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Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
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April 29, 2018 10:43 am

CBS Sunday Morning

Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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April 29, 2018 10:43 am

Denzel Washington returns to Broadway in "The Iceman Cometh".  Barry Petersen visits and listens to a few barbershop quartets. 

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Our CBS Sunday morning podcast is sponsored by Edward Jones. College tours with your oldest daughter. Updating the kitchen to the appropriate decade.

Retiring on the coast. Life is full of moments that matter, and Edward Jones helps you make the most of them. That's why every Edward Jones financial advisor works with you to build personalized strategies for now and down the road. So when your next moment arrives, big or small, you're ready for it. Life is for living.

Let's partner for all of it. Learn more at Good morning. Jane Pauley is off today.

I'm Lee Cowan, and this is Sunday Morning. We thank you for listening to this venture of ours, but when it comes to listening, really listening, to what people from all walks of life have to say, it's hard to beat the listener Jim Axelrod has been hearing out for our cover story. Helena Bala keeps a journal full of other people's secrets.

This is an army veteran and a double amputee. Secrets she's gathered from hundreds of conversations with total strangers and uses to help them heal. Our veneers are quite perfect. We look great. Only everyone's got holes in their heart.

Right. A heart to heart with the listener later on Sunday morning. Speaking of listening, we'll be hearing a lot of singing from quartets that are occasionally misunderstood, and we'll be hearing what those singers have been saying about their pastime to our Barry Peterson. People laugh when you say you're singing barbershop.

How do you deal with it? Well, in some sense, you know, we just smile about it too because barbershop does have a stereotype, but I think we're breaking out of that. America's music as popular now as it was then. Our Sunday profile this morning is of Denzel Washington, the star of TV and film who's currently thrilling audiences on Broadway.

Michelle Miller will be doing the honors. He's been in some 50 movies in 40 years. We cannot launch our missiles unless both you and I agree. And now he says he's sharing the benefits of his own success. You're a producer, you're a director, you hire people. That's power. That's opportunity. The opportunity to give others opportunities.

I'm happy about that. Denzel Washington later on Sunday morning. And more all coming up when our Sunday morning podcast continues. Would you open up about your private life to a total stranger who promised just to listen?

You might if you felt that she was the right person to confide in. Our cover story is reported by Jim Axelrod. This is someone who stole to feed his family to make ends meet. In her journals, Helena Bala keeps a record of other people's secrets. This is an army veteran and a double amputee who is coping through his ordeal. Notes from more than 300 conversations she's had in the past few years. Rape and abortion story. Some of it is troubling. Addiction and prostitution. Some of it heartbreaking.

Childhood incest, the hands of his uncle. But all of it is unusual because all these conversations Helena's had, people sharing their deepest and darkest, all of them were with total strangers. It's giving people who don't have a voice to their family, to anyone else that they know, to their close ones, a voice.

Maybe shoot me an email or... Sometimes the conversations are on the phone. I don't know what it is about my relationship with my parents.

Often they're face to face. I wanted to just tell somebody what a wonderful person my wife was. That she wasn't defined by her drinking, she was defined by this wonderful spirit she had. Like the two meetings she had with this man.

He just wanted to tell someone about his wife who died from alcoholism. I really felt I connected with her heart and she was such an incredible listener. This incredible listener's journey started five years ago in Washington D.C. where Helena was a lawyer.

Heading back from a meeting carrying her lunch, she saw a homeless man. Something inspired her to sit down, share her sandwich, and start listening. Here we are sitting on a street corner talking to each other and having a conversation much deeper and much more involved than any that I really had with close friends and family in the past.

So I was thinking, how do I recreate that feeling for other people? What you do if you're Helena Balla is place an ad on Craigslist inviting anyone who needed to talk to get in touch. Her Craigslist confessional was an instant hit.

How quickly do you hear from someone? Woke up the next morning and boxes flooded. First one was a woman who had been a heroin addict for 20 years and she wanted to share her experience. We were walking through downtown D.C. right by where I worked and she said that I used to buy dope right here in these corners. She said thank you so much.

Thank you so much for listening to me and this blew my mind. I mean I hadn't done anything extraordinary. I wasn't providing any amazing insight into her own life. I was just sitting there listening to her kind of tell me about her journey. All you were doing was listening and listening and listening and listening to hundreds of people desperate to talk. And so I started gradually setting up more meetings and it was taking up afternoons and then weekends and and then it got a little bit overwhelming.

But instead of cutting back, Helena went all in. She quit her job and with her husband's support gave her time full-time to strangers. Did your husband or any close friends or family say, hey this is great, you found what you love to do, go get a graduate degree in psychology, become a therapist? This is very different from a therapy session. I'm just listening. I'm not trying to get you to get better or you know have an end result. In a sense if someone is in real pain and they tell their story and there's no follow-up, there's no healing given, then all she's doing is putting a band-aid on a toxic emotional wound.

Barton Goldsmith, a leading psychotherapist, admires Helena's huge heart, but not what he sees as a naive approach. Being listened to sincerely allows a release, but one conversation, two conversations, a bunch of different conversations with a bunch of different people does not give you the tools you need to help heal your pain. Not just to maybe pull the scab off to see that you have a wound, but to actually dress that wound. You've got to heal it. You can't just let it sit there and fester. It's never going to heal if you leave it open. But tell that to the man who lost his wife, who like all of Helena's strangers will remain anonymous.

It's a one-time deal. Your life has changed. You're thankful. You're grateful. The act of her listening to you allowed you to move forward. Yes, but part of that being heard is I'm being self-honest enough to hear myself, to discover myself, to reveal myself to myself.

I know that sounds crazy, but that's what it is. Helena Bala still talks with a few strangers every month and plans to continue as long as there are people who need her. It's a much-needed reminder about the world we inhabit. Even though in this Facebook age we are sharing more than ever, plenty of us are still failing to connect. We live in this age of social media saturation. Aren't we already sharing too much?

Of the wrong thing. I mean, our veneers are quite perfect. We look great. We look like we're functional human beings, no problems, and that's kind of what we want to portray to society, right?

We're doing great. Only everyone's got holes in their heart. Right. Helena's prescription to heal those holes is a simple act of kindness. Just listen. There's a popular saying, a burden shared is a burden halved. So that's what you're doing?

Having burdens? Well, yeah, hopefully. And now a page from our Sunday Morning Almanac, April 29th, 1989. 29 years ago today, the day designer Donald Deskey died at the age of 94. An advertising man with a sideline in design, Deskey achieved notice in 1932 with the opening of New York's Radio City Music Hall, an art deco monument featuring interiors of his design. To quote a newspaper report at the time, it's been said of the new music hall that it is so wonderful that it needs no performers, that its beauty and comforts alone are sufficient.

That's the color I've been waiting to see. The music hall's praises were sung right here on Sunday morning by the late Hugh Hardy, the architect who restored its interior in 1999. Nothing could be better than this building in 1932. Nobody could be so arrogant as to think they could improve Radio City.

It can't be done. And even if he can't make it to New York to experience the music hall in person, you can still admire Donald Deskey's handiwork right in your own home. That's because he went on to enjoy a long mid-century career designing the packaging of countless household products. The music hall is a place of great pleasure.

It's a place of products, including crest toothpaste, bounty towels, prel shampoo, among many others. In short, you could say that when it comes to memorable designs, both large and small, the late Donald Deskey was the complete package. I think you can take the full measure of a man just because you've seen him mopping the floor of your school. Steve Hartman tells us not so fast. Here we are just two seconds into this story, and if you're like most people, you've already made some assumptions about our subject, Maury Forrester.

But the students here at Colter Grove Intermediate School near Knoxville, Tennessee, say be wary of that first impression. Hey guys. You never know what people have done. I was surprised. It makes you wonder, like, how did he get here? Liftoff!

We have a liftoff! 77-year-old Maury Forrester was part of the team that helped put a man on the moon. During the Saturn and Apollo programs, he worked for a subcontractor that designed crucial launch components. I look at it now, I'm amazed that it happened. It was so complex and so involved.

There were so many people. His certificates and awards could fill a corner office, and yet here he is in a broom closet, a highly trained electromechanical designer on the business end of a mop. In 2014, Maury suffered a stroke or something like it. Doctors aren't quite sure, but the result was clear.

A major loss of cognitive function. Maury says it was humbling and humiliating, but he knew if he wanted to keep on living, he had to keep on working. He originally took this job solely for the exercise, but over the last few months, he has become an integral part of this school community. I just love it. They're happy to see me, and I'm happy to see them. I've gotten to care very much for them.

Thank you guys. And the students clearly feel the same. In fact, Maury says they even say I love you. Just hearing that makes all the difference to me. And nobody ever said that at NASA?

No, not that I can remember. Which leads me to the most astonishing part of this story. Oh gosh. After that, I asked Maury, what if by some miracle he got his mind back and could go back to his old job?

There was no hesitation. Yeah, I can't, I can't say that. I'm going to give this up. I'm good.

