30 October 2006
What timing! I attended the Third Coast International Audio Festival on Oct. 25-27 in Chicago. "My Lobotomy," by Piya Kochhar and David Isay of Sound Portraits won the Gold for Best Documentary of 2006. That documentary airs Wednesday on the Listening Lounge. It's really quite amazing. Howard Dully, a bus driver from California, was lobotomized at age 12 and is the subject of the story. He accepted the honor with Piya. Congratulations.
24 October 2006
On January 17, 1946 a psychiatrist named Walter J. Freeman launched a radical new era in the treatment of mental illness in this country. On that day he performed the first-ever transorbital or “ice pick” lobotomy in his Washington, D.C. office. After rendering his patient unconscious through electroshock, Freeman inserted an ice pick above the patient's eyeball, banged it through the eye socket into the brain, and then made cuts in the frontal lobes. Produced by David Isay of SoundPortraits, this documentary has been called "the most chilling radio story I have ever heard." Remember, November is David Isay Month on the Listening Lounge. In coming weeks, you'll hear documentaries on life in the ghetto, the emotional turmoil of murdering inmates on death row and other topics. Stay tuned.
18 October 2006
Get ready for Halloween with the eccentric Barrett Golding from Hearing Voices. He's the creator of The Plan, half-hour radio programs centered on specific topics. He's tackled sex, Elvis, hitchiking, jazz and Jesus. And now he's bringing us weird Halloween tales. This show features Lon Chaney, Jr., Alfred Hitchcock's "Ghost Stories for Young People," Marianne Faithful and more. One reviewer calls the show "ghoulish fun ... offbeat and quirky."
12 October 2006
November is "David Isay Month" on the Listening Lounge. We'll be airing his best documentaries, including My Lobotomy, Ghetto Life 101, Sunshine Hotel, Tossing Away the Keys. You won't want to miss it. This is what his production company say about his approach: "Sound Portraits radio documentaries are audio profiles of men and women surviving in the margins. Told with care and dignity, the work depicts the lives of Americans living in communities often neglected or misunderstood. Sound Portraits frequently collaborates with people living in these hard-to-access corners of America, giving them tape recorders and microphones and helping them tell their own stories."
Pledge drive continues on KFAI, so we'll have time to air just a couple of pieces. In July, we aired this intimate story from Veralyn Williams. He's what I wrote about the piece on PRX: "Here's another excellent piece from the "Radio Rookies" in New York City. Veralyn, a native of Sierra Leone, has lived in the U.S. almost her entire life. And that's the hitch. She wasn't born here. Her parents never got around to filling out the proper paperwork to make her official in the eyes of the government. "I've lived in American nearly all my life but it feels like I don't exist," she says. So Veralyn, a feisty teen, begins questioning the adults in her life. Her Dad admits to being "really laid back" when it comes to helping her secure citizenship. Her uncle yells at her about exploring the topic on the radio: "You could get yourself deported. Do you understand that September 11 has changed the rules of the game?" Her siblings, all born in the U.S., shrug their shoulders. What's the big deal? Get the green card, they say. A programmer looking to put a personal face on the country's immigration debate should strongly consider airing this story. At just over 10 minutes long, it eats up a lot of airtime, but listeners love well-told personal stories and this is one of them."