“Why can’t we just do everything we can while we’re here for one another?” – Pearl Goodman, 2013
On today’s show I interview Pearl Goodman who has written Peril: From Jack Boots to Jack Benny. In 300 pages, Pearl gives us portraits and vignettes of what it was like growing up in the nineteen-sixties and seventies. This was a time when many holocaust survivors had ended up in cities like Toronto putting geographical if not psychic distance between them and the horrors of World War II. Everything about her childhood is coated, clouded and influenced by her parents’ experience during the war and after.
Her parents were survivors of the Nazi’s attempt to exterminate the European Jews. The remainder of their lives was infused with this terrible knowledge, the death, the suffering of entire family members, friends, neighbors and many others left behind. As we roll ever closer to the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the numbers of survivors who can still remember and tell us anything of those times are dwindling to a precious few. All the stories we can find, first-hand, must be sought out, recorded and shared. And those who can relay much of those untold stories and insights, as the survivors of World War II pass on, do so as translators, interpreters and paraphrasers of the original tellings. Ms. Goodman and other children of survivors must speak for them because they no longer can.
It is said often that we are doomed to repeat history if we do not learn from it. Indeed, genocide has been attempted and succeeded many times to greater and lesser degrees before that war and after. And Jews throughout history have been no stranger to attempts to being eradicated and removed from everywhere we have ever called home. We see the story of the holocaust repeated over and over again in small and big ways in the modern era in such places as: Cambodia, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, The Congo, and Pakistan.
In that sense, Ms. Goodman is not just telling her parents story and her own, but the story of all survivors and immigrants trying to overcome the persecution and oppression of their birth country. Join me in my conversation with the author, on a pleasant spring evening in a local restaurant on the very street that Pearl grew up on.
Or download media: Hotfrm 217 (33mb 36mins)
Or Download HotFRM 216 (43:20 80mb)
In today’s show we once again visit the Art Gallery of Ontario. First to see the art and life of the famous artistic pair Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Among the things we discuss are Frida Kahlo’s cause of death. Drag-on and I speculate that Frida died of cancer, but the truth, I’ve discovered, is that no one actually knows. She had so many health problems in her life. I get a new perspective on her art and how her pain informed it. Next we stop by to see the restoration and preparation of the a soft sculpture called Floor Burger. It’s being readied for its trip to the MOMA in New York where it will be on display this month. Other soft sculptures by the same artist Claes Oldenburg will be exhibited as well. The highlight of our visit is Evan Penny’s odd fantastical, mildly horrific hyper realism. Or is it hyper artificialism? Even with all of the works that we see and as hard as we studied the exhibit descriptions, labels, and explanations, we still walked away perplexed, off balance and unsettled – a little like leaving a funhouse where the mirrors distorted us and our world and the tilted floors left us rather dizzy. Have a listen and see what you think – then go see all the Evan Penny you can.
If you don’t know what Nuit Blanche is, it’s a sunset to sunrise festival of art held in cities across the globe. In Toronto, it is normally held the last weekend of September. Originally conceived in Paris in 2002, the name has come to mean “Sleepless Night”. There are far too many art events and installations for any one person to see in a twelve hour period and Special K and I are no exception to that limitation. In my show today I focus on sharing soundscene audio from a mere five out of dozens of events. Glow in the Dark is the first. L.E.D.s inserted into hundreds of ping-pong balls light up the ground in Bickford Park. The result is unexpected. Highwater 2012 is a floating display of objects in the Roy Thompson Hall pond. Objects, somewhat ghostly in their whiteness, float by below us, evoking an odd sense of loneliness and discomfort. Who do or did these objects belong to? Where are their owners now? What were their lives like? Lifecycles, 2012 is a video installation with original soundtrack that shows the time-lapse growth cycle of what we think is kale, that grew in Phoenix, Arizona, home of the artist. We also stop by transparent sealed booths to listen to three masters solving the Rubick’s cube. Each solver has a microphone attached to their sleeve and the sound captured is amplified through speakers. Finally I share the surreal experience we had at the installation Caverne St-Clair 20012. Fragments of culture, writing, and musical scores found in 2012 are re-interpreted by the artist in the year 20012 with some strange and hypnotic results.
Enjoy these snippets of Nuit Blanche 2012. By the way, if I haven’t said this before, my shows in recent years are best listened to with headphones for a feeling of actually being there, noise cancelling headphones if you have them.
