delete

Making a “Vital Blend” one smoothie at a time...

Michael Douglas just opened his Smoothie Shop on Schenectady Avenue in Brooklyn about 9 months ago, but he’s been making smoothies since he was a young man in Guyana over 20 years ago. He believes there’s practically no ailment out there that can’t be improved by a smoothie…and if that promise doesn’t lure customers in, there’s always the taste! Take a listen as Michael talks us through how to make a great...
delete

Listening assignment: 24 hours at the Golden Apple...

Nancy Updike took the first shift—she uses the storytelling element of ambient sound with Eddie who was playing the harmonica.  She describes the scene: that there are all types of people in the restaurant (regulars) and that no one seems annoyed with Eddie.   Next she moves to Joe and describes him (78 years old, retired construction worker) as something of an old-school guy but she says “our conversation takes place in another era,” he calls her honey and doesn’t talk much.  Nancy breaks up the interview to describes the scene and then introduces Scott Johnson, a bar owner and then gives an interview snippet with him, we get a sense that he’s someone whose changed tremendously, or as he put it “took the etch a sketch and shook it.”  Each of these characters are described more through their own words and actions than through the reporter, I think this illustrates the importance of recording everything and editing in a smart way.   Then we’re introduced to a fleshy woman with wavy hair who works at a purification center but is smoking, drinking coffee and about to eat some sausage which, Nancy points out ,and the woman just laughs throatily in that smoker’s way which tells you way more about her than Nancy could have.   Donna, looks at Kathryn Deneuve and Nancy describes her as the most beautiful person she’s seen, 26 years working as a waitress on the night shift, every Christmas Eve she brings in a big tray of cookies for everyone who comes in that night—she’s an institution at the place, people give her art work, she watches plays that the actors that come in are performing in.  “It’s like home to me”   INTERLUDE: DESCRIBING THE REGULARS   Scruffy and lean Robert has been there twice for the day and drinks only coffee and talks to the waitresses (though by his own admission he barely says anything to them because he’s shy).  He’s unmarried, with no kids.   Next the reporter describes the family of 3 with a mom Alison and 2 kids one 2 and one 4.  He does by describing the mickey mouse pancake so sugary sweet the 4 year old can’t sit still, there’s no interview there only an interlude with the mother telling the 4 year old “to turn around” that says everything.  The storytelling technique is to not use any interview tape but only natural sound.   Daniel Romero and Sylvia—Daniel describes how Sylvia dumped him supposedly (she’s in a relationship) he apparently isn’t over it.  He will not be at the wedding.  The reporter tells the story through recording the conversation as Daniel and Sylvia talk “when you talk about your new relationships are you’re really talking about yourselves.”  It’s really interesting—especially since the reporter turned the interviiew into a play off Sex and the City, and posed this question: “when you talk about your new relationships are you’re really talking about yourselves.”  Their conversation revolves around Daniel not wanting to commit to women he meets, then it turns out that he had the same issue with Sylvia.  After she dumped him, he moved in with another woman 3 weeks later.   Next we’re introduced to a well-dressed 75 year old lady.  Kay has lived in the neighborhood her whole life, and talked about how the neighborhood and the world has changed.  She described white flight in the mid-1960’s as her 5 sisters and her mother moved out,...
delete

Sound portrait: Stacey Estrella fans the flames of passion with Flamenco...

Stacey Estrella has found herself and her passion in Flamenco dancing.  Watching as her mother struggled to raise 3 children alone and the limits that placed on her life experience, Stacey vowed to make her own life “rich with experiences.”  Listen below as Stacey describes how dancing is a metaphor for her journey as a woman, and how Flamenco is the perfect outlet to bring together her diverse interests. Stacey Estrella sound portrait  ...
delete

Radio listening assignment–March 22, 2012...

