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Politics and Performance: Barney Frank, Democracy in South Africa, and How to do Drag

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Jonathan Capehart fills in for Leonard Lopate. On today’s show: we’ll take a look at inequality in South Africa as the country marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of Apartheid and South Africa’s first free elections. Then, former U.S. Representative Barney Frank talks about his political career as the first openly gay congressman. The director of “Ida,” talks about the film. And this week’s Please Explain is all about drag!

The Post-Apartheid Generation in South Africa

This spring, South Africa will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of apartheid and the first free elections. Although the country has come far, the inequalities that once divided the races now grow within them. In After Freedom: The Rise of the Post-Apartheid Generation in Democratic South Africa, award-winning sociologist Katherine S. Newman and Ariane De Lannoy profile seven people—black, white, “coloured,” and immigrant—to reveal what life is like in South Africa today.

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Barney Frank on His Improbable Journey

Barney Frank, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts from 1981 to 2013, talks about his political career, his time in Washington, and being the first openly gay congressman. He’s the subject of a new documentary, “Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank,” a peek into his life as he was on the verge of his retirement. “Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank,” is showing in New York Sunday, April 27, 2:30 pm, as part of the Tribeca Film Festival.

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Filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski on "Ida" and Hidden Family Roots

Pawel Pawlikowski talks about writing and directing the film “Ida,” set in Poland in 1962. It’s about Anna, an 18-year-old woman, preparing to become a nun at the convent where she has lived since she was orphaned as a child. Before taking her vows, she visits her mother’s sister and discovers is not only a former hard-line Communist state prosecutor who sentenced priests and others to death, but she's also a Jew. This revelation sets Anna on a journey to uncover her roots and confront the truth about her family. “Ida” opens May 2 at Film Forum and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas.

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New York's Drag Scene Dates Back to the Dutch

And it shows no signs of abating. Performers Lady Bunny and Murray Hill, and historian Joe Jeffreys, talk about drag as art, political statement and entertainment.

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Tributes: Alistair MacLeod

The Herald of Glasgow called Alistair MacLeod was “one of the greatest living writers in English.”  That’s despite the fact that the Canadian’s output was relatively small.  He only published one novel, No Great Mischief, (which he wrote over the course of 13 years), and fewer than two dozen short stories (which were all collected in the volume, Island). Rugged Cape Breton was his emotional heartland, and where he set most of his fiction.  A perfectionist, he explained, “I take a lot of time thinking about what I’m writing.”  He died recently at the age of 77.  And you can hear Leonard’s interview with him from January, 2001.

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Barney Frank

Guest Picks: Barney Frank

Barney Frank, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts from 1981 to 2013, talks to guest host Jonathan Capehart about his political career, his time in Washington, and being the first openly gay congressman.

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Pawel Pawlikowski 'Ida'

Guest Picks: Pawel Pawlikowski

Pawel Pawlikowski talks to guest host Jonathan Capehart about writing and directing the film “Ida,” set in Poland in 1962.

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