Seventeen-year-old boxer Claressa Shields won a gold medal in the Olympics Thursday. It’s the first time women have competed in boxing in the Olympics, and it has been her goal to box in London since 2009. Shields was on the Leonard Lopate Show in February, along with her coach Jason Crutchfield and former pro fighter Christy Halbert, and you can listen to that interview here.
Shields and the other women who competed for a chance to fight in the 2012 Olympics were the subject of a radio documentary produced by WNYC’s Marianne McCune. Go For It: Life Lessons From Girl Boxers.
Robert Hughes brought great gusto and eloquence to the craft of art criticism. The native Australian could be scathing in his opinions, saying the art world had "finally turned into a kind of entropic, institutionalized parody of its old self.” He just died August 6, at the age of 74. You can hear his interview with Leonard from 2006, when he described his life before, and after, a traumatic car crash in 1999, from which he’d never quite recovered.
Gore Vidal was many things—a writer, social critic, playwright, political candidate, sometime actor, and perennial iconoclast. He was on the Leonard Lopate Show several times. You can listen to two of his more recent conversations below.
John Damani Mahama was on the Lopate Show on July 10 to discuss his memoir and his political rise to become the Vice President of Ghana. Yesterday, following the death of Pres. John Atta Mills, Mr. Mahama was sworn in as Ghana's 4th president. You can listen to Leonard's conversation with John Dramani Mahama:
Industrial hygienist and environmental health expert Monona Rossol was here last week to talk about the safety concerns about fire retardants. We got a lot of comments and questions during that segment, and Monona has responded with answers.
On March 27 filmmakers Nina Rosenblum and Daniel Allentuck were on the show to talk about their documentary “Ordinary Miracles: The Photo League’s New York.” Their film is opening in New York tonight at the Quad Cinema, and the filmmakers are doing a Q&A at the 7:00 screening.
Topher Grace really enjoyed making out with Scarlett Johansson in the movie “In Good Company.”
When the Pulitzer Prize winners were announced in April, many people were surprised that no fiction award was given this year. The publishing industry is understandably irritated by this decision—or indecision. Sig Gissler, the administrator of the Pulitzers for Columbia University, explained that a three-person jury chooses three finalists out of hundreds of books, then sends the finalists to the Pulitzer board, which, this year, was unable to determine a winner. The finalists were Karen Russell’s Swamplandia!, Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams, and David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King, published after the author’s death.
Weigh in: What novels do you think should have won this year? Leave a comment below to let us know!
The nominations for the 2012 Tony Awards were announced on Tuesday, May 1, and you can hear Leonard's conversations with many of this year’s nominees. (You can find a full list of the nominees here.) The awards will be presented on June 10.
Documentary filmmaker Ben Anderson was in our studio Monday where he discussed his takeaway from the front lines in Afghanistan. In his reporting, Anderson shadowed three different battalions of NATO forces over the course of four years. He documented his experiences in his new book, No Worse Enemy, which draws from the more than 300 hours of footage he captured during his time there. Much of that footage was even used in a documentary he produced for HBO in 2010, The Battle For Marjah.
Both documentary and commercial filmmakers have used our ongoing conflicts in a number of feature films released in the last few years: Stop Loss, The Hurt Locker, No End In Sight, In The Valley of Elah, Generation Kill, Green Zone, and Lions for Lambs all centered on the operations in Iraq. But The Battle for Marjah is one of only a few films that focus specifically on Afghanistan (Sebastian Junger and the late Tim Hetherington’s chilling documentary Restrepo is another).
This got me wondering about our relationship with Afghanistan in cinema. Recent films about the Iraq War have largely been box office blanks, even the ones that were well reviewed—Bob Tourtellotte wrote about this on Reuters' Fan Fare blog. Has that kept studios and filmmakers from focusing on the important subject of Afghanistan? Are there films about Afghanistan worth looking into that we’ve missed? Do you think filmmakers will revisit the subject in years to come?
The 2012 Pulitzer Prizes were announced on Monday, and a few of the winners have been on the Lopate Show discussing their work.
John Lewis Gaddis won for his biography George F. Kennan: An American Life. Kennan set the strategy of containment that defined U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union, and was an architect of the Marshall Plan. He discussed Kennan's life and influence of Kennan with Leonard in December.
Stephen Greenblatt's book The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, also won. He was on the Lopate Show in December talking about how a nearly forgotten manuscript by the Roman philosopher Lucretius sparked the Renaissance and changed the world.
Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan, and Chris Hawley, of The Associated Press, won for their investigation of a New York Police Department surveillance of mostly Muslim neighborhoods. Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman were on the show in February to talk about investigative reporting.
Ever day on the Leonard Lopate Show we learn something new and surprising. Here are some highlights from last week:
How to throw a knuckleball: dig your fingernails into the ball behind the horseshoe, then release it at the exactly perfect moment to keep it from spinning. How to catch knuckleball: Some say the best way is to wait until it stops rolling and pick it up.
And start reading his novel Open City and leave a comment or question for our Book Club discussion on May 7.