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?

  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.

Ken-David Masur
Beth Ross Buckley

  When Tanglewood goes on Parade – as it will this coming Tuesday - it takes many conductors to make it all happen.

This morning we meet one of the five conductors who will be performing in the Shed. Ken-David Masur is the Assistant Conductor of the BSO as well as being the Associate Conductor of the San Diego Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor of the Munich Symphony.

Masur studied conducting mainly with his father, the great Kurt Masur, and was a conducting fellow at Tanglewood in July 2012 when he made an auspicious BSO debut sharing conducting duties on an all-Mozart program with his father, who was recovering from an injury. His father passed away in December.

Ken-David Masur is an alum of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute which is celebrating its 50th year and will have an anniversary concert at Tanglewood on August 6th.

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.

  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.

  Comedian, musician, and radio-host, Dave Hill has a new collection of humorous essays out from Blue Rider Press entitled: Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.

The follow-up to 2012’s Tasteful Nudes: ...and Other Misguided Attempts at Personal Growth and Validation, Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Anymore explores his increasingly close relationship with his recently widowed father -- and also shares his stories of baffling excitement and comic horror while visiting a Mexican prison, getting a bottle or urine thrown at him by a homeless person, and working for Donald Trump for a day.

  For forty years John Hadden and his father of the same name fought at the dinner table over politics, art, and various issues concerning America. One was haunted by what he had witnessed during his long CIA career, from Berlin to Tel Aviv; the other retreated to the Vermont woods to direct Shakespeare until finally he confronted his father at the table one last time with a tape recorder.

His book, Conversations with a Masked Man is a series of conversations Hadden had with his father about the older man's thirty-year career as a CIA officer and how American policy affected the family and the world.

John Hadden has worked in the theater for forty years. He was artistic director of the Hubbard Hall Theater Company, a founding member of Shakespeare & Co, associate artist with We Players, and cofounder and artistic director of Counterpoint Theater in Boston. His solo show, Travels with a Masked Man, is composed of excerpts from the book.

  More than a century has passed since Theodore Roosevelt was in the White House, but he still continues to fascinate. Never has a more exuberant man been our nation's leader. He became a war hero, reformed the NYPD, busted the largest railroad and oil trusts, passed the Pure Food and Drug Act, created national parks and forests, won the Nobel Peace Prize, and built the Panama Canal―to name just a few.

Yet it was the cause he championed the hardest―America's entry in to WWI―that would ultimately divide and destroy him. His youngest son, Quentin, his favorite, would die in an air fight. How does looking at Theodore's relationship with his son, and understanding him as a father, tell us something new about this larger-than-life-man?

Eric Burns explores the story and relationship in his book, The Golden Lad: The Haunting Story of Quentin and Theodore Roosevelt.

Listener Essay - Classical Music Is Playing

Nov 10, 2015

  Jan Allen Pfeifer lives and writes in Woodstock, New York. She is a native of Louisville KY.

Classical Music is Playing

Classical music is playing in the bedroom where my father is dying. I sit alone, next to him. In this liminal space, the music is a soothing companion for both of us. It knows its way.

As I listen, I am transported back to grade school and field trips to Louisville Gardens for orchestra concerts. An amazing feat, moving hundreds of school children downtown like a conveyer belt from all parts of the city, the only common denominator being our grade and the yellow school buses that brought us. Each bus arrives and empties their charges onto Walnut Street in clockwork fashion. Our own trip is short, the hard green vinyl seats still cold against our dangling bare legs. Some of the girls hold hands, the warm considerations of best friends.

  As a journalist whose career spans three decades, CNN correspondent Tom Foreman has reported from the heart of war zones, riots, and natural disasters. He has interviewed serial killers and been in the line of fire. But the most terrifying moment of his life didn't occur on the job--it occurred at home, when his 18-year old daughter asked, "How would you feel about running a marathon with me?"

At the time, Foreman was approaching 51 years old, and his last marathon was almost 30 years behind him. The race was just sixteen weeks away, but Foreman reluctantly agreed. Training with his daughter, who had just started college, would be a great bonding experience, albeit a long and painful one.

He joins us to talk about the experience and the book he's written about it, My Year of Running Dangerously: A Dad, a Daughter, and a Ridiculous Plan

  When Allan Johnson asked his dying father where he wanted his ashes to be placed, his father replied--without hesitation--that it made no difference to him at all.

In his memoir, Not from Here, Johnson embarks on a 2,000-mile journey across the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains to find the place where his father's ashes belonged.

