WBEZ | Arts &amp; Life http://www.wbez.org/tags/arts-amp-life Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Area 51 'Uncensored': Was It UFOs Or The USSR? http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-17/area-51-uncensored-was-it-ufos-or-ussr-86655 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//npr_story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-17/1968.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Seventy-five miles north of Las Vegas sits a land parcel in the middle of the desert. Called Area 51, the parcel is just outside of the abandoned Nevada Test and Training Range, where more than 100 atmospheric bomb tests were conducted in the 1950s. Officially, the U.S. government has never acknowledged the existence of Area 51. Unofficially, it has become a place associated with conspiracy theories, alien landings and tiny spaceships.</p><p>Journalist Annie Jacobsen tells <em>Fresh Air</em>'s Terry Gross that the site has remained classified for many years — not because of aliens or spaceships, but because the government once used the site for top-secret nuclear testing and weapons development.</p><p>In <em>Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base</em>, Jacobsen details how several agencies — including the Atomic Energy Commission, the Department of Defense and the CIA — once used the site to conduct controversial and secretive research on aircraft and pilot-related projects, including planes that traveled three times faster than the speed of sound and nuclear-propelled, space-based missile launch systems.</p><p><strong>Operation Plumbbob</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>In the summer and fall of 1957, a series of atmospheric nuclear tests — called Operation Plumbbob — were conducted above ground at the Nevada testing and training range, located just outside of Area 51. Twenty-nine explosions were set off while tests were conducted on troop readiness, accidental detonations and the effects of flying debris on living targets.</p><p>During the explosions, security officer Richard Mingus stood guard outside many of the weapons-testing sites, including one with the largest atmospheric bomb that has ever exploded in the United States.</p><p>"The bomb goes off. Richard Mingus is at ground zero, safe away in a bunker somewhere, and suddenly someone realizes, 'My God, Area 51 is unsecured,' " Jacobsen says. "And so they send Richard Mingus through ground zero, 45 minutes to an hour after this nuclear bomb has exploded, so that he can get to Area 51 to guard the gate."</p><p>Mingus survived, as did many other atomic veterans who stood close to ground zero during other Plumbbob tests.</p><p>"You can absolutely drive through an atmospheric bomb test and not be affected," Jacobsen says. "Richard Mingus also stood guard at a test at a subparcel of Area 51 ... [during] a dirty bomb test."</p><p>During the dirty bomb test, the Department of Defense and the Atomic Energy Commission simulated a plane crash where plutonium was dispersed on the ground, to see what would happen if an aircraft carrying a nuclear weapon were to crash on American soil. The resulting fallout and structural damage made much of the land uninhabitable.</p><p>"The area out at Area 51 that was part of the Operation Plumbbob test continues to be contaminated," she says. "It was not cleaned up until the '80s. And at that point, they sent in men in hazmat suits to scrape the land."</p><p><strong>Rockets Into Space With Nuclear Powered Explosions</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>The nuclear tests at Area 51 gave the Department of Defense ideas about how the technology could be used to help the United States' newly minted space program. And during the space race with the Soviet Union in the 1950s, the Department of Defense proposed using space itself as a weapon. One of its ideas was to develop a nuclear-powered space-based missile launch system that would sit outside Earth's atmosphere and have the capability to launch missiles — from outer space — into the Soviet Union.</p><p>"This didn't end up happening, but it almost did," Jacobsen says. "They were testing the rocket to see whether it would actually work. And to do that meant spewing vast quantities of radiation into the air. It's very controversial [and] it was kept very top-secret."</p><p>After the U.S. ratified the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty, which prohibited nuclear testing in the atmosphere, the tests continued to take place.</p><p>"It comes right up to the edge of violating the treaty when an accident occurs," she says. "In one example, a 148-pound chunk of radioactive debris shoots up into the sky and lands, rending [a subparcel of Area 51] a place that no one could go, not even in a hazmat suit, for six weeks."</p><p><strong>The Oxcart</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>In addition to testing nuclear weapons, Area 51 was often used as a training ground for overhead surveillance planes. One plane, called the Oxcart, was designed by the CIA to travel three times the speed of sound at 90,000 feet to spy on the Soviet Union and Cuba.</p><p>The Oxcart, in use from 1963 to 1968, worked beautifully, though it was never used over the Soviet Union or Cuba. Never once shot down, it was used in missions over North Vietnam and during the Pueblo Crisis with North Korea.</p><p>"It absolutely kept us safer and kept us out of nuclear war," Jacobsen says. "The idea that Area 51 was this test facility working to move science and technology faster and further than any other nation is true and is one of the great hallmarks of Area 51. There are other areas of the base that are controversial — but they both exist simultaneously — out there in the desert."</p><p><hr /></p><p><h3>Interview Highlights</h3></p><p><em>The secrecy surrounding Area 51 has made it fertile ground for conspiracy theories, including one about a UFO cover-up and another about the moon landing having never happened. Jacobsen addresses these conspiracy theories in the book and speculates about what led to them. She says her book is based on interviews with 74 individuals with rare firsthand knowledge of the secret base. Thirty-two of the people she interviewed lived and worked at Area 51.</em></p><p><strong>On flying discs and conspiracy theories</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>"The UFO craze began in the summer of 1947. Several months later, the G2 intelligence, which was the Army intelligence corps at the time, spent an enormous amount of time and treasure seeking out two former Third Reich aerospace designers named Walter and Reimer Horton who had allegedly created [a] flying disc. ... American intelligence agents fanned out across Europe seeking the Horton brothers to find out if, in fact, they had made this flying disc.</p><p>"The idea behind it remains, why? Why were they looking for a flying disc? And conspiracy theorists have had their hands on this declassified file for over a decade now, and they say it proves that this flying disc came from outer space. If you read the documents, the takeaway that I found fascinating was that at the end of it, the Army admits finding the Horton brothers, and that the Horton brothers admitted their contact with the Russians and that's where the file ends. Everything after that is classified."</p><p><strong>On why Area 51 is actually classified, according to a source</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>"The Horton brothers were involved in the flying disc crash in New Mexico. And that is from a single source. ... There was an unusual moment where that source became very upset and told me things that were stunning that's almost impossible to believe at first read. And that is that a flying disc really did crash in New Mexico and it was transported to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and then in 1951 it was transferred to Area 51, which is why the base is called Area 51. And the stunning part of the reveal is that my source, who I absolutely believe and worked with for 18 months on this, was one of the engineers who received the equipment and he also received the people who were in the craft.</p><p>"The people were, according to the source, were child-sized pilots, and there's a lot of debate about how old they were. He believes they were 13, although other people believe they may have been older. But this is a firsthand witness to this, and I made a decision to write about this in the very end of the book, after I take the traditional journalist form of telling you everything in the third person, I switch and I kind of lean into the reader and I say, 'Look, this is not why Area 51 is classified to the point where no one in the government will admit it exists. The reason is because what one man told me.' And then using the first person, I tell you what I was told. And there's no doubt that people are going to be upset, alarmed and skeptical of this information, but I absolutely believe the veracity of my source, and I believe it was important that I put this information out there because it is the tip of a very big iceberg."</p><p><strong>On the Soviet human experiments her source told her about</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>"The child-sized aviators in this craft [that crashed in New Mexico] were the result of a Soviet human experimentation program, and they had been made to look like aliens a la Orson Welles' <em>War of the Worlds,</em> and it was a warning shot over President Truman's bow, so to speak. In 1947, when this would have originally happened, the Soviets did not yet have the nuclear bomb, and Stalin and Truman were locked in horns with one another, and Stalin couldn't compete in nuclear weaponry yet, but he certainly could compete in the world of black propaganda — and that was his aim, according to my source. ...</p><p>"What is firsthand information is that he worked with these bodies [of the pilots] and he was an eyewitness to the horror of seeing them and working with them. Where they actually came from is obviously the subject of debate. But if you look at the timeline with Josef Mengele, he left Auschwitz in January of 1945 and disappeared for a while, and the suggestion by the source is that Mengele had already cut his losses with the Third Reich at that point and was working with Stalin."</p><p><strong>On why the Soviets would have undertaken such a hoax</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>"The plan, according to my source, was to create panic in the United States with this belief that a UFO had landed with aliens inside of it. And one of the most interesting documents is the second CIA director, Walter Bedell Smith, memos back and forth to the National Security Council talking about how the fear is that the Soviets could make a hoax against America involving a UFO and overload our early air-defense warning system, making America vulnerable to an attack." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1305652334?&gn=Area+51+%27Uncensored%27%3A+Was+It+UFOs+Or+The+USSR%3F&ev=event2&ch=1033&h1=History,National+Security,Nonfiction,Author+Interviews,Books,Interviews,Arts+%26+Life,U.S.&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=136356848&c7=1033&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1033&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110517&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=13&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Tue, 17 May 2011 12:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-17/area-51-uncensored-was-it-ufos-or-ussr-86655 School Reunions? Nah, I've Got Facebook http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-15/school-reunions-nah-ive-got-facebook-86557 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//0" alt="" /><p><p>Facebook was created for college students to get in touch with each other. It has helped people stay in touch online so well, that it might be hurting attendance at real-world class reunions.</p><p>This means the excruciatingly awkward reunion scenes in movies — where the dorks and princesses get together to prove that either they've become cool or are still cool — don't have to happen in real life.</p><p>Consider a scene from the 1997 film <em>Romy and Michele's High School Reunion</em>. When Romy is asked if she has any kids, she says no, she's been too busy running her own business inventing Post-its.</p><p>Now you don't have to bother lying about how brilliant you are. Thanks to social networks, everyone already knows.</p><p><strong>'Unplug For A Night'</strong></p><p>Marc Gervase graduated from Philadelphia's Strath Haven High School in 2001. He has no plans to go to his 10-year reunion.</p><p>"I already know what everyone is doing," he says. "If I needed to find out I could contact them or stalk them through said stalking methods — the unsaid Facebook, Twitter updates."</p><p>It seems he's not the only one.</p><p>"Ten years ago, you would've gotten maybe 250 people at a 10-year reunion," says Joanna Erdos, vice president of the alumni association for L.A.'s John Marshall High School. "I recently attended a 10-year where there were 94 people. There was another one where I heard the attendance was 43."</p><p>Mark Silva, CEO of Great Unions, one of the nation's largest reunion planning companies, says attendance at 10-year reunions is declining across the country. More people are staying in touch, so Silva is changing his marketing pitch from "Find out what became of Sally" to "Unplug for a night."</p><p>"There are a lot of people who believe that Facebook is good enough, and they don't want to get together. Well, we try to educate them about, I guess you'd call it, real personal connections," Silva says.</p><p>He points out that Facebook could end up helping with those real personal connections. If you get past the "What are you doing?" formalities on a website, you can get to the more important business of telling people what you really think in person.</p><p><strong>Technology Vs. Reality</strong></p><p>In another scene from <em>Romy and Michele's High School Reunion</em>, the tormented Heather and the ditsy Romy reach an epiphany: "I really thought you guys had it made in high school, and the whole time you were making my life hell, the A-group was making your life hell. I didn't know," Heather says. "You know what? I bet in high school, everybody made somebody's life hell," Romy responds.</p><p>Reunion planners claim there's no substitute for that kind of face-to-face, grownup connection. Technology comes and goes, they point out, but reality stays. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1305460521?&gn=School+Reunions%3F+Nah%2C+I%27ve+Got+Facebook&ev=event2&ch=1008&h1=Around+the+Nation,Pop+Culture,Movies,Arts+%26+Life,Business,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=136209590&c7=1008&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1008&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110515&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=10&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Sun, 15 May 2011 06:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-15/school-reunions-nah-ive-got-facebook-86557 A Secret, Boxed-Up Bazaar Of Fantastical Things http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-15/secret-boxed-bazaar-fantastical-things-86558 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//0" alt="" /><p><p>In a desolate, industrial section of West Oakland, Calif., the first of 20 box trucks arrives before sundown. A couple of cargo trailers are parked on a street that is home to an abandoned cement factory.</p><p>When this Lost Horizon Night Market is in full swing, a bunch of sideshows and art environments will comprise what is essentially an open party for adults in a public place. Attorney Michael Burstein is the self-described cat-herder-in-chief for the San Francisco Night Markets.</p><p>"We're probably in violation of a variety of parking ordinances," he says."I'm sure some of the attendants will show up and have open containers, which is illegal in San Francisco and Oakland. And I'm sure there will be a variety of minor infractions."</p><p>Burstein is right about the open containers. Many in the crowd of 700 swig from bottles of wine or small chrome flasks. Invitations to these Night Markets are spread by word of mouth, and people are asked not to publicize them on mailing lists, blogs or via social networking channels.</p><p>At the market, people wander from one box truck to another parked along the dark city block. The Best Little Boxtruck in West Oakland has swinging saloon doors, a bar that serves sarsaparilla and several bales of hay to cushion the fall off a mechanical bull with a bunny head on it.</p><p>The entertainment at this inner city carnival is a bit unusual. For those who enjoy destroying breakable objects, for example, there's the smash truck.</p><p>Inside this small box truck is a woman with a cigarette clenched between her lips. She wears a welder's mask and thick suede welder's gloves as she smashes a computer and a plastic rocking horse to bits. There's a Plexiglas panel protecting onlookers from debris as the woman wails away with her hammer.</p><p>There's something for everyone at the Lost Horizon Night Market. If you don't want to vent aggression, you can hang out at a cozy campfire inside a truck with a hole in the roof. There, David Marti — a mechanical engineer at Stanford and a member of an art group known as the <a href="http://spontaneousfire.com/">Department of Spontaneous Combustion</a> — presides over a fire pit improvised from a wash tub.</p><p>"Does anybody want a sausage?" he shouts. "Well, what else do you do with a campfire?"</p><p><strong>Box Truck Culture</strong></p><p>The installation artists who participate in the Lost Horizon Night Market rent their box trucks for $150 for the day and deck them out with outlandish props that transform the trucks into vehicles of fantasy.</p><p>Inside one there's a speakeasy where Catie McGee strums a ukulele and her sidekick Absynthia pours a potent, green fermented beverage. McGee wears a corset, fishnet stockings and a black feather boa as she leads the crowd in a bawdy singalong.</p><p>"He ain't too smart but he gets things done," she belts. "He's a long-tongued, double-jointed son-of-a-gun. He's read the Kama Sutra 26 times and he wears my panties on Tuesday nights."<strong></strong></p><p><strong>How It Works</strong></p><p>The Night Market concept originated in Brooklyn in 2009. Mark Krawczuk was one of its co-creators.</p><p>"It's like coming to the small town neighborhood that we all have virtually through emails and through newsgroups," he says. "And this is actually a physical manifestation of it — but mobile and temporary."</p><p>At these events, the entertainment tends toward the conceptual and avant garde. One of the San Francisco box trucks is a library where empty bottles with rolled up papers sticking out of them have dreams transcribed. Another box truck is full of succulent plants and artwork.</p><p>Yet another — the Notional Clearinghouse — encourages visitors to dispose of their notions.</p><p>"The movie you will never film, the book you will never write, the product you will never sell," says a man in front of the truck. "Get it out of your head, into our cabinet, gone from your cranium and away you will go — satisfied and ready to fill it up with other things."</p><p><strong>'A Carnival For Adults'</strong><strong></strong></p><p>"Hi. How are ya doing tonight?" says a maitre d'. "Welcome to Mac and Attitude. You might only come for one — but you're gonna get both."</p><p>Mac and Attitude is a 10-seat diner inside a box truck, complete with U-shaped counter covered with a checkered table cloth.</p><p>"My name is Anita. Employee of the month, four months," a waitress says. "We've been operating now 47 years. Family-owned business."</p><p>Of course, the Mac and Attitude diner serves only one dish: macaroni and cheese.</p><p>"We got two types tonight," Anita says. "One for the carnivores, one for the vegemites. You know, they're all over San Francisco."</p><p>And whether she is a vegemite or not, Lisa Berger of San Francisco is enjoying this scene.</p><p>"I feel like I'm at a carnival for adults," she says."You see everyone running around and playing and acting like they're 5 years old again."</p><p>A Lost Horizon Night Market is being planned for Detroit. Organizers also say that these box truck parties may soon surface in Portland, Boston, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1305460521?&gn=A+Secret%2C+Boxed-Up+Bazaar+Of+Fantastical+Things&ev=event2&ch=1008&h1=Around+the+Nation,Arts+%26+Life,Business,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=136275956&c7=1008&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1008&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110515&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=10&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Sun, 15 May 2011 06:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-15/secret-boxed-bazaar-fantastical-things-86558 Noise Pollution Hard On Heart As Well As Ears http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-14/noise-pollution-hard-heart-well-ears-86553 <p><p>According to a recent study, noise pollution could be costing lives. A World Health Organization report finds Western Europeans lose years to death or disability from excessive sound. Though European countries have taken steps to turn the volume down, the U.S. backed off the effort decades ago.</p><p>Across an estimated population of 340 million people, at least 1 million years of healthy living are lost each year due to noise pollution in Western Europe, WHO researcher Rokho Kim says.</p><p><strong>A Dangerous Response To Noise</strong></p><p>A few too many sleepless nights can add up to heart disease, higher blood pressure and a host of stress-related health issues. But, Kim says, it's not the lost sleep so much as the human body's reaction to noise that's dangerous.</p><p>"For example, when someone is sleeping and the sound level increases, even though the person is not aware, not conscious, the heart rate is increasing and the blood pressure is increasing," he says.</p><p>Kim speculates that these reactions are probably leftover from our prehistoric period, when humans always had to be prepared — even while asleep. Those same reactions that may have kept us safe could be hurting us today.</p><p>"If that's continued for life, clearly there is a burden on the cardiovascular system and central nervous system," Kim says.</p><p><strong>Turning Down The Volume</strong></p><p>Countries in Europe aggressively regulate noise, he points out. In the Netherlands, some roads are topped with low-noise pavement. Cars have low-noise tires, and airports compensate residents for sound-proofing their houses.</p><p>The U.S., however, doesn't regulate noise on the federal level. There was a time when the EPA handled noise much like other pollutants, setting and enforcing regulations, recommending reductions and assessing the risks. That changed in 1982, when Ronald Reagan closed the Office of Noise Abatement and Control.</p><p>Reagan cited budget concerns, according to Garret Keizer, author of <em>The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want: A Book About Noise</em>, and decided noise was better regulated by state and local officials.</p><p>"No president and Congress has seen fit to revive it," Keizer says. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1305407826?&gn=Noise+Pollution+Hard+On+Heart+As+Well+As+Ears&ev=event2&ch=1128&h1=Health,Your+Health,Arts+%26+Life,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=136288954&c7=1128&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1128&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110514&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Sat, 14 May 2011 13:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-14/noise-pollution-hard-heart-well-ears-86553 World's Richest Man Opens Flashy Museum In Mexico http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-14/worlds-richest-man-opens-flashy-museum-mexico-86544 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//0" alt="" /><p><p>In Mexico City, the world's richest man has just opened a new museum to showcase his extensive European and Mexican art collection. Telecommunications mogul Carlos Slim calls the museum a gift to his country.</p><p>The glimmering, modern building is already being hailed as a new landmark in Mexico's capital, but it is also being criticized as the pet project of a man who knows more about business than art.</p><p>Slim's new Soumaya Museum is a windowless, metallic, six-story structure shaped like a surrealist hourglass. Local critics have compared the building, which was designed by Slim's son-in-law, to Frank Gehry's Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain.</p><p>It shimmers like the Guggenheim, but it's crammed into one of Slim's commercial real estate developments next to a shopping mall, an office tower for Slim's cellphone company and blocks of new condominiums.</p><p>Inside, a bronze cast of Rodin's <em>The Thinker</em> dominates the open, airy lobby. There's also a colorful mural by Diego Rivera pointing toward the bathrooms.</p><p>"This is the last mural of Diego Rivera," says Alfonso Miranda Marquez, the director of the Soumaya. The museum is named for Slim's late wife, Soumaya, who died in 1999.</p><p>Slim's collection of more than 65,000 pieces is dominated by European artists, including El Greco, Van Gogh, Matisse, Degas and Picasso.</p><p>"This is for the impressionists," Miranda says. "It's very difficult to see these artists in Latin America. It's impossible to travel, to be so close to Manet or Renoir. This is also one of the highlights of our collection."</p><p>There's an entire section for religious art: A Mexican portrait of the Virgin of Guadalupe hangs next to a Spanish painting of the Virgin of Toledo.</p><p>Miranda says his goal is for the museum to become a cultural icon in Mexico City and present a different side of the capital.</p><p>"OK, we have problems of pollution, problems of violence. But you can see here there are people here, living and enjoying art," he says. "We are not afraid under the bed. This is another idea for Mexico and for Latin America."</p><p><strong>An Opportunity Lost?</strong></p><p>But there is some criticism that rather than representing an artistic step forward for Latin America, the museum, commissioned by the richest man on the planet, instead represents part of what's wrong with the region.</p><p>Slim amassed much of his fortune after gaining control of the Mexican telephone monopoly when it was privatized in 1990. In April, Slim's Telcel mobile phone company was slapped with a $1 billion fine by Mexico's antitrust commission, the largest fine ever handed down by the agency. Telcel is appealing the matter.</p><p>James Oles, a professor of art history at Wellesley College and an expert on Mexican art, visited the Soumaya Museum last month, just after it opened.</p><p>He says things are displayed in the galleries simply because Slim owns them, not necessarily because they're great works of art.</p><p>For instance, there's a large bronze cast of Michelangelo's <em>Pieta</em> on the stairs from the lobby leading up to the second level.</p><p>"Michelangelo's <em>Pieta</em> is a white marble sculpture," Oles explains. "It's unclear to me why anybody would want a bronze version of it, and why you would display such a thing in an art museum, since it is neither a Michelangelo nor a close approximation of the Michelangelo."</p><p>Oles says Slim has some fine art but that much of his collection is made up of minor and mediocre pieces by big-name artists. As an art collector, Slim has the same reputation that he's had in business — he's always hunting for a bargain.</p><p>"You know, he's one of the only people in the world who could actually afford great, great art at the cost of great art," Oles says. "I will tell you there are many works of art hanging in the Soumaya Museum that I could afford on my professorial salary."</p><p>Oles says the opportunity for Mexico to get a new art museum that rivals the best in the world, in his opinion, has been lost.</p><p>While the Soumaya Museum has drawn criticism from some in the art world, it's been extremely popular with ordinary Mexicans. Admission is free, and tens of thousands of people have flowed through the museum's doors in the weeks since it opened. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1305374564?&gn=World%27s+Richest+Man+Opens+Flashy+Museum+In+Mexico&ev=event2&ch=1127&h1=Fine+Art,Latin+America,Art+%26+Design,Arts+%26+Life,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=136051387&c7=1127&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1127&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110514&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=7&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Sat, 14 May 2011 06:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-14/worlds-richest-man-opens-flashy-museum-mexico-86544 Mother, Daughter Prove Themselves 'Off The Rez' http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-14/mother-daughter-prove-themselves-rez-86541 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//0" alt="" /><p><p>Saturday's TLC documentary, <em>Off the Rez,</em> is a coming-of-age story: a drama about generations, sports, sweat, winning, losing, sacrifice, triumph and love. It's a lot to get through in 86 minutes.</p><p>Jonathan Hock's film follows the rise of Native American high school basketball star Shoni Schimmel. Her mother, Cecilee Moses, is also her coach. They moved off the Umatilla Indian Reservation in eastern Oregon and headed to Portland to maximize Schimmel's chances of success at a new school.</p><p>And succeed she did. In 2010, Schimmel was selected to the Women's Basketball Coaches Association All-American Team and recruited by the University of Louisville Cardinals. She just finished her freshman year — averaging 16 points a game.</p><p>Back in Portland, Moses still coaches Schimmel's old team, the Franklin High School Quakers. She tells <em>Weekend Edition Saturday</em> host Scott Simon she knew her daughter had talent from the first basketball tournament — when Schimmel was just 4 years old.</p><p>"I swear to God, that's the first time I knew something," she says. "This girl was gifted, because they went in, and they went to the championship, and they stomped on Shoni — I mean, they didn't beat them bad, but they beat her. And for her, that was so devastating."</p><p>"Ever since then, I've seen that fire in that girl's eyes," Moses says, "She lost, but I'm not kidding you, ever since then, she's had that drive to just become better."</p><p>Schimmel says it's hard to describe what she loves about the game. "Just having the ball in my hand, and being able to just go out there and have fun," she says. "I just love playing basketball."</p><p>The family's move off the reservation wasn't just for Schimmel; Moses wanted to prove she could coach. There was another goal, too.</p><p>"It was also a move where I could teach not just my kids, but other Native Americans that are doing the right things, to get where they want to get," Moses says. "You can get your dreams, and you can have dreams, and you can pursue your dreams."</p><p>That kind of pressure isn't lost on Schimmel, but she says she doesn't let it get to her. "I mean, I'm just playing basketball and going to school like a normal kid," she says. "Doing what I love doesn't really come with pressure."</p><p>Being a role model for other Native Americans is important to Schimmel, though. Not many of them make it off the reservation, she says, and it's up to her to take advantage of the opportunities she's been given. "I do it definitely for my family, but also the other Native American people."</p><p>As a mother, Moses says, coaching your kids is fun, but there are rules. She made a deal: "This is a job; we're going to be professional. I'm the coach; you're the player. If you want to become unprofessional and turn into the son or the daughter role, then the mother comes out and that's not pretty."</p><p>It seems to be a good deal all around; come fall, Moses will be sending a second daughter to Louisville. Schimmel's sister Jude will be the next to prove that Native Americans can succeed "off the rez." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1305374415?&gn=Mother%2C+Daughter+Prove+Themselves+%27Off+The+Rez%27&ev=event2&ch=1045&h1=Around+the+Nation,Sports,Movies,Arts+%26+Life,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=136291897&c7=1045&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1045&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110514&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=7&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Sat, 14 May 2011 06:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-14/mother-daughter-prove-themselves-rez-86541 A Typo Spells Romance For RP Salazars http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-12/typo-spells-romance-rp-salazars-86483 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//0" alt="" /><p><p>This is the story of a romance that began with a typo. In 2007, Rachel Salazar was living in Bangkok, Thailand, and Ruben Salazar was in Waco, Texas. Their email addresses were nearly identical.</p><p>One morning, Ruben checked his email, and he found a note intended for someone else. "I discovered it said RP Salazar followed by two numbers," he says. "I figured, 'Hey, my email is the same exact thing without the numbers, so they probably sent it to the wrong person."</p><p>Ruben, 39, noticed that this other RP Salazar was in Bangkok, so when he forwarded the email, he added his own little message. "Something to the effect of 'Hi, Rachel, it seems as if this message came to me instead of you. I'm in Waco, Texas, U.S.A. Have a great day. P.S. How's the weather there in Bangkok?'"</p><p>Rachel, 44, is originally from the Philippines but was living in Thailand at the time. For her, that first email exchange on Jan. 10, 2007, started it.</p><p>"Then every conversation that we had right from the get-go was just natural," she says.</p><p>Ruben was excited that here was a person who was halfway around the world, but he could still tell her things. "It's kind of like sending a letter in a bottle," he explains. He happened to hover his mouse over Rachel's name in an email, and her picture popped up. "I was like, 'Wow, she's really beautiful! How can I make this picture bigger?' " he says, laughing.</p><p>Rachel says Ruben started to play an important role in her life even before she consciously realized it. Ruben would stay up late, when it was morning for Rachel, and the two would chat for four or five hours.</p><p>"I knew that I was falling in love, but at the back of my mind there's still that tiny little bit of doubt that this might not work — we were 8,000 miles away from each other," says Rachel. "But at some point I finalized my plans to visit the U.S."</p><p>Ruben notes that Rachel didn't tell anyone. "Because everyone would tell me, 'You're foolish to go halfway across the world to meet some strange guy you have not met,' " she explains. "That would be crazy."</p><p>On Ruben's end, every relative, every friend, every co-worker knew.</p><p>Rachel's trip lasted eight days. They were dancing one night and Rachel told Ruben that he was the sweetest guy she'd ever met. At that moment Ruben knew he needed to say or do something so he didn't lose her.</p><p>"So I got on my knee and asked you to marry me," he says. He proposed on their sixth day together. Rachel says, "Deep in my heart I knew it was coming and it was the right thing and it was the best thing."</p><p>Ruben says that people didn't believe him, and some had their doubts. But, says Rachel, now they all tell us, 'You're perfect for each other. You found the right match.' "</p><p>Rachel and Ruben were married on Nov. 24, 2007. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1305262333?&gn=A+Typo+Spells+Romance+For+RP+Salazars&ev=event2&ch=1008&h1=Around+the+Nation,Interviews,Arts+%26+Life,U.S.&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=136248872&c7=1008&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1008&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110512&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=3&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Thu, 12 May 2011 21:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-12/typo-spells-romance-rp-salazars-86483 'Beauty Shop': Divorce, Ratings and the 'Ripped Representative' http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-11/beauty-shop-divorce-ratings-and-ripped-representative-86392 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//npr_story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-11/menshealth-cover-june_custom.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Maria Schriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger are splitting after 25 years of marriage. Oprah Winfrey's four-month-old network OWN is having a shake-up due to low ratings. The youngest Congressman is baring his abs on the cover of <a href="http://www.menshealth.com/fit-for-summer-challenge/"><em>Men's Health</em> Magazine</a>. Host Michel Martin takes up such news with the 'Beauty Shop' ladies: <em>Latina Magazine</em> editorial director Galina Espinoza, <em>U.S. News and World Report</em>columnist and blogger Mary Kate Cary, and Voto Latino executive director Maria Teresa Kumar. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1305132735?&gn=%27Beauty+Shop%27%3A+Divorce%2C+Ratings+and+the+%27Ripped+Representative%27&ev=event2&ch=1048&h1=Television,Pop+Culture,Politics,Arts+%26+Life,U.S.,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=136205489&c7=1048&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1048&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110511&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=46&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Wed, 11 May 2011 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-11/beauty-shop-divorce-ratings-and-ripped-representative-86392 Rebel Art: Libyan Youth Find Outlet In Sketches, Song http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-07/rebel-art-libyan-youth-find-outlet-sketches-song-86194 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//0" alt="" /><p><p>Young people are heavily involved in the uprising now underway in Libya: They are members of the rebel military; they are working to help form a new government. They are also producing revolutionary artwork, publications and music.</p><p>On any given day you can find at least a few of Benghazi's young and restless in a large empty cement lot off one of the city's main thoroughfares.</p><p>In the late afternoon, young men gather to see just how much tire rubber they can burn. Fishtailing Toyotas leave a smear of swirling, smoking, sticky blackness on the pavement. From a hotel room high above, the streaks appear like some kind of postmodern design.</p><p>About a mile away, just off Revolution Square, more substantive creations are taking shape. This is the Media Center for the 17th of February Revolution — a dingy, dog-eared building bustling day and night with frenetic 20- and 30-somethings trying to process what's going on in Libya.</p><p>On the second floor, a cottage industry of sorts has developed, producing anti-Moammar Gadhafi posters. The walls are plastered with mainly black and white cartoons of the leader.</p><p>In one, he's a fanged vampire with bombs and machine guns popping out of the top of his head. In another, Gadhafi is depicted as a monkey picking lice off a crony. They all ooze vitriol.</p><p>Akram Muhammed el Biriky, 32, one of a cadre of cartoonists working at the center, says he cranks out four to five drawings a day. This afternoon the caricature he's working on presents the dictator in oversize sunglasses dripping blood from the lower half of his body.</p><p>The artist, sporting a goatee and jean jacket, says he used to draw his sketches at home in secret and then tear them up for fear of being discovered and imprisoned. When things quiet down, Biriky hopes for a career in fashion or interior design — occupations, he says, that were stifled under the old regime.</p><p>Overseeing things at the center and making sure the cartoonists stay on message is Suzanne Hemy, who helped found the place.</p><p>Hovering about in a dark headscarf, Hemy says she tries to make sure that as the artists lampoon Gadhafi, they don't offend any of Libya's tribes.</p><p>Hemy studied law but says she found her true calling during the uprising that began in February: demonstrating against the regime and admonishing the men to join her. She urged her husband and 17-year-old son to take up arms, telling them if they die, they die as martyrs — and if they live, they live as revolutionaries.</p><p><strong>'We Love What We Are Doing Here'</strong></p><p>Up one more flight of stairs at the Media Center is the rehearsal space for Guys Underground. In a cramped room packed with a drum kit and guitars, the band is polishing its latest download, "Revolution."</p><p>"It was illegal to perform a rock concert here in Libya," says Marwan Fathallah Ghargoum, a medical student and Guys Underground's bass player and songwriter. "You had to get a pass, you had to call somebody and somebody call somebody. It was a 'somebody' system, you know? Before the revolution, you had to think like 100 times before you do anything."</p><p>Ghargoum says the group, which has been around since 2007, is finally able to express itself the way it wants. But with family living in dangerous places like Misrata, Zawiya and Tripoli, sometimes he hesitates.</p><p>"I am very happy. I had a feeling — amazing feeling — I swear never had in my life," Ghargoum says. "Also there's things, that sometimes when I'm talking — I feel afraid about the people, my family in Misrata, and some of them in Zawiya or Tripoli. So I feel afraid about them, because they might kidnap my brother, or do bad things [to] him."</p><p>Despite the worries, Ghargoum says he and his friends become energized once they set foot in the Media Center.</p><p>"I finish my work. I start in the morning. I come here," Ghargoum says. "Before we said, 'I'm tired. I have to go home.' But now you go and hang out, you find the painting, the drawing; you find studios; you find the newspaper and all of them doing their work. Even like we stay until 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. and it's OK, because we love what we are doing here."</p><p>Lately the band has been collaborating with local rap artists, but sometimes they go traditional, bringing in an oud player. Ghargoum says Guys Underground's songs aren't explicitly anti-Gadhafi. Rather, he wants his music, like the upcoming release, "Revolution," to honor people who have died in the uprising and to lift the spirits of those still fighting.</p><p>Guys Underground have plans for a big concert, they say — right after Gadhafi is gone from the scene. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1304771551?&gn=Rebel+Art%3A+Libyan+Youth+Find+Outlet+In+Sketches%2C+Song&ev=event2&ch=134713506&h1=Conflict+In+Libya,Africa,Art+%26+Design,Arts+%26+Life,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=136036361&c7=1126&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1126&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110507&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=7&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=134713506&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Sat, 07 May 2011 06:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-07/rebel-art-libyan-youth-find-outlet-sketches-song-86194 Understanding The 'Economics' Of The World's Poor http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-04/understanding-economics-worlds-poor-86092 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//0" alt="" /><p><p>It's a commonly held belief that one of the biggest challenges faced by the world's poorest populations is hunger. But according to Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Abhijit Banerjee, the economics of poverty are often much more nuanced.</p><p>Banerjee is co-author of the book <a href="http://www.pooreconomics.com/">Poor Economics</a><em>, </em>which addresses the pitfalls of current aid programs and advocates for a radical new approach to thinking about poverty<em>.</em></p><p>"Many of our programs are designed as if it doesn't matter what the recipients think of what we, as the munificent donors, are about to bestow on them," Banerjee tells NPR's Steve Inskeep.</p><p>Motivated by the idea that the poor are starving, development policy often focuses on providing food, Banerjee says. But he argues that while nutrition <em>is</em> important, it's not necessarily a poor person's only priority.</p><p>"The evidence is that the poor don't act as if they're starving," he says. "They seem to be willing to trade off a little less food for an opportunity to buy a television."</p><p>And that trade-off means that, contrary to popular belief, the poor aren't necessarily going hungry.</p><p>"We are assuming that they're going hungry, because we think that somehow they're poor, so they must be eating too little," he says.</p><p>Banerjee's studies have shown that for the poor, improving their quality of life is just as important as improving their nutrition.</p><p>"When people get slightly richer, they are looking for pleasure as well as nutrition, even at the lowest levels of income," Banerjee explains. "If you give them some extra money, they don't go and buy more nutrition — they buy more tasty foods, like we would. They want to live a life; they don't want to just invest in their future."</p><p>Banerjee argues that food policy should work <em>with</em> human behavior, not against it. So if there is a real and established deficit of vitamins in the diets of the poor, you could strategically introduce more micronutrients through, for example, micronutrient-rich candy.</p><p>"Make it cheap, make it available in all schools," Banerjee says. "Children love candy, and they'll get lots of nutrients from it."</p><p>When it comes to the billions of dollars that the West spends in aid, Banerjee says we shouldn't worry about it going to waste. Instead, we should focus on increasing its impact and making it go further. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1304580158?&gn=Understanding+The+%27Economics%27+Of+The+World%27s+Poor&ev=event2&ch=1033&h1=Business+Story+of+the+Day,Nonfiction,Author+Interviews,Books,Economy,Arts+%26+Life,Business,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=135928772&c7=1033&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1033&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110505&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=3&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Wed, 04 May 2011 23:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-04/understanding-economics-worlds-poor-86092