Political Correctness Then and Now in the Entertainment Industry—Who’s right? What’s funny? And what’s offensive?
Marc Summers, former stand-up comic and longtime TV host and executive producer, is ready to examine the envelope-pushing trends in comedy. Get ready to laugh. And maybe even get ready to write a letter and start a boycott.
Walk down any street in America and you will discover people of all ages will stop him to say hello. Whether it’s daytime or nighttime television viewers, many recognize this multi-faceted talent for his wide-ranging contributions to television in a career that has been successful both in front of and behind the camera. Marc is currently hosting the longest running show on Food Network, "Unwrapped", a job he has held for eleven years. He has also hosted "Next Food Network Star", "Ultimate Recipe Showdown", and many specials for the channel. Summers is also Executive Producer of "Dinner: Impossible", "Food Feuds" and "Restaurant: Impossible". Some will remember him as the former Host/Producer of Nickelodeon’s “Double Dare” and “What Would You Do?” while others will remember him from his days on ABC’s “Home Show,” where he doubled as both Correspondent and Guest Host. It was during this time that he covered both human interest and hard news stories, featuring segments dealing with everything from the Gulf War to the Branch Davidian stand-off in Waco.
Whether it is his memorable appearance with Burt Reynolds on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” or guesting twice on "Oprah" and “The Howard Stern Radio Show,” Marc is as engaging a guest as he is a host.
The Power of Audience—Andy Suzuki & The Method will take you on an exploration of how an audience can effect the perception of a presentation or performance. Through a variety of experiments involving crowd-participation, we will discover the shared balance of power between performer and audience member.
Andy Suzuki has been singing since before he could walk. Born to an American/Jewish mother and a Japanese father, he was exposed to a world of sounds from an early age. He spent much of his childhood singing in different languages. This cultural diversity and growing up in the melting pot of Washington, DC gave him the unique perspective from which he writes and plays music. When he was a freshman in high school, his father was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. As he went through high school and started at Brown University, he turned to music as an outlet. At Brown, he met his writing partner and hand percussionist, Kozza Babumba, the grandson of Grammy Award-winning Nigerian percussionist Babatunde Olatunji. Andy Suzuki & The Method was born.
With the release of his album Born out of Mischief Andy’s career and fan base have grown tremendously. In the past two years, Andy Suzuki & The Method has toured with Ringo Starr, Joshua Radin, and Marc Broussard, as well as participated in many notable festivals and events across the country. He has played SXSW, Voodoo Fest, and most recently gave a TED talk at the CIA headquarters. He has also completed multiple headlining tours in Asia. Andy is currently writing for his next album while he continues to tour in support of Born Out of Mischief.
How Lies Launch Modern Medicine—When it comes to the fear of newly identified diseases, lies often substitute for data, and for those afflicted, stigma supplants compassion. The treatment of illnesses such as cancer, HIV, influenza, and tuberculosis, are often rooted in the falsehoods of their first portrayal. Nathalia Holt looks at the precision of our cultural and scientific understanding of disease and considers the influence of perception in medicine, and asks, what is the truth about the treatment of our most deadly diseases?
Dr. Nathalia Holt is the author of Cured: The People who Defeated HIV (Dutton 2014) and Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us from Missiles to the Moon to Mars (Little, Brown, 2016). Her work has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, Slate, Popular Science and Time. She is a microbiologist who has trained at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard University, University of Southern California and Tulane University. She lives with her husband and their two daughters in Boston, MA.
Helping Long-term Unemployed Workers — While the U.S. economy has largely recovered from the Great Recession, there are still nearly three million Americans—one in three unemployed workers and more than four in ten in New Jersey—who have been unemployed for more than six months. Dr. Van Horn will explain the causes and consequences of long-term unemployment and highlight innovative, cost-effective solutions that Rutgers University and a broad coalition of employers, non-profit organizations, and volunteers are putting into practice to help the unemployed get back to work.
Carl Van Horn is Distinguished Professor of Public Policy at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and the founding Director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (www.heldrich.rutgers.edu). He is also a member of the graduate faculties of the Department of Political Science, the Graduate School of Education, and the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers.
Van Horn is the co-director of the Heldrich Center’s Work Trends national surveys of American workers which received the 2013 Policy Impact Award from the American Association of Public Opinion Research. During the 2013-2015 academic years, he is a Visiting, Non-Resident, Scholar with the Federal Reserve Bank.
Van Horn has held senior positions in government at the state and federal levels, including: Director of Policy for the State of New Jersey; Chair of the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority; Senior Economist, Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress; and, Member, Presidential Emergency Board mediating labor management disputes in the railroad industry, to which he was appointed by President Clinton.
Truths Be Told Through Art—Jean Shin offers insight into the art making process and engages the audience in the collective truths we experience as a society. The presentation will share behind-the-scene stories of individuals the artist has met in various communities while making art in the public realm.
Jean is nationally recognized for her monumental installations that transform everyday objects into elegant expressions of identity and community. For each project, she amasses vast collections of a particular object—prescription pill bottles, sports trophies, sweaters—which are often sourced through donations from individuals in a participating community. These intimate objects then become the materials for her conceptually rich sculptures, videos and site-specific installations. Distinguished by her meticulous, labor-intensive process, and her engagement of community, Shin’s arresting installations reflect individuals’ personal lives as well as collective issues that we face as a society.