How are you? Some people never figure out the key to a successful career, but Maury shows it's not rocket science. I too am America. Ahead, Denzel Washington, from screen to stage. It's Sunday morning, and here again is Lee Cowan. Denzel Washington challenged Gene Hackman for command of a nuclear submarine in the 1995 thriller Crimson Tide. Well, today there's nobody who would challenge Washington's command of both the screen and the Broadway stage.

Michelle Miller has our Sunday profile. My name's Denzel Washington, Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. But to legions of moviegoers, he's simply Denzel. I too am America. He's played a staggering variety of characters.

We cannot launch our missiles unless both you and I agree. In some 50 films in 40 years. You're an African who happens to be in America. Malcolm X. We didn't land on Plymouth Rock.

Plymouth Rock landed on us. A homophobic lawyer. What happened to your face? I have AIDS. A jazz trumpeter.

And a boxer. I just do what I do. I don't analyze it. I don't over analyze it. I don't try not to read about what people think I'm doing.

It's not that precious to me. I'm just doing what I know how to do and what I love to do. And his work has been awarded with two Oscars. Best Supporting Actor for his role in Glory as a Defiant Soldier in the Union Army. There's a training day, Officer Hoyt. Show you around, give you a taste of the business, you know. The other Best Actor for Training Day.

Keep your mouth shut and your eyes open. Where he played a decorated but deeply corrupt narcotics officer. You gotta decide whether you're a wolf or a sheep. And in 2016, he received the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement.

How much more is there left for Denzel Washington? Man gives the award, God gives the reward. That's what my mother raised me on. So I like awards as we all want to be loved. You know, you work hard and you want people to appreciate what you do.

But that's not what I live for. His long successful career has made him a role model to actors, especially African Americans. And his reach extends to the stage too. He starred on Broadway in Julius Caesar, Checkmates, A Raisin in the Sun, and Fences. For that play, he won a Tony for Best Actor.

Sleepy and tired, but other than that, I feel great. Now he's starring in Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh. I mean saving you from pipe dreams. I know now from my own experience that they're the things that can really poison and ruin a guy's life and keep him from finding any peace. It's set in 1912, written in 1939. It's about unrealized dreams, betrayal, addiction. It's comedy.

I'm joking. It's heavy. Washington plays Hickey, a wealthy, larger than life salesman who visits a group of drunken, down-on-their-luck bar flies. George C. Wolfe is the director. He is an incredibly skilled actor who uses all his skill set to disappear inside of the characters.

I think there are a number of actors who we go to see who are enjoyable and compelling, and you're seeing them play this role and this role and this role, and they don't disappear. I think he surrenders to his characters in an extraordinary way. Denzel Washington grew up in Mount Vernon, New York with his mother, Lennis, who managed her own beauty shop, and his father, Denzel Sr., a Pentecostal minister who worked two jobs. He used to sit in the driveway with his foot out of the car, the door open, listening to the radio, and I used to wonder why he would do that.

I think he had just left one boss, and there was another boss waiting for him in the house, so that was the only time he had to be the boss. Washington says when he was young, his parents, especially his mother, helped prepare him for the challenges he'd face. I remember when I was a kid, and we were in Florida, and someone called us niggas. We were like nine years old, me and my brother. They were spitting all this anger. It wasn't even what they said, but the way they felt. So I went inside, and I asked my mother, I said, Mom, why are they talking like that? She said, oh, that's just somebody who's worried about you taking their place. I said, oh, okay.

Washington took his place in Hollywood in the early 1980s, shortly after graduating as a star of Fordham University's theater program in New York. You're going to be a heavyweight. You got the chin.

You got the guts. But most of all, Bobby, most of all, my blue-eyed friend, most of all, you're white. Even though he had talent, he says he found few mentors and even fewer opportunities compared to white actors.

Nearly 20 years ago, he expressed his frustration to Ed Bradley. I see how the playing field is laid out, and it's not level. You know, it's not fair. You can still bump your head.

You can go but so far. You think that's because of race? Ignorance. I don't just say race. Race is the obvious, you know, because as a Black man, we can't hide.

You know, there are other races that can hide. You can't change this. Is it any better?

I sat and watched a Black Panther, where they up to a billion something. Over? Yeah. So that answers that question. Is that the seminal moment? No, that's where we are now. I mean, I'm proud as a father might be, you know. I'm not finished the race, but I feel like I've passed the baton. When you run a relay race, when you hand the baton off, you still run about 20, 30 yards behind the next person.

