WBEZ | Culture http://www.wbez.org/news/culture Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en DePaul museum show 'Rooted in Soil' looks at role earth plays in life, death http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-01-29/depaul-museum-show-rooted-soil-looks-role-earth-plays-life-death <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bell_.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 600px;" title="Metropolis 2012 by Vaughn Bell. Acrylic, aluminum, rigging cables, hardware, soil, native plants. (Photo by Spike Mafford)" /></div></div><p>A new exhibition opening Thursday at the DePaul Art Museum takes a unique look at something we take for granted.</p><p>&ldquo;Rooted in Soil&rdquo; examines earth from multiple viewpoints, from the role that intensive agriculture and deforestation play in removing topsoil, to the decaying flowers, trees and even human bodies that all eventually return to the soil.</p><p>&ldquo;The idea came out of a very tumultuous period in my life, where I was having an existential crisis, if you will, and exploring many of these questions about the meaning of life,&rdquo; said Farrah Fatemi, an assistant environmental studies professor at St. Michael&rsquo;s College in Vermont. She curated the show with her mother, Laura Fatemi, who&rsquo;s the museum&rsquo;s interim director.</p><p>Farrah Fatemi said she started meditating and reading a lot about Buddhism.</p><p>&ldquo;One of the things that really resonated with me is this concept of a very fundamental interconnectedness that all beings have to one another and to their environment,&rdquo; she said, adding she and her mother wanted to bring this interconnectedness to the public through art.</p><p>That connection is evident as soon as you walk into the DePaul Art Museum.</p><p>The smell of fresh soil hangs in the air. The first thing you see is a large angular terrarium hanging suspended from the ceiling. If you&rsquo;ve admired terrariums and imagined living in a tiny world of plants under glass, &ldquo;Metropolis&rdquo; by Seattle artist Vaughn Bell gives you a taste of what that would be like. Visitors can stand underneath it, poke their heads through holes cut in the bottom and be surrounded by green plants and the rich smell of soil in the spring, despite the cold weather outside.</p><p>An installation by Chicago artist Claire Pentecost lets visitors step into a room that looks like an old apothecary, but the vials and cylinders are full of dirt. People can lift glass domes containing soil samples and take a whiff.</p><p>&ldquo;I think one of the neat things about this exhibit is that it confronts people in the city who are surrounded by this paved landscape with soil,&rdquo; Farrah Fatemi said. The idea is to connect urban spaces and urban dwellers back to nature.</p><p>Upstairs, the focus turns to the cycle of life, featuring powerful images that are beautiful and uncomfortable.</p><p>A 17th-century &ldquo;vanitas,&rdquo; a form of still life that focuses on death-related themes, by Flemish painter Adriaen van Utrecht shows a skull and a glorious bouquet just past full flower that&rsquo;s starting to rot. Coins and jewelry are scattered nearby, symbolizing, as Laura Fatemi said, &ldquo;You can&rsquo;t take it with you.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;In a way, these were religious paintings,&rdquo; Laura Fatemi said, adding that they made reference to concepts like mortality and repentance.</p><p>Next to the painting, Sam Taylor-Johnson explores a similar theme in still life -- but in video form -- showing a luscious bowl of fruit quickly moving through the stages of decay from ripeness to mold to bugs.</p><p>The photographs of Sally Mann, who documents corpses in various stages of decomposition at the Body Farm at the University of Tennessee, are grotesque and strangely beautiful. Justin Rang explores similar themes in his film &ldquo;Light/Dark Worms.&rdquo; It takes up an entire wall and shows worms writhing around a human hand in the dirt, inviting us to reflect on our own impermanence.</p><p>&ldquo;We depend on this nutrient cycle, and we&rsquo;re part of it,&rdquo; Laura Fatemi said. Much of the work plays with our anxiety over dying and our fear of the unknown. &ldquo;The reality is the earth will take us back.&rdquo;</p><p>For many of us, that&rsquo;s never an easy concept to grasp or even to consider. But perhaps seeing it explored in art will make it a bit less scary.<br />&ldquo;Rooted in Soil&rdquo; runs through April 26 at the DePaul Art Museum.</p><p><em>Lynette Kalsnes covers religion, arts and culture for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/LynetteKalsnes" target="_blank">@LynetteKalsnes</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 16:03:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-01-29/depaul-museum-show-rooted-soil-looks-role-earth-plays-life-death Underground Korean-French dinner serves up mystery and music http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/underground-korean-french-dinner-serves-mystery-and-music-111470 <p><p>In mid-December I returned from vacation to find a handmade Christmas tree and card inviting me to dinner in a private suburban home hosted by &ldquo;a crazy hair stylist, a crazy dancer and crazy French Cuisine cooker.&rdquo;</p><p>It was from a man named David Cho, whom I interviewed more than 15 years ago about his nascent karaoke booth business.&nbsp; My first thought was, &ldquo;no way.&rdquo; But I figured I should at least call and decline. By the end of the call with Mr Cho, however, I told him I would go as long as my bosses OK&rsquo;d it, and I could pay for the meal.