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ALISON STEWART, host:

Today, we begin a weeklong series. Now, I know what you're thinking. That's cheeky of them to start a series, considering. Well, it is a special series, an homage to the work of Dr. Elisabeth-Kubler Ross. She is the groundbreaking psychiatrist who fashioned the five stages of grief, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The phases many experience who are dealing with some kind of loss, and well, we know it well. And many of our listeners have told us, they're kind of bumming out, too. So, collectively, we want to work through this with a mash-up of the five stages of grief with a BPP feature, The Best Song in the World Today. So, on this Monday, we will start with denial, as presented by Bryant Park Project web editor, Laura Conaway.

LAURA CONAWAY: Back in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, this American diver, platform diver, up at 10 meters, just came tumbling down out of the sky. This guy, Matt Scoggin, he went to do a flip, a back flip, a dive that involved jumping of backwards and rotating around. He was supposed to grab both of his knees and squeeze his body into a ball in order to make the rotation work. And he was able to grab his right knee with his right hand, but his left hand just slipped right off, and it caused his form to just completely fall apart.

And he landed flat on his back in the water. And when you do this when you are a diver, you know, you could end up in the hospital. You could potentially die. It's a very serious thing. And so, his coach and the medical people came running toward the pool trying to get him out, and he swam to the edge and he jumped out. And they were all there waiting for him, and instead of going to them, he took off running down the side of the pool. He just took off sprinting. And he said later that what he was trying to do was run away from the pain.

Ever since I found out that they were canceling the Bryant Park Project, that's a little bit how I have felt. Like, if I stand in the wrong place too long, it'll hurt more than I can stand. I decided right after the announcement that I would try to spend the couple of weeks that we had left just giving love, because I want people to associated with the Bryant Park Project to know how much I love them, whether it's people who work in here, because you guys are just the beans, you're wonderful, wonderful people. Or whether it's people out there who are listening to the show, because you also are wonderful people, and my role here has called for me, as the web editor, to connect with you, and I want you to know that that's real for me, and that letting go of that is hard.

And I think that for a number of reasons, I've been kind of stuck in the stage of grief that they call denial, which, unfortunately, is square one. So, I have a little ways to go. I had always thought of denial as meaning, I don't believe it. I don't believe it, but I do very much believe that the Bryant Park Project has been canceled by NPR. And what I've come to understand now about denial is that it also means when you say, I can't believe it, and that's kind of where I am. I look at the show and the community around the show and the genius that goes into it and the magic that comes out of it, and I think, you know, of it ending, and I think, I can't believe it.

(Soundbite of song "Smells like Teen Spirit")

CONAWAY: So, I want to try to play a song for that. The particular song that I go to talks a lot about having a little circle of friends who will always be together and I think that's pretty clear that's, you know, the Bryant Park Project community inside and outside, and it really has a bunch of nonsense words, and then it says, a denial, a denial, a denial.

(Soundbite of song "Smells like Teen Spirit")

CONAWAY: When the person who sings this song sings it, he sings it in a way that you can't actually hear him sing "denial." It sounds like he's saying la-de-da-da, and when Tori Amos covered this song, she pointed out that exact thing, that most people don't know that this song says, denial, denial, denial. Anyway, I do love Tori Amos, but I'm not going to play that one. I need the real one for this. This is my Best Song in the World Today. It's a song that's all about denial. You don't need me to tell you what it is. It's really just la-de-da-da, la-de-da.

(Soundbite of song "Smells like Teen Spirit")

Mr. KURT COBAIN: (Singing) With the lights out, it's less dangerous. Here we are now. Entertain us. I feel stupid and contagious. Here we are now. Entertain us. A mulatto. An albino. A mosquito. My libido. Yeah!

I'm worst at what I do best, And for this gift I feel blessed. Our little group has always been And always will until the end

Hello, hello, hello, how low...?

STEWART: The BPP Best in the World Today, Nirvana's "Smells like Teen Spirit," expressing the denial felt by Laura Conaway about the cancellation of this here show. Up tomorrow, it's anger. But a little more denial before anger...

(Soundbite of laughter)

(Soundbite of song "Smells like Teen Spirit")

Mr. COBAIN: (Singing) With the lights out, it's less dangerous. Here we are now. Entertain us. I feel stupid and contagious. Here we are now. Entertain us. A mulatto. An albino. A mosquito. My libido.

Yeah! Hey! Yeah!

And I forget just why I taste. Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile. I found it hard. It's hard to find, Oh, well, whatever, never mind.

Hello, hello, hello, how low? Hello, hello, hello, how low? Hello, hello, hello, how low? Hello, hello, hello.

With the lights out, it's less dangerous. Here we are now. Entertain us. I feel stupid and contagious. Here we are now. Entertain us. A mulatto. An albino. A mosquito. My libido. A denial. A denial. A denial. A denial. A denial. A denial. A denial. A denial. A denial.

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