As the adage goes: home is where the heart is. This may seem self-explanatory, but none of our close primate cousins have anything like homes. Whether we live in an igloo or in Buckingham Palace, the fact that Homo sapiens create homes is one of the greatest puzzles of our evolution.

In Home: How Habitat Made Us Human, neuroanthropologist John S. Allen marshals evidence from evolutionary anthropology, neuroscience, the study of emotion, and modern sociology to argue that the home is one of the most important cognitive, technological, and cultural products of our species’ evolution. It is because we have homes—relatively secure against whatever horrors lurk outside—that human civilizations have been able to achieve the periods of explosive cultural and creative progress that are our species’ hallmark.

  Jennifer Weiner is many things: a #1 "New York Times "bestselling author, a Twitter phenomenon, and an unlikely feminist enforcer (The New Yorker). She's also a mom, a daughter, and a sister; a former rower and current cyclist; a best friend and a reality TV junkie. In her first foray into nonfiction, Hungry Heart, she takes the raw stuff of her personal life and spins into a collection of essays on modern womanhood.

Jennifer Weiner will be interviewed live on stage by Elaina Richardson of Yaddo at Congregation Shaara Tfille in Saratoga Springs, NY on Sunday, October 16 at 1:00 p.m. in an event presented by Northshire Bookstore.

Outside Mullingar, a play by John Patrick Shanley - the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Doubt – brings us on a journey to the farmlands of Ireland. It is now playing through October 16th at Capital Rep in Albany.

Outside Mullingar is the story of an unlikely romance between two rural, middle-aged neighbors: Anthony, an introverted farmer and Rosemary, the woman who vows to have him – at all costs.

This morning we meet two of the cast-members - Kenneth Kimmins has a major Broadway/West End resume, with stints in The Music Man and the New York and London companies of Company. On television, Ken spent nine years as series regular Howard Burleigh, on Coach. He was also being a semi-regular on Lois And Clark.

Laurie O’Brien has extensive television and film resume includes work on CSI, CSI: Miami, Detroit 1-8-7, ER, and NYPD Blue

When feminist writer Susan Faludi learned that her 76-year-old father ― long estranged and living in Hungary ― had undergone sex reassignment surgery, she was set on an investigation that would turn personal and urgent.

How was this new parent who identified as “a complete woman now” connected to the silent, explosive, and ultimately violent father she had known, the photographer who’d built his career on the alteration of images?

  The regional premiere of the Donald Margulies play Time Stands Still opens tonight and runs through October 15th at the Curtain Call Theater in Latham, NY.  

After barely surviving a bomb blast in Iraq, photojournalist Sarah Goodwin finds herself caught in a tug of war between her career and the quiet of domestic life.

Returning home into the care of her long-time lover, James, Sarah is caught off-guard by James’ desire for family and by the simple domestic life pursued by Richard, her editor, and his much younger girlfriend, Mandy. Two of the cast-members join us this morning – Amy Lane and Tom Templeton. 

Listener Essay - The Van

Sep 1, 2016
The Van
Diane Kavanaugh-Black

  Summer is on its way out. In this listener essay, Diane Kavanaugh-Black writes about a vital companion on her childhood summer journeys, and a relationship that lasted twenty-five years.


In my family growing up, there was me, Mom and Dad, Vera, Mae and Alex. And The Van.

A turquoise 1964 Dodge A-100 cab-over-engine truck—the 49th off the assembly line, purchased by my parents eleven months before I was born. Mom called it “Bessie” until the van’s age and appearance earned it the nickname “Trusty Rusty.”

  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.

  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.

  In the heart of the Ottoman Empire as World War I rages, Stepan Miskjian’s world becomes undone. He is separated from his family as they are swept up in the government’s mass deportation of Armenians into internment camps. Gradually realizing the unthinkable—that they are all being driven to their deaths—he fights, through starvation and thirst, not to lose hope. He dons disguises, outmaneuvers gendarmes, and, when he least expects it, encounters the miraculous kindness of strangers.