I listened to Fade to Darkness: The Age of Alzheimer’s on Boston NPR’s station 90.0 WBUR http://www.prx.org/pieces/70448-fade-to-darkness-the-age-of-alzheimer-s-hour-spe The piece uses a very compelling character Dr. Ralph Kelly, 59, a former doctor and researcher who was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about  a year and half ago to open the piece.  The reporter follows him around at home with his family of 3 young children and his wife, the scene is compelling because you hear normal making dinner sounds (plates banging, kids talking excitedly) it seems so mundane and yet this family is struggling with a debilitating illness that is sure to take Dr. Kelly’s life within 4-6 years.  The reporter uses this segment to talk about the difficulties of taking care of someone of Alzheimer’s, Dr. Kelly’s wife talks about her experience and so does a member of her Alzheimer’s caretaker support group. Devora Korman, 77, was diagnosed 5 years ago.  She has been a part of clinical trials to help her slow down the progression of the disease.  Again, the reporter uses home scenes and a scene at a doctor’s office in which she fails a memory test.  They introduced a new element of this story in this segment: conducting drug trials on people who are showing no signs of Alzheimer’s but who have markers that may predispose them to the disease.  They use Korman as a contrast to this new approach, as she’s representative of the typical Alzheimer’s patient who participates in clinical trials: older and already in the full throes of Alzheimer’s. The reporter presents other interesting characters: the Marascas family, 2 children of a 56 year old woman with early-onset Alzheimer’s and they discuss when they realized something was wrong with their mother.  This was a good way of framing the debate of whether people should get tested for markers of Alzheimer’s or not–both Marascas children decided not to.  And how these tests could in the future facilitate a cure. In the final segment, the reporter introduces an interesting scene in which she describes a beach before she brings in the sounds of the sea and surf.  Congressman Marky recalls summers spent on that beach with his family.  Years later, his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and he recalls again how he and his father would take his mother to the beach, this time though, with her strapped in so she couldn’t get out and wander off.  This was how the reporter introduced the topic of funding for Alzheimer’s research as Congressman Marky is now an advocate for increased Alzheimer’s research funding. The final character is Bernice Pollard, a caregiver for her elderly mother who is in the late stages of the disease: immobile and unable to speak.  The reporter introduces her and her family through another home scene, the sounds of Bernice looking for socks, an item that’s familiar to her mom.  They use this scene to talk about the difficulty funding care for Alzheimer’s patients in assisted-living facilities, which leads many people to care for their loved ones at home (in itself a financial hardship) rather than place them in a nursing home which Medicare does pay for. The radio piece as a whole, was quite long and dealt with a difficult topic with a lot of aspects to it:  emotional toll, search for a cure, funding for research, funding for care and did it all with interesting characters which anchored each segment.  I think bringing in characters to represent a certain element of...
delete

A Million Little Lies: Oprah confronts James Frey on fake memoir...

Oprah’s book club was so popular that when an author’s book was chosen to be a part of the “club”, it was like winning a lotto ticket.  Book sales would go from the thousands to the millions–and it was no different with James Frey’s book A Million Little Pieces, in which he recounted his harrowing experience as a drug addict.  However, when the smoking gun website revealed that many parts of the book had been exaggerated or flat out fabricated, it was a black eye to Oprah and her book club, especially since she initially defended Frey, stating that “Although some of the facts have been questioned… that underlying message of the redemption of James Frey still resonates with me.”  As the scandal continued though, Oprah changed her tune and invited him back on the show to confront him on the lies in the book.  The interview was so contentious that Frey said he felt like he had been “ambushed” and 5 years later Oprah invited him back on her show to apologize. This is an excellent example of an aggressive interview because Oprah wastes no time with niceties or softball questions–even at the beginning of the interview.  The first question Oprah asks is if the smoking gun’s headline describing Frey as “The Man Who Conned Oprah” was true and it only got more combative as the interview went along.  Unfortunately, the video of the interview couldn’t be found but the transcript of it is below. http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Oprahs-Questions-for-James/1  ...