A group of scientists envision a system that would use satellites to “vigorously monitor” potential threats resulting from climate change, similar to storm monitoring.
A council of expert scientists at the National Academy of Science is calling for the development of a abrupt climate change early warning system. It would alert the public and scientists to potentially harmful natural disasters, such as rising sea levels or an increases in global temperature. The imagined system would keep close watch of potential threats, even if they are years off in the future. The recommendations were released in early December, along with a broader report from the Committee on Understanding and Monitoring Abrupt Climate Change. Jim White, a professor of geological studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, is chairman.
The report, says White, aims to convey a greater sense of urgency to counter, as he has observed, how most tend to think of climate change — as slowly unfolding events or patterns, like increasingly longer droughts that provoke a less imminent and lower-level sense of concern. To the contrary, the professor cautions that issues affecting the climate will eventually reach a major tipping point, triggering natural disasters.
The recent push by White and fellow scientists also serves as their message to the federal government. The Boulder geologist says the Obama administration isn’t investing enough resources into monitoring long-term climate patterns and their potential consequences, investments that could be made in tools like warning systems proposed by the group.
Experts say extreme dust levels threaten Colorado’s water supply, much of which comes from snowpack.
Snow at the headwaters of the Colorado River is melting six weeks earlier than it did in the 1800s, according to scientists.
Dust may be the culprit: When a dark layer of dust lays on top of clean snow, the snow melts faster, because the dark particles absorb more of the sun’s rays.
All across the country—most recently, in the state of Texas—local battles over the teaching of evolution are taking on a new complexion. More and more, it isn’t just evolution under attack, it’s also the teaching of climate science. The National Center for Science Education, the leading group defending the teaching of evolution across the country, has even broadened its portfolio: Now, it protects climate education too.
How did these issues get wrapped up together? On its face, there isn’t a clear reason—other than a marriage of convenience—why attacks on evolution and attacks on climate change ought to travel side by side. After all, we know why people deny evolution: Religion, especially the fundamentalist kind. And we know why people deny global warming: Free market ideology and libertarianism. These are not, last I checked, the same thing. (If anything, libertarians may be the most religiously skeptical group on the political right.)
And yet clearly there’s a relationship between the two issue stances. If you’re in doubt, watch this Climate Desk video of a number of members of Congress citing religion in the context of questioning global warming:
Even if you haven’t heard of Tony Joe White, you’ve probably heard his music. His songs have been performed by Elvis, Ray Charles and Tina Turner. He’s even been sampled by Kanye West. Host Scott Simon talks with White about his distinctive swamp rock sound, and his new album, Hoodoo.
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Tony Joe White is an original. Known for popularizing swamp music, he’s written songs that were performed by Elvis, Ray Charles and Tina Turner. Kanye West has borrowed from him, too. His swamp rock sound is a mix of Delta blues, Cajun, country, and, of course, rock ‘n’ roll. Now, nearly 40 years after he started recording, Tony Joe White’s latest album is out. It’s called “Hoodoo.” He joins us from Nashville. Thanks so much for being with us.
Very few of us need to be reminded about what happened 50 years ago today in Dallas.
And with all the remembrances of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in the news media this week, there’s no need for us to post yet another.
Let’s go in a different direction. We’re embedding video of his Jan. 20, 1961, inaugural address. We’ll also attach a transcript (per the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum) below.
As NPR has reported before, the president’s “ask not” address still inspires many people. We thought watching and reading it again might be a proper way of noting this day.
From WBUR in Boston:
It’s been 50 years since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, and polls show that a majority of Americans still believe Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy, not a lone assassin. Though an official investigation concluded that Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone, conspiracy theories about the assassination were spawned almost immediately, and they keep coming to this day: Republican consultant Roger Stone has a new book — The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ — arguing Lyndon Johnson was behind the crime.
Veteran investigative reporter Philip Shenon looks for the root of five decades of speculation in A Cruel and Shocking Act. The book recounts the work of the Warren Commission appointed by President Johnson to investigate the assassination.