</p><p>When I told my friends on Facebook that I&rsquo;d been dining in the in the Northwest suburbs, Tribune restaurant critic Phil Vettel wrote back, &ldquo;10 minutes from the airport. You&#39;ll be over international waters before we know you&#39;re missing.&rdquo;</p><p>Sure, it was a risk but one I felt we are all too ready to avoid when it comes to meeting new people and checking out the workd of unknown culinary artists. Right? I invited my mom and 11-year-old daughter, to make sure I wasn&rsquo;t captured alone.</p><p>When we finally arrived, Mr. Cho met us in the parking lot of the very old condo complex. He led us up some stairs to a guy who looked like a Korean Harpo Marx dressed as a chef.&nbsp; As we entered the dining room/living room of his tiny place we found an elaborately decorated table, pink placemats, crystal. Loud French bistro music poured from the giant TV all night.</p><p>Hello Kitty, My Little Pony and other dolls filled the nearby shelves along with several more homemade Christmas trees. Other souvenirs included tiny chef dolls, Eiffel Tower replicas and pictures from chef James Hahn&rsquo;s many hair styling exhibitions.</p><p>I joined the other guests at the table and Hahn disappeared into the kitchen.</p><p>Within minutes, the first course was on the table. It was a purplish salad that Hahn said reflected his time in Nice, France.</p><p>Cho explained that Hahn was in Paris studying hairdressing when he first became fascinated with cooking. He said Hahn learned as much as he could about French food before returning to Korea to become a famous hairstylist. It has only been since his arrival in the States that he&rsquo;s started cooking for groups.&nbsp;</p><p>Hahn has hosted about 10 of these dinners, spending weeks planning and preparing the meals. Guests are invited from the from the ranks of Hahn&#39;s favorite customers at Gloria Hair Art beauty salon in Niles. They often donate money at the end of the meal to help cover food expenses. Hahn works completely alone, as prep cook, chef and server.</p><p>&ldquo;This is his secondary job or like a hobby,&rdquo; Cho said. &ldquo;So I don&rsquo;t know how many times he&rsquo;s going to do this in the future, making a 10-course meal by himself. He needs a lot of energy. So maybe he&rsquo;ll do two or three times more. As far as I know he&rsquo;s more than 40-years-old. I don&rsquo;t know how much more energy he&rsquo;s got left. Last time I was here he was even sweating a lot.&rdquo;</p><p>Even though I knew the meal would be a multi-course affair, I hadn&rsquo;t expected it to be so elaborate. By the 6th course of fried lobster in an apple garlic sauce I was ready to pop. But there was still steak, abalone, sashimi and dessert to come. (see full course list below)</p><p>As the meal progressed, I started to understand Hahn&rsquo;s prominence in the Korean community--if not exactly why I was called here tonight.</p><p>It seems that he had become a sort of dancing, hairdresser celebrity in Korea, appearing on talk shows and styling the hair of the stars.</p><p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;s recognized as No. 1 hairstylist in the Korean community,&rdquo; Cho said, &ldquo;And he wants to be known for all of the United States. He is especially known for giving crazy haircuts in 10 minutes.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Can he give me a crazy haircut?&rdquo; I asked.</p><p>&ldquo;He can do whatever you want in 10 minutes,&rdquo; Cho said. &ldquo;He doesn&rsquo;t take long hours.&rdquo;</p><p>We finally finished the meal with a refreshing dragon fruit salad, and Cho announced that it was time to watch videos. These included Hahn&#39;s appearances on Korean talk shows, his dance performances and dancing haircutting acts. During some, his clients are even upside down. The final video showed him dancing and styling a red-haired client on stage at Chicago&rsquo;s Korean Festival on Bryn Mawr Avenue this past summer.</p><p>The clips from Korea showed elaborate headdresses that Hahn had created from his clients&#39; hair trimmings.&nbsp; Some took a year to produce. They have to be seen to be believed.</p><p>It was nearing midnight and my daughter was getting sleepy. So we left our donation, offered our deep thanks and we said our goodbyes. Despite my initial apprehension, it turned out that all Cho and Hahn wanted was to share their passion for food with a fellow foodie. And everyone left the experience alive.</p><p>As I told my daughter on the way out: this may have been a slightly risky move, but if you pass up every crazy invitation you get, you just may miss out on some magical experiences.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/16202028940_84a71beaeb_z.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="Course eight: Rare porterhouse steak slices in a garlic pepper salsa with microgreens. (WBEZ/Monica Eng)" /></div><p><strong>Full 10 course menu</strong></p><ol><li>Ten-vegetable salad in the style of Nice, France. (pineapple jam)</li><li>Kemasal soup featuring a seafood broth, broccoli florets and shredded crab</li><li>Roasted burdock over bok choy, ginger and scallions.</li><li>Scallops in a cauliflower puree</li><li>Boiled shrimp and lobster tail in a pink sauce.</li><li>Fried lobster in an apple sauce showered in garlic chips. A slice of smoked salmon in a pink horseradish sauce on the side.</li><li>Steamed whole abalone served in the shell with mushrooms and accompanied by a piece of rolled grilled prosciutto.</li><li>Rare porterhouse steak slices in a garlic pepper salsa with microgreens.Broiled garlic lobster tail, tuna sashimi and an asparagus spear.</li><li>Broiled garlic lobster tail, tuna sashimi and an asparagus spear.