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The Beat

Going Down Jericho Road

Megan Sukys/Dave Beck

Martin Luther King believed that the inseparable twin of racial injustice is economic injustice. Today on the Beat, we learn about King’s campaign for labor right and his final days fighting for Memphis sanitation workers. Plus, Seattle actor Matt Smith’s secret to success.

07:00 - Matt Smith

Life is really one big improvisation. There's no script. You just have to go out there and wing it. Nobody knows this better than Seattle's Matt Smith. He took the lessons learned in a long ago improvisational theater workshop and applied them to his own life and he helps others do the same. Local audiences might know Matt from Almost Live, his numerous solo plays, or even for his cameo appearances in the Spiderman films but he's also a corporate trainer, an auctioneer, and a teacher. We hear about Matt's diverse career, the principles of improv that underlie everything he does, and how he helps others learn the same lessons.

20:00 - Going Down Jericho Road

Civil rights are intertwined with labor rights. At the end of his life, Dr. Martin Luther King came to see that racism was inseparable from poverty and he began to advocate for economic justice as well as racial equality. University of Washington Tacoma professor Michael Honey writes about Dr. King's involvement in the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers strike in the book, Going down Jericho Road. Today, he shares the enduring lesson of King's last campaign and the speech he gave the night before he was killed.

34:00 - Sounds Familiar: 'Black Bottom'

Amanda Wilde, host of The Swing Years and Beyond, joins us with the little-known history of songs we didn't know we knew so well.

55:00 - Hot Club Sandwich

For more than six years, the Seattle jazz sextet Hot Club Sandwich has captured the spirit of the hot jazz string bands of the early 20th century, drawing on their collective creative wellspring to fashion exciting arrangements and deliver adventurous improvisation. With three guitars, bass, violin and mandolin, the acoustic sextet maintains a reverence for the Gypsy jazz of Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli and their Quintette du Hot Club de France. We'll listen to highlights from Hot Club Sandwich later this hour.