Episode 70 - Andrew Harvey

Andrew Harvey is Founder Director of the  Institute of Sacred Activism, an international organization focused on inviting concerned people to take up the challenge of our contemporary global crises by becoming inspired, effective, and practical agents of institutional and systemic change, in order to create peace and sustainability. Sacred Activism is a transforming force of compassion-in-action that is born of a fusion of deep spiritual knowledge, courage, love, and passion, with wise radical action in the world. The large-scale practice of Sacred Activism can become an essential force for preserving and healing the planet and its inhabitants.

Andrew was born in south India in 1952, where he lived until he was nine years old. It is this early period that he credits with shaping his sense of the inner unity of all religions and providing him with a permanent and inspiring vision of a world infused with the sacred. He left India to attend private school in England and entered Oxford University in 1970 with a scholarship to study history. At the age of 21, he became the youngest person ever to be awarded a fellowship to All Soul’s College, England’s highest academic honor.

By 1977, Harvey had become disillusioned with life at Oxford and returned to his native India, where a series of mystical experiences initiated his spiritual journey. Over the next thirty years he plunged into different mystical traditions to learn their secrets and practices. In 1978 he met a succession of Indian saints and sages and began his long study and practice of Hinduism. In 1983, in Ladakh, he met the great Tibetan adept, Thuksey Rinpoche, and undertook with him the Mahayana Buddhist Bodhisattva vows. Andrew’s book about that experience, Journey in Ladakh, won the Christmas Humphries Award.

In 1984, Andrew Harvey began a life-long exploration and explication of Rumi and Sufi mysticism in Paris with a group of French Sufis and under the guidance of Eva De Vitray-Meyerovitch, the magnificent translator of Rumi into French. Andrew has written three books on that subject: The Way of PassionThe Celebration of Rumiand Perfume of the Desert, an anthology of Sufi mysticism. With Llewellyn Baughn Lee, he founded the Sufi Conferences, which have played a prominent role in uniting Sufis of all persuasions during the past six years. He has close connections with great Sufi teachers in America, Africa, India and Pakistan, and a very clear, comprehensive grasp of the state of modern Sufism in both the west and the east.

In 1990, he collaborated with Sogyal Rinpoche and Patrick Gaffney in the writing of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. In 1992, he met Father Bede Griffiths in his ashram in south India near where Andrew had been born. It was this meeting that helped him synthesize the whole of his mystical explorations and reconcile eastern with western mysticism.

Andrew has since lived in London, Paris, New York, and San Francisco, and has continued to study a variety of religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity. He has written and edited over 30 books. Other honors he has received include the Benjamin Franklin Award and the Mind Body Spirit Award (both for Mary’s Vineyard: Daily Readings, Meditations, and Revelations). Among Harvey’s other well-known titles are: Dialogues with a Modern MysticHidden JourneyThe Essential MysticsSon of ManThe Return of the Mother and The Direct Path.

Episode 69 - David F. Walker

David F. Walker is an award-winning comic book writer, author, filmmaker, journalist, and educator. His work in comic books includes Shaft (Dynamite Entertainment), winner of the 2015 Glyph Award for Story of the Year, Power Man and Iron FistNighthawkFurySecret Wars: Battleworld(Marvel Comics), Cyborg (DC Comics), The Army of Dr. Moreau (IDW/Monkeybrain Comics), and Number 13 (Dark Horse Comics). In 2015, he wrote the novel Shaft’s Revenge, the first new novel starring private detective John Shaft in nearly 40 years. He is also the creator of the critically-acclaimed YA series The Adventures of Darius Logan.

Recognized as a leading scholar expert of African-American cinema who has been interviewed by such news outlets as The Los Angeles TimesNew York Daily News, and BBC, Walker produced one of the definitive documentaries on the topic of Blaxploitation films, Macked, Hammered, Slaughtered, and Shafted. His publication BadAzz MoFo became internationally known as the indispensable resource guide to black films of the 70s, and he is co-author of the book Reflections on Blaxploitation: Actors and Directors Speak. Walker’s most recent book, Becoming Black: Personal Ramblings on Racial Identification, Racism and Popular Culture, was released in winter 2013.

In addition to Macked, Hammered, Slaughtered, and Shafted, Walker has also directed and produced five other films, including the award-winning short film Black Santa’s Revenge. He has been featured on A&E, VH1, AMC, and E!, and he worked to develop a documentary with HBO. His body of work was showcased and honored at the 2012 Oakland Underground Film Festival.

Walker has worked on projects with filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, Aaron McGruder (creator of The Boondocks), and director/producer Reginald Hudlin (House PartyDjango Unchained).

As a journalist, Walker served as screen editor and lead film critic for the alt-weekly Willamette Week for seven years. He was the 2003 recipient of the prestigious Society of Professional Journalists Award for excellence in writing. He has written cultural analysis and commentary for MSN, DVD Talk, Giant Robot MagazineSavvy, Cinephiled, and Rap Pages.

As an educator, Walker has taught courses such as documentary filmmaking, writing for comics, and film criticism to youth through the Pacific Northwest College of Art, Northwest Film Center, Documentary Northwest, and Project Youth Doc.

Episode 68 - Dr. Rick Strassman

Dr. Rick Strassman was born in Los Angeles, California in 1952 (although presumably he wasn’t a doctor at that point, at least not a credentialed one). As an undergraduate, he majored in zoology before transferring to Stanford University, where he graduated with departmental honors in biological sciences in 1973. He attended the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York, where he obtained his medical degree with honors in 1977.

Dr. Strassman took his internship and general psychiatry residency at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center in Sacramento, and received the Sandoz Award for outstanding graduating resident in 1981. After graduating, he worked for a year in Fairbanks, Alaska in community mental health and private psychiatric practice. From 1982-1983, he obtained fellowship training in clinical psychopharmacology research at the University of California, San Diego’s Veteran’s Administration Medical Center. He then served on the clinical faculty in the department of psychiatry at UC Davis Medical Center, before taking a full-time academic position in the department of psychiatry at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in Albuquerque in 1984.

At UNM, Dr. Strassman performed clinical research investigating the function of the pineal hormone melatonin in which his research group documented the first known role of melatonin in humans. 

He also began the first new US government approved and funded clinical research with psychedelic drugs in over twenty years. Before leaving the University in 1995, he attained the rank of tenured Associate Professor of Psychiatry, and received the UNM General Clinical Research Center’s Research Scientist Award.

He has published nearly thirty peer-reviewed scientific papers, and has served as a reviewer for several psychiatric research journals. He has been a consultant to the US Food and Drug Administration, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Veteran’s Administration Hospitals, Social Security Administration, and other state and local agencies. In 2007 he founded the Cottonwood Research Foundation, with Steve Barker and Andrew Stone,.

From 1996 to 2000, while living in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, Dr. Strassman worked in community mental health centers for Washington State in Bellingham and Port Townsend. For the next four years, he had a solo private practice in Taos, New Mexico. 

After two years working on the edge of the Navajo Reservation in Gallup NM, he returned to northern New Mexico in 2006, where he served at a mental health center in Espanola.  Since mid-2008, he has been writing full-time. And has completed THREE books and is working on another seven most likely. He currently is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.

Episode 67 - John Voelz

John Voelz is a tamed rebel, artist, songwriter, painter, musician, writer, pastor, and aggravator. His love of all things creative in tandem with a severe angst towards mediocrity and religiosity has given him a unique platform as a voice in the church--local and worldwide. He is currently The pastor/curator at Lakeside Church in Folsom, California. He is also one of my oldest friends in the world. I have not known a man who is more invested in those riches which do not succumb to moth and rot than John. He is the embodiment of a supernatural grace that seeks to wrap the world in a relational embrace of sacrificial transformation. In other words, he loves fiercely and creatively because he feels we are all loved in this manner by the Ground of our individual and collective being. No matter where you stand on issues and ideology, I trust you will find a kind and kindred soul in his story...

Episode 66- Reema Zaman

Reema Zaman says this about her work: "Why else do we write or read but to invoke a loving voice in the dark, to alleviate our loneliness, to forge solidarity, to make sense of our inherent, stunning madness?"

Reema was born in Bangladesh, raised in Hawaii and Thailand, and moved to the US to attend college. She has a BA in Women's Studies, a BA in Theater, and a minor in Religion. After graduation, she worked as an actress and model in New York for 8 years. Now, she writes narrative nonfiction, is a life-coach and writes for "Dear Reema," where she responds to letters sent in by readers.

Her first memoir, I Am Yours, is written as though she's speaking to her imaginary best friend from childhood whom she never released. Some know their inner voice as God, a guardian angel, or a long deceased ancestor. Reema knows this as a presence she met when she was 3, a friend named "Love" - Love is her voice in the dark. "I Am Yours" is her story of stubborn perseverance through an unstable childhood, anorexia, disownment, rape, marriage, betrayal, divorce, the acting and modeling industry, racism, sexism, classism and more, with the help of ever loyal Love. 

For Reema, Life has not been simple but it has been full. I Am Yours is an intimate, comprehensive study in identity, loyalty, integrity, and authenticity. Zaman explore her past and present refracting selves: child, daughter, sister, wife, actress, Bangladeshi, immigrant, commodity, artist, woman.

On Dear Reema, the main intention is to serve others. She ceases being the main character and focuses on the reader's journey. Reema sources from her own life to explore similar topics as those found in I Am Yours: our connective, collective trials, childhood wounds, addiction, ambition, body image, sex, dating, love, relationships, self-empowerment, ownership, spirituality, recovery, healing, humility, purpose. For her, writing is service. Writing alchemizes our pain into poetry. Through it all, her mission is to be a conduit of love, a voice for those without one, to inspire and empower others to fill into their truest, boldest, brightest self. Reema believes we are one story and that all we truly need, we hold within.

"Pain, insecurity, trials, anger, confusion, the near-reckless desire to love and be loved deeply, these are our common specialties. Our fault-lines are where our paths intersect, where your shards align with mine. Reasons to never feel less or better than anyone. Reasons to never feel alone. How lovely that being human soothes the ache of being human.”

Episode 65 - David Jay Brown

David Jay Brown holds a master's degree in psychobiology from New York University (1986), and a B.A. in psychology from the University of Southern California (1983). He is the author of two science fiction novels, Brainchild (New Falcon, 1988) andVirus (New Falcon, 1999), and is co-author of two volumes of interviews with leading-edge scientists and artists--Mavericks of the Mind (Crossing Press, 1993) and Voices from The Edge (Crossing Press, 1995). He is also the author of The New Science of Psychedelics: At the Nexus of Culture, Consciousness, and Spirituality .

David's interviews have been translated into Japanese (Hachiman, 1995), Italian (Gruppo Futura, 1997), and Czechoslovakian (East Hauz, 1999). He was responsible for the California-based research in two of British biologist Rupert Sheldrake's books on unexplained phenomena in science: Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home (Crown, 1999), which was the bestselling science book in the world for several weeks in the Fall of 2000, and The Sense of Being Stared At (Crown, 2003). David has also made numerous contributions to other books, including having co-written a chapter in Terence McKenna's The Archaic Revival(Harper, 1992). 

He is currently working on two new books--a book with Annie Sprinkle about combining sex and drugs called Sex on Drugs, and a new book of interviews for St. Martin's Press entitled Renaissance of the Mind. David also teaches workshops with Annie Sprinkle on sex and drugs; to find out more visit:www.anniesprinkle.org

Episode 64 - Fernando Viciconte

Argentina-born Fernando Viciconte came of age musically in L.A. fronting the popular hard rock band Monkey Paw. He moved to Portland, OR, in 1994 and released Season in Hell, a downbeat collection of country rock. Almost immediately, he became a Northwest musical institution.

In 2001, Fernando founded his own label and released Dreams of the Sun and Sky, a gorgeous collection of gauzy, narcotic tracks with Latin and country-folk accents. The Oregonian named this album a top ten release of 2001. In 2006, Fernando returned from a hiatus from music and he delivered his most critically received record to date: Enter to Exit.

For this project, Fernando teamed up with long time friends from the Eels, Jeff “Chet” Lyster (who also plays guitar for Lucinda Williams) and Derek Brown and Paul Brainard from Richmond Fontaine, Lewi Longmire and John Amadon to make what many critics called one of the best pop rock records of 2006. Magnet Magazine went as far as naming Fernando one of the best new artists of 2006 in their year end issue. The album also garnered glowing reviews from Billboard, Paste, Amplifier, No Depression, and MSNBC.com.

Fast forward to 2015, with Fernando's most recent release, Leave The Radio On. 

Leave The Radio On features a virtual who’s who of Portland’s finest musicians, including Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey as well as members of M.Ward, Elliott Smith, Richmond Fontaine and The Delines. This is a new chapter in Fernando’s ever-evolving musical trajectory, a career marked by creative integrity and an almost painful honesty which attracts fans that still believe in the redemptive power of rock and roll.

Fernando was also be inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame in October of 2016. We have been following his career since it began and are so excited to finally have him on the program. A truly unique artist, he is a troubadour, a story teller, a traveling musical monk who reflects the grit, the devastation and the transformational beauty of a life lived in service of rhythm, harmony and the melodic sensations of our shared emergence. His music is familiar because it reminds us of deep, latent truth hidden in the storehouses of our collective experiences. He is a musical mirror for us to see ourselves in a new, yet utterly recognizable, manner. We hope you enjoy him as much as we do.

Photo Credit: Dan Eccles 

Episode 63 - Max Dashu

SHOW NOTE: This episode was originally scheduled to air on Christmas Day of this year but has been moved up for scheduling reasons. Some of the conversation is about Christmas and its role in our culture and in our understanding of religion. Apologies for the confusion. 

Max Dashu founded the Suppressed Histories Archives in 1970 to research and document women's history from an international perspective. She built a collection of 15,000 slides and 20,000 digital images, and has created 150 slideshows on female cultural heritages across human history. (For titles and descriptions, see the online catalog.) Read some of the enthusiastic responses to these dynamic presentations here. Her work bridges the gap between academia and grassroots education. It foregrounds indigenous women passed over by standard histories and highlights female spheres of power retained even in some patriarchal societies. 

For over 40 years, Max Dashu has presented hundreds of slide talks at universities, community centers, bookstores, schools, libraries, prisons, galleries, festivals and conferences around North America and in Mexico, Germany, Ireland, Britain, Italy, Switzerland, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Australia, Belgium, and Austria. She has keynoted at conferences (Feminism in London, 2015;Women's Voices for a Change at Skidmore, 2013; Association for Women and Mythology, 2010; Pagan Studies at Claremont University, 2008, and Domestic Violence Conference at Rutgers, 2005). 

Dashu is known for her expertise on ancient female iconography in world archaeology, women shamans, witches and the witch hunts, mother-right cultures, patriarchies and the origins of domination.

OTB has committed itself to forging relationships across ideological boundaries in the years ahead. We cannot truly understand one another if so much of our actual history has been buried, destroyed, co-opted or misunderstood. We applaud the work Max is doing to help bring us a fuller picture of human history and culture from which to weave the new tapestries of our shared becoming. 

Episode 62 - Paul Devereux

Paul Devereux is:

A Founding Co-editor of Time & Mind - Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness and Culture

A Research Affiliate at the Royal College of Art;

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; 

A Senior Research Fellow at the International Consciousness Research Laboratories (ICRL) group at Princeton;

And an Honorary Member of the Scientific and Medical Network.

He's also a friend and one of the world's leading researchers in the emerging field of archaeo-acoustics. 

But Paul started out as a painter, having a degree in Fine Art. He participated in numerous group exhibitions in Britain such as John Moores, Liverpool, and the Royal Academy Schools, plus travelling shows under the auspices of the Arts Council. He also exhibited in Germany. His painting became increasingly inspired by the geometry and numinosity of ancient monuments and this began to lead him deeper into an interest in archaeology. This resulted in him turning more toward writing and research with the consequence that he slowly shifted from painting and gradually relinquished his formal teaching of painting, drawing and photography.

Paul’s research interests in archaeology focus especially on “cognitive” aspects, trying to “get inside” the prehistoric mind, and this has broadened into the study of anthropological themes, especially what is known as “the anthropology of consciousness”. This in turn led him to become involved more generally in what is loosely termed “consciousness studies”. He has frequently combined these themes – such as writing a prehistory of the use of mind-altering substances, andexamining anomalous phenomena of various kinds, especially supposed psi phenomena.

