Tag Archives: J. Ryan Stradal

Summer Rayne Oakes. J Ryan Stradal. Gafacci.

“Is taking care of plants the best way to take care of yourself?” This question posed by Summer Rayne Oakes is creatively answered in her new book, How to Make a Plant Love You: Cultivate Green Space in Your Home and Heart. She explores ways to elevate the common potted plant from a decorative object that makes one’s space “look good” to a gateway to something deeper. “Taking care of other living things is a basic human need.” Says, Summer, “Without exercising care for others, we become stuck in own heads, anxious, lonely, and unreceptive to beauty. Becoming a good plant parent can radically open your mind. Watering plants, listening to their needs, and breathing in their scents can mold you into a more mindful and caring person.” The urban houseplant expert and environmental scientist wants to bring nature indoors, Summer has managed to grow 1,000 houseplants in her Brooklyn apartment (and they are thriving). Her secret? She approaches her relationships with plants as intentionally as if they were people.

J Ryan Stradal, the author of the best-selling, Kitchens Of The Great Midwest returns to Life Elsewhere to talk about his latest novel, The Lager Queen Of Minnesota. Edith Magnusson’s rhubarb pies are famous in the Twin Cities–they were named the third-best in the state of Minnesota and St. Anthony-Waterside Nursing Home has quickly become the hottest dinner ticket in town. Still, she lays awake wondering how her life might have been different if her father hadn’t left their family farm to her sister Helen, a decision that split their family in two. With the proceeds from the farm, her sister, Helen Blotz, built her husband Orval’s family soda business into the top-selling brewery in Minnesota. She singlehandedly created the light beer revolution and made their corporate motto ubiquitous: “Drink lots, it’s Blotz.” But Helen dismisses IPAs as a fad, and the Blotz fortune begins its inevitable decline. Soon, though, she finds a potential savior that’s surprisingly close to home. . .Diana Winter earns a shot at learning the beer business from the ground up just as the IPA revolution begins. The stakes couldn’t be higher: just as she’s launching her own brewpub, she’s due to deliver a baby girl. When the unthinkable happens, it’s up to Grandma Edith–and a delightfully surprising cadre of grandmother friends–to secure the next generation’s chances for a better future. Can Grandma Edith’s Rhubarb Pie In A Bottle Ale save Diana’s fledgling brewery, and change their hearts and fortunes forever?

Also in the show, we go to Accra, Ghana to hear new music from Gafacci. The beat-maker is known for his unique sounds and infusing afro rhythms into his electronic-based instrumentals.  This Ghanaian style is called aokpor directly influenced by his father, Sega Gafatche, a former band member of juju music legend, Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey. On Gafacci’s new four-track EP, Tash BNM, (meaning Tash bought new music) he collaborates with vocalists Tinuke, Lazee, and Amaarae. Listen, enjoy and dance!

Show #335

The Food & Drink Edition

                            

Next on Life Elsewhere, a program devoted to food and drink. Of course, we’ll venture into not so predictable territory. Michelle Ephraim and Caroline Bicks are longtime friends and fans of Shakespeare. They are both professors who teach the works of the Bard. Better still, the two academics like a cocktail. While the learned ladies were imbibing a couple of drinks, inspiration struck: Shakespeare-themed cocktails! The result is Shakespeare, Not Stirred: Cocktails for Your Everyday Dramas. In equal parts, it’s a funny and educational book. If you appreciate Shakespeare and a fine cocktail, make sure you don’t miss this interview.

Continuing on with our food and drink theme, Norman B talks with J. Ryan Stradal, the author of a book that has to qualify as one of the best reads of 2015, Kitchens of the Great Midwest. “This is a remarkable book!” Says Norman B, “As I reached the last couple of pages, I couldn’t help myself, tears meandered down my cheeks. From the very first page Stradal drew me into his complicated, yet seemingly simple story. A story that revolves around a passion for food and drink.” Setting his impressive book in the Midwest, with fine dining as a central theme, is a stroke of genius. J. Ryan Stradal grew up in Hastings, Minn, a place he lovingly references in one hilarious chapter. The cover and even the book’s title could mislead a prospective reader from discovering the wonderful story Stradal weaves. To accompany the fascinating interview, we’ve added a selection of food and drink themed music, including, Patrick WolfTanita TikaramCibo MattoThe KinksBob Marley.

A quick word about last week’s edition featuring Frank Jenkinson’s photo book on Killing Joke, we’ve received numerous enquiries on how to obtain a copy. You’ll find the direct link here.

Life Elsewhere airs:
Sundays 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  
Mondays 7.00pm ET at WROM Radio
Mondays 5.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio