Julia Sweeney
Wikimedia Commons
April 22, 2013

Julia Sweeney

As a parent, how do you talk to your kids about the birds and the bees? That very conversation inspired Julia Sweeney’s new book “If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother.” She joins us live today on Focus!


Roger Ebert
April 18, 2013

Remembering Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert’s 15th Annual Film Festival opened last night in Champaign at the historic Virginia Theatre for the first time without Roger. This hour on Focus, we’re remembering him and his mark on film and culture.


Brian Stauffer
April 11, 2013

Bond….James Bond

What is it about James Bond? Why did the character spark such a following and why does the character endure? This hour on Focus, we talked about Bond, his cars and his legacy.


December 13, 2012

Cameras and Photography

With Brian K. Johnson, Professor of Journalism, College of Media, University of Illinois

We’ll be taking your questions on cameras and photography as we welcome back to the show Brian Johnson, professor of journalism at the University of Illinois. From time to time he stops by and we talk about the changing technology of picture taking.  We can take questions on equipment and also technique. Whether you are a pro or a serious hobbyist, you shoot film or digital, your call will be welcome.


November 19, 2012

City of Scoundrels: The 12 Days of Disaster That Gave Birth to Modern Chicago

A blimp in flames crashes through the roof of a busy downtown bank; a racial incident at a hot, crowded beach spirals into one of the worst urban riots in American history; a transit strike paralyzes the city; the body of a missing young girl is found, the victim of a gruesome murder. The Great Fire of 1871 holds a notorious place in Chicago history – but these incidents over 12 balmy days in 1919 shaped the city in profound ways and paved the way for the birth of the modern American city.


November 16, 2012

I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution

Did video kill the radio star? If so, it was with a lot of help from MTV. It's hard to remember that the initials MTV, now better known for reality programming, actually stand for "Music Television." In its first decade, MTV lived up to its name - it played music videos all day, the way a radio station played records. Though music videos had been played on television since the 1960s, MTV was the first outlet specifically programmed around music videos. We'll talk with Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum, authors of "I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution" about the tumultuous first decade of MTV and the videos that made the 1980s and early 1990s memorable.


November 09, 2012

The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience

In the 1930s and 1940s, the Library of Congress commissioned audio recordings of amateur singers and songwriters throughout the United States. These have come to be called "field recordings," and the recordists travelled the country in search of them. Musician, recording artist, and writer Stephen Wade tells the story of thirteen of these recordings made across the United States between 1934 and 1942 in locations reaching from Southern Appalachia to the Mississippi Delta and the Great Plains. Working 18 years on this project, Wade travelled the country, seeking out the original artists, their families or friends present at the recordings and interviewed more than 200 people for the book. Most of the original artists were amateur singers or musicians who were being recorded for the first and only time; many of their famililes were not even aware that the recordings were made. And yet many of the songs have enjoyed long afterlives, influencing musicians and featuring in films. 

Stephen Wade is a musician and writer whose latest album is Banjo Diary: Lessons from Tradition, out on Smithsonian Folkways Records.


November 08, 2012

Interview With Historian and Geographer David Harvey

Historian and Geographer David Harvey is a leading theorist in the field of urban studies, whom Library Journal called “one of the most influential geographers of the later twentieth century.”

He is a Distinguished Professor of The Graduate Center, CUNY, and Director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, and the author of a number of books. His most recent work is Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution.

David Harvey will give the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities “Revolution” Theme Lecture on November 8, 2012, 7:30 p.m. at Foellinger Auditorium.


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