These interviews, hosted by Cal Winslow on KZYX, Mendocino Community Radio, are in-depth conversations with writers, teachers, artists and activists, many associated with the Bay Area gathering Retort*. Our topics concern issues of ecology, society and social justice, here on the Mendocino Coast, in the Bay Area, California and beyond.
They begin with the theme Ecology and Community and follow up on the 2012 Mendocino Institute Conference, held at Caspar Community Center, The Mendocino Coast: An Eco Communitarian Conference. Speakers include Raj Patel on food sovereignty, Will Russell on forest restoration, Bill Lemos and Karina Nielsen on marine life protection, Michael Watts on the politics of oil and Iain Boal on the climate.
They are followed by a three part series, Talking about California, wide-ranging discussions with Californians about life, work, art and politics here. The first, recorded in Spring 2012, includes Frank Bardacke on farmworkers and their union, Rebecca Solnit on writing about San Francisco, Gray Brechin on California’s New Deal architecture, and Julie Guthman on food politics.
The second, from autumn 2012, includes Jeffrey St. Clair remembering Alexander Cockburn, Summer Brenner on Richmond Tales, John Gillis on living on the coast and Will Smith on a football life. And the third in the series includes Mike Davis on eco-disaster, Robin Kelley on movements in black culture, Ignacio Chapela on the biologist’s craft, and Anne Wagner on teaching art history at Berkeley.
The last group, so far, is An Antinomian Hour, dedicated to dissenters, people not afraid to speak up for what’s right, because it’s right, regardless. And here speakers included Marcus Rediker on the Amistad Rebellion, T.J. Clark on Picasso and others, Robyn Spencer on women in the Black Panther Party, Joseph Matthews on leaving the law, David Riker on making films, Amy Trachtenberg on public art, and William Bauer on Indian California history.
The interviews conclude with a special series celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Free Speech Movement (FSM) at the University of California, Berkeley in 1964. Broadcast on KZYX in November 2014, participants were Jack Weinberg, FSM leader, Robby Cohen, FSM historian, Barbara Garson author of MacBird, Frank Bardacke on the anti-Vietnam war movement, Michael Watts on divesting from South Africa, Wendy Brown on free speech, Chris Newman on student fees and debts, Amanda Armstrong on the struggle today and Richard walker with a balance sheet.
*Retort is a community of about forty writers, teachers, artists, poets and activists, all opponents of capital and empire, which has been based for more than two decades in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is gathering of antinomians, not a typical collective, there is no explicit program; it is a motley crew joined in a web of sustaining friendships, who share an antagonism to the present order of things.