Listening Guide: In The Moment Ep. 32


In episode #32 of In The Moment, correspondent Valerie Curtis Newton talks with Cherríe Moraga (4:40) about her mother’s reinforcement of gender roles during Moraga’s lifetime and her mom’s eventual decline into Alzheimer’s. They discuss the ways in which physical memory goes along with generational trauma and how elders pass down the desire for change and the “-isms.” Moraga outlines the ways she uses writing to connects people with family and community, and Newton asks if Moraga has ever had a moment in her life that confirmed for her that she was on the right path. Moraga responds that if she can quiet the mind and “get out of the way” she can allow for something more profound to be communicated.

Chief Correspondent Steve Scher talks with New Yorker columnist Mary Norris (17:10) about the Greek alphabet and her trip to the Aegean. Norris dives into the differences between the English and Greek alphabets—how there are letters in the Greek alphabet that English does not have, and indeed the only modern relationship we have to Greek is the college Fraternity system. Norris describes her continued enthusiasm read the Iliad and Odyssey in Greek, although right now she’s only reading at a fourth grade level.

And host Jini Palmer talks with ChrisTiana ObeySumner (26:20) about the most stand-out moments from Dr. Joy Degruy’s event. ObeySumner shares their favorite moments, recalling DeGruy’s an example of giving a child a crayon and then another child taking that crayon away but never giving it back,an example of reparations. ObeySumner speaks to potential forms for reparations in our world today and asks us to engage with ourselves and examine what each of us are doing to perpetuate inequities, or to stop them. They remind us that it’s important to live and heal, and to make continued progress towards racial and social equity.

Still Curious?

-Cherríe Moraga speaks about her conceptions of identity in this video interview.

-Valerie Curtis Newton is the Founding Artistic Director for The Hansberry Project, a professional theatre lab dedicated to celebrating, supporting, and presenting the work of black theatre artists.

-Mary Norris, aka the Comma Queen, produces a video series hosted with The New Yorker. Check it out!

-Mary Norris also has also written her share of articles with plenty to say about the Greek alphabet!

-You can follow the work of ChrisTiana ObeySumner on their website, here.

Listening Guide: In The Moment Episode 31


In episode #31 of In The Moment, Chief Correspondent Steve Scher talks with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hedrick Smith (3:45) about the incredible groundswell of community movements that took place around the time of the 2018 election. Smith comments on the remarkable strides made in just one year, with states adopting gerrymandering reform to combat election rigging, restoring voting rights for felons, and securing public funding for campaigns. Smith shares the hope he felt from these election results and real moments of democratic change—and the broader movements they inspired.

Then, correspondent Reagan Jackson talks with renowned Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (17:36) about his proudest memory. Thiong’o responds with a story of his mother, who put him through school and instilled in him the value of always doing his best, even though she couldn’t read or write. Thiong’o also discusses the time he spent in exile and the reason he was incarcerated by the Kenyan regime for over a year after the release of his landmark play Ngaahika Ndeenda. Thiong’o and Jackson talk about the current political climate, Thiong’o’s hopes for the future of his own legacy, and the importance of authors writing in their native tongue to preserve the philosophy and culture each language contributes to the world.

And host Jini Palmer shares recordings from the Town Hall community, who provided questions for therapy columnist Lori Gottlieb (25:22) in preparation for her arrival on Town Hall’s stage on April 10, 2019. Jini presents Gottlieb’s insightful responses to each of these intriguing and personal questions.


Still Curious?

-Hedrick Smith appears in numerous video discussions of democracy, including this video exploration of the material in his book Who Stole The American Dream?

In this video interview, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o shares his thoughts on memories and how they make us who we are.

Lori Gottlieb writes the column Dear Therapist for The Atlantic, where she addresses many of the same kinds of questions that the Town Hall community asked.

-Town Hall’s Jonathan Shipley interviewed Lori Gottlieb for our blog. Check out their conversation on the Town Crier!

