One of the most memorable interviews on our show was when Kongar-ol Ondar came by our old studios at One Centre Street. He was a master of Tuvan throat singing -- where the vocalist can produce two, or more, notes simultaneously. Margalit Fox said in the New York Times that it "sounds like the bewitching, remarkably harmonious marriage of a vacuum cleaner and a bumblebee." With Leonard's coaxing, Ondar demonstrated on air. And it suddenly felt like we were on the steppes of Mongolia...You can hear for yourself...
Ondar died recently at the age of 51.
Director Jack O'Brien was on the Leonard Lopate Show recently to talk about what he calls his "accidental career" directing operas and Broadway plays and musicals. Find out why he says, "All I hear is Shakespeare" -- and what he's reading these days.
What are your favorite books/who are your favorite authors?
More than favorite authors, I have favorite works. And I’m not sure I would distinguish between films and books in that category: The Death of Ivan Ilych. Seize the Day. Annie Hall. GoodFellas. The Human Stain. The Invisible Man. Bringing Up Baby. Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson. A Bend in the River.
What are your favorite plays and why?
I think all of my favorite plays share the same qualities of dramatic impact, social commentary, and an almost classical purity of form: "Hedda Gabler." "Look Back in Anger." "Glen Garry Glen Ross." "All My Sons."
What authors or works do you think are underappreciated or overlooked?
Harold Brodkey. One of the finest writers of our American language. And likely the greatest long short fiction writer we’ve had.
Do you have any writing rituals or habits? Where, when, and how do you write?
9 to 2 every day. In my office. I tend to work in intense spurts followed by short periods of relaxation. When I’m working on a play, having an upcoming reading is helpful, and I love to write in the midst of workshops, while I have the chance to hear actors work with the new material. As a novelist, the deadlines are more internal, and the work obviously much more solitary.
Do you have favorite or least favorite words? What are they and why?
I’ve always adored the French word, oiseau. Which means bird. I love that it uses every vowel. And I love that you add an “x” for the plural: oiseaux.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Persistence. It can take a very long time to get anywhere, artistically, professionally. Be open to criticism, and continue to do it. Persist.
Dennis Farina came late to acting – after he had spent 20 years as a police officer in Chicago. His acting career would eventually last longer than his years in law enforcement, though – between stints on series “Law & Order,” “Crime Story,” and “Luck,” and movies that included “Get Shorty,” “Saving Private Ryan,” and “Midnight Run.” He died at the age of 69. He spoke with Leonard back in November of 2001 for his film, “Sidewalks of New York.”
Helen Thomas was the first woman to become a chief White House correspondent for a wire service, and the first to not only join, but lead the White House Correspondents’ Association, where she covered every president from Kennedy to Obama with intensity, tenacity, and humor (when called for!). She died at the age of 92. And you can hear Leonard’s interview with her from May 1999.
Southeast Asian Tomato Salad
Makes 4 servings
About 2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce such as nam pla or nuoc mam, or to taste
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 fat garlic clove, minced (or use 2 small ones)
1/2 jalapeno ...
A Perfect Tomato Sandwich
Of all the seasonal produce that I wax poetic about in these pages, nothing gives me goose bumps like a ripe summer tomato.
Meaty and succulent, its velvety flesh enclosing a fragrant jelly of golden seeds and dripping with sweet pink juice, a summer tomato is ...