Since 1980, City Arts & Lectures has presented onstage conversations with outstanding figures in literature, politics, criticism, science, and the performing arts, offering the most diverse perspectives about ideas and values. City Arts & Lectures programs can be heard on more than 130 public radio stations across the country and wherever you get your podcasts. The broadcasts are co-produced with KQED 88.5 FM in San Francisco. Visit CITYARTS.NET for more info.
Temple Grandin is an author and speaker on both autism and animal behavior. She is a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University, and consults on both livestock handling equipment design and animal welfare. She is the author of many books on animal science and autistic experience, including the bestsellers Thinking in Pictures and Animals in Translation. Her new book, Navigating Autism: 9 Mindsets For Helping Kids on the Spectrum, presents nine strengths-based mindsets necessary to successfully work with young people on the autism spectrum. Grandin shares her own personal experience, as well as anecdotes from parents and professionals who have sought her advice, providing parents and caretakers of autistic children with new, empowering mindsets they can apply to develop the full potential of every child. On October 18, 2021, Temple Grandin came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater for an onstage conversation with Indre Viskontas, a cognitive neuroscientist at UC San Francisco and co-host of the podcast Inquiring Minds.
From the Archives: E. O. Wilson
This week, we reach into the City Arts & Lectures archives for a conversation with E. O. Wilson. The biologist and author was the world’s leading authority on ants – but he was also often referred to as “the father of biodiversity”. In addition to significant scientific research, Wilson made major contributions to the public’s understanding of larger issues of science, nature, and conservation. He won the Pulitzer Price twice, for his books “The Ants” and “On Human Nature”. His other popular works include “Letters to a Young Scientist” and “The Meaning of Human Existence”.
Wilson was a professor at Harvard University and also taught at Duke University, which houses the E. O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation. E. O. Wilson died on December 26, 2021, at the age of 92.
In this program, recorded on October 10, 2006, he talks with Roy Eisenhardt about his newly published book “The Creation: A Meeting of Science and Religion”. In it, Wilson appeals for the combined efforts of scientific, political, and religious leaders to help prevent species extinction, save biological diversity, and be good stewards of the Earth.
From the Archives: Wayne Thiebaud
Painter Wayne Thiebaud is best known for his carefully studied still lifes of ordinary objects such as hot dogs, sweets, and lipsticks. It’s his cherry-topped cakes, lush with frosting, and brightly hued slices of pie that first come to mind for many of his fans. The pleasures of diners and dessert carts, rendered in thick paint, evoke a bygone era. But what could be misinterpreted as saccharine nostalgia is often cut through by a sort of sadness. The blue shadow around a plate … the downward gaze of a pair of swimmers. Thiebaud’s landscapes, showcasing the steep streets of San Francisco, and the golden hills of California, feature an intensity of light and color, as well as his distinctive brushwork and lush paint. Thiebaud lived in California for most of his long life, settling in Sacramento and teaching at UC Davis.
Wayne Thiebaud died on December 25, 2021 at the age of 101. The artist worked until the end of his life — he was 100 years old in August of 2020 when The New Yorker magazine featured one of his iconic ice cream cones as its cover image. We’re celebrating Thiebaud’s life with a rebroadcast of his 2005 appearance at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco where he spoke to Wendy Lesser, founding editor of the Threepenny Review. He talks about his early career, the artists he most admires, and his approach to teaching.
From the Archives: Archbishop Desmond Tutu
This week, we present an archival City Arts & Lectures program recorded in 2010 with the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter, the Reverend Mpho Tutu, in conversation with Roy Eisenhardt.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu dedicated his life to fighting for basic civil and human rights for all. Born a teacher’s son in South Africa, Tutu followed his father’s path and taught for several years before studying theology. From there, he became the first Black general secretary of the South African Council of Churches, and then the Archbishop of Cape Town. In 1997, Nelson Mandela asked him to chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission after the abolition of apartheid.
Archbishop Tutu presided over the ordination of his daughter Mpho Tutu into the Anglican priesthood in 2004. This program, recorded at Davies Symphony Hall on March 17, 2010, was just after the publication of a book they wrote together, “Made for Goodness, And Why This Makes All the Difference”. Desmond Tutu died on December 26, 2021, at the age of 90.
From the Archives: Joan Didion
This week, we reach into the City Arts & Lectures archives for a conversation with Joan Didion.
One of the most influential writers of our time, Didion both chronicled and shaped American culture with a sharp, witty, and distinctively Californian sensibility. The Sacramento native graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. Her novels include “Play it as it Lays”, “A Book of Common Prayer”, and “The Last Thing He Wanted”. With her husband John Gregory Dunne, she co-wrote screenplays including “True Confessions”, “Up Close and Personal”, and “The Panic in Needle Park”. Didion’s nonfiction, beginning with the 1968 “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”, exemplifies the New Journalism movement – a subjective approach to reporting that employs literary techniques. Didion’s inimitable voice was brought even more to the foreground in her memoirs “The Year of Magical Thinking”, and “Blue Nights”, which describe the loss of her husband and daughter and her anxieties about parenting and aging. Joan Didion died in Manhattan on December 23, 2021, at the age of 87.
Joan Didion appeared on City Arts & Lectures six times between 1996 and 2011. In her last visit, recorded on November 15, 2011, she spoke with novelist Vendela Vida, shortly after the publication of “Blue Nights” at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco. The program was a benefit for the 826 Valencia College Scholarship program.
From the Archives: bell hooks and Walter Mosley in 1995
This week, we celebrate the life and work of trailblazing poet, feminist, and cultural critic, bell hooks. bell hooks changed the course of feminism, demanding that the voices of women of color, queer women, and working-class women be included at a time when feminism was seen as a white middle-class movement. Her more than three dozen books, include collections of poetry and essays, and her groundbreaking 1981 book Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism. bell hooks died at her home in Kentucky on Wednesday, December 15, 2021. She was 69 years old.
In this wide-ranging conversation recorded in San Francisco in 1995, bell hooks spoke to Walter Mosley––novelist best known for his historically based crime and mystery fiction including Devil in a Blue Dress, Black Betty, and White Butterfly––about the power of language, about racism and sexism in America, the importance of discourse and more.
I have loved City Arts since the 1990s, but the show with Jill Soloway et al ... my god. Sarah Palin introduces blatantly racist language in public? And you wonder why people of color are not eager to align with you. I can’t believe that nobody in your group reminded the idiot who made that statement of the violent language we’ve been employing to keep black people marginalized for centuries.
Thiebaud - Lesser 2005 replay
Splendid interview, a wide roaming, good personal insights on painters and painting.
Great in-depth interview!