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)

Tuesday, we’re telling the story of the incredible life and work of naturalist Alexander von Humboldt. At the turn of the 19th century, Humboldt trekked across Latin America, exploring rain forests, mapping rivers, and climbing volcanoes. The journey led him to a groundbreaking vision of nature and a prediction of human-induced climate change. Doug’s guest is historian Andrea Wulf, whose new book combines biography and science to remember the man she calls the father of the environmental movement. (Rebroadcast)


Feb 19, 2016

Friday, we're profiling a documentary film that exposes the government’s controversial domestic counterterrorism tactics. The filmmakers behind (T)ERROR were on the ground as Saeed Torres, an aging Black revolutionary turned informant, aided the FBI in an active sting operation. Torres is just one of a growing number of covert operatives in America who straddle the murky line between preventing crimes and inciting them. Director David Sutcliffe joins us to talk about his film. (Rebroadcast)

The Hour of Peril

Feb 15, 2016
Harper's Magazine, March 9, 1861

Monday, we're telling the astonishing story of a plot to kill Abraham Lincoln on the way to his first inaugural. Our guest is biographer Daniel Stashower, who says the President-elect hadn't even left Illinois when the threats started to arrive. In 1861, it was hard for Lincoln to believe that political hatred could lead to murder. Legendary detective Allan Pinkerton believed though and it was his team of operatives that raced to thwart the "Baltimore Plot." (Rebroadcast)

Saint Augustine is one of Christianity’s most influential figures, and yet his path to sainthood was wayward. For his first 30 years, Augustine studied rhetoric, Gnosticism, and philosophy, all the while indulging in lust and greed. He struggled to understand the nature and world of God. In a new book, historian Robin Lane Fox explores how Augustine's quest for knowledge and faith led him to Christianity and celibacy. Fox joins us Monday to discuss Augustine’s journey from conversion to The Confessions.

Frank Zappa wasn’t just a musician, bandleader, and self-taught composer who released more than 60 albums in less than three decades. He was also a passionate and outspoken proponent of free expression. Filmmaker Thorsten Schutte has made a new documentary that draws from Zappa’s numerous interviews and TV appearances, using the iconic musician’s own words to explore his unique career and provocative opinions. Schutte joins us Thursday as we continue our coverage of the Sundance Film Festival.

  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. Wednesday, he and former member Christopher Johnston join Doug to talk about the Sundance documentary HOLY HELL.