Posted on March 05, 2004 at 07:58 AM
Another strong piece from the Salt alum and the mean streets of Portland, Maine. The L. H. Karaoke Lounge shares its storefront with a pawnshop, a travel agency, a Vietnamese restaurant and a tailor but on weekend nights it becomes a popular hangout for Vietnamese crooners. If art imitates life, then karaoke imitates the life of Asian immigrants. I think many of the Salt pieces are deserving of airtime outside of the Maine listening area. A Salt series or a Salt special (maybe paired with a two-way with Salt radio director Rob Rosenthal) could be a terrific one-off idea for a station interested in highlighting how radio gets made.
Posted on March 05, 2004 at 05:26 AM
The guts of the piece is the interview with the author of "The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty" by Caroline Alexander. The interview flowed well and was interesting and last from about 6:30 to 21:30. This piece would fit in any historical show, especially history maritime or perhaps a show about works of literature and oft-told stories.
The book sounds interesting. Caroline put this into context that I hadn't heard before.
Other things in the show -- how the French lampooned LBJ the way they are dealing with GWB.
Posted on March 05, 2004 at 03:55 AM
I was out yesterday doing some reporting on a pretty standard-issue news story. I did a bunch of five-minute interviews with people, and I was frustrated and surprised that I just couldn't get anyone to open up...you know, really tell me anything. "Joey" just made me believe in the power of the five-minute interview again.
It is raw, and not for everyone's air...but I gotta say, honesty makes such good radio. And "Joey" brought that out in his subject. Kudos.
Posted on March 05, 2004 at 12:13 AM
"i don't know if i have anything smart to say about teen pop, the host says in the beginning of this-I honestly don't care" why does she go to the trouble of pondering over the "teen" pop phenomena, using N Sync songs and "the Britney and Christina A. debate" as examples-- isn't this old news? (N Sync isnt even a band anymore.) The host claims to be too young to remember the Madonna and Cyndi Lauper phenomena, but how young can she be if she is calling her married friend ("the fairest glitter princess in the land"--yuck!) and analyzing Britney and Christina, who haven't even been teens themselves for over five years? who is the audience for this drivel? i'd love for a real young person to share their insights and passions-- now that would be a show. But i guess for this audience, a middle aged person is young.
Posted on March 04, 2004 at 11:59 PM
I like the idea of a music magazine show, but the host of this is a bit cutesy-pie for my taste. The content (Beck? A school girl crush on The White Stripes) is bland and safe. Smells like a middle aged person trying to remain young by using bad grammmar.
Posted on March 04, 2004 at 09:24 PM
There seem to be a lot of folks confused about what this "piece" is. Let me give you my thoughts as a musician.
This is a piece of music.
Eno has done stuff like this. Zappa too.
You use snippets of speech to act like lyrics and melodies. When repeated these sound bites take on many of the chartcteristics of melodies. Pitch, rhythmic content,words.
Use it as you would use any other offbeat music.
Posted on March 04, 2004 at 06:06 AM
Patience and faith--in radio that is-- are essential in order for you to fully appreciate this piece as it betrays the conventional expectations of a hard feature. This piece is almost impressionistic as the interviewee becomes the narrator. As your guide, the matriarch Ruth Marchellatta walks you through the family business, the decay of Maine's economy AND she offers you a cup of coffee! ( What more could you want out of a radio piece?)
Listener beware: you'll have to monitor your glycemic index as this piece is full of ear candy: wonderful voices, the intoxicating sound of percolating coffee and the noirish appeal of Ruth lighting a cigarette.
When to air this? During "All Things Considered" or "Morning Edition" or wherever you can spare seven minutes and one second. Given the presidential election's nonstop discussions about jobs, the economy and NAFTA , this is a supremely relevant piece.--Chelsea Merz
Posted on March 03, 2004 at 08:31 PM
I'ma gonna hafta disagree a little with the above review. I'm of the younger generation that has at least nodding acquaintance with pop culture icons like Outkast. In fact, I've given the very same "Hiphop History and Culture 101" talk contained in the Pop Vultures Breakbeats episode to my mother and her middle-aged friends. And there, they do a great job.