Shenon tells Fresh Air‘s Dave Davies that throughout the investigation, Chief Justice Warren — who was close to the Kennedy family — “makes decisions that seem to be designed to protect President Kennedy’s legacy, to protect the privacy of the Kennedy family, even if that means that not all the facts are gathered about the assassination.”
In a short film by Errol Morris, Josiah “Tink” Thompson, who has been investigating the Kennedy assassination for nearly 50 years, looks to the photographic evidence.
A brief résumé. Josiah “Tink” Thompson, the subject of this Op-Doc, graduated from Yale in 1957, became a demolitions expert and frogman for the Navy, and then returned to Yale to get his Ph.D. on the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard.
The Kennedy assassination changed Tink’s life. In 1967, he was an assistant professor of philosophy at Haverford, when he published “Six Seconds in Dallas.” Short, simple and quietly convincing, it is still one of the best books written about the assassination.
Ten years later, Tink left academia and became a private detective in Northern California. Now he has returned to what has haunted him for 50 years: Frame #313 of the Zapruder film, and our inability to come up with a definitive account of what happened in Dallas.
Is there a lesson to be learned? Yes, to never give up trying to uncover the truth. Despite all the difficulties, what happened in Dallas happened in one way rather than another. It may have been hopelessly obscured, but it was not obliterated. Tink still believes in answers, and in this instance, an answer. He is completing a sequel to “Six Seconds” called “Last Second in Dallas.” Like its predecessor, this book is clearly reasoned and convincing. Of course, there will be people who will be unmoved by his or any other account. This is a dogfight with too many dogs in the fight. Most people have already staked out their commitment.
I am fascinated by Tink — see also my earlier short film on him, “The Umbrella Man” — because he is obsessed with the photographic evidence. Not that you can read the truth of what happened off a photographic plate, but that photography can lead you to the truth.
Director Bio: Errol Morris is a writer and filmmaker whose new feature documentary, “The Unknown Known,” is soon to be released. His film “The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons From the Life of Robert S. McNamara,” won the Academy Award for best documentary feature of 2003. He is the author of “Believing is Seeing: Observations on the Mysteries of Photography” (a book of essays, many of which appeared here) and “A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald.” His previous Op-Docs are “The Umbrella Man,” “El Wingador” and “11 Excellent Reasons Not to Vote?”
Slaves at a coffee yard in a farm. Vale do Paraiba, Sao Paulo, 1882.
Brazil was the last place in the Americas to abolish slavery — it didn’t happen until 1888 — and that meant that the final years of the practice were photographed.
This has given Brazil what may be the world’s largest archive of photography of slavery, and a new exhibition in Sao Paulo is offering some new insights into the country’s brutal past.
One image at the exhibition, for example, has been blown up to the size of a wall. “Things that you could never see, suddenly you see,” says anthropologist Lilia Schwarcz, one of the curators of the new exhibition called Emancipation Inclusion and Exclusion.
In its original size and composition, the image from photographer Marc Ferrez, one of the most impressive photographers from 19th century Brazil, shows a wide shot of a group of slaves drying coffee in a field. Their faces are indistinct but the overall impression is one of order and calm. But once the picture is blown up, the expressions become distinct and details emerge. A female slave is breastfeeding a child in the field; clothes that look neat are seen to be tattered.
“Expanding the photos, we can see a lot of things we couldn’t see and the state didn’t want to see,” Schwarcz says. “We do not want to show slaves only like victims.”
Black woman with white child on her back. Bahia, 1860.
Ronald Heifetz draws on his training as a psychiatrist to coach aspiring leaders at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Ronald Heifetz has been a professor of public leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School for three decades, teaching classes that have included aspiring business leaders and budding heads of state. Each year, he says, the students start his course thinking they’ll learn the answer to one question:
As leaders, how can they get others to follow them?
Heifetz says that whole approach is wrong.
“The dominant view of leadership is that the leader has the vision and the rest is a sales problem,” he says. “I think that notion of leadership is bankrupt.” That approach only works for technical problems, he says, where there’s a right answer and an expert knows what it is.
