Karen Armstrong: The award-winning author of numerous books on comparative religion, Karen Armstrong has taken a leading role in efforts to bring the various religious groups in the world to a better understanding of each other, and has been rewarded for her interfaith efforts with the 2008 TED Prize. Armstrong discusses her 2009 book, The Case for God, making the point that compassion is at the heart of religion. Armstrong talks about her years in a convent, the differences between belief and faith, her epilepsy, and how her writing process and immersion in sacred texts sometimes produces in her a sense of awe. She maintains that the concept of God is symbolic, and states that her concept of God differs from fundamentalism, which, she says, is in some respects a modern development. Armstrong also talks about her 1984 trip to Jerusalem as a turning point in her life, and notes that each major religion has its unique genius while, sharing many elements in common.
Tony Auth: Editorial cartoonist for The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he has worked since 1971. His other work includes the comic strip Full Disclosure, which he worked on in 1982 and 1983, and Norb, which he worked on in 1989. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1976 and the Herblock Prize in 2005. A recent cartoon of his has caused some controversy among Catholics.
Jimmy Santiago Baca: Poet and writer, and Mark Lyons, Social activist and co-author, Espejos y Ventanas /Mirrors and Windows: Oral Histories of Mexican Farmworkers and Their Families.
John Banville: A prolific and much-acclaimed author, playwright, and critic, John Banville has written novels under his own name and genre thrillers under his pen name, Benjamin Black. His 2005 novel, The Sea, won the Man Booker Prize, the highest literary award in Britain. In this spirited interview, John Banville discusses his most recent novel, The Infinities, in which Greek gods and mortals gather at the Irish country home of a renowned mathematician who is dying. Banville also comments on The Sea and The Untouchable, the latter sparked by the life of the British spy Anthony Blount, part of the Cambridge Five, a circle of privileged young men who passed secret information to the Soviet Union during World War II. Banville notes that he writes in Hiberno-English, a poetical English influenced by the Irish language. He says he regrets never having gone to university, explaining that an education “gives you a sense of ease in the world.” He also admits that he never rereads his novels and “loathes” what he’s written, always hoping that his next book will be better.
Barnes Foundation: Episode 1: This is the first part of a two-part episode at the site of the Barnes Foundation in its new home on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. The Barnes, founded by physician, self-made millionaire and art collector Albert C. Barnes in 1922, is a museum and school that houses one of the most important collections of Impressionist, Postimpressionist, and Modernist art in the world. Its move from its original home in Merion, Pennsylvania to Philadelphia’s “museum mile” has been a lightning rod for controversy in the art world. Now, the move is complete. In this first episode host Paula Marantz Cohen will speak with Barnes Foundation Executive Director Derek Gillman about the background and rationale for the move. Gillman will also point out special features in Foundation’s new building, designed by award-winning architects Billie Tsien and Todd Williams, and will discuss the surrounding landscape designed by Laurie Olin. He will explain some notable features in the collection itself, and in the main galleries that display the collection.
Barnes Foundation: Episode 2: This is the second part of a two-part episode at the site of the Barnes Foundation in its new home on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. The Barnes, founded by physician, self-made millionaire and art collector Albert C. Barnes in 1922, is a museum and school that houses one of the most important collections of Impressionist, Postimpressionist, and Modernist art in the world. Its move from it original home in Merion, Pennsylvania to Philadelphia’s “museum mile” has been a lightning rod for controversy in the art world. Now the move is complete. In this second episode on the Foundation, host Paula Marantz Cohen will talk to Director Derek Gillman about the importance of the Foundation holdings and will tour the collection with Chief Curator Judith F. Dolkart. Dolkart and Cohen will walk through the main galleries and discuss individual paintings and the philosophy behind their arrangement and presentation.
Tanya Barrientos: Novelist and journalist and was, at the time of this taping, a features columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Her “Unconventional Wisdom” pieces offered witty and often laugh-out-loud cultural and social commentary. Barrientos reveals how she uses the news and pop or “low culture” to develop her columns and talks about her love for funny, funky reality TV shows. She talks about how she came to write fiction and discusses the themes of female friendship, cultural assimilation, identity, and forgiveness that she explores in her novels Frontera Street and Family Resemblances.
Andrea Barrett: Novelist, publications include Ship Fever and Servants of the Map that was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Barrett is particularly well known as a writer of historical fiction and her work reflects her lifelong interest in science as many of her characters are scientists, often nineteenth-century biologists.
Chuck Barris: Part 1, In this spirited interview, which features video clips from selected Barris TV shows, game show producer and author Chuck Barris reveals how he got his start in television and created the classic American games shows, The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, and The Gong Show. Barris explains that his shows introduced spontaneity on TV, says that he learned much about human nature from his contestants, and states that he always treated his contestants with respect. Producing and hosting The Gong Show five days a week from 1976-1980 forced Barris to come up with ever more outlandish ways to maintain the show's energy; this eventually took its toll on him. Barris reveals that he is no longer involved with television nor has he been involved with revivals of his shows.
Chuck Barris: Part 2, With verve and candor, game show producer and author Chuck Barris focuses on his career as a novelist, which he undertook after concluding his 20-year career in television. Barris talks about his 1982 book, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, but demurs when host Paula Marantz Cohen asks him point blank if he really was a hit man for the CIA as he maintains in the book. Barris discusses the 2003 hit movie version of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, directed by and starring George Clooney. Barris also chats about his other novels, among them Bad Grass Never Dies and The Big Question. He says that writing his hit pop song, “Palisades Park,” was one of his greatest joys and that he wants to be remembered more as a writer than a TV producer.
H. G. "Buzz" Bissinger: Journalist H. G. "Buzz" Bissinger is the author of the bestseller Friday Night Lights, the inspiration for the popular television series; the highly acclaimed A Prayer for the City, an exploration of Ed Rendell's tenure as mayor of Philadelphia; and other books. A regular contributor to Vanity Fair, the New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated, The Daily Beast, and other publications, Bissinger was formerly a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer. While there, he received the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for his investigative series on corruption in the Philadelphia court system. Bissinger talks about his entry into journalism during the Watergate scandal, an event that ushered many talented writers into investigative journalism. He also talks about the writing of Friday Night Lights, which opened his eyes to the abuses of the American sports culture. In discussing football, Bissinger comments on the 2011 scandal at Penn State, where the school's drive to protect its own through a code of silence eventually brought down famed head football coach Joe Paterno and the University president. Bissinger marvels at the intelligence and dedication of former Philadelphia mayor and governor Ed Rendell but does not shy away from discussing Rendell's flaws, including his famous temper. Bissinger also praises David L. Cohen, Mayor Rendell's chief of staff and a former Drexel InterView guest. This immensely entertaining and probing episode concludes with Bissinger's comments on his newest book, Father's Day, a touching account of his son Zach, who, though developmentally disabled, has a character and world view that his father deeply admires.
Amanda Bennett: Was editor and executive vice president of The Philadelphia Inquirer from 2003-2006. Previously she served as an editor at several small newspapers and worked at The Wall Street Journal for twenty years. One of the many things that makes working at a metro paper exciting and challenging, she says, is finding great national-level stories on the local level. This episode was taped during her tenure at the Inquirer.
Mary, Countess of Bessborough: Mary, Countess of Bessborough (b. 1915) is a great granddaughter of Anthony J. Drexel, one of the foremost financiers, bankers, and philanthropists of nineteenth century America and the founder of the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry in 1891 –-what is today Drexel University. The daughter of Mary Astor Paul Munn (Allez) and Charles A. Munn, Jr., Mary became Countess of Bessborough after her marriage in 1948 to Viscount Eric Duncannon. In this interview, Mary speaks of spending time at the famous Woodcrest Estate in the suburbs of Philadelphia, her education in France, her marriage to an English peer, her service in the Red Cross during World War II, and other aspects of her life in Europe and the United States. Mary also comments on paintings of her immediate ancestors that hang in the Anthony J. Drexel Picture Gallery, where The Drexel InterViewTM is taped.
