It’s easy to tell who's the villain in an old western: The good guy wears a white hat, the bad guy wears black. Real life villains don’t follow that code. Nor are they likely to conspicuously twirl their moustaches like Snidely Whiplash awaiting the oncoming train. Sure Hitler was evil…but what is the nature of villainy? Bill Clinton? Joe Frazier? And the Sharon Stone character in Basic Instinct attract haters…but does that make them wicked? What is the nature of villainy? Why does Taylor Swift inspire cultish adoration, while Wilt Chamberlin is loathed? And why is our culture so absorbed with anti-heroes, anyway.
If you’re a New England sports fan of a certain age, chances are you can describe exactly what happened during game 6 of the 1986 World Series when Bill Buckner missed a roller at first.
That error allowed the Mets a winning run and further cemented the “Curse of the Bambino” in the minds of Red Sox fans…many of those same fans still get weepy when thinking of 2004 – when the Sox finally reversed the curse and won the World Series.
Along with the thrill comes the agony …just ask any Bruins fan who watched Boston’s 2 - 1 lead in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals squandered by two Blackhawk goals in the last 76 seconds of the game.
We spoke to science writer and Radiolab contributor Eric Simons before the Bruins crushing defeat. Eric’s latest book “The Secret Lives of Sports Fans,” is his attempt to figure out the science and psychology of sports fans…and it begins with a play-by-play of heartbreak.
Glam rock paraded its outrageous self across the stage between the early and late 1970s… David Bowie, Lou Reed, and bands like T-Rex, and Roxy Music traded in mad men and hippy era masculinity for flamboyant hairstyles, blue eyeshadow and platforms shoes. Glam came from Britain, but conspired with America’s Me Generation…dropping a glitter bomb of theatrics, androgyny and gay camp on a country lurching between deprivation and hedonism. Without glam, there would be no punk, no Flock of Seagulls hair bands, goth rock or KISS… cultural critic Mark Dery argues that glam was surprisingly radical…planting the seeds of genderplay in the minds of middle class kids, one guitar riff at a time. Mark is author of “All the Young Dudes: Why Glam Rock Matters,” the inaugural e-reader release from the new Boing Boing imprint.
For many of us, rekindling a connection to our food means lingering a little longer in the organic produce section while trying to pick the perfect pepper. But the “hyper-local” and “slow food” movements have created a new demand for the old ways of connecting to food…food you can grow, catch, gather and even kill…D.I.Y. style. A wide range of workshops have cropped up all over the country that offer hands-on experience with identifying edibles in your own backyard. Our next guest took a decidedly more aggressive approach to connecting with his food.
Back in March, we spoke with Vermont novelist David Blistein, about his latest book, David’s Inferno. The book is part memoir, part brain research, part rough guide to Dante’s Divine Comedy…and it’s also, surprisingly funny. David will read from the book and talk with the audience this evening, June 6, at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord. He spoke with us about the razor thin-line between creativity and mania, and how ricocheting between those extremes was how he thrived for many years career as an ad agency executive. Here is the earlier conversation withDavid Blistein, the novelist, essayist, and blogger.
At the time of his capture in 2011, James “Whitey” Bulger was wanted for 19 murders, extortion and loan sharking committed during his reign over Boston’s Irish mob between the 1970s and 1995. During 16 years on the lam, Whitey became the subject of myth; characterized alternately as a “good bad guy”, and, in Martin Scorsese’s 2006 film, The Departed, a venal sociopath.
Shelley Murphy and Kevin Cullen, a pair of Boston Globe journalists have drawn on 25 years of reporting to create a more complete and nuanced portrait of the restless boy from the Boston projects who became the most wanted fugitive of his generation. Tonight, Murphy and Cullen will be at the Red River Theatre for a screening of The Departed and at a pre-screening reception and talk.
Hemingway, Darwin, Joyce, Tesla and Picasso were all remarkably different in their temperament and creative output, but they had one thing in common: a successful routine. From Franklin’s solitary nude reading hour to Picasso’s silent lunch gatherings, the outstanding rituals and habits that created genius are as fascinating as they are unexpected. Combing through over 160 accounts of creative minds, Mason Currey’s new book “Daily Rituals: How Artists Work” uncovers the daily almanac of history’s most eccentric, troubled and genius figures. Mason’s writing has appeared in Slate, Print, and Metropolis, where he was an editor for six years.
It's been ten years since Augusten Burroughs' memoir Dry was published. In that decade, the author of Running With Scissors has gotten married, stayed sober, and written a self-help book, This is How: Surviving What You Think You Can't, now out in paperback.
Throughout her career the poet Sharon Olds has been asked if her poems were true or autobiographical. There are poems about mothering and domesticity and eroticism filled with personal details and described with remarkable directness and insight. Sharon Olds has rejected the auto-biographical characterization and resisted talking about her life while her children were young, and her parents were alive. She even kept the disillusion of her 32 year marriage from the public; waiting more than a decade to publish Stag's Leap, a collection of poems that is being praised as the best book of her career, and earlier this month won the Pullitzer Prize for poetry.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s most celebrated novel, in which Ms. Bennet discovers her true love in a man she first sees as an adversary. Pride and Prejudice has spurred countless adaptations, films, and even a zombie parody…but now Austen is getting new attention not for her romantic prose, but for her strategic thinking. Joining us is Jennifer Schuessler with the New York Times, who recently covered the publication of the book, Jane Austen, Game Theorist, written by UCLA political scientist Michael Chwe.
Tom Gauld's cartoon panels have been described as bleak, minimalist, sweet and funny. The London-based cartoonist and illustrator draws a weekly cartoon for The Guardian newspaper’s book review section, and has cracked the US market with comic strips in The New York Times Magazine. A new collection of those strips called, You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, will be released in the US on April 30th.
Many of us have good intentions when it comes to reducing household waste – but too often those canvas totes get left in the closet, food scraps avoid the compost pile, and product packaging fills the trash-bag. One head of household has found the motivation and creativity needed to take home-waste reduction to a whole other level. Bea Johnson is the blogger behind Zero-Waste Home, and now author of a book by the same name. She and her family produce only one quart of garbage per year.
Shirley Falls, Maine is one of those New England towns with a strong memory of the way things used to be…before the mills closed, before the mall went up across the river…before so many residents moved away. It’s the fictional town left behind by a pair of brothers in The Burgess Boys, a new novel by Elizabeth Strout, who won the Pulitzer prize for fiction for Olive Kitteridge. The story centers on Jim and Bob Burgess, brothers whose lives are imprinted by a childhood tragedy in very different ways. Both pull up their stakes and secret miseries and move to New York City….and both are pulled back to their hometown by another family crisis. Elizabeth talks to Virginia about the book and it's connection to Maine.