27 February 2008

A Shortcut Back to 1968 - Airs March 3

An unpopular war was raging overseas, as an unpopular President spoke of his "awesome responsibility" and chose not to seek re-election, while his party fought for a change toward "new policies" and the crew of Apollo 8 embarked on a journey to the moon.

1968 was a year that brought the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. The Vietnam War took a record number of casualties. Many cities burned as people took to the streets against the war and against racism. It was also an election year with protests at the 1968 Democratic Convention, political trials of the "Chicago 8" and the Catonsville 9 for burning draft files in Maryland. It was also a time of intense resistance on college campuses across the country, with battles between hawks & doves, rich and poor, young and old, black and white.

Using only the sounds, music and voices of one of the most explosive and memorable years in history, this 40th Anniversary mix captures a time when America came to a crossroads that almost destroyed the dream and any bridge for that famous "generation gap".

Featuring "Yippies" Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and underground and counter-culture heroes like The Fugs, Cat Mother & The All-Night Newsboys, David Peel & The Lower East Side, the Amboy Dukes, Jimi Hendrix, Sly and The Family Stone, the Rolling Stones, the Band, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Aretha Franklin, the Beatles, the Monkees, the cast of "Hair," Simon and Garfunkel, Cream, The Firesign Theater, with Dustin Hoffman, Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, Huey P. Newton, LBJ and many more.

Recorded and mixed in analogue on a Tascam vintage 4-track, "A Shortcut through 1968" features no narration, it's message evolves from the careful juxtaposition of the various elements, including airchecks from the archives of WBAI in 1968 (with the voices of free-form radio founders Bob Fass, Steve Post and Larry Josephson) mixed with interviews on "what do you remember about 1968?"

18 February 2008

Secret Asian Woman - Airs Feb. 25

Secret Asian Woman is a personal exploration of identity and Mixed Race by Independent Producer Dmae Roberts, who has to make a daily decision to reveal her ethnicity. Through her personal story, Dmae charts four decades of a search by multiracial peoples for a name. The politics of calling out racism has changed through the years as has identification. In this half-hour radio documentary, Dmae talks with other Mixed Race Asian women with identities not easily recognized and addresses with humor the complexities involved in even discussing race. This piece perhaps creates some understanding of why Barack Obama no longer talks about being Mixed Race.

11 February 2008

Thelonious Monk, Tar Heel - Airs Feb. 18

The jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk is usually remembered as a hip New Yorker. He was a pioneer of Bebop who lived most of his life on Manhattan's West Side. But Monk was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and raised by his mother, a native of that tobacco and railroad town. Monk's son and the writer Alan Gurganus, among others, reflect on Monk's often-neglected Southern roots -- and, by extension, those of many other jazz greats.

In Thelonious Monk, Tar Heel, we'll discover Monk's early roots with producer John Biewen. Then it's off to a mini-concert by Silver Leaf Gospel Singers at an MLK Celebration in Portland, Oregon. Listen in.

07 February 2008

The Only Reason You and I Are Here - Airs Feb. 11

"If a picture is worth a thousand words, the sound of cicadas buzzing in trees may be worth a thousand pictures," writes reviewer James Reiss of a non-narrated tour through Chicago's parks called The Only Reason You and I Are Here.

Continues Reiss: "Although Julie Shapiro produced this piece in summer 2004, it is as vivid and dazzling as ever in 2008. 'Close your eyes,' Shapiro seems to say, 'and learn to listen.' After a little under 17 minutes of non-narrated audio footage recorded in Chicago's parks, you may realize that the only reason you and I are here is to experience the richly layered sounds, the beautiful orchestration of tones and echoes, which envelope us. What could be a better raison d'etre for public radio fans?"

We'll air this lengthy, engrossing audio story on the Listening Lounge at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 11. Before the airing this piece, we'll talk with producer Julie Shapiro about her work. Grab a pair of headphones and join us!