</li><li>Dragon fruit, pineapple, persimmon, candied citrus and grapefruit salad.</li></ol><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:54:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/underground-korean-french-dinner-serves-mystery-and-music-111470 Why aren’t there more Latinos on TV? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/why-aren%E2%80%99t-there-more-latinos-tv-111465 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/0127_cristela-abc-624x415.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The big four television networks have made progress in diversifying their casts, but only among African-American actors. That&rsquo;s according to recent numbers compiled by the Associated Press.</p><p>Latinos represent about 17&nbsp;percent of the American population, but on network T.V., that group represents less than 10&nbsp;percent of characters.</p><p>NPR TV Critic <strong>Eric Deggans</strong> joins <em><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/" target="_blank">Here &amp; Now&rsquo;</a></em>s Lisa Mullins to discuss why it might be that&nbsp;Latino Americans continue to be snubbed in casting, in spite of the fact they tend to consume more media by percentage than another other group.</p><p>&mdash; <em><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/01/27/latinos-television-casting" target="_blank">via Here &amp; Now</a></em></p></p> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 18:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/why-aren%E2%80%99t-there-more-latinos-tv-111465 Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks, 1st black player in team history, dies http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-cubs-legend-ernie-banks-1st-black-player-team-history-dies-111451 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/banks_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Baseball&#39;s Chicago Cubs report that Hall of Fame shortstop Ernie Banks has died. &quot;Mr. Cub,&quot; who began his career in the Negro leagues, was the first black player for the team &mdash; eighth in the majors overall &mdash; and played in 14 All-Star games in his 19 seasons, all with the Cubs.</p><p>&quot;Forty-four years after his retirement, Banks holds franchise records for hits, intentional walks and sacrifice flies and in RBIs since 1900,&quot; <a href="http://m.cubs.mlb.com/news/article/107316594/beloved-mr-cub-hall-of-famer-banks-dies-at-83" target="_blank">MLB.com reports</a>. &quot;He likely holds club records for smiles and handshakes as well. ... His 2,528 games are the most by anyone who never participated in postseason play. Chicago never held him responsible for that and believed he deserved better.&quot;</p><p>Banks, who was 83, was named National League MVP in 1958 and 1959, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.</p><p>His back-to-back MVP awards were among the few given to players on losing teams, notes The <em>Associated Press</em>:</p><div><blockquote><p>&quot;Banks&#39; best season came in 1958, when he hit .313 with 47 homers and 129 RBIs. Though the Cubs went 72-82 and finished sixth in the National League, Banks edged Willie Mays and Hank Aaron for his first MVP award. He was the first player from a losing team to win the NL MVP.</p><p>&quot;Banks won the MVP again in 1959, becoming the first NL player to win it in consecutive years, even though the Cubs had another dismal year. Banks batted .304 with 45 homers and a league-leading 143 RBIs.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>The <em>Chicago Tribune</em> <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-sullivan-ernie-banks-spt-0124-20150123-story.html" target="_blank">describes the outlook of Banks, who also was known as &quot;Mr. Sunshine&quot;</a>:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Ernie Banks didn&#39;t invent day baseball or help build Wrigley Field. He just made the idea of playing a baseball game under the sun at the corner of Clark and Addison streets sound like a day in paradise, win or lose. ... He was a player who promoted the game like he was part of the marketing department. Not because he had to, but because he truly loved the Cubs and the game itself.&quot;</p></blockquote></div><p>&mdash; <em><a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/01/24/379510352/chicago-cubs-legend-ernie-banks-1st-black-player-in-team-history-dies">via NPR</a></em></p></p> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 09:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-cubs-legend-ernie-banks-1st-black-player-team-history-dies-111451 Advocates urge McDonald's to serve meat raised without antibiotics http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/advocates-urge-mcdonalds-serve-meat-raised-without-antibiotics-111441 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/antibiotics mcdonalds.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Advocacy groups are urging McDonald&rsquo;s Corp to stop serving meat from animals fed antibiotics.</p><p>Members of the Illinois Public Interest Research Group, the Green Chicago Restaurant Coalition and Rosenthal Group held a press conference at Sopraffina Caffe in the Loop Thursday to formally challenge the fast food giant to rethink its meat sourcing on the issue.</p><p>McDonald&rsquo;s Corp did not respond to requests for comment.</p><p>Leading the charge was Illinois PIRG, which launched the campaign along with its national parent in seven cities across the country Thursday.