Spotlight feature

Friday, August 28, 2015

Cristy Spooner joins me Monday at 9:00am pst to talk about a rare genetic disease that has affected his family and her foundation - The Spooner Foundation!

We are the Spooner family. Two of our daughters, Calyn & Ryann, live with Mitochondrial Complex I Deficiency, a rare genetic disease that affects their cerebellum. They have cognitive delays, struggle with motor control, and depend on adults for everything.

We love our beautiful girls with all of our being. We dream of a day when medical research can unlock the mysteries of this terrible disease, so that Calyn, Ryann, and other children like them can live happier, healthier lives.

Rick and Cristy Spooner lived for more than a decade with a devastating mystery. What was the rare genetic disease afflicting their daughter Calyn?

As a baby, Calyn suffered violent seizures, but neurologists didn’t know why. Unable to walk without the help of a walker, Calyn has grown up with significant motor, cognitive and emotional impairment. The Spooners could never get a diagnosis, except than an MRI showed a strange pattern on her cerebellum that doctors had never seen before.

When the couple’s third daughter, Ryann, began to exhibit similar symptoms shortly after her birth in 2009, it was a terrible deja vu.

Finally, 14 years after Calyn’s birth, advances in genetic testing gave the Spooners some answers. A new test called “exome sequencing” showed that Calyn and Ryann had inherited mutations from both parents on a gene known as NUBPL. That caused a defect in an important enzyme called complex I, which prevents their mitochondria — the power houses inside the body’s cells — from producing the energy their cells need to work properly.

Today, there is no specific drug for Mitochondrial Complex I Deficiency, the rare disease that affects Calyn and Ryann. Doctors treat the Spooner girls with a “cocktail” of vitamins and enzymes used as therapy for other mitochondrial diseases. It’s a treatment that has improved their daily lives, but is still far from a cure.

Rick and Cristy Spooner shared their story of a search for a diagnosis in a heart-felt documentary, “The life we live.” Since going public with their journey, they have become tireless advocates for medical research to unlock the mysteries of the NUBPL gene, which has implications not just for Complex I Deficiency but for Parkinson’s Disease as well.

Learn more at and watch documentary at :

Actor Bill Allen joins me at 9:30am pst Monday!

Thirty years ago, actor Bill Allen starred in a film called RAD – a coming of age story set against the backdrop of BMX racing. Although a failure at the box-office, the VHS release of the film turned it into one of the most successful rentals in history – and turned Bill, who played the main character of Cru Jones, into an underground superstar.

Now, Allen is back in the world of BMX-themed movies, co-starring as father to a young biker in the upcoming independent release Heroes of Dirt, being released in hundreds of theatres across the country in September and available on DVD and VOD on December 8. Allen is also working on a new film inspired by RAD where he’ll get to ride again as BMX hero.

There’s simply no limit to the way in which RAD and Cru Jones influenced an entire generation of extreme sports athletes and enthusiasts: there have been parodies of the film on American Dad and The Tonight Show, and Bill’s many fans include Comedy Central’s Daniel Tosh (who has welcomed “Cru” on episodes of Tosh.O). RAD director Hal Needham (Smokey and the Bandit) once told Allen that none of his films had the remarkable, lasting impact of RAD. Now there are fake Cru Jones twitter and facebook accounts, children (male and female) named “Cru,” and even a clothing boutique in Argentina named after Allen’s character.

But Bill Allen’s career also includes roles in films by Robert Altman and Oliver Stone, and co-stars in his early projects include future superstars just getting their feet wet like George Clooney, Miguel Ferrer, Brad Pitt, Brandon Lee, and Allen’s lifelong friend and fellow Texan Lou Diamond Phillips. Much to his wife’s chagrin, he continues to indulge in his hobbies as an amateur pilot and parachutist. On the ground, meanwhile, Allen is a veteran musician (he toured in a blues band with Phillips for several years), and recently produced a tribute CD for blues legend Bugs Henderson called “The King of Clubs”). He has remained active in his performing career, appearing in independent films and an episode of Breaking Bad.

With an appreciation for his unlikely career path and an excitement for the next phase of his career, Bill Allen is an eyewitness to Hollywood and cultural history – and a genuine cult hero ready to embrace a new generation of fans.




