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Evan Dawson talks about what matters to you on ConnectionsEvery weekday from Noon-2 p.m. Be part of the program with questions or comments by phone - 1-844-295-TALK (8255), email, Facebook or Twitter

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"It's alive! It's alive! It's ALIVE!" That iconic moment in which Dr. Frankenstein celebrates his monster's first movements has been seen on stage, on screen, and in pop culture for decades. Countless Frankenstein narratives exist, and their inspiration can all be traced back to Mary Shelley's 1818 novel.

While the story of Frankenstein may be well known, readers and viewers may not be familiar with the history surrounding the novel and the narratives. A new book, Monstrous Progeny, explores that history and the evolution and adaptation of the novel's figures and themes.

We discuss versions of the narrative across genres (including more recent films like Young Frankenstein and The Rocky Horror Picture Show), and we talk about the narratives' take on ethics, science, religion, and more. This discussion previews an upcoming event and film screening at the George Eastman Museum. Our guests:

  • Lester D. Friedman, professor and former chair of the Media and Society Program at Hobart and William Smith College, and co-author of Monstrous Progeny
  • Allison B. Kavey, associate professor of early modern history at CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City, and co-author of Monstrous Progeny

Does Rochester need a new downtown performing arts center? It's a question that has been explored by local arts organizations and city government for 22 years.

On Monday, the City of Rochester released the results of a feasibility study that recommends building a 2,850-seat performing arts center at Midtown. The study says the project would cost more than $75 million and would not require public subsidy.

Is it time to pursue the project? The Rochester Broadway Theatre League is in favor of a new center, saying a larger theater is necessary for Rochester to remain competitive in attracting hit Broadway shows like Hamilton. But representatives of local theaters say a large downtown center would not help existing arts groups and venues.

Mayor Lovely Warren has been pushing for a performing arts center and has extended the deadline for proposals.

We discuss a number of questions surrounding the project, including who would pay for a new center, who would own it, and what type of facility the city needs...if it needs one at all. Our guests:

Credit Westlake Reed Leskosky

First hour: Does Rochester need a new downtown performing arts center?

Second hour: A history of Frankenstein narratives

Our Summer of Food series of conversations continues with the unusual story of a local soup kitchen that has become known for its outstanding food.

We meet the man who helped build the reputation of A Meal and More, which serves more than 10,000 meals a year to people in need. Jeff Caruso also has a new book out, detailing his upbringing, and how his family heritage (both Jewish and Italian) contributed to his culinary approach. It’s an approach that took him throughout the food world in New York, Philadelphia, and the Hudson Valley.  Our guests:

  • Jeff Caruso, chef at A Meal and More
  • Patti Blaine, president of the Board of Directors for A Meal and More

If we seem more polarized than ever, leaders at Ganondagan wonder if it’s because we rarely sit down with people who are different from us. That’s why Ganondagan is hosting an event called “Breaking Bread, Building Bridges.” It will bring together individuals from various gender, religious, and ethnic communities.

We talk to the participants about what they hope to accomplish during the event. Our guests:

  • Gabrielle Hermosa, public speaker and trans woman
  • Mubarak Bashir, director of faith outreach for the Rochester chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
  • Lauren Jimerson, Seneca (Heron Clan), art therapist, and fine artist
  • Meg Joseph, executive director of Friends of Ganondagan

First hour: Ganondagan event promotes understanding between diverse communities

Second hour: Summer of Food - Chef Jeff Caruso and A Meal and More

Is the new Ghostbusters movie any good? That's one question. Then there's the question of why it's become so polarizing. And one of the cast members recently said that she's tired of hearing the term "female comedian," because we never use the term "male comedian." Why are women treated differently on screen? We discuss all of that and more. Our guests:

  • Beth Winslow, actor and comedian
  • Eric Stevens, pop culture writer and LEGO designer
  • Char Broome, comedian who performs under the name Char B

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg touched off a national conversation about the behavior of judges when she harshly criticized Donald Trump. From all political sides, Ginsburg was criticized for abandoning the judicial code of conduct that requires judges not to voice political opinions. She later apologized.

We discuss whether it's realistic to expect judges to remain apolitical, and why it matters when they speak about political candidates. Our guests:

  • Mark Foti, chair of the Monroe County Bar Association Criminal Justice Section, and former public defender
  • Patricia Marks, retired Monroe County Court Judge
  • Jim Bowers, chair of the Department of Legal Studies at St. John Fisher College

First hour: Is it realistic to expect judges to remain apolitical?

Second hour: The new Ghostbusters movie and perceptions of women in comedy

Former television journalist Rachel Barnhart is running against Assemblyman Harry Bronson for his seat. In this hour, she discusses the issues she wants to focus on in Albany, and why she left a career in television news to run for state office.

Our hour with Harry Bronson is available here.