Friday's Show

Holy Hell

Filmmaker Will Allen was 22 when he joined a community of people led by a man named Michel. Allen says at first he seemed elegant and smart and he promised them enlightenment. But it became clear Michel was a megalomaniac and he was soon leading by manipulation, paranoia, and abuse. As the group fell apart, Allen knew he had to find a way out of what he came to realize was a cult. Friday, he and former member Christopher Johnston join Doug to talk about the documentary film Holy Hell. [Rebroadcast]
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Thursday, we’re telling stories of legendary Utah Symphony conductor Maurice Abravanel. The Maestro led the symphony for 32 years with the philosophy that good music should be available to everyone. He created a pioneering education program and built the orchestra into an internationally renowned recording powerhouse with some 120 albums. Former associate conductor Ardean Watts and retired cellist Carolee Baron will join us to talk about the life and musical passions of Maestro Maurice Abravanel.

woodleywonderworks via <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC</a>/<a href="http://bit.ly/246ypvp">Flickr</a>, cropped

A few years ago, Paul Tough wrote a book about new research showing that character traits like grit, self-control, and optimism are critical to a child’s success. Tough’s latest book builds on that research by explaining how to put it into practice. He argues that a child’s home and school environments are the principle barriers to his or her success. Improve the environment, Tough says, and you can improve the child. He joins us Wednesday to explain his theory of helping children succeed.

  

A.O. Scott has been a film critic for the New York Times for more than 15 years, so it may seem strange that he’s now questioning the value of his work. In a new book, he asks what the point of criticism actually is. Scott argues that critical thinking informs almost every aspect of artistic creation, of civil action, and of our interactions with each other. In that way, he says, we’re all critics. Scott joins us Tuesday for a discussion about art, pleasure, beauty, truth, and of course criticism. [Rebroadcast]

The Gene

May 23, 2016

Monday, the writer and oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee is our guest. He’s written a new book that tells the epic tale of our quest to unravel the human genome. It’s the story of a long lineage of scientists—from Mendel, to Darwin, Watson, Crick, and countless others—and their efforts to understand the workings of the very threads of our existence. But how, Mukherjee wonders, can we best apply that knowledge? And what does it mean to be human when we can read and write our own genetic information?

Elephant Company

May 20, 2016

When author Vicki Constantine Croke saw an illustration of an elephant and rider on a precarious cliff ledge from 1943, she wanted to know more. It was of “Elephant Bill” Williams, an Englishman who was a gifted trainer and champion of elephants in Burma. His work made headlines though when the Japanese invaded, and his “Elephant Company” managed a daring escape over treacherous mountain terrain. Croke joins us to tell the story of Williams, the animals he loved and the lessons they taught him about courage and trust. (Rebroadcast)

<a href="https://www.reverbnation.com/connect">Reverb Nation/CONNECT</a>

Rolling Stone has called Ogden-based singer-songwriter Sammy Brue an “Americana prodigy.” He started playing music at 10 years old when he got a guitar for Christmas. He cut his teeth on tunes by Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, and in two months he was writing his own songs. Well, Sammy’s 15 now. He’s put out an EP record, gained acclaim at music festivals across the country, and signed a record deal with a Nashville label. He’ll join us Thursday to play some music and talk about his budding career.

Niccolò Machiavelli lived hundreds of years ago, and though he was a gifted political strategist, he knew nothing about democratic republics. So the scholar Maurizio Viroli recognizes that it’s a bit extravagant to consult a 15th-century Florentine for electoral advice in 21st-century America. But Machiavelli, Viroli says, remains the most competent, honest and disinterested political counselor we could ask for. Viroli joins us Wednesday to examine what Machiavelli can teach us about choosing leaders.

American Eugenics

May 17, 2016
Photograph courtesy of Arthur Estabrook Papers, Special Collections & Archives, University at Albany, SUNY.

Journalist Adam Cohen has said if you want to learn about an institution, you look at where it’s gone wrong. For Cohen, Buck v Bell is a moment when the US Supreme Court went terribly wrong. Its 1927 decision upheld eugenics laws, and led to the forced sterilization of Carrie Buck and some 70,000 “undesirables” declared “feebleminded.” Tuesday, Cohen joins us to explain how Americans - and some of our most revered legal minds - succumbed to racism and classism in the name of “uplifting” the human race.

The First Vision

May 16, 2016
CC via The LDS Life on YouTube

Joseph Smith claimed that God and Jesus appeared to him in 1820 to tell him all churches were wrong, which led him to found the Mormon faith. Late LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley once said the Church’s “whole strength rests on the validity of that vision.” Smith told multiple versions over the years though, and critics say discrepancies are proof he made it all up. Monday, we’re talking about the “First Vision,” the role it’s played in Church history and what it reveals about Mormonism today.

Why Acting Matters

May 13, 2016
Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Film critic David Thomson has written a book that tackles this question: Does acting matter? Put another way, when economies struggle, wars explode, and climate change looms, what’s the value of the performing arts? Thomson thinks acting is important, but not because it tries to be realistic. Acting matters, he says, because it empowers us to escape reality, and to exalt and despair over it. Thomson joins us to examine the methods and genius of the great actors and to explore how we all perform every day. (Rebroadcast)

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Monday's Show

We Refused to Die

In 1942 the Japanese army forced about 70,000 US and Philippine prisoners of war to march some 80 miles across the Bataan Peninsula on the way to a prison camp. More than 10,000 died or were summarily executed along the way. Among the survivors was Gene Jacobsen, who published a book about the ordeal. Jacobsen died in 2007 at the age of 85. Monday, we're rebroadcasting his story of three and a half years as a prisoner of war. [Rebroadcast]
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VideoWest

This Body

When attorney Steve Mikita was just 18 months old, he was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease that meant he would never walk.

June 15, 2016

Local Music Series

There's a young vibrant music scene in Utah. RadioWest brings some of the newest and best bands into the studio to talk about and to play their music live.

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