You wouldn’t have blamed a young Bill Allen if he had believed that the road to a thirty year career as an actor would be quick and easy. After all, his first few projects seemed to point towards early success. He earned his SAG card playing the lead in a movie where his supporting co-stars were Oscar winners, Hollywood legends, and two young unknowns named Miguel Ferrer and George Clooney; he had key roles in films by directors like Robert Altman and Oliver Stone; and he hung out with soon-to-be-famous actors like Lou Diamond Phillips, Brad Pitt, and Brandon Lee.

But Allen would ultimately find his career defined by a film that was barely seen when released and relegated by Hollywood to the VHS dustbin….where it became a classic and made Bill Allen a cult hero. Because Bill Allen, you see, is the guy played Cru Jones. THE Cru Jones.

 In case you weren’t a teenager obsessed with the growing sport of BMX (bicycle motocross) in the 1980s and early 1990s, it should be explained that Cru Jones was the hero of the film RAD, directed by the legendary Hal Needham (Smokey and the Bandit), a veteran widely regarded as the industry’s greatest creator of on-screen stunts. Though rather formulaic (and a bit laughable today for its distinctively 1980s styles), RAD featured elaborate and at the time revolutionary BMX stunts and riding performed by many of the pioneers of the movement at their prime. In the era before the X-Games and viral videos brought BMX to home screens, RAD showed young people all across the country how to execute (and not execute) moves that inspired a generation of extreme sport enthusiasts. Never mind that the film didn’t get a very wide release and poor reviews at the box-office: within a few years, RAD was one of the most-rented VHS films of all time. Teenagers who couldn’t afford to buy the film outright (this was in the days when VHS tapes sometimes retailed for $60 or more) rented it, watched it, and replayed it endlessly to study the stunts, as well as to revel in the underdog story of a bad kid made good by the sport of BMX.

“There are people who have named children Cru Jones,” says Allen with a laugh today, “boys and girls – I hear about one every week. There’s a porn star, and a boutique in Argentina named Cru Jones.” Now grown up, the kids who first rented RAD thirty years ago – like superfan Comedy Central host Daniel Tosh, who swore on the air that “Cru” has a place on his show as long as Tosh.O is on the air - have given Allen new moments in the spotlight, and allowed him to reflect on just what a strange journey a life in show business has afforded him.

 Allen doesn’t deny that some good fortune allowed him to escape a somewhat grim world of limited possibilities in suburban Dallas, where he grew up. Never particularly ambitious – and prevented from playing sports or doing anything dangerous because of his smaller size – Allen had a family friend with a lofty idea about making a film about a jockey. Suddenly Allen’s size and interest in acting found him as the film’s unlikely lead on set in Kentucky. The director convinced legendary stage and screen performer Jose Ferrer, along with many other veteran notables, to take parts in the film, which lead to Ferrer bringing along his own two sons and nephew Clooney to make their own screen debuts. The film was never completed, but it also introduced Allen to veteran film actor Adam Rourke (The Stunt Man with Peter O’Toole are among his many credits). Looking for a way to make a sober living after a rough life in Hollywood, Rourke returned to Dallas along with Allen and began a film acting class that ran successfully for several years. It is there that Allen landed a role in Robert Altman’s acclaimed Streamers, and met lifelong friend Lou Diamond Phillips as a fellow member of Rourke’s class.

Upon arriving in Los Angeles, Allen was, in his own words, “young, with an agent, a SAG card, and a look I could exploit,” and quickly found work on television in shows such as Hotel, Amazing Stories, and Family Ties, and in a key role with opposite Tom Cruise in Born on the Fourth of July. When Needham was casting RAD, a film to be co-produced by Talia Shire and co-starring recent Olympic gold medalist Bart Conner, he happened to catch an episode of Hill Street Blues that Allen guest starred in, and within a few days Allen was hired as the lead and off to Canada. Allen recently collected many of his stories, including many behind-the-scenes stories about the making and promotion of RAD, in his memoir, My RAD Life, where he explains the heady rush of making another major film, his disappointment in the film’s initial reception, and his eventual transition from hot new actor in town to a regular working professional. 

A love for the stage led him to form a theatre company with friends Brandon Lee and writer/director John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, Saving Mr. Banks), allowing him to not only refine his craft, but join a blues band for one aborted stage production. A longtime harmonica player and blues aficionado since childhood (Dallas was an is a hotbed of blues music, and Allen grew up idolizing locals like Stevie Ray Vaughn and T-Bone Walker), Allen’s band, the Pipefitters, toured nationally and performed several times on television, with old friend Lou Diamond Philips fronting the band. That love for music continues: recently Allen worked with his brother Sherman to produce and perform on a tribute CD (The King of Clubs) for longtime Texas bluesman Bugs Henderson.

RAD was in the rearview mirror for Allen, but came roaring back into view with the advent of social media. “I was blissfully unaware of what was going on with the movie,” remembers Allen, “because of my career in music, but something definitely was going on.” Because RAD has never been available on DVD (and VHS copies are increasingly rare), fans often arranged special screenings and invited Allen to attend. At one such screening, director Needham (who passed away in 2013), noted to Allen that of all the films he had ever made, RAD had the most remarkable and profound impact over time. That’s reflected in the film’s current rating on “Rotten Tomatoes.” Though saddled with a “0%” rating from the few critics who reviewed the film, it has an amazing “91%” from fans and “amateur” critics – the most profound discrepancy in the website’s database of over 10,000 films.

For the last several years, Allen has been content working on his music and making a life with his wife, Carol, as well as doing regular acting work (he was seen in an episode of Breaking Bad and has appeared twice on Tosh.O). But recently, he’s found great peace and good fortune in embracing the role that was almost forgotten in a film that refuses to be. “I own the batsuit, and they can’t take it away from me,” he jokes. He plays a key role in a new BMX-themed film Heroes of Dirt, directed by one of the RAD generation, Eric Bugbee. Released in US theatres in the fall, it will make it to DVD and VOD on December 8. 

Allen, Bugbee and the Heroes of Dirt production team are also deep into developing a new film inspired by RAD. That’s going to mean getting back on the bike – he’s busy studying both motorcycle and BMX with longtime pro Martin Aparijo (one of the stunt bikers featured in the original RAD), determined to do more of his own stunts this time around. He’s also developing a traveling BMX / 80s Rock live performance tour, combining nostalgia and extreme biking for a whole new generation of fans. Not bad for the kid who wasn’t allowed to ride a bike – but now counts airplane piloting and power-parachuting among his hobbies. On or off his bike, there’s no question that Allen is always going to find someone who wants to meet the real Cru Jones – and he’s happy to give the people what they want.

Friday, August 7, 2015

New York Times bestselling author Ashley Rhodes-Courter joined me Mondayat 9:30am!

If you missed today's show with Ashley, listen to our conversation here.

Ashley Rhodes-Courter is the quintessential American success story. Born in 1985 to a single teen mother, by the age of 3 she was in Florida’s foster care system where she spent almost ten years being shuttled between 14 homes—some quite abusive—before being adopted from a Children’s Home at the age of twelve.

Despite her ordeal, she excelled in school because she believed that, “my education was the one thing nobody could take from me.” Early in her life she felt compelled to advocate for herself and the other children she lived with, particularly in the abusive foster homes.

Her efforts and academic achievements landed her Eckerd College’s Trustee Scholarship—the school’s most prestigious full-tuition award. She graduated with honors and ahead of schedule earning a double major in Communications and Theater and a double minor in Political Science and Psychology. Ashley then went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California.

During her undergraduate studies, she was one of 20 college students selected for the USA Today All-USA Academic Team and was named one of GLAMOUR Magazine’s Top Ten College Women. She was also selected as one of the four Golden BR!CK Award winners for outstanding advocacy for community change by DoSomething!. As part of their campaign, she was featured on 25 million bags of Cool Ranch Doritos.

In the sequel to the New York Times bestselling memoir Three Little Words, Ashley Rhodes-Courter expands on life beyond the foster care system, the joys and heartbreak with a family she’s created, and her efforts to make peace with her past.

See video from Ashley's previous book tour to see how eloquent and engaging this amazing advocate for children is:

Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent a harrowing nine years of her life in fourteen different foster homes. Her memoir, Three Little Words, captivated audiences everywhere and went on to become a New York Times bestseller. Now, with THREE MORE WORDS, Ashley reveals the nuances of life after foster care: College and its assorted hijinks, including meeting “the one.” Marriage, which began with a beautiful wedding on a boat that was almost hijacked (literally) by some biological family members. Having kids—from fostering children and the heartbreak of watching them return to destructive environments, to the miraculous joy of blending biological and adopted offspring.

