Sedge Thomson's West Coast Live, San Francisco's Radio Show to the World!

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Edward Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud, who brought the ideas of his uncle to the world of marketing -- of things and ideas to manipulate the masses.  Bacon and eggs?  He suggested the bacon. 

This week Sedge says Au Revoir to 2017 and Bon Jour to 2018 with three astonishing thinkers who show us the world through their particular frames:

ADAM PHILLIPS --- The psychoanalyst examines not the oft-written about nature of madness, rather what it is to be sane.  His book, from England, is called Sanity. "I'm interested in how the culture of consumer capitalism depends on the idea that we can't bear frustration, so that every time we feel a bit restless or bored or irritable, we eat, say, or we shop. It's only in an initial state of privation that you can begin to have thoughts about what it is you might want, to really imagine or picture it."

ADAM CURTIS -  His documentaries for the BBC, from the four-part The Century of the Self, opening us to Freud's ideas of our animal behavor as channeled by his nephew, Edward Bernays.  Bernays' ideas formed the basis of modern public relations, advertising, and utltimately, the bullying advertising of politicians.   His The Power of Nightmares traces two visitors to the US who later developed polarized views of America, that need each other, the Islamist and the Neo-Con.

ELI PARISER -- His phrase, "filter bubble," now rolls off our lips in discourse about the bizarre politics of the past couple of years.  The information silos, filter bubbles, and corporate influence in the world of news and information is creating harm.  How to protect ourselves when these silos will soon be actual objects in our homes as amazon, facebook, google, att, comcast, verizon et al seek to control our access to information and shape how we think about the world as corporate policy. 

Mike Greensill at the piano. 

Happier New Year and Best wishes for the return of Net Neutrality.






Today, SEDGE THOMSON presents the holiday show where we imagine the gifts you are delighted to hear without knowing it yet! 


POLLO DEL MAR -  The well-known surf band with Little Drummer Boy;  SONOS HANDBELL QUARTET joins them for a carol that’s different.


HOLLY NEAR - her clarion voice sings to peace of the season. 


PATRICK LENDEZA— The Hawaiian Merry Christmas Mele Kalikimaka.




With the HOT CLUB OF SAN FRANCISCO, the Christmas Jug Band, and others festive and quick. 


It's Sedge's flâneur files.  


Insights abound. 


Laughs, too. Despite the Scrooging in our nation’s capitol, the spirit of Tiny Tim rules all. 


With the jingly belled MIKE GREENSILL

Today, SEDGE THOMSON, presents songs for the holidays you won’t hear anywhere else. 


UKEBOX -  The well-known tunes sound all-new on ukes.


SF GAY MEN’S CHORUS - decked out and singing in sublime harmony with laughter and joy. 


GEORGE KAHUMOKUThe Hawaiian 12 Days of Christmas


With The Christmas Jug Band, Sonos Handbell Ensemble, John Wesley Harding’s Talking Christmas Blues and the Ilene Weiss Christmas story. 



Mike Greensill, festive and quick, the piano’s St Nick. 


It's Sedge's flâneur files.  


Insights abound. 


Laughs, too. Despite the Scrooge-times in our nation’s capitol, the spirit of Tiny Tim rules all.

DANIEL HANDLER and LISA BROWN - Author as Lemony Snickett and illustrator of The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story, the holiday classic in the tradition of A Christmas Carol and cooking tips by Lizzie Borden

The OAKLAND INTERFAITH GOSPEL CHOIR, with a Joy To The World that is utterly joyful.


KARL & CARL, the globe-trotting comedians stop by with their latest (most ridiculous) edition of Tips on Travel for the holiday season.


The HOT CLUB OF SAN FRANCISCO, with Django Bells and other too cool yule of Le Jazz Hot for this winter week



MIKE GREENSILL, piano sleigh

Two films - each dealing with light, matter, the stars, space travel and existential questions with wry insight.  One comes with light sabers, the other with horses and fish and peacocks.

Today, SEDGE opens up the movies, including the new Kepler's Dream.

STANLEY DONEN directed Charade, Singin' in the Rain, and many other favoritie moives.  Sedge talks to him about the art and challenges of directing.

CHARLES BURNETT makes films of pertinence to the African-American communities in LA, including Killer of Sheep.  They are beautiful studies in moving making.  He won a MacArthur for his film work.

MALCOLM McDOWELL has acted in some 130 films, from If.... and O Lucky Man to A Clockwork Orange and Star Trek.  His work with Lindsay Anderson and Stanley Kubrick and Robert Altman shaped him.  

And Sedge talks briefly about Kepler's Dream, the family movie he produced working with a cast and crew of some 130 women, men and children, based on the Y A novel of the same name by Juliet Bell.    Kepler's Dream opens in 11 cities this weekend, from December 1, including LA to New York, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Detroit, Seattle and nation-wide on InDemand and Fandango.  Sedge says it's like producing a live public radio show, but different.  



JOHN CAGE turned to Buddhism in the 1950s.  When he did, he changed music and modern visual art, too.  KAY LARSON sets before us the engaging and profound thoughts of the composer in Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism and the Inner Life of Artists.

The Internet, as long as it is still with us, connects musicians with listeners. ROB REID, who founded, which folded into Rhapsody and Real NEtworks, dealt with the complextiies of music copyright.  He wrote a comic novel, Year Zero, about the intergalactic ramifications and annoyed aliens.

And we hear the original song from the new independent film, Kepler's Dream.  

It's Sedge's flâneur files.  Insights abound.  Laughs, too. Mike Greensill is on hand.




Today, SEDGE THOMSON presents an hour with WILLIAM GIBSON.