Heifetz trained as a psychiatrist, and he describes his view of effective leadership with an analogy from medicine. “When a patient comes to a surgeon, the surgeon’s default setting is to say, ‘You’ve got a problem? I’ll take the problem off your shoulders and I’ll deliver back to you a solution.’ In psychiatry, when a person comes to you with a problem, it’s not your job actually to solve their problem. It’s your job to develop their capacity to solve their own problem.”
Many intractable political issues, such as civil war, poverty or ethnic tension are complicated, and solving them may require a whole nation of people to change their mindset. As they approach these sorts of “nontechnical” problems, Heifetz says, leaders should think less like surgeons, and more like psychiatrists.
In such cases, “the people are the problem and the people are the solution,” he says. “And leadership then is about mobilizing and engaging the people with the problem rather than trying to anesthetize them so you can go off and solve it on your own.”
The 69th Regiment Armory on East 25th Street may have seemed like an odd venue, but it was big enough to hold the 1,400-work exhibition. “There were lots of comparisons in 1913 of the Armory Show being a bomb from the blue, so the Armory is not inappropriate,” says curator Kimberly Orcutt.
One hundred years ago in New York City, nearly 90,000 people came to see the future of art. The 1913 Armory Show gave America its first look at what avant-garde artists in Europe were doing. Today these artists are in major museums around the world, but in 1913, they were mostly unknown in America.
Boasting 1,400 works — from artists such as George Braque, Mary Cassatt, Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, and many, many more — it was the biggest art show New York had ever seen. Today, the New York Historical Society is celebrating the Armory centennial with artworks from the original exhibition.
Normally used to store arms and train troops, the 69th Regiment Armory on East 25th Street was an odd venue, but it was big enough to hold it all. “There were lots of comparisons in 1913 of the Armory Show being a bomb from the blue, so the Armory is not inappropriate,” says curator Kimberly Orcutt.
The avant-garde show raised hackles. The most controversial work was Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase. Everyone had an opinion about it, including former President Theodore Roosevelt, who compared it to a Navajo rug he had in his bathroom.
Americans were not used to looking at abstract art. And the Duchamp — painted in ochres and browns a year before the Armory Show, was Cubist — splintering a profile figure so it seems to be in motion. The painting provoked critiques of all sorts, including cartoons and poems.
“It was called a bundle of slats, an explosion in a shingle factory,” says curator Marilyn Kushner.
Viewers were puzzled; with all those fragments, where was the nude? But they lined up to see it, and the other avant-garde works. Some 87,000 people came to the Armory show. Rich collectors and dealers had seen such art in Europe, but this was the first time the masses got to see — and react to — the new ideas.
The Western Slope towns of Naturita and Nucla once boomed thanks to uranium mining in the area. But when the mines closed in the 1980s, unemployment skyrocketed. So when plans for a new uranium mill were announced, many residents of the two towns welcomed the news. Others, led by an advocacy group in Telluride, went to battle, saying the risks to health and the environment were too great. The controversy is the subject of a new documentary by Telluride filmmaker Suzan Beraza, Uranium Drive-In. It’s one of a number of documentaries at this year’s Starz Denver Film Festival. Ryan Warner speaks with Beraza about the film.
Los Angeles saw a dramatic boom in growth after the construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913. The system delivers water from the Owens River in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains to the city.
Today the beauty of Los Angeles is dramatically symbolic of the ancient prophecy: The desert shall “blossom like a rose.”
This blossoming was made possible by the birth of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, opened 100 years ago this month. The opening of the aqueduct might as well have been the birth of the modern West and the image of the city as a “Garden of Eden.”
The vast quantities of water the aqueduct moved made Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix and other cities across the region possible.
The project fulfilled the vision of William Mulholland, then L.A.’s chief water engineer. As he stood in front of 40,000 spectators on the day it opened, Mulholland gestured toward the water cascade charging down the hillside and declared, “There it is. Take it.”
But as with all things, the aqueduct also came at a price.
Birth Of The West
The $23 million Los Angeles Aqueduct project took 5,000 workers five years to complete. It also finished on time and under budget, something you might not hear a lot these days.
“The state of California would be different, arguably the world would be different, without the L.A. Aqueduct,” says Jon Christensen, the editor of Boom Magazine. Their latest issue looks at the 100-year anniversary of the aqueduct.
