Now with the forecast tonight, our new weatherman — Tennessee Williams!

True story: In an attempt to stir up interest in Small Craft Warnings, one of his best late plays, in the l970's Tennessee Williams not only resorted to playing a character on stage, but made appearances around the New York, to attract attention and spread the word.  This didn't always go well.  [From Dotson Rader'sContinue reading “Now with the forecast tonight, our new weatherman — Tennessee Williams!”

Tennessee Williams tells a story about Truman Capote

From Dotson Rader's great, great Tennessee: Cry of the Heart, 1985 Rader writes: Tennessee went on to talk about the one time Truman came to Key West.  "It was two years ago. he had flown to Key West from Mexico, where he was to stay with Mrs. [Lee] Radiwill but left in a hurry becauseContinue reading “Tennessee Williams tells a story about Truman Capote”

Bert Collins: I paint every day

Had the pleasure this weekend of interviewing one of my favorite artists, Bert Collins, and writing about her for the Star. Here's my lead (or "lede," to use the newspaper spelling):  Admirers of pastel artist Alberta "Bert" Collins began lining up outside her Ojai studio at 5:30 on Saturday morning, eager to buy one of theContinue reading “Bert Collins: I paint every day”

Wangari Maathai, rest in peace

The great tree-planter and feminist, Wangari Maathai, Nobel Prize winner, died yesterday. We were fortunate enough to see her speak a few years ago, and I was frankly awed by her ability to find simple, enduring truths in complicated, desperate situations.  Even today, speaking about the unhappiness of development in Kenya, her words resonate withContinue reading “Wangari Maathai, rest in peace”

Tennessee Williams: Sex positive activist

Although considered politically naive by some, Tennessee Williams did know how to make a scene. Especially when it came to love.  If you want the unbuttoned Tennessee Williams, you have to read Dotson Rader's entertaining Cry of the Heart. It's a wonderfully breezy and entertaining book about the mature Tennessee Williams, but even better, it's a sortContinue reading “Tennessee Williams: Sex positive activist”

Journalism today: Don’t wait your turn (Robert Krulwich)

In which Robert Krulwich, of the excellent Radiolab, gives a speech to the newly-minted graduates of UC Berkeley's journalism school, and inspires even old guys like me. Here's the conclusion: So for this age, for your time, I want you to just think about this: Think about NOT waiting your turn. Instead, think about gettingContinue reading “Journalism today: Don’t wait your turn (Robert Krulwich)”

The refrains of nature: Rachel Carson

If we think of Rachel Carson, we probably remember her for alerting us to the massacre of the birds by DDT in Silent Spring,  and overlook her earlier, more poetic works, such as her bestseller The Sea Around Us, which was excerpted in The New Yorker, won the National Book Award, and numerous other prizes.  YetContinue reading “The refrains of nature: Rachel Carson”

Rachel Carson on how to introduce children to nature

At a lecture attended recently by a thousand or so people at UC Santa Barbara, the great E.O. Wilson was asked an open-ended question about introducing children to nature. Wilson took it as a "how to" question. He mentioned that he was "one of two living persons who worked with Rachel Carson," and made aContinue reading “Rachel Carson on how to introduce children to nature”

The lives of the harvesters

Grist features a photographic essay about the immigrant farmworkers who harvest the fruits and vegetables in California, earning little, working hard, feeding the nation.  According to The Migrant Project, California agriculture produces about fifty percent of the nation's food supply, which means that these folks do about half the fieldwork in the country.  The photoContinue reading “The lives of the harvesters”