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Long before she was the acclaimed author of "You Just Don't Understand," a groundbreaking book about women and men, Deborah Tannen was a girl who adored her father. Though he was often absent during her childhood, she was profoundly influenced by his gift for writing and storytelling. As she grew up and he grew older, she spent countless hours recording conversations with her father for the account of his life she had promised him she’d write.

But when he hands Tannen journals he kept in his youth, and she discovers letters he saved from a woman he might have married instead of her mother, she is forced to rethink her assumptions about her father’s life and her parents’ marriage.

"Finding My Father" is a memoir of Eli Tannen’s life and the ways in which it reflects the near century that he lived.

In a world in which the word masculinity now often goes hand in hand with toxic, comedian, actor, and father Michael Ian Black offers up a way forward for boys, men, and anyone who loves them. Part memoir, part advice book, and written as a heartfelt letter to his college-bound son, "A Better Man" reveals Black’s own complicated relationship with his father, explores the damage and rising violence caused by the expectations placed on boys to “man up,” and searches for the best way to help young men be part of the solution, not the problem.

Parents live in a culture obsessed with their children and their own outcomes, so they are highly susceptible to anxiety and perfectionism. Washington Post parenting columnist Meghan Leahy joins us to assuage our worries and overwhelm with her book, "Parenting Outside the Lines."

Leahy provides insights on how we can trust our gut, pick our battles, and how to assess what works best for our individual children. Leahy uses the lessons from the parenting trenches, common sense, and her nearly twenty years of experience helping families to create thoughtful questions that can help every parent find their own intuition. 

Meghan Leahy is the On Parenting columnist for The Washington Post, and a certified parenting coach. 

In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani conclude their series of conversations about prodigies.

Music - "The Michael Rabin Legacy: Unissued Recordings" - Felix Mendelssohn - Auf Flügeln des Gesanges Op.34 No.2

This is the final Classical Music According to Yehuda segment. We thank Yehuda for his time and expertise. Information about Close Encounters with Music can be found here.

"Wholly Unraveled" is Keele Burgin’s memoir of self-discovery and finding her voice.

Burgin was raised in a Catholic cult, under the unforgiving eye of her abusive father. She watched her mother disappear before her eyes. Once on her own in the world, Burgin found herself in a damaging spiral of self-destruction. Then, she spent a year in almost complete silence at a remote community in rural Canada. She is now a successful entrepreneur, activist, author, and filmmaker.

DENIZEN Theatre is an arts organization producing intimate live professional black box theatre at Water Street Market in New Paltz, New York. Denizen’s flexible 50 to 70 seat theatre allows audiences to experience compelling actor-driven live theatre with a season of plays that focuses on new works, emerging playwrights, and powerful themes.

“The Arsonists” by Jacqueline Goldfinger, is a lyrical Gothic tale inspired by Electra in which a father and daughter - poets, musicians, and storytellers - on the run from the law, must learn to let go. They play is a provocative journey from grief to redemption that delves into the primordial bond between parent and child.

“The Arsonists” will have a preview performance on January 31, open on February 1 and run through February 24. The founding artistic team of DENIZEN Theatre joins us: Founder/ Producing Artistic Director Harry Lipstein, and Co-Artistic Director’s Brittany Proia and Ben Williamson. Williamson is directing "The Arsonists."

Andre Dubus III’s first novel in a decade, “Gone So Long,” is a story filled with thrilling tension and heartrending empathy.

It tells about a father, estranged for the worst of reasons, driven to seek out the daughter he has not seen in decades - exploring how the wounds of the past afflict the people we become.

In kindergarten, Jarrett Krosoczka's teacher asks him to draw his family, with a mommy and a daddy. But Jarrett's family is much more complicated than that. His mom is an addict, in and out of rehab, and in and out of Jarrett's life. His father is a mystery, Jarrett doesn't know where to find him, or even what his name is. Jarrett lives with his grandparents, two very loud, very loving, very opinionated people who had thought they were through with raising children until Jarrett came along.

In Gary Shteyngart’s new novel, “Lake Success,” he tells the story of a hedge fund manager who throws in the towel and flees on a Greyhound bus for a simpler life with his childhood sweetheart. On the road, he looks to flee his problems and search for many things, including himself.


"Fun Home" is a groundbreaking five-time Tony Award winning musical based on Vermont author and illustrator Alison Bechdel’s acclaimed graphic memoir. The show features a book by Lisa Kron and music by Jeanine Tesori. As the show unfolds, you meet Bechdel at three different life stages as she grows and grapples with her uniquely dysfunctional family, her sexuality, and her father’s secrets.

"Fun Home" runs on Weston Playhouse's Second Stage at Walker Farm through July 28.

Director Malcolm Ewen and Caitlin Kinnunen (Medium Alison) join us.

The Woodstock Film Festival in collaboration with Upstate Films: Woodstock will present a special screening of “Leave No Trace” on June 23 at 8:15 p.m. at Upstate Films Woodstock with director Debra Granik present for a Q&A following the film.

In the film, Ben Foster plays a veteran named Will who lives off the grid on public land near Portland, Oregon with his teenage daughter Tom, played by Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie. They live a minimalist survivalist existence separate from society apart from occasional trips into town. When their camp is discovered they are absorbed into social services. Well-meaning people attempt to integrate them into society, but Will can’t adjust and he and Tom run away from the housing and job where they have been placed.

