The Front Row, 08/02/2006

Today, producer-director Maureen McNamara tells us about her documentary film Hot Town, Cool City; and best-selling author Daniel Silva talks about his newest Gabriel Allon spy thriller, The Messenger. . .

Houston's Menil Collection: A Cool Place in HoustonHouston filmmaker Maureen McNamara is hard at work in the editing room, putting the finishing touches on her latest cinematic opus, Hot Town, Cool City.ξTo many, who only look at the surface, Houston appears to be about Big Oil; NASA; Big Medicine; Big Sports; Big Freeways; Humidity, and Hot Summers (not to mention Hot Falls, Winters and Springs!).ξBut behind that overheated fa?ade is a network of Cool the down-to-earth ... the creative ... the cosmopolitan ... the cutting-edge ... the world-class.ξAt a launch party held at an art gallery last year, 336 Houstonians were given a survey form, and asked to identify some of the places, organizations and experiences that make this Hot Town such a Cool City in which to live, work, grow, love and play.ξMaureen McNamara took those suggestions, and, with initial funding provided by an Individual Artist Project Grant from the Cultural Arts Council of Houston and Harris County, she hasξ been working, for the past year, on a documentary film that will highlight a baker's dozen of the artistic, cultural and social institutions and opportunities -- some well-known, some relatively secret that make Houston such a unique place.ξMs. McNamara talked about her film with KUHF's Bob Stevenson.ξAudio here.ξξ

KUHF's Rod Rice and Author Daniel SilvaWriter Daniel Silva is a former Middle East correspondent for United Press International and later worked as a producer for C-N-N.ξHe met his wife, NBC reporter Jamie Gangel, when both were covering the Iran-Iraq war in 1987.ξHis experience with the tensions, rivalries, and political dynamics of the Middle East lend an unparalleled air of authenticity to the international spy thrillers which he has been writing for the past decade, most notably those since The Kill Artist (published in 2000), which feature, as their main character, Israeli art restorer and sometime secret agent, Gabriel Allon.ξMister Silva will be reading from the latest of these adventures, The Messenger, this evening at Murder By The Book. Its fictional tale grows out of a pair of troubling real-life situations: the uneasy and perhaps ill-advised alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia, and the financing of Muslim terrorist activities internationally by wealthy Saudi militants, some of whom hold high-level, influential positions in business, finance and government.ξDaniel Silvaξspoke with KUHF's Rod Rice.ξξAudio here.ξξ

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