</p><p>&ldquo;This is part of a larger public health issue of antibiotic resistance,&rdquo; said Illinois PIRG advocate Dev Gowda. &ldquo;The overuse of antibiotics on factory farms and the practice of feeding antibiotics to healthy farm animals is leading to antibiotic resistance. Now 2 million Americans get sick each year and 23,000 die from antibiotic resistant infections&nbsp; It&rsquo;s a danger when people go to the doctor for routine infections and they get antibiotics, but sometimes they don&rsquo;t work. So it&rsquo;s a really scary situation for many families.&rdquo;</p><p>Joining him was Taryn Kelly of the Rosenthal Group which owns Sopraffina Caffes, Poag Mahone and Trattoria No. 10 in Chicago. Four years ago all of those restaurants began sourcing their meat exclusively from producers who do not use antibiotics on healthy animals.</p><p>&ldquo;It is hard work. It takes dedication and passion,&rdquo; Kelly said. &ldquo;You have to be passionate about the cause. And the more restaurants we can get on board the easier it will before us. That&rsquo;s why we are here urging a big player like McDonald&rsquo;s to get on board with us.&rdquo;</p><p>When asked how such changes in sourcing affected prices for consumers, Kelly pointed out prices on the menu boards at the restaurant which included an 8-inch sandwich filled with grass fed beef raised without antibiotics. It cost $8.99. A 12-inch sausage and pepperoni pizza for two costs $10.49.</p><p>National chain Chick-Fil-A has pledged to start sourcing its chicken from producers who don&rsquo;t use antibiotics within five years and local chain Hannah&rsquo;s Bretzel has already instituted those standards for all of its meat.</p><p>In a released statement Rosenthal group president Dan Rosenthal said, &ldquo;If McDonald&rsquo;s were to [demand meat raised without antibiotics from] its suppliers, it would be a game changer, and one that would help preserve these vital drugs for our kids and grandkids. We&rsquo;ve done it for all the meat we buy for our restaurants&hellip;it&rsquo;ll take time, but McDonald&rsquo;s can do it, too!&rdquo;</p><p>In 2003, McDonald&rsquo;s put in place a policy that would prevent the use of antibiotics for growth promotion but would still allow them for disease prevention among healthy animals. And they do not apply to all producers.</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at<a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng"> @monicaeng</a> or write to her at meng@wbez.org</em></p></p> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 14:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/advocates-urge-mcdonalds-serve-meat-raised-without-antibiotics-111441 E-Cigarettes can churn out high levels of formaldehyde http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/e-cigarettes-can-churn-out-high-levels-formaldehyde-111430 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/vaping_slide-259922e9c838be3bf53a7f24472dd9a2796845e2-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Vapor produced by electronic cigarettes can contain a surprisingly high concentration of formaldehyde &mdash; a known carcinogen &mdash; researchers reported Wednesday.</p><p>The findings, described in a letter <a href="http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1413069">published</a> in the <em>New England Journal of Medicine</em>, intensify <a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/12/16/371253640/teens-now-reach-for-e-cigarettes-over-regular-ones">concern</a> about the safety of electronic cigarettes, which have become increasingly popular.</p><p>&quot;I think this is just one more piece of evidence amid a number of pieces of evidence that e-cigarettes are not absolutely safe,&quot; says <a href="http://www.pdx.edu/profile/david-peyton">David Peyton</a>, a chemistry professor at Portland State University who helped conduct the research.</p><p>The e-cigarette industry immediately dismissed the findings, saying the measurements were made under unrealistic conditions.</p><p>&quot;They clearly did not talk to [people who use e-cigarettes] to understand this,&quot; says <a href="http://vaping.com/news/greg-conley-to-lead-american-vaping-association">Gregory Conley</a> of the American Vaping Association. &quot;They think, &#39;Oh well. If we hit the button for so many seconds and that produces formaldehyde, then we have a new public health crisis to report.&#39; &quot; But that&#39;s not the right way to think about it, Conley suggests.</p><p>E-cigarettes work by heating a liquid that contains nicotine to create a vapor that users inhale. They&#39;re generally considered safer than regular cigarettes, because some research has suggested that the level of most toxicants in the vapor is much lower than the levels in smoke.</p><p>Some public health experts think vaping could prevent some people from starting to smoke traditional tobacco cigarettes, and could help some longtime smokers kick the habit.</p><p>But many health experts are also worried that so little is known about e-cigarettes that they may pose unknown risks. So Peyton and his colleagues decided to take a closer look at what&#39;s in that vapor.</p><p>&quot;We simulated vaping by drawing the vapor &mdash; the aerosol &mdash; into a syringe, sort of simulating the lungs,&quot; Peyton says. That enabled the researchers to conduct a detailed chemical analysis of the vapor. They found something unexpected when the devices were dialed up to their highest settings.</p><p>&quot;To our surprise, we found masked formaldehyde in the liquid droplet particles in the aerosol,&quot; Peyton says.</p><p>He calls it &quot;masked&quot; formaldehyde because it&#39;s in a slightly different form than regular formaldehyde &ndash; a form that could increase the likelihood it would get deposited in the lung. And the researchers didn&#39;t just find a little of the toxicant.