19 December 2014

Risky Stories for the Holidays - Airs Dec 24th

True Stories for the Holidays from RISK!
RISK! is the podcast "where people tell true stories they never thought they'd dare to share." Writers, actors and ordinary folks tell their most intimate secrets -- the most loaded moments of their lives. It's hilarious, heartbreaking and often, just plain wonderful. Some stories are told on stage at RISK! live shows while others may include music and sound design. 
This is a special holiday episode features author Elna Baker on the time she managed "adoptions" of baby dolls at toy store FAO Schwartz; author Michele Carlo on her first kiss in a Christmastime snowstorm; Steve Spatucci on his childhood quest to find Santa Claus; and Scott Whitehair on his teenage quest to make sure his baby brother continued to believe in Old St. Nick.
Enjoy.

17 December 2014

Stories of Hanukkah - Airs Dec 17th

The War on Hanukkah from Eric Molinsky
Hanukkah has become the pinnacle of assimilation for American Jews. Dreidels and Menorahs hang in holiday displays alongside Christmas trees and wreaths. But the real history of Hanukkah is sometimes forgotten. The ancient war that Hanukkah celebrates was very much a civil war between religious and secular Jews. While cooking latkes, a former Orthodox Jew explains how this 2,000 year old struggle over assimilation has affected her life. 

La Nona Kanta by Julie Subrin
Flory Jagoda grew up in a family of singers. Her childhood, in a mountain village outside of Sarajevo, was filled with songs sung in Ladino - the language passed down by Jews expelled from Spain during the Inquisition. After the horrors of World War II, she and her parents were the only survivors of the 42-member Altaras family. Since then, Jagoda, winner of a NEA National Heritage fellowship, has dedicated her professional life to composing, performing and teaching songs that preserve her memories of that lost life. Jagoda is perhaps best known for what has now become something of a Hanukkah standard, her original composition, "Ocho Kandelikas."

Chanukah with Byron by Terin Mayer
A student at Carleton College in Northfield finds herself working on campus during the winter break rather than heading home. Chanukah is a particularly important holiday to Emma - she enjoys her parent's traditions and rituals. But this year Emma can't be with her family; so instead she spends the festival of lights with Byron. He's a big personality on campus, the kind of guy who's friends with everyone, but that nobody really knows. This is the story of their dorm-lounge holiday, and how they got to know each other.

10 December 2014

Typewriter and Extractors, Oh My!

If you love typewriters, this isn't the show for you. On this episode of the Listening Lounge, the reporting team of The Kitchen Sisters takes us inside the studio of a sculptor who makes it his mission to disassemble those antique writing machines.

"I destroy typewriters," says Jeremy Mayer of Oakland, California. Mayer turns those keys and pieces of metal into full-scale, anatomically correct human figures. 

Also on the show: The Extractor from The TruthProducer Jonathon Mitchell spins whole worlds in his radio stories for The Truth. In the  "The Extractor," we start with some startling "what if"'s and spiral out from there: what if the sounds we make don't just fade away? What if they're embedded in the wood around us? What if someone invented a device that could retrieve these sounds from hours, years or even centuries ago?

By the way, if you really love typewriters, check out Clickety-Clack: A Visit to Vale Typewriters from The Listening Lounge's Todd Melby, a senior producer at 2 below zero.

03 December 2014

Noise War - Airs Dec 3rd

Shell Shock from Noise: A Human History of Sound and Listening
The rumble of artillery bombardment in Northern France could be heard as far away as Kent during the First World War. Up close in the trenches soldiers experienced a sonic onslaught that continued night and day: howling shells, the machine gun’s rattle, and the screams of injured men. Professor Hendy of the University of Sussex visits Flanders to relay echoes from the Front. 

Radio Everywhere from Noise: A Human History of Sound and Listening
Radio seemed like magic to begin with... then the Nazis exploited its darker powersIn the early days, listening to radio was an uncanny, miraculous experience. Amazingly, voices arrived out of thin air from hundreds of miles away. In time, the radio became a trusted part of family life - and by the 1930s and 40s, it was the perfect medium for propaganda, as Joseph Goebbels recognized. In this thrilling chapter, we consider the seductive power of the disembodied voice. 

26 November 2014

The Persistence of Desire - Airs Nov 26th

The Persistence of Desire by John Updike
Written in July of '58 and originally published in The New Yorker on July 11th the following year, the short story is read here by the author in 1969. Triumphantly known as a cataloger of civilizationMr. Updike describes writing his early stories in a small, rented, musty office in Ipswitch by saying, "I felt that I was packaging something as delicately pervasive as smoke, one box after another, in that room, where my only duty was to describe reality as it had come to me -- to give the mundane its beautiful due." We'll listen intently as Updike itemizes the human experience through a character who is eventually "dismissed into a tainted world where things evaded his focus."
Clyde lived in Massachusetts with his wife and 2 children. He was visiting his home town in Pennsylvania and had arranged an appointment with Dr. Pennypacker because he had an annoying twitch in his eye. In the doctor's waiting room he saw Janet, a girl he had wooed in high school. She was married now too. He found that his former feeling for her still existed. She did not know how to react to his attentions. Just before they parted she gave him a note and then went off to meet her husband. He could not read the note because of the drops that had been put in his eyes, but just her familiar handwriting brought her close to him.

19 November 2014

Leaving a Mark - Airs Nov. 19

Some people buy stuff on CraigsList. Other people sell stuff on Craigslist. Then there's radio producer Emily Hsiao. She prowls CraigsList for story ideas. And what she found is essential listening. Hsiao met Bruce, a middle-aged man who was looking for a tattoo artist to cover up the offensive ink on his arm. Turns out Bruce spent a lot of his life doing heroin and robbing drug dealers. Also: We hear stories about a man who loses his voice to illness and a woman who buys too, too much. It's our pre-Black Friday tale for Listening Lounge listeners.
More here: Leaving a Mark by Emily Hsiao, winner of a 2014 Third Coast International Audio Festival award. Parts of Speech by Emily Kwong, winner of a 2013 Third Coast International Audio Festival award. Consuming Desire, excerpt from a 2005 documentary by Diane Richard and Todd Melby.

12 November 2014

This is Crohn's Disease - Airs Nov. 12th

What happens when you can get a horrifying, rare disease and there's no real cure? And the best medicine has to offer isn't enough? That's what happened to Jack Rodolico's wife. In "This is Crohn's Disease," Jack chronicles her illness and their efforts to make her life better. The microphone and recorder are there during doctor's visitors and painful treatments. This is a touching story that also gives listeners insights into how doctors think and treat disease. The story is one of several science stories produced as part of the Public Radio Exchange's STEM series. Reporter Jack Rodolico works at New Hampshire Public Radio.

Also on the program, a story from Eric Molinsky titled, "Take Me To Your Leader." It explores how some Native Americans see a similarity between alien invasion movies and the European-American invasion of their homeland.