Friday, October 30, 2009
On most levels, this cartoon works splendidly.
I can't know if this is the case nationwide, but here in Atlanta, our NPR affiliate is one of the few stations in town that doesn't overcompress its sound. That is, it presents a well-engineered dynamic range in which the loud passages are undistorted and the soft passages are actually pianissimo soft. It is actually possible to hear the odd moment of silence on NPR.
Every other station in town, I feel like I've been beaten with a blunt instrument after listening for a half hour. And that's the music stations: The talk stations are worse. Even when I agree with what's being said, I can't stand to listen to it for very long.
But "truth"? I find it hard to believe that even you, NPR, would describe your content that way.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Last December, the above-referenced production of That Christmas Play went before the boards, although according to Mark Evanier it might have been better to have the boards go first and let the play follow as best it could.
Ya wanta know the topper? The same producer is trying to put it together again this year as a road show (as if the technical and mechanical problems will be easier to fix in a different venue every two or three performances), but two of the six planned cities have not booked yet, and a third just cancelled.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
A gorgeous fall here on the upper Mississippi, but among the old grumblers I drink cheap coffee with, the mood these days is dark, due to low interest rates and the advance of the glaciers, which is why I, sunny optimist that I am, seek out the company of the young and ebullient and drink $4 coffee, but sometimes you get stuck next to some old guy in a plaid shirt who gives you an earful about Wall Street bonuses and how the game is rigged in favor of the custom-tailored suits, and you must be polite and listen.
"Look at this. A person saves his money like he was brought up to do and he salts it away in a safe CD or Treasury note or municipal bond and it pays him a measly 2 percent interest. Why? Because the Fed has decreed we gotta have low interest to save the high-fliers and speculators who almost brought the roof crashing down a year ago, and they pour money into Goldman Sachs and these killer sharks walk away with a hundred billion in bonuses, and meanwhile guys are losing their shirts in the dairy business. What's the deal there?"
"There is a lot of human nature involved in economics, so if you are an idealist, you should take up astronomy," I tell him.
"I'm serious," he says. "You drive out west of here and you see headlights in the fields at midnight, guys putting in 16-hour days combining beans, and back east you've got people in offices with a phone in each hand, moving money around, not creating a damn thing, just playing a game, and the government can't do enough for them. Where's the fairness in that?"
"I saw your beautiful wife the other day and she looks 10 years younger," I say. "She said that you two can't keep your hands off each other. Good for you. And how about those Vikings and Brett Favre? Six and oh. Life is good. And how about those maple trees? Have you ever seen such colors?"
"This country is skidding toward disaster and the guy you elected president has his foot on the gas."
"You need to get out and walk more, Earl," I tell him, "and not sit and brood about interest rates. Life is too short to be unhappy."
Ah, I see. When Keillor talks about the "old grumblers I drink cheap coffee with", he means republicans. Just settle down, you old coots. We've got the ball now.
I hate holding a grudge, but it's hard to resist when I'm being condescended to. Are these the same people who were telling us recently that the highest form of patriotism is expressing dissent? Or was that Bush Derangement Syndrome at work?
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Atlanta Radio Theatre Company
The popularity of radio theatre waned with the advent of television, but a group of actors, writers, and sound technicians in Atlanta is maintaining this largely forgotten art form.
The Atlanta Radio Theatre Company (or ARTC, pronounced “Art-see”) has entertained, amused, thrilled, and terrified audio drama enthusiasts since 1984. Although specializing in horror and science fiction, ARTC shows its mastery of the art and craft of audio drama in any number of genres. Bill Ritch, the group’s president, says the appeal of radio theatre lies in the storytelling tradition. ARTC is just spinning a spooky tale around the campfire, so to speak, but with sound effects!
ARTC shows have been featured on a number of radio stations in Atlanta, but currently the best way to experience them is via CD or podcast. Or, for the full-on ARTC experience, you can attend one of their live shows at Stage Door Players in Dunwoody. There, you can see just how they craft their sound effects and manipulate microphone placement to achieve their atmospheric audioscapes and create adventures in sound.
Hey, Mom, I'm on TV!
Actually, these days, our live shows are at the Academy Theatre in Avondale Estates. In fact, there's one coming up this Saturday and Sunday, and you should drop everything and head over there. Right now. Hey, you want a good seat, right?
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
All I can say is: the president gave a speech he could have given at any point in the last three years. No one in that room could disagree with any of the things he said. I sure don't (with the exception of the hate crimes hooey). And he said it well and movingly. Like we didn't know he could do that.
But the point of electing a president who pledged to actually do things is to hold him to account, and to see if he is willing to take any risk of any kind to actually do something. I had a few prior tests of his seriousness or signs that he gets it, a few ways to judge if this speech had anything new or specific or clear. He failed every test.
It does not please me to see the President's support base question his ability to deliver on his promises, or his will to do so. I feel no victory, no compulsion to shout "I told you so".
God knows Obama has plenty on his plate. Around about the time the banks started failing, he must have looked at his campaign advisors and said, "Somebody remind me why I wanted this job." I would think that Gay Rights would be rather low on his priorities just now. But Andrew Sullivan is surely right to be disappointed that even Joe Solmonese (chair of the Human Rights Campaign) does not intend to hold the President's feet to the fire on the subject.