Cordelia Frances Biddle: Novelist, journey backward in time to the mid-Victorian era, to discover The Conjurer, the debut novel in the Martha Beale series.
David R. Brigham: David R. Brigham is president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the oldest art school and museum in the United States. Founded in 1805 by Charles Wilson Peale, the Academy has, since 1876, occupied a unique building by the notable Philadelphia architect Frank Furness. The Academy was the first American art academy to educate women and African American artists, and its one-time director, Thomas Eakins, broke other barriers by teaching co-educational life drawing classes. Brigham, a specialist on Peale and his family, discusses the achievements of this noted painter and scientist. He also discusses in detail Thomas Eakins’s The Gross Clinic, often called the greatest American painting. This richly illustrated episode treats viewers to glimpses of many of the classic paintings in the Academy’s collection: along with Eakins's The Gross Clinic, paintings shown and discussed include Charles Wilson Peale’s The Artist in His Museum, Henry Ossawa Turner’s Nicodemus, and works by Benjamin West, Cecilia Beaux, William Merritt Chase, and Winslow Homer.
A. S. Byatt: British writer A.S. Byatt is the author of dozens of novels, stories, and critical works. Her bestselling novel, Possession, won the 1990 Man Booker Prize, Britain’s highest literary award, and her 2009 novel, The Children's Book, was short-listed for the same honor. Noting that she wishes to write about whole human beings, Byatt advocates for novels that convey the life of the mind as well as the heart. She talks about her career as a scholar and university teacher, her abandoning of scholarship for creative writing, the challenges of crafting Possession, and the importance of Shakespeare, George Eliot, Balzac, and Proust to her work. In discussing her composition of The Children's Book, a novel in which the arts and crafts movement plays a prominent role, Byatt observes that she likes having a hero or heroine who "makes" things. Byatt, who is the sister of novelist Margaret Drabble and art historian Helen Langdon, notes that although she comes from a highly accomplished family of writers, she nevertheless practices her craft in solitude. “I'm not a group animal,” she says. “I'm a solitary animal.”
Joan Calabrese: Designer of children’s couture, an expert designer pushing the fashion envelope with beautiful fabrics and clever styling.
David L. Cohen: David L. Cohen is executive vice president of Comcast Corporation, one of the nation’s leading providers of entertainment and information through its cable television network. A well known leader in the Philadelphia community, Cohen has been a partner and chairman of one of Philadelphia’s major law firms. He served as chief of staff to Mayor Edward G. Rendell from 1992 to 1997 and is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. David L. Cohen (who is not related to host Paula Marantz Cohen) speaks of his many strategic and administrative responsibilities at Comcast and engages the topic of the anticipated acquisition by Comcast of NBC Universal, explaining why it is not monopolistic. He notes that Comcast is primarily involved with the distribution of content, whereas NBC is exclusively a content company. Cohen shares some of Comcast’s future plans and speaks about the future of anytime-anywhere programming and other ways in which the entertainment landscape is changing.
James J. Collins: James J. Collins is professor of biomedical engineering and co-director and co-founder of the Center for BioDynamics in the College of Engineering at Boston University. He attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, received a MacArthur "Genius" Award, has been named an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and is the 2009 recipient of the Anthony J. Drexel Exceptional Achievement Award. This interview covers, in very accessible terms, the breathtaking range of Dr. Collins's research. Dr. Collins explains that most systems in the real world are non-linear, and that by introducing "noise"-- i.e. chaotic material--medical researchers can help stroke patients regain physical coordination, heart patients with arrhythmias regularize their heartbeat, and diabetics with numbness in their feet and legs increase sensory function.
Anne d'Harnoncourt: (September 7, 1943 – June 1, 2008), Director and CEO, Philadelphia Museum of Art, recipient of the 2007 Founder's Award. She has been so deeply involved with the Philadelphia Museum as to decline the offer of a directorship from both the National Gallery of Art in Washington and, it is believed, MoMA in New York.
Joan DeJean: Author of The Essence of Style, author of seven previous books on French literature, history, and culture during the reign of Louis XIV, is Trustee Professor of French at the University of Pennsylvania.
Daniel DeJesus: Artist and rock cellist, a Philadelphia native and classically trained musician who uses the cello to sculpt swooping and fiercely passionate sounds that transform the instrument out of the concert hall and into the realm of rock.
David Denby: Part 1 of 2: David Denby is a long-time film reviewer for The New Yorker and the author of the widely praised Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf and other Indestructible Writers of the Western World (1997) as well as other titles. In this, the first of a two-part interview, Denby discusses film and the art of film reviewing. He explains how film festivals create a buzz about certain films and how this can be helpful to him in choosing films to review. He also expresses his interest in the current genre of low-budget films known as “mumblecore.” In speaking of the 2009 hit Up in the Air, Denby notes how hard it is to get screwball and romantic comedy right, adding that filmmakers in the 1930s were better at it. Denby says he doesn’t look for anything in particular when watching a movie, he just lets it hit him and in his reviews tries to evoke how the movie made him feel when he watched it.
David Denby: Part 2 of 2: David Denby is a cultural critic and long-time film reviewer for The New Yorker. In this second part of a two-part interview, Denby shares his views on literature and education and his books, including the widely praised Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf and other Indestructible Writers of the Western World (1997) as well as American Sucker (2004), and Snark (2009). Denby describes how at age 48 he returned to Columbia University to take two courses in literature that make up Columbia’s core curriculum, an experience he first wrote about in an article for The New Yorker and which blossomed into his work, Great Books. Denby touches on Goethe’s Faust and Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and meditates on what is lost when reading a translation of Dante. With candor, Denby discusses his period of stock market addiction, which he chronicles in American Sucker. He then offers a sharp critique of the trendy but rough, cruel, rug-pulling abuse he dissects in his most recent book, Snark.
Cory Doctorow: Science fiction writer and technology activist Cory Doctorow explains how, as a boy in Toronto, he became interested in science fiction. He discusses the distinction between science fiction as a genre and as a marketing category and notes that the best science fiction is allegorical. Science fiction films, notes Doctorow, operate differently than science fiction books. Most sci-fi films, he says, are road trip stories with flimsy narratives. Doctorow shares insights into his novels, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Little Brother, Makers, and the forthcoming For the Win. He also discusses his short story collection, Overclocked, and the world of gaming. The interview includes Doctorow’s take on information sharing (all his works are available free online), issues of copyright, and how the electronic society may affect artists.
Nora Ephron: Part 1 of 2: Writer, screenwriter, and director Nora Ephron has been nominated three times for an Academy Award for Original Screenplay, and has not only written but produced and directed the already-classic romantic comedies, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, and Julie and Julia. She is also a delightful essayist, and her most recent collection is entitled: I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections. In this, the first of a two-part interview, Ephron discusses her life and her published work. The daughter of two Hollywood screenwriters, she recounts how she learned the art of telling funny stories at the family dinner table. She also discusses her mother’s descent into alcoholism, an event that began when Ephron was fifteen. She traces her work as a journalist and essayist, a career that included stints at Newsweek, the New York Post, and Esquire. Finally, Ephron discusses Heartburn, her comic roman à clef, in which she rendered hilarious her very unfunny predicament of being pregnant and cheated on by her husband, and I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections (2010) which showcases her frank but always funny musings about aging and the vagaries of memory.
