Who was Frank Zappa? Virtuoso guitarist? Modernist composer? Smutty lyricist? Anti-censorship activist? All of the above ... and much more in the former East Germany. There, his banned records fetched small fortunes among rebellious young men who dreamed of freedom. This episode of The World in Words podcast spends 30 minutes in the company of one such man who now runs a Zappa-themed festival. We also hear from an American translator who explains Zappa's obscure lyrics to German fans, line by line.
The board game called Bürokratopoly isn't about getting filthy rich, though players might feel filthy after they're done playing. The popular German game was created by dissidents in communist East Germany years ago as a satire about power and corruption. Now it has become a teaching tool for German kids trying to understand what it was like to live in the Communist East.
North Korea's official news agency says two Americans being held in the country will face trials for unspecified crimes against the state. Adam Cathcart, an expert on northeast Asia, says this move is part of a long established pattern.
North Korea's dictatorial regime tries to control what outsiders know of North Korea and what North Koreans know of the outside world. A new WGBH Frontline documentary offers a rare glimpse of life inside the country... gathered from film smuggled out by undercover reporters.
The hostility between John F. Kennedy and Fidel Castro's Cuba is legendary. But newly-released documents show that Kennedy had plans to reconcile with Cuba — plans scuttled when he was assassinated. PRI's The World takes this look back at "The World that Was."
Harry Wu spent nearly two decades getting "re-educated" in Chinese labor camps. Now he runs a foundation aimed at pressuring China to close them. So he should feel good about the Communist Party's announcement to end the camps, but he's skeptical.