While the aqueduct brought water to Los Angeles, it also took it from somewhere else: Owens Valley. Christensen tells NPR’s Arun Rath that over the years there was a lot of anger and accusations that L.A. took water the water by force.
“People sold their agricultural lands and their water to the city of L.A.,” he says. “There’s lots of claims and evidence that some of that was done secretly, without identifying who the real buyers were … but there were also a lot of willing sellers.”
That anger manifested itself in the form of protests and even a bombing of the aqueduct. The 1974 film Chinatown, starring Jack Nicholson, helped perpetuate that myth that the “big city came and took what it wanted.” But the film took a few liberties with the true story of the city’s water.
“Almost nothing about [the film] is historically accurate,” Christensen says.
Andy Warhol kept much of the ephemera of his daily life in boxes called Time Capsules, now at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. This correspondence addressed to Warhol at his studio, The Factory, comes from Time Capsule 10.
Marie Elia likes to describe her job this way: She is the secretary to a dead man. As one of two catalogers for Andy Warhol’s Time Capsules, it’s her job to go through the 610 boxes he left after his death in 1987.
In one box she found a mysterious, small tin. “I opened it and it was full of fingernail clippings, dead bees and those little holes that come from a hole punch,” she says. The fingernail clippings weren’t Warhol’s. They were sent to him by a fan. “I don’t know why. Somebody mailed that to him. Somebody thought that he would like it.”
Over the past six years, catalogers at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh have indexed more than 300,000 items, from a Tyvek suit covered in Jean-Michel Basquiat’s scribblings to a box of Preparation H.
“We work more with the intimate side of Warhol. His prescriptions, his shampoos, his acne medication, his letters from his family,” says Erin Byrne, the Time Capsules‘ other cataloger. “These are things that blow people away.”
Warhol began the project when he was moving the Factory, as his studio was called. But the artist didn’t hire a moving company, says Matt Wrbican, the Warhol Museum’s chief archivist. Warhol asked his staff to clean up the mess, and one of his assistants found a workaround.
“He suggested to Andy that they start putting everything in these boxes, and they could call them ‘time capsules’ and he could work on them forever. And he did. He thought that was a great idea,” says Wrbican.
Warhol intended for the Time Capsules to eventually be sold as art, but they never went on the market. And it’s certainly easy to balk at the idea that the stuff that wound up in the boxes is art. Warhol was a packrat. But that desire to collect helped inform his artistic point of view.
King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band in Chicago in 1923
Imagine that all of your favorite music — from Wynton Marsalis to Kanye West — was released by the same record label. Well, if you were African-American back in the 1920s, odds are that was the case. What makes the story even more interesting is that this record label was launched by a company that made chairs. Its name was Paramount Records and its roster eventually included Ma Rainey, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Ethel Waters, Blind Lemon Jefferson — most of the top African-American blues and jazz performers of the day. Despite that firepower, the label folded after just 15 years in business. Now, a new reissue project tries to recapture some of the Paramount magic.
Novelist and teacher Scott Blackwood wrote a book about Paramount that’s included in the reissue package. This is a portion of it:
“1917. A young black man on a train moving up the Illinois Central Line to Chicago. Outside the window, a great emptiness crosshatched with railroads, threaded by a river. A few no account towns. A sea of prairie. He opens his trombone case across his knees. The brass glints. He feels the promise of the slide between his fingers. All that space out there concentrated into this.”
“My goal was to really find the real visceral stories that told us who these people were,” Blackwood says. “How this tremendous music came about and who the Paramount people were.”
They were, for the most part, a bunch of white guys in Port Washington, Wis., who made furniture — chairs and cabinets for phonographs. Sam Brylawski, editor of the American Discography Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara, says they got into the music business for the same reason some of today’s entrepreneurs have.
In early 1968, country singer Johnny Cash gave one of the defining performances of his career when he played for inmates at California’s Folsom State Prison. Robert Hilburn, a music critic early in his career at the Los Angeles Times, was the only reporter to cover that legendary concert.
