Driven by Change

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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

We’ll examine the continuing tension between the Pentagon and the State Department to define the United States’ place in the world. Then, the band Ollabelle performs live in our studios! We’ll take a peek at Giovanni Bellini’s painting “St Francis of the Desert” and what new research tells us about the Renaissance masterpiece. Plus, Earl Swift explains how the U.S. interstate system came to define the 20th-century American way of life.

State vs. Defense

Stephen Glain examines the tension between the diplomats in the State Department and the warriors at Defense. In his book State vs. Defense: The Battle to Define America's Empire, Glain profiles the figures who crafted American foreign policy, from George Marshall to Robert McNamara to Henry Kissinger to Don Rumsfeld, in order to reveal why he sees America becoming increasingly imperial and militaristic, and why he thinks it will lead to our financial peril.

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Ollabelle Performs Live

Amy Helm, Fiona McBain, Tony Leone, Byron Isaacs, Glenn Patscha, of the band Ollabelle will be performing live and talking about the band’s first album in five years, “Neon Blue Bird.” The Washington Post called Ollabelle "one of the hottest bands going in roots music."

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"St. Francis in the Desert" at the Frick

Curator Susannah Rutherglen discusses Giovanni Bellini’s painting “St. Francis in the Desert,” a hallmark of the Frick Collection and one of the most important Italian Renaissance paintings in America. She’ll explain how X-radiography, infrared relectography, paint analysis, and surface examination have addressed questions about the painting’s subject, creation, and later alterations. In a “New Light: Bellini’s St. Francis in the Desert” is on view at the Frick Collection through August 28.

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Building America’s Superhighways

Earl Swift discusses how the U.S. interstate system changed the face of our country. The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways  follows a winding route through 20th-century American life, from the citizen-led “Good Roads” movement, to the driven engineers who conceived of the interstates and how they would work, to the protests that erupted when highways reached the cities, displaced people and carved up neighborhoods.

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