This mix of archaeological, anthropological and consciousness studies interests has led him to co-founding and co-editing a new peer-reviewed, academic publication, Time & Mind: The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness and Culture.  For 20 years (1976-1996) he edited and published the legendary The Ley Hunter journal, eventually deconstructing the modern myth of “leylines”, for which he has not been forgiven in some quarters! But his authentic and documented research into spirit and death roads across archaic landscapes developed directly from his early ley interests (see SPIRIT ROADS in the On-line & Mail-order Book Sales pages). 

He has given a great many presentations on various aspects of his multidisciplinary range of subject matter to specialist, academic and general audiences in Britain, Ireland, the USA, Canada, Germany, Norway, Holland, Switzerland, Italy and France. Venues have ranged from Glastonbury New Age “fairs” to some of the most prestigious universities and institutions in England and America. His portfolio of written work includes 26 published English-language books (plus numerous foreign-language editions), many articles for popular and specialist magazines (including being archaeology columnist for Fortean Times magazine), plus a range of peer-reviewed academic papers. He has, additionally, conceived, co-produced, or appeared in television documentaries in the UK and the USA. He is currently a research affiliate with the Royal College of Art working on an audio-visual study of Mynydd Preseli,  the source area in Wales of the Stonehenge bluestones (see the Landscape & Perception pages on this website).

The world recently turned upside down. Regardless of what "side" you are on, the work Paul is doing helps to re-connect us to some longer, larger cycles of human activity. From this view, our differences fade into a rhythmic, shadowy dance of shamanic intuition and planetary consciousness. From Brexit to Trump, the old paradigms are starting to collapse. Perhaps we can look to even older models of human organization for some clues on how to move forward together with empathy, compassion and shared vision. One can only hope... 

Episode 61 - Joe Biel, Elly Blue & Joshua Ploeg (Dinner & Bikes Tour)

Well, well, well. What's been up in your lives, lately, America? Any news you'd like to discuss?

This week, we bring you a conversation with the members of The Dinner and Bikes Tour. The Dinner & Bikes is a month-long tour of the U.S. to bring people together to eat delicious food and get inspired about bicycle transportation. Here’s what happens at a Dinner and Bikes event:

As the audience arrives, they serve themselves from chef Joshua Ploeg’s seven-course gourmet vegan and gluten-free buffet spread. While the audience is eating, local advocates discuss their work and local issues and initiatives over the first fifteen minutes.

Then, Elly Blue and Joe Biel co-present a new interactive discussion and presentation including eight short films about Groundswell movements, incidences where people demand better neighborhood conditions and successfully implemented them. Stories include how Reading, PA came to be 13th on the East Coast for bike commuting without any advocacy or government spending, former gang members riding bikes to raise awareness about gang violence, Mexico City’s superhero of the streets, Peatonito, the story of the League of American Bicyclists’ equity council, how the City of Portland’s Sunday Parkways worked as a response to gentrification, and how cyclists are representing themselves and creating their own voices all over the world. Throughout the evening there are plenty of opportunities for discussion, questions, and browsing the Microcosm pop-up book and t-shirt store

Joe Biel is the co-producer/director of Groundswell, the director of the feature documentary Aftermass: Bicycling in a Post-Critical Mass Portland as well as over 100 short films.  He is also the author of half a dozen books, including Good Trouble: Building a Successful Life & Business with Asperger’s. He founded Microcosm Publishing in his bedroom closet in 1996 and has since published over 350 nonfiction books, zines, and movies. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Elly Blue is the co-producer/director of Groundswell and the author of Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save the Economy and Everyday Bicycling: How to Ride a Bicycle for Transportation (Whatever your Lifestyle). When she isn’t writing, she is the marketing director of Microcosm Publishing, producing books and zines about all aspects of feminism, self-empowerment, and bicycle transportation. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Joshua Ploeg is the the traveling vegan chef. When not touring the world, he is a personal chef and delighter of secret cafe goers in Los Angeles. His eighth and newest cookbook is This Ain’t No Picnic: Your Punk Rock Vegan Cookbook. He lives in California.

As the country and the world move into unprecedented and scary territory, we are heartened by the kinds of young people that Joe, Elly and Joshua represent. They are not looking for a savior or a political party to make the world a better place for them. They are hitting the ground and making it better themselves. They are building community and empowering marginalized voices and advocating for a world that does not constantly run itself adrift under the weight of its own hubris and apathy.