Two Way Street

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On this edition of “Two Way Street,” we’re discussing the life and music of jazz singer Billie Holiday with actress Terry Burrell , who’s now playing her on stage , and Emory musicologist Dwight Andrews. Burrell is currently playing Holiday in a Theatrical Outfit production of the musical “ Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill .” We talk to Burrell about what it’s like to play “Lady Day” in the late stages of her addiction, just three months before her death. What led Holiday to drugs in the first place? Burrell and Andrews tell us about the role that Holiday’s first husband, Sonny Monroe, might have played in her addiction. But before getting to the darker chapters of Holiday’s life, we begin with her childhood in the 1920s. We hear the story of how Holiday was “discovered.” Plus, we discuss the musical influences that inspired Holiday as a young recording artist. Hear an early recording of her before she adopted the style of singing she became known for. Like so many other African
On this week’s “Two Way Street,” Bill talks with Lamont “ U-God ” Hawkins, one of the founding members of legendary hip hop group, the Wu-Tang Clan. He and RZA, GZA, Method Man, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Inspectah Deck, and Masta Killa put East Coast rap back on the map at a time when California rap was dominating the genre. His new memoir “ Raw: My Journey Into The Wu-Tang ” tells the story of ascent out of poverty into fame. Hawkins tells us about the journey that took him from his early years growing up in a housing project in Staten Island, to selling drugs, to a 3-year sentence in prison, and eventually to becoming a successful recording star. Bill and Hawkins discuss the pressure cooker atmosphere of creating rap lyrics good enough to win a spot on a Wu-Tang album, Hawkins’ perspective on the uneasy relationship between young black men and the police, the incident in which Hawkins’ 2-year-old son was caught in the crossfire of a gun fight and sustained
On this “ Two Way Street ,” we’re talking about what dogs think and feel with a neuroscientist who has spent years studying them— Dr. Gregory Berns . His book, “ What It’s Like to Be a Dog ,” details his years of research on canine cognition. Berns leads The Dog Project at Emory University, which has scanned over 90 dogs’ brains of since its inception in 2012. Hear about The Project’s unlikely origins and the epiphany Berns had while watching news coverage of the Navy SEAL mission that killed bin Laden. We’ll get to the elephant in the room, too—does your dog really love you or is it all about the food? Berns and his team designed an experiment, “Food vs. Praise,” to test just that—and their findings might surprise you. Plus, what do dogs think about their names? Get a glimpse into dogs’ understanding of self and what they might think when they hear their name.
Robots are coming and sooner than you think. That’s according our guest this week on Two Way Street: Georgia Tech robotics expert, Ayanna Howard . Ayanna discusses what the future might look like with robots in the picture. They explore the best and worst case scenarios when it comes to artificial intelligence. Ayanna explains what’s just science fiction and what we really should be concerned about. Like the economy—will robots take our jobs? Probably, she says, but it’s not something we should be afraid of. Ayanna is optimistic about the future of robotics. Most recently, Dr. Howard led an initiative to create a robot designed for children with physical therapy needs. That robot, called Darwin, helps bring therapy to the home setting for children with disabilities. Though not intended to replace a physical therapist, Darwin helps children accomplish their physical therapy needs at home by providing direction and encouragement.
America is at a tense moment in history. We're living at a time of stark disagreement. Some say the president doesn't tell the truth; others say he tells it like it is. This tension came to head in Charlottesville, Virginia, where confrontations between white nationalists and counter-protesters erupted in violence. Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns says these rifts aren't without precedent: the Vietnam War also sparked divisions in American society. In today's "Two Way Street," Burns takes us back to that moment, when the country was torn apart by debates over the war's justness. This is one of the topics he explores in his new series, " The Vietnam War ," which premieres Sunday, September 17, on GPB and other PBS stations. Burns describes his latest work, which he co-produced alongside filmmaker Lynn Novick , as a "huge epic." The 10-part, 18-hour documentary features 79 people, the overwhelming majority of whom are Americans. "The Vietnam War," however, also includes interviews with
With New Year's right around the corner, we're re-airing our conversation with Ambassador Andrew Young in the spirit of self-reinvention. We hope that Young, a man who has been working on himself for his entire life, will inspire you as you write your New Year's resolutions. This conversation was recorded last May in front of a live audience at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library . Young has had a remarkable career as a preacher, Civil Rights leader, a Congressman, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Mayor of Atlanta. But who was he before all of these accomplishments? And how did he grow into the luminary he is today? On this episode of "Two Way Street," Young tells that story: how he went from being a Howard University graduate with a Biology degree to a minister--and of course--one of Martin Luther King's closest advisors.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Garry Wills has spent his career taking a close look at the Roman Catholic Church . But for all that thinking about religion, he had never read the Qur’an until recently. What he learned about Islam is the subject of his new book, “ What the Qur’an Meant: And Why It Matters ,” and this episode of “Two Way Street.”
On this edition of “Two Way Street,” Tom Johnson shares stories about his life and career in journalism. We’re revisiting this conversation — and other favorites — as part of our “Two Way Street” anniversary celebration. To kick off our fifth year, we’re listening again to the shows that we can’t let go: the conversations that challenged us, surprised us and have stuck with us all these years. This show originally aired on January 14, 2017.
Bill Nigut’s guest on this edition of Two Way Street is Georgia-based musician Brandon Bush. He was an original member of Sugarland, one of the hottest acts in country music until they went their separate ways six years ago to the dismay of their millions of fans.
In an age when we all seem to be talking at each other, Virginia Prescott thinks we need to do a better job listening.
Today on “Two Way Street” we’re discussing The New York Times obituary project “ Overlooked ” with its co-creator Jessica Bennett . From Ida B. Wells to Emily Warren Roebling , “Overlooked” features the retroactive obituaries of prominent women whose stories initially failed to make it into the Times obit section. Jessica, the Times’ newly appointed gender editor, joins us to discuss her work on “Overlooked” with the digital editor of the obituary desk Amisha Padnani . And since no conversation about obituary writing is complete here in Georgia without including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s longtime obit editor, we asked Kay Powell to join us, too. Kay served as obituary editor of the AJC from 1996 to 2009. “Overlooked” began after an exhaustive search of the Times’ obituary archives struck Jessica and Amisha with this epiphany: white men had historically dominated the newspaper’s obituaries. The two editors responded by writing obituaries for some of the women who had been
On this edition of "Two Way Street," Georgia musician Adron stops by to talk and play a few songs from her new album "Water Music" before setting sail for the west coast. We also hear from a woman who made a career of saying goodbye: Kay Powell.
We’re revisiting our conversation with astronaut Scott Kelly — and other favorites — as part of Two Way Street’s birthday celebration. To mark our four years on the air, we’re listening back to the shows that have stuck with us the most. And it was an easy decision to include this one — because Kelly is one of only two people who can say they’ve spent a year in space.
This week on “Two Way Street” we look at what’s being called the Great American Eclipse of 2017, with science writer David Baron.
Emory University’s Center for Ethics is spending the next year continuing a conversation that Mary Shelley started nearly two centuries ago. Her debut novel, “ Frankenstein ,” will turn 200 on January 1, 2018. Emory is commemorating that milestone with an initiative it’s calling FACE: Frankenstein Anniversary Celebration and Emory. Emory began its celebration last week when it unveiled a new portrait of Frankenstein’s creation by Ross Rossin . He is a native Bulgarian known for his portraits, four of which hang in The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s Permanent Collection . In 2015, Rossin’s painting of poet Maya Angelou was selected as the image for her U.S. Postal Service Forever Stamp . We had the opportunity to pick the Atlanta-based artist’s brain when Rossin’s painting was revealed in front of a live audience at Emory’s Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts. The show begins with a discussion of how Rossin’s work is a departure from past depictions of Frankenstein’s
On today's episode of “Two Way Street,” we talk to Sugarland artist Kristian Bush . He and his musical partner, Jennifer Nettles , have been on hiatus since 2013 but recently announced that they will be getting back together for a 2018 tour . We talk to him about Sugarland’s long-anticipated reunion, but since this is a holiday show, we start by talking to Kristian about his passion for Christmas music.
This week on "Two Way Street," we're listening back to three of our conversations with some of the bravest, most inventive women to ever step into our studio: writers Molly Brodak and Melissa Febos, and robotics engineer Ayanna Howard. Last fall, Molly Brodak joined us to discuss her memoir, " Bandit: A Daughter's Memoir ." She tells us about the first time she realized her father was a liar. He would go on to rob 11 banks outside of Detroit and become known as the "Super Mario Brothers Bandit" to the FBI and local news media. After his stint in prison, Brodak's father used her and her sister's social security cards to open credit cards. But despite all of the lying and stealing, Brodak tells us why she still loves her father. Then we hear from author Melissa Febos , who spoke to us last April about her memoir, " Abandon Me: Memoirs ." We dive into her past as a heroin addict, who despite her addiction, was a straight-A college student. Plus she tells us about her time as a
Today on "Two Way Street," we talk with new " A Prairie Home Companion " host Chris Thile . Last October, Thile took over the APHC stage from Garrison Keillor , who hosted the show for over four decades. What is his relationship with Keillor like now? Thile tells us what kind of mentor Keillor has been.