The Hundred-Year Walk alternates between Stepan’s saga and another journey that takes place a century later, after his family discovers his long-lost journals. With his journals guiding her, Dawn Anahid MacKenn grows ever closer to the man she barely knew as a child.

  Many childhood summers, Mark Woods piled into a station wagon with his parents and two sisters and headed to America's national parks. Mark’s most vivid childhood memories are set against a backdrop of mountains, woods, and fireflies in places like Redwood, Yosemite, and Grand Canyon national parks.

On the eve of turning fifty and a little burned-out, Mark decided to reconnect with the great outdoors. He'd spend a year visiting the national parks. He planned to take his mother to a park she'd not yet visited and to re-create his childhood trips with his wife and their iPad-generation daughter.

But then the unthinkable happened: his mother was diagnosed with cancer, given just months to live. Mark had initially intended to write a book about the future of the national parks, but Lassoing the Sun grew into something more: a book about family, the parks, the legacies we inherit and the ones we leave behind.

  In 2000, while moving his household from Vermont to North Carolina, David Payne watched from his rearview mirror as his younger brother, George A., driving behind him in a two-man convoy of rental trucks, lost control of his vehicle, fishtailed, flipped over in the road, and died instantly.

Soon thereafter, David’s life hit a downward spiral. His career came to a standstill, his marriage disintegrated, and his drinking went from a cocktail-hour indulgence to a full-blown addiction. He found himself haunted not only by George A.’s death, but also by his brother’s manic depression, a hereditary illness that overlaid a dark family history whose roots now gripped David.

Barefoot to Avalon is Payne’s earnest and unflinching account of George A. and their boyhood footrace that lasted long into their adulthood, defining their relationship and their lives.

  On August 12th, Matthew and Gunnar of NELSON will take the stage at Daryl's House Club in Pawling, NY to remember their late father who, among other things, had the first number one hit on Billboard with “Poor Little Fool.” Additionally, between 1957 and 1973, the Rock and Roll pioneer, Ricky Nelson, had 53 songs on Billboards Top 100 with hits like “Travelin Man” “Believe What You Say” and “A Teenagers Romance.” Ricky’s flair for rockabilly, natural ability to sing heartfelt ballads, and familial connection to the popular television show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet allowed him to become a pop icon who received a Golden Globe nomination while co-starring with John Wayne in Rio Bravo.

As the youngest of the only rock and roll dynasty in history to have number one hits for each generation, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson bring their triple platinum selling talent to honor their father in "Ricky Nelson Remembered" - a multi-media and live music tribute.

Carolyn Parkhurst has explored different aspects of family and suburban life in her three previous novels, Dogs of Babel, Lost and Found, and The Nobodies Album. Her fourth novel, Harmony, traces how a family copes with a special-needs child.

The Hammonds of Washington, D.C., are rapidly outgrowing the city’s resources for helping their oldest daughter. Tilly may be a genius, but she’s also socially alienated and increasingly hard to control. Unsure even of a diagnosis, the family heads to New Hampshire to try unconventional treatment, an experiment which tests all the Hammonds in unforeseen ways.

Mississippi plantation owner, the cantankerous Big Daddy, is celebrating his 65th birthday. His family has returned for the occasion, including his favorite son, the masculine Brick, and Brick’s wife, the lonely and longing Maggie.

Brick and Maggie’s strained marriage plagues Big Daddy’s mind, and he demands answers to why they haven’t given him a grandchild yet.

However, Big Daddy’s family holds a powerful secret, and an ulterior motive as to why they have returned to the plantation. The families’ troubled relationships and emotional lies become exposed in the timeless American treasure by Tennessee Williams, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Berkshire Theatre Group presents Cat on a Hot Tin Roof as part of their season this summer. The show opened on Saturday after a few previews and runs through July 16th.

We are joined this morning by Rebecca Brooksher and Michael Raymond-James – who play Maggie and Brick on BTG’s Fitzpatrick Stage.

