Once again, Transom is featuring the Third Coast Festival on our pages.
This year, our terrier-like reporter Ben Walker will wander the halls listening for buzz and relaying audio. Documentary photographer (and radio convert) Nubar Alexanian will upload images. And, all conference attendees are invited to post and report on what’s going on.
If you can’t make it to Chicago, use this topic to catch up. Ask questions of the organizers and participants. We’ll do our best to fill you in on what’s happening.
right off the bat (not a cubs reference!) – thanks much to jay, and the rest of the transom crew, for inviting us back as guests this year.
actually, on this Day Before the Third Coast Conference Begins, it’s a relief to spend a couple minutes here and spill a few thoughts, and to concentrate on something else besides the hundreds of last-minute details pursuing us …and the people calling/emailing with such, well _interesting_ questions at this late date. (!)
so we’re (and i’m speaking for all of us – myself, johanna, lauren and katia) thrilled to be back with transom this year, and to get involved with this open discussion about how the conference unfolds. last year’s conversation, post-conference, was fascinating to read/take part in/think about… and gave us plenty of food for thought as we decompressed and began to envision what this year would be all about.
keep in mind that all suggestions/questions/and observations are welcome — and thanks, in advance of the weekend, for weighing in and sharing impressions and anecdotes. we’ll be especially interested in what’s most memorable about the weekend – both experientially and also aurally.
ok…it’s back to testing excerpt cds and fine-tuning introductions. ooh! and the t-shirts should be arriving any minute.
see some of you soon, and hopefully others here on the site and then next year…
There is no buzz yet.. just muzak in the lobby of the Westin River North – and well, it’s horrible, but the wireless is free and that is good because our plan is to provide you, the unfortunate who are unable to join us here at Third Coast, with topographical information, audiological maps, and photographic climatological reports from this place we are going to call Radiotopia.. What is Radiotopia you ask? Stick around and find out
Last night I learned about the Relay Project – an audio cd magazine of sorts that promises to liberate us from listening to interesting and exciting radio on our computers, But the only way we could listen to the CD given to us by Rebecca West and Lucy Raven was well.. on the computer..
The muzak may be terrible but the Relay Project CD was great, featuring "lost" audio by one-time Third Coast winner Joe Richman, an excerpt from Dave Isay’s Ghetto Life 101 and several tracks that push the border between story and music. Top stuff.
here at the intersection between transom and 3rd coast seems like the place to mention this. neal pollack will be in chicago doing something like 4,793 appearances in the few days he’s here. tonight at 10 he’ll be at subterranean in wicker park with his band the neal pollack invasion. it’s $8, but maybe it’ll be worth it if you bring tomatoes to throw at him. details at http://www.subt.net. and bring earplugs-you’ll want to be able to hear things tommorow.
Hi…in minutes I’ll be rushing over to the conference hotel, so this may be my last moment of sanity for a while.
As I was packing last night and taking care not to forget toothpaste, my Frankling Planner (i.e. my memory) and many packages of stockings (you never know,) I was thinking about about the ritual of travel. In spots around the country, and as far away as France, people were packing to come see us in Chicago.
It reminded me of Tim O’Briens novel "The Things They Carried," about Vietnam soldier soldiers and what they carried into war…the tangible things (dental floss, comic books) and the intangible (thoughts of loved ones, anxiety.)
Borrowing liberally from O’Briens novel, I’m wondering what you are bringing to the Third Coast Conference…literally the stuff in your bags, but also your hopes and expectations.
Please share…and see you all soon…
Johanna Zorn, via julie
Just arrived — looking forward to meeting you all irl and here.
Dear Ben,As one of “the unfortunate who are unable to join…. Third Coast” I am thrilled to know you’re on the job. Please keep those photographic climatological reports coming. Don’t forget gossip too. Now get back out there. We are waiting.
Ok things are in full swing now! The room is packed, almost overflowing. Johanna in her opening remarks informed us that Third Coast is not only a place for us to listen to and appreciate the great radio that is out there.. but it’s also a place where NEW radio is being birthed.
The first session featured four pieces commissioned especially for this festival. They all had to do with thirst and they all were great. Sara Varney’s piece featured a haunting violin and tape from the Dr.Pepper museum!!! Ann Heppermann and Kara Oehler gave us a piece about the border between Mexico and Arizona and the men and women who are thirsting to make it across – Sean Cole’s piece told the story of a bunch of towns flooded to quench the thirst of Greater Boston – and Alex Van Oss made the question “what is your favorite drink” sublime by having the question answered by a man who spent time in a gulag.
John Hockenberry moderated the discussion that almost immediately turned into a conversation about producers who are thirsting to get their work out there and an audience that is thirsting for work like this. No one here considers this work “out there” or “experimental” – My favorite moment was when Kara proudly informed us that her piece aired on both morning edition and ATC in Flagstaff.
