August 29, 2010: How Malaria Has Ruled Mankind for 500,000 Years - Margot Kidder and Wendy Crewson Talk Clothes, Acting, Aging and Life - My Own Private Twillingate (Doc)
This week our Summer guest host was Helen Mann.
Malaria - It's an ancient disease and one that still kills a million people a year. Its famous victims likely include George Washington -- who survived it -- and Lord Byron and Oliver Cromwell -- who did not. While we're dropping names, how about Bill and Melinda Gates? Their foundation now pretty much sets the agenda in the fight against malaria, which means the rest of the world seems to be paying a lot more attention. We'll find out more from author Sonia Shah. Her new book is The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Mankind for 500,000 Years.
Read more here
Listen to Hour One:
Hour Two: Love, Loss and What I Wore- Ilene Beckerman wrote the book Love, Loss and What I Wore about clothing, memory and emotion. It's a bestseller and it inspired an off-Broadway play that's now FURTHER off Broadway in Toronto. It features five prominent Canadian actors and two of them, Margot Kidder and Wendy Crewson, are with us to talk clothes, acting, aging and life.
Read more here
Listen to Hour Two:
Elsewhere on the Show: We'll also RE-introduce you to Dr. Mohamed Iqbal Ravalia. He's a doctor who's served the community of Twillingate, Newfoundland for more than 25 years. It's not the place you might expect to find an East Indian physician from Zimbabwe but there's a lot about his story that you might not expect. Heather Barrett's documentary "My Own Private Twillingate" first aired last November. It's definitely worth another listen, as is Michael Enright's conversation with Toronto architect Jack Diamond. You likely know some of his iconic buildings -- many in this country, some in places like New York, Prague and Jerusalem. In June, he and Michael discussed the state of modern architecture and just what makes great buildings.
Song: Stir it up
Artist: Monty Alexander
Album: Stir it up
At the moment, malaria is hot. Bill Gates is determined to put an end to it and he's being supported by a constellation of the famous, the powerful and the wealthy. Everyone from Laura Bush to U2 front man Bono has signed on to the idea of ridding the planet of a scourge that infects some 250 to 500 million people a year and kills a million annually. Who could possibly find fault with that?
Well, possibly Sonia Shah. Though to be fair, she doesn't so much object to the goal of ridding the planet of malaria, it's just that she knows that it's not a new idea, it's probably doomed to failure and if the plan does fail, things are just going to get worse.
Sonia Shah is an investigative journalist whose articles, essays and books have impressed critics and readers around the globe. Her latest book, The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Mankind for the past 500,000 Years is a stunning journey through the history, biology, culture and politics of malaria. It is as depressing as it is thorough.
The Fever has just been published and Sonia Shah joined us from a studio at WTMD in Baltimore, Maryland.
Artist: Maza Meze
My Own Private Twillingate
If you need medical attention in Newfoundland and Labrador, you're likely to see a Come From Away. More than five hundred - about 35 percent - of the province's physicians are immigrants. Most come from the developing world and most of them set up shop in outport Newfoundland, where doctors are in short supply.
About half the foreign doctors stay just long enough to earn their Canadian credentials. Then they're going down the road to cities where the jobs have better pay and perks. Over time, many more of their immigrant colleagues join them.
The norm makes Dr. Mohamed Iqbal Ravalia quite remarkable. He has been taking care of the people of Twillingate, Newfoundland for 25 years now.
Twillingate is a small, rocky island joined by a causeway to the northeast coast of Newfoundland. It's not where you'd think an East Indian Muslim from Zimbabwe would choose to build his life.
But then again, being the only brown person in a Newfoundland outport is not what you might think it's like either. Dr. Ravalia is a Come From Away who is from so far away it doesn't matter.
In a repeat broadcast, producer Heather Barrett brought us Dr. Ravalia's story in a documentary called, My Own Private Twillingate.
Song: Allegro con Brio
Artist: Yannick Nèzet-Sèguin
Album: Beethoven Symphony no 3 'Eroïca'/SstraussDeath and Transfiguration
Song: Just the Way You Are
Artist: Brian Brown Trio
Album: Blue Brown
Love, Loss and What I Wore
It was Alfred Lord Tennyson who said, "Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."
Nora Ephron would have added that it's better to have loved and lost AND laughed about it and that's what the audience does in her most recent theatre piece, Love, Loss and What I Wore.
Ms. Ephron and her sister Delia have created a collage of dramatic monologues based on memories evoked by women's clothes and accessories.
Each article of clothing - a Brownie uniform, a wedding dress, a favourite shirt, a bra - leads to memories that are often hilarious and sometimes poignant. The Ephrons describe the production as "The Vagina Monologues without the vaginas."
Love, Loss and What I Wore was inspired by a bestselling book by Ilene Beckerman, which the Ephrons' augmented with stories they collected from their own friends.
The result is a production that opened on Broadway with a star-studded cast and has begun a run in Toronto with a star-studded Canadian cast.
It's a five woman show and two members of the current cast joined Helen in our Toronto studio.
Margot Kidder lives in Montana and has been in the acting business for over forty years. She began her professional acting career in 1969 in Gaily Gaily, a Norman Jewison film. She became a Hollywood star when she played the role of Lois Lane in the Superman movies and more recently starred in the hit TV series Brothers and Sisters.
Wendy Crewson lives in Toronto and has just returned from filming in South Africa for her next role as the activist Mary Botha in a biopic about Winnie Mandela. She's appeared in a number of feature films including Away From Her and What Lies Beneath.
Song: Some of These Days
Artist: Serena Ryder
Album: If Your Memory Serves You Well
The fabled American architect Frank Lloyd Wright called architecture "the mother art." He also said of his vocation that "a doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his client to plant vines."
Of course it's entirely subjective which buildings we would just as soon see covered in ivy.
These days architecture often seems to be about who can build the biggest, flashiest, most mind-blowing structures. What a prospective client of Toronto architect Jack Diamond referred to as "a building that causes a car crash."
Jack Diamond is not interested in causing car crashes. He has often fought the notion of the "big wow" in architecture, the "gotcha" approach that produces buildings that are more about optics than about the people living and working in them.
One of the mottos of his company Diamond & Schmitt is "Quietly achieving noble objectives." Jack Diamond himself has been described as an architect that knows how to build a building from the inside out.
A short list of Diamond buildings includes Toronto's Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, the Jerusalem City Hall and the Jewish Community Centre in New York City.
His most recent project is the New Mariinsky Theatre, a $452 million dollar opera house in St. Petersburg, Russia.
We presented a repeat broadcast of Michael Enright in conversation with Jack Diamond.
Song: Be'er Sheva
Artist: Harel Shachal