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. 

Episode 60 - Karen Tate

As an independent scholar, speaker, radio show host, author, and social justice activist, Karen Tate's body of work blends her experiences of women-centered multiculturalism evident in archaeology, anthropology and mythology with her unique academic and literary talents and travel experience throughout the world. Her particular emphasis is on the roles of women and the study of comparative religions and ancient cultures in a modern or reconstructed context, bringing the ideals and awareness of the Sacred Feminine into the mainstream consciousness.

Tate's work has been highlighted in the Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times and other major newspapers. She is interviewed regularly in print, on television and on national public radio and hosts her own show, Voices of the Sacred Feminine Radio considered a treasure trove of insight and wisdom for our time. Her published articles have appeared in both domestic and international publications since 1995.

Karen can be seen in the 2015 documentary, Femme, Women Healing the World, produced by actress Sharon Stone and Emmanuel Itier of Wonderland Entertainment. Most recently she was honored with opportunity to moderate a panel and give a presentation at the prestigious Council for the Parliament of World Religions in Utah. Karen spends much of her time giving interviews, teaching, and lecturing at private and public educational and spiritual institutions, temples and churches such as Joseph Campbell Roundtables, The Gaia Festival, Loyola Marymont College and the American Academy of Religion. 

As an ordained minster, she guest ministers at Unitarian Universalist Churches, The Goddess Temple of Orange County and at the invitation of other groups. She has received acclaim for reviving the Cakes for the Queen of Heaven curriculum as well as the Rise UP and Call Her Name course. An associate with the Joseph Campbell Foundation, Dr. Tate currently sponsors Joseph Campbell Round Tables in Venice and Irvine to perpetuate continuing adult education in the genres of mythology, history, sociology, archaeology, psychology, religion, anthropology and the related sciences.

She was also the first person to ever put me on the air and has been a leader not only in the women's empowerment movement but also in Internet radio, starting one of the first shows ever on Blog Talk Radio. She is a mentor, a friend and a visionary and compassionate leader with the wisdom of the ages to fill her sails. Karen reminds us that the #imwithher hashtag should be a rallying cry not for any one political party or candidate, but for our strong solidarity with the women, girls and non binary folks in our culture who have been subjected to a lopsided power sharing program for many millennia at this point. We were so delighted to have her on the program, especially this last weekend before the presidential election.

Episode 59 - Emily Bingham

Emily Bingham is a writer, rope instructor, model, and professional pervert. 

As a writer she strives to weave fantasies that will turn-on her readers. As a rope instructor she works to bring new skills into the bedroom of her clients so they can make their fantasies come true. It’s all about desire in both of the worlds she inhabits. Recently she combined her two greatest passions into one unique and exciting book: Diary of a Rope Slut.

As a kinkster, teacher, model, and writer Emily's love affair with words has been going on since as long as she could hold a book in her hands.  Along the way she realized she could make up her own stories about anything; this eventually turned to writing dirty tales.  It was, and still is, a safe and exciting way for her to explore the boundaries of desire and sexuality. Emily particularly enjoys writing about characters or situations that aren’t often depicted in sexy stories, so that people of all shapes, genders, interests and fetishes are represented.

When she's not writing, Emily is a significant part of the rope community in Portland, Oregon where she teaches classes and facilitates monthly rope groups.  

Follow her at the usual fine social media outlets or friend her on Fetlife.

Episode 58 - Caleb Stephens

Caleb Stephens is a therapist and activist in Lawerence, Kansas. He is the founder of Identifight, which he describes as "created to exemplify self-identity, encouragement, resilience, mental-health, activism, value, Hope, Truth, Justice, and empowerment."

Caleb has been an active participant in the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM-LFK): protesting police brutality towards people of color and the rising tide of indifference among the larger population at these atrocities. Recently, he spoke at a City Council meeting in Lawrence, Kansas. And then his life got really interesting.

He is a new kind of social justice warrior that is rewriting the script on how our intersections of race, gender, ability and class come together to make us who we are. Caleb is committed to bring the margins to the center. And to him, there is no neutral when it comes to creating a society that is safe, accessible and abundant with opportunity for all.

In this conversation, we discuss the horrors of "C-Day" and the move towards "Indigenous Peoples' Day," the necessity of creating spaces for people to feel safe and validated, toxic masculinity and the myth of binary supremacy, and how Luke Cage is a step forward in rewriting the script on Black heroes and bulletproof dreams. We were so honored to have him on the program...

Episode 57 - Dr. Catherine Svehla

Dr. Catherine Svehla is a cultural mythologist, storyteller, artist, and activist with a PhD in Mythological Studies. She draws on her knowledge of mythology and psychology to bring the story to life and share insight into the contemporary meaning of the tale. She uses myths and stories as the catalyst for conversation, group discussion, and shared reflection. Her goal is to teach as well as entertain, and to provoke thought as well as laughter. Among other projects, she runs the Mythic Mojo project that seeks to create a mini-revolution in consciousness by helping individuals explore the mythic dimensions of their lives. She states, 

"I’m calling for a mini-revolution because I think the old images of big and loud and violent have outlived their usefulness. I think that’s time for us to appreciate the quietly powerful, the tiny but significant, and the subversive nuance. As James Hillman says, “Think subtly, act simply.” Welcome to Mythic Mojo and the mini-revolution in consciousness."

Here, we discuss the significance of myth in the modern world, how stories are templates for engaging authentic human experience, and the transformational power of mythological consciousness. 

Episode 56 - Chuk Barber

Playing drums since he was eleven years old, Chukinho has had sticks in his hands for over 40 years. A student of legendary jazz drummer, Hal Blaine, Chukinho was a grounding member in many garage bands in the early 60s. He founded the Virginia/North Carolina-based premiere jazz group “Heroes” in the late 70s. Moving to New Orleans in 1986, he co-founded “Casa Samba,” New Orleans’ first Samba School. After many trips to Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, Bahia, to hone his skills, Chukinho was picked from a handful of non-Brazilian born “bateristias” to accompany the World Champion Brazilian Soccer Team on a world-tour as part of their Samba Band or “Bateria.”

A student of legendary jazz drummer, Hal Blaine, Chuk Barber has had sticks in his hands for over 40 years. He's played with some of New Orleans greatest musicians and bands including: Dr. John, The Neville Brothers, Sun Ra, Michael Ray and the Cosmic Krewe, Anders Osbome, Big Al Carson, Kid Merv, Jand onas Risin. Since 1997, he has been the percussionist for the Platinum Recording group WAR, (aka the LowRider Band).  He taught Brazilian Drum and Dance, Capoeira and, along with Baba Kenyatta Simon, created the Academy of African Culture at New Orleans Charter Middle School. Since moving to Portland, Chukinho, along with another New Orleans musician, Tom Sandahl, and 5 of Portland’s finest, created the group Indigo, fusing Brazilian Bossa Nova with Jazz and funk.

In 1997, Chukinho was called up to the “Big Leagues” to play alongside his musical heroes and is now a member of the 70’s and 80’s Funk/Soul Group WAR now called The Original Lowriders. Performing with The Lowrider Band

He is a first time author and has written a wonderful story of strength and determination, entitled “Dear Xango.”

In this conversation, we discuss how New Orleans changed for the worse after Katrina, how Gentrification in Portland continues to scrub the city of what little Black history and culture remains, and the importance of music in reclaiming identity for many young people of color. 

Episode 55 - Willy Vlautin

Born and raised in Reno, Nevada, Willy Vlautin started playing guitar and writing songs as a teenager and quickly became immersed in music. It was a Paul Kelly song, based on Raymond Carver’s Too Much Water So Close to Home that inspired him to start writing stories. Vlautin has published four novels: THE MOTEL LIFE (2007), NORTHLINE (2008), LEAN ON PETE (2010), and THE FREE (2014). He is the winner of multiple awards, including the Oregon Book Award and the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction. 