So I'm still running, but I'm enjoying watching this generation take off, take the ball and run with it. And he's in a position to help. You're a producer, you're a director, you hire people. Yes. That's power. That's opportunity and, you know, the opportunity to give others opportunities. I'm happy about that. Seeing you carrying all those books around, I figured you're some kind of teacher.

I'm a high-level bait club, I'm an assassin. At 63, Washington is about to be seen in the action thriller, The Equalizer 2. Everybody got wise to me. Until then, each night, he'll stay in the glow of the spotlight.

Just the old dope of honesty is the best policy. Because that's where Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. says, the work really pays off. How do you know when you've done your job? At the end of the night, you know, when you come out, nobody applauded you. They're running out the door. A standing and leaving ovation. But, you know, you are grateful and humble. We still all want to be loved, you know.

We come out, we bow, and thank you, and you mean it. It happened this past week. The loss of two jazz musicians who each left his mark. Bob Dorough died this past Monday. Pianist and singer, Dorough broke through starting in 1973 with his Schoolhouse Rock videos on Saturday morning TV. Catchy songs that taught us lessons.

Conjunction Junction among them. Bob Dorough was 94. And we learned Friday of the death of saxophonist Charles Neville of the Neville Brothers Band. Born in New Orleans, Charles and his three brothers formed their band in 1977. A unique blend of jazz and blues and other musical styles that was all their own. In a CBS interview back in 1989, Charles Neville told us their band of brothers was on a mission. Part of the message we are delivering is a message of love and the message of our love for what we're doing. Charles Neville was 79. Grant Wood made the pitchfork artwork in one of America's most familiar paintings.

Yet his life story remains unfamiliar to most of us, which is where the exhibit Anna Werner is about to walk us through comes in. You've undoubtedly seen it before. If you say, you know, pitchfork, two people standing side by side. That's right. They say, oh, that one.

That one, yes, uh-huh. That one is American Gothic by the artist Grant Wood, likely the only work many Americans have ever seen by him. But curator Barbara Haskell at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York is out to change that with a retrospective of his work. So how many works are in the exhibit? There are about 120 works in the show. It's the most extensive Grant Wood show that's ever been mounted.

And at its heart, that famous painting. Who are the people in this picture really? Posing for the picture was Grant Wood's dentist and his sister. But when it was first presented, it was listed as a husband and wife. One of the interpretations is that actually it's a sublimated portrait of Wood's parents.

And the brooch that the sister is wearing is the brooch that belonged to the mother. Or maybe we're just reading too much into it. Exactly. But that's what he wanted. He wanted all of us to try to figure out what is going on. So what are these people in some of his portraits thinking? What other stories was he trying to tell? He had a vision of sort of American history. He loved the idea of Paul Revere. But this is a great example of how eerie his landscapes and narrative pictures are.

Turns out there's more to Grant Wood than we knew. Born in rural Iowa in 1891, Wood's talent was apparent from an early age. After graduating high school, he traveled abroad to refine his craft, but eventually returned home to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It was there he became known for his regionalist style, in artwork focused on rural life in America. He felt that everyday scenes from Iowa were just as important as the kinds of things that were being taught in the major art schools.

Sean Ulmer is the director of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. He took us to Wood's studio, a few blocks away from the museum. So welcome to the Grant Wood studio. Yeah. So yeah, it's all one big open space.

Maybe not so big, but open. And this is where Grant Wood lived and worked from 1924 to 1935. And Grant got into it and said, you know, with a few modifications, I can actually live here, bring my mother in here and my sister, and we don't have to pay rent someplace else. It was here that Wood painted American Gothic, which won a bronze medal in a competition hosted by the Art Institute of Chicago, and brought the 38 year old artist national fame. He became well known, if a bit of a puzzle. We wore overalls as a uniform and had this all shucks kind of personality that he presented to the press. But in fact, he was very sophisticated. His brief marriage in his forties, combined with a focus on the male form in his art, raised questions. He lived in the Midwest in the 1930s within a community that was very masculine. He had homosexual tendencies that he was afraid of confronting. Do you think he had a happy life? I think he had a very troubled life. I think you see that troubled life in all the pictures. And that's what holds our interest. On one hand, they're bucolic and harmonious and ordered.

And then on second glance, there's something else going on. Although not everyone agrees. Do you think that this was a man who was in the closet at a time when being gay was not widely accepted? Well, we have no evidence at all that he was gay. It certainly was rumored during his own lifetime.