More than a personal narrative, Not from Here illuminates the national silence around unresolved questions of accountability, race, and identity politics, and the dilemma of how to take responsibility for a past we did not create.

  Joshua Braff delivers an authentic, funny and honest tale about modern family life.

The mom works, the dad stays at home - and the family figures everything out together.

Jay and Jackie uproot their family of four from San Francisco after Jackie loses her job but finds a lucrative new one in St. Petersburg, Florida. Jay, a one-time copywriter and aspiring author, now plays househusband, caring for his troubled thirteen-year-old son and precocious daughter as they adjust to their new life. 

Listener Essay - Remembering Max

Jun 19, 2015

  Tina Lincer is a writer living in Loudonville, NY.

  When Helen Macdonald's father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer—Helen had been captivated by hawks since childhood—she'd never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk.

  What is it like to grow up with a terrorist in your home? Zak Ebrahim was only seven years old when, on November 5th, 1990, his father El-Sayyid Nosair shot and killed the leader of the Jewish Defense League. While in prison, Nosair helped plan the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. In one of his infamous video messages, Osama bin Laden urged the world to “Remember El-Sayyid Nosair.”

For Zak Ebrahim, a childhood amongst terrorism was all he knew. After his father’s incarceration, his family moved often, and as the perpetual new kid in class, he faced constant teasing and exclusion. Yet, though his radicalized father and uncles modeled fanatical beliefs, to Ebrahim something never felt right. His story is told in The Terrorist's Son: A Story of Choice.

  Perhaps no profession is so constantly discussed, regulated, and maligned by non-practitioners as teaching. The voices of the teachers themselves are conspicuously missing.

Defying this trend, teacher and writer Garret Keizer takes us to school in his book, Getting Schooled: The Reeducation of an American Teacher, an arresting account of his return to the same rural Vermont high school where he taught fourteen years ago.

   Michael Hainey was 6 years old in 1970 when his Uncle came to their home one morning, to tell Michael and his brother that their father was dead. Bob Hainey was just 35. He was the night editor at the Chicago Sun-Times. Bob Hainey had died of a heart attack on a North Side street - as one of the obits put it - while visiting friends.

Over the years, Michael Hainey grew up to be a journalist himself - he's now the deputy editor of GQ - and began to wonder about some of the small differences in the obits between newspapers, and about some of the obliqueness in the accounts of his father's death that he grew up hearing from his uncle and mother.

So, he set out to find the story himself. His new book is After Visiting Friends: A Son's Story.


  Rob Delaney: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. is the title of the stand-up comedian’s tell-all-or-most memoir. In it, he vividly shares stories of his childhood, depression, alcoholism (he’s now more than 11 years sober), and that time he put an egg in a microwave.

Rob Delaney is one of the rare people whose time spent on Twitter has helped his career. Before he was making money as a comedian, he was sending out 140 character or less jokes like “Imagine a shark. Terrified yet? Well you will be when I tell you that THE SHARK IS MADE OF GLUTEN!” and “The hour I lose from daylight savings time will now be multiplied by 6 as I try to change the time on the clock in my car.” and many others not exactly suitable for radio.

His twitter-persona is primarily brash, irreverent, and fearless. His memoir is funny - but also stuffed with thoughtful reflections on too-real experiences. And then - as you can count on from any good comedian - funny again.

    To Anne Serling, the imposing figure the public saw hosting The Twilight Zone each week, intoning cautionary observations about fate, chance, and humanity, was not the father she knew. Her fun-loving dad, Rod Serling, would play on the floor with the dogs, had nicknames for everyone in the family.

After his unexpected death at 50, Anne, just 20, was left stunned. Gradually, she found solace for her grief by talking to his friends, poring over old correspondence, and recording her childhood memories.

Now she shares personal photos, eloquent, revealing letters, and beautifully rendered scenes of his childhood, war years, and their family's time together. Her new book is: As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling.

Listener Essay - The Altar

Jun 14, 2013

    Lori Maki is an aspiring writer, passionate gardener, personal mentor, and an adoring Nana to four amazing grandkids.

She works as a writer and graphic designer for The Sage Colleges in Troy, New York. She lives in Brunswick New York with her husband Tim and their black lab puppy, Pepper.

Listener Essay - A Man of Letters

Apr 17, 2013

  This Listener Essay by Barbara Redfield is entitled "A Man of Letters."

    John Elder Robison joins us to talk about his moving memoir of an unconventional dad’s relationship with his equally offbeat son. His new book is: Raising Cubby: A Father and Son's Adventures with Asperger's, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives.

Joel Stein (Time journalist) speaks with us about his book, Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity.