Thursday, April 27, 2006

cake rants

for the past ten years ubu-founder and collage poet kenny g. has been playing a short rant about cake during his weekly radio show on wfmu. at some point he invited listeners to create and send in their own versions of the cake rant. and they did, by the hundreds. imagine: the robot cake rant, the psychadelic cake rant, the non-rant by the guy who doesn't really like cake, the zen cake rant (wait. that doesn't sound quite right.), the theremin cake rant, remix cake rant, and so on. and so on.

browsing (what's the aural equivalent of browsing?) through the archive is really like no other listening experience you'll ever have.
are your ears ready for some cake?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

six stills from portland

just back from a long weekend in oregon, where I attended the NFCB conference, in portland, along with more than 500 other community station and independent radio producers. while there I presented a session about ‘the sound of place’ and played lots of excerpts from radio stories that are especially effective in evoking the ‘where’ of the story – through writing, or structure, or the creative used of sound/music or both.

the audience was great and kept a lively dialogue going between clips. the ever-provocative ‘does it have to be true to be documentary?’ question even made an appearance - one of my personal favorites for provoking an emotional response from producers. [a little heartfelt debate does wonders for a long conference session]

I actually lived in portland ten (is this possible?) years ago. and while the city looks very very different, it still rang true and clear to me, with friendly ghosts hovering all over the place. and there were a handful of things still deeply familiar.

1. the montage still serves five kinds of mac’n’cheese and the waiters still yell at the top of their lungs back to the kitchen whenever someone orders oyster shooters. (and I still don’t know what oyster shooters are)

2. it’s still astonishing, despite the fact that it’s been there for thousands of years, to scan the horizon on a clear day and see mt. hood rising up and looking so very textbook-mountainy.
chicago is one flat city.

3. you’ll still probably see someone wearing one of your favorite band’s tshirts on any given day. (eluvium in this case, while sitting outside the rad half & half cafĂ© relatively early on a sunday morning.)

3b.It still somehow feels ok to use the adjective ‘rad’ when describing something in or about

4. still felt the desperate hope The Rock Band would play That Song I Loved the Most from their second record. I still sort of love that song / no, they didn’t play it.

5. it’s still inexplicably thrilling to walk over any bridge from the west to east side of the city, especially late at night. or from the east to west side, in the earliest morning hours.

6. i once wrote a short story about a funny little neglected water fountain on the corner opposite one of several addresses i lived at in
portland. despite the fact that the rest of the street is practically unrecognizable the fountain is still there. and i noticed this model horse (pictured above) sitting quietly right next to the fountain.

I’m writing this post from high above the clouds, while heading home. listening to sufjan steven’s illinois record, trying to coax a chicago mindset. but it still makes me sad to leave portland.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

99 ways to tell a radio story

though i'm inarguably biased, want to let any/everyone know about the 2006 Third Coast Festival ShortDocs: 99 Ways to Tell a Radio Story, because we're so damn excited about it. ("we" being the TCF, which is what i spend most of my waking hours involved with.)

here's the deal. the third coast festival gives you an opening sentence ("To begin with, they never got along."), the descriptions of three sounds (a pre-recorded voice, a rhythmic noise, an exclamation) and a time limit (2min 30sec). You cough up a short audio piece, including those elements, in return. all submissions will be included in a permanent archive online and four will be chosen as the official third coast fesitval shortdocs. the producers of those four will be invited to chicago (expenses paid) to present their work at the annual TCF conference, and their work will be showcased in other ways.

this whole thing's a collaboration with cartoonist matt madden and inspired by the french literary group oulipo. the point is to embrace constraint in artmaking and respond with brilliant creativity. no pressure, just get busy.

here's all you neeed to know about the experiment.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

opportunity for audio mischief

just heard about this residency being offered by the good folks north of the border at NAISA and wish oh wish i could apply for it myself. 'braving the elements' sounds so damn exciting. but i can't - so you should think about it. and get a move on it, looks like they're trying to fill the residency soon.

Sound Travels Residency - CALL TO ARTISTS!

New Adventures in Sound Art is organizing a residency this summer for emerging artists to create sound-based guerilla art in consultation with mentor artist Peter Hatch. Hatch's cycle of works "Guerilla Sound Events" will be presented at Sound Travels in Toronto this summer. New Adventures in Sound Art would like to complement these works with new guerilla sound works by artists of various backgrounds culturally and artistically. No experience in outdoor performance is required, but an interest in braving the elements and learning new ways of working is a must!

Please contact to express your interest or to find out more information. Decisions on personnel need to be made soon, so if you're interested don't delay!


can you think of a better project for summer 06? me neither.

Monday, April 10, 2006

entrance/exit sounds

you know when a friend/recent acquaintance announces that that he/she is moving out to LA / new york to pursue his/her career/dreams/boy/girlfriend and you wish this person the best, but just never know what he/she might find out west/east?

well looks like tim found his niche out in LA, and quickly. (mazel tov, tim!) and now he wants you to send him proposals for sound installations. read on...

a gallery called LAXART is seeking proposals for sound installations for its entryway. featuring looping, extended or ambient works or site specific interpretations of the gallery or the street, installations will be played continuously at monthly intervals. proposals will be reviewed periodically throughout the year, the next deadline is may 20th.

from tim's call for proposals:
"The space - a 100 square foot portal in front of the gallery - consists of two white panel walls, a bisecting ramp and handrail, a large wall of glass and a glass doorway with the LA>

send yr ideas to:

tim ivison
2640 s. la cienega blvd
la ca 90034

tim requests a project statement, cv and cd.

p.s. the door and window above have nothing to do with the LAXART gallery - i just like the image. the entrance potential.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

invisible 5 - more than an audio tour

first off - an apology. i'm sorry about the creepy fake nail image in the last post. but not sorry enough to take it down.

here's something else to distract you.
i recently learned about a very cool project that's been a year and a half in the making. invisible-5 is self-guided, critical audio tour of the I-5 corridor between los angeles and san francisco. through oral histories, field recordings, music, archival footage and other audio agents the tour details the sights and stories behind nearly two dozen environmental struggles that have manifested along that route.

invisible-5 is a collaboration between three artists and two activist organizations, and includes a website with beautiful maps and photos, downloadable audio and more information about each stop on the tour. a 2 cd set and map of the route will be availabe soon for your road-tripping pleasure.

soapbox time:

i'm especially enamored of this project not just because it powerfully uses audio to be critical, and political and to do important work, but also because it does this in such a creative way, with loyal and full attention to aesthetic and form. so much radio/documentary work that attempts to educate or inform listeners about serious issues / problems / inequalities does so with such little regard for overall appeal or complexion. most "serious" media is boring, and often plainer than plain. when, clearly, (case in point the invisible-5 endeavor) constructive agitation can indeed be (and sound) beautiful.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

call for phobias

my pal hillary frank, a YA novelist whose books you should check out despite your probable post-YA status, is writing a book about phobias. she's also tackling the subject via radio and wants to hear about phobias of all stripes - from the more common (spiders, heights) to less usual ones (balloons, lee press-on nails.)

if you've got a phobia to share then let her know:
- what it is
- where it came from

- what you do to avoid it

keep in mind - a fear is only a phobia if it's irrational and you take great measures to avoid it. we're not talking aversions or dislikes here. we can do that some other time.

also keep in mind - if you participate you'll be sharing your phobia with a bajillion people across the country, via the magic of the national airwaves.