Czerina Patel with Radio Rookies in the back of the room.
Gwen Macsai with John Hockenberry after the first panel.
Kim Green, from Halcyon Productions in Nashville Tennesse at a listening station outside the main lecture room.
Larry Josephson asking a question and making a point.
I’m grateful to be reading and looking along with those who are actually THERE. I can play some recorded experimental radio at home and pretend I’d be hearing the same sort of thing at 3C, but I know I’m missing out. I’d like to see more pictures and commentary (and AUDIO!) of behind the scenes at the festival – who is there, what are they doing, what are they saying, etc. Hope you – Ben and Nubar – can give the Net audience a taste of that. Maybe more than a taste – how about a whole serving! I can only imagine the energy among the radio folks in Chicago as I type from too far away…
Hi – I am in Brussels, Belgium, and wonder if it might be possible to hear some of the stories mentioned. Maybe at conference close, a list might be shared of urls where the material could be heard for free? Very appreciated! I am curious about the mix of fiction and fact, and calling it documentary. The same discussion rages in filmmaking, and I would like to hear various examples that you refer to in the early notes. Merci, Jo-Anne Velin
The food’s been great right down to this fine glass of iced tea nuanced with black cherry undertones.
This was actually Thursday night. Nikki Silva talking with young radio producers.
Friday, group portrait of Davia Nelson who hosted a panel of these young producers.
Saturday Morning, Barrett Golding talking with people after the panel on Mistakes.
I heard this phrase being bandied about while listening to the amazing Ben Rubin talk about his work in one of the break out sessions. I was floored by his installation called “listening Post” (which he did with Mark Hansen)– Live chat steams being fed into a wall of text displays that he programmed to free associate according to particular phrases like “I am …” and the music free associated as well, my friend Jake saw it when it was at the Whitney last year, I am thrilled it will be coming to my neck of the woods
Hi Joe Richman
I have lots of gossip for you, most of it involving some of your former interns and associates. Should I post it now or wait till I develop the accompaning illicit photos?
We wish you were here!
We are having trouble getting the audio up.. but I promise we can get it together by monday.
but nude photos are on the way!!
Sounds like a lot of folks are watching this blog to get some tips. Here are a few I picked up in this morning’s opening session:
(P.S. I’ve been sending my own blog out to Canadian freelancers and CBC producers while here. You can read back-issues at http://www.todmaffin.com/newsletters/index.php?what=archive and subscribe to my other radio-related newsletters at http://www.todmaffin.com/newsletters/index.php?what=subscribe
ALWAYS CHECK YOUR EQUIPMENTOne producer told the story (we’ve all been there) where she was doing an interview with adult survivors of incest. As you can imagine, it was a very emotional hour for all involved. At the end of the interview, she went to shut off the minidisc and discovered she’d plugged the microphone into the headphone jack and recorded an hour of nothing. The moral: Always listen through headphones when recording.
USING OUT-TAKES AS MONTAGEOne producer played a tape where the voice of the subject being interlaces with itself on important lines. For instance. "She died the next day. And I felt her presence flying up like an angel. (Up like an angel… like an angel… an angel.)" with all the voices interlaced. But rather than looping the same line as read in the final take, the producer used lines from rehearsal and outtake sessions so that the performance was slightly different between each interlaced narrative chunk. It sounded great. Moral: Record and keep all tape, even rehearsal and re-takes.
BAD INTERVIEWS = FUNNY PIECESOne piece we listened to was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. The interviewer (a very accomplished producer, btw) was interviewing a musician about his work. But he wasn’t in the mood for an interview and would either answer with grunts or would challenge the interviewer: "Why would you ask me that?! Didn’t you listen to that song?!" Most of us, I suspect, would have written the interview off. When she realized the interview was irreveribly off the rails, she kept at it which began to produce uncomfortably funny material. The final piece had the interview, with her voice narrating it with things like "I couldn’t believe I just asked him that. I was stalling and he knew it" then you’d hear a bit more of his reaction. It was a great example of turning a bad situation into a usable and surprising piece.
THOUGHTS ON DIGITAL EDITINGJust a quick note: Most panelists agreed that now that most of us use digital tools to edit, the opportunity for mistakes is much less. After all, you can just Undo a mix or adjust the start time of clips until it’s "just right." Just right often produces boring, predictable pieces — and many heads nodded in the audience.
PRE-INTERVIEWSMany associate producers, especially on current affairs shows, "pre-interview" a subject or guest. Then write up what CBCers call a "green" — essentially a list of suggested questions for the host AND the answer they’re likely to get. While this is certainly the safe way of doing it, most people agreed it all but eliminates the possibility of spontaneity and surprise. Some of the seasoned interviewers on the panel said pre-interviewing is always a mistake (though that opinion wasn’t unanimous) — they prefer to let them be led by their curiosity rather than by any preconceptions.
