Interview with multi-talented Francine Achbar
The Anatomy of an Artist Series with Lynne Bernfield
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1-3-22 To start the New Year, I am airing an interview with Francine Achbar who created an uncommon life for a woman of her generation. Born in Ottawa, Canada, “a tiny claustrophobic Jewish community,” Francine launched herself into the wider world by enrolling in Boston University. Beginning her career as a newspaper reporter, she worked her way up to Executive Producer of News at WBZ-TV, Boston’s CBS station, then went to the Programming Dept. where she created documentaries and specials. At every turn, instinctively knowing when she’d “had enough,” Francine simply quit, and moved on to the next thing. Finally finding herself where she was always meant to be, first, as Director of Development (a job she’d never done before) and then, Executive Director of Boston’s new Jewish Cultural arts organization, the New Center for Arts and Culture, now called JArts Collaborative from which she “retired.” But, of course, Francine could not retire from being productive. She tutored reading to young children in a Sarasota public school and spent 25 years as panelist on the Public Radio quiz show Says You, www.saysyou.net. Which will broadcast its two farewell shows in September in Seattle and San Francisco. Listen to this extraordinary woman describe the details of a full, exciting, challenging life in which she very definitely “met the moment.”continue reading
Interview with Wendy Lyons Sunshine co-author of Raising the Challenging Child
12-30-20 Wendy Lyons Sunshine is an award-winning writer whose creative journey has included visual art and songwriting. After a career as a technical writer, Wendy began reporting for local publications and partnering with experts on books. Her first book collaboration was The Connected Child: Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family, which has become a classic in its field. More recently, she partnered with leaders of the child welfare agency, Chaddock, on Raising the Challenging Child, coming out in January 2020. Listen to this thoughtful, intelligent, self-deprecating woman describe her journey to understanding how her unique abilities allow her to help other people tell their stories. Her website is polishedwriting.comcontinue reading
Interview with Journalist, poet, bookstore owner Georgia Court
12/3/18 Georgia Court’s parents loved the spoken and written word, were concerned about politics and believed in the importance of honesty and integrity. Although Georgia made several different career choice: she was a systems engineer at IBM, Marketing Manager at WCET, owned her own PR firm, taught writing in the English Dept at the University of Cincinnati, is a passionate poet, and created Bookstore1, the through line in her life and her work has been her unwavering concern about truth and integrity. Currently she is shepherding Bookstore1 in Sarasota where she is dedicated to creating a place where the community can get what it needs, and so can she. Listen to her talk about the unique opportunities Bookstore1 offers and come to the culmination of their Bridge to Japan Celebration on December 9th at 11:00 to see author Jay Rubin, who is one of the main translators of Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, talk about translating Japanese into English.continue reading
Part 3 – Interview with actor, author, lecturer, editor, reggae archivist, photographer and, producer Roger Steffens
9/17/18 Part 3 of my interview with Roger Steffins begins with his description of how he discovered Bob Marley and Reggae Music and how this discovery became a lifelong obsession. Today his collection of records, posters and other memorabilia, is the largest in the world. Hear about his frustrating campaign to establish an archive of this collection as the Museum of Reggae Music in Jamaica. Then he describes his years of doing a radio show on MPR, the creation of the Reggae/African Music newsletter which lasted 28 years and had as many as 60,000 subscribers, his relationships with film greats Waldo Salt, Bill Link and John Ritter which led to his career as an actor and narrator of film, audio books and documentaries.continue reading
Part 2 – Interview with actor, author, lecturer, editor, reggae archivist, photographer and, producer Roger Steffens
9/10/18 The radicalization of Roger Steffins. Part 2 of my 3 Part interview with Roger takes him through his service in the army during the Vietnam War. Listen to Roger describe his extraordinary experiences, including; training in Psyops, having had the Tet Offensive happen all around him, and being responsible for tons of food and clothing delivered to displaced refugees. Listen to him talk about the impact his war-time experience had on his beliefs, the life he then chose to lead as a result, and the work it spawned. This segment ends with my asking Roger about his relationship with the legendary Bob Marley.continue reading
Interview with actor, author, lecturer, editor, reggae archivist, photographer and, producer Roger Steffins Part 1
9/3/18 This is the first of a 3 part interview with the indescribable Roger Steffins. It seems impossible that one person would have had the time, energy or talent to care about and/or do all the things that Roger has both cared about and done. Truly Roger demonstrates what we humans are capable of, but which few achieve. In this segment Roger describes his early love of, interest in, passion for all things visual which begins at the age of 5 with stamp collecting, all things written, beginning with newspapers, he wrote his first newspaper at seven both the copy and the editorial cartoon, and the serendipitous way in which he created his one man show “Poetry for people who hate poetry”’ which took him all over the world. This segment ends with my asking Roger if he was drafted during the Viet Nam war.continue reading
Interview with Novelist Elizabeth Sims
8-29-17 Interviewcontinue reading
Elizabeth Sims was born to be a writer, but it took her a long time to embrace it. Beginning with the stories her beloved Dad told her as she sat on his knee, Elizabeth was drawn to and excited by words and stories. Having bought the conventional wisdom that it is “almost impossible for a writer to get published, get any recognition or make a living,” she pursued many other occupations. But while selling books at a Borders Bookstore she realized that she “could write as well as the authors she was selling,” and she was right. She took the risk and wrote her first novel – which was published. Since then she’s published nine books from two crime fiction series. She is member of the Mystery Writers of America, Novelists, Inc. She was a correspondent for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, is a contributing editor at Writer’s Digest magazine and a keynote speaker and workshop presenter at writer’s conferences and retreats around North America. Hoping to help others who have been dissuaded from pursing their dream of being a writer by the conventional wisdom, she wrote You’ve Got a Book in You: A Stress-Free Guide to Writing the Book of Your Dreams, and is a mentor and a coach to new and aspiring writers. Listen to her story and be inspired. .