Whether she’s overcoming self-image issues, responding to calls for her to run for Senate, or dealing with continuing drama from her biological family, Ashley Rhodes-Courter never fails to impress or inspire with her authentic voice and uplifting message.

Ashley Rhodes-Courter has been featured in Teen People, The New York Times, USA TODAY, and Glamour, as well as on Good Morning America. Her first memoir, Three Little Words, began as an essay, which won a writing contest for high school students, and was published in The New York Times Magazine. A graduate of Eckerd College and a champion for the reformation of the foster care system, Ashley speaks internationally on foster care and adoption. Visit her at

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Filmmaker Alex R. Johnson joins me Monday at 9:00am pst to talk about his film "Two Step."

"Two Step" -- a gritty, slow-burn Austin, TX set indie thriller! I will be chatting with filmmaker Alex R. Johnson Monday at 9:00am pst.  It's the feature debut of this Austin based filmmaker, got a lot of love at SXSW last year, and features a cool cast of fresh-faced as well as veteran character actors all doing terrific work.  
Here is the trailer:

It will be released in NY on July 31, followed by LA on August 7.
'Deeply human and quietly unsettling'THE PLAYLIST
LOS ANGELES —Director Alex R. Johnson's award-winning thriller TWO STEP begins its limited theatrical release in New York City and Los Angeles, premiering on July 31st at the Village East Cinema, and opening in LA the following week. TWO STEP will be available across major iVOD/cVOD platforms starting on September 1st.
TWO STEP is a throwback Texas thriller in which the lives of James, a directionless college dropout, and Webb, a career criminal with his back against the wall, violently collide. Kicked out of college, James visits Grams, his only remaining family, who dies shortly after his arrival. He finds consolation in the company of Grams' neighbor, Dot, a dance teacher, as he figures out his next move. While settling Grams' affairs, James learns she's been the victim of the 'Grandparent Scam', in which someone posing as James has been slowly bilking her out of thousands. But before James can go looking for the culprit, he shows up at the front door, desperate for money. The culprit, Webb, has his own problems in the form of Duane, who has ordered Webb to pay an old debt or else. And if Webb can't get it from Grams, James will have to do – no matter who stands in his way.
'A slow burn thriller with rich Texas flavor and delicious dialogue.'VARIETY
'Writer/director Alex R. Johnson dares honor the bygone art of cinematic storytelling. It's a film in which costs – human, financial moral – are always fully counted and felt.' - FILM COMMENT
Jason Tyrrell, Director of Acquisitions and Distribution for Traverse Media said, 'TWO STEP is one of the most riveting films to come out of the festival circuit in 2014, and every moment of the fantastic imagery and powerful performances stick with you long after the credits roll. We are thrilled to be bringing Alex's vision to a wider audience this summer’.
After premiering at the 2014 SXSW film festival, TWO STEP went on to win the Grand Jury Prize at the New Hampshire International Film Festival and the Best Narrative Feature award at the Flyaway Film Festival. It has also played at the International Film Festival of India, Cucalorus Film Festival, Vancouver International, Reykjavik International and many more.
For more information on the film and its release, please visit

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Harrod Blank, son of Les Blank, called in to talk about A Poem Is a Naked Person featuring the beloved singer-songwriter and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Leon Russell, as filmed by documentarian Les Blank

If you missed my conversation with artist/filmmaker Harrod Blank, listen to the show here!

About Harrod Blank

Les Blank’s son Harrod Blank is an artist and filmmaker, trained on the job by his father from an early age. He is known for his work with art cars, making them and also documenting them on film. A cofounder of the annual San Francisco Bay Area event ArtCar Fest, Blank has been building Art Car World, a museum in Douglas, Arizona, since 2005. He has been working for twenty-five years on an epic film project about the Burning Man festival, on which his father served as a cinematographer. Since Les Blank’s death in 2013, Harrod Blank has been running the nonprofit Les Blank Films to continue his father’s legacy, including the restoration, remastering, and release of A Poem Is a Naked Person

An ineffable mix of unbridled joy and vérité realism, A Poem Is a Naked Person presents the beloved singer-songwriter and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Leon Russell as filmed by documentarian Les Blank between 1972 and 1974. Blank’s camera lets us into the world of Russell and his friends and fellow artists in and around his recording studio in northeast Oklahoma, capturing intimate, off-the-cuff moments and combining them with mesmerizing scenes of Russell and his band performing live. This singular film about an artist and his community never got an official theatrical release and has attained legendary status. Now, after more than forty years, it can finally be seen and heard in all its rough beauty.