Nora Ephron: Part 2 of 2: In this, the second of a two-part interview, Nora Ephron discusses her career as a screenwriter and director. Ephron has been nominated three times for an Academy Award for Original Screenplay, and has not only written but produced and directed the already-classic romantic comedies, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, and Julie and Julia. As a practicing journalist, Ephron wrote twelve unproduced screenplays until her collaboration with Alice Arlen, Silkwood, became her first major produced movie. She credits director Mike Nichols and cinematographer Sven Nykvist with teaching her invaluable lessons in the art of movie making, and wryly observes that she should have been intimidated by her first experience of movie making but wasn’t. Ephron notes that scenes that appear hilarious during taping don’t necessarily come across as funny on tape. Citing director Rob Reiner, she compares the experience of making a movie to giving a party: you invite a lot of people to the production and let them do what they do best. Ephron praises the talent and intelligence of Meryl Streep and says she would have loved to have made a movie with Audrey Hepburn.
Daniel C. Esty: Director of Environmental Law and Policy at Yale University, Daniel C. Esty is the author of eight books on environmental policy, among them, Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage. Esty speaks of the importance of investing in a clean energy future, of having renewable energy at home, of reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and of trying a variety of energy alternatives in order to see what works. Environmental success and economic success do go hand in hand, notes Esty. He also observes that the U. S. should be as competitive as other countries in lowering greenhouse gas emissions and improving waste management, especially because good environmental policy is good business. He maintains that climate change is an overarching issue. Esty says he is a “short-term pessimist, but an optimist over the long-term” when it comes to the environment.
The Honorable Gwendolyn A. Faison: Mayor of Camden, NJ, through her vision of rebirth for the City of Camden, Mrs. Faison, is an active member of the Economic Development Board, focusing on healthcare, housing, public safety and economic development as priorities in her governmental stewardship.
Christopher J. Ferguson: U. S. Navy Captain Christopher J. Ferguson is a NASA astronaut who, in 2006 piloted the Space Shuttle Atlantis and in 2008 commanded the Space Shuttle Endeavor. Ferguson talks about his training as an astronaut, the key task of monitoring instruments on the shuttle, some of the odd sensations of being in space, and the awe-inspiring moments of seeing Earth from space. Ferguson describes the “home improvement” mission that took him and his crew up to the International Space Station, which, among other things, included delivering additional bedrooms and a state-of-the-art, urine-purification system that enhances the station's water-recycling abilities. Ferguson also discusses future space missions. This episode includes spectacular video of the takeoff of the Endeavor, its flight, and docking with the International Space Station.
Terence Feury: Chef at the acclaimed Fork Restaurant, an elegant Philadelphia bistro featuring innovative American cuisine. One of America's heralded chefs, Feury was a 2002 finalist for the James Beard Culinary Award, Mid-Atlantic Region, and was named Best Chef of 2010 by Philadelphia Magazine. In this episode, Feury describes working as a chef at Le Bernadin, the Waldorf-Astoria, and Peacock Alley in New York City, and as executive chef at the former celebrated Philadelphia restaurant, Striped Bass. He notes that his love of the restaurant world began when he was in his teens and says that creating flavors in sauces and demiglaces fascinates him. Seafood, says Feury, is a particular interest, and he explains his commitment to using only sustainable fish and shellfish. Turning to the current popularity of TV food shows, Feury notes the important role such shows play in educating the public about chef training and different sorts of food. This episode features mouthwatering footage of dishes at Fork Restaurant along with scenes of Feury and his staff in action in the kitchen.
Oliver St. Clair Franklin: O. B. E., President and CEO of International House, Philadelphia. Educated at Lincoln University, he was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at Balliol College, Oxford. He serves as a trustee of the Rosenbach Museum and Library, the South African Environmental Trust, and the Sir Hans Koopler Trust in New York and London.
Charles Fuller: Pulitzer winner in 1982 for A Soldier's Play. A Playwright achieving critical notice in 1969 with The Village: A Party, The Brownsville Raid in 1975, and winning an Obie Award for Zooman and the Sign in 1980. Nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Writers Guild of America Award, and it won an Edgar Award.
Paul Fussell: Cultural and literary historian Paul Fussell was awarded the National Book Award for his 1975 work, The Great War and Modern Memory, and he has written more than twenty other award-winning books on a wide range of topics. In this stirring interview, Fussell looks back on his combat service as a rifle platoon leader during World War II. Determined to fight the Germans, he volunteered for the infantry, less out of idealism, he says, than ignorance. He returned from the war a changed person. Speaking of The Great War and Modern Memory, Fussell observes that the literature of World War I was more literary, while the literature of World War II tended to be more conventional. In discussing his acclaimed Abroad: British Literary Traveling between the Wars (1982), Fussell laments the way in which travel has been replaced by tourism, adding that he misses the great passenger vessels. This interview is one of the most dramatic in The Drexel InterViewTM history, as Fussell explains how his war experience has haunted him over the course of his lifetime.
Kenny Gamble: Grammy Award-winner, record producer, community developer, a two-time Grammy winner with more than 170 platinum and gold albums and songs.
Derek Gillman: Executive Director and President, The Barnes Foundation, has held the position of President, CEO and the Edna S. Tuttleman Director of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts since the beginning of 2001.
Dana Gioia: Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, poet, critic, and best-selling anthologist, Dana Gioia is one of America’s leading contemporary men of letters. Winner of the American Book Award, Gioia is internationally recognized for his role in reviving rhyme, meter, and narrative in contemporary poetry. An influential critic, he has combined populist ideals and high standards to bring poetry to a broader audience. (parts 1 and 2)
The Honorable Rudolph Giuliani: Part 1, The Honorable Rudolph Giuliani served as U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1983-1989 and was mayor of New York from 1994-2001. This compelling interview primarily focuses on his career as mayor. Mayor Giuliani observes that his election as a Republican mayor in a Democratic city was a dramatic statement on the part of voters. Targeting street-level, quality-of-life crime--ticketing jaywalkers and “squeegee people”-- proved the turnkey in his program that eventually reduced crime in New York City by 60%, making it a livable city once again. Mayor Giuliani also engages the subject of police brutality, explaining his rationale in dealing with some of the high-profile cases that made headlines during his tenure. He also provides a riveting account of his response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, describing how the catastrophe confounded the many disaster plans the city had in place. He discusses his second-by-second decision making during the crisis and credits his training as a prosecutor for teaching him to think on his feet.
Rudolph Giuliani: Part 2, The Honorable Rudolph Giuliani served as U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1983-1989, was mayor of New York from 1994-2001, and was a contender for the Republican Party's Presidential nomination in the 2008 elections. In this high-spirited and candid interview, Mayor Giuliani speaks of his transition from Democrat to Independent to Republican, and talks about his run for the Republican Presidential nomination. He describes himself as a social moderate but an economic conservative, and notes that the Republican party should be big enough to allow for different viewpoints. As the conversation turns to more personal aspects of his life, Rudy Giuliani admits he is a romantic and speaks of his affection for his wife, Judith, with whom he shares a loving of books, baseball, and opera. Giuliani says his favorite opera is Otello and that if he couldn't live in New York City, he'd live in Rome. Although his political future is undecided, he admits that he thrives on public life.
Yury Gogotsi: D.Sc., Specialist in nanotechnology and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Drexel University
Ellen Goodman: Pulitzer Prize wining syndicated columnist, published books include: Turning Points (1979), Close to Home (1979), At Large (1981), Keeping in Touch (1985), Making Sense (1989), Value Judgments (1993), Paper Trail (2004). Goodman worked as a researcher and reporter for Newsweek magazine between 1963 and 1965, and has worked as an associate editor at the Boston Globe since 1967. In 1998, Goodman received the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award as well as an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Colby College.
Adam Gopnik: Journalist and cultural critic Adam Gopnik is a staff writer for The New Yorker, much admired for the mix of wit and feeling in his essays. Gopnik reveals how he broke out of the graduate student’s academic voice and discovered his true style, observing that in an essay ideas and emotion are in constant dialogue. Gopnik discusses his five years in France, an experience that gave rise to his collection of essays Paris to the Moon; his subsequent work Through the Children’s Gate, and his 2009 book Angels and Ages: A Short Book About Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life. Among other things, says Gopnik, Angels and Ages explores two contrasting views of life: do we live in a vertical universe controlled by divinity or a horizontal universe ordered by history? At the end of the interview, Adam Gopnik reveals a surprise: he would give up writing to be a jazz pianist.
