AirTalk for June 3, 2011

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The legacy of Doctor Death

Controversial advocate for assisted suicide Dr. Jack Kevorkian died today at the age of 83 after being treated for pneumonia and kidney problems, his lawyer said. Kevorkian spent eight years in prison for second-degree murder after giving a patient a lethal injection in 1998. His medical license was then revoked, and Kevorkian invented a “suicide machine” he called the “Mercitron” that allowed patients to make their own hearts stop beating with a push of a button. Kevorkian claims to have helped more than 130 terminally ill people kill themselves between 1990 and 1998. Janet Adkins, a 54-year old woman from Portland, who had Alzheimer’s disease, was the first user of Kevorkian’s “Mercitron.” She died in the back of a van in June 1990. Critics challenged Kevorkian’s moral stand on assisted suicide as well as his methods. Did his work change your opinion on assisted suicide? What will Kevorkian’s legacy be?
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Will tomorrow ever come for Mexico?

According to author and former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castaneda, “Mexico is a country which has been waiting many years to finally achieve its potential…” So what’s holding it back? In his new book “Manana Forever” Castaneda takes apart the Mexican psyche to attempt to explain what’s preventing Mexico from becoming a full fledged prosperous, middle class, democracy. Castaneda examined civil society in Mexico and argues that certain cultural characteristics that promoted survival through the country’s tortured history now serve to hinder that nation’s progress toward a modern and successful state. Castaneda joins Larry in studio to discuss these traits, their origins and how they pose hurdles for the country’s future.
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Nothing says “old school” like owning a classic television set. But the number of living rooms glowing with square, flickering black boxes, seems to be shrinking. The dinosaurs that once brought us Bonanza and The Ed Sullivan Show have largely been replaced by computers and other modernized screens. Why have so many of us kicked our former TV-dinner companions to the curb? This is just one question that led KPCC’s John Rabe to pay photographic tribute to old-fashioned TVs. Rabe, host of KPCC’s Off-Ramp and an avid photographer, has a new exhibition at Bermudez Projects in Downtown LA. The “Vast Wasteland Project” features more than 30 framed photos of discarded televisions. The nostalgic images seem as old as the TVs themselves because Rabe took them using the Hipstamatic i-Phone app to create a Polaroid-like feel. It also includes audio of the “Vast Wasteland” speech former head of the FCC Newton Minow gave 50 years ago. In that legendary address, Minow described what was on TV as a vast wasteland that did not serve the public interest. “What began as a metaphor for programming has become a physical reality in LA’s streets and alleys,” says Rabe. What did you do with your old television set?
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KPCC film critics Claudia Puig and Wade Major join Larry to review the week’s new film releases including X-Men: First Class, Beginners, Love, Wedding, Marriage, YellowBrickRoad and more. TGI-FilmWeek!
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Legendary movie personality Raoul Walsh got his Hollywood break as John Wilkes Booth in D. W. Griffith's 1915 silent movie The Birth of a Nation. He went on to develop and direct more than 200 films, including classics like High Sierra (1941) and White Heat (1949). Born in 1887, Walsh was a founding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Now, author and critic Marilyn Ann Moss has written the first comprehensive biography of this prolific filmmaker known as the one-eyed bandit since he started wearing an eye patch to cover an injury from a freak car accident in 1928. Walsh directed heavyweights such as Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn and Marlene Dietrich and cast future star John Wayne in his first leading role in The Big Trail (1930.) In Raoul Walsh: The True Adventures of Hollywood's Legendary Director, Moss discusses Walsh's career that spanned more than five decades, his film-making style, his personal life and his legacy. What is Walsh’s long-lasting legacy and how did he influence the way movies are made today?
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