The Story of a Poem

In 1972, musician Leon Russell was looking for a filmmaker to make a documentary about him, so he and his record producer, Denny Cordell, called the American Film Institute in Los Angeles to ask who might be a good fit. AFI suggested an exciting filmmaker named Les Blank, who had demonstrated his unique skill at documenting musicians with The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins (1968) and A Well Spent Life (1971). In May of that year, Blank and his collaborator Maureen Gosling, fresh from shooting hours of footage in Southwest Louisiana about black Creole music and culture, were making a pit stop in Dallas for the USA Film Festival. It was there that Blank was informed that Russell and Cordell were trying to get in touch with him. Though he had not heard of Russell, Blank was intrigued, so he and Gosling immediately headed north to Oklahoma and met the two men at Russell’s recording complex, Paradise Studios, in Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees, about ninety miles northeast of Tulsa. Blank agreed to shoot a film about Russell as long as he could set up shop at the studio and simultaneously edit his Louisiana footage (which would ultimately become two separate 1973 films, Dry Wood and Hot Pepper).

Blank and Gosling set up his Moviola editing machine and started working day and night. Their new quarters, according to Gosling, consisted of “a five-room floating motel on Leon’s property, which had been used by fishermen in the property’s last incarnation as a fishing dock retreat.” The recording compound was frequented by other artists and musicians, and the environment was communelike. It soon became clear to Blank that the film would be about not just Leon Russell but an entire community of people, including painter Jim Franklin, whom Russell had A POEM IS A NAKED PERSON JANUS FILMS brought in from Austin, Texas, to paint the walls of his recording studio, but who discovered a more interesting canvas in the blank walls of an empty swimming pool. Blank also filmed other musicians who came through, including Eric Andersen, Charlie McCoy, and Willis Alan Ramsey. Blank kept his camera rolling over the course of two years, ending up with nearly sixty hours of 16 mm footage. This included Russell playing music—in rehearsals, recording sessions, and concerts in New Orleans and Anaheim, California—as well as performances by such music legends as Willie Nelson and George Jones. Yet Blank was ultimately after something more ineffable and atmospheric, something that reflected the odd juxtaposition of the state-of-the-art music studio and its rural surroundings. The result, A Poem Is a Naked Person, is more a collagelike, abstract film about a time and place than a straightforward portrait of a performer.

Thus, footage of a building demolition is as crucial to the overall tapestry as Russell’s performances of his singles “Tightrope” and “A Song for You.”

The first cut, which clocked in at just over 100 minutes, was accepted into the 1974 Cannes Film Festival, but the screening was canceled when the print didn’t arrive in time. As history would have it, the film wasn’t released for another forty years. Blank was still a comparatively little-known filmmaker at the time, and while this movie reflects what we now recognize as the genius of one of America’s premiere chroniclers of music and culture, it was not what Russell and his team were expecting, and Russell did not approve the release. Blank had only a work-for-hire contract and therefore didn’t have the rights to the finished product, although he was permitted to show the film at nonprofit venues if he was there in person.

Blank continued to work on the film, shaving off nearly eleven minutes over the years. He considered this essentially lost film his masterpiece, and he always wished it could see the light of day. In early 2013, two months before Blank died, his son, filmmaker Harrod Blank, made contact with Russell via Facebook—the first time the Blank family had been in touch with the musician in nearly forty years. The two continued to communicate, and met face-to-face when Harrod attended Russell’s concert in Oakland, California, in October. That month, encouraged by their friendly encounter, Harrod began work restoring and remastering the film in New York, even though Russell hadn’t yet formally given his blessing to an official release. Working from various elements, Harrod and his collaborators tried their best to match Blank’s most recent cut, a ninety-minute version from 2011.

In 2014, after Russell had seen a remastered Blu-ray of the final version of A Poem Is a Naked Person, he made an agreement with Harrod Blank to release the film. Harrod decided to work with Janus Films on the theatrical release, as he was pleased with the deluxe treatment Janus’s sister company, the Criterion Collection, had just given his father’s work with the box set Les Blank: Always for Pleasure. A Poem Is a Naked Person finally had its official Janus Films premiere at the South by Southwest festival in Austin in March 2015, attended by Russell, who received a standing ovation after the screening. We can safely assume that Les Blank would have been thrilled to be there. Says Harrod, “It was his dream to see this released. I sort of put my life on hold to see this through.” When Russell was asked why it took so long for the film to come out, he responded, “I don’t know. Maybe because it needed to come out now.” With the benefit of hindsight, everyone, not least Russell, recognizes this film as one of Blank’s greatest achievements.