But this episode is what it purports to be, basically 30 minutes of unabashed fawning. Even if you feel like the middle-aged guy getting let in on a cultural secret here (didn't Outkast play the Superbowl halftime show, though? hmm.) you'd get pretty bored about halfway through. They relate Outkast's image to white glam rock and black funk freakiness a la P-Funk. Other than that, it's heavy on the superlatives and light on the content.
How about some context on the development of the Dirty South as a 'third coast' in hiphop, or Outkast's association with Cee-Lo and the Goodie Mobb in the Dungeon Family, or the backlash against their boundary-pushing (Rosa Parks lawsuit, Indian uproar over Superbowl attire), or even the Andre 3K/Big Boi split on the double album?
I haven't listened to any other shows than the above mentioned, but if Vultures tries to ride too far on its enthusiasm and its youthful cache without some substance, it's going to...
naw, take that back. Public radio is so starved for young voices that this show will do well, even with the occasional weaker show. And hey, the PR demographic probably won't even know the difference as long as it sounds hip and convincing, right?
Posted on March 03, 2004 at 10:18 AM
An engaging (and unfortunately less uplifting) follow up to part 1. The complex interactions between all the elemnts of the Tongass habitat are explained in a clear and comprehensible fashion, and both sides of the logging picture are presented here in an even-handed way. The piece clearly demonstrates the dilemma faced by locals who rely on the forests for their livelihood, and yet recognize the need to protect the dwindling resource. It is somewhat disconceting to hear that cutting down trees is "more fun than kissing pretty girls", but maybe this off-the-cuff statement demonstrates just how wide the cultural divide is between loggers and those wishing to protect the trees.
Posted on March 03, 2004 at 09:44 AM
Information-packed, engaging piece that makes you want to head straight for the Alaskan wilds. Alongside our host we visit fishing grounds, old-growth forests and caves and meet a variety of naturalists full of unbridled enthusiasm for the natural world. An excellent addition to any show focusing on environmental issues, it is like taking a mini aural field trip from the comfort of your own home.
Posted on March 03, 2004 at 07:44 AM
There are some elements that need improved. Some of the content (and jokes) are a little too inside (though surprisingly few, the content is so naturally exclusionary that the staff obviously works hard to keep it engaging and approachable). Time and some more experience producing the show will correct these.
I have concerns about this program being placed on the right stations, and at the right times. I can practically guarantee that this show will draw a younger, fringe audience. Similar to This American Life, stations may be tempted to add this show in times, or adjacent to other programs, that don’t make sense. Bad scheduling does not serve listeners, stations, or the program itself.
This show deserves a chance and some exposure while it continues to grow.
Raquel Maria Dillon
Posted on March 03, 2004 at 06:12 AM
If you tuned in to something other than public radio in the last 25 years, this show might be a little basic for you. But if you missed the birth of hip-hop, now you don't have to wait until the Ken Burns doc comes out.
I liked that they picked out Sinead O'Connor as an example of a breakbeat with a groove -- pubradio should be ecumenical!
Kate and Garth are charming, intelligent, descriptive, lively. But at times they sound like a dirty old man, trying to impress the gushing under-age host: "Hey baby, wanna come up to my Bronx pad and listen to some vintage vinyl?"
Full disclosure: I hate the Strokes and I like the White Stripes. I'd love to hear more people my age on pubradio. But I'm skeptical... I don’t want a history lesson about what I saw live on MTV.
Posted on March 03, 2004 at 06:11 AM
No, I’m not some market research, number cruncher PD.
But who’s your listener here? My dad or me? My dad doesn’t care, and I don’t like being talked down to. Maybe you could split the difference – age 43?
This show starts out great – with the 4 year pop-cycle idea – and goes downhill from there, bottoming out when they dis hip-hop fashion and baggy pants. I think I knew some too-cool guys like that in college...