Daniel Gottlieb: Ph.D., Family therapist, since 1985, Daniel Gottlieb has been hosting "Voices in the Family," an award-winning mental health call-in radio show aired on WHYY 90.9 FM, Philadelphia's local public radio station.
Bruce Graham: Playwright, credits include "Dunston Checks In," "Anastasia," the Abbie Hoffman bio-pic "Steal This Movie," as well as the Ira Einhorn mini-series "Hunt for the Unicorn," which aired this past year on NBC-TV. Graham has won several awards from the Pew Foundation, Theater Association of Pennsylvania, Rockefeller Foundation and the Princess Grace Foundation. "Coyote on a Fence," which was the 1998 Rosenthal Prize winner and received several 1999 Barrymore Award nominations.
David Graham: Photographer, author of Land of the Free, Taking Liberties, and American Beauty, and other collections of his photographs. In this interview, Graham discusses the play between image and reality, how he finds his subjects, and the uniqueness of American roadside culture.
Stephen Greenblatt: Part 1 of 2, Stephen Greenblatt, John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University and winner of the 2011 National Book Award for non-fiction, is one of the world's foremost literary scholars and critics. He is credited with inventing the literary methodology known as The New Historicism. He is also the author of two bestselling works of literary history, the 2004 Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare and the 2011 The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, the work for which he received both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In this, the first of a two-part interview, Greenblatt discusses his life and scholarly career. He describes himself as a bookish youth and speaks of his mother's constant fear of death and his father's Falstaffian humor. Greenblatt notes that his undergraduate experience at Yale, while intellectually enriching, was marred by an experience with anti-Semitism. He explains that the New Historicism opens a new window on literary criticism, allowing readers to bring material from the author's culture to bear on an understanding of a literary work. The methodology, he explains, arose as a reaction to the New Criticism, which focused solely on the internal structure of literature. Greenblatt notes that not all scholars agree with his approach, and he genially defends himself against his critics.
Stephen Greenblatt: Part 2 of 2, Stephen Greenblatt, John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, is one of the world's foremost literary scholars and critics. He is credited with inventing the literary methodology known as The New Historicism. He is also the author of two bestselling works of literary history, the 2004 Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare and the 2011 The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, the work for which he received both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In this, the second of a two-part interview, Greenblatt focuses on these two books. He notes how early discussions with the filmmaker Marc Norman resulted in Shakespeare in Love, written by Norman and Tom Stoppard, and inspired him to write his own speculative biography of Shakespeare. In Will in the World, he postulates, for example, that Shakespeare might have been a secret Catholic; he also notes historical events that might have led to the composition of The Merchant of Venice. His more recent book, The Swerve, covers the rediscovery in the 15th century of a work by the Roman philosopher and poet Lucretius. Lucretius's poem De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things) put forth the idea that the world was made of atoms with no antecedent cause or eventual end to their continual movement and combination. In the book, Greenblatt traces the complicated route that leads from Lucretius to the world of Darwin, Einstein, and us.
Jennifer Higdon: Composer, 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music, serving as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Composer-in-Residence in 2005-2006 and is currently Composer in Residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Christopher Hitchens: Part 1 of 2: Author, journalist, and public intellectual Christopher Hitchens is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and the author of numerous books, including the controversial best seller God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything and, most recently, Hitch-22: A Memoir. In this, the first part of a two-part interview, Hitchens speaks about his personal life: his education at a British private school and at Oxford University and his parent's mismatched marriage. His discusses his mother's suicide and his discovery after her death that she was Jewish. He also discusses his devotion to progressive causes, his intellectual appreciation of doubt and uncertainty, and his opposition to totalitarianism and all forms of absolutism. On a lighter note, he speaks of his Friday lunches with writer friends, including James Fenton and Martin Amis.
Christopher Hitchens: Part 2 of 2: Author, journalist, and public intellectual Christopher Hitchens is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and the author of many books, including the controversial best seller God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything and, most recently, Hitch-22: A Memoir. In this, the second part of a two-part interview, Hitchens speaks mostly about politics. He notes that he was known for his political militancy during his years at Oxford University, and identifies himself as the product of 1968: an activist during the last gasp of the socialist movement. He speaks critically of Bill Clinton, and admiringly of Somalian dissident Hirsi Ali and Margaret Thatcher. Hitchens discusses his support of the Iraq war and the necessity of overthrowing Saddam Hussein. He also discusses his book, God Is Not Great, and notes that most of the mail he receives in response to his atheism has been positive. He also asserts his respect for Marxism as a viable system for interpreting history.
Daniel Hoffman: Poet, critic, editor, memoirist, and teacher, is an American poet, essayist, and academic. He served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress a position now known as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry from 1973 to 1974.
Molly Ivins: Syndicated columnist, (August 30, 1944 – January 31, 2007) was a populist American newspaper columnist, political commentator, and best-selling author from Austin, Texas. In 2003, she coined the term "Great Liberal Backlash of 2003," and was a passionate critic of the 2003 Iraq War. She is also credited with applying the nickname "Shrub" to George W. Bush.
Margo Jefferson: Cultural critic, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for criticism, has written for The New York Times since 1993 and received the Pulitzer Prize in 1995. Her reviews and essays have also appeared in The Nation, Vogue, Grand Street, The Village Voice, American Theatre, Dance Ink, and Harper’s Magazine.
Ha Jin: Fiction writer and poet, winner of the National Book Award and PEN Faulkner Award for his novel, Waiting (1999). Many of his short stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories anthologies, and his collection Under The Red Flag (1997) won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, while Ocean of Words (1996) has been awarded the PEN/Hemingway Award. The novel War Trash (2004), set during the Korean War, won the PEN/Faulkner Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Steven Johnson: Social critic and technologist Steven Johnson is the author of Everything Bad Is Good for You, The Ghost Map, The Invention of Air, and other books. Johnson spends much of the episode discussing the positive aspects of video games and television. He says that video games are not necessarily a useless diversion and that the more sophisticated games teach young players delayed gratification and offer a high level of experience, calling on problem-solving abilities, reasoning, and goal-setting skills. At the same time, Johnson addresses the addictive quality of some games and the gender divide that still characterizes video game playing. As for television, he praises the many contemporary television shows that incorporate complicated plot lines and call on viewers to use complex reasoning. Johnson also talks about his book, The Ghost Map, which examines the cholera epidemic in Victorian London.
Beth Kephart: Award-winning author Beth Kephart writes memoir, nonfiction, poetry, and fiction, and was a finalist for the 1998 National Book Award for her nonfiction work, A Slant of Sun. In the past few years, she has gained much notice in the growing area of young adult fiction . This interview focuses on the burgeoning genre of young adult (YA) fiction, and Kephart discusses the motives and meanings behind her critically acclaimed young adult novels Undercover (2007) and House of Dance (2008), as well as Nothing but Ghosts, forthcoming in 2009. One question that guides her as she writes, says Kephart: How will this story help the reader become a better human being? Kephart also talks about her love of ballroom dancing.
Stephen Kieran and James Timberlake: Partners in the world-renowned, Philadelphia-based architectural firm KieranTimberlake, Stephen Kieran, FAIA, and James Timberlake, FAIA, discuss their work designing a variety of private residences, as well as arts, school, and civic structures. The two architects, both recipients of the prestigious Rome Prize, speak of the importance of partnering with their clients and note their willingness to do renovations of existing structures. This episode is richly illustrated with images of Kieran and Timberlake’s projects, including Yale University’s Berkeley Dining Hall, the Yale Sculpture Gallery, and Philadelphia’s Suzanne Roberts Theatre, and a number of innovative prefabricated structures. Kieran and Timberlake discuss their fascination with prefab construction and focus on Loblolly House and Cellophane House, the latter featured in the 2008 MoMA exhibition, Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling.