"One of the greatest rock documentaries I've ever seen, as eloquent an evocation of the reality-distortion field around rock stars as D.A. Pennebaker's Don't Look Back or Robert Frank's Cocksucker Blues, but funnier and stranger than either." 

- Alex Pappademas, Grantland

"One of the great AWOL music docs. Do not let this minor miracle pass you by."

- David Fear, Rolling Stone

A POEM IS A NAKED PERSON - a glorious portrait of beloved singer-songwriter Leon Russell as filmed by documentarian Les Blank between 1972 and 1974. A fascinating time capsule filled with wall-to-wall music (including performances by legends such as Willie Nelson and George Jones, amongst many others), the film finally had its world premiere at this year's SXSW Film Festival (with Russell in attendance), and will open theatrically in LA at Cinefamily on July 10, followed by a national release.

An ineffable mix of unbridled joy and vérité realism, A POEM IS A NAKED PERSON lets us into the world of Russell and his friends and fellow artists in and around his recording studio in northeast Oklahoma, capturing intimate, off-the-cuff moments and combining them with mesmerizing scenes of Russell and his band performing live. This singular film about an artist and his community never got an official theatrical release and has attained legendary status; now after more than forty years it can finally be seen and heard in all its rough beauty.


In addition to the weeklong run of A POEM IS A NAKED PERSON, The Looking Garden gallery at Cinefamily presents a special photographic exhibition of extremely rare, never-before-seen still photographs taken by Les Blank during the filming of A POEM IS A NAKED PERSON and some of his other iconic films. These stills will be available for sale to the public.

Karen Oberman / K.O. PR or (310) 623-2061

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sukey Forbes joined me Monday July 6th at 9:00am pst!

A Story of Love, Loss, and Life After Death

Sukey Forbes


If you missed Sukey Forbes on today's show, listen to our conversation here!

“Powerful, uplifting and fearless.”

—Chicago Tribune

“There is a unique and lovely energy underlying this book—one that stems from Forbes’s extended meditation on where Charlotte lands after her death. Forbes’s achievement in this book is that her engagement with ‘the other side’ is thoughtful and, yes, persuasive. Forbes has written a complex story of love and grief in which she comes to live with hope and faith.”

—Boston Globe

“Forbes turned to the wisdom of her ancestors . . . but it wasn’t until she took a friend’s advice to see a medium that she began to accept Charlotte’s passing as a form of spiritual transition and understand

the depth of her connection to the Emersonian part of her heritage.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“What do we do when the unthinkable happens? We have choices, of course. We can break, become tough, allow cynicism to seep into all our broken places. Or, as Sukey Forbes illustrates in this remarkable book, grief can kick the door wide open and let the light in. The Angel in My Pocket is a devastating and beautiful paean to the human spirit.”

—Dani Shapiro, bestselling author of Devotion, Still Writing, and Slow Motion

“If your life has ever come to a halt, if you have wondered how to want to live again, if you are looking for hope and longing for courage in the face of grief, if you seek staunch honesty and are keen to hear it from someone who knows firsthand that privilege does not protect you from pain, read this book and know that you are not alone.”
—Laura Munson, New York Times bestselling author of This is Not the Story You Think It Is

“How do we bear the unbearable? In this heartbreaking book, a bereaved mother offers
an unflinching account of the different ways we grieve and the different—and surprising—ways we may begin to heal.”
—George Howe Colt, author of The Big House

Now available in paperback, THE ANGEL IN MY POCKET: A Story of Love, Loss, and Life After Death, (Penguin; On sale May 19, 2015; 9780143127574; $16.00) by Sukey Forbes, is the profoundly moving and inspiring story of a mother’s unconventional path to healing after the death of her young daughter. Told with unflinching honesty and hard-won wisdom, Forbes’s memoir is a powerful story of one woman’s decision to embrace life in the face of tragic loss. With open-minded skepticism and a tenacious determination, Forbes seeks answers to questions such as “where did she go?” and “How do I go on?” Her story is a must read for anyone for whom life has taken a turn that left them unsure of how or even if they could move forward.

When Forbes lost her six-year-old daughter, to a rare genetic disorder, life as she knew it was shattered. She was aware that the true essence of what made Charlotte “Charlotte” had left her body. But where did it go? Surely all of this light and exuberance could not just cease when her heart stopped beating. Even as she was devastated by her loss, Forbes accepted that her own life was not over, and she searched for a way to both come toterms with this death and find her way back to a full, meaningful life. The door to both of these paths opened when Forbes found a prominent medium who helped her connect with Charlotte on the other side. With the medium’s help, Forbes found reassurance that Charlotte was not truly gone, but rather on a different part of the continuum of life and death. These experiences gave Forbes the comfort and peace she needed to march once more into life, aware of all it might hold in store for her. In the wake of their loss, she was determined not to just survive, but to thrive.

THE ANGEL IN MY POCKET details Forbes’s resilient journey from despair to a state of grace. Forbes’s family traditions played a strong, if contradictory, role in how she processed her daughter’s death. As the descendant of two of New England’s oldest and most distinguished families (one of which includes Ralph Waldo Emerson, her great-great-great grandfather), Forbes was raised in a rarefied world of privilege that valued emotional reserve and strict self-reliance. There was also, however, a widespread belief in ghosts—especially those that haunt Naushon Island, a 6,000-acre family property off Cape Cod that has remained largely unchanged since its purchase by her family in 1843. The island is filled with history, artifacts, and the visible presence of departed ancestors. With the customary guarded skepticism that defined much of her WASP upbringing, Forbes’s launches into explorations of mediums, religions, science, and philosophy balanced with sitting quietly and listening to the “wise silence” within to find meaning.

Forbes found further kinship with the philosophies of Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose son—like Charlotte—died at the age of six. Buoyed by the revelation that her family was as spiritually eccentric as it was stoic and reserved, Forbes became determined to break through her conditioned responses and embrace the complexities of her heritage.

THE ANGEL IN MY POCKET is an empowering and enlightening story that provides hope to the reader. It is one woman’s complicated and uncommon route to embracing the gifts of loss along with the sorrow. Forbes is heir to a lost American spiritual tradition that allowed her to look optimistically at life in the face of death. Like The Still Point of the Turning World and Proof of Heaven, Forbes’s story offers hope and help to anyone who is grieving the loss of a loved one or whose life has taken a turn that left them unsure of how or even if they could move forward.

About the Author
Sukey Forbes is the founder and president of an art and collectibles company and a blogger for The Huffington Post. The Angel in My Pocket is her first book. She lectures on positive grief and embracing life after loss. She has been interviewed and/or featured on ABC, WGBH, NPR, LA Talk Radio, Open to Hope, Worth Magazine, Boston Magazine and eHarmony (partial list). She and her family split their time between Boston, MA, and San Francisco, CA. Please visit the author on the web at,

Sunday, June 14, 2015

David Perlmutter, MD, FACN, ABIHM, author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller Grain Brain joined me Monday at 9:00am pst!

Great show today with Dr. David Perlmutter! If you missed our conversation, listen here.

Dr. Perlmutter is a Board-Certified Neurologist and Fellow of the American College of Nutrition who received his MD degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine, where he was awarded the Leonard G. Rowntree Research Award. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed scientific journals including Archives of Neurology, the Journal of Neurosurgery, and The Journal of Applied Nutrition, and is a frequent lecturer at symposia sponsored by such medical institutions as Columbia University, Scripps Institute, New York University, and Harvard University. He serves as Associate
Professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Dr. Perlmutter has been interviewed on many nationally syndicated television programs, including 20/20, Larry King Live, Fox & Friends, The Today Show, Oprah, The Dr. Oz Show, and The CBS Early Show, and on CNN and Fox News. He is the recipient of the Linus Pauling Award for his innovative approaches to neurological disorders and in addition was awarded the Denham Harman Award for his pioneering work in the application of free radical science to clinical medicine. He is the recipient of the 2006 National Nutritional Foods Association Clinician of the Year Award and was awarded the Humanitarian of the Year award from the American College of Nutrition in 2010.

Dr. Perlmutter is the author of seven books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs and Sugar—Your Brain’s Silent Killers, now published in 27 countries.

Find out more on: