Weekend Edition Sunday

Conceived as a cross between a Sunday newspaper and CBS' Sunday Morning with Charles KuraltWeekend Edition Sunday features interviews with newsmakers, artists, scientists, politicians, musicians, writers, theologians and historians. The program has covered news events from Nelson Mandela's 1990 release from a South African prison to the capture of Saddam Hussein.

Weekend Edition Sunday debuted on January 18, 1987, with host Susan Stamberg. Two years later, Liane Hansen took over the host chair, a position she held for 22 years. In that time, Hansen interviewed movers and shakers in politics, science, business and the arts. Her reporting travels took her from the slums of Cairo to the iron mines of Michigan's Upper Peninsula; from the oyster beds on the bayou in Houma, La., to Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park; and from the kitchens of Colonial Williamsburg, Va., to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. In the fall of 2011, NPR National Desk Reporter Audie Cornish began hosting the show.

Every week listeners tune in to hear a unique blend of news, features and the regularly scheduled puzzle segment with Puzzlemaster Will Shortz, the crossword puzzle editor of The New York Times.

Weekend Edition Sunday is heard on NPR Member stations across the United States and around the globe via NPR Worldwide. The conversation between the audience and the program staff continues throughout the social media world.

Shane Fairchild (left) tells his friend Sayer Johnson that his late wife, Bl...
Shane Fairchild and his late wife, Blue Bauer, were "the mama and the papa of the trans community," says their friend Sayer Johnson.

StoryCorps' OutLoud initiative records stories from the LGBTQ community.

Shane Fairchild's wife, Blue Bauer, was "very rough around the edges," he says: "Blue was 6-foot tall, weighed about 230 pounds, had red hair and brown eyes, had been a trucker all of her life," Fairchild tells their friend Sayer Johnson during a StoryCorps interview in St. Louis, Mo.

"If I'd get to drinking, and I'd get a little redneck, and I'd get in somebody's face, Miss Blue would step in. And I'd be like, 'Really, I don't need you to take up for me.' She's like, 'Yes you do, shut up and sit down,' " Fairchild remembers. "She'd also been a biker. Blue was in an all-male motorcycle club, and they had never had a woman, ever. So Blue was the first."

Blue, a transgender woman, made the transition when she was 54 years old; Shane is a transgender man.

"The way that I know you is, you and Blue were sort of the mama and the papa of the trans community," Johnson says. "Did you and Blue intentionally do that?"

"Well, Blue was having problems. Her sisters weren't accepting her," Fairchild says. "Her son wasn't, and then when her grandchild was born, they wouldn't let her see the grandbaby, so yeah, I think it was a lot to do with what Blue was feeling."

"I saw so many people coming to your home, trans folks, when your Blue was home and she was dying," Johnson says.

"The day that she died, she had been comatose the whole day, and she kept fighting for every, every breath," Fairchild says. "And then it dawned on me. Three days before, she was on the couch, watching TV, and she started crying. And I said, 'Baby, what's the matter?' And she said, 'I promised you when we got together, I'd never leave you — not even death was gonna take me.' "

On the day she died, Fairchild thought, "Is that why she's fighting so hard? And so I whispered in her ear, 'You're really not leaving me, I know that.' And she took one easy breath, and was gone."

Blue Bauer died of lung cancer on April 12, 2013, at their home in St. Louis.

Her motorcycle was next to her casket at her funeral. "What she wanted was to be embalmed and set on her motorcycle," Fairchild says. "And I'm like, 'No, I'm not gonna do that.' "

"She was dressed how she wanted to be dressed," Johnson says.

"She had her t-shirt on that said, 'You never seen a motorcycle parked outside a psychiatrist's office.' She had her combat boots on. So yeah, she was good," Fairchild says.

"She's the only person I ever met that ever treated me like I was me," Fairchild says. "You know, they say there's always that one person, your soulmate. And I think Blue was mine. I really do."


Produced for Weekend Edition by Allison Davis and Nadia Reiman.

StoryCorps is a national nonprofit that gives people the chance to interview friends and loved ones about their lives. These conversations are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, allowing participants to leave a legacy for future generations. Learn more, including how to interview someone in your life, at StoryCorps.org.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Sunday Puzzle...
Every answer today is a word starting with the letters A-R, which you will identify from its anagram. For example, given AR plus ROB, the answer would be "arbor."

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a word starting with the letters A-R, which you will identify from its anagram. For example, given AR plus ROB, the answer would be "arbor."

Last week's challenge: Name two animals, both mammals, one of them domestic, the other wild. Put their letters together, and rearrange the result to name another mammal, this one wild, and not seen naturally around North America. What mammal is it?

Answer: dog + gnu = dugong

Winner: Michael Kurh, Geneva, Ill.

Next week's challenge from listener Ben Bass of Chicago: Name someone who welcomes you in. Insert the letter U somewhere inside this, and you'll name something that warns you to stay away. Who is this person, and what is this thing?

Submit Your Answer

If you know the answer to next week's challenge, submit it here. Listeners who submit correct answers win a chance to play the on-air puzzle. Important: Include a phone number where we can reach you Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Antoine-Olivier Pilon plays 15-year-old Steve in Xavier Dolan's Mommy....
In his award-winning film, Xavier Dolan, 25, tackles the relationship between a single mom and her troubled son. He says, "I feel like I knew this kid. ... He's just the worst version of who I was."

French-Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan's new film, Mommy, won the Jury Prize at last year's Cannes Film Festival — an achievement for any director, let alone one who's just 25 years old.

The "mommy" in the movie is the fast-talking, hard-drinking widow Diane, or "Die" for short. She's trying to get back on her feet when her teenage son, Steve, is kicked out of yet another psychiatric institution. He moves back home, leaving both Die and the audience on edge, waiting for his next uncontrollable — and usually violent — emotional eruption.

The film focuses on Die and Steve's troubled and warped relationship. As Dolan tells NPR's Rachel Martin, there's "screaming and shouting and insulting people and spitting and pounding on walls." But really, he says, it's "just a story of love."


Interview Highlights

On Steve's mental illness

We're not talking about an average hyperactive kid, you know, whom you can give pills to and then have him, you know, succeed and have As at school and everything. We're talking about a way more troubled child who has — and I don't know if that translates well in English — but we call it here a "trouble of attachment." ... He is completely enamored with [his mother] and seeks responses as to: Can his love be met with reciprocal affection? And can his mother love him enough?

And seeking those questions will lead him to throw and thrust himself in the most horrible chasms. You know, he's violent, he is impulsive, he is psychologically and physically abusive, which he cannot really control because, you know, we're talking about mental illness. It is not something that he can manage.

On how Dolan's personal experiences informed the character of Steve

I feel like I knew this kid, you know. He's just the worst version of who I was, which is someone who can, you know, just lose the plot and start pounding on the wall and then a minute later snap out and be like, "What just happened?" And I was very, very much violent as a kid.

And then I just tried to use my imagination and understand, you know, this kid's distress and his, you know, his worst fears and his anxieties and how worried he was that his mother would stop loving him or would love someone else even more.

On how the film differs from Dolan's life

It's not my mother. It's not my story. I can relate to, you know, Steve's angst and anger, but, yeah, I was fortunate as a child to find mediums to channel ... those fears or doubts and use them in a creative way — at least I hope — which is not the case of Steve who wants to be an artist but who, you know, comes from a much different social strata than the one I stem from. ...

I wasn't mentally ill. I wasn't placed in institutions. I don't have that rapport with my mother. My mother is not Die, you know. Die is a sort of cougar who is very much dressing in a very tantalizing way. She's a sort of teen mom. I can relate to them, but it is not autobiographical.

On the sexual undercurrent to Steve's relationship with his mother

Steve doesn't understand boundaries and doesn't know any limits. So actually when I was in France promoting the film, a young man from the audience raised his hand in a Q&A and asked, "All the fathers are always gone or dead or absent in your films." And then he asked, "Is Steve the first little step that you've taken toward incorporating father figures in your films, because he's really trying to protect Die?" And I think it's true. I think that the thing about Steve is that, yes, he's the son, but he thinks of himself as his mother's lover. ...

But, you know, all of this lies underneath. On the surface, what people will really, I guess, see and feel is a story that isn't that warped. It's just a story of love, and we didn't explore the sexual tension.

On his fascination with the mothers

I understand the relationship that I have with my mom. I am not seeking answers through, you know, writing about the mother-and-son bond. It's just that mother figures inspire me and they are rich characters and they're a solid foundation to start writing about and to, you know, write a story on.

Mothers have sacrificed dreams and projects and ideas and maybe even values and a part of themselves to become moms. And being a mother is just a status or a role — it is not who you are. ... Through these mothers and women, I can express many things and claim many things and fight my fights awkwardly as young many in his 20s. I know, it's a bit of a stretch, but it's been like this and it will be like this forever.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.