks couldn’t have come from a truer or a more surprising source. The Benedictines hold hospitality in its widest meaning at the center of their spiritual life. My experience of that hospitality – being welcomed and received in all my brokenness – was not only deeply healing, but led directly to the work I do now as the “host” of the program you know as Here on Earth. I am looking forward to telling you “the rest of the story” in this Day of Reflection on Benedictine Hospitality at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton on Saturday, October 30.

To register or for more information, contact Jerrianne at (608) 836-1631, ext. 158 or

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sept 13-17 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: The Art of Listening: Our conversation with British sociologist Les Back actually slowed me down and brought me back in touch with what I’ve always loved most about radio – its intimacy. So easy to lose sight of in this age of multitasking and social networking. How rewarding to simply listen deeply to what another human being has to say.

Monday: Life With the Maasai: Robin Wiszowaty’s home town couldn’t have been closer to normal, and from a young age she knew the world beyond was more complex and interesting. Into the world she went, ending up in Kenya, adopted into a Maasai family. In her book, My Maasai Life, now out in paperback, she balances the insights gained through living this double life.

Tuesday: Wild Justice: What if Aesop’s fables were actually inspired by real events? There is more and more evidence that animals have an innate sense of cooperation, empathy and justice. How do these findings change the way we see our human morality? We talk to Marc Bekoff, ethologist, and Jessica Pierce, philosopher, about their book Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals.

Wednesday: Who We Are in Antarctica: Lucy Jane Bledsoe is a science writer who has 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.

Thursday: After Columbus: In honor of Mexican Independence Day, we investigate the evolution of today's vibrant Latino culture. Later this month, PBS will broadcast When Worlds Collide, a special program exploring the century after "Old World" encountered "New World," hosted by award winning journalist and author, Rubén Martínez

Friday: World-Class Wisconsin Cheese!: Cheesemaking has a long and storied tradition in Wisconsin, but it’s also an ever-evolving tradition. In honor of the opening of Green County’s Cheese Days, we’ll talk to one homegrown and internationally acclaimed cheesemaker, Sid Cook of Carr Valley Cheese Company, about his move from commodity, to specialty, to original cheeses. We’ll also be joined by Carol Chen of the Center for Dairy Research who will lead us through the tasty process of “cheese profiling.”

I’m heading to the Twin Cities on Friday to attend my Number One Son’s Turkish-Italian wedding, featuring roast camel! Report to follow, Inshallah!


Friday, September 03, 2010

Sept 6-10 Programs

Jean's Pick of the Week: I loved today's program about the kyosho jutaku movement of micro houses in Japan. It always makes me happy when Here on Earth introduces a new idea drawn from another culture that listeners grab and run with. We're planning another program about new ideas in architecture for later this month (Sept. 27th), this one closer to home, featuring the astonishing treehouse designs from a firm called, appropriately enough, Whole Trees in Stoddard, WI. I walked into one of their half-finished houses that's going up at the Christine Center and said, "Oh, my God, this is the future."

Monday: For Labor Day, we've chosen a fun show from our recent archives featuring Canadian Hip Hop artist Baba Brinkman, author of The Rap Guide to Evolution. Having once re-made Chaucer's Canterbury Tales into a very clever Hip Hop album, Baba (that really is his name) was approached by a microbiologist "to do for Darwin what he did for Chaucer." It's a pretty amazing piece of work and a great way to teach evolution.

Tuesday: Virtual Cosmopolitanism: The Internet was supposed to be a tool that would open us to the world. But in his research on its use, Ethan Zuckerman finds that it does just the opposite. What are the dangers of allowing the Internet to form our worldview, and how can they be avoided?

Wednesday: The Art of Listening: British Sociologist Les Back has been thinking a lot about famous listeners like Studs Terkel, about the importance Holocaust survivor Primo Levi placed on the connectivity offered by listening, and about why, despite the central role listening plays in a healthy political sphere, it just seems to be getting harder and harder to be good at it.

Thursday: TBA

Friday: Breaking Bread with Immigrants: While teaching new immigrants English in Boston, Lynne Christy Anderson found that sharing food was the perfect way to get to know her students. Stories of home tend to be the central ingredient in the delicious recipes she shares in her book Breaking Bread: Recipes and Stories from Immigrant Kitchens.

I'll be on my way to my son's wedding in Minneapolis by the time Lori opens up the show on Friday. I'll tell you all about it.

Have a great Labor Day weekend!


Thursday, September 02, 2010

Science and the Public in Europe - 9/1

Dominique Haller

The guest of yesterday's show, Dominique Brossard, UW-Madison Associate Professor of Life Sciences and Communication, grew up in six different countries on three continents: Argentina, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Uruguay, France, and the US. This diverse life experience has given her some interesting insight into how other societies deal with controversial scientific issues. She talks with Jean about participatory engagement in Scandinavia and France: