The Roundtable

Weekdays, 9 a.m.

Credit Peter Steiner

  WAMC's The Roundtable is an award-winning, nationally recognized eclectic talk program. The show airs from 9am to noon each weekday and features news, interviews, in-depth discussion, music, and much (much) more! Hosted by Joe Donahue and produced by Sarah LaDuke, The Roundtable tackles serious and lighthearted subjects, looking to explore the many facets of the human condition with civility, respect and responsibility.

The show's hallmark is thoughtful interviews with A-list newsmakers, authors, artists, sports figures, actors, and people with interesting stories to tell. Since hitting the airwaves in May of 2001, The Roundtable has interviewed the likes of Arthur Miller, Kurt Vonnegut, Maya Angelou, Madeleine Albright, Jimmy Carter, John McCain, Bob Dole, Bill O'Reilly, Steve Martin, James Taylor, Stephen King, Melissa Etheridge and lots of other really cool people. Plus, Wilco does our theme song. What more can you ask for?

If you have any questions or you'd like to be on the show, email us at roundtable@wamc.org

10:25 - The Writer's Almanac
11:10 - Earth Wise
Book Picks lists are here.
You may also hear Pulse of the Planet and Sound Beat on The Roundtable.

8/31/16 Panel

Aug 31, 2016

The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, Political Consultant Libby Post, and Director of the Journalism Program at the University at Albany Rosemary Armao.

  Gene Wilder, who regularly stole the show in such comedic gems as “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein,” “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and “Stir Crazy,” died Monday at his home in Stamford, Conn. He was 83 years old.

We spoke with Wilder around a decade ago about his memoir Kiss Me Like A Stranger: My Search for Love and Art. Today we share that interview in memoriam for the actor and comic genius. 

  With less than 70 days to go in the election, debate is sure to ramp up this fall.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern, a Democrat from the second district, tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock why he keeps having nightmares.

  Housed in a beautifully restored 1840s Greek-Revival schoolhouse at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York, Spencertown Academy Arts Center is a cultural center serving Columbia County, the Berkshires, and the Capital region. It offers a variety of free and low-cost community arts events, including concerts, readings, theater pieces, art exhibitions, and arts-related workshops and classes.

Spencertown Academy Arts Center’s 11th annual Festival of Books takes place over Labor Day weekend, September 3 through 5.

The festival features a giant used book sale, two days of discussions with and readings by esteemed authors, and a children’s program. Featured authors this year include Christopher Breiseth, Elizabeth Brundage, Michelle Hoover, Courtney Maum, David Pietrusza, Ruth Reichl, Russell Shorto, Will Swift, Mark Wunderlich, and Steve Yarbrough.

Here to tell us more about the festival is Spencertown Academy Arts Center board member and co-chair of the festival, David Highfill.

  James Conrad from The Golden Notebook in Woodstock, NY joins us with this week's Book Picks.

List:
Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
Nine Island by Jane Alison
Christodora by Tim Murphy
The History of the Hudson Valley from the Civil War to Modern Times by Vernon Benjamin
The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life by Anu Partanen
String Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis
Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry

Upcoming events:

Talking Walls: Casting out the Post Contact Stone-Wall Building Myth by Matt Bua - Saturday, September 3, 2016 - 2:00pm

Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep by Michael Schulman - Saturday, September 3, 2016 - 4:00pm

8/30/16 Panel

Aug 30, 2016

   The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, Associate Editor of the Times Union Mike Spain, and Director of the Journalism Program at the University at Albany Rosemary Armao.

  Lisa Scottoline is a New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author of twenty-seven novels. She has 30 million copies of her books in print in the United States, she has been published in thirty-five countries, and her thrillers have been optioned for television and film.

In her latest, Damaged, ten-year-old Patrick O'Brien is a natural target at school. Shy, dyslexic, and small for his age, he tries to hide his first-grade reading level from everyone: from his classmates, from the grandfather who cares for him, and from the teachers who are supposed to help him. But the real trouble begins when Patrick is accused of attacking a school aide. The aide promptly quits and sues the boy, his family, and the school district. Patrick's grandfather turns to the law firm of Rosato & DiNunzio for help and Mary DiNunzio is on the case. Soon Mary becomes Patrick's true champion and his only hope for security and justice.

  From the domestication of the bird nearly ten thousand years ago to its current status as our go-to meat, the history of this seemingly commonplace bird is anything but ordinary.

How did chicken achieve the culinary ubiquity it enjoys today? It’s hard to imagine, but there was a point in history, not terribly long ago, that individual people each consumed less than ten pounds of chicken per year. Today, those numbers are strikingly different: we consumer nearly twenty-five times as much chicken as our great-grandparents did.

Collectively, Americans devour 73.1 million pounds of chicken in a day, close to 8.6 billion birds per year. How did chicken rise from near-invisibility to being in seemingly "every pot," as per Herbert Hoover's famous promise?

Emelyn Rude explores this phenomenon in Tastes Like Chicken.

Ian Pickus and E.J. Dionne
Sarah LaDuke

E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post is a frequent presence on WAMC's airwaves, discussing the news of the week with David Brooks each Friday on All Things Considered. On Friday, he did his NPR segment from WAMC's studios in Albany and stopped by the Roundtable during his visit. His latest book Why The Right Went Wrong is now out in paperback.

  On sabbatical from teaching literature to undergraduates, and wanting to educate a different kind of student, Mikita Brottman starts a book club with a group of convicts from the Jessup Correctional Institution in Maryland.

She assigns them ten dark, challenging classics—including Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Poe’s story “The Black Cat,” and Nabokov’s Lolita—books that don’t flinch from evoking the isolation of the human struggle, the pain of conflict, and the cost of transgression. Although Brottman is already familiar with these works, the convicts open them up in completely new ways. Their discussions may “only” be about literature, but for the prisoners, everything is at stake.

Gradually, the inmates open up about their lives and families, their disastrous choices, their guilt and loss. Brottman's book is The Maximum Security Book Club: Reading Literature in a Men's Prison.

Caleb Carr, bestselling author of The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness, has created a contemporary psychological thriller haunted by the shadowy hands of established power. His new novel is Surrender, New York.

Carr is an American novelist and military historian. He has worked at the Council on Foreign Relations, Foreign Affairs Quarterly, MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, and taught military history, including World Military History, the History of American Intelligence, and Insurgency/Counterinsurgency, at Bard College. We talk with him about his new novel on The Book Show this week and discuss current affairs with him in this interview.

8/29/16 Panel

Aug 29, 2016

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, Political Consultant Libby Post, and Director of the Journalism Program at the University at Albany Rosemary Armao.

  Mary Martin was one of the greatest stars of her day. Growing up in Texas, she was married early to Benjamin Hagman and gave birth to her first child, Larry Hagman. She was divorced even more quickly. Martin left little Larry with her parents and took off for Hollywood. She didn't make a dent in the movie industry and was lured to New York where she found herself auditioning for Cole Porter. Six years later, she became the Toast of Broadway when she starred in South Pacific. After that, she flew as Peter Pan, yodeled in The Sound of Music, took Hello, Dolly! on the road and shared a four-poster with Robert Preston in I Do! I Do!.

Her personal life was just as interesting and it's all covered in David Kaufman's book, Some Enchanted Evenings: The Glittering Life and Times of Mary Martin.

  In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yeuda Hanani continue their conversation about female composers, hearing "Sicilienne" by Maria Theresa von Paradis performed by The Castle String Quartet.

  In Raising Human Beings, internationally renowned child psychologist and New York Times bestselling author of Lost at School and The Explosive Child Ross W. Greene Ph.D. explains how to cultivate a better parent-child relationship while also nurturing empathy, honesty, resilience, and independence.

  Can the Republicans keep control of Congress?

In today’s Congressional Corner, Tim Vercellotti of the Western New England University poll and professor of political science, tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that the Democrats are charging hard.

  In our Ideas Matter segment we take time just about every week to check in with the state humanities councils in our 7-state region.

Today, we will talk about some of the issues that shape misperceptions of Muslims in the United States, and about the “Dialogues Across Divides” series about these issues taking place this fall throughout Western Massachusetts and supported by Mass Humanities.

We are joined today by Mehlaqa Samdani, executive director of Critical Connections, the nonprofit organizing the dialogues in partnership with the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding. The first event will take place on September 15th in Longmeadow, MA, and will address different kinds and causes of violent extremism in the United States; the second event is on September 28th in Amherst, MA, and will tackle Islam and homosexuality.

  Parasites are tiny organisms can only live inside another animal, and they have many evolutionary motives for manipulating their host’s behavior. Far more often than appreciated, these puppeteers orchestrate the interplay between predator and prey.

We humans are hardly immune to the profound influence of parasites. Kathleen McAuliffe's book is This Is Your Brain on Parasites: How Tiny Creatures Manipulate Our Behavior and Shape Society.

8/26/16 Panel

Aug 26, 2016

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are Times Union Associate Editor Mike Spain, TU Columnist Chris Churchill, and author and activist Barbara Smith.

