KUSP Latest

Author Don Winslow

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920x920Enter the hearts and minds of those fighting on both sides of the war on drugs as host Rick Kleffel speaks with author Don Winslow about his novel The Cartel.

Winslow explores the intersection of economics, politics, crime and law enforcement the drive a conflict that has little visibility and offers few prospects for resolution

Conversations with the Late Alan Cheuse

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Author and literary scholar, Alan Cheuse. Photo: Peter Hedlund / flickr http://bit.ly/1Keg0Cx
Author and literary scholar, Alan Cheuse. Photo: Photo: Peter Hedlund-flickr-http://bit.ly/1Keg0Cx

Author and critic Alan Cheuse died last week at age 75. He regularly participated in interviews with KUSP Rick Kleffel. On this week’s Agony Column Literary Magazine show, listen back to a selection Cheuse’s insightful interviews.

Troy Jollimore, Guest Poet

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Show. He sat down with host Dennis Morton to read from and discuss Troy’s newest poetry collection, titled Syllabus of Errors, which will be published on September 29. The title is perhaps partly a reference to a Vatican document by that name (1864), which comprised an extensive list of “errors” on a wide range of “modern” subjects.

The poems in this book have a lot to say about truth, lies, falsehoods, and authority – and the often problematic relationships among them. We should expect no less from a philosopher - Troy teaches that subject at Cal State Chico. At another point in the interview, Troy noted that his students sometimes complain that he answers questions with questions. These poems employ some of that same Socratic approach.

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This is Troy Jollimore’s third visit to the Poetry Show. The first was was back in May, 2007, to talk about his first published book, Tom Thomson in Purgatory. Apropos of nothing, the timing of that visit made him the second earliest guest poet in our podcast library. Although the KUSP Poetry Show stretches back into the mists of the early 1970s, we only have podcasts from May, 2007. A second visit, in August 2011, coincided with publication of a second book, At Lake Scugog

For our most up-to-the-minute blog readers, be advised that Troy Jollimore will be reading at Bookshop Santa Cruz on Tuesday evening, August 11. This is the regular monthly “second Tuesday” poetry reading, sponsored as always by Poetry Santa Cruz. Joining Troy will be Maggie Paul – also a past Poetry Show gues

Album Review: Neil Young Protests GMO’s on ‘The Monsanto Years’

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neil-young-the-monsanto-yearsOn his latest album, “The Monsanto Years”, Neil Young, is angry. Really angry.  He’s unleashed a fiery burst of rock n roll fury aimed squarely at box stores, corporate farming and ag chemical use.

For the most part the premise works, but Neil does stretches his credibility with a few “you can see it coming” groaners like rhyming “GMO” with “Monsanto” on the whistling-snappy “A Rock Star Bucks A Coffee Shop”. How’s that for a title?

Nelson Brothers Rock

Young, who will be turning 70 this year, has long championed the family farmer and protested the use of GMOs, donating money to various causes and years of gratis performances at Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid concerts. Young’s new five piece backup band is called Promise of the Real, featuring guitar singer brothers, Lukas and Micah Nelson, sons of Willie. These young’ns are the perfect foil for Young’s style of frenzied guitar grunge and sense of urgency. The Promise certainly seems to be drinking their elder’s kool aid because they rock every bit as solid as Young’s old band Crazy Horse and seem just as upset about these earthly matters.

Young lets no one off the hook with stinging lyrics about Walmart, Safeway, Starbucks and consumers alike who all get their britches toasted on several songs such as “Big Box”, where the people “line up for more” at the expense of Main Street’s mom and pop small businesses.

In many ways, Neil Young and Promise of the Real have made  “The Monsanto Years” his most energized political rock album since “Ragged Glory”.  Despite the over all raucous, snappy hard driving rock and all eco-politics aside, not everyone wants to “realty check” along to four songs about Monsanto and 5 more targeting other corporations. And Young is fully aware of this and says so on “People Just Want to Hear About Love”.

American Gothic?

Is Neil Young’s “The Monsanto Years” just an aging geezer’s rant or a rallying call for action? It’s both. What Young is saying loud and clear, is that we need to pay attention to what’s going on with the world’s food chain right now instead of  later.  Or there will be no more Harvest Moon.

