There was a telling moment last night when Neil Young and filmmaker Jonathan Demme spoke to preview their latest concert film, Journeys. The theater projected a clip with Young playing "Ohio", footage that was intercut with footage of the Kent State shootings and photos of the four slain college students that inspired the song. Lopate watched the small monitor feed set in front for all three and Demme turned around in his seat to see the large projection the audience saw. Young looked down or in his hands – anywhere but at the footage.
On a frank and, sometimes, heated conversation about race, between Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Ilan Stevens
This tension between biological identity and socially-constructed identity became the night's theme, and Gates didn’t restrict his analysis to others. He noted that his DNA test revealed that he’s 56 percent white. In fact, it was his own family’s racial mixture that catalyzed his passion for genealogy. "My grandfather was so white, we used to call him Casper behind his back," he said. "How has your standing in the African American community changed?" Stavans asked about Gates' DNA discovery. "I got a raise at Harvard," Gates said.(2)
A biologist who spent a year studying a square meter of forest puts a new spin on 'exploration' at The Explorers Club
David Haskell was reading and signing from his new book, The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature, about his close—very close—examination of one patch of forest in particular. If William Blake wrote of his desire “To see a world in a grain of sand/ And a heaven in a wildflower,” Haskell said, he felt as though he could see the entire planet’s delicate network of flora and fauna in one square meter of old-growth forest in Tennessee. Haskell is an explorer who looks in rather than out, but what he found in a year observing that square meter reveals just how ripe the world still is for exploration if we just know where, and how, to look.