Spotlight feature

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Susan Senator joins me Monday at 9am pst to talk about her book, "Autism Adulthood - Strategies and Insights for a Fulfilling Life."

Autism Adulthood
Strategies and Insights for a Fulfilling Life

By Susan Senator, Foreword by John Elder Robison

If you missed Susan on today's show, listen here!

“In this book, like her others, the wonderful Susan Senator gives voice to those who are too often voiceless—folks with ASD who seek what they deserve—lives of purpose and possibilities.” —Ron Suskind, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and bestselling author of Life Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism.

"In her frank and deeply touching new book Autism Adulthood, Susan Senator shares the intimate details of her journey with her son, Nat, as he takes his first steps toward maturity in a society that offers few resources for people on the spectrum after they "age out" of the meager level of services provided to school-age children. She faces the big issues – housing, employment, relationships with siblings, finding trustworthy caregivers – head-on, and offers practical strategies for giving young autistic people the best chance to lead happy, safe, and secure lives, mapping a pathway to the future that offers autistic people and their families real hope, rather than false hopes built on misguided promises of a cure. By doing so she offers a blueprint for a world in which people at every point on the spectrum are treated as fellow citizens who deserve respect and the ability to make choices, rather than as puzzles to be solved by the next medical breakthrough.” —Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

“Senator hits the nail on the head once again…This is a must-read.” —Library Journal

“As an emotional resource, Senator’s book is excellent.” —Kirkus

“Mothers, fathers, and siblings should read this honest account of family life with autism.” —Temple Grandin, PhD, author of Thinking in Pictures and Emergence: Labeled Autistic for Making Peace with Autism

“From the introduction, Autism Adulthood: Strategies and Insights for a Fulfilling Life will bring you to that dark place parents of young adults with autism fear. But just as quickly, Susan offers practical advice through story-telling and concise, how-to strategies that will leave you feeling optimistic, hopeful, and back in control—all any of us can ask for. A thoroughly readable and important book.” —Arthur Fleischmann, author of Carly's Voice: Breaking Through Autism

“A brilliant book.” —Tim Shriver, CEO of the Special Olympics, for The Autism Mom’s Survival Guide

“Autism Adulthood is a book I will be recommending to every autism parent I know. Senator is as warm as she is wise, as thoughtful as she is knowledgeable, as compassionate as she is informative. Her rallying cry of “All we can do is love each other” will resound in any parent’s heart. Senator loves fiercely—which means she does everything she can to ensure the best life and future for her adult child with autism. This book will inspire the rest of us to do the same for ours.” —Claire LaZebnik, coauthor of Overcoming Autism, with Dr. Lynn Kern Koegel

Autism. It’s a scary word, and one that parents are hearing more and more. Beyond the trauma of the initial diagnosis, the difficulties with finding the right schools and educational programs, and the toll it takes on the whole family looms something far more uncertain and terrifying:

What will happen when my child grows up?

In her new book Autism Adulthood: Strategies and Insights for a Fulfilling Life (Skyhorse Publishing, April 2016), Susan Senator takes the mystery out of adult life on the autism spectrum and conveys the positive message that even though autism adulthood is complicated and challenging, there are many ways to make it manageable and enjoyable. From her own son with autism, now in his twenties, she has learned to “never say never.”

Autism Adulthood features thirty interviews with autistic adults, their parents, caregivers, researchers, and professionals. Each vignette reveals firsthand a family’s challenge, their circumstances, their thought processes, and their unique solutions and plans of action. Sharing the wisdom that emerges from parents’ and self-advocates’ experiences, Senator adds her own observations and conclusions based on her long-term experience with autism. Told in Senator’s trademark warm, honest, and approachable style, Autism Adulthood paints a vivid and thought-provoking picture of many people grappling with grown-up, real-life autism. Senator’s is the only book of its kind, as real families share their stories and their creative solutions.

About the Author
Susan Senator is a writer, an activist, and the mother of three boys. Her books include Making Peace with Autism and The Autism Mom’s Survival Guide. Her son Nat, now in his twenties was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, and she has been advocating for people with autism ever since. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

TV/Film Composer, musician, and producer Megan Cavallari joined me today at 9:30am pst!


If you missed Megan Cavallari on today's show, listen here!