And just some extra random tips I’ve picked up chatting with people over coffee:
– Audiotechnica 815 B is a very good-quality, low-cost shotgun mic. About $250 U.S. Link at http://www.audio-technica.com/prodpro/profiles/AT815b.html
– To make the sound of a fire come alive, pitch-shift it down a notch or two. Makes the fire sound more full.
– In the second session this morning on the use of sound in film, Walter Murch was one of the panelists (on the phone from England) — he’s one of Hollywood’s most sought-after sound architect (bio at http://www.thirdcoastfestival.org/pages/conference2003_bios.html#murch ). He mixed audio for The Godfather and found that he could create a very haunting feeling in music by playing the piece over itself. In one scene (where a character finds his horse’s head in his blood-soaked bed), he took the original violin score and simply played it twice at the same time, about two seconds apart — like you would sing a round — and it created a beautifully confusing, evocative, and eerie sound.
i’m taking this down time (between the last panel and the awards ceremony) to post. It’s been an awesome weekend…my second year at the conference. this year has been much more relaxed for me, and a great opportunity to see and catch up with people. A strain of converstation I’ve been having with people all weekend has to do with how to get yourself in a place where you can do the work you want to and do it on your own terms…something I’m definitely wrestling with as a soon to be college grad wanting to do this crazy radio thang.It’s been great to see old friends like Ann Hepperman (of the Thirst piece) doing freelance stuff and Michael Kavanaugh (who I hadn’t seen in 4 years) working on the Next Big Thing and with Radio Rookies, each making things happen in a way that made sense to them. Here are some of the conference highlights for me:
-Audio Cabaret: AMAZING perfromance by Anna Friz and the Books. Anna had an illegal transmitter set to 90.8 (which she said she tuned when she got in the room, found the hole in the spectrum) and put some clandestine radios in the audience that would broadcast her transmission. Then she did a lot of great stuff with static and noise and loops all having to do with the idea that you never really know who’s listening or who’s broadcasting. She left the show by searching for those long gone ghost cities that used to appear on the radio dial…Dresden…Prague…Paris…London… those stations no longer exist, so where did they go?
Chris Brooks break out session: Chris did a session called Ways of Hearing (after John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, perhaps?) and played some interesting European work. Including (much to my excitement ) an excerpt from Peter Braun’s the Bells of Europe. I’ve been trying ForEver to get ahold of this piece, and it was really exciting to listen to. It’s a really rich piece, and I’m more excited than ever to track it down. (Chris says maybe the CBC will have it…if anyone else has a lead, lemme know.)
Meeting Katie Davis: Katie does a neighborhood stories project that focuses on her community in Washington DC (check out her work if you havne’t heard it). I love that her approach to her work is completely the opposite of hit and run journalism. She lives and works in this community and is really tied to it, and that appeals to me.
The Sound Walk: me and some other folks, including Victoria Fenner, put together a sound walk through the neighborhood for a bunch of the high school kids who are at the conference as part of various Youth Radio programs. We walked around the neighborhood surrounding the conferene hotel and listening to the different ambient sounds of the city…the water hitting the bridge, the clak clak of the train over head, the screeech of the bus tires. A great moment came underneath the el about half way through the walk when we came across a group of people in crasy artsy costumes playing what sounded like Mardi Gras music on the corner. It turned out they had come that day expecting a Halloween parade, which was canceled because of the office building fire downtown yesterday. They decided to stay anyway and so were entertaining us pedestrians. It was a great moment because it was a totally unexpected sound environment. I had a really good time with the "rookies" (but lemme tell you, these kids know their stuff). I hope they had a good time…these conferences are so jammed packed i think we were all a little spacy.
ok…more later upon reflection. wish y’all were here. mwah.
I had to leave the conference before the Awards Ceremony, which felt a little like leaving a birthday party before the candles are blown out. But in the preceding two days, I feel like I took a little something from every conversation I had … with students from Salt just starting out … to the esteemed pioneers of avant-garde radio still open to new approaches… to earnest independents looking for ideas and empathy. But mostly it felt like being in a community, which — for those of us not part of a large media organization — is a luxury. Trying new things in remote places can be isolating and lonely, even if the airwaves are in some ways the great connector. The festival was lovely.
And now…onward to all the audio websites to hear the long versions of all the intriquing excerpts scattered through the weekend…(The Lemon Tree, Shades of Gray, anything by Joe Frank, the rest of Gwen Macsai’s ode to a snoring couple, and all of Natalie Kestecher’s pieces…for a start.)
