Chattering Class


Who Was Gertrude Bell? ‘Letters from Baghdad’ Highlights the Explorer’s Unsung Legacy

Archaeologist and diplomat T. E. Lawrence's involvement in the Middle East during World War I was legendary, but another person of equal influence has kind of been forgotten in the history books (and on-screen). Her name was Gertrude Bell, and the directors behind a new documentary called "Letters From Baghdad" explain why she is the most important explorer you've never heard of.


Anne Lamott Tells Us How to Be Merciful to Ourselves

Anne Lamott's spunky, soul-bearing non-fiction has made her a best-selling author many times over. Her books sometimes investigate spiritual themes and sometimes they're about very human triumphs and tribulations, like overcoming alcoholism or raising a son as a single mother. In her new book, she celebrates a virtue that seems to be in short supply these days: mercy.


Why Rorschach’s Inkblots Are Still the Best Blots Around

Our topic for Chattering Class this week: Psychology's infamous Rorschach test. And our teacher is author Damion Searls. His new book, "The Inkblots," is all about Hermann Rorschach, an artistically-inclined Swiss psychiatrist who in the 1910s learned he could diagnose patients just by asking them to describe what they saw in abstract blots on paper. He talks with Rico about Hermann's history and what made the Rorschach's blots so effective and unique.


‘Gleason’ Offers a Glimpse at the Real Struggles of Living With ALS

NFL star Steve Gleason was a safety for the New Orleans Saints. But not long after retiring from the NFL, he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. He began recording video diaries for his son, which has been assembled into a documentary by director Clay Tweel. Clay shares candid moments from making the doc and explains the decision behind its honest portrayal of life with the disease.


Gael García Bernal Waxes Poetic on ‘Neruda’

Mexican-born movie star Gael García Bernal won last year's Golden Globe for his starring role on Amazon's "Mozart In The Jungle." This week you can catch him in "Neruda" -- Chile's entry for the Best Foreign Film Oscar. The actor talks to us about the movie’s surreal take on poet Pablo Neruda's life... and explains why art and politics *do* mix.


Looking Back at Toshiro Mifune’s Legendary Career

From the 1940s and into the ‘80s, Toshiro Mifune was known world around as Japan's answer to John Wayne. He starred in almost 200 movies, including a slew of classics directed by the great Akira Kurosawa. His life is now the subject of a new film called, "Mifune: The Last Samurai." Oscar-winning documentarian Steven Okazaki explores the actor’s origins and looks at how Mifune left his mark on cinema, despite being thousands of miles away from Hollywood.


Emily Witt Takes a Closer (and Personal) Look at Dating in the Modern World

When the investigative journalist was 30, she found herself single and questioning whether she'd soon find love. So she decided to explore the modern state of sexual relationships in her latest book, “Future Sex.” It details her experiences dating online, on the set of a porn shoot, embedded with a polyamorous couple, and beyond.