Here we are for another round of the Fantasy Colbert League. This week has one of my favorites on the show in Jeff Tweedy – I love me some Wilco and his new project with Mavis Staples looks awesome. I picked up my copies (well, let’s be honested, my copies are being shipped) of David Sedaris’ and Jon Stewart’s new books. Now I just have to find some time to read them!
Monday, October 4: Eugene Robinson
Eugene Robinson is the author of the new book, Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America. The book discusses the four groups of Black America which Robinson sees emerging: a minority group of elite, a majority middle class, new immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean, and the abandoned minority in poverty. Robinson, a columnist for The Washington Post, also serves as an associate editor for the publication. He has worked for the paper for 25 years as a city hall reporter, city editor, foreign correspondent and editor, as well as an assistant managing editor of the famous Style section. In addition to his new book, he has written two others: Coal to Cream: A Black Man’s Journey Beyond Color to an Affirmation of Race and Last Dance in Havana: The Final Days of Fidel and the Start of the New Cuban Revolution. He was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 under the “Commentary” category for his coverage of the 2008 election.
Follow Eugene on Twitter here.
Fract: When Eugene began his career at the San Francisco Chronicle, he covered the trial of Patty Hearst.
Tuesday, October 5: Leon Botstein
Leon Botstein is the president of Bard College, a liberal arts college in New York. He was previously on The Colbert Report in 2007. Botstein is also a musical director and the principal conductor of the American Symphony and Jerusalem Symphony Orchestras. At Bard, he oversees the German Studies, Historical Studies, Jewish Studies, and Music programs. His doctorate is from Harvard University and his B.A. is from the University of Chicago. An advocate of progressive education, Leon became the youngest ever college president at the Franconia College, which is now a defunct school. His work focuses on thematic programming, which means that he tries to tie in literature, music history, and art into his concerts. He is the co-Artistic Director of the Bard Music Festival and also serves as the Chairman of the Board for Central European University. This year he was named to the American Philosophical Society.
Fract: Who’s honoring him now? In 2009, Botstein was awarded the Carnegie Academic Leadership Award which is given to outstanding people working in higher education.
Wednesday, October 6: Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy
Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy have collaborated on a new album called, You Are Not Alone. Tweedy produced the album for the famous R&B and gospel singer. Mavis is part of the family singing group, The Staple Singers, but has also released solo work over a career that has spanned decades. She has worked with Bob Dylan and along with her family, The Staple Singers became a key influence in the civil rights movement. She has also released over a dozen albums.
Jeff Tweedy is the lead singer of the band, Wilco, who were guests on The Colbert Report in 2008. Before Wilco, Tweedy was a part of the band, Uncle Tupelo. He has been with Wilco since 1995 and the band has released albums including Sky Blue Sky, Wilco (The Album), and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.
Fract: High-er powered nickname: The Staple Singers were named, “God’s Greatest Hitmakers.” Jeff Tweedy’s musical style has been compared to Neil Young — good company.
Thursday, October 7: Davis Guggenheim
Davis Guggenheim is a director and producer known for the documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. He has now released the new documentary, Waiting for Superman, a film aiming to push for major education reform. Prior to Waiting for Superman, Guggenheim directed two other documentaries about the L.A. public school system and the stories of new teachers in the system. Those films were called, The First Year and Teach. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Davis went on to attend Brown University. He worked on the HBO show, Deadwood and the new Melrose Place. He is married to the actress Elisabeth Shue, who he directed in the film, Gracie. He also directed the biographical film for Barack Obama that was featured at the Democratic National Convention when Obama ran for president.
Fract: A singer too: Davis was a member of an male a cappella group while in college called “The Brown Derbies.”
Enjoy the show!