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Stephen Kessler Translates Spanish Poet, Luis Cernuda

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Layout 1On the June 21, 2015 Poetry Show, local poetry luminary (and past Poetry Show host) Stephen Kessler joined host Dennis Morton to read from and discuss his new book, a hefty volume of translations titled Forbidden Pleasures: New Selected Poems [1924-1949], by the Spanish writer Luis Cernuda. Published by Black Widow Press, the 400+ page book features Kessler’s new English translations, side-by-side on the pages with the original Spanish text.

Cernuda was one of the “Generation of ’27” (Spanish: Generación del 27), a group of young poets that arose during the 1920s. The members were scattered by the onset of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. Best-known to Americans of the group is probably Federico Garcia Lorca, who was assassinated in the early days of the war. Cernuda spent many years in the UK and US before ending up in Mexico late in life. He never returned to Spain.

20 - S. KesslerThe stars have been in alignment for the Poetry Show (or maybe it’s the hard work of Dennis Morton in scheduling guests and subjects). Last week we learned that a previous guest, Juan Felipe Herrera, has just been named United States Poet Laureate. In honor of that honor, we re-broadcast Mr. Herrera’s 2014 visit to the show. This week’s guest, Stephen Kessler, was also a guest on that 2014 show because of his long-time association with both Herrera and the Poetry Show.

Forbidden Pleasures will have its official Santa Cruz introduction on July 18 at Felix Kulpa Gallery, presented by A New Cadence Poetry Series.

CD Review: JD McPherson’s “Let The Good Times Roll”

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This is the JD’s second album for Rounder Records. Produced by Mark Neil and JD McPherson. Released February 10th, 2015. Audio review and text produced and written by KUSP’s Eric Berg.

Rjd-mcpherson-let-the-good-times-roll-846x8451etro – yes, he’s a – modern rocker  J.D. McPherson’s highly anticipated second album is finally out. It’s called “Let The Good Times Roll” and although it’s not quite as red hot as his 2012 debut, “Signs & Signifiers”, this sophomoric follow up smokes!

A former art teacher and visual artist, Oklahoma native singer-songwriter plus guitarist McPherson skirts the “retro” pigeonhole with his uncanny knack of successfully mixing musical genres and making it all seem…uh…modern, contemporary?  He takes just the right amount of traditional Americana – particularly country blues and knockdown rockabilly and lately, soul…and adds a few twists of alt rock.  By the way, McPherson has noted he did not grow up on roots music and listened to a lot of rock music like Hendrix, Zeppelin and David Bowie.

100% Original

All the songs on “Let the Good Times Roll” are written by McPherson including the title track which has nothing to do with Earl King’s song of the same name but obviously inspired by it with a big nod to both Chuck Berry and Arcade Fire.

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JD McPherson

McPherson is joined on the album once again by the Chicago based Signifier crew – musical partner and bassist Jimmy Sutton and drummer turned recording engineer Alex Hall who mixed the entire album but doesn’t a lick on it.  Co-produced by JD himself, “Let The Good Times Roll” is at times little bit too slick as in “commercial sounding” here and there. JD does seem to be venturing in to James Hunter/Jimmie Vaughn territory with a few tracks that are more blue eyed soul than twang .  Fortunately these slowed down soul pieces are more than serviceable. At times, the smooth sailing track, “Bridgebuilder” as well as  “Precious” both sound at first an awful lot like something Jimmy Cliff might have written. And on first burst of “Everyone’s Talking ‘Bout the All American” my brain screamed “David Bowie!”, but I calmed down and got with the program.

Infectious!

Okay, I really am  being too nit picky here, because, J.D. McPherson’s “Let the Good Times Roll” does just that and in a big way. “Shy Boy” and “You Must Have Met Little Caroline?” are real stand outs.  By toning the down the wild retro-billy twang a smidgen in favor of a more contemporary, polished sound, McPherson’s second album still has more than a boatload of infectious hooks and the potential to reach a larger audience seeking a little more rock’n’soul in their retro. – Eric Berg

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7th Avenue Project: Rick Doblin & MAPS: Psychedelics and Psychotherapy

Visit: 7th Avenue Project webapge.

The criminalization of psychedelic drugs in the 60s did little to halt their recreational use, but succeeded in making it nearly impossible to do legitimate research on their safety, effects and medicinal potential. Rick Doblin has spent most of his life trying to change that, and over the last 30 years, he and the organization he founded, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), have been making steady headway. After a series of successful government-authorized pilot studies on the therapeutic use of drugs like LSD, MDMA and psilocybin for a variety of psychological disorders, large-scale trials and FDA approval may soon follow. MDMA, for example, may be greenlighted for treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder as early as 2021.

On today’s show, I spoke to Rick about the long road from proscription to prescription; where the previous generation of psychedelic advocates went wrong and what’s going right this time; how psychedelics might work to assist psychotherapy for PTSD, severe anxiety, drug and alcohol addiction, and other conditions; and how that model differs from conventional psychopharmaceutical approaches. Also Rick talks about his own psychedelic experiences and why mind-altering drugs can be so life-altering.

Click the play arrow above to hear the interview, or the download icon on the upper right to get your own mp3.

Check out these audio extras:

Rick Doblin on psychedelics and placebos: in a placebo-controlled drug study test subjects aren’t supposed to know whether they’ve gotten the real thing or a dummy dose. That’s the whole point. But how do you pull the old switcheroo in psychedelic research, where the difference between a sugar pill and a hallucinogen is, er, noticeable? Rick discussed some novel solutions he and his colleagues have come up with.

Anthropologist, ethnobotanist and explorer Wade Davis from a recent conversation we had, on his own cross-cultural psychedelic investigations and those of his mentor, ethnobotanical trailblazer Richard Evans Schultes.

Writer Don Lattin on his book The Harvard Psychedelic Club, from our 2010 interview. I also spoke to Paul Lee, one of psilocybin-takers in the original 1962 Good Friday Experiment at Boston University’s Marsh Chapel.

Don Lattin on an earlier wave of consciousness explorers, including Aldous Huxley and Gerald Heard.

What Ira Glass Won’t Say

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The Days and Nights Festival comes to Carmel and Big Sur, September 26-28, 2014.

Photo: Christopher Duggan

Photo: Christopher Duggan

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Photo: David Bazemore

Ahead of his appearance in the 2014 Days and Nights Festival Ira Glass was on Robert Pollie’s 7th Avenue Project interview show. Ira’s piece in the festival “Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host” is a spoken word and dance performance. So one of the things that happens in the interview is Robert encountering Ira’s policy about discussing whether he dances.

In the audio excerpt above you get just a taste of what happens when two masters of the radio interview enter into conversation.

7th Avenue Project: Yael Kohen: The Rise of Women in Comedy

It’s taken decades, but women are finally catching up to men in the comedy business, with A-list stars like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Sarah Silverman and Kristen Wiig. Have women comics achieved true equality? And if so, why’d it take so friggin’ long? We talk to Yael Kohen about her oral history, We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy. (Originally aired in 2012)

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Moby

This clip is from the episode of Bullseye, broadcast June 22, 2014.

Moby is one of the most successful electronic musicians in the world. But he didn’t start fiddling with synthesizers and drum machines as a kid — he was studying classical guitar. Then, his world changed with just one song.

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7th Avenue Project: Photographer Camille Seaman

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From the 7th Avenue Project w/ Robert Pollie – Broadcast June 1, 2014 -

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Artist Camille Seaman. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

Maybe it’s not so surprising that someone named after a hurricane and whose Shinnecock Indian grandfather taught her that “it’s your sweat up there in the clouds” would have a special feeling for meteorological phenomena and the cycles of nature. But there were miles to go and a lot of serendipity before Camille Seaman found her calling as an acclaimed photographer of ice and storms. She was an at-risk teen when a teacher gave her her first camera. And then there was and impetuous trip to the arctic years later, and the emotional jolt of 9/11, and some mentoring from a National Geographic photographer…

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On the One Hand Stark Reality, On the Other Hand Fantasy

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Colombian writer and Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez greets fans and reporters outside his home in Mexico City on March 6. Photo: Mario Guzman/EPA/Landov

Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez died Thursday at the age of 87. His work, including the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude earned him a Nobel Prize and sparked an entire genre of literature.

NPR’s Mandalit Del Barco reports his magical realistic style of narrative had its roots in two grandparents with two different perspectives.

Garcia Marquez was born in 1927 in the Colombian coast town of Aracataca, which experienced a boom after a U.S. fruit company arrived. In a 1984 interview with NPR, he said his writing was forever shaped by the grandparents who raised him as a young child:

“There was a real dichotomy in me because, on one hand … there was the world of my grandfather; a world of stark reality, of civil wars he told me about, since he had been a colonel in the last civil war. And then, on the other hand, there was the world of my grandmother, which was full of fantasy, completely outside of reality.”

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New Name, New Business Model for Shakespeare Festival

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From past 2010 performance of 'The Lion in Winter' with Kandis Chappell, Mairin Lee and Marco Barricelli. Barricelli will continue as the Artistic Director of the new company, joined by Mike Ryan. Photo: Courtesy of http://shakespearesantacruz.org

From past 2010 performance of ‘The Lion in Winter’ with Kandis Chappell, Mairin Lee and Marco Barricelli. Barricelli will continue as the Artistic Director of the new company, joined by Mike Ryan. Photo: Courtesy of http://shakespearesantacruz.org

By J.D. Hillard | KUSP News

Supporters of Santa Cruz’s annual Shakespeare festival snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the last days of January when they brought a campaign to independently fund the next festival season to a successful completion.

It’s uncertain whether there will ever be a ‘Shakespeare Santa Cruz’ again. The successor company aiming to carry on the festival doesn’t own the name. Instead it seems Shakespeare plays will return to Santa Cruz performed by a company calling itself ‘Santa Cruz Shakespeare’.

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David Sedaris – How His Book Tours Influenced his Latest Collection

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David Sedaris talks with Rick Kleffel about how his book tours influenced his latest collection of essays and short stories – Let Explore Diabetes with Owls.

  
About the interview, Rick Kleffel wrote:

It will come as no surprise that David Sedaris is easy to talk to. When we sat down to discuss ‘Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls,’ we were both quickly to our comfort zones; being crabby old men complaining about stuff and gawky kids talking about weird things.