WBGO Journal

Saturday 6am - 6:30am

Hosted by Doug Doyle

The WBGO Journal is an award-winning half-hour news magazine that airs Saturdays at 6 am. Reports and analysis, informative interviews and features.

Ang Santos / WBGO

It’s been over twenty years since the state took control of Newark Public School’s because of low graduation rates and overall poor student performance.  It’s been a rocky road for the city’s education system since, and many residents believe not much has changed over the course of time.

At First Avenue School in Newark’s North Ward, about 100 city residents gathered to hear Mayor Ras Baraka’s latest updates on regaining local control of schools.  They had their own concerns.

Indian Head
Luna Stage for WBGO

Indian Head is a provocative play by Obie Award-Winner Nikkole Salter.   Indian Head was commissioned in partnership with the NJPAC Stage Exchange, a program of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.  It is currently wowing audiences at Luna Stage in West Orange, New Jersey.

UNCF's Vaughn McKoy chats with WBGO's Alexandra Hill about the organization's efforts to address the current crisis in black education, and their ongoing mission to provide college scholarships and opportunities to African-American students. 

Ang Santos / WBGO

When the city of Newark announced the Mulberry Commons Project last month, transforming lot and warehouse space on Prudential Centers Mulberry St. side into a 22-acre park, was it possible for something to outshine the ambitious project.  I guess that depends on if you like music more than shops and recreational activity.  The Grammy Museum Experience will use 8,000 square feet of Prudential Center space to bring its history to New Jersey.  Daniel Cherry is the Chief Marketing Innovation Officer for the New Jersey Devils.  He says they’re a perfect match.

Mark Krasovic
Doug Doyle for WBGO

The 37th annual Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series is February 18th at the Paul Robeson Campus Center at Rutgers University-Newark.  The series was founded by the late Dr. Clement A. Price and Giles Wright. 

This year's MTW is once again being put together by Mark Krasovic, an assistant professor of history and American Studies at Rutgers University-Newark.  Krasovic is also the interim director of the Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience.

The theme of this year's one-day event is City Moves: Black Urban History Since 1967.

John Bolger and Suzzanne Douglas
Doug Doyle for WBGO

Stage and screen stars Suzzanne Douglas and John Bolger return to George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ for the award-winning play American Son, which runs through February 26th.

Douglas is returning to GSP for the sixth time.  She plays Kendra Ellis-Connor.  Bolger plays her estranged husband, Scott Connor.  Their son Jamal's car has been pulled over in the middle of the night and the Connors can't get any answers about his whereabouts. 

Douglas says her character fights like a tiger to save her son:

Chapter & Verse

Feb 3, 2017
Chapter and Verse Partners, LLC

The film is directed by 64 year-old Jamal Joseph, a former Black Panther who is now a professor at Columbia University. Joseph spent several years behind bars himself after being convicted of a variety of crimes including the sheltering of members of the Black Liberation Army and Weather Underground involved in the infamous Brinks robbery and murders in 1981. During a prison stint in Kansas he became a playwright and has been active in film and theater since he was freed. His focus has very much been on the plight of black men in America.

Ang Santos / WBGO

With the tolling of flag poles all around, and a backdrop of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, top lawmakers from New York and New Jersey huddled together in opposition to President Trump’s travel ban.

“My name is Senator Michael Gianaris.  I’m from New York, not New Jersey but we’re happy to be here on the New Jersey side today.”

Gianaris is the deputy democratic leader of the New York State Senate and author of legislation that would prevent the Port Authority from using its resources to support Trump’s Executive Order.

Nick Davidson
Bloomfield College Athletics

The Bloomfield College men's and women's basketball teams are rolling, both on top of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference.  The captains of the Bears men's team got here via different paths.  6-foot-6 junior forward Nick Davidson had a brilliant senior season at Rancocas Valley High School and has emerged as this year's leading scorer on the Bears.  Rakwan Kelly, a 6-4 junior forward, transferred to Bloomfield after playing at Division 1 Mississippi Valley State.  Davidson, Kelly and women's 6-1 sophomore forward Bobbi Floyd are all pursuing degrees in the communications field. 

Martin Brodeur
Doug Doyle for WBGO

Former New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur was no surprise to make the NHL's 100 Greatest Players List released this past Friday night.  Brodeur is a certain hall of famer and is the assistant general manager of the St. Louis Blues.

In his 21-season tenure with the New Jersey Devils, he won three Stanley Cup championships and five Eastern Conference titles in 17 postseason campaigns. He finished up his career in St. Louis.  Brodeur also won two Olympic gold medals with Team Canada in the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympic Games. 

The Crypto Party Phenomenon Hits Brooklyn

Jan 27, 2017
Crypto Party
crypto_party.org

We're going to take you now to a crypto party. It's really more of a teach-in than a party. Privacy advocates and political activists have been organizing crypto parties to foil efforts by corporations and governments to collect data.

The phenomenon started in Australia in 2012 and has since spread around the world.  Reporter Jon Kalish recently went to a couple of crypto parties in Brooklyn.

Click above to hear the story.

The Liar Completes Its Comedic Mission

Jan 27, 2017
The Liar
Classic Stage Company

Theater critic Michael Bourne reviews the Classic Stage Company's The Liar, a new David Ives translation of a French comedy.

Ang Santos / WBGO

New Jersey could become the first state to ban veterinarians from declawing cats.  Feline advocates are split over whether the legislation is a good idea.

A bill passed by the Assembly and awaiting action in the state Senate would fine veterinarians as much as $2000 for declawing a cat unless it’s considered medically necessary.  Kathleen Schatzmann, the state director of the Humane Society, supports the proposed ban.

Harlan Jacobson's Finest From Sundance

Jan 27, 2017
Harlan Jacobson
Susan Jacobson for WBGO

What a work of man Sundance is, namely Robert Redford. It’s his legacy, after all, far more than the Way We Were or All the President’s Men or that near-silent film he starred in, ALL IS LOST, as a sailor adrift at sea. The 33rd Sundance Film Festival wraps up this weekend.

If you stop thinking of film as art—the 7th art, in fact—which the majority of Americans don’t anyway—and think of it for a second as a product, Sundance didn’t invent the independent film. But it did find a way to make it a business.

Hurricane Diane Blows People Away At Two River Theater

Jan 27, 2017
Becca Blackwell
Cassie Galisetti for WBGO

Becca Blackwell is making audiences laugh as "Diane" in Two River Theater's latest production Hurricane Diane.  In this wild comedy, the Greek god Dionysus takes form as "Diane", a lesbian permaculture gardener from Vermont.  She's on a mission to gather followers and restore the Earth to its natural state. Where better to begin than a Monmouth County cul-de-sac and the women who live there?

Blackwell is enjoying working with Two River's playwright-in-residence, Madeleine George:

President Donald Trump
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The nation's new president is continuing to sound the themes of economic populism and nationalism that fueled his campaign.  In his inaugural speech in Washington, DC, President Donald Trump painted a dark picture of a country he vowed to take in a new direction.

Click above to hear more of the President's remarks and the oath of office.

Protestors
William Alatriste/City Council

Now that Donald Trump has been sworn in as the nation’s 45th President battle lines have been drawn over the confirmation of his controversial cabinet nominees like his pick to lead the Department of Labor Andrew Puzder, who is a fast-food tycoon.

Puzder is an ardent booster of free and unfettered market capitalism. At an economic policy forum he described how the founder of his global empire got started with just one hot dog stand in California:

August Wilson's Jitney made it's official debut on Broadway last night (Thursday) at the Manhattan Theatre Club at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.  A great ensemble cast has already resulted in standing ovations. 

Jitney's scene is set in Pittsburgh, PA in a 1977 dilapidated unlicensed cab station, a place were locals go for cheap fares instead of the expensive regulated taxis.

Television and Broadway star Michael Potts has the audience sighing and laughing as Turnbo, who can't help sticking his nose into everybody's business:

August Wilson's Jitney made it's official debut on Broadway last night (Thursday) at the Manhattan Theatre Club at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.  A great ensemble cast has already resulted in standing ovations. 

Jitney's scene is set in Pittsburgh, PA in a 1977 dilapidated unlicensed cab station, a place were locals go for cheap fares instead of the expensive regulated taxis. 

Brandon J. Dirden, who plays Booster in the two-act play, has performed in several August Wilson productions and directed Seven Guitars:

August Wilson's Jitney made it's official debut on Broadway last night (Thursday) at the Manhattan Theatre Club at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.  A great ensemble cast has already resulted in standing ovations. 

Jitney's scene is set in Pittsburgh, PA in a 1977 dilapidated unlicensed cab station, a place were locals go for cheap fares instead of the expensive regulated taxis.  That's also where Shealy, portrayed by veteran actor Harvy Blanks, runs his numbers game.

Blanks who lights up the stage with his acting and wardrobe:

The Present
The Present for WBGO

British productions, even entire casts, have come to Broadway. Now comes a play (and all the actors, including Cate Blanchett) from Australia.  Theater critic Michael Bourne reviews The Present.

Archbishop Tobin
Ang Santos for WBGO

There's a new Archbishop in Newark and he's the first Cardinal to hold the position in the 164-year history of the Archdiocese.  If he wasn’t dressed in the robes of a Cardinal, you might think Joseph Tobin was a bodybuilder.  As it turns out he sort of is.  Tobin and his six foot three frame were a regular fixture at a gym in Indianapolis, where he previously served as their Archbishop.  Late last year Pope  Francis had other ideas for him.  For Tobin that was a surprise.

Nat Hentoff during the annual "A Great Night in Harlem" Benefit Concert at The Apollo Theater in New York City.
STEPHEN LOVEKIN / FILMMAGIC VIA GETTY IMAGES

Lifelong Jazz and Blues fan Dr. Cornel West, the American philosopher, political activist and social critic wished he could have had more conversations with the late Village Voice columnist and jazz critic Nat Hentoff.  Listen above to Dr. West's thoughts on why Hentoff was so instrumental in his work.

Edison Jaquez
Doug Doyle for WBGO

After spending four months in jail for selling drugs six years ago, Edison Jaquez has turned his life around and is now giving back to his community.  Jaquez, of Perth Amboy, New Jersey is the 2016 Berkeley College Alumnus of the Year.  Jaquez created the mentor group B-Men so he could help troubled teenagers.  Listen above to the in-depth interview with the author and WBGO News Director Doug Doyle.

Hidden Figures
complex.com

Silence, by Martin Scorsese, is a good old fashioned art film about selflessness in a Facebook planet. The Jesuit mission to convert Japan to Christianity has failed in 1633, as Buddhist Japan searches out and executes Jesuit priests and their followers. The last priest, Father Ferreira, played by Liam Neeson has sent word back to Portugal that he has apostasized—renounced God and become a Buddhist.

Should you see The Babylon Line?

Jan 16, 2017
The Babylon Line
lincolncenter.org

Theater Critic Michael Bourne reviews one of the new plays of the 2017 season, The Babylon Line.  Listen above to see if Dr. Bourne was applauding at the end of the show.

Dr. Harry Franqui-Rivera
CUNY

Dr. Harry Franqui-Rivera is a historian, blogger, author and cultural critic who teaches several classes at Bloomfield College in New Jersey.  Rivera is an expert in the role Puerto Ricans have played in U.S. Military history.

The Global Tech Braintrust that is TWIT

Jan 9, 2017
TWIT
Jon Kalish for WBGO

Imagine hundreds of hard core geeks from around the world in one room, sitting at computers, ready, willing and able to help solve your tech problems.  This global brain trust does exist in cyberspace.  It's a chat room for a tech-focused podcast network known as TWIT.  TWIT is based in Northern California.

Newark Stories: Charles Tally

Jan 6, 2017
Charles Tally
John O'Boyle for WBGO

In honor of this Newark, New Jersey​'s 350th Anniversary, we’re bringing you Newark Stories — voices from unheard Newarkers, from the Ironbound to Weequahic to University Heights.

Here we revisit the glory days at Weequahic High School​ in 1966 and 1967.

68-year old Charles Tally was on the boys’s basketball team that won back to back state championships, the first time ever for a Newark high school.

Listen above to hear Charles' story.

Doris Yao
Topher Forhecz for WBGO

The New York City Council may double the number of food vendors allowed on city streets. Proponents of the plan say the current cap on vending permits is outdated… And increasing it will hurt a black market that charges vendors thousands of dollars. But, critics of the plan worry adding more vendors could crowd public spaces. When Doris Yao immigrated to New York City in 1981 from Taiwan, she noticed there were not a lot of choices when it came to street food.

Pages