Renowned for inventing the word "cyberspace," William Gibson's satirical and prescient novels anticipate the human costs of our technology and the rise of the internet.  

The proliferation of AI, the hacking by "state actors" of social media to disrupt the elections in the US and the UK and to control "the internet of things," William Gibson imagined long before the reality.

But it's all merged.

It's an hour worth jacking into, live on the radio, or via the Listen Again button to your left.


Today, SEDGE THOMSON, presents “Power in Chains”


Scotsman ANDRO LINKLATER finds the link between the measuring of America and the rise of democracy, when ownership of property, in John Adams words, generates power. How did all that surveying work give rise to our country.  George Washington was a surveyor when the work created our democracy.  AMerica was laid out in 22' chains, the size of cricket pitches.


GREG PALAST with his book “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy” created a franchise that keeps on giving for him. His books, films and talks on this subject keep us informed when others try to hide their actions. He looks at the facts, shows them and watches people scurry and hide.  He enjoys his work.


It's Sedge's flâneur files with Adventures in Ideas.  


Insights abound. 


Laughs, too. 



Mike Greensill is on hand. 

Today, SEDGE THOMSON, presents Joie de Vivre


She placed an ad in the NYRB seeking companionship — as much as she could get — and if you knew Trollope, all the better. JANE JUSKA’s book of her experiences became a best-seller, A Round Heeled Woman,  and as a play starring SHARON GLESS and STEPHEN MACHT, it found great acclaim with audiences in California, Broadway, and London. JANE JUSKA died this past week. 


SIMON RICH & FARLEY KATZ, a former SNL writer and a staff cartoonist for The New Yorker discuss their hilarious picture book for adults, The Married Kama Sutra: The World’s Least Erotic Sex Manual. 


It's Sedge's flâneur files.  


Insights abound. 


Laughs, too. 


Music from Katie Dailey, Rubber Soldiers, and a Russian Choir. 


Language advisory: we say “climate change” a few times. 


Mike Greensill is on hand.




The FBI often handles domestic espionage and issues some deemed political threats. What connects with today’s debates on campus, the internet and Russia, but a political awareness.  SETH ROSENFELD, after years of Freedom of Information Act requests, learned how and why the FBI singled out the Free Speech Movement and the academic center of UC Berkeley and fed Ronald Reagan secret information to help elect him governor.


STEVE SILBERMAN’s book about the vitality from “neurodiversrity” and the implications of “being in the spectrum” in a vivid depiction of a society that benefits from such richness and details the science of autism. He redeems science in the face of discredited anti-vaccine opinions from some politicians. 


It's Sedge's flaneur files.  


Insights abound. 


Laughs, too. 


Mike Greensill is on hand. 


It's Sedge's flaneur files.  


Insights abound. 


Laughs, too. 


Mike Greensill is on hand. 



This week, SEDGE talks with
PHILLIPA KELLY, who know from he reading of King Lear how we can all be at various times in our lives, beggars or kings.  That dispossesion can be physical, emotional, or spiritual.  How do we cope?  Her life in Australia growing up shaped her with King Lear as required reading. 

SUSAN CASEY knows her rogues, those waves that travel round the world like Melville's Universal Thump and toss about freighters and surfers.  She writes about these natural phenomena with gusto and humor.

Spam is now locked up in Hawaii to foil shoplifters.  TERRY JONES reminds us of the rôle of the mash-up meat product in our consciousness.

MIKE GREENSILL performs the amber waves of grain song, from sea to shining sea.



This week, the northern California communities in the renowned Wine Country suffered great losses from fire.  Smoke and ash linger in the air for miles.  Of the nearly 2,000 homes destroyed, one was the home and studio of the creator of Peanuts. CHARLES SCHULZ.  He did much for the Santa Rosa community, including building the Redwood Empire Ice Rink, which is still standing and the ice being this week restored.  SEDGE talks with Charles "Sparky" Schulz in the autumn of 1996 in a theatre near his Santa Rosa home.  (He'd go anywhere in the world, as long as he could be home by noon.)

Many acres of agricultural land burned, barns vanished in seconds, carefully nutured gardens crisped instantly in the fire wave. ARRAN HARRIS features some songs about the farming life and the struggle get health care in his amusing Farm-Alt-Western sounds.

MIKE GREENSILL whose Napa home was threatend by fire, was able to find the one pub with room-temperature Guiness.


Today, SEDGE THOMSON, presents Nobel, Noble and Nobler show.  


The droll and thoughtful KAZUO ISHIGURO, now forever to be introduced as the Nobel Prize winning author, talks with Sedge  and how Agatha Christie’s murderous vicar may be a metaphor for the world. 


ANNE LAMOTT’s thoughtful reflections on a gun massacre help us find our way through the pain to a nobility of spirit. 


And LANG LANG gets a speeding ticket for his virtuosic performance on West Coast Live. He played a concert this week despite an injured arm with the aid of two great pianists. The show must go on. 


For more information about surveillance of your social media and correspondence by the government, the Electronic Frontier Foundation - -- has much more information for you to use to protect your rights. 


It's Sedge's flaneur files.  


Insights abound. 


Laughs, too. 


Mike Greensill on hand and The Conspiracy of Venus sings a song lifted from punk rock. 


Today, SEDGE THOMSON, presents Not Always Benign birds, bugs, plants  show.  


The droll botanist AMY STEWART brings in plants and bugs of peculiar powers, not always good for us. 


BRIAN KIMBERLING’s novel, Snapper, observes the inner realm of an Indiana birdwatcher’s life. 


And THOR HANSON, whose chronicle of Feathers, the Evolution of a Natural Miracle, describes the garb of dinosaurs and sparrows. 


It's Sedge's flaneur files.  


Insights abound. 


Laughs, too. 


J. Raoul Brody and Mike Greensill make the pianos soar. 

This week, SEDGE THOMSON present the COOL TOOLS, COOL TUNES show.

The wired and rewired tech thinker KEVIN KELLY explains why humans will forever be tech newbies.  He reveals his coolest tool which help with sandwiches, he says.

Author ANNE LAMOTT marvels how her Some Assembly Required made it past her son Sam' vetting.  It's a sequel to life, to Operating Instructions.  She also explans how clothes shrink in closets -- it has to do with lack of air circulation.

RUBBER SOULDIERS play extended verisions of Beatles songs - as Lennon-McCartney produced Iron Butterfly-length cuts for FM Album Oriented radio from another era instead of their 2:42 pop songs.  The groove is suppled by the ROWAN BROTHERS and DAVID GANS. Dance along.

MIKE GREENSILL is tripped up by technology yet improvs a solution with his own human wit.

Delightful show.  





Today, SEDGE THOMSON, presents our One Has To Have a Sense of Humor show.  


SEDGE and the audience laugh with the stories of British comic EDDIE IZZARD


and American, sometimes ex-pat, DAVID SEDARIS.  


-- ROFL!


ROY ZIMMERMAN sings "TMI" and a bit of KLAUS FLOURIDE - JUMBO SHRIMP beach band closes the show. 


It's Sedge's flaneur files.  


Insights abound. 


Laughs, too. 

Today, SEDGE THOMSON presents TROPICAL SPIRIT. As first Harvey, now Irma and no doubt other cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons and gales transform the tropics, let's hear the spirit of those places. 


SEDGE talks with GILBERTO GIL of Brazil, CHUCHO VALDÉS of Cuba, and the ebullient RAY KANE, much missed, of Hawaii.  These masters with good humour and elan celebrate musically and in words a spirit and sound that we hope endures despite the changes wrought by climate change

From Sedge's flaneur files.  


Insights abound. 

SEDGE talks with CELIA SACK, proprietor of the antiquarian and new cookbooks and her customers from around the U.S. and the world at Omnivore Books in San Francisco. 


This show is from Sedge's flâneur files.  Topics range from Syrian cooking to the trends through the centuries of how we cook.  We hear from customers, including Van, a man growing oyster mushrooms in his basement in Buffalo, NY, and his girlfriend Abigail, whose family runs a farm-to-table store there.  In San Francisco, they're looking for ideas and books to "export." Chefs stop by.  A food photographer.  It's a bustling hub built around volumes of ideas and directions on ways to make our daily need to eat pleasurable, companionable, and aesthetic.


It's hot.  It's Labor Day Weekend celebrated with barbecues and other kinds of cooking.  What better accompaniment for your day that time in Omnivore Books for an hour.



SEDGE talks with TINA NUNNALY and STEVEN MURRAY, renowned translators of Scandinavian literature. It's their words we read when hooked by STIEG LARSSON's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy which sold a squillion copies and was made into at least two film versions. And why did Steve choose Reg Keeland as his pseudonym?   And what is the connection with Oakland Tech?


And one of the great interpreters of SHAKESPEARE -- IAN McKELLEN who performs a scene for the political interpretations that follow. 



Together with Sedge they divine truth from song and story as we link the past and present to guide us to the future. 


Insights abound. 

Today, SEDGE THOMSON, continuing his skyward look as we anticipate the Great Eclipse of 21 August, with TIMOTHY FERRIS, whose popular accounts of astronomy delight and inform us. He helped produce the gold record aboard the Voyagers carrying earth sounds and music into deep space.


Musically, JACK CASADY of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna plays with  BOX SET. He talks about his studies of English folk songs. Also, THE WAYBACKS offer musical time travel. 


J. RAOUL BRODY sits in for his fellow star Mike Greensill. 


Click to hear SEDGE'S ECLIPSE REPORT from Los Cabo's bo airport, July 1991. It lasts about 3:30, 3 minutes less than the eclipse! 


SEDGE THOMSON, continues his skyward look to anticipate the Great Eclipse of 21 August, with DAVA SOBEL, whose account of Copernicus's life and his mathematical revelation that the sun orbits the earth put him at risk from the science deniers of his day.  


Musically, we take the measure of Canadian  THREE METRE DAY, featuring lap guitar and antique pump organ;

and JOHN WESLEY HARDING and members of the Decembrists who channel the folk protest songs of the 60s to current issues. 


Mike Greensill plays an astronomical song. 


Together with Sedge they divine truth from song and story as we link the past and present to guide us to the future. 


Songs and insights abound. 



Today, SEDGE THOMSON brings us ZOË KEATING, whose cello compositions of looping magic inhabit listeners' imaginations, film and tv scores and for a musical spine for many radio shows including RadioLab.  


She and author ELI BROWN, whose erudite and funny account of a Pirate Queen and the chef she holds captive is a sea-going feast in Cinnamon and Gunpowder


Together with Sedge they explore the artistic life and its twists of life's course. 


And, of course we hear Optimist and the premiere of an unnamed new work in progress.  All from this past weekend at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. 


Sedge also has an eclipse report as we link the past and present to guide us to the future. 


Songs and insights abound. 


photo: dhetzel



Today, SEDGE THOMSON brings us JUDY COLLINS, whose musical influences shaped her songs, books, filmmaking and activism. 


As she embarks on a summer and autumn tour with Stephen Stills at 78 we hear how her blind father instilled a creative fire that's carried her all her life. 


Songs and insights abound. 


We bring the past and the present to life to guide us to the future.

