WBEZ | Arts & Culture http://www.wbez.org/news/culture Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en A sense of self: What happens when your brain says you don't exist http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/sense-self-what-happens-when-your-brain-says-you-dont-exist-112498 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/self-identity_wide-593012d29d82fcf11be24fb6d9d317a3cef5496c-s700-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Science journalist Anil Ananthaswamy thinks a lot about &quot;self&quot; &mdash; not necessarily&nbsp;himself, but the role the brain plays in our notions of self and existence.</p><p>In his new book,&nbsp;<em>The Man Who Wasn&#39;t There</em>,&nbsp;Ananthaswamy examines the ways people think of themselves and how those perceptions can be distorted by brain conditions, such as Alzheimer&#39;s disease, Cotard&#39;s syndrome&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19132621">body integrity identity disorder</a>, or BIID, a psychological condition in which a patient perceives that a body part is not his own.</p><p>Ananthaswamy tells&nbsp;Fresh Air&#39;s&nbsp;Terry Gross about a patient with BIID who became so convinced that a healthy leg wasn&#39;t his own that he eventually underwent an amputation of the limb.</p><p>&quot;Within 12 hours, this patient that I saw, he was sitting up and there was no regret. He really seemed fine with having given up his leg,&quot; Ananthaswamy says.</p><p>Ultimately, Ananthaswamy says, our sense of self is a layered one, which pulls information from varying parts of the brain to create a sense of narrative self, bodily self and spiritual self: &quot;What it comes down to is this sense we have of being someone or something to which things are happening. It&#39;s there when we wake up in the morning, it kind of disappears when we go to sleep, it reappears in our dreams, and it&#39;s also this sense we have of being an entity that spans time.&quot;</p><div><hr /></div><p><strong><span style="font-size:24px;">Interview Highlights</span></strong></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">On how to define&nbsp;&quot;self&quot;</span></p><p>When you ask someone, &quot;Who are you?&quot; you&#39;re most likely to get a kind of narrative answer, &quot;I am so-and-so, I&#39;m a father, I&#39;m son.&quot; They are going to tell you a kind of story they have in their heads about themselves, the story that they tell to themselves and to others, and in some sense that&#39;s what can be called the narrative self. ...</p><div id="res427154370"><aside><div><p>We can think back to our earliest memories. We can imagine ourselves in the future, and whatever perceptions arise when we remember or when we imagine, whatever emotions arise, they again feel like they&#39;re happening to the same person. So all of these things put together, in some sense, can be called our sense of self.</p></div><p>There are also other ways of thinking about the self. For instance, you and I right now are probably sitting on our chairs, and we have a sense of being a body that is in one place and we can feel sensations in our body. ...</p></aside></div><p>We can think back to our earliest memories. We can imagine ourselves in the future, and whatever perceptions arise when we remember or when we imagine, whatever emotions arise, they again feel like they&#39;re happening to the same person. So all of these things put together, in some sense, can be called our sense of self.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">On&nbsp;Cotard&#39;s&nbsp;syndrome, in which a person believes he or she is already dead</span></p><p>Cotard&#39;s syndrome was something that was first identified by a French doctor in the late 1800s. His name was Jules Cotard, and it&#39;s named after him. It&#39;s a constellation of symptoms ... and the most characteristic symptom is the situation where people say that they don&#39;t exist. This is a perception that they have, and you cannot rationalize, you cannot really give them evidence to the contrary and expect them to change their mind. It is a complete conviction that they have that they don&#39;t exist. ... It&#39;s very, very paradoxical. It poses a great philosophical challenge to people who are trying to understand what it means to say &quot;I exist&quot; or &quot;I don&#39;t exist.&quot; It also makes you wonder about all the other things that we are certain about, like you and I probably are very certain that we exist, well, these people are just as certain that they don&#39;t. So it makes you question about perceptions that arise in the brain and somehow, in this case, the delusion is so complete and so convincing that you really cannot shake their conviction that they are dead.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">On what brain imaging of a patient with&nbsp;Cotard&#39;s&nbsp;syndrome shows us<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/07/28/426753409/a-sense-of-self-what-happens-when-your-brain-says-you-dont-exist?ft=nprml&amp;f=426753409#" title="Enlarge">i</a></span></p><div id="res426757011" previewtitle="Anil Ananthaswamy is a consultant for New Scientist Magazine."><div><div><p>What seems to be happening is that there is a network in the brain that is responsible for internal awareness, awareness of our own body, awareness of our emotions, awareness of our self-related thoughts, and in Cotard&#39;s, it seems like that particular network is tamped down. In some sense, their own experience of their body, in all its vividness, in experience of their own emotions in all its vividness, that&#39;s compromised very severely. In some sense they&#39;re not feeling themselves vividly. It&#39;s as simple as that. But, then there&#39;s something else that&#39;s happening in the brain. It seems like parts of the brain that are responsible for rational thought are also damaged. First of all, what might be happening is a perception that arises in their brain saying that they are dead because they&#39;re not literally perceiving their own body and body states and emotions vividly and then that perception &mdash; irrational though it is &mdash; is not being shot down.</p></div></div></div><p><span style="font-size:24px;">On&nbsp;body integrity identity disorder, which causes a person to believe that a body part is not his or her own</span></p><p>It really is a very disturbing condition in the sense that it&#39;s not something you would normally ever experience. ... If you look at your hand, there is no doubt in your mind that it is your hand. Now imagine you looked at your hand and it didn&#39;t feel like yours and it didn&#39;t feel like yours for 20, 30 years; it could be a very debilitating thing. It seems to be like that for people experiencing or suffering from BIID. They do take extreme measures. It&#39;s basically a mismatch between the internal perception they have of their own body and the physical body and what&#39;s intriguing and interesting in terms of the self is that what is most important for our sense of self, our bodily self, is the internal perception of it. You can look at your body and you can see your hand or leg that is fully functional, and yet if it doesn&#39;t feel like yours. The feeling is the much more important part of one&#39;s self, not the fact that you can see it and you can function with this leg.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">On a patient with BIID who got his leg amputated</span></p><p>I talked to him a few times before the operation trying to find out what it was really that he was suffering from and he really felt like this leg, part of his leg, was not his, it was really something he didn&#39;t want. He would try a whole range of things to make it seem as if he didn&#39;t have it. He would fold his leg and pretend it wasn&#39;t there, he would push it to one side, it really seemed to ruin his life. I remember asking him once, &quot;So what does it exactly feel like?&quot; He says, &quot;It feels like my soul doesn&#39;t extend into that part of my leg.&quot; ...</p><p>One way to kind of understand might be happening in BIID is actually to look at the converse problem. Most people by now will be really well aware of this phenomenon called phantom limbs [syndrome] where you actually have an amputation because of some unfortunate accident or infection and you lose an arm or a leg. Many people continue to feel that the limb still exists and some people even feel pain in that imaginary limb. What that&#39;s telling you is what you are perceiving as your limb is actually some representation of the limb in your brain, not the physical limb.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">On how Alzheimer&#39;s disease affects the narrative self</span></p><p>Alzheimer&#39;s disease ... unfortunately literally erases a very important part of our sense of self, which is the narrative that we have in our heads about who we are. This narrative is something that the brain constructs and we&#39;re not even aware that it&#39;s actually a constructed thing. When we just think of ourselves, we have this expansive narrative inside us about who we are and what Alzheimer&#39;s unfortunately does is it puts a stop to the narrative forming. So because short-term memory formation is impaired, it becomes harder and harder for a person with Alzheimer&#39;s to start having new memories, and once you stop having or forming new memories, these memories don&#39;t get incorporated into your narrative. So, in some sense, your narrative stops forming. As the disease progresses it starts eating away at the existing narrative. It starts basically destroying a whole range of memories that go toward constituting the person that you are. ...</p><p>In terms of talking about the self, what this is telling you is that the self is multilayered. There&#39;s a narrative component to it, and what Alzheimer&#39;s seems to be doing is destroying the narrative component to the point that the person really cannot recognize anyone. ... We really don&#39;t know what the situation is from the perspective of the person suffering from Alzheimer&#39;s, especially late stage Alzheimer&#39;s.</p></p> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 23:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/sense-self-what-happens-when-your-brain-says-you-dont-exist-112498 Radio M: July 24, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/radio-m/2015-07-29/radio-m-july-24-2015-112485 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Terkaft.gif" alt="" /><p><p>This week on Radio M lots of new music for your ears.&nbsp;</p><p>This week&#39;s show includes the latest from desert rockers Terakaft, Chilean singer-songwriter Camila Moreno, Brazilian tropicalista Ava Rocha and Nigerian Highlife thru the lens of Finnish band Kaveri Special.</p><p>Also a live cut from the <em>Morning Shift</em> performance by Chicago veena player Sara Ranganathan.</p><p>Plus Talking Heads and The Skatalites.</p><p><strong>Playlist</strong></p><p>9 p.m.</p><p>Terakaft- Admidinin Senat Afelas (My Confidant)- Alone</p><p>Alif- Yalla Tnam (Lullaby)- Aynama Rtama</p><p>Talking Heads &ndash; Dancing for Money- Fear of Music (Remastered)</p><p>Kanaku y El Tigre- Quema Quema Quema- Quema Quema Quema</p><p>Inezz Mezel- Silent Waters- Strong</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/QY8YYemmsd8" width="560"></iframe></p><p>Kaveri Special- Sunnuntaibrunissi- Kaveri Special</p><p><strong>9:30 p.m.</strong></p><p>The Skatalites- Dick Tracy- Studio One: Scorcher Vol.2</p><p>Pacho Galan y Su Orquesta- Cumbia del Caribe- Zombie Club presents Mambo Calypso</p><p>Ebo Taylor- Children Don&rsquo;t Cry- Afrobeat Airways Vol.2</p><p>Sara Ranganathan &ndash; Raga Blues &ndash; Live at WBEZ</p><p>The Expanders- Hustling Culture- Hustling Culture</p><p>Imperial Tiger Orchestra- Yedao- Mercato</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>10 p.m.</strong></p><p>Camila Moreno- Maquinas Sin Dio- Mala Madre</p><p>Klaus Johan Grobe- Schlaufen de Zukunft- Im Sinne de Zeit</p><p>Ava Rocha &ndash; O Jardim- Ava Patrya Yindia Yracema</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yXlCgiMszAo" width="560"></iframe></p><p>Jabula- Mathome- Spirit of Malombo</p><p>Los Cayenes- Suspirando por el Chikichaka- Si Para Usted Vol.2: The Funky Beats of Revolutionary Cuba</p><p>Mabel Scott- Fool Burro- Juke Box mambo: Rumba &amp; Afro Latin Accented Rhythm &amp; Blues 1949-60</p><p>Orlando Julius &amp; His Modern Aces- Mapami- super Afro Soul</p><p><strong>10:30 p.m.</strong></p><p>Sakir Oner Gunham- Deli Deli- Psych Funk a la Turkish</p><p>Mehr Pouya- Soul Raga- Soul Raga</p><p>Pheno S &ndash; Waihidjo- Music from Saharan Cellphones Vol.2</p><p>Adelkbir Marchane &amp; Ahmed Baqbou- Sandiya- Ouled Bambara: Portraits of Gnawa</p><p>Ballake Sissoko &amp; Vincent Segal- Ma Ma FC- Chamber Music</p></p> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/radio-m/2015-07-29/radio-m-july-24-2015-112485 Obama Visits Kenya http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-07-24/obama-visits-kenya-112475 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Obama pic 3.jpg" title="U.S. President Barack Obama waves after being greeted by Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, right, on his arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya Friday, July 24, 2015. Obama began his first visit to Kenya as U.S. president Friday. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)" /></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/216187008&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false " width="100%"></iframe></p><p><strong style="font-size: 24px;">Obama Vists Kenya as President</strong></p><p>President Obama heads to Kenya today. This is the first time he will visit his father&rsquo;s home country since he was elected president. The visit is filled with anticipation. There was discussion of making the visit a national holiday. In the town of Funyula in Busia County, which by borders Siaya County, the home area of President Obama&#39;s late father, the radio station there is calling today &ldquo;Obama Day.&rdquo; We&rsquo;ll check in with Phylis Nasubo Magina who is in Funyula. She&rsquo;s the managing director of The ABCs of Sex Education, where she leads a team of 49 community educators providing sex education and HIV prevention. Ken Opalo, an assistant professor at Georgetown University also joins us to discuss Obama&rsquo;s visit. He&rsquo;s originally from Kenya.</p><p><strong>Guests: </strong></p><p>Phylis Nasubo Magina is the Kenya Country Director of The ABCs of Sex Education</p><p>Ken Opalo Ken Opalo is an assistant professor at Georgetown University&rsquo;s School of Foreign Service and a blogger. He&rsquo;s originally from Kenya.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/216187612&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false " width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>Weekend Passport:</strong></span></p><p>Each week global citizen Nari Safavi helps listeners plan their international weekend. This week he&rsquo;ll tell us about an exhibit on North Korea, the film Hiroshima Mon Amor and Bomba Estereo: Album Release Show</p><p><strong>Guests:</strong></p><p>Nari Safavi is co-founder of Pasfarda Arts and Cultural Exchange</p><p>Alice Wielinga is a participating artist in North Korean Perspectives</p><p>Marc Prüst] is curator of North Korean Perspectives<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/216188449&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false " width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>Milos Stehlik talks with Omar Sy, star of the film &#39;Samba&#39;</strong></span></p><p>Film contributor Milos Stehlik sits down with Omar Sy, star of the new film &ldquo;Samba.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s the latest film by the team that brought us &ldquo;The Intouchables. &#39;Samba&#39; tells the story of an undocumented kitchen worker who&rsquo;s battling deportation. The movie follows his struggles and budding romance with the immigration case worker who&rsquo;s trying to help him stay in France.</p><p><strong>Guests:</strong></p><p>Omar Sy, French actor and comedian, star of the film &ldquo;Samba&rdquo;</p><p>Milos Stehlik is WBEZ&rsquo;s film contributor and director of Facets Multimedia</p></p> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 13:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-07-24/obama-visits-kenya-112475 StoryCorps Chicago: Tales from Theresa's Lounge http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-chicago-tales-theresas-lounge-112473 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/bh_storycorps_pokempner.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Marc PoKempner is a <a href="http://www.pokempner.net/book.html">photojournalist </a>who has worked extensively with the <em>Chicago Reader </em>and <em>People</em> magazine.</p><p>But in the 1960s he was just a college student in Hyde Park, interested in photography and the blues.</p><p>StoryCorps producer Francesco De Salvatore interviewed PoKempner recently.</p><p>And they spoke a lot about a basement bar in Chicago on the corner of 43rd and Indiana called Theresa&rsquo;s Lounge, where many of the city&rsquo;s most famous blues musicians held court.</p><p><em><em>Marc Pokempner was interviewed through a partnership with the Maxwell Street Foundation.</em>StoryCorps&rsquo; mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to share, record and preserve their stories. These excerpts, edited by WBEZ, present some of our favorites from the current visit, as well as from previous trips.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 12:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-chicago-tales-theresas-lounge-112473 Review: Amy Schumer's Trainwreck http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/review-amy-schumers-trainwreck-112411 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/trainwreck.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It-Girl Amy Schumer falls for the rare Manic Pixie Dream Guy Bill Hader in <em>Trainwreck</em>, but will audiences&nbsp;swoon for the Schumer-penned/Judd Apatow-directed film? Hosts Adam Kempenaar and&nbsp;Josh Larsen share their review on the latest episode of <em>Filmspotting</em>.</p></p> Fri, 17 Jul 2015 09:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/review-amy-schumers-trainwreck-112411 Visionary founder of Chicago black theater dies http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/visionary-founder-chicago-black-theater-dies-112390 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/abena joan brown.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A Chicago woman known as a visionary and a pioneer in the African-American theater community died Sunday.</p><p>Abena Joan Brown was one of the founders of the <a href="http://www.etacreativearts.org/">eta Creative Arts Foundation</a>, which she headed until her 2011 retirement. She mentored playwrights, actors and visual artists at the South Side performing and cultural arts group, which calls itself &ldquo;Chicago&#39;s first and only Afri-centric professional performance and training cultural arts center.&rdquo;</p><p>She steered the group to buy and renovate a 15,000-square-foot facility with a 200-seat theater, galleries, studios and classrooms. She later headed the acquisition of a whole city block to allow for later expansion, according to eta.</p><p>A close friend of hers, Dr. Carol Adams, the retired head of the DuSable Museum of African American history described Brown as &ldquo;amazing, brilliant, creative and bold, very bold.&rdquo; Adams said Brown was a great strategic thinker and charismatic person who pulled people along with her.</p><p>Adams said the roots of eta and Brown&rsquo;s advocacy grew out of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 and the riots that followed, when some national aid agencies refused to step in and help with relief efforts.</p><p>Brown was Director of Program Services at the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago and and was part of a larger circle involved in the social services at the time, according to library records at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Adams, who was part of the group, said they were upset by the lack of response, and they started discussing whether their ultimate responsibility was to their agencies or to the people they served.</p><p>Out of those talks, Brown helped form the <a href="http://southsideweekly.com/grit-and-glory/">Ebony Talent Agency Creative Arts Foundation booking agency</a>, which became the eta collective, along with <a href="http://www.uic.edu/depts/lib/specialcoll/services/rjd/findingaids/womenmobilizedf.html">Women Mobilized for Change,</a> an activist group that tackled issues including school desegregation, anti-war efforts and equal housing. Adams said Brown was a driving force behind getting the YWCA to push for an end to racism, too.</p><p>&ldquo;She wanted to get things done,&rdquo; Adams said. &ldquo;She was not a person who wanted to just discuss a problem.&rdquo;</p><p>Adams said it was difficult for African-American playwrights to get their work performed and for actors to find enough work at the time. Brown helped provide a venue where work could be seen about African-Americans, by African-Americans.</p><p>Brown was often asked if she&rsquo;d consider moving her theater from its South Side location to downtown.</p><p>&ldquo;She said that she thought that was ridiculous. Why couldn&rsquo;t we have theater in our own community?&rdquo; Adams said. &ldquo;Why couldn&rsquo;t people travel there?&rdquo;</p><p>Even though most people thought of Brown as an administrator, she was a &ldquo;formidable actress&rdquo; herself, Adams said. Brown served roles including company manager, director, producer and fundraiser. She had more than 200 professional theater credits to her name, and was a participant in the First Black Theatre Summit run by playwright August Wilson.</p><p>&ldquo;She &nbsp;understood every aspect of the theater, and she had done all of it,&rdquo; Adams said. &ldquo;She used to say, &lsquo;I&rsquo;ve sold tickets, I&rsquo;ve built sets, I&rsquo;ve acted, I&rsquo;ve done the whole thing. I know this.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Brown mentored generations of artists involved in theater and the other arts, an influence that&rsquo;s still felt across the nation, Adams said, adding Brown was known for telling artists and students they could do anything they want, &ldquo;just make a plan and let&rsquo;s go.&rdquo;</p><p>That&rsquo;s how the &ldquo;Africa Express,&rdquo; an effort to bring students to Africa and other parts of the diaspora, began.</p><p>&ldquo;Her students said, &lsquo;Oh, wow, they&rsquo;d love to go to Africa one day,&rsquo;&rdquo; Adams said. &ldquo;They said it as if it were a dream or something that was impossible to achieve. So<br />Abena said, &lsquo;Let&rsquo;s go.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>One of the people Brown mentored, Kemati Porter, is now interim executive director of eta.</p><p>&ldquo;She has a warrior spirit,&rdquo; Porter said. &ldquo;She was always at the forefront leading us, instructing us, helping us understand our voice and its place in the world.&rdquo;</p><p>Porter said Brown gave people a place to hone their skills, gain employment in the arts and find that voice.</p><p>Brown got her bachelor&rsquo;s from Roosevelt University and a master&rsquo;s in community organization and management from the University of Chicago&rsquo;s School of Social Service Administration. Chicago State University awarded her an honorary doctorate.</p><p>She won numerous artistic and community honors, and served on multiple boards, including as chair of the Advisory Board of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve really lost a cultural icon,&rdquo; Porter said. &ldquo;Abena&rsquo;s part of a generation of artists and cultural activists that we likely may not see again.&rdquo;</p><p>Funeral arrangements are still pending.</p><p><em>Lynette Kalsnes covers religion, arts and culture for WBEZ. Follow her </em><a href="https://twitter.com/lynettekalsnes"><em>@lynettekalsnes</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 15:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/visionary-founder-chicago-black-theater-dies-112390 Ta-Nehisi Coates looks at the physical toll of being black In America http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/ta-nehisi-coates-looks-physical-toll-being-black-america-112359 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/009_coat_9780812993547_art_r1_slide-4df52283385472ac1bbf65bde10b599512ac09d9-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When writer Ta-Nehisi Coates sat down at NPR&#39;s New York studios a few days ago, he got a little emotional.</p><p>It was the first time that Coates, <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/author/ta-nehisi-coates/">who writes for The Atlantic</a>, had held a copy of his latest book, <em>Between the World and Me</em>.</p><p>This book is personal, written as a letter to his teenage son Somari. In it, we see glimpses of the hard West Baltimore streets where Coates grew up, his curiosity at work on the campus of Howard University and his early struggles as a journalist.</p><p>Coates also reflects on what it meant, and what it means, to inhabit a black body in America. He gets at the physical consequences of slavery and racial discrimination, and he brings to bear his big fear that his life and the lives of his loved ones might end unnaturally.</p><p>&quot;When we think about the myriad evils that spring from racism, that spring from white supremacy,&quot; he tells NPR&#39;s Michele Norris, &quot;one of the realizations I had while writing this book was that ultimately, these all are things that endanger the body.&quot;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Interview Highlights</span></p><p><strong>On the West Baltimore neighborhood where Coates grew up</strong></p><p>It was a neighborhood which had been subjected to housing discrimination, right? So you had a group of people who physically could not move, who did not have the same sort of choices that other people did. You had a group of people who did not have the same sort of opportunities that other people did in terms of jobs and educations.</p><p>So the neighborhood tended to be a little more violent than other neighborhoods of the same economic description.</p><p><strong>On the physical repercussions of racism</strong></p><p>There can be no more physical process than somebody literally taking your body and putting it to whatever their selfish usages might be. Unfortunately, it doesn&#39;t end there. it proceeds right through Jim Crow. And all the laws, the horrible laws, passed during Jim Crow &mdash; the inability to work where you wanted, the inability to vote, the lack of mobility throughout the South &mdash; ultimately these laws were enforced though violence.</p><p><strong>On moving to a safer neighborhood, and then back</strong></p><p>I can remember for the first time in my life, a few years back, I lived in a neighborhood that was not majority black, that was not considered a &quot;ghetto.&quot; I quickly moved back.</p><p>But I think about how I would walk down the street, and how my need to constantly be on guard, to watch everything, was suddenly removed. I remember physically feeling different. My body felt different. I felt more at ease than I had in any other neighborhood that I had lived in, in my life.</p><p>We lived in that neighborhood for three years.</p><p>I left because I love black people. I love living around black people. Home is home. We suffer under racism and the physical deprivations that come with that, but beneath that we form cultures and traditions that are beautiful.</p><p><strong>On fear</strong></p><p>It was everywhere. It was even manifested in shows of strength, when people were trying to act like they weren&#39;t afraid.</p><p>We look at young black kids with a scowl on their face, walking a certain way down the block with their sweatpants dangling, however, with their hoodies on. And folks think that this is a show of power or a show of force.</p><p>But I know, because I&#39;ve been among those kids, it ultimately is fear. The very need to exhibit your power in that sort of way is really to ward off other people because you&#39;re afraid of what could actually happen to you.</p><p><strong>On what it means to love America</strong></p><p>I love America the way I love my family &mdash; I was born into it. And there&#39;s no escape out of it. But no definition of family that I&#39;ve ever encountered or dealt with involves never having cross words with people, never having debate , never speaking directly. On the contrary, that&#39;s the very definition in my house, and the house that I grew up in, of what family is.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">An Excerpt From <em>Between The World And Me</em></span></p><p><em>Reprinted by arrangement with Spiegel &amp; Grau, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright &copy; 2015 by Ta-Nehisi Coates.</em></p><p>One day, I was in Chicago, reporting a story about the history of segregation in the urban North and how it was engineered by government policy. I was trailing some officers of the county sheriff as they made their rounds. That day I saw a black man losing his home. I followed the sheriff &#39;s officers inside the house, where a group of them were talking to the man&#39;s wife, who was also trying to tend to her two children. She had clearly not been warned that the sheriff would be coming, though something in her husband&#39;s demeanor told me he must have known. His wife&#39;s eyes registered, all at once, shock at the circumstance, anger at the officers, and anger at her husband. The officers stood in the man&#39;s living room, giving him orders as to what would now happen. Outside there were men who&#39;d been hired to remove the family&#39;s possessions. The man was humiliated, and I imagined that he had probably for some time carried, in his head, alone, all that was threatening his family but could not bring himself to admit it to himself or his wife. So he now changed all that energy into anger, directed at the officers. He cursed. He yelled. He pointed wildly. This particular sheriff &#39;s department was more progressive than most. They were concerned about mass incarceration. They would often bring a social worker to an eviction. But this had nothing to do with the underlying and relentless logic of the world this man in- habited, a logic built on laws built on history built on contempt for this man and his family and their fate.</p><p>The man ranted on. When the officers turned away, he ranted more to the group of black men assembled who&#39;d been hired to sit his family out on the street. His manner was like all the powerless black people I&#39;d ever known, exaggerating their bodies to conceal a fundamental plunder that they could not prevent.</p><p>I had spent the week exploring this city, walking through its vacant lots, watching the aimless boys, sitting in the pews of the striving churches, reeling before the street murals to the dead. And I would, from time to time, sit in the humble homes of black people in that city who were entering their tenth decade of life. These people were pro- found. Their homes were filled with the emblems of honorable life&mdash;citizenship awards, portraits of husbands and wives passed away, several generations of children in cap and gown. And they had drawn these accolades by cleaning big houses and living in one-room Alabama shacks before moving to the city. And they had done this despite the city, which was supposed to be a respite, revealing itself to simply be a more intricate specimen of plunder. They had worked two and three jobs, put children through high school and college, and become pillars of their community. I admired them, but I knew the whole time that I was merely encountering the survivors, the ones who&#39;d endured the banks and their stone-faced con- tempt, the realtors and their fake sympathy&mdash;&quot;I&#39;m sorry, that house just sold yesterday&quot;&mdash;the realtors who steered them back toward ghetto blocks, or blocks earmarked to be ghettos soon, the lenders who found this captive class and tried to strip them of everything they had. In those homes I saw the best of us, but behind each of them I knew that there were so many millions gone.</p><p>And I knew that there were children born into these same caged neighborhoods on the Westside, these ghettos, each of which was as planned as any subdivision. They are an elegant act of racism, killing fields authored by federal policies, where we are, all again, plundered of our dignity, of our families, of our wealth, and of our lives. And there is no difference between the killing of Prince Jones and the murders attending these killing fields because both are rooted in the assumed inhumanity of black people. A leg- acy of plunder, a network of laws and traditions, a heritage, a Dream, murdered Prince Jones as sure as it murders black people in North Lawndale with frightening regularity. &quot;Black-on-black crime&quot; is jargon, violence to language, which vanishes the men who engineered the covenants, who fixed the loans, who planned the projects, who built the streets and sold red ink by the barrel. And this should not surprise us. The plunder of black life was drilled into this country in its infancy and reinforced across its history, so that plunder has become an heirloom, an intelligence, a sentience, a default setting to which, likely to the end of our days, we must invariably return.</p><p>The killing fields of Chicago, of Baltimore, of Detroit, were created by the policy of Dreamers, but their weight, their shame, rests solely upon those who are dying in them. There is a great deception in this. To yell &quot;black- on-black crime&quot; is to shoot a man and then shame him for bleeding. And the premise that allows for these killing fields&mdash;the reduction of the black body&mdash;is no different than the premise that allowed for the murder of Prince Jones. The Dream of acting white, of talking white, of being white, murdered Prince Jones as sure as it murders black people in Chicago with frightening regularity. Do not accept the lie. Do not drink from poison. The same hands that drew red lines around the life of Prince Jones drew red lines around the ghetto.</p></p> Fri, 10 Jul 2015 11:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/ta-nehisi-coates-looks-physical-toll-being-black-america-112359 Little Village residents fight for fieldhouse http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/little-village-residents-fight-fieldhouse-112342 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Fieldhouse.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-3a786971-6a9e-ed11-1a7a-ade17383bb92">When Froy Marchán was growing up in the working-class neighborhood of Little Village, public amenities were few and far in between.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Growing up I never had a park. We would just make teams and play on the cement,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">That changed back in December when the new <a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks/la-villita-park/">La Villita Park</a> was built next door to the Cook County Jail, only a 5-minute walk from Marchan&rsquo;s house. But despite the progress, he says the park is missing something &mdash; a fieldhouse with a pool.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I know for myself, I didn&rsquo;t learn how to swim until I was 18,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">Viviana Moreno agrees that a fieldhouse would bring all sorts of needed programming to the area.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;An indoor pool on this side of the neighborhood, a gym, probably an indoor soccer field, a garden, a space for seniors, meeting rooms,&rdquo; said Moreno, an organizer with the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO). &ldquo;Just places where people can just gather without being considered loitering.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">LVEJO led the effort to build the current park.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The park is amazing and beautiful and it&rsquo;s being highly utilized by community members, but we still need access to a space during the winter, we still need more resources in the community,&rdquo; Moreno said.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/">On its website</a>, the Chicago Park District invites residents to check out the nearest fieldhouse two miles away at <a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks/Piotrowski-Park/">Piotrowski Park</a>. But according to Marchan, that&rsquo;s not an option.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://llnw.wbez.org/2011.pdf">Gang lines have split the neighborhood</a> in such a way that, for decades, only kids living on the west side of Little Village could safely access Piotrowski Park. Marchan says he and his friends don&rsquo;t want to walk from the Latin Kings&rsquo; side into Two-Six territory.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not that easy to go and just have an enjoyable time at Piotrowski Park,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Some of them are afraid of the consequences that might come with being asked where you&rsquo;re from or running the risk of being hurt.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The next closest fieldhouse is in <a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks/Douglas-Park/">Douglas Park</a>. But many youth don&rsquo;t want to cross the viaduct into North Lawndale for the same reasons. Plus, there can be racial tensions.</p><p dir="ltr">That&rsquo;s one of the reasons 12th ward Alderman George Cardenas was a proud early backer of La Villita Park.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;But now stage two comes in where we have to fight for the fieldhouse,&rdquo; Cardenas said. &ldquo;And I even told LVEJO: Get ready because I want to get the fieldhouse, but I need your support.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The alderman says he&rsquo;s determined to find the $16 million dollars for it. In the meantime, LVEJO is holding community meetings and collecting petition signatures.</p><p dir="ltr">A Park District spokeswoman said the size and design of a park determines the viability of a fieldhouse. In a written statement, she added: &ldquo;The Park District is committed to working with residents and elected officials to continually improve and enhance our parks. Should additional funding become available in the future, we would certainly consider adding a field house to this 22-acre park.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Organizers point to Ping Tom Park in Chinatown as a model. It&rsquo;s smaller than La Villita Park and equally narrow, but in 2013 they built an athletic fieldhouse for $15 million dollars that came from TIF and Park District sources.</p><p dir="ltr">Marchan says beyond the indoor programming a fieldhouse could help curb gang violence in his community.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Having that available to our youth and myself, I think it would mean the world.&rdquo;</p><p><br /><em>Jacqueline Serrato is a WBEZ Pritzker Journalism fellow. Follow her @HechaEnChicago.</em></p></p> Tue, 07 Jul 2015 17:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/little-village-residents-fight-fieldhouse-112342 Thai Town opens at last in Albany Park http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/thai-town-opens-last-albany-park-112329 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 10.44.29 PM.png" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">After four years of delays, chef Arun Sampathavivat finally opened his <a href="http://www.wbez.org/can-arun-sampanthavivat-create-chicago-neighborhood-scratch-108701">Thai Town Center</a>&nbsp;in Albany Park.</p><p dir="ltr">The center is housed in an old police station and features a restaurant, noodle bar, wellness center, and Buddhist shrine. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">On Sunday evening the chef was working the dining room, serving dishes and explaining the long delays.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It has dragged on and on and we ran into dilemmas, one after another, he said. &quot;We almost lost funding in the middle and we had to stop and raise funds again.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The chef who brought upscale Thai food to Chicago with his elegant restaurant Arun says people had been asking him to open a casual place for years.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;For the first time people will have accessibility to eat my food and now they can&rsquo;t complain [about price and exclusivity],&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;This will appeal to the public with affordable prices and we want to welcome little kids to start them on this kind of food early on.&ldquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Currently only the shrine and the restaurant are open to the public, but Sampathavivat says that he hopes to open the noodle bar in the next month and the wellness center (which will be called Arunati) in 6 to 8 months.</p><p dir="ltr">In the meantime, the chef says he hopes food fans will come and enjoy his Thai cooking. He&#39;s especially proud of his &ldquo;sour curry and stewed pork ham hock.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I could never imagine that an American guest would have a stomach for sour curry,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;But [Saturday] after he finished it, he ordered another to take it home. And the ham hock is the very best dish of Thailand. We only cook it a day or two each week and then we rotate.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">In 2011, the Thai Town project was awarded more than $1 million in tax increment financing from Ald. Margaret Laurino, who faced criticism for the move. But she defended it saying that she believed it would add value to the neighborhood.</p><p dir="ltr">The chef says he hopes to use the Center to attract national and international visitors to the neighborhood.</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> Mon, 06 Jul 2015 22:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/thai-town-opens-last-albany-park-112329 The Grateful Dead's laid-back, yet surprisingly shrewd, business plan http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/grateful-deads-laid-back-yet-surprisingly-shrewd-business-plan-112314 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/deadhead.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead&#39;s founding, the band will perform three shows &mdash; their last &mdash; in Chicago this weekend. According to Billboard magazine, the &quot;Fare Thee Well&quot; concerts will bring in an estimated $50 million. That&#39;s pretty impressive, considering that band&#39;s lead guitarist died two decades ago.</p><p>If there&#39;s one thing the Grateful Dead has proven it knows how to do well, it&#39;s improvise. The song &quot;Dark Star&quot; alone launched hundreds of unique live jams, and that freeform lifestyle followed the band offstage.</p><p>&quot;Improvisation became the one point in their very changeable universe, applied not only to music, but also to business,&quot; says Dennis McNally, the band&#39;s biographer and former publicist.</p><p>McNally says the band was also guided a spirit of inclusion and mutual respect toward their audience &mdash; values the members adopted during the &quot;peace and love&quot; hippie era of 1960s San Francisco. &quot;The Grateful Dead treated their audience as partners, not as cows with wallets,&quot; he says.</p><p>That partnership was nourished by a few key decisions along the way. The Grateful Dead famously encouraged fans to tape their live shows, and those tapes were then traded among fans and served as a pre-Internet form of viral marketing. The more the tapes circulated, the more people wanted to go see them live.</p><p>&quot;But that&#39;s not at all why they did it,&quot; McNally says. &quot;They did it because they were terrible cops and recognized that if they stopped taping, they would have to ruin the ambiance of their own shows.&quot;</p><p>To get those fans to actually attend the shows, they created their own in-house, mail-order ticketing agency, and in the process created a massive database of devotees. The end result was twofold: They eliminated the middleman, thereby putting more money into their pockets, while gaining a reputation for superior customer service.</p><p>The band also made its own tapes of just about every show it ever played, recording directly from their sound board. Now those tapes live in a special vault in southern California.</p><p>Mark Pinkus is the president of Rhino Entertainment and its official General Manager of Grateful Dead Properties. He has access to that vault &mdash; a superfan&#39;s paradise, with thousands and thousands of tapes &mdash; along with a formal agreement with the band to handle the production and release of the music contained within.</p><p>&quot;We have mapped it out, and believe we have about 24 more good years of releases at the pace we are doing right now &mdash; and we do eight releases a year right now,&quot; Pinkus says.</p><p>Rhino enlisted David Lemieux, the band&#39;s longtime archivist, to curate a series of releases for fans who want to hear what&#39;s on every one of those tapes.</p><p>&quot;When we first started working together, I said, &#39;What&#39;s the dream project? What&#39;s the big project that you have always wanted to do?&#39;&quot; Pinkus recalls.</p><p>Lemieux came back at him with a Deadhead&#39;s dream release: all 22 shows of the band&#39;s landmark 1972 tour of Europe. Pinkus agreed by answering the most important question he could think of.</p><p>&quot;How we make most of our decisions, because both of us are fans, is [by] asking, &#39;Would we buy this?&#39; &quot; he says.</p><p>They got their answer: A limited edition 73-CD set sold out in less than a week. Even so, Pinkus acknowledges the Grateful Dead can be a hard sell to nonbelievers.</p><p>&quot;You tell people, this is the greatest live band in the world, and people who haven&#39;t seen them say, &#39;What are they like?&#39; &quot; Pinkus says. &quot;Well, they kind of ramble on stage. They tune their instruments for a couple of minutes and then they do their thing for the next couple of hours. They don&#39;t talk to the crowd other than to say, &#39;Thank you, good night.&#39; And yet they blow you away.&quot;</p><p>And they always do it their own way &mdash; while still managing to put a few nickels in their pockets.</p><p><em>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/07/05/419547514/the-grateful-deads-laid-back-yet-surprisingly-shrewd-business-plan">via NPR Music</a></em></p></p> Sat, 04 Jul 2015 06:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/grateful-deads-laid-back-yet-surprisingly-shrewd-business-plan-112314