Hilburn continued to follow the singer throughout his career. The author’s new biography, Johnny Cash: The Life, goes further in documenting Cash’s dark side than the 2005 biographical drama filmWalk the Line. The new book also chronicles Cash’s last years — and the redemption he sought before his death in 2003.
“Johnny Cash was a good man,” Hilburn tells NPR’s David Greene. “He tried to live up to his faith. It was just difficult. He struggled, and that was the great drama of Johnny Cash. And I think John Carter, his son, said it best. He said, ‘My dad’s life was a struggle between darkness and light, and in the end, the light won.’”
On Cash recording while his health deteriorated in the ’90s
“That was the salvation. That was the thing in his life that always brought him comfort. And he wanted to try to regain his legacy that he thought he had lost. It was just an act of tremendous courage, those last few albums. And he would even go into the studio some days, and he would record two lines of a song and then he’d have to stop and catch his breath. Sometimes, he’d have to lay down and rest for 10 minutes, and then he’d get up and do the next two lines of the song, and they would splice it together. And Rick Rubin was great about that, because he thought he was making a documentary of Johnny Cash. So if John’s vocal was off-key or something, it didn’t matter — because, again, this was the struggle of a man.”
On the ‘Hurt’ video
“It’s such a heartbreaking video to see him so frail that June Carter didn’t want him to put it out. The fascinating thing is June is very sick. And in the video, she looks very sad and vulnerable herself. She’s looking down at John, and when you see the video the first time, you think she’s thinking, ‘My gosh, he’s going to die. What am I going to do without him?’ What Rick Rubin and the director of the video didn’t know was June had learned the night before that she had a serious heart problem and she was going to have to go back into the hospital. She had a premonition she was going to die in the hospital. So what was really going on when she was looking at John from the stairways is, ‘What’s he going to do without me?’”
On why the unveiling of Cash’s affair with June Carter’s sister haunted him
“I didn’t know if I should tell it. I didn’t know if I should tell people that Johnny Cash had an affair with his sister-in-law while his wife was pregnant. How much does the public need to know about a performer? The main purpose of the book is talking about the artistry of someone, so how much of your personal life do you need to know? You realize it’s important, the personal life, because you see how the personal life shapes the artistry. You see things in his music that’s a reflection of the pain he has in his private life.”
His name would spin around and around on the vinyl, the writer of a thousand songs: Doc Pomus. As the man behind smash records including Elvis Presley‘s “Viva Las Vegas,” Ray Charles‘ “Lonely Avenue” and The Drifters’ “This Magic Moment,” he shaped the early sound of rock ‘n’ roll.
Pomus died in 1991. His story — one of intriguing reinvention and determination — is told in the new documentary A.K.A. Doc Pomus, which was co-directed by Peter Miller.
Born Jerome Felder, Pomus was a Brooklyn native. At the age of 6, he was diagnosed with polio and lost the use of his legs. Facing a difficult life of disability, Pomus was inspired to lead a life of music.
“When he heard Big Joe Turner‘s song on the radio, called ‘Piney Brown Blues,’ it just absolutely transformed him,” Miller says in an interview with NPR’s Melissa Block. “He realized that the blues is what had the greatest meaning for him, and he turned himself into a blues singer. This handicapped, white Jewish kid found himself singing in African-American blues clubs.”
Felder became Doc Pomus in part to keep his new escapades a secret from his mother. In a vintage clip featured in the film, he explains that “Doc” was a nod to blues singer Doctor Clayton, while “Pomus” simply seemed to roll nicely off the tongue.
After recording dozens of blues sides, Doc Pomus created a potential hit called “Heartlessly.” The track was picked up by pioneering rock ‘n’ roll DJ Alan Freed. But as things were starting to heat up for the record, Pomus hit a wall.
“The record company that acquired this recording discovered that Doc was a 30-something-year-old, disabled Jewish guy on crutches,” Miller says. “And I think their hopes for him becoming a pop star dimmed, and they didn’t release the record. So I think at some point along the way, Doc realized that he had to pursue other ways of getting his music out there.”