John Kounios: Ph.D., Cognitive neuroscientist, discoverer of the physiology of sudden insight. His research focuses on the neural and cognitive bases of semantic information processing, problem solving, and creativity.
Hsiang-te Kung, director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis, is a 75th-generation descendant of Confucius. Dr. Kung was born in China, lived in Taiwan, and received his Ph.D. in the U.S. In the interview, he discusses his sense of the interconnectedness of the three countries. He also addresses environmental issues, particularly with regard to water, in both the U.S. and China, and discusses his work as a consultant for China's Three Gorges Dam project. The episode includes footage of Institute activities, and interesting graphics relating to some of the topics discussed.
Harold S. Kushner: Rabbi and Author of the best selling book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, other works include How Good Do We Have to Be?, collaborating with Chaim Potok co-edited Etz Hayim: A Torah Commentary, the new official Torah commentary of the Conservative movement.
H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest: This episode of The Drexel InterView centers on media entrepreneur and philanthropist H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest. Gerry Lenfest is considered one of the contemporary founding fathers of Philadelphia. As the Chairman of The American Revolution Center and a significant philanthropic voice of The Museum of the American Revolution scheduled to open near Independence Mall in 2015, Lenfest continues to expand a career legacy as diverse as it is prolific.
At an early age, Lenfest worked on his family’s farm and served his country in the United States Navy before going on to practice corporate law. In the 1970s, he emerged as an important media entrepreneur in the developing area of cable television. He sold Lenfest Communications to the Comcast Corporation in 2000, and devoted himself to philanthropic and arts organizations throughout the country and the world. Lenfest recently received the Legion of Honor from the French government. In Philadelphia, he has been a benefactor to The Barnes Foundation, The Center for Art in Wood, Lenfest Plaza at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and The Museum of the American Revolution among other projects.
Carol F. Lippa: M.D., Professor of Neurology and Director of Memory Disorders Program, Drexel University College of Medicine
Fengming Liu: Associate general counsel for the Microsoft Corporation. Liu, currently on a sabbatical from Microsoft and serving as a visiting fellow at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy, came of age during China’s Cultural Revolution. He discusses that period of turmoil and the transition he made from digging potatoes in the countryside to attending China's most prestigious law school, Peking University, as part of the first law class following the Cultural Revolution. With additional law degrees from two American universities, Liu is able to speak authoritatively on the differences between Chinese and American legal education. He also discusses evolving notions of client-attorney confidentiality in China. He explains that China is becoming more selective about the type of business investments it wants to attract and its particular interest in companies with clean technology. Finally, Liu addresses America's concern about respect for intellectual property in China; he notes that strides have been made in this area and also observes that, while some censorship continues to exist, access to information is increasing.
Chris Matthews: (cc), Host of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, which is televised on the American cable television channel MSNBC and author of Life’s a Campaign. On weekends he hosts the syndicated NBC News-produced panel discussion program, The Chris Matthews Show. Matthews makes frequent appearances as a political commentator on many NBC and MSNBC programs.
Marty Moss-Coane: Host and Executive Producer of Pubic Television’s Radio Times, the program covers social issues, current events, public policy, books, films, and much more.
Sotirios Mousouris: Former U. N. Assistant Secretary General Sotirios Mousouris holds the position of Ambassador at Large and Special Envoy of the Greek government. An expert on Greek culture and civilization, he was also Executive President of the organization that built the New Museum of the Acropolis in Athens. The museum opened in June of 2009. This episode features spectacular video of the New Museum of the Acropolis, as Mousouris describes how conservators took down treasures from the Parthenon and moved them to the museum. Turning to his time at the U.N., where he served from 1966 through 1995, Mousouris speaks of his work against apartheid and his service in Afghanistan during the early 1990s, remarking on the grievous destruction suffered by a museum in Kabul during the Afghan civil war. Mousouris shares insights into Greek culture and character and offers a thumbnail itinerary for a first-time visitor to Greece.
Bharati Mukherjee: Fiction writer, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, works focus on the phenomenon of migration, the status of new immigrants, and the feeling of alienation often experienced by expatriates as well as on Indian women and their struggle.
Paul Muldoon: Poet, winner of the America’s Pulitzer Prize, Canada's Griffin Prize, and Britain's T in poetry. Muldoon's main collections of poetry are New Weather (1973), Mules (1977), Why Brownlee Left (1980), Quoof (1983), Meeting The British (1987), Madoc: A Mystery (1990), The Annals of Chile (1994), Hay (1998), Poems 1968-1998 (2001) and Moy Sand and Gravel (2002), for which he won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize.
Patrick Mureithi: Kenyan documentary filmmaker Patrick Mureithi is the founder of the production company Josiah Films, and the director, most recently, of the film ICYIZERE: Hope, which explores efforts at reconciliation and healing following the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Few subjects are as heart-rending and as surprising as Mureithi's account of the workshops in which both victims and perpetrators of the genocide come together to share their grief and haunting fears. This episode includes disturbing footage of the aftermath of the genocide as well as interviews with the workshop participants and a facilitator who carefully moderates and gently guides the dialogue. Currently an artist in residence at Drury University in Missouri, Mureithi explains that he first heard of the reconciliation workshops at a Quaker meeting in St. Louis, an event that moved him to make this film. He has screened the film in Kenya to show how political conflict can edge a country toward genocide. "I do believe in the hidden possibility of forgiveness," remarks Mureithi. In this episode, the filmmaker also talks about his more light-hearted film Many Steps, about the collegiate sport of stepping, and the episode also includes footage of that work.
Craig Newmark: Internet entrepreneur and developer of Craig's List, Craig Newmark explains how the little “copy to” list aimed at informing people about arts and technology events, initiated in 1995, grew into the world's biggest online classified ad site. Newmark addresses the view that Craig's List is a threat to newspapers, but he theorizes that the future of journalism is changing. He explains that he strives to keep Craig's List as simple and fast as possible, and tries to maintain the site as a public service, keeping most ads free of charge. While he founded the site and wrote the code that runs it, Newmark now dedicates himself to customer service, responding as quickly as he can to customer issues, which often have to do with pets. He also addresses the issue of keeping unseemly or illegal material off the site. Show host Paula Marantz Cohen and Newmark were high school classmates, and they trade some humorous memories of school days during the interview.
Sibylle Sarah Niemoeller-von Sell: Writer, lecturer, widow of anti-Hitler pastor, Martin Niemoeller. After a career as a journalist and Red Cross worker, she is now a noted Holocaust educator.
Banu Onaral: Ph.D., Professor of biomedical engineering, Drexel University. Her academic focus both in research and teaching is centered on information engineering with special emphasis on complex systems and biomedical signal processing in ultrasound and optics.
Carl "Tobey" Oxholm III: Architect of Drexel University College of Medicine’s medical malpractice mediation program and spearhead of the new Drexel University College of Law.
Camille Paglia: Literary and cultural critic, Camille Paglia is the author of Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson and, most recently, Break, Blow, Burn. Paglia speaks about what it means to be a public intellectual, offers her takes on Angelina Jolie, Monica Lewinsky, Hillary Clinton, and Condoleezza Rice, and discusses her love of popular culture. She also criticizes traditional feminism for its devalorization of the stay-at-home mom. (parts 1 and 2)
Constantine Papadakis: Ph.D., (February 2, 1946 – April 5, 2009) President, Drexel University since 1995, an innovator in higher education with extensive experience in both academe and the corporate world.
