Stephen Yasko is heading from the dial to the clock tower. The former general manager of WTMD took the helm Monday at the arts district focused on the west side of downtown.
Fate brings Civil Rights activist and author Lynda Blackmon Lowery to Friends School Tuesday, April 26
After listening to an interview on NPR in January 2015 with Civil Rights activist and author Lynda Blackmon Lowery on her newly released book, “Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom,” Friends Middle School students wrote Ms. Lowery to express the admiration and inspiration they felt upon hearing her story. The author was the youngest of several hundred Selma residents who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965 to peacefully protest voter suppression – a march which turned terribly violent. As fate would have it, Ms. Lowery opened the packet of the Friends students’ letters on April 27, 2015, as she sat watching CNN coverage of the Baltimore uprising.
True to form, Ira Glass began his commencement speech at Goucher College last week by insulting the very existence of commencement speeches. They’re “cloying and impossible,” full of stock advice; in fact, Glass said, he “oppose[s] on principle any commencement speech.” In the video (available here) of the speech, you can see Goucher students smiling up at Glass, wondering where he’s going to take this next.
And then the host of NPR’s This American Life started talking about how he lost his virginity… in one of those dorms just over there. The students erupted in gleeful, shocked laughter, and the things we all already knew — that Glass knows how to shape a story, and how to keep listeners on their toes — became apparent. Honestly, it was just a great speech: Glass managed to hit that commencement speech sweet spot of being both poignant and irreverent. He told stories about feeling lost and poor in his twenties and thirties, when his parents (“possibly the only Jews who didn’t listen to public radio”) kept gently suggesting he consider a career change. He told parents to readjust their ideas of what they want their kids to be — and told students to be kind to their parents while this is happening (“There are things I said to my parents in my twenties that I still regret,” he cautioned. “As your parents catch up to you… don’t be a dick.”) He talked about being a terrible writer, and about the many years he spent making under $20,000 a year.
In short, it’s not one of those rousing, vague, “You can do anything, you are the future” sermons, but more like seventeen minutes of listening to a smart, honest man look back on his own life — and also the amazing life of his grandmother, a Goucher grad from way back. Worth a listen.
Everyone’s favorite empathy-fueled public personality, Ira Glass, is coming back to Baltimore (he was born here) to deliver this year’s commencement speech at Goucher College.
Glass, who attended Milford Mill High School in Baltimore County, is the one whose ever-so-slightly whiny voice has become a touchstone for NPR listeners, 1.7 million of which tune in to his weekly program “This American Life.”
I saw Glass speak back when I was in college, and he was — predictably — great. He’s got a way with an anecdote, and a talent for sneakily shifting the silly til it’s suddenly profound. This makes him pretty much perfectly suited as a commencement speaker. Good job, Goucher!
Other local schools — Johns Hopkins included — have yet to announce their commencement speakers. But no fear, we’ll stay on top of it — and let you know if anyone else exciting is coming to town.
Listen to the Nobel-winning/MacArthur Genius/funny guy Adam Riess on this weekend’s episode of NPR’s Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me and just try to convince us he’s not the dreamiest.
That is all.