Vlautin founded the band Richmond Fontaine in 1994. The band has produced nine studio albums to date, plus a handful of live recordings and EPs. Driven by Vlautin’s dark, story-like songwriting, the band has achieved critical acclaim at home and across Europe. 2014 will see the debut album from Vlautin’s new band, The Delines, featuring vocalist Amy Boone (The Damnations). 

He came to speak and read at the college where we work last year. While he was here, Vlautin spoke with us about his life as a writer and musician, the allure of the Drifter archetype, and why he is so drawn to stories of working class people trying to find themselves in the chaos and oblivion of modern America. 

“Willy Vlautin is one of the bravest novelists writing. Murderers, cheats, sadists, showy examples of the banality of evil, are easy, but it takes real courage to write a novel about ordinary good people. They don’t fit into the cynic’s little boxes — they’re way too big. The guy working two eight-hour jobs who still can’t meet the mortgage but won’t let his kids down, the hospital night nurse coping with her crazy mean father and trying to rescue a lost girl — common people, the ones who never get the breaks, the ones who need, and know, compassion. An unsentimental Steinbeck, a heartbroken Haruf, Willy Vlautin tells us who really lives now in our America, our city in ruins.”


--Ursula K. Le Guin

Episode 54 - Dr. Bruce Damer

Bruce Frederick Damer is a Canadian-American multi-disciplinary scientist, designer, and speaker. He works in evolutionary biology researching the question of the origin of life and the exploration and economic development of space. He also has a practice in the design of innovative software systems interfaces and a passion for collecting and curating historical archives in computing history and leading figures of the counter-culture.

Dr. Damer performs as a storyteller on a range of subjects under the moniker science + vision = hope. He began performing in 2003 and is featured at venues such as Burning Man, and the Esalen Institute. He also performs at music and art festivals worldwide including BuddhafieldSymbiosisRainbow SerpentEarth Frequency, and Lightning in a Bottle, covering topics ranging through science, space, deep evolutionary history, questions of origins, and the meaning and future of the human enterprise. Many of these talks many be found online through podcasts such as the Joe Rogan Experience, the Psychedelic Salon, the Biota Podcast, the Space Show, the Dr. Future Show, the C-Realm, the Midwest Real Podcast, and the Tink Tink Club. A good selection of Dr. Damer's talks and philosophy as well as conversations and featured guest speakers are collected together in his own Levity Zone podcast.

In the late 1990s, Dr. Damer met the American philosopher and storyteller Terence McKenna and formed a collaboration investigating the connection between computer virtual worlds and the inner worlds experienced through alternative states of consciousness. Following McKenna's death in 2000 he worked with Lorenzo Hagerty to digitally remaster McKenna's talks and collect his last remaining papers. In 2006 he became an agent for the estate of Dr.Timothy Leary and received the remaining books, news archive, record collection, and ephemera from Leary's archives. Working with the Internet Archive he established several online libraries of historical materials: Psychedelia, which contains unique materials from counter-cultural figures and  Archiving Virtual Worlds focused on the early history of virtual worlds, and games, built in collaboration with Dr. Henry Lowood of Stanford University.

Dr. Damer is a follower of a scientific version of the philosophy of liminality occupying a liminal boundary between rational, reductionist, materialist approaches to reality but open to inspiration from alternative states of consciousness. He has built a practice of intentionally seeking visionary experiences through meditative states that can be grounded in scientific insights or guiding stories. He has refined this philosophy since childhood when he occupied himself entering imaginal worlds and expressing those worlds through his artwork. Dr. Damer is currently researching a book based on interviews with other practitioners of what he terms the "endo way", meaning insights sourced through endogenous methods who then pragmatically apply their insights to real world applications.

Find Dr. Damer on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and videos on Vimeo and YouTube

Some of Dr. Damer's scientific articles are listed on ResearchGate

Google search on Bruce Damer