Or download HotFRM 214 (62mbs 32m59s)
Links to things talked about in this show:
http://2012.scotiabanknuitblanche.ca/project.html?project_id=1154 Glow in the Dark
http://www.scotiabanknuitblanche.ca/project.html?project_id=1077 Lifecycles, 2012
http://www.scotiabanknuitblanche.ca/project.html?project_id=1016 Caverne St-Clair 20012
Late spring in Chicago. It’s hot. It’s humid. Though we did quite a lot of walking around and hanging out in the warm downtown core, the highlight of our trip were the exhibits we saw at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Cultural Centre. I share those highlights with you in today’s podcast. Roy Lichtenstein was born in Manhattan is 1923 and died in 1997 of complications from pneumonia. During his life, his art went through many stages and though I never paid much attention to his work, the exhibit at the Art Institute gave me a new appreciation of it. I especially love his last works which were landscapes done in his signature half-tone dot style. They have a lovely Asian flavor. I also wandered through the permanent collection and spent some time admiring Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Dali, Chagall and Magritte. Then, we spent an afternoon at the Chicago Cultural Center where we saw an exhibit called Morbid Curiosity – a compendium of items related to death and dying collected by Richard Harris.
You can find links to information about the exhibits and artists I talk about below. And in fact, the information at the art institute site is much more extensive than I normally find on most art gallery sites. I was quite impressed with the detail provided.
(66.5 mb 48 mins 24 secs)
or right-click to download Hotfrm 214
Ed Champion is the creator and producer and correspondent for the Bat Segundo Show, a cultural and literary podcast that in no way intentionally tries to imitate the conventional interview format. He has been podcasting for over 6 years and has produced an impressive 500 shows. On the occasion of editing his last show I interrupt his work to interview him about this prolific podcasting run. Over Skype, he tells me, among other things, that in post-production he will sometimes edit his questions which can go on in what he calls a rambling fashion. He does this because the listeners are there to hear who he is interviewing, not him. But in my show today, Ed gets the entire floor to himself. He’s on the other side this go around.
Or right-click to Download : HotFRM 213 (64mb 1:07.47)
Names, places, end-links, and other podcasts mentioned:
Occupy Sandy, Rockaways, Hurricane Sandy, Powerhouse Arena, David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas, Jynne Martin (Random House), T.C. Boyle, Brett Easton Ellis (American Psycho), Marisha Pessl, Andrea Peyser New York Post, Studs Terkel, Peter Davidson – Doctor Who, Marc Maron : WTF, A.M.Holmes (The End of Alice), John Updike, The Nerdists, This American Life, Michael Sliverblatt :The Bookworm, Robert Bierenbaum, Tim Poole – Timcast, Joe Wisenthal, Cooks Source Scandal Jonah Lehrer, Q.R. Markham, David Rakoff.
My neighbour, a Vietnam vet, has always watched American politics very carefully. This year he is especially interested in the upcoming American Election and wonders how the Republican party got to what he thinks is a very sorry state. He and I have a conversation about the debates, Democrats, Republicans, the Tea Party, Romney, Reagan, and Obama. We talk over coffee, in his rec-room office, amid ambient noise, on October 29 just a little over a week before voting day.
or Download Hotfrm 212 (60mb 1:03:09)
Romney’s comments about the 47% : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2gvY2wqI7M
Or listen to the remix: http://www.prx.org/pieces/85244
In my fourth and final installment of sound and visual art and artists I recorded at the Toronto Electro-Acoustic Symposium this summer, I end with the bees. After-all I started the series with bees for Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters number 208. In this show I learn a lot. For example – that there are at least 800 varieties of bees in Canada. Bees evolved from wasps. And so did ants. Many of these are solitary bees. There are many varieties of solitary bees. These are bees that do not live in hives, but instead burrow into discarded dead stalks and wood. They are not the least bit interested in us, just collecting pollen and nurturing their young to maturity. I catch up with Sarah Peebles and learn all about one of her prototype Audio Bee Booths – a habitat she created for solitary bees. (In the background of this soundscene/interview you can also hear the sound of children playing and airplanes flying overhead.)
Or right-click to download: HotFRM 211 (75mb 40:00)
Equipment used: Apex 415 for intro. Zoom H2 and Roland – CS-10EM – Binaural Microphones/Earphones for soundscape and interview.