The film is adapted by Granik and Anne Rosellini and based on the novel “My Abandonment” by Peter Rock which was inspired by a true story. Debra Granik directed and co-wrote “Winter’s Bone,” which was nominated for four Academy Awards. Her other films include “Down to the Bone” and the documentary, “Stray Dog.”

The youngest of thirteen children in a devout Catholic family, Tina Alexis Allen grew up in 1980s suburban Maryland in a house ruled by her stern father, Sir John, an imposing, British-born authoritarian who had been knighted by the Pope. Sir John supported his large family running a successful travel agency that specialized in religious tours to the Holy Land and the Vatican for pious Catholics.

But his daughter, Tina, was no sweet and innocent Catholic girl. A smart-mouthed high school basketball prodigy, she harbored a painful secret: she liked girls. When Tina was eighteen her father discovered the truth about her sexuality. Instead of dragging her to the family priest and lecturing her with tearful sermons about sin and damnation, her father shocked her with his honest response. He, too, was gay.

The secret they shared about their sexuality brought father and daughter closer, and the two became trusted confidants and partners in a relationship that eventually spiraled out of control.

Tina Alexis Allen’s new book is "Hiding Out: A Memoir of Drugs, Deception, and Double Lives."

Larry Ruhl’s new book, “Breaking the Ruhls,” is a profoundly personal account of the impact of complex trauma on a man’s life. Larry’s father sought comfort from his only son, blurring critical boundaries that would prove deeply debilitating. Larry’s mother, with her spiraling, ever-changing mental illness kept the family in a constant state of anxiety.

Celebrated and bestselling author of "The Imperfectionists," Tom Rachman has set his sights on a new subject - artists, in his new novel, "The Italian Teacher," about the son of a great painter striving to create his own legacy.

Pinch Bavinsky, son of the world-famous painter Bear Bavinksy, is an aspiring artist living in the shadow of his famous father, struggling to build a legacy of his own. Rachman explores the tension between the creative life and family life through Pinch’s most important relationships.

In fewer than three hundred words, Khizr Khan electrified viewers around the world when he took the stage at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. And when he offered to lend Donald Trump his own much-read and dog-eared pocket Constitution, his gesture perfectly encapsulated the feelings of millions.

Khizr Khan's new book is "An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice."

“Manhattan Beach” is the latest from Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Jennifer Egan. It is a haunting and propulsive WWII-era novel that tells the intertwined stories of Anna Kerrigan, a Brooklyn Navy Yard diver, her father Eddie Kerrigan, a longshoreman turned small-time gangster, and Eddie’s connected boss, Dexter Styles.

Jeffrey Lent was born in Vermont and grew up there and in western New York State. He studied literature and psychology at Franconia College in New Hampshire and SUNY Purchase. His first novel, In the Fall, was a national bestseller. His other novels are Lost NationA Peculiar GraceAfter You've Gone, and A Slant of Light, which was a finalist for the New England Book Award and a Washington Post Best Book of 2015.

In his new novel, Before We Sleep, Katey Snow, seventeen, slips the pickup into neutral and rolls silently out of the driveway of her Vermont home, her parents, Oliver and Ruth, still asleep. She isn't so much running away as on a journey of discovery. She carries with her a packet of letters addressed to her mother from an old army buddy of her father's. She has only recently been told that Oliver, who she adores more than anyone, isn't her biological father. She hopes the letter's sender will have answers to her many questions.

Colm Tóibín is the author of seven novels, his latest is House of Names. The book is his reimagining of one of the most famous Greek tragedies – the stories of Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, Iphigeneia, Electra, and Orestes.

Listener Essay - The Deputation

Jun 16, 2017

Gayu Seenumani immigrated to the US from Chennai India – where her parents still live. She is an engineer working at GE Global Research. She lives in Niskayuna with her husband.

The Deputation

To love is to devote. My experience says so.

My adolescence was marked with my mother being sent away. Or that was how I felt. In fact, she was chosen to work for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for a stint, aka., government deputation. She would visit us once a year. These visits were marked by the anticipation that it would be the last. In those years, my father would pick her from the airport and after 20 days, a taxi arrived for her return trip. We would cry profusely saying our good-byes, went into our home and continued crying. Our father returned from the airport, took us for a walk where he would tell us that the year would fly by. That night, he hugged us with the promise that my mother would be back very soon for good. We three slept. This repeated.

Ellen Hopkins is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of eleven young adult novels, as well as the adult novels TrianglesCollateral, and Love Lies Beneath.

Her latest is The You I've Never Known.

What would you do if your 80-year-old father dragged you into his search for new romance after 50 years of marriage? David, a resolute bachelor learns more about love than he bargained for and as his father's wingman and screener, sees some things he'd like to forget. It is the subject of the play Assisted Loving: True Tales of Double Dating With My Dad, now at The Rep through February 19th.

Based on Bob Morris’s award winning memoir, it is a heartfelt and hilarious true tale of a year of dating dangerously. Here to tell us more – we welcome Director Gordon Greenberg and author Bob Morris.

When Stéphane Gerson’s eight year old son, Owen, died in a rafting accident, he found himself in uncharted territory. In the weeks that followed, he started to write about life without his son. Eventually, those writings took shape as the new book, Disaster Falls: A Family Story. 

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.

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