So, you think you had a busy day? Consider what a typical working day might be like for composer Megan Cavallari. Start with the fact that Cavallari is one of only a very small handful of women who have established themselves as major creative artists in the professional music industry. But not even most of the men can point to a resume as diverse, eclectic, and impressive as this diminutive Jewish-Italian Philadelphia native: more than a 100 film scores as performer, arranger, conductor, or composer; the official composer of the L.A. Kings for ten seasons; 25 television shows; 16 stage musicals; and hundreds of songs, jingles, and assorted musical offerings have earned her respect, acclaim, multiple professional awards, and a reputation as someone who seemingly creates and produces music in every waking moment of a 37 hour day.

Then consider that while music is the dominant focus of Megan Cavallari’s professional life, it’s probably the easiest thing she does. For kicks, she might suit up and play left wing in a men’s hockey league, where she might find herself hurtling over the ice after being checked by a guy twice her weight. Or, she might be dealing with the very real challenges facing her eleven year-old daughter, surviving life with debilitating juvenile arthritis. She might be at temple, reaffirming a faith that is part and parcel of a family legacy with all the drama of an HBO miniseries. Or she might be talking to children in a hospital’s terminal ward, recording their thoughts in private and open conversations – just because she knows those moments of free thought and reflection are all the more valuable to those with little time left. In short, your busy day has nothing on Megan Cavallari’s.

Cavallari sees a strong personal and spiritual component to her projects, beginning with a lesson learned from one of her early mentors and champions. “Danny Elfman used to say about making music, ‘you put the antenna up and you hope God is listening.’” Cavallari had just completed her master’s degree at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts when she came to California with her award-winning musical project and caught the ear of Elfman. Her first high-profile gig was alongside Elfman as he composed and recorded the now-classic score from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” which lead to work on several subsequent Elfman scores. She likewise worked with legendary film scoring artists Jerry Goldsmith and Edward Shearmur, and artists such as Johnny Mathis. “Music takes people into a very different space and realm, and engaging with that means I’m always full of new ideas.” She also confesses to a history of being in the right place at the right time, and being around the right people. “I’m super lucky – and then I surround myself with great musicians, producers, directors, and music supervisors who keep asking me to do things!”

The gritty dedication to teamwork also explains her passion for ice hockey, reflected in the many pieces of memorabilia that populate her recording studio as well as her passion for the Kings, who are more than just one of her many employers. “Hockey reminds me of life,” she explains. “You fall down hard, you get up. It’s poetry at eighty miles an hour, and it all comes down to getting that puck past that huge man into that tiny cage. There’s no star – you have to work as a team, you have to have those guys behind you, you have to have your line. I have my line in my work – my musicians, my agents – and my line has to be great for everything to work.”

That the work ethic is the product of strong, passionate parents shouldn’t be surprising, but the story of Megan Cavallari’s family offers additional perspective. Her Jewish mother’s family, emigrated from Russia and engaged as union activists, were targeted by the FBI and blacklisted during the McCarthy era (an uncle was called before congressional committees), which lead them to hide their Jewishness. Meanwhile, her Italian-born father was raised Catholic, but had rejected the church when he saw how they treated Italian Jews during World War II. “My father was more into Judaism than my mother,” Cavallari says. “Passover was his favorite holiday.” Learning prayers from her grandmother and great aunt, Megan wasn’t able to fully explore and embrace her traditions until she relocated to California after college. Despite the complex issues of religious identity, Cavallari’s parents excelled and exemplifying the better values of both faith and social responsibility – they were teachers who specialized in working with disadvantaged kids. “My parents had a loving relationship for 43 years, and I grew up in a home that was completely supportive,” she explains, citing a brother and sister who are both business owners “and fighters.”

That fight is needed on a daily basis when it comes to raising daughter Shoshana, who is in chronic pain from juvenile arthritis. “She’s suffering, but she has such a great attitude,” Cavallari observes, proud that her daughter will attend the prestigious Milken Community School next year. “She’s really my role model – kids tend to look at the bright side of things, so I learn a lot from them.” That’s one of the impulses that lead to Cavallari beginning the Talk Foundation Project. The idea is simple: with some simple digital recording technology, she visits with children in terminal health situations and simply allows them to talk. Currently engaging with Kaiser Permanente with specialists who work in childhood oncology, the recordings are simply private mementos of the subject’s life at that moment. “I say a prayer before I go into the room, I remind myself that this is for the good,” she says of the 20- to 30-minute conversations. “Some of these kids are happy, some are angry, some are going to rant or scream – but whatever they need to do, they do it.”

The constant demands for writing and producing music keep Cavallari focused, despite the many obstacles that she has faced. “Less than half-a-percent of composers are women,” she says. She recalls a particularly humiliating moment early in her career: an agent had submitted her as “M. Cavallari,” and she was hired based on her demo. But upon entering a production meeting, she was told that “casting was upstairs.” After explaining who she was, she was terminated because someone on the production insisted that only a man could compose the score for an action film. That’s lead to one of Cavallari’s bucket-list projects: “Someday, I want to do a ‘Mission: Impossible’ score with an all-female orchestra.” (Her other bucket-list gig would be working with fellow vegan Moby.)

Until then, Cavallari is hard at work on a new animated musical film project called “Jacob Marley” with director Russ Francis, with several other high-profile film gigs in development. She’s also begun a relationship with Grammy-nominated pop producer Eric Robinson, and is working with producer/composer Jonathon McHugh on a new opera about WWII hero Irena Sandler (who rescued 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto), which will debut with the Angel City Chorus. All projects to fill an ordinary day in the life of a not-so-ordinary composer.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Susan Cain, New York Times best-selling author and co-founder of Quiet Revolution, joins me Monday July 11th!

From the New York Times bestselling author of Quiet,

In 2012, Susan Cain published the nonfiction manifesto, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, which became a bestselling worldwide phenomenon translated into forty languages. It inspired Quiet Revolution, a mission-based company that Cain now heads whose goal it is to unlock the power of introverts by empowering them with resources and tools to succeed. But while the book focused mainly on introverts in the workplace, Cain received overwhelming feedback that a version for and about young people was also needed.

This spring, QUIET POWER: The Secret Strengths of Introverts (Dial; On sale May 3, 2016; $17.99; Ages 10+) will highlight introverts’ challenges and successes navigating school, extracurriculars, family life, and friendship. The book spotlights kids who have tackled the challenges of being introverted and who have made a mark in their own quiet way. Susan Cain will share her own story, as well as tips at the end of each chapter. The book concludes with a guide for parents and teachers on how to encourage young introverts to succeed in environments that traditionally reward extroverted behavior.

In an interview with NPR’s Education team about the new edition, Cain emphasized, "Introverts often are really amazing, talented, gifted, loving children, and they feel like there's something wrong with them. Our mission is to make it so that the next generation of kids does not grow up feeling that way." This insightful, accessible, and empowering book, illustrated with amusing comic-style art, will be eye-opening to extroverts and introverts alike.
QUIET POWER’s illustrations are done by Grant Snider, who was among many viewers of Susan Cain’s TED talk on the subject of introversion, which now has over 13 million views. Snider, who identifies as an introvert, says “My preteen and early teen years were a challenging time (as they are for most), and navigating social interactions could be particularly perilous. Luckily, I also discovered reading, writing and drawing: quiet pursuits that I continue to this day. I hope this book can be the guide for young people that I never had, allowing them to value their introversion.”

SUSAN CAIN prefers listening to talking, and cozy chats to group settings. She dreams big and has audacious goals, and she sees no contradiction between this and her quiet nature. A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Cain is the cofounder of Quiet Revolution and the author of the New York Times bestseller Quiet, which has been translated into forty languages and spent more than four years on the bestseller list. She has received Harvard Law School’s Celebration Award for Thought Leadership, and was named one of the world’s Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts by Inc. magazine. Cain lives in the Hudson River Valley with her husband and two sons. Read more about her, and join the Quiet Revolution community, at

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Known for his signature series on the TODAY Show, Bob Dotson has received more than a hundred honors, including eight national Emmys and a record six Edward R. Murrow Awards. Bob called in to today's show on KUCI 88.9fm to talk about his incredible career as an award-winning journalist and author.

If you missed Bob Dotson on today's show, listen to our conversation here!

Bob Dotson’s stories reflect his rare approach to the news. While most reporters focus on life’s flat tires, he looks for something far more difficult to find – what keeps the other tires rolling. Dotson works the neglected streets of our cities, the small towns and dirt roads, searching for people who are practically invisible, the ones who change our lives but don’t take time to tweet and tell us about it. He has crisscrossed this country, four million miles, practically non-stop, searching for names we don’t know, but should, people with thoughtful solutions to problems we all face. Wisdom doesn’t always wear a suit.

Dotson’s signature series on the TODAY Show has received more than a hundred honors, including eight national Emmys and a record six Edward R. Murrow Awards for “Best Network News Writing” from the Radio Television Digital News Association. The Society of Professional Journalists cited Dotson for his work in New Media. Some of his online columns and story videos trend worldwide. His program, El Capitan's Courageous Climbers, was the winner of seven International Film and Video Festivals and was awarded documentary's highest honor, the CINE Grand Prize.

His work has also won Grand Prizes from DuPont-Columbia, the National Press Photographers Association, the Robert F. Kennedy awards and this spring he joined Charles Kuralt and Walter Cronkite as the latest recipient of the William Allen White Foundation National Citation for journalistic excellence.

Dotson’s stories have appeared on all of NBC News programs over the years. He also produced and wrote “Bob Dotson's America,” a series of programs on the Travel Channel. His third book, American Story, a Lifetime Search for Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things, (Penguin/Random House) became a New York Times Best Seller. His new how-to "Make it Memorable," book became the Number One Best Seller on Amazon's Hot New releases list, a week before it was published on October 15th. That same month, Dotson won the 2015 Edward R. Murrow award for this story:


25 years on Today

4 million miles searching for American Stories CONTACT:

Bob Dotson American Story

NEW Book: Make it Memorable

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

PARCHED, Written and Directed by Leena Yadav, and featured at the Los Angeles Film Festival, opens Theatrically June 17th. Leena joined me on KUCI 88.9fm Monday June 13th 9am pst!

If you missed Leena Yadav on Monday's show, listen here.

The show will also be available on i-tunes.

Opening Theatrically on June 17th: Los Angeles, Laemmle Music Hall
Wolfe Video Presents

Written and Directed by Leena Yadav

116 min * India * 2015 * Drama * Hindi & English


'Should resonate with audiences worldwide.' - VARIETY
'The lead actresses deliver a trio of clearly committed performances.' - THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Indian drama PARCHED, from writer/director Leena Yadav (one of the leading female directors in India), will open theatrically on Friday, June 17th in Los Angeles (Laemmle Music Hall), New York (AMC Empire 25), and the Bay Area (Cine Grand in Fremont and Camera 12 in San Jose).

This award-winning film is an evocative, vibrant drama of a three rural Indian women who begin to question the ancient traditions that hold them in servitude. One fateful night, the women come together and take a bold step that will change the trajectory of their lives forever.

In a remote desert community of North West India -widowed Rani (Tannishtha Chatterjee, acclaimed for her starring role in Siddharth), her vivacious best friend Lajjo (Radhika Apte), and the erotic dancer Bijli (Surveen Chawla) - unapologetically talk about men, sex and life as they struggle under the oppressive rules of their traditional village ways. But when Rani is tasked to find a teenage bride for her entitled fifteen-year-old son, they begin to question this status quo that favors men, sends child brides to abusive husbands, and ostracizes women for being educated and opinionated.

With a bold visual confidence, filmmaker Yadav combines the stark realism of hostile desert landscapes with a Bollywood palette, vibrant tones that celebrate the unleashing of the women's repressed sensuality and dreams. Beautifully shot by Academy Award-winning cinematographer Russell Carpenter (Titanic), PARCHED elevates these women's heartfelt stories, transforming their struggles into a stirring portrayal of liberation.

Said writer/director Leena Yadav, "I was raised to judge and treat people as human beings above and beyond their gender, religion or caste. This story is my reaction to a misogynistic society that treats women as objects of sex, where their greatest role is to serve men. Giving my women characters a voice that observes, absorbs and reacts was what drove me to write this drama about ordinary women who are driven to extraordinary ends."

Written, Directed and Produced by: Leena Yadav

Cinematographer: Russell Carpenter (Titanic)
Starring: Lehar Khan, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Surveen Chawla, Radhika Apte
Distributed by: Wolfe Releasing

PARCHED opens theatrically via Wolfe Releasing on June 17th in Los Angeles (Laemmle Music Hall), New York (AMC Empire 25) and the Bay Area (Cine Grand in Fremont and Camera 12 in San Jose). The film will also be released via Wolfe Video on August 9th on DVD / VOD, across all digital platforms including iTunes, Vimeo On Demand, and, and will also be available same date on DVD via Wolfe Video and many major retailers.

Born in Mhow, India, Leena Yadav is one of a vanguard of successful contemporary female directors working in India. She began her career as a successful editor on commercials and an assistant director for television, and then went on to direct for than 300 hours of television, including hit fiction shows and India's first reality TV show. She made her directorial debut with Shabd (2005), wich she wrote, edited and directed - and which bravely explores the psychology of love, marriage, creativity and freedom. Then then write and directed Teen Patti (2010), starring two legends of cinema - Amitabh Bachchan and Academy Award Winner, Sir Ben Kingsley. Parched (2015), her third feature film, world premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, and has garnered awards and critical acclaim in numerous festivals worldwide. It was deeply inspired by real life villagers she met and their resilient spirits.

