AirTalk for April 15, 2011

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It’s been two years since an arson fire ripped through the Angeles National Forest, destroying an area the size of Chicago at a cost of almost 100 million dollars and claiming the lives of two firefighters. Now the United States Forest Service is undertaking the largest recovery effort the San Gabriel Mountains have ever seen. The forest service says their goal is to plant 300 million trees across the burn area over the next five years. But not everyone is on board with the replanting. Ecologists worry that the trees the forest service are planting aren’t native to the area and could cause problems that scientists don’t yet understand. They also point out that, though it’s not as pretty as a forest, the burn area was chaparral, an ecosystem known for shrubby, drought tolerant plants and frequent forest fires. So should the forest service leave well enough alone? Or are some plants better than none?
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Can we live without One Life to Live?

It’s the end of an era. ABC just announced the cancellation of One Life to Live and All My Children. Both soaps, slated to be replaced by lifestyle shows, have been on the air for more than four decades. General Hospital, the third-most watched soap opera, won’t be impacted directly by these changes. But is this a sign that soaps are passé? How will fans of All My Children’s famously wicked Erica Kane, played by Susan Lucci, survive? Why are shows like The View winning over daytime viewers?
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Julia Child’s secret ingredients

When you think of covert operations, what comes to mind? Espionage, international intrigue, adventure and…Julia Child? After reading Jennet Conant’s new book, A Covert Affair: Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS, you just might change your perception of the typical spy story. At age 30, Julia Child found herself with very little success for her efforts in marketing and writing and rejected by both the Army and Navy for her height. Finally, she was recruited by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), America’s civilian spy outfit, as a file clerk. Eventually, she began to work in the field with Paul Child and, amongst missions in Southeast Asia and the terror of the McCarthy trials, the two fell in love. Conant’s book details Julia Child’s life before the OSS, the unlikely trajectory of her and Paul Child’s relationship and the personal and professional pitfalls associated with the life of a spy. How did a lanky, eccentric 30-year-old woman and a worldly, sophisticated ladies man initiate a relationship while working as spies? How was Julia Child’s secret kept under wraps for so long?
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KPCC film critics Henry Sheehan, Tim Cogshell and Charles Solomon join Larry to review the week’s new film releases including Rio, Scream 4, The Conspirator, Henry’s Crime, Atlas Shrugged Part I, American: The Bill Hicks Story and more. TGI-FilmWeek!
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Director Sidney Lumet started his show business career acting in plays at the tender age of 4. A series of Broadway roles followed in the 1930s, which led him to try his hand at directing television in the medium’s nascent years in the early 1950s. By 1955 Lumet’s reputation had grown and he had begun to direct feature films, first achieving notoriety with the critically and financially successful 12 Angry Men. Lumet directed over 40 feature films in his lifetime, and his masterful style and ability to garner stellar performances from his actors put him on the short list of highly influential American directors that also includes Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese. Lumet’s most famous movies, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Network and The Verdict exemplify his deft ability to direct emotional and complex movies that steer clear of overt sentimentality. Lumet passed away at age 86 in his beloved New York City on April 9. Which of Sidney Lumet’s movies are most influential? What kind of legacy has he left for modern filmmakers?
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