So… what’s the news?Who won the awards?What did Dean Olsher play in his presentation?What were the best things people heard all weekend? Did the youth radio folks kick everyone’s ass?Is Joe Frank as cool as he sounds?Did Johanna and Julie make it through the weekend?
For those of us in distant locations…. we await your report from the field.
Friday we were treated to a conversation between Susan Stone (of KPFA fame) and the radio genius Natalie Kestecher, whose work has won awards here at Third Coast and has been featured on Transom, Susan Stone dove right in to the heart of the matter – Natalie’s use of both fiction and Non-fiction. Natalie used the phrase “the unreliable narrator” to describe how she thinks she comes across – but even in the interview I found myself not sure whether she was putting us on or not!
There are many radio artists who work at this nexus of fact and fiction but what is Unique and special about Natalie is how she uses her ‘intentions’ in her work.
The third coast people will be putting all the audio from the sessions on line soon so I highly recommend you check this one out – the conversation was so good I wanted it to continue so I grabbed them Saturday and sat them down and got them to talk some more..
Think of this as a preview and an addendum and listen to how intentions come up yet again!
Natalie Kestecher and Susan Stone
The piece of Natalie’s they are talking about is called the silver umbrella – you can listen to it here:
There were a lot of youth radio groups at the festival, from Chicago, New York City, and the Bay Area – so much youth radio in fact they commandeered two sessions, one on Friday and one on Saturday. The Piece that blew my mind (and many others agree) came from a young man named Rocky. And as he walked through the halls people would mutter under their breath “prodigy”.
The one thing is though – none of these kids listen to NPR! They er… don’t uh… think it’s so… er… relevant to their lives…
Here are Radio Rookies Rocky Tayeh and Sophie Rand.
For me – the highlight of the Festival was Joe Frank. I was so thrilled to find out that he was being honored with the life time achievement award as he is a full bodied Radio Genius.
He brought with him a few of his radio collaborater pals – David Rapkin and Arthur Miller. And throughout the conference the three of them hung about the lobby of the hotel drinking heavily and causing mayhem. I spent hours trying to record a brief interview with Joe Frank but we kept getting interrupted – you see there was this gaggle of German gals who, when they found out that Joe was going to be at this conference in person, flew in to see him. They kept whisking him up to their room for some reason I couldn’t quite understand.
He did participate in one session – on Saturday Morning. It was called “Seeing Sound” – He shared the stage with the sound designer Randy Thom and the Kitchen Sisters and the sound designer Walter Murch joined us by phone. This was my favorite session – Randy Thom told us in no uncertain terms that great sound is not something that can be added in at the end of the process – it’s always something that must be there from the beginning. This is something that we have to be especially careful of in the age of pro tools as sound is something now so easy to just ‘add in.’ I think Joe Frank’s work offers us a lesson here as well. His early highly produced pieces were all made BEFORE there was digital editing and I think it is safe to say that even in the age of pro tools there isn’t much work out there that uses sound effectively as he did.
The highlight of the awards ceremony was Joe’s speech – when the audio gets posted make sure you give it a listen as well as Larry Josephson’s entertaining introduction. After the awards ceremony though, things got out of hand. A bunch of crazed drunken fans wanted Joe to sign their body parts, stomachs, breasts! So I decided it would be best that we all go back to the hotel.
When we got to the hotel we all went to my room as I had this bottle of wine that I had brought to honor Joe (a 1967 Chateau Petrus). Unfortunately my credit card had been declined and I was now locked out! But Joe – being that kind of guy – took care of everything! So we opened up the bottle and headed back down to the lobby. At this point things get a bit hazy. I recall Larry falling asleep and then falling out of his chair and Joe refusing to let any of us wake him until he had taken a few embarrassing photos for his archive – and I also recall Joe refusing to share the wine with anyone even after he informed me that he found the wine ‘horrible’ – at one point I think he was even drinking straight from the bottle.
And the night ended of course with the German girls stealing Joe away.. once again.
Viva Joe Frank!
Joe, Davia and Nikki getting ready to blow us all away with their session: Seeing Sound.
Joe Frank responding to one of his personal assistants who raised the concern that the award might be too ‘heavy’ for a man of his age.
Joe Frank signing some crazed fan’s stomach
It’s so great to read/view/listen as the the Third Coast Festival Conference lives on here at transom.org. Thanks to all who have contributed so far.
Now that we’re back at our headquarters, the Third Coast Festival crew is working madly to post conference-related audio and images up at thirdcoastfestival.org.
By tomorrow, October 21st, you should be able to hear Joe Frank’s acceptance of his Lifetime Achievement Award as well as Larry Josephson’s introduction.
Over the course of the week we’ll add audio from all of the conference sessions on to the website, and then we’ll assemble a photo gallery of the goings on…though I doubt any will surpass the friskiness of Joe Frank signing a fan’s stomach (go Nubar!)
