Episode 20: Roger Durling, Santa Barbara Film Festival Executive Director

Roger Durling

(Photo Credit: Eric Madrid.) From universities to coffee shops, from Broadway shows to the local movie theater, from Panama to NJ to France to NY to Santa Barbara, our guest this episode has had quite the journey to where he is now. Join guest host Diane Sims for a riveting conversation with Roger Durling, Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Film Festival for the last 20 years, on how he fell in love with the silver screen, found his way to Santa Barbara, and saved & transformed the nearly dead film festival.

Episode 19: Guggenheim Curator Megan Fontanella: “Every Painting Tells a Story”

Megan Fontanella

You’ve certainly heard of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and its varied collections. What you may not know is what guides those collections. Megan Fontanella, the Guggenheim’s Curator for Modern Art and Provenance, would tell you a good exhibit, and good art education, comes down to two statements: Every painting tells a story. Every object has lived a life. Join Roberta as she talks with Megan about those statements, about the history of the Gugg’ and her role in bringing art to life.

Megan is a strategic leader, art historian, and curator whose research encompasses late 19th- and early 20th-century European and U.S. avant-gardes and specializes in the field of provenance research – the study of an object’s ownership history, from its creation to present day. Since joining the curatorial staff at the Guggenheim in 2005, she has organized or co-organized over thirty exhibitions for the Guggenheim’s museums in Bilbao, New York, Venice, and formerly Berlin.

Episode 18: Author Gretchen Rubin: Get Happy

Gretchen Rubin Featured

Yale graduate Gretchen Rubin had quite the pivot when she went from clerking for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to founding the Happiness Project. How that came to be and what her surprising path to a life of more energy, creativity, luck, and love entails (hint: tune in to the five senses) is the focus of this month’s episode. An acclaimed communicator, known for her ability to distill and convey complex ideas with humor and clarity, Gretchen’s books have sold millions of copies and been translated into over thirty languages, she has an award-winning podcast, and she also has an app. Join Roberta as she sits down with Gretchen to discuss this lifelong exploration into happiness, how we respond to expectations and her daily trips to the Met Museum.

Episode 17: Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde: Learning to Be Brave

“Being brave is not a singular occurrence; it’s a journey that we can choose to undertake every day. ” – How We Learn to Be Brave: Decisive Moments in Life and Faith and Life
In June of 2020, with the eyes of the world watching and the ears of the world listening,  Bishop Mariann Budde had the courage to speak up about the mistreatment of protestors at the hands of the police and the misuse of St. John’s Church in Washington D.C.  Her experience during that time, and the days and weeks that followed, led her to write How We Learn to be Brave.
As the ninth bishop of Washington, Bishop Budde is the spiritual leader for 86 Episcopal congregations and ten Episcopal schools in the District of Columbia and four Maryland counties. She is also the first woman elected to this position. Join Roberta as she talks to Bishop Budde about that seminal moment in 2020, courage and faith, and a little bit of Eleanor Roosevelt to round things out.

Episode 16: One Weekend This Summer: Our Time in the Canyon with Joni, Brandi & 27,000 Friends

Take a trip to the Pacific Northwest with Roberta to experience the epic return of the legendary musician Joni Mitchell during Brandi Carlile’s “Echoes through the Canyon” weekend at the Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington State. Roberta talks with concertgoers who traveled across the country—and the world–about the impact that Joni and music has played in their lives. We hear many remarkable moments from the June 9 & 10, 2023 shows featuring Joni, Brandi, Sarah McLachlan, Annie Lennox, Marcus Mumford and many more. Highlights include “A Case of Blue,” “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Both Sides Now,” and “The Circle Game.”

Episode 15: String Thing Studio Founder Felicia Eve

Felicia Eve has been everything: a podiatrist, a stay at home mom, a fundraising consultant, and, currently, a business owner as the CEO and founder of String Thing Studio, a yarn shop in Brooklyn. Join Felicia as she sits down with host Roberta and shares her stories on life, loss, and most importantly, yarn.

Episode 14: Writer Ben Greenman

Have you ever thought about sneezing on Larry King? Well, if you have, then you and Ben Greenman have that in common. Join Roberta Panjwani as she interviews Ben about some of his work and his forays into almost becoming a doctor. For the unfamiliar, Ben Greenman is the New York Times bestselling author of The Slippage and Superbad and the former longtime editor for The New Yorker. Not content to only do that, he’s also Questlove’s long-time collaborator and has written memoirs with George Clinton and Brian Wilson as well.

Episode 13: Oprah’s Book Club Director Leigh Haber

Publishing icon, editor, and former Vice President of Book at O magazine, Leigh Haber joins us this episode to discuss books, writers, audiences, and the connections between them. Join host Roberta Panjwani as we dive into Leigh’s role as Director of Oprah’s Book Club, what it’s like to interview writers (or as she calls them, Rock Stars) and the power of books to make change and do good in the world.

Episode 12: Actor Robert Sean Leonard

What do you want to do? Who do you want to be? These are the questions that Tony Award winning actor Robert Sean Leonard grapples with. Join him and Roberta as they talk about his work as an actor and some of the artists he’s collaborated with. Wondering why that name sounds familiar? You might recognize Robert as Neil Perry from Dead Poets Society, Dr. James Wilson in House MD, or onstage as Edmund on O’Neill’s A Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

Episode 11: Comedian and NPR Host Ophira Eisenberg

Hot off the release of her latest standup comedy special, Plant Based Jokes, comedian and podcast host Ophira Eisenberg joins Roberta to discuss what it’s like to tell stories at The Moth, the riskiness involved with audience interactions, and how storytelling has changed since the pandemic. Ophira is currently the host of the podcast Parenting Is A Joke and as well as hosting the now-concluded Ask Me Another, NPR’s comedy trivia show, with Jonathan Coulter for 9 years.

Episode 10: True Crime Author Sarah Weinman

Best-selling author Sarah Weinman loves true crime and loves wondering why we all love true crime. Her books probe these questions and more, bolstered by impeccable research, immensely readable prose and, at the heart of the story, the desire to present the humanity of the subjects, not the perpetrators, of the crimes. Join Roberta as she talks with Sarah from her home in Brooklyn about her books The Real Lolita, Scoundrel, & Women Crime Writers of the 1940 & 1950s and the reasons why we are all so obsessed with true crime.

Episode 9: Nina Groop & Noah Taylor: Telling the Truth to Ourselves

Podcast Ep 9 Nina Groop & Noah Taylor Dec 21, 2022

When one shares a story, they can become a part of a healing and empowering experience. Stories are powerful – cathartic, emotive, and full of truths, hidden or not – and our guests this week know that quite well. Nina is a life coach and the author of a new book Creek Music: What a Year in the Woods Taught Me About Seasons, Surrender and Joy. Her son Noah Taylor is a 28 year old cafe manager, storyteller and an aspiring writer. They are frequent performers at the The Moth StorySLAMS in Philly. Join host Roberta Panjwani as she talks with them about their experiences on the stage, how they got there, and the life events that shaped what they tell and how they tell it.

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