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May 09, 2016 at 6:26 pm

Guns and Christianity. For some in America, the two are inextricably linked. Yet is it possible to be pro-gun and pro-life? In her new documentary, The Armor of Light, filmmaker Abigail Disney follows the story of a reverend as he struggles to piece together how guns should fit into his ministry, and how they already do. She joins us to discuss the relationship between the church and guns, and how this documentary challenges those ideas.

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Episode
May 07, 2016 at 5:49 am

On Wednesday, April 27th, over 700 law enforcement officers conducted a bust in a New York City housing authority complex in The Bronx. This one bust led to the arrest and indictment of over 120 suspected gang members. Despite this success and the success of similar sweeps in the city, gang-related violence has increased, accounting for half of 2015’s 1,042 shootings and 40% of its 318 murders. Shanduke McPhatter, a rehabilitated gang member, is the founder and the executive director of the nonprofit organization Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Changes, which works with formally incarcerated men and women to help them transition back into society. We discuss the increase in gang violence, G.M.A.C.C., and what steps are being taken to combat the city’s gang problems.

Next, you’ve probably heard of “The Three Tenors” and the “Three Musketeers,” but what about the “Three Doctors?” As part of our ongoing initiative “Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America,” MetroFocus contributor Mike Schneider talks to Dr. Sampson Davis about how a pact between him and his friends when they were teenagers helped him survive the mean streets of Newark and achieve his dream of being a doctor. Then finally, love horse racing? Live in New York? Want to place a bet? You can’t! Not anymore. Tomorrow is the Kentucky Derby, but as some prepare to bet on those competing on the track, we’ll look back on New York in the 1970’s when the city was the only place outside of Nevada to legalize off-track betting. During that time, OTB parlors generated millions of dollars in bets each year, before it was wiped out in 2010. Filmmaker Joseph Fusco covers the rise and fall of this notorious chapter in his new documentary “Finish Line: The Rise and Demise of Off Track Betting.”

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Episode
May 06, 2016 at 5:54 am

Laura Nahmias, Politico New York’s City Hall reporter, sits down with us to talk about the campaign finance laws that prompted an investigation by the New York State Board of Elections into the donations Mayor Bill DeBlasio received from his 2013 mayoral campaign. These donations are said to be between him, union allies, and political groups with the alleged intention of creating a campaign that would allow Democrats to regain control of the State Senate. A Democratic controlled State Senate was never reached, but a probe was initiated to investigate the campaign for ignoring the fact that individual donors are supposed to adhere to a limit of $10,000 donated to a campaign. How is the Mayor’s office handling the controversy sparked by this investigation? We have analysis. Then Bella Abzug didn’t take “no” for an answer. The congresswoman was a New York political icon in the 70’s, and will forever be remembered as a champion of women’s rights, and for encouraging a new generation of women to take up leadership roles. Now, nearly twenty years after Bella’s passing, her daughter Liz continues her cause with a non-profit organization named after her mother. Liz Abzug shares with us how the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute is trying to level the political playing field by helping young women get the necessary education and training to become tomorrow’s leaders. Next, Dolly Parton is many things: a singer-songwriter, actress, philanthropist, Kennedy Center Honoree and National Medal of Arts recipient. But the “queen” of country music hasn’t forgotten where she came from. Raised in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, Parton rose from poverty to become one of the most successful musicians of all time. Her iconic song, “Coat of Many Colors,” tells Parton’s story of growing up poor, and was recently made into a TV movie. Tonight we sit down with the music legend to talk about the story behind that song and her illustrious career. Finally, he sings, and she reports. Rock legend Rod Stewart and Hoda Kotb, a co-host of NBC’s Today Show, have a lot to talk about. Stewart is still touring and performing on some of the biggest stages around the world, but he recently took a break to appear on a different kind of stage with Kotb at New York’s 92nd Street Y. Tonight we listen in on their conversation as they discuss one of his most iconic songs.

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May 05, 2016 at 6:26 pm

Dolly Parton is many things: a singer-songwriter, actress, philanthropist, Kennedy Center Honoree and National Medal of Arts recipient. But the “queen” of country music hasn’t forgotten where she came from. Raised in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, Parton rose from poverty to become one of the most successful musicians of all time. Her iconic song, “Coat of Many Colors,” tells Parton’s story of growing up poor, and was recently made into a TV movie. Tonight we sit down with the music legend to talk about the story behind that song and her illustrious career.