He was amazing. Really amazing. And the panel he was on with Randy, Davia, Nikki and Walter Murch was immensley informative. I left that session with a hundred quesitons, only to find out that everyone else did as well. (I did get to ask Randy 10 or 20 of them at dinner.)
Joe: you guys should definitely listen to Joe’s acceptance speech and Larry’s intro. Joe’s speech was the most perfect acceptance speech I think I’ve ever heard.
Regarding photos, Ben has all of them. But some cannot be posted publicy. I think Ben would agree. Sorry.
Okay. As the aforementioned "crazed Joe Frank fan" (see the photo under Ben Walker’s post) I’d like to take this moment to clarify something in the interest of honesty and journalistic integrity.
This photo was staged by Frank, who paid me $15 dollars to pose as a fan. He had tried a similar ploy earlier in the conference with a conceirge at the Hotel an it nearly resulted in his getting removed from the Westin. He was concerned that no one seemed to be paying enough attention to him. As the Lifetime Achievement Awards Winner, he’d been promised an entourage, something the Festival was unable or unwilling to deliver. Instead he’d brought Rabkin and Miller, who spent most of the time not paying enough attention to him… and so they were not particularly fulfilling fans. So this photo may seem a little outrageous, but then… you can imagine what would have transpired if I’d allowed Frank to sign the part of my body he wanted to affix his John Hancock to (no pun intended).All the best,Noah
In case some people are new to Joe Frank, or haven’t listened to him lately: http://www.joefrank.com
Lots of shows are available via realaudio, and you can also order cds.
Once again, the conference was tremendously inspirational. For three years now, I’ve come back to New York from Chicago, feeling passionate and energized about the work that we all do, and about this wonderful community (wish you and Sue were there Joe!, wish you were there too Marianne!) Indeed, it is the community that makes third coast as special as it is…From dancing with Jay and Sandy (whoa! ) , hanging with Davia and Nikki, to seeing Natalie again and enjoying Nubar who was always with his camera and an extra dose of joy, to once again marvelling at the wonders of Johanna, Julie et al, once again, third coast magic was in the air. Joe Frank is absolutely hysterical, and as you most know, meeting Alex Kotlowitz (finally) was a highlight for me. I was also inspired by all the youth involved in the award winning projects. The Rookies and I all had a great three days, and were excited for the chance to reconnect with some, and make new friendships with others. Here’s to the four wonderful third coast ladies, and all others, who helped create such a wonderful experience for us all. I’m hoping to have some photos to add to this fun collection later in the week or early next week. Wonderful seeing you all again…Let the inspiration live on, Czerina
I can never go right back at it after this gathering. Everywhere my body bends, it hurts; knees, ankles, wrists, elbows, neck, BRAIN. Ok my body is getting massaged, staying on ice after dancing TOO long and often, to music that’s not from Motown.. (BTW who is responsible for bringing us to that strange European-like “disco” lit like a middle-of-the-night aquarium from the 70’s????) What I really need most is a brain massage. I’m staring at a lake the size of a small country hoping it will wash everything into place.I’ll just pretend I’m back home at the Transom, telling the girls all what:Gotta start with Joe Frank. I know Ben Walker gave some insight, but he’s not a girl.So we all know how he makes us feelslinky/scared/ sexy/sorrowful/simple/satiny/spicy/stark/supple/ and always humming right inside the marrow.I couldn’t imagine him in a solid form. I was almost afraid to see him, afraid I might become all those things at once …completely boneless, and then what?I kept looking and someone said he was at that table over there. A guy with a beard, a perky blond woman with pearls I think, and another guy with white sneakers and khakis and a friendly faced guy with curly grey hair. They were all OLDER than I.Unh huh. gotta be the wrong table.So the Seeing Sound panel presents and I’m like: oh, that IS Joe Frank, the guy at the table with the sneakers and khakis, I can talk to him. Davia introduces him as steamy and erotic (he likes this, comes to life) and asks him to intro the piece we’re about to hear. And then he speaks. He says: aahh. Like everyone does except this feels like he’s priming us for that marrow humming thing, and his voice is, well, it’s not WAY DOWN THERE. (it’s a dolby thing) I am not going to go boneless right here in front of the world afterall. He says "aahh, this piece illustrates the difficulty of being me". Awkwardly long silence follows where the tape should be rolling but isn’t. “So there you have it” he says. Perfect. and then it begins:“I’m sitting at a dinner table with Pol Pot….”
