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March 24, 2021 @ 7:15 am

Season 4 Ep. 83 TRU-ly A One Man Show with guest Jason Cooper 3-24-21

The famous American author Truman Capote once said, ”Life is a moderately good play with a badly written third act.”

Capote’s own life is the subject of the one man play, Tru, written by Jay Presson Allen which appeared on Broadway in 1989. The play is now being performed by local theater company Pandora Productions, a group that focuses on producing plays by and/or about LGBTQ people, as an on-demand show available for two weeks: March 26-28 and April 2-4. This production of Tru stars Louisvillian Jason Cooper, a veteran theater artist. He started his own theater company, The Chicken Coop Theater, 2 years ago which focuses on producing lesser known plays. But he is also a high school English teacher at a private school where he is engaging the next generation in the love of reading and has just completed writing a memoir as part of a Master of Fine Arts Creative Writing program. Jason has immersed himself in the life of an artist whether it be acting, directing, literary appreciation, or writing.

In Tru, Cooper helps audiences see the celebrity of Truman Capote in addition to the person he was behind the mask. Some writers just do their thing and live normal lives, while others become reclusive and avoid the limelight. But Truman Capote became a celebrity whose persona, at times, eclipsed his literary works.

Jason talks to us about why Truman Capote was so important to the gay community, why working in the theater has been such a good training ground for life as a teacher, what actual Capote mannerisms Jason felt he had to tone down so audiences would find him believable, and why he thinks bad movie musicals from the 1980s are epic.

Books Mentioned in This Episode:

1- Penny's Holiday (children's book)
2- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
3- Native Son by Richard Wright
4- Ordinary People by Judith Guest
5- The Chosen by Chaim Potok
6- Tru by Jay Presson Allison (play)
7- Answered Prayers: The Unfinished Novel by Truman Capote
8- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
9- A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
10- The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
11- Let Love Rule by Lenny Kravitz
12- The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
13- I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
14- The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

Movies mentioned--
1- Capote
2- Murder by Death



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March 16, 2021 @ 8:30 pm

Season 4 Ep. 82 It’s Not The Same Old Story with guest Joe Manning

Historically, the voices we’ve heard most in books and literature have been those of white men, and even though there has been a movement to include more varied voices, there are still stories we don’t often hear. The Louisville Story Program, however, is a nonprofit organization focused on helping the stories that don’t often get heard come to light.

The first person narrative stories are made into professionally published books, but the way these stories come to fruition vary. Sometimes Louisville Story Program staff do intensive writing workshops with high school students in neighborhoods we don’t hear from very often. The teens write their own stories under the guidance of individuals who help them focus and make their writing the best it can be. In other situations, Louisville Story Program staff listen and record the oral histories of community members like horse racing professionals at Churchill Downs and turn those into published works.

This week, we talk to the deputy director of the Louisville Story Program Joe Manning. He is a songwriter/ musical performer as well as an author whose collection of essays about his experience as a young man on a merchant freighter that traveled the globe is called Certain Relevant Passages and was published in 2017.

Joe tells us the easiest and most important question an interviewer can ask to get a great answer, how his very young daughter has helped him listen to more audiobooks, why it's so important for underrepresented groups to be able to tell their own stories instead of having others tell it for them, and why two important words for The Louisville Story Program are community and communion.

Books Mentioned in this Episode:

1- The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
2- Better Lucky Than Good by Louisville Story Program
3- Our Shawnee by Louisville Story Program
4- The Fights We Fought Have Brought Us Here by Louisville Story Program
5- White Hotel by D.M. Thomas
6- My Meteorite by Harry Dodge
7- Bluets by Maggie Nelson
8 Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste by Bianca Bosker
9- Certain Relevant Passages by Joe Manning



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March 10, 2021 @ 7:15 am

Season 4 Ep. 81 Lions, Tigers, Bears, and Books with guest Katy Morrison

When I say the word “zoo” your first thought is probably elephants or giraffes; maybe a great memory of going on a school field trip or of taking your own children there for a special outing. A word you probably don’t associate with a zoo is “Book club”. But our guest today, Katy Morrison, a zoo educator at the Louisville Zoo, wants to broaden your vision a bit. At the beginning of the pandemic, she was brainstorming ways that the zoo could still serve its patrons virtually, especially adult patrons who are often not the focus of zoo outreach. And then she read a book on primates that she was dying to talk about with someone. So she pitched the idea of the Conservation and Conversation bookclub to the zoo and it was soon full steam ahead for her vision of non-traditional education through book discussions.

