Profiles

2/15/12: Elna Baker

Feb 14, 2012

Three years ago, the comedienne and storyteller Elna Baker published her memoir, The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance. It’s about being a twenty-something Mormon virgin in a town – New York City – that doesn’t take kindly to that type. A lot has changed for Elna Baker since 2009: now she’s an ex-28-year-old virgin and ex-Mormon comedienne. Wednesday on RadioWest, Elna joins Doug to talk about leaving the church, her journey to Siberia and the challenges of honest storytelling.

2/8/12: Anonymous

Feb 7, 2012
<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/70857039@N00/2255718951">Vincent Diamante</a>/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

The journalist Quinn Norton admits it's difficult to pin a name tag on the group Anonymous. Is it a bunch of hackers? Activists? Terrorists? As far as she can tell, the internet meme that inspires online and offline users to participate in an archaic, globalized hive mind is really a culture, with its own ever evolving aesthetics, values, idioms and iconography. Norton and the anthropologist Garbriella Coleman join Doug on Wednesday to look behind the Guy Fawkes masks and try to understand Anonymous.

Much has been written about the Kennedy family. And yet, Ethel Skakel Kennedy, wife of the late Robert F. Kennedy, has somehow managed to elude scrutiny, interview and biography. Until now. Rory Kennedy, Ethel's youngest child, has made a film about her mother that captures the life of a vivacious, authentic heroin who's often quick to deflect attention from herself. Ethel and Rory join Doug on Friday in Park City to talk about the film, ETHEL.

A canine orphan of World War I, Rin Tin Tin was rescued from a French battlefield and went on to become one of the most renowned names of 20th century entertainment. Susan Orlean wrote about the life and legend of the famous German shepherd, his descendants and their owners,tracing in the rise of dogs in American life and the cinema and exploring the bond between humans and animals. Orlean talks with Doug on Wednesday about the legacy of Rin Tin Tin. (Rebroadcast)

When British politician Margaret Thatcher was first dubbed "the Iron Lady," it was meant to be an insult. A Soviet newspaper gave her the name three years before she became Prime Minister. The biographer John Campbell calls Thatcher a "feminist pioneer" who rose to global political power through her own ambition and determination. Campbell's portrait of Margaret Thatcher was the basis for the new biopic starring Meryl Streep, and Thursday he joins us for an unvarnished look at "The Iron Lady."

Tuesday, we're talking about a new American Experience documentary, Billy the Kid. His real name was Henry McCarty and he was just days from hanging when he made his last daring escape from jail. Billy was one of the nation's most notorious criminals and after he was shot a few weeks later by Sheriff Pat Garrett, he became one of the West's most enduring legends. Doug is joined by filmmaker John Maggio and historian Mark Lee Gardner to separate the fact from the myth of Billy the Kid.

Doug talks to Mitchell Zuckoff, author of the book Lost in Shangri-La. In 1945, a site seeing plane of American soldiers crashed in a remote, mysterious valley in Dutch New Guinea. The local tribe was rumored to be head-hunters and had never before been in contact with white people. But the three survivors were caught between the valley and the Japanese enemy. Zuckoff joins us to tell the story of the time they spent with the Dani tribesmen and the daring rescue that brought them home. (Rebroadcast)

Library of Congress

Labor icon Joe Hill was executed by firing squad for the murder of a Salt Lake grocer nearly a century ago. His controversial conviction rested largely on two pieces of evidence: the gunshot wound he sustained the night of the murder and the IWW membership card in his wallet. The writer Bill Adler has made new findings he says debunk the evidence against Hill. He'll join Doug on Thursday to talk about his book, The Man Who Never Died," and make the case for Hill's innocence. (Rebroadcast)

Image by Chuck Coker via Flickr, http://bit.ly/LN7xQ7

Some of you may be expecting a visit from that jolly Santa Claus next weekend.(If you've been good that is.) But just who is this man that will magically slide down your chimney? His family tree goes back to the fourth century Bishop of Myra, Saint Nicholas, and with the passing generations, his story has changed to suit the times. Historian Gerry Bowler joins Doug for a biographical look at Santa Claus. (Rebroadcast)

Alain Klein/NPR

Robert Krulwich began his radio career as a boy in the tub. His pseudonym was Don Roberto and his fist was the microphone. He grew up to be one of the most inventive and compelling reporters in radio. Whether he's explaining interest rates through opera, parsing Reaganomics with the help of "lab mice" or using video to illustrate how viruses work, Krulwich makes understanding complicated subjects fun and easy. Doug will talk with him on Thursday about his career and what makes good radio tick. 

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