Before Wanda Sykes became a comic, she worked as a procurement officer for the National Security Agency and had top security clearance. But she always loved telling jokes, and when a local radio station sponsored a talent show that included a comedy category, she decided to audition.
Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews a new CD of Scott Wheeler's opera, based on a hymn to Boston by the New York poet Kenneth Koch. The disc captures a live performance by the Boston Cecilia choral society.
Author Stephen McCauley first made a splash with The Object of My Affection, the novel that was later made into a movie starring Jennifer Aniston. His new novel, Alternatives to Sex, concerns a a gay fortysomething realtor with an addiction to cruising the Internet in pursuit of casual sex.
He's written five novels featuring the working-class Boston private detective team of Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro. They include A Drink Before the War, Darkness, Take My Hand, Sacred, Gone Baby Gone and Prayers for Rain. Lehane abandoned the duo for his book about the effect of an abduction on a group of boys. It's a thriller, Mystic River, and it's been made into a new film directed by Clint Eastwood.
Boston Probation officer William Stewart and Judge Sydney Hanlon (woman) talk about "Operation Night Light," a program that is credited with reducing juvenile crime in South Boston. Under the program, probation officers go out with police at night looking for probation violators. Last year, President Clinton touted Boston as a national role model for what cities can achieve in reducing juvenile crime. William Stewart serves as Assistant Chief Probation officer in the Dorchester District Court in Massachusetts.
Writer Jack Beatty has written a biography of four-time Boston Mayor James Michael Curley, called "The Rascal King." Curley, an Irish-Catholic, is a Massachusetts legend, having run in 32 elections, serving as governor, congressman, and mayor. While Curley could be dismissed as an old-fashioned machine politician, Beatty portrays him as a forerunner of the modern entrepreneurial politician.