Pomus turned to writing, kicking off a career as one of the most prolific songsmiths of the 20th century. Miller spoke with Melissa Block about what came next: Pomus’ years as a Brill Building hit-maker, his struggles in the age of Bob Dylan and The Beatles (who found success writing their own songs) and his rebirth late in life as a mentor to younger artists. Hear more of their conversation at the audio link.
A bison crosses a road ahead of a herd of snowmobilers in Yellowstone National Park in 2003. New federal rules announced Tuesday will further restrict the noise and exhaust such vehicles are allowed to emit inside the park.
The U.S. government Tuesday announced new rules for snowmobiles in Yellowstone that should make the country’s oldest national park cleaner and quieter.
The rules were 15 years in the making because of intense wrangling between snowmobile operators and environmentalists. But both groups support the plan and give credit to snowmobile makers for designing cleaner machines.
Under the new plan, fewer than 51 groups of snowmobiles — each with up to 10 vehicles — will be allowed into the park per day, beginning in December 2014. The rule also sets new limits on snow coaches, larger vehicles that bring tourists into Yellowstone.
And as of December 2015, snowmobiles will have to pass stringent tests for noise and air pollution before they’ll be admitted inside the park. Experts say few existing snowmobiles can pass these tests.
“This is the most reasonable, the most balanced plan that has ever been presented,” says Clyde Seely, a snowmobile operator in West Yellowstone.
Tim Stevens, northern Rockies regional director for the National Parks Conservation Association, says he believes the plan will allow visitors to see the wonders of Yellowstone without being harassed by noise and pollution.
“Absolutely, under this plan Yellowstone will be a cleaner and quieter place,” Stevens says, “and a place [where] park visitors can find the solitude that is unique to Yellowstone.”
Four decades ago, snowmobiles helped open up the winter wonderland of Yellowstone to tourists. Visitors were dazzled by views of geysers spouting from the white wilderness, trumpeter swans gliding over rivers steaming with geothermal waters, and bison digging through snow to find grass.
“It was unbelievable to take those people in and see their mouths drop as they came across some of the phenomena that are there in the winter,” says Seely, who guided some of the early tours. “It is a beautiful experience.”
Snowmobiles were never allowed off-road in the park, but by the 1990s there were so many exhaust-pumping, whining machines darting about that even operators conceded there was a problem. As many as 80,000 snowmobiles zoomed through Yellowstone each season.
Visitors who came to listen to the gurgling of Old Faithful and other geysers instead were irritated by the loud buzz of the two-stroke engines.
Environmentalists raised concerns about the noise and the air pollution.
David Bromberg’s new album, Only Slightly Mad, is out now.
Only Slightly Mad, David Bromberg‘s new album, marks a substantial return for the multi-instrumentalist. In the late 1960s, Bromberg developed a reputation as a “first-call” guitarist, meaning that when artists — including Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Carly Simon,Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris and John Prine, to name a few — needed someone to record or play live with them, Bromberg was at the top of the shortlist.
The highly sought-after musician enjoyed years of collaborations with many of the music world’s biggest players. But after a little over a decade, something changed.
“I got burned out in 1980,” Bromberg says. “At one point, I was on the road for two years without being home for as long as two weeks, and I was too dumb to realize that it was burnout. I just felt I had to stop. I decided I was no longer a musician, if I had ever been one. But maybe the intelligent part of it is that I didn’t want to be one of these guys who drags himself onto the stage and does a bitter imitation of something he used to love.”
NPR’s Robert Siegel spoke with Bromberg about his musical influences and how he occupied himself after a self-imposed hiatus from life on the road. Hear more of their conversation at the audio link.
Roger Hawkins, a member of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (also known as the Swampers), is just one among the many musicians captured in this documentary about the famous town.
Most fans of ’60s soul know of Muscle Shoals, the tiny Alabama town that produced huge hits. But only the genre’s most studious followers will be able to watch Muscle Shoals without being regularly astonished: Even if it sometimes gets lost in its byways, Greg “Freddy” Camalier’s documentary tells an extraordinary story.