Founded in 1985 and now celebrating 30 years as the largest exclusive distributor of lesbian, gay, bi and transgender (LGBT) films, Wolfe's release slate includes some of the most popular LGBT films of 2015, including the Swiss Oscar and Golden Globes submission The Circle; the gorgeous lesbian drama by renowned Venezuelan director Fina Torres, Liz in September; and the epic international production by Finland's Mika Kaurasmäki, The Girl King. In 2016, Wolfe's releases will include the Thai Oscar submission How To Win at Checkers (Every Time); Henry Gamble's Birthday Party; Portrait of a Serial Monogamist, and Naz & Maalik. Wolfe's library of beloved modern classics includes such acclaimed hits as Cloudburst, Undertow, Desert Hearts and Big Eden. Wolfe's complete motion picture library can be found at as well as at national retailers such as Netflix, Amazon and VOD destinations such as Comcast, Time Warner, Hulu, iTunes and


Matt Johnstone Publicity
New York / Los Angeles

Matt Johnstone
Ph: 323.938.7880

Rico Helmecke
Matt Johnstone Publicity
Ph: 424.324.4198

Monday, June 6, 2016

After a sold out LAFF world premiere, Political Animals will play festivals throughout the summer!

USA / 2016 / Documentary / 87 minutes / HD

After a sold out LAFF world premiere, Political Animals will play festivals throughout the summer, including Provincetown International Film Festival, Frameline, San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival, Cinema Q Film Festival in Denver Additional festivals to be announced shortly.


POLITICAL ANIMALS celebrates the legendary civil rights victories of the first four openly gay elected California state politicians - who were all women: Carole Migden, Sheila Kuehl, Jackie Goldberg, and Christine Kehoe. An inspiring portrait of four defiant politicians who refused to let hatred and homophobia stop them from making history and achieving legal recognition for LGBT people throughout California and the United States. POLITICAL ANIMALS documents the tough struggles they endured together, and celebrates their pioneering success in the fight for Equality and the sweet victories these unforgettable women created to pave the way for lasting and significant social change.

Directed by Jonah Markowitz (Shelter) and co-directed by Tracy Wares (Bomb It, Gay Republicans). Produced by Anne Clements (Quinceañera, Pedro, Ping Pong Playa).

Festival Info:

Filmmaker Bios:
Jonah Markowitz is a celebrated director and production designer. Markowitz wrote and directed the critically acclaimed narrative feature film "Shelter" which was recently named "The Number 1 Gay Film of All Time" by on their bi-annual poll. Shelter also won the HBO Award for Outstanding First Feature, The Scion Director's Award, as well as audience awards in New York, Vancouver, Sao Paulo, Melbourne and more. Markowitz is also a successful film production designer. His most recent film, "The Diary of a Teenage Girl", premiered at Sundance 2015 and won the Grand Prix at Berlin. His credits also include the Sundance Jury and Audience Award winning "Quinceañera", as well as Studio films such as "We Are Marshall", "The Help", and "The House of Sand and Fog".Jonah graduated from the Film department at Emerson College and also studied art history in the Netherlands, as well as film theory and production at FAMU in The Czech Republic.

Tracy Wares has made documentaries on five continents including; "Bomb It", about graffiti around the globe, which she shot and produced (Tribeca Film Festival 2007), was cinematographer for "Gay Republicans" (AFI's Audience Award 2004), and co-produced Smokin' Fish (PBS and IDFA 2011). Most recently, she has directed and produced documentaries for VICE Media, including "Politics of Food" (2015) and "Ovary Action" (2016). Wares' work has aired on ABC, PBS, Sundance, Nat Geo, Discovery, A&E Bio, CW, TNT, WeTv, Trio, TLC, and VICE online.

Matt Johnstone / Matt Johnstone Publicity
323.938.7880 /

Rico Helmecke / Matt Johnstone Publicity
424-324-4198 /

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Jason Wachob, Founder and CEO of mindbodygreen joined me Monday June 6th at 9am pst!

If you missed today's show featuring Jason Wachob, listen here!

If the link above does not work, visit this page:

JASON WACHOB is the Founder and CEO of mindbodygreen, the leading independent media platform dedicated to wellness with 12 million monthly unique visitors and the author of WELLTH: How I Learned to Build a Life, Not a Resume. He has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Goop, and Vogue. Jason has a BA in history from Columbia University, where he played varsity basketball for four years. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, and loves German Shepherds, Chuck Taylors, and guacamole. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @JasonWachob.