</p><p>&quot;We found this form of formaldehyde at significantly higher concentrations than even regular cigarettes [contain] &mdash; between five[fold] and fifteenfold higher concentration of formaldehyde than in cigarettes,&quot; Peyton says.</p><p>And formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.</p><p>&quot;Long-term exposure is recognized as contributing to lung cancer,&quot; say Peyton. &quot;And so we would like to minimize contact (to the extent one can) especially to delicate tissues like the lungs.&quot;</p><p>Conley says the researchers only found formaldehyde when the e-cigarettes were cranked up to their highest voltage levels.</p><p>&quot;If you hold the button on an e-cigarette for 100 seconds, you could potentially produce 100 times more formaldehyde than you would ever get from a cigarette,&quot; Conley says. &quot;But no human vaper would ever vape at that condition, because within one second their lungs would be incredibly uncomfortable.&quot;</p><p>That&#39;s because the vapor would be so hot. Conley compares it to overcooking a steak.</p><p>&quot;I can take a steak and I can cook it on the grill for the next 18 hours, and that steak will be absolutely chock-full of carcinogens,&quot; he says. &quot;But the steak will also be charcoal, so no one will eat it.&quot;</p><p>Peyton acknowledges that he found no formaldehyde when the e-cigarettes were set at low levels. But he says he thinks plenty of people use the high settings.</p><p>&quot;As I walk around town and look at people using these electronic cigarette devices it&#39;s not difficult to tell what sort of setting they&#39;re using,&quot; Peyton says. &quot;You can see how much of the aerosol they&#39;re blowing out. It&#39;s not small amounts.&quot;</p><p>It&#39;s pretty clear to me,&quot; he says, &quot;that at least some of the users are using the high levels.&quot;</p><p>So Peyton hopes the government will tightly regulate the electronic devices. The Food and Drug Administration is in the process of deciding just how strict it should be.</p><p>&mdash; <em><a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2015/01/21/378663944/e-cigarettes-can-churn-out-high-levels-of-formaldehyde" target="_blank">via NPR</a></em></p></p> Wed, 21 Jan 2015 16:21:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/e-cigarettes-can-churn-out-high-levels-formaldehyde-111430 How food gets the 'Non-GMO' label http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/how-food-gets-non-gmo-label-111423 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/gmo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Demand for products that don&#39;t contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, is exploding.</p><p>And now many food companies are seeking certification for products that don&#39;t have any genetically modified ingredients, and not just the brands popular in the health food aisle. Even <a href="http://harvestpublicmedia.org/content/original-cheerios-now-free-gmo-ingredients#.VJBo8zHF_pU">Cheerios</a>, that iconic cereal from General Mills, no longer contains GMOs.</p><p>&quot;We currently are at over $8.5 billion in annual sales of verified products,&quot; says Megan Westgate, executive director of the <a href="http://www.nongmoproject.org/">Non GMO Project</a>, an independent organization that verifies products.</p><p>To receive the <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/02/28/283460420/why-the-non-gmo-label-is-organic-s-frenemy">label</a>, a product has to be certified as containing ingredients with less than 1 percent genetic modification. Westgate says that&#39;s a realistic standard, while totally GMO-free is not. She says natural foods stores began the process of defining a standard, involving other interested players along the way, including consumers. Now, General Mills is just one of the big food companies selling non-GMO products.</p><p>Sales of food labeled as non-GMO ballooned to over $3 billion in 2013, <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-gmo-fight-ripples-down-the-food-chain-1407465378">according</a> to <em>The Wall Street Journal.</em></p><p>&quot;Interestingly, with all of this traction in the natural sector,&quot; Westgate says, &quot;we&#39;re increasingly seeing more conventional companies coming on board and having their products verified.&quot;</p><p>But how does a company get into the non-GMO game? They might call <a href="http://www.foodchainid.com/">FoodChain ID</a>, a company in Fairfield, Iowa, that can shepherd a firm through the process. It&#39;s one of the third-party auditors that certifies products for the Non-GMO Project.</p><p>&quot;We start looking at ingredients, and we identify what are all the ingredients,&quot; says David Carter, FoodChain ID&#39;s general manager. &quot;And of course, the label itself doesn&#39;t always identify all of those. So we need to be sure that we have a list of all the processing aids, the carriers and all the inputs that go into a product.&quot;</p><p>Next, FoodChain ID figures out where each ingredient and input came from. If there&#39;s honey in cookies, for example, the company will have to show that the bees that make the honey aren&#39;t feeding near genetically modified corn. When there&#39;s even the smallest risk that an ingredient could contain a modified gene, DNA testing is in order.</p><p>FoodChain ID has a lab where a machine can extract the DNA from ingredient samples in order to analyze it. If that test finds no evidence of GMOs, the ingredient can go in the cookies. Carter says he can barely keep up with the number of inquiries coming in from companies that want certification.