The combination of Walter Murch, Randy Thom and Joe Frank was a little over the top, but I find I’m slowly digesting it. Randy Thom put sound into a protagonist role. For him sound has to breathe, be a living thing. And by god he showed us it is. It cannot be filler or a bridge or savior to a limp piece. I can just see him way before the shoot, the socio-scientist contemplating the various audible personalities of fire. (btw, at a glance, Randy is mellow, easy going, affable – "a quiet man" and then he brings out this big hunk of dry ice and a couple of knives and he’s making sounds that recall the most terrifying parts of Psycho; the melting witch in the wizard of Oz and he’s sort of smiling, looking busy. I dunno, stuff goes through your head.) If anybody has seen “Backdraft”, probably all you remember is the sound. It was the lead role. I left this session realizing how much I take sound for granted in film, especially if it’s done well. I guess that’s like a fine actor – one SO good you can’t think of his name,only name all the roles he’s played like Boo Radley,Tom in the Godfather, Cap’n Gus in Lonesome Dove, Big Duke in Apocolyps Now…etc until you finally remember his name. Dang what IS his name. (oh yeah, Duvall). The parts played are alive, and sound is one of them, even if they’re like Shakespeare’s narrator – giving us temper, color or a hint of opinion, a nudge. Enter Walter Murch bygolly on the phone from London. He’s talking about Welles’ “A Touch of Evil” then The Conversation, The Godfather. He talked about music in film and the grueling process of choosing it. It’s not just for mood. And if it is, it sucks. I’m a snob now. Oh, wait, I found this piece of paper about what Murch said about close micing so it sounds like “the speaker is lying on the pillow next to you, coming from the inside of the audience’s head”….which brings it back nicely to Mr. Frank, the voice inside our heads. More later about young radio.
I like this conference for reminding me I chose to apply the energy of my life among people with big, good hearts.
Viki, in response to your question: "who is responsible for bringing us to that strange European-like “disco” lit like a middle-of-the-night aquarium from the 70’s????)", the answer is: Sandy Tolan. He insists it’s only the second mistake he’s made in like 17 years (the first one also being related to the club choice for that night) — He heard on the mistakes panel that mistakes can be good, so I figured he’s trying to make up for a couple of decades of living without making mistakes…Sandy, that was a big mistake – I don’t know how any of us managed to dance there at all, but it was fun watching us try! Also, my Rookies are still ribbing on me for our dance moves with the hands in the face! What a blast you all are. Thanks!
and yours is amongst the biggest (hearts) of them all. Thanks Jay for all the support, friendship, innovation, and inspiration you give us all!
yeah, too bad the djs were duds. you’d think with all us audio folks we could dig up some good ones. My vote is that next year Paul McCarthy should come and spin soul music!!! But really, having the party Friday night was a fantaztic idea. The boys at prx and the girls at the relay project did a fabulous job. I liked being in the industrial neighborhood and hanging out on the roof while Benjamen pressed everyone for gossip to send to Joe.
Also, I’m happy to report that Gregory Whitehead has been helping me to come up with anagrams for my name. Nothing as good as the ones for 3rd coast, but then again i have fewer letters to work with.
On a serious note…thank you thank you thank you to the AMAZING women of third coast. this conference changes me every time I come. It’s so rad to have so many awesome female role models to look up to as I feel my way through this stuff (and here’s to Katie Davis, Czerina, Anne Hepperman & Kara Oelher, the kitchen sisters, Susan Burton, Eurydice Aroney, Reena Katz, Elinore Astrinsky, Dmae Roberts, Ahri Birnbaum Anna Friz and so so many others) you all inspire me to no end.
3rd Coast was great again this year – a remarkable weekend full of art and knowledge and conversation and exploration. And very cool conference t-shirts which I hope they will be selling online soon.
PRX was there to soak it all in and also to spread the word to producers – you’ve made all this great creative work, let’s get it on the radio!
We had a blast co-hosting the Friday night party with Rebecca and Lucy from The Relay Project. Here are some photos to check out.
At the conference I really enjoyed Ben Rubin’s session on "The Music of Voices". I had stumbled across one of Ben’s installations at the Whitney in New York over a year ago. It’s called Listening Post and it blew me away. It’s a window into the Internet’s collective consciousness using live chat feeds and triggered voices, sounds, and wind chime-like music. In the panel Ben took us through other sound art pieces that had inspired him, and then described some of his recent work, including a new one called Spin, which I’m eager to see in person.
My big takeaway from the Seeing Sound panel (with Randy Thom and Walter Murch, the Kitchen Sisters, and Joe Frank) was that movies are really cool and we should all be in film. Seriously, though, the excerpts we saw with the heightened awareness to the use of sound were powerful, and that one shrug from Marlon Brando after the horse-head scene was worth a thousand sound effects…
It was great to meet and chat with Randy Thom, who sees cinematic potential in the sounds we design for radio. Lots to think about.
That DJ Photo is my favorite.