Sedge Thomson will be at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco July 29 and 30 for a "Discussion Thingy," the opening act of ZOË KEATING's evenings of her looped cello orchestra.  He'll be joined by Zoë and author ELI BROWN and others,  For more information and tickets:



Sedge, who likes to travel with a watercolor sketch book, finds living masters who depict the natural world on to paper -- 

JOHN MUIR LAWS - whose many guides and on-line tutorials show us a new way of observing

PATRICIA CURTAN - Her drawings, prints and sketches of fruit and vegetables grace the 40 year colloborations with Alice Waters in the Chez Panisse cookbooks and menus.  Her love of printing connects with food and the plants

TOM KILLION -- He boyhood admiration for the works of Japanese print masters led to his own use of the wood-block printing tradition to depict the American west, sometimes with poet Gary Snyder, and as a counterpoint to his time in Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Sedge Thomson will be at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco July 29 and 30 for a "Discussion Thingy," the opening act of ZOË KEATING's evenings of her looped cello orchestra.  He'll be joined by Zoë and author ELI BROWN and others,  For more information and tickets:





In Travels With Charley, John Steinbeck set out to find what are American’s Like Today — that was in 1960.


Today, we hear from the author’s son,  THOMAS STEINBECK, an author himself, about growing up a Steinbeck, the mysteries of the cypress planted by the Chinese in Monterrey, at take on American politics viewed from the Revolutionary War through Vietnam.


And BILL BARICH who travelled in Steinbeck’s wheel tracks of Travels with Charley to find a current America — where the individual remains noble while the mass seems to go off the rails at times, in his Long Way Home.


We bring the past and the present to life to guide us to the future. today.

SEDGE celebrates the summer and the appeal of wide-open spaces and the language and food and life found in them as we commence our new series of one-hour broadcasts.  (New time in San Francisco, Saturdays 1PM, yet highly listenable all week via our website - just to the left -- on any internet-connected device you use.) 

DON EDWARDS, with a Cowboy song

GRETEL EHRLICH, poet, on her seven seasons in Greenland on the ice speaking Greenlandic and eating seal

KEN WALDMAN, Alaskan poet and fiddler 

SEDGE THOMSON on The Bluebloods of the vegetable world -- the Redwoods 

NORA MARKS DAUENHAUER, the acclaimed Juneau-based poet and translator of her native Tlingit language guides us through the language and the best way to cook salmon by the river. 

We dine well on the ideas of the past and present guiding us to the future. Keep apprised.  Sign up to the mailing list!

On this Independence Day weekend, Sedge continues his shows linking the wisdom of the past with ways forward in the follies our our present.  He brings us:

Hedrick Smith on what has happened to the American dream,

the annual WCL reading of the Declaration of Independence, as read aloud on 2nd July, 1776, in Philadelphia, and

some gold ol' American friviolity with the Whiffenpoofs.

This is the first of our one-hour show format, commencing this weekend.

In couple of listening areas, there is a vestigal 2-hour show that features Phil Lapsley on the phone phreakers and musician April Verch.

Both shows conclude with Dan Bern imitating the Beatles.


A day of dappled summer light and good humor and music from the main stage of the Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival in Laytonville, California. SEDGE welcomed:



the late great story teller, union organizer, rail rider, and songsmith (1935-2008).



one of America's best loved folk and blues musicians.



a.k.a. Rosa Bizarrio, the famous outlaw Queen.(Her birthday today!)



folk singer who, like his late father, Woody, is known for singing songs of protest against social injustice.

Photo of KWF stage courtesy
Kate Wolf Memorial Festival



one of North America's great political songwriters.



performers of a bluegrass offshoot self-described as "crabgrass", as our house band.

SEDGE sits under a palm tree with 

GEOFF DYER - Who is not afraid to travel in circles, both in fact, and in his own mind, to find merriment, truth, and unexpected insights from his peregrinations?  It's a good chance this master of procrastination will illuminate some unexpected pleasures of travel in screamingly funny ways, as Geoff likes to say.

PAUL THEROUX - Who would take the train from London to Asia and back, or live in Africa, or wander in cities avoiding the well-known and who loathes vacations?  Paul as travel writer and novelist contributes to ways of sensing the textures of our world, and passes on ways to survive being asked for your shoes at gunpoint. 

MARY ROACH  - Who would go try out a NASA-designed test loo so the rest of us could know how to pack for a trip to Mars and what will protect the astronauts from radiation?  This is her account of what she found on her travels.

RINKER BUCK - Who would think of taking a prairie schooner pulled by three mules along the Oregon Trail.  Rinker did, and he did it, too.  This is his account of following in the ruts of migration's path.

MIKE GREENSILL at the moveable piano looks for a pub with a warm beer.

SEDGE talks with     

JEANETTE WINTERSON - author of Gut Symmetires, Oranges Aren Not The Only Fruit, Sexing the Cherry, Art Objects,  and many other explorations of memory, time, experience and identity with candor and humor

His authobiography describes how his father coped with his Japanese heritage and prepared him for leading the pluraistic Star Trek cres as SULU

The late, great story teller tells us how to develop better narrative "gaffs" and the demonstrate the hilarity and compassion in folk music. "Soup!" - the solution to all social ills.

Sing comically about folk music.

And a pre-fame lagniappe with MICHAEL FRANTI


SEDGE welcomes conversation on how words are formed, and lost, in type, in paint, and in our brains:



the author of two dozen highly acclaimed works of nonfiction and poetry talks of aphasia, One Hundred Names For Love: A Stroke, A Marriage, And the Language of Healing.*



the author of twelve hilarious novels, including the international bestsellers Fool and Bite Me, with his latest, Sacré Blue.



typography and design history educator and the author of Explorations in Typography: Mastering the Art of Fine Typesetting.



an all-star jazz ensemble comprising eight of the finest performer/composers at work in jazz today.



Oxford's premier all-male a cappella group stops by on their US Tour.

The Mellifluous


on Piano.

With additional music from Dan Bern and The Refugee All-Stars

*Much of this show is from a sluicing soggy 31 March, 2012.  Mr. Paul West, Diane Ackerman's husband, died at 85 in 2015, three years after this interview with her.

SEDGE THOMSON marks the holiday weekend with the audio picnic you can take anywhere:

MARIEL HEMINGWAY  -  The actor and food maven talks her all-popcorn fad diet and her more balanced life now, enhanced with her grandfather Ernest's demi-tasse spoon collection

NILOUFER ICHAPORIA KING - Immigration from Persia to India to San Francisco -- A hundred-years old cuisine that transcends boundaries and politics, and why she won't go for a Parsi pizza.

CARBECUE - Alfred Cary likes to cook on the manifold of his car.  A feature once offered by Rolls-Royce - the engine hot plate

CHARLES PHAN  - Proprietor of the renowned The Slanted Door and other Vietnamese restaurants.  Among his secrets, how to choose the best fish sauce

MARION CUNNINGHAM - She channeled Fannie Farmer, and longs for the days when she changed differentials in a service station.  In memoriam!

JULIA CHILD - She changed the way Americans eat -- though we still most of us don't prepare eel as she did in France

BOB CANNARD & ALICE WATERS   -  The accomplished and hilarious grower of fruit and veg reveal his technique for looking through compost.  And Alice talks stone fruit season and ways to prepare.  The founder of Chez Panisse samples a crisp Sedge makes from her Fruit cookbook.

With music from THE WAIFS and MIKE GREENSILL

Sedge refers to an article in the New York Times. 


With the chaos in our land, our gift to you is two hours of calming laughter, discussion and music inspired by Zen Buddhism 

  • Annie Somerville, Greens Executive Chef, author of the new "Everyday Greens: Home Cooking from Greens, the Celebrated Vegetarian Restaurant" and "Fields of Greens".
  • Scoop Nisker, a voice of counterculture radio in the Bay Area for 35 years, originally as a KSAN DJ, he is a Buddhist teacher and writer whose latest book is the generational retrospective "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom".
  • Noah Levine, author of "Dharma Punx", in which he chronicles his own transformation from self-destructive punk rock rebel to Buddhist student, and the reasons he believes these two seemingly opposed worlds can coexist.
  • Fenton Johnson, author of "Keeping Faith: A Skeptics Journey" who was raised with Christian Trappist monks in the American South, abandoned organized religion, then began to reexamine faith through the Zen Center.
  • Norman Fischer, author of "Taking Our Places", is a Zen priest, teacher, poet, former abbot of San Francisco Zen Center, and founder of The Everyday Zen Foundation, an organization created to broaden the reach of engaged Buddhist practice.
  • David Chadwick, author of "Crooked Cucumber".
  • Wendy Johnson, organic gardener, fervent defender of the earth, and former head of the Zen Center's Green Gulch Farm.
  • Artist Mayumi Oda.
  • Cyril Pahinui whose spirit of aloha, musical intelligence, great ear, and killer chops make him one of Hawaii's most respected and beloved slack-key guitarists, and Patrick Landeza, one of the stars of a new generation of slack-key songwriters..
  • Music from piano player Mike Greensill.


Today -  Sedge feature conversations about mothers and motherhood (and fathers, as necessary to this...) with

MAYA ANGELOU, with her son GUY JOHNSON on motherhood, poetry, and becoming herself through red beans and rice, 


Image result for maya angelou

TILLIE OLSEN, on political demonstrations and writing and being a mother, and being in the SAT test.


Image result for Tell Me A Riddle Tillie

ANNE LAMOTT, with observations on her self as mother, 

Image result for anne lamott operating instructions


Image result for Ruth Reichl Not Mother

RUTH REICHL, about NOT becoming her mother and, 

MARILYN YALOM on the history of the breast.  

Image result for Marilyn Yalom breast

Please sign up to the mailing list for the most current information, at, or via text to 22828  Enter the word Sedge.  And listen to each week's show  via the Listen button to the left in the center column.

SEDGE THOMSON presents our Pre-Exisiting Condition Show, insuring you good listening regardless of what Congress does, 
and welcomes guest-hosts CASE CONOVER & MIKE GREENSILL who in turn welcome:




with Headhunters on my Doorstep, recounting his hilarious misadventures island hopping in the South Pacific in the footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson after a stint in rehab.



the renowned Stanford technology guru with The Distraction Addiction: Getting the Information You Need and the Communication You Want, Without Enraging Your Family, Annoying Your Colleagues, and Destroying Your Soul.



explores the frontier between modern medicine and the natural world in Farmacology: What Innovative Family Farming Can Teach Us about Health and Healing.



the 30 member male a capella choir performing the songs of the legendary poet, novelist and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen.




the South African-born, Colorado-based troubadour brings us the sweet sounds of his new album The Weatherman, telling stories of miles and landscapes, and the search for a sense of place.



the Bay Area's premier cabaret singer, performing with the Mike Greensill Trio at the new Society Cabaret September 4-15.

The Multi-Talented


our house pianist. And more, including your audience true stories...  we hope you'll join us!

The sport, the art, the lifestyle of SURFING. Featuring interviews and music from throughout the ages, with:

WILLIAM FINNEGAN, author of Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, perhaps the best surf memoir ever written 

DAN DUANE, surfer and author of Caught Inside: A Surfer's Year on the California Coast. 

