The State of Things
7:35 am
Mon May 30, 2011

Special Broadcast: Travels with Mike: In Search of America 50 Years After Steinbeck

John Beiwen with John Steinbeck

No State of Things broadcast today, instead: A one-hour special revisiting Steinbeck's iconic book, Travels with Charley, and journeying into today's America through the eyes of contemporary artists. Episodes in Sag Harbor, N.Y.; New Orleans; North Dakota; Spokane, Wash.; Humboldt County, Cal., and Monterey, Cal. Produced by John Biewen of Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and hosted by Al Letson of State of the Re:Union, a series you can hear on WUNC in July.


In the fall of 1960, the writer John Steinbeck climbed into a pickup truck with a makeshift camper on top, and started driving. He and his Standard Poodle, Charley, roamed for three months and ten thousand miles, completing a circuit from one coast to the other and back again. Steinbeck’s account of the journey, Travels with Charley In Search of America, was published in 1962, the same year he won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

A half-century later, radio producer and CDS audio program director John Biewen visited some key locations on Steinbeck’s itinerary, traveling not with a dog but with a microphone - Mike, that is. In each location, he collaborated with an artist who lives and works in that place. Travels with Mike comprises a series of conversations, across time, between a great American writer and a diverse array of contemporary artists - conversations about place and the spirit of the country.

More about this special broadcast on the Travels with Mike website.

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