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Clip
May 05, 2016 at 6:25 pm

He sings, and she reports. Rock legend Rod Stewart and Hoda Kotb, a co-host of NBC’s Today Show, have a lot to talk about. Stewart is still touring and performing on some of the biggest stages around the world, but he recently took a break to appear on a different kind of stage with Kotb at New York’s 92nd Street Y. Tonight we listen in on their conversation as they discuss one of his most iconic songs.

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Episode
May 04, 2016 at 5:54 am

He was once one of the most powerful politicians in New York: one of the so-called “three men in the room” alongside former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Governor Andrew Cuomo. Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was convicted last year on seven counts of corruption charges, which included honest-services fraud, extortion and money laundering. Prosecutors had said that Silver accumulated nearly $4 million dollars in kickbacks from arrangements involving a real-estate company and an oncologist. Now, after nearly six months, Silver is set to receive his sentence, and we’re here to discuss its implications. Next, Auschwitz or Bergen-Belsen might immediately bring to mind the horrors of the Holocaust and concentration camps, but do you know the word Treblinka? If not, then you should. Treblinka was a Nazi extermination camp that operated for just fifteen months during World War II. In that time, as many as 1 million people were murdered in its gas chambers, with thousands of men, women, and children killed every day. In the end, only about 100 people were liberated from the camp. The last witness to the horrors within Treblinka, Samuel Willenberg, died this past February, but not before sharing his testimony of what happened behind the death camp’s walls. That testimony will be heard in PBS’ Treblinka’s Last Witness on May 4, but tonight, we have Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, to talk about Treblinka’s legacy and Samuel Willenberg. Then finally, “Mercedes Benz,” “Me and Bobby McGee,” and “Piece of My Heart.” Janis Joplin will always be remembered as a rock and roll legend, both in her career and her life, which ended tragically at just 27 years old due to a heroin overdose. Janis’ sister, Laura Joplin, joins us 45 years later to remember her sister’s life, and explosive voice, in anticipation of the new American Masters documentary Janis: Little Girl Blue, which premieres nationwide tonight.

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May 03, 2016 at 6:26 pm

“Mercedes Benz,” “Me and Bobby McGee,” and “Piece of My Heart.” Janis Joplin will always be remembered as a rock and roll legend, both in her career and her life, which ended tragically at just 27 years old due to a heroin overdose. Janis’ sister, Laura Joplin, joins us 45 years later to remember her sister’s life, and explosive voice, in anticipation of the new American Masters documentary Janis: Little Girl Blue, which premieres nationwide tonight.

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Episode
May 03, 2016 at 5:42 am

Lately there has been plenty of finger-pointing among Republicans over what led to the rise of Donald Trump and his status as GOP front runner. Steven Rattner, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times and a former treasury advisor to President Obama, believes he knows the real reason for the billionaire businessman’s ascension and joins us tonight to share his take. Hint: Republicans should take a long, hard look at themselves. A year ago, Carmelyn Malalis took over as Commissioner of the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Within weeks of being in office, Malalis vowed to enforce the city’s human rights laws and revitalize the agency. Now, we speak with her to see what has been accomplished and what still needs to be done for undocumented immigrants who find themselves at the mercy of the law and discrimination. Every year, on the first Monday in May, New York City hosts its most fashionable and star-studded party, held by The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Not many score a ticket to the affair, organized by Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, and even less get to see what goes into planning the event. Now, in a new documentary, The First Monday in May, filmmaker Andrew Rossi gives us an inside look into last year’s exclusive Met Gala. He joins us to discuss the documentary and the extravagant “A-list” metropolitan event. Then finally, is the Bronx heading towards a renaissance? An article in the American Prospect is calling attention to new businesses and investments that are injecting the northern-most borough with greater life. Bronx Council Member Ritchie Torres and executive editor of the American Prospect Harold Meyerson analyze this revival and consider whether or not these small changes are indicators of what’s to come.

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Clip
May 02, 2016 at 6:26 pm

Every year, on the first Monday in May, New York City hosts its most fashionable and star-studded party, held by The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Not many score a ticket to the affair, organized by Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, and even less get to see what goes into planning the event. Now, in a new documentary, The First Monday in May, filmmaker Andrew Rossi gives us an inside look into last year’s exclusive Met Gala. He joins us to discuss the documentary and the extravagant “A-list” metropolitan event.

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Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, the Anderson Family Fund, Judy and Josh Weston, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, The Dorothy Schiff Endowment for News and Public Affairs Programming, Jody and John Arnhold, Rosalind P. Walter, the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation, Laura and Jim Ross, and Shailaja and Umesh Nagarkatte.

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