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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Signs of Hope

Bacon Sign
Photo by myself at Union Square, at the Farmer's Market.

This chalkboard sign advertising fresh, local meat drew appreciation from the crowds this afternoon.

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Thanks again to everyone for the kind wishes for my dear cat, Dida. She is humbled to be in the spotlight. Hopefully Dida will get used to her new feeding schedule before her owner keels over.

I've been listening to podcasts at work. It's my small attempt at multitasking and maximizing what few brain cells I have left. Today, an episode of Fresh Air, an NPR favorite, moved me to tears.

The story is set in LA. Steve Lopez, a columnist for the LA Times, met a homeless man named Nathaniel Ayers. Ayers turned out to be a musician. In fact, he also once lived in New York, where he trained at the Julliard School of Music, but dropped out due to mental illness.

I know how many readers of this blog love street musicians. Here was one who was homeless, who could play the violin and picked up the cello and trumpet. And here was Lopez, a writer just trying to do the right thing, who didn't know much about classical music but was learning about it through his new friend.

Lopez published articles in the Times about the homeless man, and his readers donated musical instruments in response. Lopez used the instruments as rewards to try to get his subject off the streets and into rehabilitation.

I don't want to give too much away, but you get the point. Lopez has written a book about the experience, and a movie is in the making. Called 'The Soloist', it stars Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. It's that good a story.

Should you hear the podcast, be prepared. It's moving.

Well, I was moved. I sat there at my desk, sniffling away. All the elements are there - the talented man tortured by inner demons, the ardent writer trying to save the situation, the lessons learned on both sides.

If every one of us were as actively involved in our cities as Steve Lopez, what kind of world would this be? Or if every one of us had a Steve Lopez to watch out for us and help us reach our potential, what then?

The possibilities are beyond our imagination.


For the Fresh Air podcast, click here.

For the articles Lopez wrote in the LA Times, click here .

14 comments:

Ha Ha Sound said...

If you like podcasts, check out Ken Nordine's. It's available via his blog or on iTunes. He's a great Beat poet/spoken word artist. Highly recommended, and very entertaining.

Kitty said...

Thanks for the tip, dear Ha Ha.
I need alls the entertainment I can get! :-)

Olivier said...

cela me fait penser au livre de la jungle et au serpent "aie confiance..." ;o)

it makes me think the book of the jungle and the snake "Have confidence ..." ;o)

Kitty said...

Hi Olivier
I don't know of the book. Hm!

Reluctant Blogger said...

It does sound very moving. I daren't click on the link though as I have a student coming in about half an hour and I don't want to have red puffy eyes!!!

I'm glad that Dida is doing well.

Kitty said...

Thanks RB
I was possibly overly sensitive at the moment. It really depends on one's mood when you're listening to those things.
Do catch it if you can!

Spandrel Studios said...

Hi, Kitty. I heard that Fresh Air interview while out driving - and spent the ride wiping tears from my eyes. Went home and ordered the Steve Lopez book. And I can't wait to see the movie since it features two of my favorite actors. (And my husband loved your photo!)

Mab said...

Hi,will give your link a go Kitty.I think your pics working "must have Bacon"!!!mmmyum

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

I wrote a similar post yesterday about efforts to make a difference and whether they matter. If you were moved by Fresh Air (which is one of my favorite NPR programs, too), check out this site:

http://www.darynkagan.com

Tammy said...

I heard about that movie and I really want to see it.

Knoxville Girl said...

Fresh Air is one of my favorite programs. It's broadcast around lunchtime in Knoxville, so I often get to listen on my lunch break at work.
The sign in you photo explains a lot about my life...

tam said...

I too love Fresh Air. My husband and I are big NPR fans. I'll check out the podcast.

Kitty said...

Hi Spandrel
I'm glad you liked the podcast, too. I think what made it most poignant was how matter of fact Lopez sounded during the interview.
It wasn't as if he was trying to make everyone feel sorry for this guy or think that much of himself. I'll be curious to see how the movie turns out.

Hope you enjoy it, Mab!

Welcome JM
I'll be sure to check out your link and your blog. Thanks!

Hi Tammy
It's cool that you've heard about the movie. I hope it turns out well.

Welcome Knoxville girl
Having a radio play during work is great because everyone is listening to the same thing. A very subtle communal experience.

Hi Tam
Hope you like the show!

me said...

I have many times been hypnotized by bacon. Funny!