Her work has been widely exhibited in major national and international museums, including in solo exhibitions at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Arizona (2010), Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC (2009), the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia (2006), and Projectsat The Museum of Modern Art in New York (2004).
Born in Seoul, South Korea and raised in the United States, Shin attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1999 and received a BFA and MS from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She lives and works in New York City.
Breathe to Heal—With anxiety, stress, and sleep dysfunction skyrocketing around the globe, its time we look at the unspoken reasons why. These debilitating challenges can be meaningfully impacted with ten to twenty minutes of breathing exercises a day. Max Strom has been teaching breath-work for 20 years and reveals his insights into the healing power of the breath.
Max Strom teaches personal transformation, mindfulness, and yoga worldwide and is known for inspiring and impacting the lives of his students. His Inner Axis method addresses the internal aspects of our life and our potential for physical and emotional healing. He is the author of "A Life Worth Breathing," and, "There is No App for Happiness."
Photo credit: Sandy Kavalier
Beyond Two Ferns: How comedy can save lives. — President Obama's appearance on "Between Two Ferns" made tens of millions of people laugh (and saved lives in the process). In a culture flooded with too much partisan information, comedy is the last great refuge of truth and access.”
Brad Jenkins is the Managing Director and Executive Producer of Funny Or Die DC. For the last four years, Jenkins served as President Obama’s liaison and director of engagement to the creative and advocacy communities, bringing together creative executives, advocacy leaders, and some of the world’s biggest stars to advance the President’s agenda -- including his Emmy-award winning "Between Two Ferns" interview on the Affordable Care Act.
In addition to creating content, under Jenkins’ direction, Funny Or Die DC provides consulting services on social media, talent outreach, writing, and branding strategies for a range of clients. Jenkins also served President Obama in the 2008 Presidential campaign as the Deputy Director of Special Projects directing the intersection of youth media and grassroots engagement. Prior to joining the White House, Jenkins was the Founding Vice President of Business Forward, an organization that brings entrepreneurs into the policymaking process. Before the 2008 campaign, Jenkins worked on the trading desk for asset management firm, Farallon Capital in San Francisco.
What is Everyday Evil? Identify, Treat...Eliminate.—Renowned forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner examines evil of the everyday, the evil we ignore and what happens around us, and how “evil” identified and defined can be treated, and eliminated.
Trusted by both sides of the most complex legal cases in the United States and abroad, Dr. Welner has distinguished himself as one of North America’s top practitioners of forensic psychiatry. He has had pivotal impact on some of the most sensitive cases in America in recent years. Courts in over forty states and ranging from Guantanamo to Hong Kong have relied upon Dr. Welner to transcend the pressures of intense litigation, and resolve particularly challenging forensic mysteries with evidence-based and definitive case examination, analysis, reports, and testimony.
Dr. Welner’s investigation and interviewing skills have been consistently successful in uncovering critical new evidence, even in cases previously examined by multiple highly qualified peers. His scientifically-grounded fact finding frequently leads to resolution of cases without trial, even in the most contentious litigation. Dr. Welner is also frequently entrusted by attorneys for highly detail-oriented preparation for litigation, including deposition and cross examination of witnesses.
For over a decade, Dr. Welner has been the leading edge of solutions to end mass killing. He has testified to U.S. Congressional subcommittees about solutions for diminishing mental health-related lethal violence and was involved in writing and development of landmark Congressional legislation proposing overhaul to the crisis mental health system in America, HR 3717.
As an invited lecturer to attorneys, mental health and forensic science colleagues and broader audiences, Dr. Welner is a forceful ambassador of forensic psychiatry and its lessons for public policy, drawing from case work and advances in science to promote original solutions for courts and the general public. Dr. Welner has also been called upon to by legislative bodies to testify on numerous areas of forensic and behavioral science, including mental retardation, juvenile criminal competency, and the effects of violent gaming.
See Climate Change—Lenore Tedesco is an environmental scientist and the Executive Director of The Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor, NJ. She will explore the very real changes that are occurring in wetland and coastal areas right now as a result of climate change and the impacts that they are having, what scientists are doing about them, and what we all need to do to break out of the climate change denial bubble.
Dr. Tedesco has worked as a scientist at the interface of natural areas restoration and community engagement for most of her career. After more than 20 years as a professor, and a decade as the director of a university-based environmental research and education center, she became the Executive Director of the Wetlands Institute in 2011. Since her arrival, she has undertaken several coastal and wetland restoration projects and transformed the Wetlands Institute into a place of engaging, hands-on, feet wet education and conservation where natural resources stewardship is at the heart of the Institute’s mission. Tedesco’s work in water resources and wetlands includes projects in France, Germany, Australia and Russia. She has an undergraduate degree in Geology from Boston University and a Ph.D. in Marine Geology and Geophysics from the University of Miami. Lenore lives in Cape May Court House, NJ.
Truth Telling 3.0—21st century technologies have changed the way we communicate with each other and the entire world. Our real-time comments and opinions have informed us, made us laugh, cry, moved financial markets and toppled governments. Knowing exactly how someone feels or thinks in a particular moment is no longer a novelty. But what happens when this personal sharing intersects with our healthcare system? Might this digital truth telling 3.0 usher in a different kind of revolution? Can we finally live with confidence that our voices, our truth, can be heard in a health crisis even if we are unable to speak for ourselves?
Jeff Zucker is the CEO and Co—founder of Dallas, Texas—based ADVault, Inc., creator of MyDirectives® and MyDirectives MOBILE™.