</p><p>&quot;The demand is now very, very high, and it has been for probably over a year in particular,&quot; Carter says.</p><p>To date, FoodChain ID says it has verified 17,000 ingredients from 10,000 suppliers in 96 countries.</p><p>It may take hundreds of dollars for some products to get a non-GMO label, depending on how many ingredients are already verified as being GMO-free and how many are not.</p><p>But even with the rising demand, non-GMO products make up a small fraction of the marketplace. More than <a href="http://harvestpublicmedia.org/content/acres-genetically-modified-corn-nearly-doubled-decade#.VJBlbTHF_pU">90 percent</a> of corn and soybeans grown in the U.S. contains genetically modified traits. And those two crops are ubiquitous in processed foods like packaged cookies. Still, if the current trend continues, it seems likely that more farmers will consider planting non-GMO crops.</p><p>Various companies sell non-GMO seeds, but they can be more difficult to find. Plant breeder Alix Paez hopes his central Iowa seed company, Genetic Enterprises International, can help fill that market niche.</p><p>&quot;We are a very small company,&quot; Paez says &quot;so our strategy is to find niche markets for farmers that are looking for non-GMO products.&quot;</p><p>Farmers pay a premium for seeds that are genetically modified to withstand pests, or <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/01/24/265687251/soil-weedkillers-and-gmos-when-numbers-don-t-tell-the-whole-story">engineered</a> to tolerate popular herbicides, making it easier for farmers to use those chemicals to kill weeds. Paez and his wife, Mary Jane, hope to develop seeds than can achieve the same yields without those expensive, patented traits. This past season, they grew test plots on a farm in Boone County, Iowa, which they harvested this fall with an ancient red Massey Ferguson combine.</p><p>Paez studies the effectiveness of each hybrid seed variety. It&#39;s slow and meticulous work. But the careful data collection is key to determining whether a new, non-GMO hybrid can be competitive in the marketplace.</p><p>&quot;One of the main things is yield,&quot; Paez says. &quot;Stand-ability, consistent performance, disease tolerance &mdash; things like that.&quot;</p><p>If these seeds make the grade, farmers could potentially save some money. And their grain might fetch a premium, especially as demand for <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/02/26/283112526/chickens-laying-organic-eggs-eat-imported-food-and-its-pricey">non-GMO animal feed</a> grows. Because the only way to end up with non-GMO certified meat is to raise animals on non-GMO feed.</p><p>&mdash; <em><a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2015/01/20/378361539/how-your-food-gets-the-non-gmo-label" target="_blank">via NPR&#39;s The Salt</a></em></p></p> Tue, 20 Jan 2015 12:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/how-food-gets-non-gmo-label-111423 Studs Terkel's 1963 Train Ride to Washington http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/studs-terkels-1963-train-ride-washington-111414 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/mlk.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Among the hundreds of thousands who joined Martin Luther King, Jr. for the 1963 March on Washington D.C for civil rights were some 800 Chicagoans who traveled there overnight by train. Chicago legend Studs Terkel went with them. He brought his tape recorder and chronicled the whole journey. The voices and thoughts of his fellow travelers bring us all a little closer to that historic experience. The trip culminated with King&#39;s now-famous &quot;I Have a Dream&quot; speech.</p><p><em>Find more audio from Studs Terkel&#39;s archives at WFMT&#39;s <a href="http://studsterkel.org" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">studsterkel.org</a></em></p></p> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 12:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/studs-terkels-1963-train-ride-washington-111414 Transgender teenager named Prom Queen http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/transgender-teenager-named-prom-queen-111411 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 150116 Reyna Ortiz A bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When he was 12, Ray Ortiz packed a blue duffel bag and prepared to leave home forever.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s just no way in hell that I&rsquo;m going to live a life that I&rsquo;m not happy with,&rdquo; Ortiz remembers thinking.</p><p>&ldquo;At the time I didn&rsquo;t know what transgender was,&rdquo; Ortiz says in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps. Kids at school called him &ldquo;Gay Ray,&rdquo; so he assumed that he was gay.</p><p>He wrote his mom a letter saying &ldquo;not only was I gay, but that I wanted to be a girl.&rdquo;<br />She was supportive and gradually Ray transitioned to living life as a female, going by the name Reyna and using female pronouns. &ldquo;I just made a mental decision like: I&rsquo;m going to do what I want. And I don&rsquo;t care what anybody else has to say.&rdquo;</p><p>Ortiz has three brothers, one older and two younger. And they provided a lot of support when it came time for her to attend Morton East High School in Cicero.</p><p>Other students were &ldquo;horrendous,&rdquo; Reyna said. She told her older brother and she says he went to her high school, into her classroom and confronted her bully. She says kids never bothered her again.