19-01 Segment 2: Overcoming Anxiety and Feeling Joy

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Early January has long been a time for people to hit the reset button and try to refocus their energy and attention for the year ahead. We talk to two experts about how to overcome anxiety to feel happier and more at ease, despite the chaos of our everyday life.

Guests:

  • Neil Pasricha, author, Two Minute Mornings: A journey to win your day every day
  • Sharon Weil, author, ChangeAbility: How artists, activists and awakeners navigate change

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Culture Crash 19-01: Minding the Gap

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine what’s new and old in entertainment.

The year 2018 gave us a lot to love at the movies. Some of the highlights for me were Eighth Grade, Roma, A Quiet Place, and Blindspotting. Each of those films thrilled, entertained, and moved me. But to me, the best film of the year was Bing Liu’s incredibly personal documentary, Minding the Gap. It’s a film I saw back in August but it stuck with me more than anything I’ve seen in a long time.

Minding the Gap tells the story of Liu himself, and of his closest friends from his childhood in Rockford, Illinois. Each came from something of a broken home and turned to skateboarding and each other for an escape from their personal demons. What begins as a movie about kids skateboarding and hanging out becomes a searing look at childhood trauma, the bonds of friendship, and what effect our families can have on us, even as we age into adulthood.

Liu documents each of his subjects with the compassion of a true friend, but he’s not afraid to let his friends do and say bad things on camera, and allow the audience to judge their character for themselves. In a time when people like to make sweeping, grandiose statements about how our country got to this specific place politically, economically, and morally, Minding the Gap opts to focus instead on one specific group of friends– a group of kids who were beaten and neglected and ignored, and take a look at how and why they became the people they have become.

Minding the Gap is available in some theaters, but it’s available to watch everywhere on Hulu, and it’s worth the price of a month’s subscription on its own.

2018 was a rich year for cinema, but in my estimation, nothing topped Minding the Gap.

I’m Evan Rook. 

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18-52 Segment 1: Unlocking Creativity: Tips for sticking to your artistic New Year’s resolutions in 2019

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We’re about to enter the season of New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you want to write a book, make a short film, or paint your masterpiece. We talk to two published authors about silencing your inner critic, breaking through any artistic funks, and finally putting pen to paper in 2019.

Guests:

  • Danielle Krysa, author, Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk: and other truths about being creative
  • David W. Berner, professor and author

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18-52 Segment 2: Celebrating New Year’s as a Night In

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New Year’s Eve is a huge night for bars, but what if you’d rather not brave the elements and pay big cover charges? We discuss ways to ring in the new year on your couch with festive drinks, snacks, and maybe a movie.

Guests:

  • Tim Federle, author, Gone with the Gin: Cocktails with a Hollywood Twist
  • Christian DeBenedetti, co-author, Beer Bites: Tasty recipes and perfect pairings for brew lovers

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Culture Crash 18-52: Anthony Bourdain

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine what’s new and old in entertainment.

As the year draws to a close, it’s the time on the calendar when we take a look back at who we lost this year. One such cultural giant was Anthony Bourdain, the famed chef and author turned travel documentarian.

His death is a curious one for me personally, because at the time of his death on June 8, I had very little exposure to his work. I had seen bits and pieces of his TV shows, but the night he died was the first time I ever watched an episode of Parts Unknown in its entirety. Bourdain’s library will be familiar to many of you: In each episode, he traveled somewhere in the world- it could be Houston or Chicago, Hong Kong or Puerto Rico, The Greek Islands or Hanoi, Vietnam. He would explore the terrain by eating their food and talking to locals about the cuisine and culture of whatever place he was in. By the time I went to sleep that night, I had zipped through four episodes, and was in love with his writing style and his adventures.

Since his passing, I have spent a lot of time with Anthony Bourdain. Before traveling to Melbourne last month, I made it a point to seek out an episode of his old show No Reservations where he went to Melbourne, and my wife and I modeled much of our trip after Bourdain’s. We sought out Middle Eastern food at two restaurants: Rumi and A1 Lebanese Bakery, both at Bourdain’s recommendation. We ventured into Chinatown, just as Bourdain had. I ate red chilis, barbecue quail, and a sausage at the Grand Victorian Market, just like Bourdain had. I was trying to retrace his footsteps, yes, but also he just had a way of describing food that made me absolutely have to try some of it for myself. Anyone on that trip to Australia with me heard me say his name at least a few times, because he became something of a travel guide for my trip. And the results were tremendous: the food was delicious and diverse. His words took us outside of the main Central Business District and urged us to take a trip to culturally rich corners of Melbourne I wouldn’t have even known about without him.

Since returning, I have spent the past few weeks reading his debut book Kitchen Confidential, where I have been able to learn so much more about him as a person: passionate, kind, and, yeah, rough around the edges with a certain brashness that lets you know he knows what he’s talking about.

When Anthony Bourdain died in June, I knew very little about him. But through his shows and his writing, I have gotten to know him like a friend. I’m so grateful for all that he left behind, and I so wish he hadn’t left the world of his own volition. There were more places that could have used a visit, or a return visit, from such a compassionate world traveler.

Resources for those contemplating suicide are always available at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or by calling 1-800-273-8255.

Anthony Bourdain was 61. 

I’m Evan Rook. 

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18-51 Segment 1: Letters to Max: Two friends confront their mortality through letters

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Sarah Ruhl is a MacArthur Fellowship recipient and a famed playwright. As a professor, she met Max Ritvo, who went on to become a published poet. She recounts the story of their friendship and how they used letters to make a connection and comfort one another while Ritvo faced the end of his life.

Guest:

  • Sarah Ruhl, co-author, Letters to Max: A book of friendship 

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18-51 Segment 2: The Pearl Harbor Christmas

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Christmas 1941 came just weeks after the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor dragged America into World War II. We talk to historian Stanley Weintraub about how America was getting ready for war while trying to celebrate the holiday season.

Guest:

  • Stanley Weintraub, historian, author of Pearl Harbor Christmas: A World at War, December 1941

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