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Baltimore banjo history, Understanding Joy, The Rucksack, The Memo, and Sabatinos' Peachy Dixon

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A look at the twisted history of the banjo, a documentary about problem gambling, an ode to an Iraq War veteran’s rucksack, Single Carrot’s production of VaclavHavel’s “The Memo,” and a Stoop story from Sabatino’s waitress Peachy Dixon

  A new exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Industry highlights the city’s important place in American music history.  The first commercially produced banjos were built here in the 1840s at a shop on Baltimore Street, and they sold fast.  But why the sudden demand?  Aaron Henkin shares the story.

 

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  Filmmakers Susan Hannah Hadary and John Anglim have created, Understanding Joy, a documentary about one woman’s gambling addiction.  “Joy” lost her home, her car, and her family.  She also stole 700,000 dollars from her employer. Producers Hadary and Anglim join the Signal’s Lisa Morgan to talk about the film.

Baltimore banjo history, Understanding Joy, The Rucksack, The Memo, and Sabatinos' Peachy Dixon
Understanding Joy, a film about problem gambling

 

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  In his short story, “The Things They Carried,” author Tim O’Brien catalogues the objects certain members of a platoon of American soldiers carried with them in Vietnam – items physical and emotional, military and personal, practical and sentimental. University of Baltimore MFA student Lisa Van Wormer follows in the literary tradition, recounting the contents of her rucksack when she served in Iraq. 

Baltimore banjo history, Understanding Joy, The Rucksack, The Memo, and Sabatinos' Peachy Dixon
Lisa Van Wormer's essay, "The Rucksack"

 

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Stephen Nunns directs a rehearsal of Single Carrot's "The Memo"

  50 years ago, Haclav Havel wrote the satirical play, “The Memorandum.”  The Czech playwright was a young dissident at the time, and his farce about office politics was a sly satire of communist bureaucracy.  50 years later, Baltimore’s Single Carrot Theatre is producing an English translation of the play, and Aaron Henkin brings us a preview.

Baltimore banjo history, Understanding Joy, The Rucksack, The Memo, and Sabatinos' Peachy Dixon
Vaclav Havel's "The Memo" at Single Carrot Theatre

 

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Peachy Dixon tells her story at The Stoop

  Here’s a beautiful little slice of Baltimore life, as told by “Peachy” Dixon, who waited tables for 40 years at Sabatino’s in Little Italy.  Peachy shared this anecdote in front of a live audience at the Stoop Storytelling Series.

Baltimore banjo history, Understanding Joy, The Rucksack, The Memo, and Sabatinos' Peachy Dixon
Peachy Dixon at The Stoop

Aaron creates and produces original radio programs for WYPR. His current project is the neighborhood documentary series, Out of the Blocks, which earned the 2018 national Edward R Murrow Award. His past work includes the long-running weekly cultural program, The Signal, and the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings series, Tapestry of the Times. Aaron's stories have aired nationally on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, PRI’s Studio 360, & The World.
Lisa Morgan covered the local arts community as co-creator and host of WYPR’s award-winning program The Signal from 2004 to 2015. She has created and produced many programs for WYPR, including news stories, features, commentaries, and audio documentaries. She taught audio production at Goucher College from 2002 – 2004 and has done voice-over work for a variety of clients. The Weekly Reader is her latest project.