C. R. "Chuck" Pennoni: C. R. Pennoni is the founder and CEO of one of the nation’s top engineering firms, Pennoni Associates. Chuck Pennoni is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a national President of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, and Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania System of Higher Education, a body that oversees 14 public colleges and universities. Pennoni has a special relationship to Drexel University, his alma mater, where he has served as Interim President – twice – in 1994, and currently, following the untimely death in April, 2009 of President Constantine Papadakis. In this episode, Pennoni speaks with warmth of his upbringing in the coal mining region of Pennsylvania. He talks about how Drexel's financial and academic status came to be so strong, and discusses the nature of engineering education, and how engineering has changed since he entered the field more than 30 years ago.
Antony Penrose: The son of famed American-born model and photographer Lee Miller and the British surrealist painter and biographer Roland Penrose, Antony Penrose discusses the family’s very unconventional life at Farley Farmhouse in England, where visitors included many of the leading figures in twentieth-century art. Among the regulars at Farley Farmhouse was Pablo Picasso, who painted Lee Miller six times and conducted an affair with her with the encouragement of her husband. Penrose explains how his father broke with his Quaker background to study art in Paris with Max Ernst, Picasso, and Georges Braque. He also discusses the difficulty of growing up with Lee Miller as a mother, who, despite her beauty and many gifts, was both an alcoholic and chronically depressed. Writing about his mother and directing her archives, says Penrose, is his way of healing his childhood wounds. This episode is richly illustrated with the photographs by and of Lee Miller and her famous friends.
Georges Perrier: Chef-restaurateur, owner and founder of Le Bec-Fin, Philadelphia, named the restaurant after the French colloquialism for "Fine Palate". The restaurant has been rated as America's finest French restaurant and the Mobil Travel Guide has traditionally rated it as five stars.
Sharon Pinkenson: Executive Director, of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, a non-profit corporation that has generated almost two billion dollars during her tenure. Ms. Pinkenson markets the City of Philadelphia and the surrounding tri-state region to the film, video, and television industry.
Derrick Pitts: Derrick Pitts is Chief Astronomer at the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia. A love of space science and its larger questions – how is the universe? why is the universe? – led Pitts to a career in astronomy. He still asks questions, he says, but also enjoys the teaching aspects of his job. The interview features discussion of the Hubble telescope and its revelations, among them the fact that supermassive black holes exist at the core of galaxies. Pitts also talks about the search for life on Mars and the statistical probability that some form of intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe. He speculates that, in the future, space journeys will emerge as a type of adventure travel. Pitts speaks in support of spending federal funds on NASA and about his love of science fiction, particularly Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy.
Norman Podhoretz: Author of World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism and editor-at-large of Commentary. A leftist commentator during the 1960s, he became associated with the neoconservative movement during the early 1970s. In 2007, his role as foreign policy advisor to Rudy Giuliani's Republican presidential campaign and public advocacy of an American attack on Iran brought renewed attention to his thought and works.
Matthew Quick: In this engaging episode, novelist Matthew Quick speaks about his 2008 debut novel, The Silver Linings Playbook. The novel follows the story of a former high school history teacher, just released from a mental institution, who is, against all odds, aiming to rebuild his life and reconcile with this estranged wife. This interview should be an inspiration to aspiring writers. A tenured high school English teacher, Quick – with his wife’s encouragement – left his job in order to devote himself full-time to writing a novel. The novel was accepted by one of the country’s premier literary publishers after dozens and dozens of rejections. Quick also talks about his love of teaching teens and his new work of fiction, a novel aimed at a young adult audience.
Diane Ravitch: Historian of education, historian of education, an educational policy analyst, and former United States Assistant Secretary of Education who is now a research professor at New York University's Steinhardt School of Education.
John Rich: M.D., M.P. H., Specialist in inner-city young men’s health issues and 2006 MacArthur Fellow. Dr. Rich is an expert in inner-city health problems, particularly urban violence, men’s health and racial disparities. He is the Founder and Director of the Young Men’s Health Clinic at Boston Medical Center, a primary care clinic designed to meet the health needs of young men in the inner-city.
Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali: currently serves as the Archbishop of Philadelphia, and is one of the most influential members among the Catholic bishops in the United States, having been personally and theologically close to both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.
Timothy Rub: Timothy Rub took office as the director and chief executive officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2009. In this interview, Rub recounts his eclectic background, which included pursuits of music, literature, and carpentry. He discusses his stewardship of museums in New York, Dartmouth College, Cincinnati, and Cleveland, culminating in his current position at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Rub praises the PMA for its comprehensive collections and speaks of his favorite artists, especially Matisse. This episode includes extensive footage of selected collections from the Philadelphia Museum of Art and exterior and interior views of the museum’s famous Greek Revival building.
Kal Rudman: Music industry publisher, broadcast pioneer, philanthropist. As the founder and publisher of the radio and music industry publications THE FRIDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK, Rudman has an unparalleled track record for picking hits and forecasting trends.
Gene Scheer: Gene Scheer is the noted librettist, songwriter, and lyricist who wrote the song “American Anthem,” featured in Ken Burns’s 2007 documentary, The War, and sung by Nora Jones. Scheer also wrote the libretto for the opera, An American Tragedy, one of the few new operas commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera in recent years. He has also written numerous cabaret-style songs for some of the great voices of our time, including s opera superstars Denise Graves, Nathan Gunn, and Rene Fleming. Scheer talks about his ten years singing musical theater in Vienna but notes that his voice did not progress to the level of opera singer, a realization that led him to his present career. Scheer delves into the process of writing an opera and speaks of the many noted composers he has worked with. In this show, Scheer sings one of his cabaret songs, “Another New Voice Teacher,” and a portion of “American Anthem,” his most widely known work.
Robert J. Schwartzman: M. D., Neurologist, specialist in RSD pain syndrome, is helping bring relief to people suffering the chronic, disabling, and painful neurological condition known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy or RSD. Dr. Schwartzman explains how pain brings about physical changes in the spinal cord and the ways in which certain molecular cascades cause pain.
John Servis: Trainer of champion racehorse, Smarty Jones, was a relative unknown until May 2004 when his horse Smarty Jones won the Kentucky Derby. The colt then went on to win the Preakness Stakes further increasing Servis' reputation.
Nelson Shanks: World-renowned painter, art historian, art teacher, connoisseur and collector, distilled the principles upon which Studio Incamminati stands from his lifelong experience and devotion to fine arts.
Gail Shister: Television columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer, as its first female sportswriter (1979), a barrier she also broke at The New Orleans States-Item (1975-78) and Buffalo Evening News (1974). She was an Inquirer television columnist for 25 years.
Willard Spiegelman: Literary and art criticWillard Spiegelman is Hughes Professor of English at Southern Methodist University, where he is also editor-in-chief of the acclaimed literary journal, Southwest Review. Spiegelman is the author of eight books, most recently Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness (2009) as well as a recorded lecture series, How to Read and Understand Poetry. In this captivating interview, Spiegelman describes what he loves about reading, walking, looking, dancing, listening, swimming, and writing – the seven pleasures he explores in his book. He recounts his early delights as a reader, acknowledges that mall walking is an acceptable form of walking, and notes that he likes to get lost while rambling through cities. Spiegelman remarks that with the exception of dancing, which requires accommodating a partner, each of these pursuits is a solitary pleasure. Spiegelman also discusses his life in the classroom and the joys and challenges of introducing undergraduates to poetry. Keats, he says, is always a hit, whereas Wordsworth is the hardest sell. The interview includes a photo of Spiegelman modeling fine menswear, which originally appeared in The New York Times.
Megan Stein: Fashion designer and first fashion student from the United States, Drexel University - Philadelphia, to receive the Fashion Grand Prize in Paris at the 23rd edition of the International Competition for Young Fashion Designers.