Listening Guide: In The Moment Ep. 30


In episode #30 of In The Moment, correspondent and Grist editor Matt Craft sat down with journalist Dahr Jamail (2:17) to discuss his experience exploring different parts of the world to witness climate change firsthand. Jamail explains that he believes that one of the major causes of climate disruption comes from people growing disconnected with nature—they just adjust a thermostat and don’t see the impact on the environment around them. Craft and Jamail discuss dealing with the heaviness of the topic, and how Jamail sees climate change scientists looking at their research as soldiers on a battlefield. He nods to the bleakness of our environmental future, and entreats us to act and preserve the land before it’s too late.

Chief Correspondent Steve Scher interviews Siri Hustvedt (12:28) about whether we can trust our own memories to be accurate or if we use memories to construct fictions for ourselves. Hustvedt recalls reading Emily Dickinson at a young age, musing on the idea that her younger self could never have understood what those poems were about. Still, they inspired her to write back then, but what her older self remembers and what the younger self wrote about are different. Hustvedt reconciles the differences between past and present, delving into the ways her writing has evolved and the ways we’re all constantly changing.

And host Jini Palmer highlights a  theatrical radio performance from the Mahogany Project for the 13th annual Urban Poverty Forum (24:16). The Mahogany Project shines a light on the facts and repercussions of the U.S. worldwide military presence, our military aid in eradicating terrorist groups, and delves into the consequences of our massive national military spending. They share details on the disproportionately low pay offered to U.S. troops despite the large federal military budget, and the blowback of this spending on taxpayers in the form of reduced resources for housing, healthcare, food, and education.

Still Curious?

-Dahr Jamail has written many articles for online publications such as Truthout.org, including this video discussion of climate change.

-Siri Hustvedt discusses the striking similarities between physicists and poets in this video interview.

-Town Hall presented the 12th annual Urban Poverty Forum last year. You can listen to a recording of the full event in our podcast archive.

-Want more details about U.S. military spending? The Department of Defense website offers an overview of the 2019 military budget, as well as archived overviews from previous years.

Listening Guide: In The Moment Ep. 29




In episode #29 of In The Moment, correspondent Katy Sewall talks with John Lanchester (3:58) about his book The Wall. They delve into Lanchester’s inspiration for the book—a recurring dream. Lanchester recounts the prescient nature of his dream, which took place before discussions of Brexit and Trump’s border wall. The dream took place in the future of our world impacted by global climate change and a rising sea level, and followed a lone figure standing on a dark, cold wall. Scher and Lanchester explore the notion that walls such, though typically made for security and safety, often create exclusion and othering for those on the opposite side. Lanchester says that those who participate in othering must make constantly make excuses and seek justifications, and must train themselves to see the others as people wholly unlike themselves. In order to change how people see the world, says Lanchester, we need imaginative works of fiction.

Chief Correspondent Steve Scher interviews renowned biologist Frans de Waal (12:20) about our assumptions about animals. They discuss the common perception that animals only have instincts or minimal associative learning. De Waal recalls how in the 1990s his contemporaries laughed off his proposed theories of animal empathy and sympathy—yet he continued his research undaunted, inspired by the close relationships and knowledge he had developed about the primates he worked with. He discusses the process of measuring the physiological effects of emotions in animals, as opposed to feelings which are individual experiences. De Waal also reports that he’s just as happy to work with animals while relying solely on observations.

And host Jini Palmer sits down with Town Hall’s Marketing Manager Jonathan Shipley (21:44) to discuss the Town Crier blog and his interview with translator Michael Straus. Shipley discusses how he learned that the process of translation is not verbatim, but a more complex consideration of finding the “spirit” of the text. Jini and Jonathan delve into the importance of the translator as a part of the finished work, and of the ways which audiences interpret or receive that work.

Still Curious?

-Frans da Waal gave an enlightening TED talk on the moral behavior of animals.

-NPR offers a fascinating recorded interview with John Lanchester about one of his previous books How To Speak Money.

-You can read Jonathan’s interview with Michael Straus on the Town Crier.

In the Moment Bonus Episode (Construction and Reopening)

In this bonus episode of In The Moment  host Jini Palmer talks with Wier Harman while touring the Town Hall construction site. 

On an exclusive tour of the building with Town Hall’s executive director, Wier Harman, they discuss the construction delays. Town Hall will open soon after they get their certificate of occupancy. They are planning on having events in the new space by June.

In the meantime, Town Hall will present compelling events taking place in venues throughout the city this spring. Coming events include Amber Tamblyn, the Okee Dokee Brothers, Frances de Waal, and more. Wier gives Jini his picks for ‘not to be missed’ events.