Today on “Two Way Street,” Emily Saliers tells us about her first solo album, “ Murmuration Nation .”
What’s your idea of quality time? Author David Giffels has an unusual answer to that. He enlisted his father to help him build his own coffin. That project is the subject of David’s new book, “ Furnishing Eternity: a Father, a Son, a Coffin, and a Measure of Life . David is an Akron-based writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic , and The Wall Street Journal . He is also the author of several books and previously wrote for the MTV series “Beavis and Butt-Head.” The unlikely father-son project began as a way for David to spend time with his aging father. “Just the idea of building something with him was really appealing,” David explains, “especially knowing that he was in his 80s.” His father was retired civil engineer and skilled woodworker. But David says that his “very practical” father had another side too —a creative one that came out through woodworking. “He would build a birdhouse that was a replica of your house,” David remembers, “that might
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth. Bernstein , a legendary composer, educator, and humanitarian, was born in August 25, 1918. To celebrate this milestone, orchestras and theatres around the world are preforming his vast range of work. Here in Atlanta, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Alliance Theatre are teaming up for a production of Candide , one of Bernstein’s most iconic musicals. That show and Bernstein’s life are the topic of this edition of “Two Way Street.” The Alliance’s Susan Booth and the ASO’s Evan Mirageas join us for this music-filled conversation about their big plans for an already big musical. Hear about their search for their Cunegonde , a role that Barbara Cook played in the original Broadway production of Candide . We’ll discuss Cook’s audition for that challenging role and what kind of performer it demands today.
On this edition of “Two Way Street,” Bill talks to author Bruce Feiler , whose life’s work is to reinterpret ancient stories in a way that allows us to think more deeply about who we are today. Last year, he came to our studio to talk about his book, “ The First Love Story: Adam, Eve, and Us ,” which challenges the common narrative of Adam and Eve. “Eve has been victim to the greatest character assassination the world has ever known,” Feiler tells us. He explains why he believes that Adam and Eve is not a story of disgrace. In fact, Feiler argues that Adam and Eve is the first love story with lessons for us today. For “The First Love Story: Adam, Eve, and Us,” Feiler traveled across four continents to explore the story of Adam and Eve and the impact it’s had on history through the ages. He invites us to see their story through the literature of John Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” and the work of Mark Twain, among others. Plus, he gives us a new interpretation
Who is Atticus Finch really—an arch-segregationist or a champion of justice? And how do we go about answering that question when going straight to the source isn’t an option?
Platinum-selling songwriter Jimmy Webb stopped by our studio last October to talk about his first memoir, " The Cake And The Rain ." Artists from Frank Sinatra to Barbara Streisand have recorded Webb's songs. Some of his hits include “Up, Up and Away,” “Wichita Lineman,” “MacArthur Park,” and “By The Time I Get to Phoenix.” Our conversation begins with a discussion of his childhood in rural Elk City, Oklahoma. He explains how his mother’s “iron will and sometimes anger” drove him to the piano. Plus, Webb talks about the time he was out plowing a field when a voice on the radio captivated him. It belonged to Glen Campbell , who became a close collaborator of Webb’s. He reveals the story behind his celebrated classic "By The Time I Get To Phoenix," for which Campbell won two Grammy awards. Webb also talks about his hit "Wichita Lineman," another song that Campbell recorded. Once, at the Songwriters Hall of Fame , Billy Joel described “Wichita Lineman” as being “emblematic of an ordinary
Johnny Mercer grew up in Savannah and went on to write some of the most popular love songs of the 20th century. You may not know his name, but you certainly know his music, which includes "Something’s Gotta Give," "Moon River," and "Autumn Leaves." Between 1929 and 1976, Mercer wrote the lyrics—and in some cases the music too—to some 1,400 songs. We explore the life and music of Johnny Mercer with Georgia State University archivist Kevin Fleming . Georgia State is the repository for Johnny Mercer’s papers as well as a vast collection of other materials related to his life and career.
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Podcast Details

Nov 19th, 2016
Latest Episode
Sep 21st, 2019
Release Period
No. of Episodes
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour

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