Listen to Marc Levitt’s interview from October 2013 with Ocar Goodman, Mayor of Las Vegas from 1999 til 2011 (his wife, Carolyn Goodman currently hold the position as mayor!). Oscar was a celebrated criminal defense attorney for Las Vegas mobsters for 25 years before holding office and is the author of “Being Oscar: From Mob Lawyer to Mayor of Las Vegas.” In this interview, Marc and Oscar discuss the colorful nature and history of Sin City. This episode is part of our Utopia/Dystopia season and our October 3rd, 2013 live panel discussion on the birth of Las Vegas Strip with the first casino/hotel, El Rancho Vegas in 1941.
On October 24th as part of our Utopia/Dystopia fall 2013 season we discussed the birth of Yoga in America with Pierre ‘The Great Oom” Bernard’s Nyack, NY yoga retreat in 1924. A Hatha Yoga instructor, The Great Oom was a disciple of Tantric Yoga, a teacher and counselor to some of the wealthiest people in the United States as well as an aficionado of baseball and circuses. This everyday boy from the Midwest became the quintessential self-inventor and America’s first home-grown leader of Yoga. Today the utopian world of yoga has evolved itself into mainstream American physical and consumer culture, but that is not without a darker dystopian history.
Carol Horton – Social scientist, certified yoga instructor and author of “Yoga Ph.D.: Integrating the Life of the Mind and the Wisdom of the Body.” Carol is co-founder of the Socially Engaged Yoga Network, an organization dedicated to supporting yoga teachers and community leaders committed to sharing the benefits of yoga with underserved communities in the Chicago area.
Devarshi Steven Hartman – Founder of The Pranotthan School of Yoga and faculty member of Nosara Yoga Institute’s Advanced Yoga Teacher Training. He has been a student and teacher of yoga and yoga philosophy since 1974, was a longtime Kripalu Ashram resident He currently leads 200-Hour and 500-Hour Yoga Certification Programs around the country. Devarshi currently teaches in Wakefield, RI and around New England.
Swami Tyagananda – Monk of the Ramakrishna Order since 1976, and is head of the Vedanta Society in Boston, and the Hindu Chaplain at MIT and Harvard. He has translated and edited ten books including his latest, “The Essence of the Gita” and “Interpreting Ramakrishna.” Today, he lectures and teaches at the Vedanta Society, MIT, Harvard and other universities and institutions throughout America.
action speaks, as220, carol horton, consumerism, dystopia, god, history, india, lululemon, sex, sexism, spirituality, steven hartman, swami tyagananda, the beatles, the great oom, utopia, yoga
Up late at night/early morning (3AM) with my mind in one place (Europe) and my body in another (Wakefield, RI) having flown back during the day yesterday. Nothing significant to report about the flight, except one last good inexpensive espresso at 4am in the Lisbon Airport and two quite passable films on the plane. One was ‘Two Grandmothers’, coincidentally based on the book of the recently passed Doris Lessing, a hero of the Left and of Feminism and a person who embodied the fragile balance between utopian politics and dystopian personal behavior. The other, ‘Side Effects’ starring Rooney Mara, who, for you football fans, is related to the Mara’s of the NY Giants ownership clan and is named after the revered Rooney family who founded the Pittsburg Steelers. My book for the plane was ‘America’s Assembly Line’ by David E. Nye.
My tour that included stops in Bulgaria, Sweden and Switzerland and ended in Portugal was rich in work, food, people, cities and more. Portugal was however, a revelation. I had never been to Lisbon and it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, rich in history, but not frozen in time. It is a city where the layers of its history are both evident and in continual creation. I visited the church in Belem where the explorers who helped create the unlikely, far-flung and the world’s first global empire were blessed. I wondered where people thought these explorers were going and if they were ever coming back? What were they considered in service of and what were they motivated by?
In Nye’s book, a history of the creation of the assembly line, I realized that its invention was also part of the creation of Empire. Just as the Portuguese exploration of the ‘unknown worlds’ was embedded within a context that included smaller physical steps that both depended upon and created significant mental and psychological changes, the creation of Ford’s assembly line depended on intellectual changes that were created by smaller steps towards the rationalization of production. Which, in turn, created both the logic and birth of a new world order based on mass production and consumerism, along with it’s own religious fervor and evangelists. For instance, (and how’s this for an underappreciated date?) in the mid 1950’s, the United States Information Agency created films, conferences and a globally traveling exhibit, “People’s Capitalism – Man’s Newest Way of Life,” a ‘positive’ refutation of Communism that promoted democratic creation and shared (Utopian?) abundance that mass production and consumerism could bring. One of its placards said according to Nye, “people’s capitalism – ‘of the people, by the people, for the people.’ “
The relentless march of large hotels and condominiums up the beach from Lisbon and on the hillsides of the Alps, the big box stores and Soviet style mass housing on the outskirts of Sofia and the airports in Stockholm and Amsterdam with similar stores and ways to gather your attention…these are part of our Empire of course. As I return to my little home on the salt marsh coast of Rhode Island, I’m happy for all I’ve seen that was not totally corralled by the predictability, rationality and efficiency brought by the invasion of our particular kind of ‘Empire.’
- Marc Levitt, Host & Co-Executive Produceraction speaks, Action Speaks Radio, capitolism, Communism, consumerism, dystopia, henry ford, lisbon, marc levitt, portugal, tourism, travel, utopia