BTS 5/11/09: Economic Prescriptions; "Shush! A Memoir"; MOLAA Art Show

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Leon Despres, the former Chicago Alderman who fought the Daley machine from the left for 55 years died May 8 at 101. We will do a tribute to him next week on BTS.

On tonight’s program we begin with Jack Rasmus, who says it’s time to transfer the trillions paid to or allocated for bank bailouts toward bailing out American working and middle class families. He was part of a campaign kicked off this weekend by labor councils’ in the Bay area to “Bail out Working People – Not the Banks.”

Then Emil Draitser joins us to preview his book talk tonight at 6:30pm at the Westwood branch of the LA Public Library: the book is Shush! Growing Up Jewish Under Stalin. Emil will also be speaking at UCLA on Thursday afternoon. The book describes his childhood in the anti-Semitic, post-Holocaust Soviet Union, where he tried to reconcile Soviet values and those of his working class Jewish family. With humor and unforgettable stories, Emil Draitser presents a sweeping panorama of two centuries of Jewish history in Russia

And finally, LA based Chilean artist Guillermo Bert then joins us to talk about his solo exhibition that opens next weekend at the Museum of Latin American Art In Long Beach: his Bar Code Series (Blurring the Boundary Between Cultures and Commodities) reflects the ‘branding’ of concepts of consumerism, fusing government buildings and national symbols, as well as ancient Andean ceremonial relics with the Bar Code patterns (universal Pricing Code technology), reducing them to a single word or message that provokes political commentary and social questioning about the price of democracy, and the value of justice in our contemporary time.

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Jack Rasmus currently teaches economics and politics at St. Mary's College and Santa Clara University in California. He is the author of the forthcoming Epic Recession, as well as The War At Home. He writes for Against The Current, Critique, Znet and all his published articles are available at his website, Prior to a writing career, Jack was an economist and analyst for several global companies and before that, for more than a decade, a local union president, business representative, contract negotiator, and organizer for several labor unions.

2. Emil Draitser has been publishing both fiction and nonfiction since 1965. Under his pen name "Emil Abramov," his work appeared in leading Russian journals like (Youth, Literary Gazette and Crocodile). In 1974, blacklisted by the Soviet literary establishment for a satirical attack on one of its members, he emigrated to the US where he continued his writing career. Besides Russia and America, his fiction has appeared in Canadian, Israeli and Polish literary journals. Professor of Russian, he teaches at Hunter College in New York City. Currently, he is at work on a biography of a Russian super-spy. His books include: Shush! Growing Up Jewish Under Stalin: A Memoir (Univ. of California Press, 2008), Making War, Not Love: Gender and Sexuality in Russian Humor (St. Martin’s, 1999), and Techniques of Satire: The Case of Saltykov?Shchedrin (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1994)

3. Guillermo Bert: Born in Santiago and educated in Pinochet-dominated Chile, Bert immigrated to the United States in the 1980s. Since then he has won grants and commissions from the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) and the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department; created murals and public sculptures; and worked as Art Director for the LA Times. He has taught at the Art Center School of Design in Pasadena and maintains a studio at The Brewery. His art has been exhibited and collected by numerous museums in the U.S and South America. He was a recent Honorable Award winner of MOLAA’s annual juried art competition, MOLAA Awards 07.