Thursday, we continue our Through the Lens film series with a documentary about pioneering writer Alice Walker. She made history as the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel The Color Purple. Director Pratibha Pamar’s film tells the dramatic story of Walker’s life and reveals the inspiration for many of her works. It also explores Walker’s refusal to submit to gender stereotypes or compromise her artistic search for beauty and truth.

Unitarianism and Utah

Apr 11, 2016

  In 1895, Rev. Stanley M. Hunter delivered a sermon entitled “What Shall Unitarianism Stand for in Salt Lake City?” Utah’s congregation was 4 years old, and Hunter believed there was a need for liberal religion that “stood for free thought and free speech.” This year is the 125th anniversary of the First Unitarian Church in Salt Lake, so Monday, we’re exploring the roots of Unitarianism, its history in America and Utah, and asking about the role of progressive religion in today’s public arena.

H is for Hawk

Apr 6, 2016

  Helen Macdonald has always been obsessed with birds of prey. As a child, she even tried to sleep with her arms tucked behind her back like wings. In her critically acclaimed memoir, Macdonald recounts her attempts to cope with the sudden death of her father by fully embracing her love of raptors and training a ferocious hawk. So, it’s nature writing, but also a tale of grief. Macdonald is in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, and she joins us to explain how a bird gave her new perspective on life. 

Salt Lake Tribune, April 8, 1968

  The poet Katharine Coles considers herself a typical Utahn, though maybe a different “typical” than what might spring to mind. She was born and raised in Salt Lake City, and her parents gave the family a life of adventure in the red rock desert and the mountains. They were also intellectuals and social activists, so Coles was encouraged to explore and to make her voice heard. Monday, Katharine Coles joins Doug to talk about Utah and other lenses that shape her poetic view of the world.

Author Jim Harrison

Apr 1, 2016

Jim Harrison was a literary legend. In his bountiful works of fiction, essays, and poetry he displayed an insatiable zest for life and unending passion for the natural world. He passed away last weekend at age 78. Friday, we’re rebroadcasting a conversation he had with independent radio producer Scott Carrier back in 2007. Harrison was in Salt Lake City, and he spoke with Carrier about art, writing, the pleasures of life, and the nature of death. (Rebroadcast)

Saving Alex

Mar 31, 2016

Alex Cooper was 15 when she told her Mormon parents she was gay. She knew that it would be difficult, but she couldn’t have expected what happened next. They sent her stay with a couple in St. George who promised to “save” Alex from homosexuality. What the “treatment program” relied on though was verbal, psychological and physical abuse. Thursday, our guest is scholar Joanna Brooks. She co-authored Alex’s memoir, and joins us to talk about how this happened and what it really took to save Alex.

An Honest Liar

Mar 25, 2016

James "The Amazing" Randi is a renowned magician and escape artist, but he can’t abide charlatans. So he turned his energy to exposing psychics and con-artists with intricate investigations and hoaxes of his own. His story is the focus of a documentary by Utah filmmaker Tyler Measom. On Friday, we're rebroadcasting our conversation with Measom about Randi's crusade for truth and about how all of us, even "The Amazing" Randi himself, are susceptible to deception. (Rebroadcast)

The Immortal Irishman

Mar 23, 2016

Wednesday, journalist Timothy Egan joins us to tell the story of Irish revolutionary Thomas Francis Meagher. Egan first encountered Meagher as a statue on the Montana Capitol grounds, but tracing his life took Egan from the brutal occupation of Ireland and the famine which killed a million people, to the fields of America’s civil war and to the American frontier. We’ll talk about Meagher’s transformation from romantic to rebel to leader, and what it revels about the journey of the Irish people.

  Wednesday, Doug sits down with queer theorist Kathryn Bond Stockton. She’s Associate Vice President for Equity and Diversity at the University of Utah. Once upon a time though, she was a born-again evangelical who later earned a degree from Yale Divinity School. She says people were shocked when she came to Utah in 1987, but Stockton was ready to be a “missionary to the missionaries.” She joins us to talk about the ways she expresses her evangelical spirit today in social and economic justice.

The Witches of Salem

Feb 25, 2016

It started in the year 1692, in Salem, Massachusetts, during an exceptionally cold winter, when a minister’s daughter began to scream and convulse. Less than a year later, 19 men and women had been executed as a result of the Salem witch trials. In a new book, the writer Stacy Schiff examines what she calls America’s tiny reign of terror, which affected every rung of Salem’s Puritan society. She joins us to explore the events of 1692 and the curious ways they shaped our world today. (Rebroadcast)