</p><p>Ortiz became friends with the most beautiful girls in school. &ldquo;And they were willing to fight and slap somebody if they disrespected me,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But eventually people just got used to me. By my junior year, I can honestly say, I ruled that school.&rdquo;</p><p>Emmanuel&nbsp;Garcia was a sophomore at Morton East when Ortiz was a senior. Garcia was struggling to come to terms with his identity as a gay Latino man. &ldquo;Seeing someone who was so open and out with their gender identity, it was intimidating,&rdquo; Garcia said in an interview recently. &ldquo;She carried herself so fearlessly.&rdquo;</p><p>During Reyna&rsquo;s senior year, she was nominated for Prom Queen. She went without a date, and sat by herself when the court was announced.</p><p>Then, they announced the winner: &ldquo;&rsquo;And the winner of Prom Queen of 1998 - Ray Ortiz.&rsquo; And I just remember everybody coming to the stage. When I turned around it was just flashing lights and paparazzi. Pictures everywhere and people applauding.&ldquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We always hear that the Latino community is full of machismo and we never hear about a community embracing their own,&rdquo; Garcia said. &ldquo;To have this person kind of pioneer sexuality and gender identity in 1998 was unheard of.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 08:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/transgender-teenager-named-prom-queen-111411 At the Oscar nominations, it's a good year to be an idiosyncratic man http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/oscar-nominations-its-good-year-be-idiosyncratic-man-111405 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/birdman-1resize-cd7db05b4df1f65214edda519363243bebd71451-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Oscar nominations are in (you can see the full list&nbsp;<a href="http://oscar.go.com/nominees?cid=oscars_nominees_announcement_cadillac" target="_blank">here</a>), and&nbsp;<em>Birdman&nbsp;</em>and&nbsp;<em>The Grand Budapest Hotel&nbsp;</em>lead with nine nominations each, followed closely by&nbsp;<em>The Imitation Game&nbsp;</em>with eight. Speaking of eight, this year, eight films will compete for Best Picture:</p><p>1.&nbsp;<em>American Sniper</em>, starring Bradley Cooper, based on the memoir of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.</p><p>2.&nbsp;<em>Boyhood</em>, Richard Linklater&#39;s 12-year chronicle of the life of a boy from kindergarten to college.</p><p>3.&nbsp;<em>Birdman</em>, starring Michael Keaton as an actor who once played a superhero and attempts a comeback on Broadway.</p><p>4.&nbsp;<em>The Grand Budapest Hotel</em>, Wes Anderson&#39;s offbeat but meticulously drawn story of a concierge played by Ralph Fiennes and his young protege.</p><p>5.&nbsp;<em>The Imitation Game</em>, liberally adapted from the actual life of Alan Turing, the mathematician who broke Germany&#39;s Enigma Code during World War II and was later prosecuted for homosexuality.</p><p>6.&nbsp;<em>The Theory Of Everything</em>, about the marriage and early career of scientist Stephen Hawking.</p><p>7.&nbsp;<em>Whiplash</em>, the tense tale of a drummer played by Miles Teller facing off against a teacher played by veteran actor J.K. Simmons.</p><p>8.&nbsp;<em>Selma</em>, Ava DuVernay&#39;s dramatization of the events surrounding the Selma civil rights marches of 1964 and the development of the Voting Rights Act.</p><p>Lead actors nominated include Steve Carell for&nbsp;<em>Foxcatcher</em>, Bradley Cooper for<em>American Sniper</em>, Benedict Cumberbatch for&nbsp;<em>The Imitation Game</em>, Michael Keaton for<em>Birdman</em>, and Eddie Redmayne for&nbsp;<em>The Theory Of Everything</em>. Lead actresses are Marion Cotillard for&nbsp;<em>Two Days One Night</em>, Felicity Jones for&nbsp;<em>The Theory Of Everything</em>, Julianne Moore for&nbsp;<em>Still Alice</em>, Rosamund Pike for&nbsp;<em>Gone Girl</em>, and Reese Witherspoon for&nbsp;<em>Wild</em>.</p><p>On the supporting actor side, the nominees are Robert Duvall for&nbsp;<em>The Judge</em>, Ethan Hawke for&nbsp;<em>Boyhood</em>, Edward Norton for&nbsp;<em>Birdman</em>, Mark Ruffalo for&nbsp;<em>Foxcatcher</em>, and J.K. Simmons &mdash; the expected winner &mdash; for&nbsp;<em>Whiplash</em>. Supporting actresses are Patricia Arquette for&nbsp;<em>Boyhood</em>, Laura Dern for&nbsp;<em>Wild</em>, Keira Knightley for&nbsp;<em>The Imitation Game</em>, Emma Stone for&nbsp;<em>Birdman</em>, and Meryl Streep for&nbsp;<em>Into The Woods</em>.</p><p>Once upon a time, there were five Best Picture nominees each year. The awards for 2009 expanded the field to ten. But in 2011, the number was adjusted again so that it could be anywhere between five and ten, depending on the way the votes fell. For three consecutive years, this has resulted in a nine-film field; this year, it shrinks slightly.</p><p>Every year, there is a capricious quality to the nominations that makes it difficult to draw any particular meaning from them, but there are likely to be a few discussion points floating around today in the wake of these announcements.</p><p style="margin-left:15pt;">-Even for the Oscars &mdash;&nbsp;<em>even for the Oscars&nbsp;</em>&mdash; this is a really, really lot of white people. Every nominated actor in Lead and Supporting categories &mdash; 20 actors in all &mdash; is white.</p><p style="margin-left:15pt;">-Every nominated director is male. Every nominated screenwriter is male.</p><p style="margin-left:15pt;">-Shall we look at story? Every Best Picture nominee here is predominantly about a man or a couple of men, and seven of the eight are about white men, several of whom have similar sort of &quot;complicated genius&quot; profiles, whether they&#39;re real or fictional.