Wier also chats about Town Hall’s Take the Stage campaign, where you can purchase a plank with your name on it that will be a permanent part of Town Hall’s Great Hall stage.

Finally, Wier shares with Jini about what will transpire in September: Town Hall’s Grand Re-opening Festival.

Learn about this exciting moment in Town Hall’s history as they excitedly look forward to the coming year! 

Listening Guide: In The Moment Bonus Episode (Global Rhythms)



In this bonus episode of In The Moment, get an inside look at the past and present of our Global Rhythms series! Host Jini Palmer talks with Spider Kedelsky, the founder of the Global Rhythms series. He recalls how the music series came to be and shares his experience working with different groups and musicians over the years. In the 1990’s Spider explored different cultural groups and communities throughout Seattle to bring a diversity of music and traditions to Town Hall’s stages, before broadening the reach of the series to include sounds and traditional arts from around the globe. Then Jini sits down with Jon Kertzer, current curator of our Global Rhythms series, to find out how he got involved with Global Rhythms and learn about his experience in radio and his interest in world music.

He explores this season’s Breaking Borders theme, highlighting the ways which the music of numerous immigrant cultures form the foundation of American music—making it all the more crucial that we celebrate them. Kertzer discusses Mamak Khadem (22:34), who performed the season’s inaugural concert in December, and highlights her established roots in the Iranian community. Kertzer discusses the Pedrito Martinez Group (23:27), a fun high-energy Cuban percussion band featuring members from several parts of Latin America. Next he discusses Lorraine Klaasen (25:03), a South-African jazz singer based in Montreal whose Town Hall show will be her first performance in Seattle. The back-to-back performances of Mokoomba and Chimurenga Renaissance (27:18) break the mold a bit according to Kertzer, since Mokoomba is coming from South Africa and Chimurenga are first generation Americans. These two groups have always wanted to play together, and this will be the first time they’re sharing the stage. To wrap up the series Kertzer discusses Kinan Azmeh (30:30), an amazing Syrian musician classically trained at Juilliard whose techniques merge Western classical music with Middle Eastern Folk traditions.

Learn about the history of our Global Rhythms series—and about the unforgettable lineup that’s approaching this season!

Listening Guide: In The Moment Bonus Episode (Town Music)


In this music-oriented bonus episode of In The Moment, host Jini Palmer sits down with with Joshua Roman, curator of our Town Music series, for a conversation on all things chamber music. They explore the theatrical aspects of live performance, and Joshua gives us a window into the mind of a curator, offering us snapshots of his process for choosing musicians and arranging lineups each season.

After that, Jini and Joshua discuss stand-out elements of each of the concerts in our 2018-19 Town Music season. For the first performance, Sideshow by Talea Ensemble (15:50), Roman highlights the theatrical spin that the piece brings to chamber music—utilizing props, facial expressions and tightly controlled body movements to evoke the dark surreal nature of 20th-century Coney Island freak shows. Then he takes a look at Third Coast Percussion (18:20), the Grammy-winning Chicago quartet who will be presenting an avant garde percussion quartet commissioned by Philip Glass—his first-ever for percussion! Jini and Joshua also touch on Piano Ki Avaaz (22:00), the piano trio commissioned by rising star composer Reena Esmail. The piece is her first-ever piano trio composition, and it utilizes her signature techniques of incorporating Indian classical music into western classical style. And finally, Jini and Joshua explore Bach to Bates (25:12)—a concert juxtaposing classical works by Bach alongside cutting-edge commissions from Grammy-nominated composer Mason Bates, who employs a unique integration of electronic sounds and styles into his symphonic compositions.

Get inside the mind of a curator in this special episode, and learn about all the ways you can experience the cutting edge of chamber music and enjoy classical repertoire in new ways.

Listening Guide: In the Moment Episode 28

In this 2018 recap episode, host Jini Palmer speaks with Megan Castillo, Town Hall’s Community Engagement Manager, about our community’s responses on social media about favorite Town Hall moments (2:15) and then Jini and Steve highlight a selection of interviews which didn’t make it into previous episodes. Speakers include: Blair Imani with Monica Guzman (31:25); Arnie Duncan with Steve Scher (33:28); Denise Hearn with Alex Gallo-Brown (37:58); Rob Reich with Steve Scher (40:10); Randy Shaw with Tammy Morales (44:44); David Reich with Steve Scher (47:19); David Hu with Grace Hamilton (51:41); and Michael Hebb with Lesley Hazleton (53:27). Get an insider’s look and stay in the know about what’s going on in this moment at Town Hall.

Listening Guide: In the Moment Episode 26


In episode #26, correspondent Alex Gallo-Brown speaks with Denise Hearn (1:55) about her book The Myth of Capitalism. They explore the notion that our apparently open capitalist society is being undermined by a few goliath corporations who are stifling the competitive market. They discuss workers’ rights, de-unionization, racial inequity, non-compete clauses, mandatory arbitration (which prevents workers from filing class action lawsuits), consumer activism (how we vote with our dollars), and much more.

Chief Correspondent Steve Scher interviews Alex Rosenblat (14:23) about her research on Uber—and the ways consumers and workers are at risk of manipulation by the company’s algorithms. Rosenblat contests Uber’s claim to be a middleman, revealing how the company has quietly separated what passengers pay and what drivers pay in order to charge passengers more without giving drivers their fair share. She outlines the difficulties employees face when unionizing or pursuing legal action, and the precarious situation of having an algorithm for a boss.

Steve also shares a short interview with political scientist Rob Reich (26:57). They discuss the problematic effects of philanthropy on democratic society, and Reich advocates for a shift in the public perception from one of gratitude to criticism. Reich asserts that the very-wealthy are leveraging private resources to influence public policy, which in turn is undermining the idea of democracy.

The feature this episode highlights our program on November 7 with L.A. Kauffman (29:25). She makes the case that grassroots organizing—not the democratic party—was the hero of our last midterm election. Kauffman shares the startling revelation that more people have protested since Trump took office than ever in history, and encourages us all to continue to stand strongly for the values that we hold dear.

Still Curious?

-Writer and former labor organizer Alex Gallo-Brown interviewed Annelise Orleck about the worldwide laborers’ movement of the 21st century. You can explore Alex’s work here, and listen to their conversation here.

-Denise Hearn curates her own blog—take a read!

-The Seattle Times posted an article earlier this month which puts a local spin on the ongoing conversation about Uber’s practices surrounding transparency of information and fair treatment of workers.

-Columnist Anand Giridharadas spoke on Town Hall’s stage in September earlier this year about the problematic aspects of philanthropy in America. The discussion resonates with Rob Reich’s own ideas—check out our recording of Anand’s event.

Listening Guide: In The Moment Episode 25

In episode #25 of In The Moment, correspondent Mónica Guzmán talks with author and nonprofit founder Blair Imani (1:46) about Blair’s experience during a rally-turned-protest. Blair describes how the event led to her getting sent to prison, which in turn helped propel her visibility as a queer, black, Muslim activist.

Chief Correspondent Steve Scher sat down with Peter Sagal (13:50), host of NPR’s “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!”. They delve into a personal biography about how running has shaped Peter’s thinking and his life—and how it continues to help him get through tough times. Peter shares the story of crossing the finish line at the 2013 Boston marathon moments before the fateful bombing. Steve and Peter also discuss the factors that motivated Peter to write his book—from a hard year of divorce and not speaking with his children to the 14 marathons he’s run and the feelings that those experiences have made him want to share.

Jini Palmer meets with Ijeoma Oluo (24:17) to talk about her takeaway from Jill Soloway’s appearance on Town Hall’s stage on October 23. Ijeoma tells Jini about how she finds feminist arguing to be more of an exhausting practice than a sport, and how important it is to get facts right if you have the stage. Ijeoma also addresses a misquote from Nicole Georges about Lindy West (who Ijeoma was sitting next to during the event) reminding us that it’s important to stay fired up and encouraging us to give these issues their due of knowledge and consideration.


Still Curious?

-Find out more about Blair Imani and her work by visiting her website.

Mónica Guzmán spoke with author China Miéville at Town Hall Seattle on May 25, 2017.

-Earlier this year, NPR compiled a few facts about Peter Sagal’s strange, interesting life.

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