May 4, 2002

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It's a dose of musical drama, real and fictive, in Mississippi and on New York City street corners. Plus Jesse Green's back to invite submissions to our latest Five Sounds in Search of an Author contest.

Bush Whacking
What exactly is President Bush's position on environmental protection? Comedian Charlie Schroeder offers up one possibility in this imaginary press conference, in which the President holds forth from one of the nation's prized national parks.

Hungry for Art
Much planning went into the transfer of the Museum of Modern Art's collection to Queens while the museum undergoes renovations. Thousands of art lovers will make the trek to the temporary site, and yet a vital logistical issue remains unresolved: what's to eat? Next Big Thing producer Curtis Fox investigates the options.

The Geopolitics of Chowhounding
Chowhound Jim Leff wonders what role he might play in dooming or salvaging the Middle East peace process if he shares with the pita-chewing public his discovery of a great Palestinian restaurant in Brooklyn.

Where the Wind Comes Sweepin' Down the Alley
Next Big Thing contributor Henry Alford doesn't understand why we need another production of "Oklahoma!," now playing on Broadway. Don't Americans already know every note of this musical from start to finish? Well, as it happens, not exactly...

"Long Island Sound"
In 1947, Noel Coward wrote a never-produced play taking aim at the era's socialites, in Hollywood and Long Island. The play, "Long Island Sound," is now set for its New York world premiere. Next Big Thing host Dean Olsher meets up Scott Alan Evans and Simon Jones, artistic co-directors, with Cynthia Harris, of The Actors Company Theater, to discuss the play's origins. With an excerpt of the play, performed by Simon Jones, Scott Schafer and Rob Breckenridge.

Five Sounds in Search of an Author
Listen carefully
In between these sounds is a story and it's up to you to write it. Once again, The Next Big Thing is inviting your ideas on ways to weave a plot out of seemingly unrelated sounds. Author and Next Big Thing contributor Jesse Green will choose a winner to read his or her story on our show. You'll hear the results next week. E-mail your stories by end of day on MONDAY, May 6, 2002. Please include a daytime phone number. And remember, the time it takes to read them should come close to the time it takes to hear the sounds (about 30 seconds). Good luck!

See Me After Class
It's a crime when a teacher has inappropriate designs on a student. But what happens when a student, and her parents, have designs on the teacher? Writer David Schickler reads from his story, "The Smoker," at the New Yorker's Fiction Live Festival. The story was published in Schickler's "Kissing in Manhattan."

In Search of Robert Johnson
The story of blues master Robert Johnson trading in his soul at the crossroads has grown thin with overtelling. Next Big Thing host Dean Olsher goes to Clarksdale, Mississippi, to find out why so many Johnson fans continue to make the pilgrimage to the place where myth and reality intersect.

WNYC archives id: 13798