20 August 2014

Music From Unexpected Place — Airs Aug. 20th

The Avant Guardian by David Weinberg

In 1980s Los Angeles, Skid Row was known for two things: the homeless and avant garde theater. Clyde Casey was a struggling street performer who often slept in parking lots behind the fledgling theaters. When a security guard failed to show up for work one night, Casey agreed to watch theater-goers’ cars under one condition: he could stay in character. Thus was born “The Avant Guardian,” a surreal crimefighter that policed the area using music instruments and a utility belt full of toys. David Weinberg tracked Casey down decades later to discuss his unique brand of peace keeping.

The Symphony of Sirens by Charles Maynes

Every city is filled with its own unique sounds, but can you compose an orchestra from them? In 1923, Soviet composer Arseny Avraamov gave it his best shot with “Symphony of Sirens.” He attempted to conduct Moscow’s everyday sounds while perched on a rooftop overlooking the city. No recordings exist, but producer Charles Maynes imagines what Avraamov may have heard and explores how the city sounds now.

Finding Music In The Sounds of Antarctica from KALW

The frozen expanse of Antarctica might seem like a quiet place, but composer Cheryl Leonard can tell you it’s anything but. In 2009, Leonard traveled to Antarctica to capture the sounds of the icy continent. She has since made music from the sounds of cracking glaciers, and even fashioned original instruments from penguin bones. In this piece, KALW’s Martina Castro interviews Leonard about her subzero composing experience.

(Photo by Andrey Smirnov showing Soviet composer Arseny Avraamov conducting the "Symphony of Sirens" in Moscow.)

13 August 2014

Bacall's Bold Venture - Airs Aug 13th

Sailor is a Wealthy Widow from Bold Venture
To commemorate the life and talent of Lauren Bacall, we will be airing an episode of her cult-classic radio show, Bold Venture. Humphrey Bogart frequently spoke of his wife's fondness of the broadcast, "I never listened to it, but Betty did. She liked to hear her voice." We do too and so we're pleased to bring you another choice chapter from this ace series. There have been few Hollywood Power Couples which held as much draw as "Bogie and the Baby" but despite the popularity of radio serials, the Bogarts continually refused to tie themselves down to a microphone every week. However, after years of turning down opportunities and lucrative contracts, there came a new wonder of technology -- the advent of tape recording. Now the pair would be able to work around their busy film schedules and were finally lured to radio after hearing a brilliant story pitch and asked to join a specially selected team of first-rate writers and top-grade talent. The premise was like combining their movies To Have and Have Not, Key Largo, a dash of The Big Sleep and set it with a backdrop of Havana. In each installment, the captain's ship, Bold Venture, set sail for "adventure, intrigue, mystery, and romance." In this episode, the pair find themselves entangled in a dangerous insurance fraud plot when Duval misplaces her gun -- and apparently a husband! Will Slate Shannon (Humphrey Bogartbelieve his trusty, sultry sidekick Sailor Duval (Lauren Bacallto be innocent when this husband turns up dead?

06 August 2014

True Outlaw Stories - Airs Aug 6th

On the Road with Willie Nelson from Joyride Media
Rodney Crowell hosts an special hour of songs and stories about the country legend and his travels aboard the "Time-Tube" with the "band of gypsies." Interviews with Willie Nelson, his longtime band members, road crew, friends, and "extended musical family" give us a unique look at the past 40-plus years of touring together. Tune-in for Willie's tales of run-ins with the law, Rick James, high-jackings, drummers, and Hells Angels.

30 July 2014

Master, Servant, Slavery, Rebellion - Airs July 30th

Master and Servant from Noise: A Human History of Sound and Listening
Grand town houses in the eighteenth century seemed to promise privacy. But in fact they offered anything but – the family home often included not just parents and children, but also elderly relatives, unmarried sisters, paying lodgers, and the nosiest neighbors of the lot… the servants. Professor David Hendy of the University of Sussex eavesdrops on the whispers, gossip and scandal of the eighteenth century house, and tells the salacious tale of John Burt, a navy captain from Canterbury, who took his young wife Harriet to court for impropriety - on the evidence of his cook.  

Slavery and Rebellion from Noise: A Human History of Sound and Listening
Many slaves would have heard the sounds of home for the last time as they waited at Ghana’s Gate of No Return for a ship to the new world. Far away on the Carolina plantations they were expected to be quiet or to sing to demonstrate contentment with their lot. But in 1739, one of the largest and most violent revolts in American history took place – and for a brief time the slaves were anything but silent. Professor Hendy tells us the story of the Stono River revolt. 

22 July 2014

Stories from Beyond the Border - Airs July 23rd

Stories from Beyond the Border by Claes Andreasson
In June of 1987, President Reagan stood in front of the Berlin Wall, saying: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" Today, the United States continues to build its own walls along our southern border. The boundary between California and Mexico remains one of the most popular places to cross. Despite two fences, heat sensors, plus an increased number of patrol officers, hundreds of people still try to make it across every day. We will hear the stories of some who have lived their entire lives here in the U.S. yet were deported, failed border crossers, and the Mexican Border Patrol, Grupo Beta, as they go looking for migrants and trying to help them on their way.

16 July 2014

The Hospital Always Wins - Airs July 16th

The Hospital Always Wins by Laura Starecheski
A special hour-long program this week!!! We will be presenting an award-winning documentary from Al Letson's State of the Re:Union which takes a close-up look at love, guilt and forgiveness. Back in 2004, producer Laura visited a mental hospital in Queens, NY. While there she met a handsome artist named Issa Ibrahim who seemed to have no perceptible symptoms of mental illness. He was talented, charismatic, funny, engaging -- but he’d already been at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center for more than a decade, and had little hope of getting out. So, why was Issa still stuck in this hospital? Laura’s quest to uncover the story took years to unfold and revealed both the brightest and the darkest parts of human nature.

09 July 2014

The Walker - Airs July 9th

The Walker from Radio Netherlands
In the space of seven years, Jan Visser walked 40,000 kilometers, the equivalent of the earth's equator. Producer Laura Durnford joins Jan for a wander through one of his favorite national parks, to find out why he has made pedestrianism part of his life's philosophy, and to step into the realms where walking connects with human health and cultural history. We will also hear quotes from Rebecca Solnit's book, Wanderlust, which argues for preserving the time and space in which to walk in our ever more car-dependent, accelerated world.