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What Influences Us: Gandhi, Stress, and Empathy

Anna Sale fills in for Leonard. On today’s show: Ramachandra Guha talks about the first volume of his biography of Mohandas Gandhi, about Gandhi’s years in London and colonial South Africa. Brigid Schulte looks at why so many of us are overwhelmed by work and life. Robert Sitton discusses the life and work of Iris Barry, who founded the film department at MoMA and was its first curator. And our latest Please Explain is all about empathy.

Segments and Articles

I Feel Your Pain: All About Empathy

Friday, April 18, 2014

Paul Bloom, professor of psychology and cognitive science at Yale University, and Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams, and tell us what empathy is, how we develop it, what happens when people don’t develop it, and empathy’s role in human psychology, behavior, and relationships.

If you have questions about empathy, leave it as a comment, below!

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Feeling Overwhelmed?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Brigid Schulte, a staff writer for The Washington Post, wonders: Are our brains, our partners, our culture, and our bosses making it impossible for us to experience anything but “contaminated time”? In Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time she looks at the stresses that have eroded our leisure time and tries to find ways to put the pieces of our over-scheduled lives back together. Schulte speaks to neuroscientists, sociologists, and hundreds of working parents to tease out the factors contributing to our collective sense of being overwhelmed, seeking insights, answers, and inspiration.

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Gandhi Before India

Friday, April 18, 2014

Mohandas Gandhi is one of the most influential—and controversial—men in modern history. Ramachandra Guha discusses the first volume of his biography of Gandhi, Gandhi Before India, which gives vivid portraits of the man and the world he lived in—from India to Victorian England to South Africa. It explores the ways Gandhi inspired the devotion of thousands of followers in South Africa as he mobilized a cross-class and inter-religious coalition, pledged to non-violence in their battle against a brutally racist regime.

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How Iris Barry Saw Film as Art

Friday, April 18, 2014

Iris Barry was one of the first intellectuals to treat film as an art form, appreciating its far-reaching, transformative power. She founded the Museum of Modern Arts’ film department and became its first curator. In Lady in the Dark: Iris Barry and the Art of Film, Robert Sitton writes about her life and her lasting legacy.

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Remembering Ann Richards

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cecile Richards talks about her mother, Ann Richards, and the new HBO film “All About Ann: Governor Richards of the Lone Star State.” The documentary chronicles Richards’ life—from growing up poor in rural Texas to her life as a sociable suburban housewife and mother of four to entering politics and becoming one of the most charismatic American political figures of the last 30 years. Richards was the first woman to be elected to that office in the state of Texas. 

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Young Farmers Taking on the Family Business

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Most American’s haven’t set foot on a farm or ranch. In his documentary “Farmland: The Evolution of a Tradition,” filmmaker  James Moll takes an intimate look at the lives of farmers and ranchers in their 20s who are now responsible for running the family business. He's joined by Brad Bellah, a sixth generation cattle rancher who runs beef cattle operations in Texas and Colorado. “Farmland: The Evolution of a Tradition,” opens May 9 at Village East Cinema.

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Mary Roach's Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mary Roach’s latest book Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal investigates how digestion works, from start to finish. Roach writes about the scientists who tackle the complex bodily process that fuels us and keeps us alive. Gulp is the Leonard Lopate Show Book Club’s April selection, so pick up a copy and start reading today! Mary Roach will be here April 17 to talk about the amazing, sometimes stomach-turning facts she learned about our digestive tract.

Leave your questions for the author below!

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Comments [15]

What Drives Income Inequality

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thomas Piketty explains the grand dynamics that drive the accumulation and distribution of capital. In Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Piketty analyzes a unique collection of data from 20 countries, ranging as far back as the 18th century, to uncover key economic and social patterns. He makes the case that the main driver of inequality—the tendency of returns on capital to exceed the rate of economic growth—threatens to generate extreme inequalities that foment social and political turmoil and undermine democratic values.