Gerald Stern: The recipient of numerous major American poetry awards, including the National Book Award, a fellowship from The Academy of Arts and Letters, the Ruth Lilly Prize, and now a chancellorship from the Academy of American Poets, Gerald Stern has taught at many universities and at The Iowa Writers Workshop until his retirement. In this animated interview, Stern reads several poems from his 2008 collection, Save the Last Dance, explaining their literary and autobiographical references. Stern asserts that he often writes from his own subconscious; he begins with whatever situation he is in and associates freely from there. At one point in the interview, Stern reads one of his most widely anthologized poems, “The Dancing,” and discusses how readers have responded to it. Now, at age eighty-three, he observes that he is as active as ever, reading and writing all the time, traveling, and giving readings.
Robert A.M. Stern: This episode of The Drexel InterView explores the life and work of celebrated architect Robert A.M. Stern, a giant in his field. Stern is Dean of the Yale School of Architecture and founder and Senior Partner of the New York architectural firm bearing his name. He is a distinctive personality who speaks eloquently about his work and has strong opinions about architecture.
Robert A.M. Stern personally oversees the design of each of his firm’s projects throughout the world. Recent projects include the Museum of African Art in New York City, two new residential colleges at Yale University, the LeBow College of Business at Drexel University, and The Museum of the American Revolution, scheduled to open near Independence Mall in Philadelphia in 2015.Sarah Stolfa, Photographer, winner of The New York Times Photography Contest for College Students with several portraits reproduced in The New York Times Magazine. In 2006, Stolfa was included in the Second Woodmere Triennial of Contemporary Photography and winner of the Noah Addis Photojournalism Award and the award for Artistic Excellence in the Perkins Center Photography Competition.
Terry Teachout: Terry Teachout: Critic, biographer, blogger, and librettist, Terry Teachout is the drama critic for The Wall Street Journal, and the chief cultural critic for Commentary magazine. His latest book is Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong, published in 2009. Teachout explains that he reviews some 110 shows a year all over the U.S. for The Wall Street Journal and notes that there is vibrant theater everywhere in America. Some of his favorite contemporary playwrights include Lynn Nottage and David Mamet. A contributor to both conservative and liberal publications, Teachout states that politics is not a salient issue when he goes to the theater. “Political art is not the kind of art that I want to experience,” he says. In discussing Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong, Teachout describes Armstrong as an optimistic genius who endured racial prejudice without being made bitter by it. He explains that Armstrong made some 675 reel-to-reel tapes of personal conversations and that he was the first biographer to have access to this critical first-hand source. Teachout also talks about his years as a professional bass player; his blog and the role of Internet writing; his current work as a librettist; and the joys of collaborating with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec on the comic opera, Danse Russe.
Edward Tenner: Historian of technology, author of Our Own Devices, former executive editor for physical science and history at Princeton University Press, holds a visiting research appointment in the Department of Geological and Geophysical Sciences at Princeton University.
Elaine Terranova: Poet, was named a Pew Fellow in the Arts for 2006. Her most recent book of poems, NOT TO: New and Selected Poems, was nominated for a Pulitzer. For her first book, The Cult of the Right Hand, she won the 1990 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets. Her poems have been published in The New Yorker, Prairie Schooner, The American Poetry Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Antioch Review and other magazines and appear in various anthologies.
Brian P. Tierney: Publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer Brian P. Tierney discusses the challenges of publishing a daily print newspaper in this era of competition from television and the internet. In this interview, which was taped prior to The Philadelphia Inquirer's February 2009 bankruptcy filing, Tierney explains that the Inquirer's profits still come from its printed product. He discusses how he teamed with a group of investors, both union and non-union, to buy the Inquirer in 2006 in order to keep it a local paper. Tierney addresses his various cost-cutting moves, such as layoffs and combining certain sections of the paper. He also speaks of his commitment to investigative journalism and his readiness to assign as many as six reporters to cover a key story.
J. Craig Venter: Pioneer in genomic research, author of A Life Decoded: My Genome, My Life; founded The Institute for Genomic Research and was instrumental in mapping the human genome. He was listed on Time Magazine's 2007 Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world.
Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown: Architect, and his wife and partner, Denise Scott Brown, are regarded among the most influential architects of the twentieth century, both through their architecture and planning, and theoretical writings and teaching. Venturi was awarded the Pritzker Prize in Architecture in 1991. He is also known for coining the maxim "Less is a bore" as antidote to Mies van der Rohe's famous modernist dictum "Less is more". (parts 1 and 2)
John Waters: Part 1 of 2: Legendary filmmaker John Waters is known for his satirical, boundary-transgressing movies, which include Pink Flamingos, Polyester, Hairspray, Serial Mom, A Dirty Shame, and others. In this interview, by turns hilarious and profound, Waters discusses his career in movies. He offers his take on exploitative films and notes that his films are not mean-spirited. “I am an irony peddler,” he says. He discusses the way in which he casts stars for his movies; his most famous cast member, Divine; his antipathy to suburbia; and his love of scary bars. He does not seek to shock in his films, he explains, but strives to "surprise with wit." He also notes that his protagonists turn their eccentricity into a style. This is the first of a two-part interview with John Waters.
John Waters: Part 2 of 2: This is the second part of a two-part interview with legendary filmmaker John Waters whose movies include Pink Flamingos, Polyester, Hairspray, Serial Mom, A Dirty Shame, and others. In his high-spirited conversation with host Paula Marantz Cohen, Waters discusses his 2010 memoir Role Models. He shares his impressions of people who were formative influences or whom he especially admires. These include Johnny Mathis, Tennessee Williams, Little Richard, the Three Stooges, Bobby “Boris” Pickett (who sang “Monster Mash”), and others. Waters tells why he loves the art of Cy Twombly, offers an enthusiastic explanation of his love of thrift-shop fashion, and reveals the secrets of his trademark pencil moustache.
Suzy Welch: Author, commentator, and business journalist Suzy Welch discusses her life and her best-selling self-help book, 10-10-10: 10 Minutes, 10 Months, 10 Years – A Life-Transforming Idea. A former editor of the Harvard Business Review, Welch discusses the conflicts between professional ambition and family. She recounts how, as a divorced mother of four, she met and married General Electric CEO Jack Welch, how she withstood the barrage of controversy and publicity surrounding that union, and how she has now come out the other side. She also explains how, early in her career, a disastrous business trip to Hawaii with two of her then very young children gave birth to the concept for her new book.
Elizabeth Wellington: Fashion writer, has been The Philadelphia Inquirer's fashion writer since December 2002. She believes that great fashion is for all people, not just the rich and wealthy. She has an eye for the new, the unusual and that which suits us all.
Tod Williams and Billie Tsien: Architects, a wife-and-husband architectural firm founded in 1974, based in New York. Tod Williams studied architecture at Princeton University, and is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, Italy. Previous to founding the office Williams worked for six years for architect Richard Meier. Billie Tsien has taught at Parsons School of Design, SCI-ARC, Harvard University, Yale University, University of Texas at Austin and the University of Virginia. Tsien is on the boards of the Architectural League of New York, the Public Art Fund, and is a vice president of the Municipal Art Society in New York City.
Eleanor Wilner: Poet and teacher, has published several collections of poems, most recently Reversing the Spell: New and Selected Poem, Otherwise , and Sarah's Choice, as well as a book on visionary imagination, Gathering the Winds. Her work has been anthologized in Best American Poetry 1990 and The Norton Anthology of Poetry. She is the former editor of The American Poetry Review.
E.O. Wilson and Bert Holldöbler: Part 1, Renowned entomologists E. O. Wilson and Bert Hölldobler, discuss their latest collaborative work, The Superorganism: The Beauty, Elegance, and Strangeness of Insect Societies. In this, the first of a two-part interview, Wilson and Hölldobler, who jointly won a Pulitzer Prize for a prior book, The Ants, explain that a superorganism is a group of animals living together in such a tightly organized fashion that it develops the characteristics of a single organism. Superorganisms are found in insect societies with a clear division of labor, with members divided into reproducing and non-reproducing castes. This episode includes fascinating photographs of various types of ants involved in such collaborative behavior as feeding one another and recruiting nestmates for defense against invaders.
