Voices from the Front, An Evening of Stories with Stanford Veterans returning home from War

Dust Storm

Sunday, November 11, 2012
5:00 – 6:30 pm
A3C Ballroom, Old Union
Stanford University
Free and open to the public.
Please RSVP to storytelling@stanford.edu

The Stanford Storytelling Project invites you to share an evening of personal stories, music, letters and conversation with Stanford student veterans recently returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. While we hear almost daily about the large-scale effects of these wars in the news, we rarely hear about their profound effects on the lives of thousands of veterans and their families.

This Veterans Day, the Stanford community will have the chance to hear those stories. Stanford veterans and some of their family members will come together for a single special event, to share what they have experienced and learned both about war and about the journey home.

The evening will feature excerpts from the Storytelling Project’s audio documentary of these soldiers, “Returning Home,” produced by Xandra Clark and Natacha Ruck, which will be aired on KZSU 90.1FM at 6pm on November 12 and 14. Stream live at kzsulive.stanford.edu; download at storytelling.stanford.edu or on iTunes.

The event will be hosted by Xandra Clark, producer for the Stanford Storytelling and the discussion will be moderated by Joel Brinkley, Pulitzer Prize winner and former foreign correspondent for The New York Times. A reception will follow the program.

Join us for a rare perspective on war and help build a bridge between the civilian and military experiences.

This program is co-sponsored by The Stanford Storytelling Project, The Haas Center for Public Service and the Stanford Military Service Network.

Returning Home

What is it like to be a student who has fought in a war? In this episode, six Stanford students and recent alumni, all veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, tell their stories. With thoughtfulness, humor, and stone cold honesty, they share with us their decision to join, their experiences in boot camp, living and fighting in Iraq, and their eventual return home to civilian and student life. This is your chance to listen.

Producers: Xandra Clark and Natacha Ruck

Hosts: Natacha Ruck and Xandra Clark

Featuring: Dustin Barfield, Chris Clark, Josh Francis, Annie Hsieh, Heidi Toll, Russ Toll, and William Treseder

Music and scoring by Eoin Callery

Release Date: 16 December 2012


Awards: The General Oliver P. Smith Award from The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation

Special Thanks: Lee Konstantinou, Rachel Hamburg, Christy Hartman, Charlie Mintz, Jonah Willinghanz, Heidi Thorsen, Will Rogers, Victoria Hurst, and Cathy Yuan.

Warning: This episode contains strong language, and may not be suitable for all audiences


October is full of ghosts, but in our show we will not be talking about little kids who wear white sheets. We’re embracing the unseen, and talking about haunting: how things we can’t see nonetheless press upon us, affect our choices, our actions, and sometimes even our beliefs. We’ll be talking about the ghosts that inhabit California’s highways, about a spirit who is very hungry, about the ghosts of our past selves that persist inside each of us, and finally, we’ll bring you “What Can Be Named,” the story of a young man haunted by a country.

Producers: Rachel Hamburg and Christy Hartman

Host: Christy Hartman

Featuring: Dr. Nicholas Jenkins, Dong-Nghi Huynh, Dr. Joshua Landy, Nina Foushee

Release Date: 31 October 2012

Music: California Ramblers, Neuroleptic Trio, Coda, Sunhiilow, Dan Friel, Broken Gadget, Zoë Lidstrom, Carnivorous Snowflake, Gist, Jason Marey,Owen Callery and Silvio Rodriguez.

Note: The Proust passages from In Search of Lost Time were translated by Enright, Kilmartin, Mayor, and Moncrieff.



Story 1: Shadows in Gold

When he first came to America, Professor Nicholas Jenkins rented a Chrysler Park Avenue and set out on a leisurely drive through the hills of California, the Golden State. Then, he slammed his car into a bridge, and began a very different kind of journey – into the shadowy reality of California’s highways.

Producers: Will Rogers and Rachel Hamburg

Featuring: Dr Nicholas Jenkins

Music: California Ramblers, Neuroleptic Trio, Coda (courtesy of elementperspective), Dan Friel, Sunhiilow



Story 2: The Possession of Chi

In the summer of 2009, Stanford student Dong-Nghi Huyhn returned to Vietnam to mourn the death of her aunt. Her family observed a hundred day funeral ritual, which was interrupted when her aunt suddenly returned in the form of their housekeeper.

Producers: Rachel Hamburg and Andrew Todhunter

Featuring: Dong-Nghi Huyhn

Photo by C. Frank Starmer



Story 3: Yanked by their Noses

Marcel Proust had a theory about the past – that our former selves don’t die, but live like ghosts inside of us, and can be reawakened suddenly. Re-awakening these ghosts is the best thing that could ever happen to you, because for a moment you live outside of time, and you discover your true self – the one that lives in both the past and the present. Dr. Joshua Landy reads passages from Proust and explains that this frequently happens through smell. Producers Rachel Hamburg and Christy Hartman take this a little too literally, and decide to perform an experiment with unsuspecting pedestrians.

Producers: Rachel Hamburg, Charlie Mintz, Christy Hartman

Featuring: Dr. Joshua Landy

Photo: Jacques Emile-Blanche – Portrait de Marcel Proust




Story 4: What can be Named

Nina Foushee shares her fiction story “What Can Be Named”, about a couple – Ellen and Thomas – on their first trip to Arizona, and what happens when the ghosts inside them unexpectedly come to the surface.

Photo by Robin Stevens

Producers: Rachel Hamburg and Christy Hartman


An Afternoon with Ira Glass, host of This American Life

Ira Glass

Sunday, November 4, 2012
2:00 pm
CEMEX Auditorium, Knight Management Center
Event sold out but check our Facebook Page to win tickets

In his first appearance at Stanford, This American Life creator and host Ira Glass will talk about what makes a compelling story and how he and his staff are trying to push broadcast journalism to do things it doesn’t usually do. On stage, Glass creates a kind of live version of the radio program, combining live commentary and narration with music and taped interviews. Sharing funny and memorable moments from the show, Glass will describe what was behind their creation, how he and his staff find and produce stories for the show, and what goes into great storytelling.

This American Life premiered on Chicago’s public radio station WBEZ in 1995, and is now heard on more than 500 public radio stations each week by over 1.7 million listeners. Most weeks, the podcast of the program is the most popular in America. The show also airs each week on the CBC in Canada and on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s radio network. Under Glass’s editorial direction, the program has won the highest honors for broadcasting and journalistic excellence, including several Peabody and DuPont-Columbia awards. The American Journalism Review declared that the show is “at the vanguard of a journalistic revolution.”

This program is co-sponsored by The Stanford Storytelling Project and the ASSU Speaker’s Bureau.