What's on DNTO: Mar. 27

Reach out and touch someone... it might be more important than you think. This week, we look into why even the simplest touch can carry a lot of weight.

Sook-Yin will explain why even when you feel like you can't resist touching a little boy's awesome-looking brush cut... you probably should. And she'll find your stories of what you touched, but shouldn't have.

A touch from a loved one can mean a lot. But so can a touch from a stranger... and it's not always in a bad way. Sarah Meehan Sirk will tell us how the touch of a stranger she met while travelling unleashed emotions she's still trying to understand.

What's going on biologically when we're touched? We'll find out from Berkley professor Dr. Dacher Keltner.

When you're feeling down, it can lift you up. When you're feeling up, it can take you straight to heaven. Everyone enjoys a good hug. Unlesss you happen to come from a "non-hugging" family.... Dawn Dumont will tell us what happened when she tried to introduce "The Hug" to her family.

Canuck troubadour Rufus Wainwright will sit down at the Steinway to share a song, and tell us about a touch from his mother that communicated more than words could say.

Would you like to touch a stranger? It may sound like a weird come-on lineā€¦ and it's one that New York photographer Richard Renaldi has used a lot over the past couple of years. Since 2007, he's been shooting portraits of complete strangers touching each other... holding hands, putting an arm around a shoulder, or laying back in each other's arms. Richard will tell us what he saw when strangers made contact.

Sometimes, a single touch can accomplish something you never believed was possible. So says DNTO producer - and resident skeptic - Doug Holmes. He'll tell us how a run-in with a poisonous jellyfish lead to a touch that changed his idea of "possible" vs. "impossible."

If a complete stranger came up to you on the street and offered to massage your head with a weird, egg whisk-like object, would you be game? Sook-Yin will find out when she takes her scalp massager to the street... and she'll find out if its touch is really so relaxing for everyone.

If you know a touch can mean a lot, you can use it for fun... and profit. Clare Lawlor will tell us how marketers are using your tactility against you...and how you can take advantage of the subconscious power of touch.

Sometimes a simple touch can transport you to a far away time. For author Alan Bradley, holding an old camera took him back to the day the father he didn't even remember came home from the war. He'll tell us the story.

A touch can be a real surprise. Mary Luz Mejia will tell us what happened when she reached out touched her late father.

What happens when the touch of another human being is too much to handle? Temple Grandin was diagnosed with autism when she was three years old after displaying typical early traits - including an aversion to being touched. But after working with a mentor who realized her talents, she grew to become a highly accomplished adult - and went on to discover a way to overcome her own sensitivity to touch by inventing "the squeeze machine." She'll tell us how - and why - it works.

As positive as hugs and healing touches can be, there is also, of course, a darker side of human contact... one Toronto writer RS Croft knows too well. She'll tell us her story, and how she rediscovered the positive side of physical contact. [Be aware, her story has elements some listeners may find disturbing. Listener discretion is advised.]

And here's this week's playlist:

George Symonette - "Don't Touch Me Tomato"
Lynne Hanson - "Cold Touch"
Rough Trade - "All Touch"
Rufus Wainwright - "Sonnet 20" (live in studio)
Angelique Kidjo - "Touch Wood"
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - "Do You Want To Touch Me"
Cadence Weapon/Sally Shapiro - "He Keeps Me Alive (Cadence Weapon Mix)"
Greg MacPherson - "Big Skies"
Gravity Wave - "Contact"
Patrick Watson - "Great Escape"

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Previous Comments (3)

Pics of the head wisk please !

Nancy Wier, March 27, 2010 9:16 PM

Hey Nancy,

Check out the fabulous egg whisk/head massager here:


Joff Schmidt (DNTO), March 31, 2010 4:33 PM

There are anecdotes of (presumably white) Canadians traveling to developing nations and having touching experiences with people who live there. Why do we assume that these are good and helpful things? In the first anecdote, the teller describes the momentary contact as maternal and nurturing, but when she actually looked at the woman who touched her, it sounds like the other woman was thinking, "Stop showing off your bra strap, you slutty white girl."

Peter Tupper, April 5, 2010 3:34 AM
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