  Colm Tóibín is one of Ireland’s foremost living novelists and journalists. His most recent novel is Nora Webster, which the Los Angeles Times said “may actually be a perfect work of fiction.”

He also wrote the novel, Brooklyn, which was made into a successful film nominated this year for an Oscar for Best Picture. 

Listener Essay - My Rock

Jun 21, 2016

  Jackie Mercurio lives with her husband, five children, and black Lab in New York. She is a freelance writer and editor, who teaches at Concordia College and the Sarah Lawrence College Writing Institute.

My Rock

When I plant flowers near my grandfather's grave, my trowel strikes rock, and I think of the many years I have planted flowers right here in this very spot and have never encountered it. I dig around the stone. I scoop it from the earth. I roll it onto my hand. The rock is smooth and round, slightly smaller than my open palm, and with my index finger I brush away dirt, wondering if it's been buried here all along, the same three decades as my grandfather.

  On November 29, 2007 Joseph Luzzi's life forever changed. His wife, Catherine, eight-and-a-half months pregnant, was killed in a car crash.

Before she died, doctors delivered their daughter, Isabel. His new memoir is In A Dark Wood. It tells the story how he dealt with his grief in part through the writings of Dante.

  Author Kathryn Harrison's new book, True Crimes: A Family Album, is a collection of essays is about her own family. It covers many topics, including being a survivor of incest and coming to terms with one of the worst crimes that happened to her, perpetrated by her own father.

Kathryn Harrison has written 15 books - biographies, novels, essays - but is best known for her 1997 memoir, The Kiss, which is her account of the affair she had with her estranged father when she was 20 years old.

And while the experience affected her in unimaginable ways, she went on to an acclaimed literary career, and she built a full life for herself. She has a loving husband and three kids. Her new collection of essays, True Crimes: A Family Album, explores those other dimensions of her life.

  Best known of award-winning New York Times and Newsweek columns, Anna Quindlen returns with her eighth novel, Miller's Valley. 

The setting is a farming valley in Pennsylvania during the height of the Viet Nam War. Outside influences like the war and a government plan to flood the valley affect the lives of one family - and the community.

  The son of a Baptist pastor and deeply embedded in church life in small town Arkansas, as a young man Garrard Conley was terrified and conflicted about his sexuality.
When Garrard was a nineteen-year-old college student, he was outed to his parents, and was forced to make a life-changing decision: either agree to attend a church-supported conversion therapy program that promised to “cure” him of homosexuality; or risk losing family, friends, and the God he had prayed to every day of his life. Through an institutionalized Twelve-Step Program heavy on Bible study, he was supposed to emerge heterosexual, ex-gay, cleansed of impure urges and stronger in his faith in God for his brush with sin. Instead, even when faced with a harrowing and brutal journey, Garrard found the strength and understanding to break out in search of his true self and forgiveness. 

His book is Boy Erased: A Memoir.

  The Nest is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down.

In her tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.

  Daniel Shapiro, Ph.D., is founder and director of the Harvard International Negotiation Program and a world-renowned expert on conflict resolution. From advising leaders of war-torn countries to working with senior executives and families in crisis, Dan has helped thousands of organizations and individuals solve the problems that divide us. Drawing on these experiences and his practice-based research, he has developed a wealth of practical approaches to amplify influence and leadership—in business, in government, and in life.

His new book is Negotiating the Nonnegotiable: How to Resolve Your Most Emotionally Charged Conflicts.

  Our Falling into Place series spotlights the important work of -and foster collaboration between- not-for-profit organizations in our communities; allowing us all to fall into place.

Falling Into Place is supported by The Seymour Fox Memorial Foundation, Providing a helping hand to turn inspiration into accomplishment. See more possibilities … see more promise… see more progress.

This week we will feature the work of: a pilot program in North Central Troy that seeks to provide at-risk children and their parents with a support system to help in their home life and help with the transition to middle school. The FOCAS (Family Opportunity Collaborative At Sunnyside) program uses a multi-faceted approach to address the family’s academic and non-academic barriers to success, among which are food security, a peer support system and financial literacy.

Sister Betsy Van Deusen has been director of community partnerships for diocesan Catholic Charities since 2013. This year marks her 25th in religious life.

  After four decades as a reporter, Lesley Stahl’s most vivid and transformative experience of her life was not covering the White House, interviewing heads of state, or researching stories at 60 Minutes. It was becoming a grandmother.

She was hit with a jolt of joy so intense and unexpected, she wanted to “investigate” it—as though it were a news flash. And so, using her60 Minutes skills, she explored how grandmothering changes a woman’s life.

Her new book is Becoming Grandma: The Joys and Science of the New Grandparenting.

  Many know Kimberly Williams-Paisley as the bride in the popular Steve Martin remakes of the Father of the Bride movies, the calculating Peggy Kenter on Nashville, or the wife of country music artist, Brad Paisley. But behind the scenes, Kim was dealing with a tragic secret: her mother, Linda, was suffering from a rare form of dementia that slowly crippled her ability to talk, write and eventually recognize people in her own family.
Where the Light Gets In tells the full story of Linda’s illness—called primary progressive aphasia—from her early-onset diagnosis at the age of 62 through the present day.

  In It Didn't Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle, Mark Wolynn, director of the Family Constellation Institute and creator of the Core Language Approach, shows how the traumas of our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents can live in our anxious words, fears, behaviors and unexplained physical symptoms—what scientists are now calling inherited family trauma, or “secondary PTSD.”

Even if the person who suffered the original trauma has died, or the story has been forgotten or silenced, memory and feelings can live on. These emotional legacies are often hidden, encoded in everything from gene expression to everyday language, and they play a far greater role in our emotional and physical health than has ever before been understood.

Mark Wolynn is a leading expert on inherited family trauma. As the director of The Family Constellation Institute in San Francisco, he trains clinicians and treats people struggling with depression, anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive thoughts, self-injury, chronic pain, and illness.

  Beloved children's book author Kate DiCamillo will be in our region next Friday, as she presents her new novel Raymie Nightingale in a Northshire Bookstore event on Friday, April 15, 6 pm at Saratoga City Center.

Kate DiCamillo – a Two-time Newbery Medalist - returns to her roots with the story of an unforgettable summer friendship. Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home.

  After a series of childhood misfortunes her father’s death, her mother’s ill-advised love affair, her disabled sister wrecking the family GTO, self-avowed church-geek Jo Page decided it was her job to figure out how to stay on God’s good side and maybe spare the family any more tragedy.

But she was a girl. And a Lutheran. Though women were ordained in the larger branch of the Lutheran church, when Page’s own pastor handed her a brochure enumerating all the ways in which she, as a female, was to be silent and submissive, she gave up on the church and went off in search of sex and drugs and rock-and-roll like any rejected adolescent Lutheran girl would.

Eventually Page found her way back into the church and ultimately into ordained ministry, spending twenty years in the ecclesiastical trenches, presiding over life’s rituals and preaching compulsory weekly words of hope she wasn’t sure she even believed.

Her new book is Preaching in My Yes Dress.

In The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer, newly single mom Beth has one constant, gnawing worry: that her dreamy eight-year-old daughter, Carmel, who has a tendency to wander off, will one day go missing. And then one day, it happens: On a Saturday morning thick with fog, Beth takes Carmel to a local outdoor festival, they get separated in the crowd, and Carmel is gone.

  Soon after Hillary Whittington and her husband, Jeff, addressed their daughter Ryland’s deafness with cochlear implants, Ryland began to express clearly, in word and behavior, a male identity, in ways typically seen as markers for young transgender children.

In her book, Raising Ryland: Our Story Of Parenting A Transgender Child With No Strings Attached, Hillary shares her family's story.