</p><p style="margin-left:15pt;">-Particularly in light of these two points, the lack of a Best Director nomination for DuVernay (nominations went to Alejandro González Iñárritu for&nbsp;<em>Birdman</em>, Linklater, Bennett Miller for&nbsp;<em>Foxcatcher</em>, Wes Anderson, and Morten Tyldum) is a disappointment not only for those who admired the film and her careful work behind the camera, but also for those who see her as a figure of hope, considering how rare it is for even films about civil rights to have black directors, and how rare it is for any high-profile project at all to be directed by a woman. Scarcity of opportunity tends to breed much lower tolerance for the whimsical sense that nominations normally have, so that even people who know better than to take Oscar voting to heart feel the sting of what seems like a deliberate snub. (While the film has been criticized for the places were it takes liberties with facts, that issue doesn&#39;t comfortably explain any challenges it faces with voters, given the welcoming of&nbsp;<em>The Imitation Game&nbsp;</em>and<em>Foxcatcher</em>, both of which have been criticized for substantial alterations to the stories of not supporting characters but principal characters.)</p><p style="margin-left:15pt;">-Similarly, David Oyelowo was considered a good bet for his portrayal of Martin Luther King, Jr. in&nbsp;<em>Selma</em>, but the film was shut out of everything except Best Picture and Best Original Song. How a film can qualify for Best Picture and have practically no other elements worthy of recognition is an eternal &mdash; but here, particularly painful &mdash; bit of bafflement. (My friend Bob Mondello will be heartbroken that Timothy Spall was not nominated in the same category for&nbsp;<em>Mr. Turner</em>. Bob also points out that there are zero big box-office films among these eight Best Picture nominees.)</p><p style="margin-left:15pt;">-Christopher Nolan&#39;s<em>&nbsp;Interstellar</em>, perhaps the most anticipated film of the year that doesn&#39;t involve superheroes, grabbed five nominations, but other than the score, they&#39;re all visual/sound &mdash; nothing in writing, acting, directing, or cinematography.</p><p style="margin-left:15pt;">-The strong showing for&nbsp;<em>Boyhood</em>, with six nominations, and&nbsp;<em>The Grand Budapest Hotel</em>, with nine, is awfully nice for those who like to think you can still get Oscar nominations without throwing your film into the fourth quarter (or, in fact, the last couple of weeks) of the year.&nbsp;<em>Boyhood&nbsp;</em>opened all the way back in August, and&nbsp;<em>Grand Budapest&nbsp;</em>in March 2014, which &mdash; for the purpose of this kind of thing &mdash; is practically 2012.</p><p style="margin-left:15pt;">-While the expanded field was once expected to perhaps provide spaces in the Best Picture race for well-regarded blockbusters, kids&#39; films or even superhero movies, that has never taken hold, as it might have this year with something like&nbsp;<em>Guardians Of The Galaxy&nbsp;</em>or&nbsp;<em>The Lego Movie</em>. Instead, it seems to provide space for more of the most traditionally Oscar-ish films to make the cut.</p><p style="margin-left:15pt;">-Wes Anderson is a beloved director for many movie enthusiasts, and this is the first time he&#39;s been nominated outside of writing (for&nbsp;<em>Moonrise Kingdom&nbsp;</em>and&nbsp;<em>The Royal Tenenbaums</em>) and animation (for&nbsp;<em>The Fantastic Mr. Fox</em>). Along with Linklater, he&#39;s perhaps transitioning from an indie writer admired for offbeat storytelling to a maker of Best Picture contenders.</p><p style="margin-left:15pt;">-Four of the eight nominees are dramatizations of real events. That&#39;s well within range for recent years, as prestige pictures have more and more focused on telling stories with various levels of connection to history. And after&nbsp;<em>12 Years A Slave</em>,&nbsp;<em>Lincoln</em>, and&nbsp;<em>The Help</em>, this makes four years in a row that a film focused on the story of race in America has been in the running.</p><p style="margin-left:15pt;">-The documentary&nbsp;<em>Life Itself</em>, about Roger Ebert and made by popular documentary filmmaker Steve James, was one of the most-discussed docs of the year, but was not nominated for Best Documentary Feature. (Nominees were&nbsp;<em>Citizenfour</em>,&nbsp;<em>Finding Vivian Maier</em>,&nbsp;<em>Last Days In Vietnam</em>,&nbsp;<em>The Salt Of The Earth</em>, and&nbsp;<em>Virunga</em>.) It&#39;s going to be received as a significant snub, but honestly, if anyone would have known, at least intellectually, not to take it to heart, it would have been Roger Ebert.</p><p style="margin-left:15pt;">-The extraordinarily popular and well-received&nbsp;<em>The LEGO Movie&nbsp;</em>failed to get a nomination for Best Animated Feature against&nbsp;<em>Big Hero 6</em>,&nbsp;<em>The Boxtrolls</em>,&nbsp;<em>How To Train Your Dragon 2</em>,&nbsp;<em>Song Of The Sea</em>, and&nbsp;<em>The Tale Of Princess Kaguya</em>. Gotta say: nothing against the other nominees, because I haven&#39;t even seen all of them, but I can&#39;t explain that one. At least they nominated the song, so I, for one, will soothe myself with 85 consecutive choruses of &quot;Everything Is Awesome.&quot;</p><p><em>-via <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2015/01/15/377406709/at-the-oscar-nominations-its-a-good-year-to-be-an-idiosyncratic-man">NPR&#39;s Monkey See</a></em></p></p> Thu, 15 Jan 2015 08:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/oscar-nominations-its-good-year-be-idiosyncratic-man-111405