Kevin Kline and Communication

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Friday, April 01, 2011

On today’s show: Academy- and Tony-award winner Kevin Kline talks about his latest movie, “Queen to Play,” where he speaks only in French. Howard Jacobson tells us about his Booker Prize winning novel The Finkler Question. We’ll speak with two severely autistic men who have learned to communicate through computers, and to the director of a new documentary they’re featured in.  Plus, Please Explain is all about anger!

Kevin Kline

Academy Award-winner Kevin Kline discusses his career and his latest films: “Queen to Play” and “The Conspirator.” In “Queen to Play,” he plays his first French-speaking role as a reclusive American who tutors a chambermaid with a chess obsession. It opens April 1 at Lincoln Plaza Cinema and Angelika Film Center. “The Conspirator,” directed by Robert Redford, is about a conspiracy surrounding the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. It opens April 15.

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Novelist Howard Jacobson

Howard Jacobson talks about his novel, The Finkler Question, winner of the 2010 Man Booker Prize, about the long friendship between a BBC producer, Jewish philosopher, and their former teacher. It’s a tale of friendship and loss, exclusion and belonging, and the wisdom and humanity of maturity, and an examination of what it means to be Jewish.

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"Wretches and Jabberers": Communication and Autism

Filmmaker Geraldine Wurzberg, and Tracy Thresher and Larry Bissonette, two men with autism, discuss the film “Wretches and Jabberers.” The film follows Thresher and Bissonnette, who use keyboards and computers to communicate instead of speaking, who set out on a global quest to change attitudes about disability and intelligence. They travel to Sri Lanka, Japan, and Finland, in order to challenge public attitudes about autism. It’s playing at the AMC theater on 42nd street.

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Mohair Under Threat

Dr. Morton Siegelson, a professor of biology at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, discusses the growing danger to mohair goats. Will they be the next species to go extinct?

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Please Explain: Anger

Anger is one of the forces that has sparked protests across the Middle East, from Egypt to Libya to Syria. It can be a motivating force, but it can also be destructive and damaging when it goes unchecked. On this week’s Please Explain, we’re taking a look at the roots and consequences of anger. Dr. Philip Muskin, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, and Dr. Howard Kassinove, Professor of Psychology and Director, Institute for the Study and Treatment of Anger and Aggression, and author of Anger Management: The Complete Treatment Guidebook for Practitioners and Anger Management for Everyone, explain when anger becomes a problem and how anger management works.  

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Guest Picks: Howard Jacobson

Novelist Howard Jacobson stopped by the Leonard Lopate Show to talk about his Man Booker Prize-winning book, The Finkler Question. He shared a few of his favorite things with us.


Bringing You Wretches and Jabberers

Today we aired our interview with Tracy Thresher and Larry Bissonette, two autistic men who are featured in Geraldine Wurzberg’s new documentary film “Wretches and Jabberers.” They use computers and iPads to communicate with the rest of the world.

It was unlike any other pretaped interview we’ve done on the show. Along with Tracy, Larry, and Geraldine, there were 2 professional aides in the studios, helping Tracy and Larry slowly type their answers to Leonard’s questions. The taping took us 41 minutes to get about 13 minutes of conversation, with our engineers making sure that we had the equipment and the studio time we needed to record the whole thing.

Parts of the interview are moving, others funny. We hope you enjoy this unusual conversation as much as the Lopate Show team has enjoyed bringing it to you. 


Richard Leacock, Dead at 89

When Richard Leacock died in Paris on March 23rd at the age of 89, it marked the end of one of the great careers in documentary film.  An esteemed director, cinematographer, and teacher, Leacock helped invent what became known ascinéma vérité, or "direct cinema."  He and his colleagues influenced an entire generation of filmmakers, leading to a revolution in visual style that it still being worked out today. If you’re not familiar with his work you should check out “Primary” and “Monterey Pop.”  Meanwhile, you can hear Leonard’s interview with him from 1999, when we were lucky to have had him on the show.

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Geraldine Ferraro, Dead at 75

Geraldine Ferraro made history back in 1984 when she became the Democratic nominee for vice president – the first woman to appear on the presidential ballot for a major political party.  The night the former Queens congresswoman accepted the nomination, she said, “If we can do this, we can do anything.”  And though she and Walter Mondale didn’t win against Ronald Reagan that year, she proved a fierce politician.  She had been battling multiple myeloma since 1998, and died earlier this week at the age of 75.  Leonard last interviewed her in 1998 for her family memoir, Framing a Life


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