Kate is growing on me tho. She and her buddies make no apologies for their opinions. But with such a strong personality as a host, what do you do when you exhaust her personal record collection and fan zines?
Posted on March 03, 2004 at 06:10 AM
...and you too can deconstruct ATC’s Norris/Sting interview!
The Asian fetish/Madame Butterfly insight is a valuable addition to my collection of pop trivia. But here’s the dilemma: listeners will hear Kate’s approximation of Puccini’s plot as either charming, or culturally illiterate.
P.S. Maybe I heard this wrong... but you might consider an advisory on the rapping-is-like-giving-head thing. You almost slipped it by me! But I just don’t think it’ll fly... I’m jealous b/c it’s super-cool to say something dirty and get beeped on the radio. What an honor!
Posted on March 03, 2004 at 06:09 AM
Now I feel bad because everyone else really likes this show... Yikes.
I'm glad I passed Pop Music 101 because advanced classes (like this episode) are more fun and challenging. Now we can talk about the music industry and its creations...
Here's another dilemma: how do you to discuss pop cultural obsessions in a "big tent." You think, huh? -- I think, duh!
Everyone's remarking on the host’s speech patterns... Like, hello? If in 20 years pubradio doesn’t sound more like this show, who will bother to tune in? So hooray for experimentation!
Just don't assume that young listeners are only interested in pop and rock and music. That would be insulting!
Posted on March 02, 2004 at 03:10 PM
Great production- how can you lose with such fun music and a fabulous interview subject like Jay McShann? Steven Rosenfeld has produced five short sound portraits that can be aired as one whole mini-doc or five individual drop-ins for news magazines or during music shows. I could listen to this music all day. The recordings are crystal clear and clean as Jay McShann reminisces over his long and varied career. Segment #3 with Maria Muldaur is a kick and appropriately sensual. And I loved #5, the official story of how Charlie Parker got his nickname. Rosenfeld says he has more than 350 of these music profiles on his website so seems like there's more than enough for any station programmer to start thinking about making use of drop-ins during the day... Dmae
Posted on March 02, 2004 at 12:55 PM
Oh my god...the perfect radio show has been born!! Is this possible, do my ears decieve me? A show about pop music? T-Rex to P-Funk, Britney Spears to the Clash and everything in between. Solid Gold.
The Weezer/Sheryl Crow episode was great! I found myself smiling almost the whole time. It was just like how me and my friends talk when we sit around and talk about bands, singers, wankers, records...
This show is smart, witty, SOUND RICH, the only thing I fear is that most of the public radio audience is still way too entrenched in the watered down, 1980's, world-music/classical vibe for anything this hip.
Posted on March 02, 2004 at 12:11 PM
This is a noble portrait--and worth listening to for the music alone. Having grown up in Chicago the Blues was the enforced sountrack of my life--as soon as I had a say in what I listened to Blue was banished from the spectrum. BUT this piece leaves me thinking that was a big mistake. Captain Luke's singing is lyrical--his remembrances of the 50's and 60's music scene are compelling. And, like a great song, a world is revealed in about 4 minutes. This is perfect for "All Things Considered," a show about music, or the artistic process, and so on.--Chelsea Merz
Posted on March 02, 2004 at 05:41 AM
I find this to be a charming half-hour, one in which Socrates of Athens, who seems quite comfortable with his New York City accent, answers all of life's most perplexing questions with the greatest of ease. Slightly reminiscent of Steve Allen's great public television series "Meeting of the Minds". Turns out learning can be not only painless but fun and interesting.
Posted on March 02, 2004 at 05:17 AM
Most of the pieces in this series offer more than a glimpse into the life of a musician, and many treat the listener to stories and reflections that reach well beyond the music itself. We listen to Gillian, and come away (at least I did) with a sense of a strong, thoughtful woman who deeply understands the value and power of the people's music, someone with something important to say about how we live.