In the early 1970s, Sixto Rodriguez, a poet-musician from inner-city Detroit, produced two albums. His producers thought they would be hits, but they were utter flops – in America, that is. In South Africa though, Rodriguez was bigger than Elvis or The Rolling Stones, and his albums provided the soundtrack for white opposition to apartheid. Filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul has documented Rodriguez’ unlikely fall and rise, and we're rebroadcasting our conversation with him about his film on Friday.
Thursday, the writer Peter Rock joins us to talk about his newest novel, The Shelter Cycle. It’s inspired by the true story of a Montana-based New Age sect called the Church Universal and Triumphant. Church members made extensive preparations for doomsday in the 80s and 90s. When the prophesied cataclysm didn’t occur, they were forced to live in a world they truly believed would no longer exist. Rock uses these facts to weave a narrative that explores how memory and the past continue to shape us, even when we think we’ve left them behind.
In his new collection of short stories, the Utah-based writer David Kranes tests contemporary settlers into the crucible of Utah’s neighbor to the north. Idaho’s rugged landscape – its skies and fires and waters, its elements – forces Kranes’ characters to reexamine and reorient their lives. The West did much the same thing to Kranes when he first came here from New England decades ago. Thursday, David Kranes joins us to talk about and read from his new book. It’s called The Legend’s Daughter.
Monday, we’re talking about a new work by local playwright Jenifer Nii. It’s called “Suffrage,” and it looks at the complicated history between women’s right to vote and polygamy in 19th century Utah. Utah was the second territory in the US to grant suffrage, but in less than two decades, the right was stripped away as part of a national effort to eradicate plural marriage. Nii joins us, along with the director and cast of Plan B Theatre Company’s production to talk about the social and political roles of women.