Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Unusual Music with a Local Twist

This week’s Lincoln Avenue takes us back to last June, for a conversation with electroacoustic musician Lars Brondum.  Lars has local connections, with family in town and two degrees from YSU’s Dana School of Music, but he lives and works in Sweden. 

Lars performed at the Universal CafĂ© at the Unitarian church, and when he came to talk with me, he brought in some samples of his work.  Electroacoustic music combines traditional instruments with unusual sounds, some coming from specialized musical instruments like the theremin as well as ordinary objects.  You can hear him talk about how and why he composes and performs, and you can hear examples of his work, on this week’s show.  This was one of few shows I’ve done with music, and I liked having the chance to move back and forth between conversation and sound. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Doing the Right Thing

Martha Hennessey’s “claim to fame” is that she’s the granddaughter of Dorothy Day, one of the founders of the Catholic Worker Movement.  Much as I admire Day’s work, it’s a shame that Hennessey doesn’t get more recognition in her own right.  As we discuss in this week’s interview, she’s taken the activist model of the Catholic Worker Movement – the concept of nonviolent resistance – to protest and observation sites around the world.  From the steps of the Supreme Court to the Rafah border crossing in the Gaza Strip, she has stood up for peace and justice.  While many people can’t imagine attending a protest, much less doing so in an uncomfortable and dangerous area or taking the risk of being arrested, Martha sees these as ordinary acts, things that she must do because they are the right thing to do.  Her interview will inspire you.

Speaking of doing the right thing, if you’re listening to Lincoln Avenue or just reading the blog (the show is better!), I hope you’ll do the right thing and help support WYSU.  It’s pledge week, and we need your help to continue offering thoughtful perspectives on local, national, and global events.  Go to now and make your pledge. 

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Feeding People First

This week on Lincoln Avenue, I talked with Joel Berg about hunger, poverty, and – the crux of the matter – wages. As someone who studies working-class life, culture, and politics, I was especially pleased to hear him focus on wages. If more people earned a livable wage, fewer people would go hungry. It’s as simple as that. Unfortunately, even though the minimum wage was raised not long ago, we’re seeing many more people moving into low-wage jobs. Those are some of the fastest-growing job categories in the country.

Meanwhile, growing more and better food for urban, low-income communities is a hot topic, and Berg’s comments help us connect the dots between programs like food banks, living wage campaigns, and urban farms and farmer’s markets. We’re seeing many of these efforts here in the Youngstown area, though other cities are, in many cases, far ahead of us. But I’m encouraged to see people organizing around issues of poverty and access, along with all the efforts to attract new high-tech jobs and strengthen the arts community. We need it all here, of course, but feeding people is probably the right place to begin. And along with growing good food and donating to food banks, one of the best ways to feed people is to ensure that they can afford to feed themselves.