The 1800s composition “Vexations,” by Erik Satie, comes with a cryptic instruction to perform the piece 840 times in a row. Many thought that it couldn’t be done, but in the late 1960s, John Cage and some friends decided to give it a shot.
In 2002, Amiri Baraka was named Poet Laureate of New Jersey. In less than a year, he offended so many people the state cancelled its laureate program just to keep him out of the public eye. Now he's back in the news because his son, Ras Baraka, is running for mayor of Newark.
Playwright Sarah Ruhl is a recent MacArthur fellow. She has already won many awards for her plays, which include "The Clean House" and "Eurydice." Sarah talks with Dick Gordon about the stories, both mythic and personal, that catch in her imagination. One person who inspired Sarah is Carlos Moran, a young man she met during a playwriting project in Los Angeles. Carlos grew up in foster care, and has now adopted his younger siblings. Carlos talks to Dick on tomorrow's program.