The biggest thing you notice now at 3rd coast is YOUNG PEOPLE – EVERYWHERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!While public radio sometimes lacks a certain luster, and it’s discouraging, but then you go to 3rd Coast amid all this talk of creativity and there’s clumps of kids making radio stories. It makes you feel all throaty and hopeful and protective…and jazzed ! Syd and I were “doctors” and it was pretty moving sometimes. So many shiny pennies out there – I met a few radio kids in the “clinic” and others I got to hear their work in a breakout session – they’re testing the water and wanting to push their own edges in personal essay, and portraits. Some of them have this presence, possession intact, it stops you. The natural inclination and trend seems to want to expose light on their own lives, usually the dark spots, not a natural stance for most teenagers. And more, they speak [of it] with authority, and even in it’s simplest terse revealment, maybe unwittingly, there rises this moment of exquisite humanity.It was painful pleasure.Also the older “youth” were plenty – there are a few out there you’ll be hearing about soon, hopefully right through the Transom. So keep an ear out.
Blunt, KZMU, CAT, WDIY, Rookies, AZYEP, Queen of Peace/LOE, XYZ, if you’re listening: I remind you all, invite you all, to stay in touch with us at Transom and share your 111th revision – we’re always listening.
The surprises. I came expecting to meet young, creative, bizarre, energetic, impassioned radio people… and I wasn’t disappointed. But I forgot about:
It was my second Third Coast, and it was exciting to hear the echoes of last year… Whether that’s Dean Olsher on Marshall McLuhan or Joe Frank on lifetime achievement awardees. Now I want to know who’s doing "Favorite Things" next year.
who would you like to hear present the ‘favorite things’ panel next year, steve? or anybody else, for that matter? inquiring third coast minds want to know…
it’s great to see/hear what’s left the deepest impressions with folks. we’re ‘retreating’ next week and will definitely be bringing this discussion with us.
for anybody who wants to hear joe’s acceptance speech once again, or larry’s intro, they’ll both be up on the site, along with three excerpts from classic jfrank programs, by later tonight or tomorrow morning at the latest. enjoy…
Hey All –
One clear sign for me that Third Coast is a kind of all-encompassing Spiritual and Creative Blast is that every year, I feel down on Sunday morning as I’m heading for the train. (And no, not just ‘cuz my head’s pounding.) The energy and power of all this creation is intoxicating. I hope this lasts a long long time, til at least the vision of 2020. thanks, Johanna. thanks, Julie.
And my dear Czerina, you dancing maniac: regarding my second mistake in 17 years, I do believe this was based on the recommendation, relayed to me, of a true chicago insider. perhaps this is someone who prefers european aquariums. But let us admit, the place was well below the standards of people who care about dancing. I did call them on sunday, pointed that out, and they agreed to change the name of the place to This Joint Sucks.
So I hope that helps.
who will step forward to do better next time?
saludos a todos
Good evening Sandy,
Actually, I’d be willing to give you another chance to pick a dancing place next year – just talk to OTHER friends please! Anyway, the fun dancing at the relay/prx party and the awards dinner well made up for the fishbowl fiasco. Part of me was quietly grateful for your, um "mistake" – I was exhausted, and I wasn’t sure if my feet and I could hold out all night in my heels as it was. I’m looking forward to when you and Jay come to New York so we can cut another rug. No European Aquariums – I promise!
Hope you’re rested up, Czerina
Joe, and all others who couldn’t make it to Chicago, you can now hear Joe Frank’s acceptance speech etc. at:
p.s. I love the photo Nubar!
the strongest visual from saturday’s mind-blowing panel, seeing sound, wasn’t the infinite inside of jody foster’s pupil or even the bird’s eye opening of the conversation, but a string of whispers across the stage that started with randy thom, through nikki and then joe and then to davia. suddenly the game of telephone seemed the essence of what everyone onstage was ultimately talking about.
my first time at the third coast festival was fantastic, if exhausting. maybe next time rebecca will let me sit up front for the drive from ny…
thanks to everyone who came out friday night to the re:sound dancing party. it was great fun to host with the wonderful prx duo of jake and steve. it was amazing to see everyone on the dancefloor and, mid-conference, to get the chance to appreciate some sounds my legs could dig too.
somewhere on my westin notepad i have written "abnormally close" but i don’t think it’s referring to any of you. quite the contrary. many thanks to all for encouragement and kind reception toward the relay project. we can’t wait to get the full-length out, and 3rd coast was an exciting boost for so many reasons. and of course, many heartfelt thanks to julie and johanna. radiotopia was indeed conjured julie. keep us posted via satellite.
I wish I had some pictures of Friday Night’s Party. It was fun fun fun and man oh man was Sandy cuttin it up!!!
The best part though was that I was able to convince Joe Frank and his crew to come along – I promised him it would be a total happening – and of course when we got there we were the only people there!!
So if you have some pictures from this night LOAD em up!!! Jake you have any more???