I tend to lean more towards the facts that do exist and looking at the work itself. That's something the public can do now at the Whitney in New York, and always in his hometown. And people now? Is Grant Wood a household name in Iowa? Absolutely. I mean, he is beyond doubt Iowa's most famous artistic son.

I think that one of the things that Grant Wood really did is shared with a much larger public the beauty that exists in the Iowa landscape and the people who populate that landscape. Las Vegas is big shows and big music. Or little shows where the king helps make a marriage.

But not usually this kind of show. And yet on the same stage where Backstreet Boys performed, the boys of four-part harmony packed them in. Even in the hallways at the annual convention of the men's barbershop harmony society held in Las Vegas, any four men who happened to meet couldn't help but sing. And even though women have their own separate barbershop associations, the women here had no problem joining in. David Wright is associate director of the barbershop chorus Ambassadors of Harmony, and on this day was putting them together with the chorus Vocal Majority. Altogether, more than 200 men two of several choruses who competed at the convention.

There's professors like myself, there's doctors, there's attorneys, there's people that work in sales. The only one I can think of that's not there is a barber. There are no barbers in your barbershop chorus. This American music has its roots in African-American traditions much like blues and jazz. Some perform music from simpler times. Others prefer the top 10 list like George Strait and those Texas exes. Or a little Ray Charles.

Just an old sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind, she's on my mind, she's on my mind. This is forefront gold medal winners. Here, they are superstars. That earned them fame, but fortune? Aaron Hughes sings Baritone. How much fortune would that be?

Well, yeah, pretty much zero. Deborah Lynn teaches vocal technique, but taught us that pretty much anyone can sing barbershop. She had me and I grabbed producer John Goodwin who had never sung barbershop and two quartet members who were walking by.

With a little guidance and a minimum of practice, we nailed it on take three. Full confession, I sang barbershop during high school in Sydney, Montana 50 years ago about when June and Tom Noble got married. You've been singing barbershop longer than you've been married? Yeah, because that's how I met him.

And that's how you stayed married? It is. From two of the oldest singers, here are some of the youngest, 17-year-olds from the Shopick family, quadruplets who became a quartet. They call themselves Vintage Mix, and their vintage is the 1940s. Our parents played 40s music growing up, so we grew up loving the 40s music.

Like this hit from 1946. And really, in these polarized times, who couldn't use a little more harmony? Our contributor Nancy Giles has some thoughts on Bill Cosby's guilty verdict. Bill Cosby is a big part of why I'm in this business. I was a fan. I grew up watching him do everything from stand-up comedy and Saturday morning cartoons. We had something before we left Africa. To hosting specials on black history.

Now if you tell the history of slavery right, you got a big problem on your hands. Is he under the table? And selling Jell-O pudding. Kids love Jell-O brand pudding. I listened to his albums. I loved his stories about growing up in Philly.

They were a lot like mine growing up in Queens. And in some way, just seeing him made me believe that I could be on TV too. The Bill Cosby I thought I knew was before Cliff Huxtable. Back then he was Scotty, the dude from I Spy, with a short cropped afro and white jeans.

Side by side with Robert Culp. Bopping around the world as the coolest espionage agent you ever saw. Then he was Chet Kincaid. What we'll do is we'll run down the basic fundamentals of the game.

High school coach and single guy. Deftly navigating in a multicultural single camera comedy world with no laugh track, but a hip goofy theme song. I knew they were just characters, but I guess in some ways I didn't. I needed to believe they were Bill Cosby. And Scotty and Chet and certainly not Cliff Huxtable could never do what the more than 50 women have accused Bill Cosby of doing. Look, you can't serve up wine and pills to women and then have some kind of sloppy sex with them. How can that ever be consensual?

It can't. There is no consent. Period.

Full stop. At the very least, Bill Cosby could have taken responsibility for what he did, or apologized, however late in the game. Even though 50 years of bad behavior can't be excused. This was like watching someone die of cancer. It's been agonizing. I feel for the women who weren't listened to. I'm hurting for Andrea Constand and the women who were harmed. And I'm hurting for the death of an image that meant a lot to me.

The truth hurts. And the truth is Bill Cosby is 80 years old and now stands convicted of three counts of sexual assault, which could put him in prison for 30 years. Minutes after Thursday's guilty verdict, Tom Mezzaro, one of Cosby's attorneys, said we don't think Mr. Cosby is guilty of anything and the fight is not over. I disagree. It is over. I'm Lee Cowan. Thank you for listening and please join us again next Sunday morning. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-26 14:32:20 / 2023-01-26 14:46:03 / 14

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