PETER HELLER, author of Kook, what Surfing Taught me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave. 

FRED VAN DYKE, surfing legend; one of the first surfers, in the mid-'50's, to move permanently from California to the North Shore of Hawaii. 

BOB WISE, designer of Wise Surf Boards teaches Sedge to catch a wave!

DICK DALE & THE DELTONES, known as the King of the Surf Guitar, he pioneered surf music in the 1950s, drawing on Eastern musical scales and experimenting with reverberation. 

WHYS, the all-women's high-energy Japanese surf band. 

WALT KEALE & LT SMOOTH with Chris Lau and Bill Griffin bring us soothing music from the shores of Hawaii 

In Connection with March for Science Day and Earth Day SEDGE THOMSON presents thinkers, scientiest,s growers and the story of those who find how we humans can live on the planet with care gleaned from knoweldge and plesaure.  It's all connected.  And as the EPA gets thwarted and protections for our lands are removed, I hope temporarily, we must note these short-term and short-sighted policies are not what thinking and reflective people want if the earth is to continue serving us with its bounty.

NOVELLA CARPENTER, author of Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer.

LISA HAMLITON, whose book Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness, depicts growers as stewards of the land and their pace of life.

JANE S. SMITH, author of The Garden of Invention: Luther Burbank and the Business of Breeding Plants.  

DAVID MAS MASUMOTO farmer, author, Heirlooms: Letters from a Peach Farmer

JESSICA PRENTICE, author of Full Moon Feast: Food and the Hunger for Connection

WES JACKSON  farmer, philosopher and author of several landmark books on sustainable agriculturel.  Recepient of the MacArthur grant, founder of The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas.

HOT BUTTERED RUM the five piece progressive bluegrass band carry us to the mountains and back with their stunning instrumental and vocal virtuosity. 



JOHN FOWLES - a rare visit from 1996 when the reclusive author left Lyme Regis and came to talk on West Coast Live.  The author of The French Lieutenant's Woman, The Magus, The Collector and many other books talks of his love of nature, detestation of cities, then necessity of learning to hunt and his revulsion by it, of the fossisls he foound and of the  love he enjoyed..

MARY GAITSKILL - noveist and short-story writr whose authentic, humorous and emotionally complx characters reveal a clear-eye take on we humans.

CLAIRE PEASLEE - Our naturalist has an ode to Spring and periodicity as we mark one of the holidays of rebirth.

THE NIELDS - The millenial sextet of rock and ameri-australia-cana light up the start of the show

SHANA MORRISON - the singer-songwriter is in with her band.  She's got great material, and chops she earned with her dad, Van.

JOHN SEBASTIAN - with his jug band, a custom tub to thump and the connetion between fol, rock n roll and current rap-pop.

MIKE GREENSILL - the non-gobsmackable pianist.




SEDGE THOMSON presents The Literature of Politics.  His guests all began with poetry celebrating human justice and obscure political causes.  Then they ran into the reality and pleasures of finding audiences with their art. 



the genre-bending author of The Fortress of Solitude and many other award-winning works of fiction stops by with his new novel, Dissident Gardens. The demands of art meet the realpolitik of political actions.



author of the best-selling classic and National Book Award-winner Mating brings us his long-awaited new novel Subtle Bodies. Leftist politics meet complicated male-female relationships.



Icelandic poet, novelist and lyricist published in 25 languages. He collaborates with Bjork and performed with The Sugarcubes as Johnny Triumph. His three novels, The Whispering Muse, From the Mouth of the Whale, and The Blue Fox link Icelandic myth and current politics and the history of punk music.



the five piece progressive bluegrass band carry us to the mountains and back with their stunning instrumental and vocal virtuosity.



the high impact acoustic folk music quintet from the West Coast of Canada, renowned for their instrumental virtuosity, lush vocal arrangements and exuberant live performances.

The Brilliant


the UK born, SF based jazz and cabaret piano man who we're pleased to call our House Pianist.

Sedge Thomson presents Memory, Speech, and Movement - Freedoms   # 1212



WILLIAM BENNETT TURNER - author of Figures of Speech: First Amendment Heroes and Villains, exploring the colorful cast of characters who have played roles in important First Amendment controversies.


CHARLES YU, author of the award-winning novel How To Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe, about the adventures of a time-machine mechanic.


OSCAR HIJUELOS -- A story of perserverance, immigration and imagination - the first Hispanic to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, author of The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, and his memoir, Thoughts Without Cigarettes. Oscar died in 2013 yet his story of immigration is pertinent today.  A lovely conversation.


KEVIN KELLY - former executive editor of Wired Magazine, and a man who knows What Technology Wants.


The GREENCARDS -- Australian immigrants based in Texas 


TANGO #9 - The Astor Piazzola reincarnation


MARSHALL CHAPMAN - The rollicking singer song writer



David Gans and the Rowan Brothers bring us their improvisational approach to the music of the Beatles.RUBBER SOLDIERS - The Rowan Brothers and David Gans channel the Beatles


MIKE GREENSILL at the piano


                                                                    Malcolm McDowell, Sedge Thomson*

Sedge's guests today on the Movies --

STANLEY DONEN - director Singin' in the Rain, Charade many others 


CHARLES BURNETT, director of films of the African-American experience, winner of MacArthur award


MALCOLM McDOWELL - From Oh Lucky Man! to Clockwork Orange to Star Trek -- he tells good stories 


RANDY THOM - Master sound designer for the movies . Winner of Oscars, acclaim, and steady work


CHRIS BARRON & MARK VOS -- on the history of vIsual effects and matte painting, The Invisible Art 


JOHN GREGORY DUNNE - master screen-writer who collaborated with his wife Joan Didion gives a primer on the film business 


And Sedge talks a bit about the feature film he produced, Kepler's Dream showing at
the Sonoma International Film Festival, March 31, Fridary evening, Sebastiani Theatre. 

*Photo above by Elizabeth Becker, Port Townsend Leader

*Photo below by Larry Gay, West Coast Live                  Charles Burnett, Sedge Thomson



Sedge Thomson welcomes:



author of LongitudeGalileo's Daughter, and The Planets, now with A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos.



acclaimed author of Six Frigates and now Pacific Crucible; War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942.



the author of Down to a Soundless Sea and In the Shadow of the Cypress presents an enthralling new piece of historical fiction: The Silver Lotus.



with a backing band featuring members of the Decemberists, touring with the new CD The Sound of His Own Voice.



acoustic modern roots trio from Canada, complete with violin, slide-guitar and pump organ.

The Modern


on piano.

SEDGE THOMSON serves a delicious lunch for body and mind: 

GORDON EDGAR, author of Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge brings us the fascinating history of one of the world's most beloved cheeses in Cheddar: A Journey to the Heart of America's Most Iconic Cheese.

JOHN MUIR LAWS, artist, naturalist, author and educator renowned for his field guides, here with his latest, The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling.

FERGUS BORDEWICH, the political historian offers some perspective in his new account The First Congress: How James Madison, George Washington and a Group of Extraordinary Men Invented the Government.

RITA HOSKING TRIO, the soulful Americana and bluegrass artist and friends bring us captivating songwriting and storytelling.

MIKE GREENSILL, our talented, wise and witty house pianist ties it all together. And More!


SEDGE THOMSON welcomes guests who speak on life-changing matters of health and happiness:

NORA GALLAGHER - her book, Moonlight Sonata at the Mayo Clinic, describes coping with her rare eye disease, that gave her an insight into the world of the moment;

DANIEL SMITH - his account of coping with anxiety in Monkey Mind has some brilliance for all of us;

LANG LANG - brings us a private concert of his own brilliance.  He gets a speeding ticket for playing molto molto vivace;

Music group TRIO DINICU, fisherman HANS HAVEMAN,  naturalist CLAIRE PEASLEE, pianist MIKE GREENSILL.






The McCarthy Era Redux - Paranoia to Pronoia 
Sedge Thomson presents wisdom for these times.  As the NY Times, the BBC, the Guardian, and others are sullied, keep your eyes on how public radio is treated.  Weak leaders create fake enemies of the press and others.   
ADAM CURTIS  -- British filmmaker on the use of fear to rule.  His documentaries include The Power of Nightmares, Hyper Normailisation.  He studies the use of fear - and lies - that leaders use to mainipulate society;
HAYNES JOHNSON -- Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Age of Anxiety, how the techniques of Roy Cohn and Joe McCarthy are used to create fear -- Hear how the 4 years of the McCarthyism went, and why it resonates today.  Roy Cohn was the current president's mentor;
ROB BREZNY, author of Pronoia, ways to find happiness in fraught times.  The author proffers ways to look at the world for happiness and gratitude, in a clear-eyed way, glossed, but not Panglossian; 
ADAM PHILLIPS - British psychiatrist on staying sane in disruptive times.  He's learned much about human behavior and resonses to provocation and the role of fear;
LAURENCE GONZALES - author of Deep Survival describes survival skills and how to anticipate danger.  How does one think about the idea of survival in everyday life and prepare for extraordinary circumstatnces.

JUSTIN BUA - Grafitti aristst whose classical art training blended with street smarts and street cred shaped T
he Legends of Hip Hop.
Plus music from The Bills, Wesley Stace (John Wesley Harding), and Greensky Bluegrass.
This is real radio, and real ideas, and real people. These moving, engaging and funny conversations about issues of our day are accompanied by great musicians.

 SEDGE welcomes presents voices of song and wisdom, hope, inspiration and laughter:

LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO, the phenomenal South African acapella choir who sang with Paul Simon and Michael Jackson sing for us;

JAMES McBRIDE, author of The Color of Water and The Good Lord Bird, among other best-selling novels informed by his life, his music and his wit;

MAYA ANGELOU, whose thoughts on red beans and rice, motherhood, literature and spirituality and struggles will uplift you and make you laugh.  She's joined by her son, born when she was 17, also a poet, GUY JOHNSON.

The T-Sisters and Mike, back up JAMES McBRIDE for a spiritual with saxophone.

MIKE GREENSILL on piano.  We are real radio, real people, real ideas.

Sedge Thomson talks about how our internet bubbles isolate us; how President Eisenhower led in a racially-charged time while warning about the military-industrial complex; and about the nature of facts and inner truths with


ELI PARISER-- author of The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding From You -- and how the google, facebook etc and algorithms undermine democracy in their pursuit of "personalizing" your pages;




JIM NEWTON, biographer of President Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower, who led through a racially-charged era and with prescience warned us about the "military-industrial complex;" 




GLORIA STEINEM and JEAN SHINODA BOLEN who connect the inner truths with the external world of "facts" and how to keep truth grounded in reality through Jung and feminism. 


These moving, engaging and funny conversations about issues of our day are accompanied by great musicians. 

SEDGE this week features two significant, engaging, and funny interviews about freedom, the quest for it, the human practice of enslaving others, and the travails of migration between the US and Mexico.  We do not limit ourselves to 140 characters of calculated insults; rather we seek illumination through thoughtfulness, imagination, and humor.

Nobel Laureate TONI MORRISON discusses the human history of slavery and how telling stories and making music keeps human creativity alive in dire times. She is the author of Beloved, The Bluest Eye, and Song of Solomon.