Katy uses her liberal arts background in history and classical studies to explore conservation issues through non-fiction books. While the book club makes the hard sciences more accessible to non-scientists, it is still challenging enough for those with more scientific backgrounds. The concept of conservation is a broad one that can include the most obvious for a zoo; animal conservation, but can also include things like cultural conservation, sustainable agriculture through the lense of cookbooks, and green burials.

Each month, Katy moderates the book discussion, sometimes with special guests, and sends the participants a guide with additional links and resources so they can continue the conversation with family and friends through things like podcast links, related reading for younger readers, and suggested documentaries. And of course one of the wonderful things about a virtual bookclub is that you don’t have to be in the same city as the zoo. In fact, Katy was inspired by a bookclub she joined virtually at an aquarium in New Jersey.

Katy talks to us about the fantasy books she was crazy about as a child where the protagonists could talk with animals, why many organizations are starting book clubs during the pandemic, and which decidedly non cuddly creature at the zoo is her favorite because of a project she did in 3rd grade.

Books mentioned in this episode:

1- Tortall Universe series by Tamora Pierce
2- The Wild Magic series by Tamora Pierce
3- Harry Potter series by J.K.Rowling
4- The Polar Affair by Lloyd Spencer Davis
5- Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia by Christina Thompson
6- Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? by Caitlin Doughty
7- Smoke Gets In My Eyes by Caitlin Doughty
8- The Big Burn by Timothy Egan
9- Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani
10- Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
11- No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg
12- A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough
13- Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
14- The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan
15- The Pocket Change Collective series (This is What I Know About Art by Kimberly Drew)
16- The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food by Marcus Samuelson
17- You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington by Alexis Coe

Podcasts mentioned:
Ologies by Alie Ward

Documentaries mentioned:
1- A Life on Our Planet
2- Making Of (videos)
3- My Octopus Teacher (Netflix)



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March 3, 2021 @ 6:59 am

Season 4 Ep. 80 Resistance Reading with guest Farrah Alexander 3-3-21

Sometimes it only takes a spark to start a fire. For writer and activist Farrah Alexander, the small flicker of an idea that eventually became her first book was her January 2017 participation in the historic Women's March in Washington DC. She encountered so many women who were emboldened to make change but weren’t sure how to channel their energies.

Farrah wrote her book titled Raising the Resistance: A Mother’s Guide to Practical Activism which gives suggestions on how to be a leader in your life and a model for change for your children. But the book is also witty and whimsical which makes it accessible to a wide audience.

Farrah has been a journalist and freelance writer whose articles have appeared in the Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, and BuzzFeed. Her work focuses on feminism, social justice, parenting, and politics. She is also a Jeremiah Fellow with Bend the Ark, a Jewish partnership for justice which aims to combat white supremacy and mobilize communities for social change.

In this episode, Farrah talks to us about how even as a child she was drawn to books with strong female characters like Amelia Bedelia, how she wants to make the ideas of feminism less academic and more accessible, why she feels essay writing can be a powerful tool for women to share their stories, and which item of her political memorabilia collection is her most cherished.

Books mentioned in this episode:

1- Raising the Resistance: A Mother's Guide to Practical Activism by Farrah Alexander
2- Amelia Bedelia books by Peggy Parish
3- Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
4- The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters by Tom Nichols
5- A Promised Land by Barack Obama
6- Becoming by Michelle Obama
7- Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen

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