Ok well this one might look like its a wine fest but in reality it was an inspirational huddle. There were lots of these that took place over the weekend and they all turned into these multi-table affairs. Third Coasters are a pretty welcoming bunch.
Fun time with all you kids. We Pacificans need to party.
The t-shirt getting serious fashion nod in SF.
Btw, Joe Frank fans who need a weekly fix can stream him every Sunday night 9pm PST at http://www.kpfa.org. Entering his 23 year on-air there…zounds.
Waving thanks and blowing kisses to our TCIAF mama bears. -SStone
joe frank courtesy of Nubar
My first trip to the coast. It was all as it’s been billed. All of the good vibe to pub radio and none of the bad. The action and the focus was around creating interesting radio and exploring the possibilites and not about dayparts, audience research or fundraising. Here’s hoping that PRX can capture the spirit of these people and get more of their work recognized and on the radio!!!!
some of us couldn’t be there…
so you want gossip?isn’t the picture of joe and noah enough?didn’t stay at the hotel so I can’t give the key swapping, agatha christie style lowdown, but downstairs in the ballroom……..
watching people listen……eyes open? closed? lights dimmed? down? the mind as the wildest cinema screen, making for millions of "movies" from the same audio origin. are fades doors closing off conversation? what makes listening to voice different than other kinds of listening? there were as many questions shared as answered, which i appreciated.
seem to remember getting into a discussion during the opening reception with ben walker in which i stated i preferred a victrola to an I-pod, until I immediately realized a victrola is the biggest I-pod in a sense, thus beginning a weekend of…..those kind of moments. such as when joe frank and his posse, as the first to arrive at re:sound, were treated to: no music and my attempt to wish the wine bottles open with a wink and a nod – no luck with the corkscrew – or a moment in the ladies room where i stood next to a stranger as she lamented flat hair and i of not being able to shed my storm trooper helmet inspired ‘do shape. is this the kind of inside scoop you want? who ordered what drinks? how many bowls of shredded parmesan were on the buffet table?
when in fact there were so many beautiful moments……hundreds of humans milling from room to room actually hearing sound and not only speaking about it. being able to stand in that strange westin carpeted hallway and watch the ebb and flow of conversation, trying to sneak the embarrassingly necessary just one more cup of coffee (third coasters go through the milk and leave the half and half). experiencing the informed awareness and nimble thinking of vets and youngsters, watching Dean listen to the radio, reminding me of solo kid time spent with the transistor and the battered short wave (which only got the greenwich mean time, which somehow was enough), the curmudgeonly kicking around of what to work towards and how, so much information, context, the classy ladies and gents……..lovely to spend a couple days in the company of a crowd interested in the sound of stories, the sound of pictures, voice – the most compelling sound…except, perhaps, lucy’s imitation of a bald eagle’s mating cry which unfortunately was not recorded …….
if anyone wants more specifics from panels…..my westin pad will be up on ebay in the next weeks.
i’ve some pictures from friday night’s re:sound but i haven’t gotten clearance from my models (Jay? Sandy? Czerina? Kara?). (will attempt to attach another sort of snapshot but don’t know if it will work) it was a great surprise, once I’d cried uncle on hostessing duties, to step out of the back room and into the gallery space and see folks actually – dancing. thanks to all who stopped by and made merry. now that prx are in the transom cover boy position I suppose our ace partnership in party planning and execution may take a back seat to their groundbreaking task at hand. fair enough. it’s amazing work.
special thanks to all who we spoke to about The Relay Project. we look forward to speaking with you in the near future.
how did attendance compare to last year? Was it sold out again?
well, maybe folks will come back here when planning next year…
I went to the first two years of 3rd Coast, and found the geography of the first hotel set up to be more conducive to mixing people.
The Holiday Inn the first year had a semi-spiral staircase everyone had to climb and descend. It meant that people passed by many people they could greet and connect with. It reminded me of the different but similar promenade Latin street designs…
Also, the table assignments at the awards night put people next to people they wouldn’t have met…
The first year, at dinner time people jsut went down to the lobby and found one nor two large ad hoc groups to join without hesitation.
the second year, 3rd Coast was in a hotel with two lobbies. One very established woman said to me, that if she hadn’t had a room mate, she wouldn’t have had anyone to eat with. I felt awkward too.
Over in the PRX topic, the subject is landscape design and community… so that emboldened me to finally deposit these observations.
I just loved Third Coast so much, I don’t want to miss a drop.
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“When Scott Carrier told me he had a 90-minute tape of some guy talking about prostate cancer I promised to listen to it right away. Meaning, when hell froze over.
—Larry Massett, "Prostate Diaries"
“When Scott Carrier told me he had a 90-minute tape of some guy talking about prostate cancer I promised to listen to it right away. Meaning, when hell froze over.