LUIS ALBERTO URREA researched a brilliant and moving account of the "walkers" who seek to cross the infernal heat of the Southwest Desert and encounter the Border Patrol.  Luis finds human stories on both sides of the border.


Mike Greensill is our audio gaffer's tape with some gorgeous piano pieces.

Toni Morrison receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Photo courtesy NY Times.






Poets and navigators have in common the need to know where one is -- accurately -- this common point is called "the truth."  Without it, ships founder, planes crash, self-driving cars fail, emperors are encouraged in their delusions and lose their power. 

Today we hear from scientists, explorers, oceanographers and a mountain climber.  All explore this planent and all see the climate change.  Their lives are amazing as you will hear:

JIM WHITTAKER, author of Life on the Edge, his memoir of mountain climbing, sailing, and starting REI.  The importance of the out-of-doors for the first American who summitted Mt Everest. 

SUSAN CASEY author of The Wave, an astonishing book about colossal, ship-swallowing rogue waves and the surfers who seek them out.

HOWARD ULRICH, Alaskan fisherman who survived the 1958 Lituya Bay megatsunami, largest in recorded history at 1720 feet tall.

DICK DALE, known as King of the Surf Guitar, he pioneered surf music in the 1950s, drawing on Eastern musical scales and experimenting with reverberation.

DANIEL LENIHAN surfaces from the Bay for just long enough to be interviewed about his book Submerged: Adventures of America's Most Elite and Extreme Underwater Archeology Team.

DONOVAN HOHN, author of Moby Duck: the True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea.

SUSAN FREINKEL, author of Plastic: A Toxic Love Story, taking us through history, science and the global economy to assess the real impact of plastic in our lives.

Plus some thoughts on walls.


Photo by Robert Rohde




The West Coast Live production office has been laid low by the flu.  
So we're keeping the show going this week with several appropriate guests, including Michael O'Brien (of Karl and Carl) interviewing Lance Boyle, apparently in charge of entertainment for the inaugural.  Also when SEDGE welcomes:



with her book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, on which the popular new movie Lincoln is based. How Lincoln chose his cabinet



author of such acclaimed works as Standing at the Scratch Line and Echoes of a Distant Summer, the West Coast Live poet laureate one year.



the American historian best known for his multi-volume series on the history of California, collectively called Americans and the California Dream

 - The great ebullient man died this week at 76 in San Francisco.  He kept California together in his writings.  We'll hear a couple of interviews, one about the Golden Gate Bridge, which, with his vitality depicts the vim of this state over time.




founding member of the world's most famous female trio, the Supremes, who has gone on to have a successful career as a solo singer and humanitarian.



with STEF BURNS; the audacious guitar duo.  MIKE GREENSILL at the  piano.

"God, I miss the Cold War!" - Judi Dench as "M"

DIY Bumper Sticker in the Wild

This week SEDGE THOMSON brings us reflections on some issues of the day: A man who lost the popular vote by more than 3 million votes is due to take office, with plans to destroy health insurance for tens of millions of Americans, reinstating pre-existing condition clauses and denying health coverage to many more.  His proven labile scofflaw behavior of ignoring conflict of interest laws, nepotism laws, refusal to reveal his finances, and tax returns, to perhaps hide his indebtedness to Russian billionaires or business dealings with China, may distract us from the systematic dismantling of laws and organizations established for the well-being of our civil society.  His invocation of GODWIN'S LAW to attack the national security agencies dealing with external threats creates havoc, which may be intentional, who knows what is true at this point, with his buffoonery.

So we focues on what is known, and through reflection about the past, illuminate the present:

SETH ROSENFELD - Author - of Subversives on how the FBI fed information to Ronald Reagan to help him become Governor and President, as the result of the Berkeley birthed Free Speech Movement.  We hear how the FBI supplied covert and personal information to Ronald Reagan shifting votes in elections, an echo of current events.  After years of court cases and Freedom of Information Acts, some of this history is now known.;

STEVE SILBERMAN - author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and The Future of Neurodiversity, which won a major scientific book award, for his account of Autism, our human need for different kinds of people, and the struggle to overcome prejudice fake news about vaccines.  This week Donald Trump and Robert Kennedy Jr met to discuss their ill-informed and dangerous anti-vaccine measures which, if their wacky ideas are acted on, will imperil Americans' health;

MARK BOWDEN - author of Worm: The First Digital World War - How the US government was unprepapred for hacking and internet attacks in 2009.  And as we've seen is recent months, the vulnerabiliity remains real, credible and dangerous.  We learn about Bay Area-based SRI and their attempts from the deck of the Internet Clipper Ship to braves the gales of malware;

And to calm us from the news of the day,  DAROL ANGER and THE FURIES along with the Canadian refuge of ENSEMBLE CAPRICE;

MIKE GREENSILL proffers a thought.


SEDGE THOMSON presents a two-level broacast from the Palace of the Legion of Honor Museum and Room X

A.S. BYATT -  in her droll and perceptive style about perceptions in art, musuems, and the magic of certain Djinn guides;

SIMON SINGH -- whose physics interests lead him in the political world of the 17th century mathematics and Fermat's Enigma, where how to solve a puzzle may be more important than the answer;

JOHN FENSTERMAKER - plays the Skinner Organ in Room X about the Florence Gould Theatre and we hear from the restorer

Tips on Travel with KARL and CARL - travelers with their own perceptions who know their Conde from their Nast;

WESLA WHITFIELD, MIKE GREENSILL, DEAN RILEY - The trio adds a new chorus to a song from Oklahoma!

and a surprise improv visit....