RadioWest

Weekdays Live at 9:00 a.m. Mountain / Rebroadcast at 7:00 p.m. Mountain

Conversations and stories that explore the way the world works.

Hosted by Doug Fabrizio, KUER's award-winning program features conversations with authors, politicians, artists and others. KUER 90.1  (9 a.m. and 7 p.m.); Streaming at radiowest.org

<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gadl/445650912/">Alexandre Duret-Lutz</a>/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Though as old as America itself, the American dream wasn’t actually christened until the Great Depression. And now it stands on shaky ground in the wake of the Great Recession. With the gap between rich and poor wider than ever, the dream of freedom and equal opportunity is increasingly out of reach. This summer, NPR is producing a series of stories about the American dream, and NPR reporters Ari Shapiro and John Ydstie join Doug on Wednesday to take the dream’s pulse in the 21st century.

Photo by Tom Thurston

Tuesday, Grammy-winning storyteller and musician Bill Harley is in studio. Harley specializes in "growing up stories," but he doesn't aim to tell kids what to do. He's more interested in describing the experiences and feelings of childhood. He says his job is to make kids laugh, but you'll often find his whole audience in stitches. Harley is in Utah as a guest of Writers@Work, and he joins Doug to talk about his craft and to remind us what the world looks like from a child's perspective.

Counting the Saints

Jun 3, 2012
<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcoaudiovisual/5370418204/">Marco Antonio Vargas</a>/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

The LDS Church is the second fastest growing religion, but there's a debate over how many people are Mormon. In the U.S., the Church reports some 6.2 million members. Independent researchers place the number at 4.4 million. The difference lies in who should be counted. LDS statistics reflect people who were baptized, but who may no longer be active or even believe. Monday, we're discussing what this gap reveals about the Church today: how it's connecting with a new generation and how it's faring abroad.

In 2000, Daniel Suelo left his life savings, just $30, in a phone booth in Moab and walked away. Twelve years later, he enjoys an apparently full and sane life without money, credit, barter or government hand-outs, fulfilling a vision of the good life inspired by his spiritual guides: Jesus, Buddha and wandering Hindu monks. The writer Mark Sundeen has written a book that traces the path and the singular idea that led Suelo to his extreme lifestyle, and he joins Doug on Friday. (Rebroadcast)

Millions of years ago, geological forces ripped the world to pieces. Christopher Columbus changed all that though. When he sailed across the Atlantic, he began a process that knit the world back together ecologically and economically. It meant there would be tomatoes in Italy and coffee in Brazil. The journalist Charles Mann says while the costs and benefits are inseparable, 1493 marked the birth of the world we live in today. Mann is in Utah and he joins us to talk about his book called "1493."

First Position

May 29, 2012

On stage, ballet is an exemplar of human grace: beautiful women float like feathers and handsome men lift them overhead with ease. Behind the façade of effortlessness lay incredible pain, sacrifice, competition and countless hours of practice. In her film First Postion, Bess Kargman documents the worlds on either side of the stage curtain as she follows six dancers competing in a prestigious ballet competition. She joins Doug on Wednesday to discuss what it takes to transform the human body into kinetic poetry.

Two years ago, the writer Steve Hendricks felt overweight, and he resolved to shed 20 pounds. His weight loss method might strike some as reckless: he fasted for over three weeks. Vanity, he writes, wasn't his only concern. He was informally testing theories which suggest that fasting can alleviate numerous maladies and symptoms and improve general health, much like exercise. Hendricks wrote about the benefits of an empty stomach for Harper's. Doug talked with him about it in March, and we're rebroadcasting that conversation on Tuesday.

How to Die in Oregon

May 25, 2012

When Peter Richardson's documentary on physician assisted suicide screened at the Sundance Film Festival last year, the New York Times called it one of the most difficult to watch movies of the festival. Richardson followed terminally ill patients deciding when - or if - to end their own lives. He says the film isn't about death and dying as much as it is about life and living. HOW TO DIE IN OREGON is screening in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, so we're rebroadcasting our conversation with Peter Richardson. (Rebroadcast)

Cleopatra

May 24, 2012

Biographer Stacy Schiff says that Cleopatra has had "one of the busiest afterlives in history." This Queen of Egypt died over 2000 years ago, but since then she's been the subject of poems and plays, she's had an asteroid and a cigarette named after her. But for all the fame, much of what we think we know about Cleopatra just isn't so. Schiff joins us to rescue the queen from her legend. (Rebroadcast)

Bunch of Amateurs

May 23, 2012

You probably know some amateurs, people driven by a singular passion for whatever, birdwatching, maybe, or home brewing or space elevators. The writer Jack Hitt certainly knows the type. He’s written a book about semi-professional people in the grip of passion, and he argues that they've powered America’s success and innovation. From Benjamin Franklin to a young Bay Area woman trying to splice a fish’s glow-in-the-dark gene into yogurt, Hitt has documented American amateurs, and he joins Doug on Thursday.

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