Fresh from a Tony Award-winning revival on Broadway, Dorset Theatre Festival presents playwright Lanie Robertson’s vivid look into the life and times of jazz great Billie Holiday, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill

The time is 1959. The place is a seedy bar in South Philadelphia. The audience is about to witness one of Billie’s last performances, given four months before her death. More than a dozen musical numbers ─ including her signature tunes, “What a Little Moonlight Can Do”, “God Bless the Child”, “Strange Fruit” and others ─ are interlaced with salty, often humorous, reminiscences, revealing a riveting portrait of the lady and her music.

Returning to Dorset Theatre Festival after her power-house performance in last season’s play, Intimate Apparel, actress and singer, Marinda Anderson plays Billie Holiday. Making his debut at the theatre musical director and actor, Kenney Green plays Jimmy, Lady Day’s piano player. 

The Olana Partnership, in collaboration with the New York chapters of the American Institute of Architects and the American Society of Landscape Architects presents Follies, Function & Form: Imagining Olana’s Summer House. The design exhibition unites 21 visionary architects and landscape architects to address one of the great mysteries at Olana: the summer house.

In the 1886 “Plan of Olana,” a detailed blueprint of Frederic Church’s vision for his large-scale designed landscape, the plan’s details are largely accurate, yet it contains a structure labeled “Summer House” for which there is no documentary evidence.

The 21 designers have imagined Olana’s summer house and have each created one concept sketch of this structure and its environs, much in the way Frederic Church sketched to convey design and architectural ideas.

To tell us more – we welcome Mark Prezorski, Landscape Curator of the Olana Partnership. And we also meet architect Joan Krevlin who has been a partner at BKSK Architects since 1992 and Laurie Olin is a practicing landscape architect whose many award-winning projects include Bryant Park in New York, the Getty Center in Los Angeles, and the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.


  Mike Birbiglia is an award winning comedian, writer, actor, and director known for his autobiographical stand-up tours and one-man shows on Broadway. His first feature film, Sleepwalk with Me, was released in 2012.

His second film, Don’t Think Twice, opens this Friday at Spectrum 8 Theatre in Albany, NY and at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck, NY. This story is Birbiglia’s first major work not based on his own life -- in it, an improv group called The Commune has reigned as the big fish in the small pond of their New York improv theater. When not all members of the group start to find success beyond the improv stage -- the group fractures, friendships are strained and feelings are hurt. It’s a funny movie about failure and success -- and how success doesn't always look the way you think it will.

The film is produced by This American Life host and creator Ira Glass, was written and directed by Birbiglia and he stars along with Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Kate Micucci, Chris Gethard, and Tami Sagher.

  Does a bloody sock qualify you for the U.S. Senate?

In today’s Congressional Corner, Tim Vercellotti of the Western New England University poll and professor of political science, tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock about Elizabeth Warren’s possible opponent in 2018.

Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: Florence Foster Jenkins, War Dogs, Pete’s Dragon

Upcoming:

The Addams Family - Mac-Haydn Theatre, Chatham, opens 8/25 Thu at 2 & 8 PM, through Sept. 4

A Night at the Movies, 1916 featuring Charlie Chaplin, an adventure serial, and Dorothy Gish as Gretchen the Greenhorn, live music by Avery Tunningley - Capitol Theater, Rome, 8/25 Thu at 7 PM (10 cents admission)

Nick Offerman & Megan Mullally - Palace Theatre, Albany 8/25 Thu

Troy Night Out (Theme: Troy History & Bicentennial) Music, art, comedy all around Troy - Downtown Troy, 8/26 Fri, 5 to 9 PM

Mary Chapin Carpenter - The Egg, Albany, 8/26 Fri at 8 PM

BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet - Helsinki Hudson, Hudson, 8/26 Fri

Dance Heginbotham . . . performing Waltz Ending (music of Scott Joplin), Diamond (music of Darius Milhaud), Twin (music of music of Aphex Twin), Rockefellers (music of Raymond Scott) - PS/21, Chatham, 8/26-27, Fri-Sat at 8 PM

St. Lawrence String Quartet (music of Haydn, Golijov, John Adams) - Tannery Pond Concerts, New Lebanon, 8/27 Saturday, 8 PM

Rubblebucket - MASS MoCA (Courtyard C or Hunter Center), North Adams, Mass., 8/27 Sat at 8 PM

New movies: Mechanic: Resurrection, Equity, Southside With You, Don’t Think Twice, Don’t Breathe, Hands of Stone

  Award winning stage and screen actress Mary-Louise Parker’s new book - Dear Mr. You – shows the singular arc of her life through letters composed to the men, real and hypothetical, who have informed the person she is today.

Beginning with the grandfather she never knew, the letters range from a missive to the beloved priest from her childhood to remembrances of former lovers.

8/25/16 Panel

Aug 25, 2016

 

The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC's Ray Graf, Associate Editor of the Times Union Mike Spain, and Editor of The Daily Gazette Judy Patrick. 

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