- Eric Berg

Additional notes: Check out the album cover which is a takeoff of the “American Gothic” painting with farmer Neil and his current flame, actress turned eco-activist, Daryl Hanna, holding the pitchfork. The cd version of ”The Monsanto Years” includes a very good dvd of Young and The Promise rocking out in a studio setting.

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C. J. Sage, Guest Goet

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Local poet and animal-rights advocate C. J. Sage visited the Poetry Show on August 2, 2015. She and host Dennis Morton read and discussed poetry primarily about animals. Ms. Sage edits The National Poetry Review, and has five published books:

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In addition to poetry, Dennis and C.J. discussed a rescue and sanctuary center for dogs, focused especially on a group of hunting dog breeds known as “sighthounds”.  The center is run by a 501(c)3 nonprofit called Hound Sanctuary Inc. Learn more at houndsanctuary.org.

Love and Mercy

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Listen above to the review by David H. Anthony. (Transcript posted below.)

Bill Pohlad’s Love and Mercy: The Life, Love and Genius of Brian Wilson probes links binding creative impulses and emotional trauma the Beach Boys’ gifted leader faced.

By now, many will have heard the film’s outlines. It innovatively uses actors Jeff Holman as Brian Wilson present and Paul Dano and John Cusack to depict Wilson at strikingly separate stages of adult life, past (60s) and future (80s), respectively. This may bring to mind far more complex multifold portrayals of Bob Dylan in He’s Not There.

Love and Mercy is distinct from other biopics seeking to reconstruct vivid scenarios illustrating poignant parts of the life of a tortured artist, first, because Wilson, still quite alive, called the film “very factual.” Thus it is his story in more than one way.

This may seem simple but it actually matters a great deal. Tragic tropes like neglect and abuse must be factored into the tale but so too should the protagonist’s survival.

That detail alone lends this work a rare degree of contemporaneity with its subject. However horrific the treatment meted out to the main character, he clearly endured.

Love and Mercy also addresses questions of what forms artistic inspiration might assume and the high cost of imaginative and innovative gifts. Wilson evinces agony in the act of composing. It might be as excruciating an ordeal to experience mentally while creating as can it be exhilarating in its outcome, that is, if success is achieved. Indeed often more emphasis is placed upon the price of the process than its result. Consequently, lovers of Wilson’s work may feel shortchanged in the amount heard.

At the same time, learning what it took out of him to construct it increases its value.

Also noteworthy are Elizabeth Banks as Melinda Ledbetter, Paul Giamatti as über manipulative Dr. Eugene Landy and Bill Camp as Murry Wilson, Brian’s callous dad.

Adding up the pain he felt within his brain and beyond, in the fetters with which he was shackled, it is remarkable Wilson was able to manifest anything he heard inside.

What are we to make of such an excursion into the darkest corners of consciousness and worse, the systematic denial of light by those who elected to deprive Brian of it?

There are no facile replies to those queries. To these eyes, Love and Mercy demonstrated the tenacity of a human spirit to not only withstand the evil excesses of uncaring and cruel captivity, literally and figuratively, but to prevail, passionately and persistently producing art in a manner dictated by the irrepressible imagination of the artist.

That would make Love and Mercy worth donating two hours of a viewer’s existence.

Album Review: Neil Young Protests GMO’s on ‘The Monsanto Years’

neil-young-the-monsanto-yearsOn his latest album, “The Monsanto Years”, Neil Young, is angry. Really angry.  He’s unleashed a fiery burst of rock n roll fury aimed squarely at box stores, corporate farming and ag chemical use.

For the most part the premise works, but Neil does stretches his credibility with a few “you can see it coming” groaners like rhyming “GMO” with “Monsanto” on the whistling-snappy “A Rock Star Bucks A Coffee Shop”. How’s that for a title?

Nelson Brothers Rock

Young, who will be turning 70 this year, has long championed the family farmer and protested the use of GMOs, donating money to various causes and years of gratis performances at Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid concerts. Young’s new five piece backup band is called Promise of the Real, featuring guitar singer brothers, Lukas and Micah Nelson, sons of Willie. These young’ns are the perfect foil for Young’s style of frenzied guitar grunge and sense of urgency. The Promise certainly seems to be drinking their elder’s kool aid because they rock every bit as solid as Young’s old band Crazy Horse and seem just as upset about these earthly matters.

