When she finally played Carnegie Hall in 1963, becoming the first African-American woman, classical pianist to do so, Nina Simone was still disappointed... because she wasn't playing Bach.
A documentary about an intrepid and curious man inspires this reflection on failure, giving up too soon, and pursuing curiosity rather than success.
A Q+A with Phie Ambo on meditation, contemplative neuroscience, and what she learned while making the documentary Free the Mind on neuroscientist Richard Davidson.
A smart film about the NYT photographer and seeing beauty in our everyday encounters.
Got a little choked up watching this trailer for Tom Shadyac's new film, I Am.
Meditation and contemplation take many forms. Often we think of this act of introspection and focus as being a peaceful, tranquil experience where the noise of machinery recedes to make way for internal silence and harmony.
Our senior editor sees Kristof in a new light after watching Reporter in a hotel on location, and resolves to pitch him as a guest for this program.
A series of portraits of Buddhist monks in silence from a 1966 doc by Arnaud Desjardins.
The topic of gender and sexuality is on our long list of shows we want to produce in the coming year — in particular, a show on transgender people. The videos above and below are excerpts from Be Like Others, a documentary about a number of young men who are transsexuals living in Iran and pursuing surgical changes.
In these two clips, Iranian-American director Tanaz Eshaghian shows the complex, multi-layered conversations and struggles for transgender people living in an Islamic state — from conversations about proper attire and wearing of the hijab to familial struggles about cultural norms.
The first entry I wrote for SOF Observed (which was never published as it was part of a blogging trial) was about the fallen Evangelical pastor Ted Haggard. More than two years ago, news had broken about his then-alleged homosexual entanglement and solicitation of crystal meth. The e-mails were making rounds among the SOF staff.
Not only were all of us shocked like so many others, we were also discussing the news coverage. If I recall, most of us thought it was surprisingly restrained. Many critics of Ted Haggard who might have reveled in his demise, didn’t. And those who might have demonized his accuser were beseeched to pray for him instead. Boy, just thinking back, the Evangelical Right still held quite a bit of political sway. The NAE — of which he was president at the time — was rocked to its core.
Early this morning, the BBC World Service rebroadcast this CBC documentary about the uniquely American religion of Spiritualism. Lily Dale, a small town in southwestern New York state, was founded by a socially progressive group of Spiritualists in 1879 and is the epicenter for its practitioners.
Wondering what is a Spiritualist? Here’s the town’s definition:
One who believes, as the basis of his or her religion, in the continuity of life and in individual responsibility. Some, but not all, Spiritualists are Mediums and/or Healers. Spiritualists endeavor to find the truth in all things and to live their lives in accordance therewith.