Billy Jonas, David LaMotte, and Dawud Wharnsby, three internationally renowned singer-songwriters, join me on the podcast this episode to talk about their touring show, Abraham Jam, a trio of performers from the three Abrahamic faiths. This episode we talk about the importance of interfaith dialogue in artistic performances like Abraham Jam and beyond.
For more information, check out: AbrahamJam.com
This episode of the podcast, I got to go backstage at the newest production of "Carrie: The Musical" at the Near West Theater in Cleveland and talk to the cast and director of the show to talk in-depth about the themes of Stephen King's classic novel adapted for the stage. My guests include:
Anna Parchem (Carrie White)
Morgan Williams (Sue Snell)
Statia Rankin (Chris Hargensen)
Julie Penzvalto (Margaret White)
Devon Turchan (Director)
For more information on "Carrie: The Musical" and tickets, visit http://www.nearwesttheatre.org
Lauren Reid has served as Special Series Coordinator for the Conservation Media Group. She spent two weeks aboard a boat called the Rainbow Warrior with a film crew from Greenpeace creating a video documentary series called "The Truth About Tuna." Lauren shares some stories about how this experience opened her eyes to the living conditions for many of the fishermen in the tuna industry out at sea, how the industry has been affected by stock depletion, and the impact the industry has on the environment.
Film clips by Adam Woods and Greenpeace USA
Dacre Stoker is the great-grand-nephew of Bram Stoker, author of the classic novel, "Dracula." Dacre has devoted himself to the academic research and preservation of his famous great-grand-uncle's literary legacy. He joins the podcast to discuss how Bram Stoker's real life experiences growing up may have inspired some of the terrifying images and story in "Dracula."
I am also joined by guest co-host, Leah Davydov, from Cleveland State University. Leah is a local vampire scholar who has also devoted herself to researching Bram Stoker, vampire literature, and mythology. We talk about the different castles in Romania that may or may not have been connected to the real life Vlad the Impaler or perhaps inspired the fictional castle in the novel. I tell Dacre about the time I visited Transylvania as an obnoxious American tourist and humiliated myself, and we discuss "Dracula" in media, television, and film.
Featuring "Tocatta and Fugue" by Johann Sebastian Bach - performed by Dan Rogers
Chrysta Bell stars in the third season of “Twin Peaks” on Showtime directed by David Lynch. She is a recording artist, songwriter, and actress who has collaborated with Lynch since 1999. They have produced two albums together, “The Train” and an EP, “Somewhere in the Nowhere.” In 2017, she leaps into the unknown releasing her new album, “We Dissolve" (her first without the involvement of a record label or a famous Hollywood director).
Chrysta Bell and I talk a little bit about the elusive creative process and where her ideas come from. She shares why creating this new album was such a unique and personal experience for her. She also offers some behind-the-scenes insights into her collaborations with David Lynch both in the recording studio and on the set of "Twin Peaks."
Find out more: http://www.chrystabell.com
Leslie Carrara-Rudolph is a performer and puppeteer on “Sesame Street.” She performs Abby Cadabby as well as a variety of other characters. She has performed the Muppets on “Muppets Tonight,” “The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss,” the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” and many, many other programs. Fans may also remember her from the film, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” starring Jason Segel, as the evil succubus in the vampire musical.
Leslie has also devoted her career to using imagination and creativity as a form of mission and outreach to at-risk youth and children. She is the creator of the original multimedia musical, “Wake Up Your Weird!” which was developed under a grant by the Jim Henson Foundation. She is also one of the founding members of “Puppet Up! / Stuffed And Unstrung” with Brian Henson and the Jim Henson Company.
During our conversation, Leslie shares some of her behind-the-scenes stories from working with the Muppets and how she learned from legendary Henson performers like Jerry Nelson and Frank Oz. She talks a little about how her experiences growing up gave her a passion for helping young people "wake up their weird" to explore their feelings through artistic expression, irreverence, humor, and honesty. Plus, find out how Leslie had an "Uncle Ben" moment meeting Shari Lewis on an airplane.
Professor Michael D. Coogan is the editor of the Oxford Annotated Bible and the Director of Publications at the Harvard Semitic Museum, and he joins me for a discussion on the book of Genesis. Professor Coogan is the author of the books, "The Ten Commandments: A Short History of an Ancient Text," "God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says," and "The Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures."
This episode, we talk about some of my favorite passages in all of Scripture: the first three chapters of Genesis. Creation, the garden, and our relationships with one another. Professor Coogan and I discuss some of the most common misunderstandings of these stories and some of my favorite questions when it comes to these texts. Are these narratives literal? Is the garden of Eden really a "fall story?" Was Eve really deceived by the serpent, or did he make some legitimate points, and what exactly are God's motivations by planting this tree in the garden in the first place? We also involve you, the listener, in the conversation by taking some of your questions from social media, e-mail, and Facebook.
Author and blogger Gordon Atkinson (formerly of RealLivePreacher.com) returns to talk about his new book, "Foy: On the Road to Lost," a collection of short stories about the life of his fictional character, Foy Davis. Gordon and I talk about some of our favorite Foy stories. We're given some "inside info" on how much of it is fictionalized and how much of it is based on his own experience. Gordon also talks about the influence Jungian psychology has on the mythology and psyche of Foy's character and gives us a peek at the forthcoming sequel...
Howdy! It's Mac King!
Comedy magician, Mac King, has headlined at Harrah's Las Vegas for over seventeen years and has been seen performing on "The Late Show with David Letterman" and all five "World's Greatest Magic" specials on NBC. He has been praised by the magic community in The Wall Street Journal and was called "the greatest comedy magician working in the world today. Full stop...the greatest comedy magician at least alive today...maybe who ever lived" by Penn and Teller.
He has also been named Funniest Magician in the World by Magic Magazine and Magician of the Year by the Magic Castle in Hollywood. He also happens to be a childhood hero of mine. I'm delighted to welcome him on my show.
This year, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted to adopt the Belhar Confession to its Book of Confessions. This episode, I sit down with four individuals within the denomination to learn more about this confession, its history, what it means, and why its inclusion is significant. My conversations this episode include:
Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Rev. T. Denise Anderson, Co-Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Rev. Dr. Charles Wiley, coordinator of the Office of Theology and Worship of the Presbyterian Mission Agency
Rev. Amy Snow, Director of Congregational Care, Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.