And this is Fresh Air.
We found this gem on graphic designer/illustrator Levi McGranahan’s blog. And he took this picture this past weekend at a little truck stop somewhere around Richmond, Indiana. From Levi:
I found this completely by accident on my way to a family reunion this past weekend. I pulled into the first parking space I saw and noticed this stencil on the parking block. This is the best piece of truck stop graffiti ever. So great…I’M TERRY GROSS.
Have you spotted this Terry Gross stencil? Send in your tips.
One time in 1965, our family all piled in the car and we drove across the country to California. The car broke down in the salt flats. I remember going to a gas station and my father gets out, because our air conditioner was broken. He must have been in there for 10 minutes. He got in, ashen-faced, and quietly said, ‘Everyone stay in the car. They don’t like Negroes here.’ That was a rude awakening.
We had to spend the night in this small desert town. My father and mother told us not to play in the pool, to stay in the room. My brother had a skateboard. I remember we wanted to play. It was bewildering. It was not psyche-shattering because I didn’t grow up in that kind of world. My grandmother was born in 1900, and she would regale me with tales I call Little House on the Prairie tales, but they were tales of segregated and racist America growing up in Alabama and Mississippi, where she came from. … Our household was infused with black history. I grew up in a home and in a world in which you can do anything. We were all expected to go to college. My father was a doctor.” —David Alan Grier on what his father taught him about being African-American in the US
Why would he be obsessed with Porgy and Bess? My father contracted polio on a troop train in Korea. He’s a retired psychiatrist. And all of a sudden, I go, ‘Of course. Now I understand. He’s seen all these productions of Porgy and Bess, and he ultimately came to the show. Which, boom — this was him, in a lot of ways, to have this opera depict [Porgy] on stage. In a lot of ways, this was an aspect of him that he saw, and it became infused with so much more for me.
The final Broadway performance of the Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess is September 23rd. The production won two Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical.
The last melody in the show, after an entire night of [Bess] singing and being raped and kicked and beaten and all of this stuff, is ‘Summertime,’ and it’s a lullaby, and it’s high, and it has to be high and pretty and sung to a baby,” she says. “And it freaks me out that after all this, I have to sound high and pretty and fresh. And I’m always holding onto that baby, going, ‘I know you’re just a doll, but help me.’
What’s beautiful about Godzilla is, of course, it’s in every way a symbol of Japan dealing with the aftermath of the atomic bombs being dropped on them, and their ideas of how they’re affected by it. But rather than make a movie where they sit around and say, ‘Man, that was really rough, those bombs really did a lot of damage,’ they said, ‘What did it feel like? It felt like a 100 foot-tall giant lizard came through our city and crushed it.’ And I really felt I understood that experience to some degree. I really connected with that fear and that power because, at times, when I was a kid, I would say the chaos in my household — the chaos in my life — felt very much like a 100-foot reptile crushing everyone and everything.
I had a pretty bad time when I was an undergraduate at Cornell University. I failed out of school. I was much, much heavier. I was doing very poorly, certainly academically, but even mentally…I’ve never been institutionalized, [but] it doesn’t mean I haven’t had brushes with real psychological problems — I just was never hospitalized for it.
And I managed to graduate after working pretty hard through some summer courses, but at the end of that time, I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do or where I was going to go because I was just a mess in every way. I had destroyed myself, is the truth of it…I had tried to do myself in in various ways and then to my utter surprise, some people who were close to me suggested that maybe I talk to someone, I get a little help, and I found some people who helped me out…they did a lot for me, they helped me psychologically and quite frankly, even just to feel like you [I] can do this thing you [I] want to do, which was write, and I wasn’t really believing I could do that either.” —Victor LaValle on his own mental health