Young lets no one off the hook with stinging lyrics about Walmart, Safeway, Starbucks and consumers alike who all get their britches toasted on several songs such as “Big Box”, where the people “line up for more” at the expense of Main Street’s mom and pop small businesses.

In many ways, Neil Young and Promise of the Real have made  “The Monsanto Years” his most energized political rock album since “Ragged Glory”.  Despite the over all raucous, snappy hard driving rock and all eco-politics aside, not everyone wants to “realty check” along to four songs about Monsanto and 5 more targeting other corporations. And Young is fully aware of this and says so on “People Just Want to Hear About Love”.

American Gothic?

Is Neil Young’s “The Monsanto Years” just an aging geezer’s rant or a rallying call for action? It’s both. What Young is saying loud and clear, is that we need to pay attention to what’s going on with the world’s food chain right now instead of  later.  Or there will be no more Harvest Moon.

- Eric Berg

Additional notes: Check out the album cover which is a takeoff of the “American Gothic” painting with farmer Neil and his current flame, actress turned eco-activist, Daryl Hanna, holding the pitchfork. The cd version of “The Monsanto Years” includes a very good dvd of Young and The Promise rocking out in a studio setting.

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Why the Civil War Isn’t Over: David Blight and Tony Horwitz

No sooner had the nation finished celebrating the sesquicentennial of the Civil War’s end this past spring than the Charleston massacre and confederate flag fracas reminded us that the past isn’t past and the conflicts at the heart of the war still smolder. Historian David Blight has been pointing that out for years in books such as Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. David says that America dropped the ball when it set aside Reconstruction and set about reconstructing memory itself, embracing some convenient myths and turning its back on civil rights and African Americans in the process. We talked about a legacy of lost opportunities and broken promises, willful forgetting and whitewashed history.

In part 2 of the show, Pulitzer prizewinning writer Tony Horwitz on confederate nostalgia, the “Lost Cause” tradition and Civil War revisionism. Tony explored the ways in which the war is remembered and misremembered in his 1998 bestseller Confederates in the Attic and again in a recent essay, How the South Lost the War but Won the Narrative.

Click the play arrow above to hear the interview, or the download icon on the upper right to get your own mp3. Click the share icon (the box with arrow) to embed the interview in a tweet, Facebook post, etc.

Also of interest: Our 2011 interview with Tony Horwitz, discussing his bookMidnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War.

KUSP Classical Programming: 12 Hours a Week of Remarkable Music


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to a remarkable selection of hand-picked Classical programming.
 

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Listen/Stream the full shows for one week (except for OnSite).
Click on an image to get the player on show page.

Monday – Thursday 7-9:30 p.m. / Friday 8-10 p.m.

Monday Night at the OperaMonday / Jim Emdy, Barbara Smythe
20/21 - Tuesday / Joe Truskot
Classical Tune-Up - Wednesday / Christopher Smith
Musical della seraThursday / Nicolas Michell, Meera Collier
KUSP OnSite - Friday / Robin Whitehouse

Album Review: Will Butler’s Fired Up ‘Policy’

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Will Butler is the lead guitarist for Montreal’s indie rock band Arcade Fire and the younger brother of the lead singer.  The guitarist has just released his first solo effort “Policy” and it’s a slam dunk, innovative breath of rock n roll fresh air. A short, but jam packed  28 minutes of exhilarating, humorous, quirky pop and gospel tinged tunes.

A multi-instrumentalist who can play just about anything, the thirty something Butler recorded “Policy” aided by only a single drummer, two saxophonists and a set of great background singers that include his wife, Jenny. Butler claims the policy of this album reflects his broad musical tastes, which appear to be all over the place as evidenced by “Anna”.

Sense of Humor

Butler certainly expresses a funny sense of dark humor in the songs he’s written here punctuating by stabbing synths and guitars, rockabilly beats and terrific girl group back ground vocals. Butler uses them to great effect on his humorous  poke at the notion that the end of the  world is near on “Something’s Coming”. (Check out the video below.) And “What I Want” is about a hilarious tongue twisted guy who can’t express himself romantically and totally misses the boat.

Zippy 28 Minutes Long

At a zippy 28 minutes long, “Policy” is a terrific first solo album from Arcade Fire’s Will Butler. It’s upbeat and percolating smart- snappy pop from a guy who knows his music, Butler ends the album with the gospel influenced “Witness”, that would make Marvin Gaye chuckle. One of the best albums of the year. – Eric Berg

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