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Wealth Gap, Gulp, and Governor Ann Richards

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Anna Sale fills in for Leonard Lopate. On today’s show: Mary Roach joins the Leonard Lopate Show Book Club to talk about her book Gulp! Thomas Piketty talks about crunching 200 years’ worth of economic data to look ahead at how wealth will be distributed in the 21st century. Cecile Richards talks about her late mother, former Texas Governor Ann Richards. James Moll discusses his documentary “Farmland,” about the lives of young farmers and ranchers. And we’ll find out why there isn’t a male contraceptive pill.

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The Elusive Male Contraceptive Pill

Thursday, April 17, 2014

It’s been over 40 years since the FDA approved the birth control pill, but there is still no comparable option for men. Research and funding for developing male contraception has been sporadic over the years, but there are small groups of scientists who are very committed to the project. Dr. Diana Blithe of the National Institutes of Health discusses developing a “male pill” that is safe, effective and reversible.

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MoMA Director Glenn Lowry on Expanding the Collection, Audience, and Building

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Glenn D. Lowry, director of The Museum of Modern Art, talks about the museum’s transformation over the past two decades and its place in the cultural landscape of New York and the world.

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Dancers Gelsey Kirkland and Michael Chernov on Creating an Academy of Classical Ballet

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Legendary ballet dancer Gelsey Kirkland and her husband, Michael Chernov, talk about creating The Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet. They discuss ballet’s role in the city’s culture, the history of classical ballet, how they came together, and their own individual paths in dance. Their new production of “Sleeping Beauty” will be presented in mid-May at the Schimmel Center at Pace University and their new summer camp begins at the end of June.

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Ashley Bouder and Sara Mearns on Dancing in the New York City Ballet

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ashley Bouder and Sara Mearns, principal dancers with the New York City Ballet, talk about their careers as dancers, and the demands and rewards  of dancing in the NYCB.

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A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, a Novel by Anthony Marra

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Anthony Marra discusses his debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. It’s set in Chechnya and explores the transcendent power of love in wartime.

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Sarah Jessica Parker Is Back in the Host's Seat

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sarah Jessica Parker fills in again for Leonard Lopate. World-famous ballet dancer Gelsey Kirkland and her husband, Michael Chernov, talk about the history of classical ballet and about launching the Gelsey Kirkland Conservatory of Classical Ballet. Ashley Bouder and Sara Mearns tell us what it’s like to be principal dancers with the New York City Ballet. Anthony Marra discusses his debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. And Glenn Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art, describes what goes into MoMA’s major shows and talks about the future of museums.

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Dexter Filkins: Covering War Distorts Everything

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Guest host Sarah Jessica Parker talked to journalist Dexter Filkins about covering war and his experiences covering war in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. He joined The New Yorker in January of 2011; before that he was with the New York Times since 2000.

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Comments [15]

Artist Alex Katz

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Alex Katz discusses his long career as a painter, printmaker, and sculptor. He's best known for his large-scale portraits and landscapes.

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"Mothers and Sons"

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Playwright Terrence McNally talks about his play “Mothers and Sons,” along with stars Tyne Daly and Frederick Weller. The play is about a woman who pays an unexpected visit to the New York apartment of her late son's partner, who is now married to another man and has a young son. Challenged to face how society has changed around her, generations collide as she revisits the past and begins to see the life her son might have led. “Mothers and Sons” is playing at the Golden Theater.

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Jessie Mueller and Doug McGrath on "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical"

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Jessie Mueller, who plays Carole King in “Beautiful: The Carol King Musical,” talks about her role, along with Doug McGrath, who wrote the book for the show. It tells the story of how Carole Klein, an awkward teen living in Brooklyn, became a hit songwriter. She and her husband and songwriting partner Gerry Goffin become a songwriting powerhouse, churning out hits like “One Fine Day,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” and “The Loco-Motion.” “Beautiful” is playing at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

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Sarah Jessica Parker in the Host's Chair

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sarah Jessica Parker fills in for Leonard Lopate. On today’s show: New Yorker writer Dexter Filkins talks about the challenge of war reporting. Then, artist Alex Katz discusses his long career. Jessie Mueller talks about playing Carole King in the Broadway musical, “Beautiful,” along with Doug McGrath, who wrote the show’s book. And playwright Terrence McNally on his play, “Mothers and Sons,” along with stars Tyne Daly and Frederick Weller.

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