BONUS: Novelist Yaa Gyasi

Yaa Gyasi has called many places home: Her native Ghana. Ohio. Illinois. Tennessee. California. Iowa. But she spent her formative years, from age 9 through high school, in Alabama.

On Nov. 1, Gyasi returns to Huntsville to read from “Homegoing,” the debut novel that earned her a spot on the National Book Foundation’s 2016 “5 Under 35” list. She’ll be at the University of Alabama in Huntsville’s Chan Auditorium at 7 p.m.

Gyasi is the next guest on Triple Take, the podcast about the books, albums and movies that shape us. That episode won’t go up till Monday, but click play below to hear a bonus episode in which we discuss Alabama’s influence on “Homegoing.”

“I often say, I don’t think I would’ve written a book like this if I hadn’t come from a country that had some involvement in the slave trade and ended up in a state where the effects of slavery are still so strongly felt. I feel like this kind of connection, this curiosity, I guess, about how everything came to be the way it was. That was something that was strongly on my mind as I was growing up here,” she said.

Although it’s one of many stops on her book tour, Gyasi said her trip to Huntsville will be special.

“I do feel a certain affection for the places I’ve gone to that have, at some point, been my home,” she said. “There’s something about being able to walk around a place and remember with a fond nostalgia all the things that place has given you, has done for you, that I think is uniquely special on a book tour.”

Listen to more in the podcast below.

Like what you hear? Open iTunes or the podcast app on your iPhone and search Triple Take to subscribe, or do the same in the podcast subscription service of your choice. We’ll release new episodes every Monday morning. We also love suggestions for future guests, which you can make in the comments below.

 

Triple Take 17: Birmingham Civil Rights Institute CEO and President Andrea Taylor

Andrea Taylor’s path to Birmingham may not have been obvious. But her passion for and connection to civil rights? That’s another story.

Taylor, the CEO and president of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, marked her one-year anniversary in the city in September. Prior to taking the museum’s helm, the West Virginia native worked in a variety of andrea-taylor-triple-takeroles at Microsoft, the Ford Foundation and taught at Harvard. She’s lived all over the United States. And Taylor’s always been cognizant of the importance of civil rights.

She attended the 1963 March on Washington as a high-school student, and followed the work of Howard Thurman as a student at Boston University. Thurman was one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s mentors, and his writings have inspired Taylor.

Taylor explained the role of BCRI: “Much of what’s happening in our country is not happening in a vacuum. There’s a long, historical pattern of behavior and activity and interaction–or lack of interaction–in communities, really hearkening all the way back to slavery. The more the communities and individuals can know about that history and understand their role, or not, in it, I think it makes it easier for us to come forward as a community and move forward in a positive and constructive way.”

Taylor is this week’s guest on Triple Take, the podcast about the films, books and music that shape us.

Andrea Taylor on “Eyes on the Prize: No Easy Walk”

“Empathy is an issue and an area we struggle with in our society, particularly in a media environment, there’s so many images so many stories and so many crises that we’re all bombarded with on a daily basis that it’s easy to tune out. Not deliberately, but there’s only so much absorptive capacity that a human being has for tragedy and tension and difficulty. And so you’ll often find that the best stories are in a war situation or a conflict or any kind of environment, the best way to communicate is to pick one story, one individual, one family. Tell that story because you can absorb that. You can empathize and imagine how you might feel if you were in a similar circumstance. I think that’s the power of a documentary series like ‘Eyes on the Prize.'”

Andrea Taylor on “For the Inward Journey” by Howard Thurman

“We are a nation of such tremendous diversity, and yet we don’t always reflect that in our policies, in our practices, in the way we treat each other, the way we interact with each other and come together. We still need to focus on that and promote that as a positive construct and not as something that divides us and compartmentalizes us.”

Andrea Taylor on “Bolero” by Maurice Ravel

“(Music) forms a very positive and powerful human connection with people to talk about their experience, to reflect on their experience and give a lift. Just think what the world would be like without music.”

Like what you hear? Open iTunes or the podcast app on your iPhone and search Triple Take to subscribe, or do the same in the podcast subscription service of your choice. We’ll release new episodes every Monday morning. We also love suggestions for future guests, which you can make in the comments below.

Triple Take episode 14: Morgan Smith

morgan-smithYou might recognize Morgan Smith as the smiling redhead from Wendy’s commercials. That is, after all, how many American households welcomed her into their lives. She’s now in a recurring role on HBO’s “Veep,” performing alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky and Tony Hale. But before Hollywood and New York City called, Smith lit up the stage at Birmingham’s Red Mountain Theatre Company.

The Cullman-raised actress returns to the Alabama spotlight this weekend for RMTC’s Broadway Night at the Cabaret. The show features Smith, who has also appeared on “Boardwalk Empire” and off Broadway, DeMarius Copes (national tour of “Newsies”) and Caitlin Kinnunen (Broadway’s “Bridges of Madison County,” “Spring Awakening”) performing Broadway tunes alongside the RMTC conservatory. The show is 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at RMTC’s cabaret theater. Tickets start at $20 and are available at redmountaintheatre.org.

Smith is this week’s guest on Triple Take, the podcast where we talk to interesting people about the book, album and film that shaped them.

Morgan’s album: “Rumours” by Fleetwood Mac

“Women posses a power that–just sorry and no offense–it’s just not there with dudes. The sisterhood that women have and the ability, the expansiveness that’s within women, how deeply they can feel and the empathy and compassion that’s within women. That’s why I love ‘Gold Dust Woman’ so much. It’s talking about the power we have within.”

Morgan’s film: “Waiting for Guffman”

“Oh crap, this industry isn’t as glamorous as we all want to believe that it is.”

Morgan’s book: “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” by J.K. Rowling

“That’s the amazing thing about feminism, too. There’s not one right way to be a feminist. You can be any kind of woman you want to be. It’s just believing you’re equally as powerful, equally as matched.”

Like what you hear? Open iTunes or the podcast app on your iPhone and search Triple Take to subscribe, or do the same in the podcast subscription service of your choice. We’ll release new episodes twice a month. We also love suggestions for future guests, which you can make in the comments below.

Like what you hear? Open iTunes or the podcast app on your iPhone and search Triple Take to subscribe, or do the same in the podcast subscription service of your choice. We’ll release new episodes twice a month. We also love suggestions for future guests, which you can make in the comments below.

Triple Take episode 13: To Write Love on Her Arms Founder Jamie Tworkowski

jamie-tworkowskiI became a passionate advocate for mental healthcare in 2011, after I was finally diagnosed with depression. (I had self identified as depressed since age 14.) I’m comfortable sharing my experience, and I hope it’ll encourage others to seek the help they need.

It’s unsurprising, then, that I’m a fan of To Write Love on Her Arms. The decade-old nonprofit works to provide hope for people who face depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.

Founder Jamie Tworkowski is the subject of this week’s Triple Take. He spoke to us about Switchfoot’s “The Beautiful Letdown,” “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller and “Almost Famous.

Follow To Write Love on Her Arms on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also follow our hosts on social media: Carla Jean Whitley on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram; John Hammontree on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; and Matt Scalici on Twitter.

Triple Take episode 12: The Lochamy Brothers

lochamy-brothersReed and Will Lochamy must be on a mission to dominate Birmingham media. Or maybe they really, really like to work a lot.

Whatever the case, the brothers show up all over the place: Thursdays from 7-9 p.m. on Birmingham Mountain Radio; the SEC Network; monthly “Right You Are!” events at the BJCC … and who knows what’s next. (Just this morning, Will became a permanent fixture on BMR’s morning show, The Morning Blend with Reg and Will.)

Their in-the-know nature made them perfect subjects for Triple Take. We recorded the episode live on their Oh Brother Radio show Thursday night, and I’ve edited it for the podcast form.

Follow the Lochamy Brothers on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. You can also follow our hosts on social media: Carla Jean Whitley on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram; John Hammontree on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; and Matt Scalici on Twitter.

Triple Take episode 11: Birmingham magazine’s Julia Sayers

Triple Take Julia SayersThis week, Birmingham magazine Managing Editor Julia Sayers joined us on Triple Take. The magazine’s September issue, which celebrates the best of Birmingham, is on newsstands now.

Julia’s specialties are food and travel writing, and it’s easy to see how the book, film and album she picked influenced her. They are “What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding” by Kristin Newman, “La Vita e Bella (Life is Beautiful)” and Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”

Find more from Birmingham magazine at bhammag.com, and follow Julia on Twitter and Instagram.

You can follow our hosts on social media: Carla Jean Whitley on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram; John Hammontree on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; and Matt Scalici on Twitter.

Triple Take episode 9: Art in the news

Triple Take 9

Great news, podcast fans! Triple Take is moving to a weekly schedule.

But hey, booking guests takes time (a lot of it, actually). We’ve got many exciting folks on the lineup, but this week we’ve taken another tack. Rather than interviewing someone about the book, album and film that shaped him or her, we’re looking at three pieces of art in the news.

This week’s discussion focuses on the comic-book film “Suicide Squad,” Laurence Leamer’s “The Lynching” and the lack of a new Frank Ocean album.

You can follow our hosts on social media: Carla Jean Whitley on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram; John Hammontree on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; and Matt Scalici on Twitter.

 

Triple Take episode three: John Archibald

John Archibald, AL.com columnist
John Archibald, AL.com columnist

Welcome to the third episode of Triple Take, the podcast where we discuss how favorite films, books and albums shape who we are. Today’s guest is John Archibald, a columnist for The Birmingham News/AL.com for 30 years. He speaks with us about “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, “The Princess Bride” and The Mulligan Brothers’ self-titled album.

Follow John on Facebook or Twitter. You can also follow our hosts: Carla Jean Whitley on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram; John Hammontree on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; and Edward Bowser on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.