18-33 Segment 1: Modern American Immigration

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When people discuss “the immigrant narrative,” you may picture Ellis Island. But what is that process like today? We talk to two writers about the more modern immigrant journey.

Guests:

  • Daniel Connolly, journalist and author, The Book of Isaias: A Child of Immigrants Seeks His Own America
  • Shilpi Somaya Gowda, author, The Golden Son

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18-33 Segment 2: Seeking the Origins of Creativity

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We grow up with visions of creative genius: the divine power to create stories from whole cloth and write symphonic masterpieces. But is that how it really works? We look at the creative process, and why it may not be as romantic as some of us imagine.

Guest:

  • Allen Gannet, CEO of TrackMaven and author, The Creative Curve: How to realistically cultivate creativity

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Culture Crash 18-33: The Academy’s ‘Best Popular Film’ Snafu

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture.  What’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced their latest idea for improving the Oscars relevancy and ratings. This month, The Academy sent out a tweet that read in part, quote, “a new category is being designed around achievement in popular film.” This is nothing new- in 2009, after the backlash they suffered from failing to nominate The Dark Knight for Best Picture- the Academy expanded the category to 10 nominees. This worked for a while- Avatar and Inception were both nominated, but ultimately, things reverted back to the mean and big budget films went back to being excluded.

So now, this. An attempt to create an Oscar for popular films. The reaction was swift- the award would be an insult. An also-ran. Perhaps most baffling is the strange insinuation that a popular film can’t win Best Picture, Titanic was popular, Forrest Gump was popular. Not to mention Lord of the Rings, Ben-Hur, West Side Story, Rocky and so many of the award’s winners over the years.

To ignore that history and imply that a popular film operates on a different scale than true film is a sham designed to draw more eyeballs to the ceremony. The only reason a second award would be necessary is because the Academy itself is out of touch. In 2008, The Dark Knight didn’t need a Best Popular Film category to merit a win. The outrage was because it was dismissed for being popular in spite of its quality- honestly, when’s the last time you marveled at the achievement of Frost/Nixon, The Reader or even the winner from that ceremony, Slumdog Millionaire?

Winning an award made to pander to the masses won’t feel as good as truly being recognized for your achievement. The onus is on the Academy to actually recognize the best achievement in film and not hedge their bets with new awards.

I’m Evan Rook.

18-32 Segment 1: Maximizing Your Charity Donation’s Impact

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Everyone has different causes that are close to their hearts. We talk to a philanthropy specialist about how we can donate to those causes and ensure that our contribution makes the biggest impact possible.

Guest:

  • Carrie Morgridge, Vice President of The Morgridge Family Foundation, author of Every Gift Matters: How your passion can change the world

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18-32 Segment 2: Overcoming The Fear of Speaking in Public

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We’ve all been in the position at some time in another where we have to give a presentation at school or at work, and often times, it can make us incredibly nervous. We discuss this fear and tips for overcoming it and delivering the best speech possible.

Guest:

  • Larry Ventis, retired professor of psychology at the College of William and Mary
  • Michael Port, speaking coach, author, Steal the Show

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Culture Crash 18-32: Blindspotting

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture.  What’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.

Every year has it’s most anticipated movies- this year just saw the release of Mission Impossible-Fallout, and still has Aquaman, Mary Poppins Returns, and the Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. But every year also has its surprise gems. And one of those for 2018 is in theaters now, and it’s called Blindspotting.

Blindspotting was written by Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal, two real-life childhood friends who originally wrote the movie years ago. After Diggs rose to national prominence, winning a Tony award for his turn as Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in Hamilton on Broadway and Casal gained fame with his poetry, the two friends finally got to make their long-in-gestation film.passion project a reality.

The movie weaves rap, a visceral dream sequence, and intimate knowledge of Oakland and the Bay Area to tell the story of gentrification in American cities, recidivism, and the disturbing trend of black men being killed by police. Diggs and Casal also star in the film- Diggs plays a black man who was recently released from prison, while Casal plays his white friend, who is always by his side.

For a movie that only runs 95 minutes long, Blindspotting packs a lot in. The movie explores the racial dynamics of their friendship and their city, and how imprisonment and national headlines can affect friends and families in America’s urban centers.

Blindspotting is a drama and a comedy, and both are strengths. When the mood is light, the movie clicks as a buddy-comedy of two movers in the Bay Area, but when it takes its turns, it can be shocking and disturbing, showing how quickly things can go terribly wrong.

Blindspotting was not a movie on my radar when the year began. It wasn’t really on my radar until it was playing at the theater down the street from my house and I randomly decided to kill a couple of hours by going to see it. But that decision was a good one, and when all is said and done, Blindspotting will certainly rank among my favorite films of the year.

I’m Evan Rook.

Coming Up on Viewpoints Show 18-32

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Maximizing Your Charity Donation’s Impact

Everyone has different causes that are close to their hearts. We talk to a philanthropy specialist about how we can donate to those causes and ensure that our contribution makes the biggest impact possible.

Overcoming The Fear of Speaking in Public

We’ve all been in the position at some time in another where we have to give a presentation at school or at work, and often times, it can make us incredibly nervous. We discuss this fear and tips for overcoming it and delivering the best speech possible.

Culture Crash: Blindspotting

One of this year’s gems at the cinema is in theaters now. It’s called Blindspotting, and it explores racial dynamics and gentrification in American cities.