Interview with Dancer, Journalist, Advocate Carrie Seidman
8-22-17 Passionate, talented and courageous Carrie Seidman is a dancer, a journalist, a cancer survivor, and parent of child with mental health issues. She discovered her passion for dance at three years old while watching her older sisters do what she was “too young “to do. Although assured that she could not begin to study until she was five Carrie managed to bully her teacher into letting her begin at “almost five.” And that tenacity is the hallmark of her life. Soft spoken and basically shy Carrie has a will of iron. She has survived everything life has thrown at her and emerged not only victorious over her own and her son’s challenges, but as an advocate for others who are facing those challenges. A graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism, Carrie has been a journalist for 35 years: a full time staff writer for the New York Times, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Albuquerque Journal and Albuquerque Tribune, she currently writes features, critiques and long form projects for Sarasota Herald-Tribune where she specializes in the arts and mental health. Motivated by the difficult and painful experience of her son’s descent into mental illness, Carrie created a series called, “The S Word: The Stigma of Schizophrenia” for which she received the national Mental Health America Media Award, and became one of only 9 American journalists to be a fellow of the prestigious 2016-2017 Carter Center for Mental Health Journalism. She has won awards from state and national journalism organizations, including the Gold Medal for Public Service from the Florida Society of News Editors in 2015. Carrie turned the project into a book called FACEing Mental Illness: The Art of Acceptance a collection of the stories and artwork produced for her ongoing fellowship project of the same name, which is aimed at changing cultural attitudes about mental illness and eliminating the stigma of a mental health diagnosis. The book will be launched on Friday, September 1st at 6:00 pm at BOOKSTORE1 SARASOTA Listen to this remarkable woman tell the story of her life and come to Bookstore1 to see her, purchase a copy of the book, and support this important mission.continue reading
Interview with Diane Ladd and Candice Russell
Diane Ladd is an actress, film director, producer and author. She has appeared in over 120 roles on television, in miniseries and feature films; including Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974), Wild at Heart (1990), Rambling Rose (1991), Ghosts of Mississippi (1996), Touched by an Angel (1997) (TV), Primary Colors (1998), 28 Days (2000), and American Cowslip (2008). She is the mother of actress Laura Dern, by her ex-husband, actor Bruce Dern. Ladd has won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA and has been nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She has recently published her 2nd book – a series of short stories called A Bad Afternoon for A Piece of Cake. Listen to this extraordinary woman talk about an extraordinary life in which she travelled the countryside with her veterinarian father; convinced her cousin playwright Tennessee Williams to let her do his play (Orpheus Descending), and then convinced the New York reviewers to come out and review it; and experienced the sensation of seeing a “white light” which convinced her that she would be an actress and a writer – which of course she had been.
Author and journalist Candice Russell discovered Haitian Art seemingly by accident, but the minute she saw it, she was captured. And that capturing led her on a journey which would culminate 25 years later in the creation of her beautiful coffee table book – Masterpieces of Haitian Art. Early in life Candice fell in love with books, making the library her second home. She thought her life would be was dedicated to words and, not surprisingly, she worked as a journalist. In her early 30’s, seeing her friend Michele’s ability to create a beautiful environment and saddened by the thought that she had no “visual sense,” Candice prayed to develop an “artistic sensibility.” Remarkably her prayers were answered. Listen to Candice talk about the way she’s pursued what has become her passion – the advocacy of Haitian Art and Artists.