There’s a mystical aspect to the movie, which opens with arty nature shots and the voice of U2′s Bono, bombastically extolling the magic of this backwoods arts colony. Muscle Shoals — where once were both shoals and mussels — is on the Tennessee, which local Native Americans used to call “the river that sings.”
The overstuffed, somewhat baggy movie will return to such musings, but at this point Camalier wisely changes his tune — to the irresistible “Land of 1000 Dances.” It’s time to introduce Muscle Shoals’ auteur, Rick Hall, who in 1960 founded FAME Studios, whose name is short for Florence Alabama Music Enterprises. He turns out to be as grandiose as Bono, if less upbeat.
The songwriter-producer-entrepreneur grew up dirt poor and suffered the premature deaths of his brother, father and first wife, as well as abandonment by his mother. A driven man, Hall over the years broke with many of his business and musical partners, yet never seems to have doubted he was right — about everything.
He started producing records with local musicians, including singers Percy Sledge and Arthur Alexander. His first crew of studio musicians left after a few years to become Nashville’s top session players. Hall replaced them with another gang eventually known as the Swampers.
The first two groups had something startling in common: They were all white. But Hall had won the respect of Atlantic executive Jerry Wexler, and that label started sending the likes of Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin to Muscle Shoals. After Franklin stiffed at Columbia with a series of prissy pop records, Hall and his players crafted the sound — Aretha calls it “greasy” — that made her a star.
John Foster Dulles (right) is greeted by his brother Allen Welsh Dulles on his arrival at LaGuardia Field in New York City in 1948.
In 1953, for the first and only time in history, two brothers were appointed to head the overt and covert sides of American foreign policy. President Dwight Eisenhower appointed John Foster Dulles secretary of state, and Allen Dulles director of the CIA.
Journalist Stephen Kinzer says the Dulles brothers shaped America’s standoff with the Soviet Union, led the U.S. into war in Vietnam, and helped topple governments they thought unfriendly to American interests in Guatemala, Iran, the Congo and Indonesia. In his new book, The Brothers, Kinzer says the Dulles’ actions “helped set off some of the world’s most profound long-term crises.”
John Dulles died in 1959. President Kennedy replaced Allen Dulles after the covert operation he recommended to overthrow Fidel Castro in Cuba ended disastrously in the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.
Kinzer tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross that the Dulles’ shared background and ideology played out in their policy decisions: “They had this view of the world that was implanted in them from a very young age,” Kinzer says. “That there’s good and evil, and it’s the obligation of the good people to go out into the world and destroy the evil ones.”
Graham Nash has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice — once in 1997 as a member of Crosby, Stills & Nash, and once in 2010 as a member of The Hollies.
Graham Nash first came to the U.S. as part of the British Invasion with his band The Hollies, which got its start at the same time as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and shared bills with both groups in England. But Nash later helped to define a kind of West Coast sound, singing harmonies as part of Crosby, Stills & Nash. Nash wrote some of the most famous songs by the powerhouse group (who would add Neil Young to its roster in 1969), including “Our House,” “Teach Your Children” and “Marrakesh Express.”
In a new memoir called Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life, Nash touches on those memories and many others. He recently spoke with Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross, just a few hours before Crosby, Stills & Nash performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
An image from a video posted by Banksy shows a man representing the artist staffing a sidewalk stall featuring signed works for $60. Banksy says he only made $420 Saturday, with one customer negotiating a 2-for-1 discount.
New Yorkers who love a good bargain missed a golden opportunity Saturday, when the artist and provocateur Banksy, whose sly graffiti art adorns collectors’ walls, opened a sidewalk kiosk in Central Park to sell his work for $60 apiece.
With original signed art works zip-tied to the wire walls of his kiosk, Banksy set up shop next to stenciled signs reading, “Spray Art” and $60.” A video of the art sale shows the stall of Banksy’s work being staffed by a gray-haired man who yawns as he sits in a chair, being ignored.
His first sale came hours after opening, when a woman bought two canvases for her children. She negotiated a 50 percent discount on the pieces, according to the website of the anonymous artist who has sought to keep his appearance and identity a secret.
The offerings included small and large canvases, including a version of “Love Is in the Air.” A limited edition of that work sold for $249,000 at auction this summer.