E.O. Wilson and Bert Holldobler, Part 2, In part two of this two-part interview, renowned entomologists and co-winners of the Pulitzer Prize, E. O. Wilson and Bert Hölldobler, continue their discussion of ant societies by offering observations about altruistic care-giving behavior in ants. The conversation then moves on to more personal and philosophical topics. Wilson and Hölldobler maintain that there is a human nature, and Hölldobler points out that it is natural for societies of the same species to fight each other, although humans strive to overcome that tendency through teaching and moral philosophy. Wilson observes that humans “live in a Star Wars civilization…have stone-age emotions…live in medieval institutions…and have God-like technology. That’s a dangerous condition for an advanced species to be in.” He adds his hope that the situation could be remediated by better science education. The two scientists also speak of their genial personal relationship and the nature of their collaboration.
Frank Wilson: Books Editor, The Philadelphia Inquirer, writes an "Editor's Choice" each Sunday in the Books section. His blog, Books Inq., offers a host of literary-minded links.
Jiri Zizka: Artistic Director, The Wilma Theater, Philadelphia, Pa. Artistic director of The Wilma Theater since 1979, Jiri Zizka has directed over 50 productions.
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University: part 1 of 2
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is a popular museum on Philadelphia’s cultural boulevard and the oldest natural history museum in America. In this, the first part in a two-part episode taped on-site at the Academy of Natural Sciences, key figures at the Academy discuss its public role as a museum and educational institution. The second part focuses on the Academy as a center for scientific research. President and CEO George W. Gephart, Jr., notes that the Academy is both a "dinosaur museum" and a center for environmental science. Robert M. Peck, Senior Fellow and Curator of Art and Artifacts, shares some highlights of the museum's wild animal dioramas and pages through the Academy's rare folio by John James Audubon, revealing breathtaking illustrations of American birds. Senior Director of Education Jacquie Genovesi recaps the Academy's educational programs, especially those for children. This episode features many dramatic images of the famous dinosaur bones, the wild animal dioramas, colorful butterflies in the indoor butterfly exhibit, and much more.
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University: part 2 or 2
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is a popular museum on Philadelphia’s cultural boulevard and the oldest natural history museum in America. The first part of this two-part series focused on the Academy's public role as museum and educational institution. In this, the second part, also taped on-site, scientists at the Academy of Natural Sciences discuss its collections and its role as a center for scientific research. Paleontologist Ted Daeschler, Associate Curator of Vertebrate Zoology and Vice President of Systematics and Library, displays Thomas Jefferson's personal collection of fossils, presented to Jefferson in 1808 by explorer William Clark. Daeschler notes that the Academy holds some 18 million fossil specimens. He also displays the focus of his current research, the skull of a lobe-finned fish found in the Canadian arctic, one of the first limbed animals and a key piece of evolutionary history--a bridge between fish and mammal. Entomologist Daniel Otte, Curator of Entomology and an expert on crickets and grasshoppers, speaks of describing new species of crickets and notes that there are many species of insects that remain undescribed. A highlight of Otte's presentation is the beautifully detailed drawings from his books on North American grasshoppers. Ending the segment, biogeochemist David Velinsky, Vice President of the Academy's Patrick Center for Environmental Research, discusses the pioneering work on stream health of ecologist Ruth Patrick, the scientist for whom the Center was named. Velinsky also speaks of his current and controversial research on the ecological problems resulting from natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania. This episode features video of display cases filled with fossils, seashells, giant insects, birds, and other specimens from the Academy's "library of life," as well as shots of its famous dinosaur skeletons.
The National Museum of American Jewish History: part 1 of 2
The National Museum of American Jewish History, located on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, is an American history museum that tells the story of the United States through the American Jewish experience. This show, the first of a two-part episode, focuses on the Museum’s mission and founding. The second part focuses on the Museum’s educational activities, its architecture, exhibits, and artifacts. Ivy L. Barsky, Gwen Goodman Director and CEO of the National Museum of American Jewish History, observes that the Museum shows that any hyphenated American group can share the Jewish-American story, both its struggles and opportunities. Museum benefactor Ed Snider, chairman of Comcast-Spectator, speaks of helping to spearhead the growth of the NMAJH and recounts his role in the creation of the Museum’s “Only in America: Hall of Fame,” an exhibit that highlights the accomplishments of iconic Jewish-Americans, among them Sandy Koufax, Irving Berlin, and Barbra Streisand. Philip M. Darivoff, co-chairman of the Museum, notes that the Museum explains how Judaism has evolved in the United States. Darivoff cites a favorite quote from George Washington’s 1790 letter to the Newport, Rhode Island Jewish community, which declares that the United States “gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” This episode is richly illustrated with footage of the interior of the museum and its exhibits, along with striking views of the exterior of the museum and surrounding Philadelphia landmarks, among them Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
The National Museum of American Jewish History: part 2 of 2
The National Museum of American Jewish History, located on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, is an American history museum that tells the story of the United States through the American Jewish experience. This show, the second of a two-part episode, focuses on the Museum’s educational activities, its exhibits, its architecture, and artifacts. The first part focused on the Museum’s mission and founding. Ivy L. Barsky, Gwen Goodman Director and CEO of the National Museum of American Jewish History, returns to the show to comment on the importance of the Museum’s location just steps from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Barsky discusses the Museum’s lively interactive exhibits, some of which invite visitors to contribute their stories and opinions. James Stewart Polshek, FAIA, architect of the National Museum of American Jewish History, talks about the challenges involved in transferring the museum from its prior location in Philadelphia to its new current street-corner site. Polshek explains why he chose a combination of opaque, transparent, translucent, and glowing building materials, and how the translucent materials function as a welcoming lens to visitors. Historian team member Pamela Nadell describes the chronological arrangement of the exhibits, the balance of major Jewish figures with ordinary people, and the importance of several items in the collection. This episode features dramatic footage of the Museum’s interior and exterior, spotlights artifacts described by Nadell, and includes shots of the two sculptures outside the building, Religious Liberty, a work dating from the Centennial, and Beacon, a contemporary abstract work. Sweeping views of the Museum in the context of its historical surroundings add to this episode’s impressive visuals.
American Revolution Center: This episode of the Drexel InterView is an in-depth look at the forthcoming Museum of the American Revolution being planned for Independence Mall in Philadelphia. The episode includes interviews with four key figures involved with this museum’s creation: Michael C. Quinn, who is President and CEO of The American Revolution Center; H.F. Gerry Lenfest, media entrepreneur, Philadelphia legend and latter-day “founding father,” whose lifelong dream has been to help create a museum devoted to the American Revolution; Dr. R. Scott Stephenson, Director of Collections and Interpretation, who will discuss the collection; Robert A.M. Stern, dean of the Yale School of Architecture and the architect of the museum, who will explain its design and show us a model. This is a wide-ranging set of interview, complete with extensive b-roll dealing with the site and various artifacts to be featured in the museum that connect to our nation’s history.
Two Universities and the Future of China: Professor Paula Marantz Cohen is granted unprecedented access to China’s two most prestigious universities: Tsinghua and Peking University, where students candidly discuss their attitudes and goals. The subjects provide a picture of the upcoming generation of China's educated elite-- and a window on the future of China.
Over nine million students take China's college entrance exam each year, but only a select few are admitted to the country's two most prestigious universities, Tsinghua University and Peking University. In this documentary, filmmaker and professor Paula Marantz Cohen is granted unprecedented access to the campuses of these universities, where she speaks with students about a range of subjects. They candidly discuss their academic and career goals, their feelings about American culture, their relationship to Chinese traditions and values, and their attitude toward family and country. Their views provide an enlightening and often surprising picture of the upcoming generation of China's educated elite-- and a window on the future of China. The film was underwritten by Drexel University and produced in association with China Education Television.