Outsiders used to be the outcasts, misfits, and under-employed. Today, they're indie, alternative and ahead of their time. Outsiders are thriving and they're changing the way we think about what is mainstream and what is alternative. You might even say that outsiders are the new insiders.
Alissa Quart's book, "Republic of Outsiders: The Power of Amateurs, Dreamers, and Rebels," makes the case for a more expansive definition of outsiders. A definition that includes the people Quart writes about -- everyone from indie filmmakers and musicians to trasngender activists and bi-polar pride supporters.
Back in 1956, philosopher Colin Wilson wrote a best-selling book that popularized the concept we’ve been talking about – “The Outsider.” It’s a study of misfit artists and writers, like Kafka, van Gogh and Dostoevsky – it’s never been out of print, and is still considered the classic work on alienation, creativity and the modern psyche. Blair Lorimer from the “Starve the System” YouTube channel thinks everyone should read it.
Alexa Clay and Kyra Maya Phillips give us some advice on how unleashing our inner misfits can lead us to be more innovative. They're the authors of "The Misfit Economy: Lessons in Creativity from Pirates, Hackers, Gangsters, and Other Informal Entrepreneurs."
Between the 1930s and 60s, writer Joseph Mitchell kept The New Yorker real. Week after week, he gave the magazine's elite readership portraits of people who live in the city's fringes. He specializied in misfits and outcasts -- saloon-keepers, street preachers, gypsies and a 93-year-old "seafoodetarian" who believed that his special diet would keep him alive for another 20 years. Those stories were some of hte most beloved in the magazine's history. Mitchell died in 1996. Now he himself has been profiled in a new biography by Thomas Kunkel. Kunkel tells us about Mitchell's life and work.
After more than half a century of feuding, the U.S. has re-opened its embassy in Havana, Cuba. Among other things, that could set the stage for more Cuban-American musical exchanges. They've been few and far between, but legendary. For instance – in the late 80's, American jazz great Charlie Haden met a young Cuban pianist – Gonzalo Rubalcaba. They hit it off, and Haden became a kind of mentor figure to Rubalcaba… who went on to become major figure in jazz. Charlie Haden died last year, but shortly before that, he dug out some old recordings of two concerts he played with Rubalcaba, in Japan. The album's just been released – it's called "Tokyo Adagio." Steve Paulson's been listening to it a lot and he got in touch with Rubalcaba to talk about it.
There are images that once seen, can't be forgotten. Like the recent photograph of a Syrian toddler who drowned when his family tried to flee their country. With his dark hair and bright red t-shirt and shorts, he has become the symbol of refugees fleeing Syria to Europe. This hour, the morality and ethics of photographing war and human crisis.
Chilean-born artist Alfredo Jaar has spent much of his career regarding the pain of others. He delves into issues like war or globalization with giant installations and photos. But his work does not take use a grand scale, instead, he drills down to one individual. His most famous work is 6-year project on the Rwandan Genocide called “The Rwanda Project.”