Chuck Prophet's new album, Temple Beautiful, takes its name from a former synagogue that hosted punk-rock shows in the late '70s and early '80s; it was next door to the temple overseen by cult leader Jim Jones. That may sound like a grim or black-humored reference point around which to erect an album, but with Prophet, grimness, humor, fact and fiction mingle freely. Before anything else, he's a guitar player with a melodically nasal voice whose phrasing favors the whimsical and the querulous.
There was a decline last year in the already "small" number of Muslim-Americans indicted for violent terrorist plots and the rate of radicalization among that group remains "far less than many feared" after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a researcher at North Carolina's Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security reports today.
Alan's guests are song stylist Paula West, who is celebrating her new CD with a concert at Herbst Theatre on Saturday, and baritone Torlef Borsting, who is singing the role of Giorgio in Opera San Jose's production of Verdi's "La Traviata." Peter Robinson also stops by to talk about recent cultural events.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katherine Boo spent more than three years in Mumbai's Annawadi slum to do research for her new book, Behind the Beautiful Forevers. Residents of the slum — which is located next to the Mumbai airport and in the shadow of several luxury hotels — live in devastating poverty.
The two DVDs I want to talk about today are hilarious, but they aren't sitcoms. They're talk shows — well, one's a talk show, and one's a filmed seminar. But they're both fascinating examples of a specific pop-culture moment frozen in time.
And they're something else as well: Both are highly entertaining real-time examples of talk-show Darwinism. Both shows feature a large, unwieldy guest roster, all of the guests competing for attention at the same time — and by the time the programs are over, the winners are apparent.
Credit Russia's Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring
One week after pausing with about 40 feet to go, Russian scientists today announced that they have successfully drilled through two miles of ice to reach Lake Vostok — a body of water the size of New Jersey that hasn't been touched for millions of years.