*the ear [+ eye] cave*

Set up for *the ear [+ eye] cave* at La Paloma Sabanera Coffeehouse

This past Tuesday, I was invited to curate and host *the ear cave*, “a stripped down listening session, curated and hosted by a rotating cast of local radio professionals who want to share interesting, weird and wonderful radio.” *the ear cave* was created by WNPR senior producer Catie Talarski, as an off shoot of her popular live radio shows, Radio Adventure Theater. These are great events that bring community together in places like coffee houses and studios to listen to a selection of curated radio stories.

We had a packed house for my curating debut. And naturally, I had some technical difficulties as I tried to mix in video with audio pieces. And since a lot of others weren’t able to join us, I decided to put together a playlist here to share with everyone. These are some of my favorite pieces of video, radio, and podcasting that have inspired me over the last decade when creating films. The playlist is after the jump…

Negativland U2

I started off with one of my all time favorite ‘audio mash-up’ of ‘found audio’, Negativland’s U-2 (Special Edit Radio Mix).

I had only ever heard the audio before on an old cassette that a professor gave me sophomore year of college. Finding the video on Youtube was a splendid treat that I was glad to share with the audience.

Back To School in a Garbage Can

Looking for other collage style audio pieces, I came across this piece created from scraps of papers in garbage cans at a school, read by students and teachers. “A collage of love notes, tardy slips, and other high school detritus collected from high school garbage cans. Produced by Geraldo Hernandez and Giancarlo Hernandez for Curie Youth Radio.” I selected it because I enjoyed the playful quality that the producers strung the various quotes and voices together to create a storyline for a day at school.

Sounds of the Artificial World

This interesting piece I discovered when RadioLab featured Roman Mars of 99% Invisible on one of their podcast shorts. Mr. Mars “loves to spotlight the seams and joints that make up the world around us. He’s the host of an irresistible podcast called 99% Invisible–a series of tiny radio stories that provoke enormous questions.” In this piece, Mr. Mars looks into “the art of making modern electronic devices “sound right” with carefully designed beeps and clicks.”

Gates of Heaven
Another piece I knew I had to include was this excerpt from Errol Morris’ first documentary, the beautiful “Gates of Heaven“. In this scene, Mr. Morris focuses his camera on the subject and just lets her speak, not cutting away during her story until the very end. I just love the openness of the lady as she just tells her story. Would that I could get some of my subjects to just open as easily.

Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe

When Errol Morris approached filmmaker Werner Herzog about making Gates of Heaven, Mr. Herzog made a bet with Mr. Morris: Herzog would eat his shoe if Morris completed his first documentary. True to his word, Mr. Herzog celebrated the premiere of Gates of Heaven by eating his shoe on stage. Documentarian Les Blanc, who also documented the making of Mr. Herzog’s epic film Fitzcarraldo.

The full 20 minute film by Les Blanc can be seen here on YouTube. It’s worth it. (You can then check out my own interview with Mr. Herzog from 2005 at MassMOCA.)

Sullivan’s Travels

David Eagan discusses Preston Sturges’ film “Sullivan’s Travels” which inspired him in filmmaking on this piece from Studio360. I identified with this piece when I first heard it a few weeks back. I am an admirer of Preston Sturges and his work and appreciate how Mr. Eagan discusses this seminal film. Listen to this and then watch the film.

Act V
This American Life is the program the turned me into an NPR listener. And one episode that has always left an impression was Jack Hitt’s hour long special on the staging of Hamlet in a prison. I selected an excerpt from this hour, starting at 6 mins and through 18:45. Unfortunately, I can’t hot link to that time stamp, but I highly recommend listening to this full hour. The segment I had selected involves conversations between Jack Hitt and the various actors that portray Hamlet (there are 4) and “Hutch”, who portrays Horatio. It’s Hutch’s insight to the characters and world of Shakespeare that really speaks to me. Having just filmed a college performance of Hamlet in a black box theater, this particular piece was on my mind. Much like the play, this 2002 program is timeless.

That Tragic Night

While perusing Third Coast International Festival for pieces to present, I stumbled across That Tragic Night. Created for the 2008 shortdocs challenge, Radio Ephemera, survivors recount the sinking of Titanic . With the 100th anniversary of the sinking next month, it felt right to include it. But then I saw that it was created by *the ear cave* creator Catie Talarski.

Sensory Deprivation Tank

Another piece found on Third Coast International Festival was this piece by Jonathan Goldstein, host of WireTap. Mr. Goldstein records conversations with his friends over the phone, capturing “riveting stories that blur the line between fact and fiction, and are at turns funny, wistful, and even slightly strange — in the best possible way. In this segment, Goldstein’s friend Howard Chackowicz travels through the cosmos from the safety of his very own homemade sensory deprivation tank — fashioned out of a giant recycling box.” This piece fit in with the idea of the evening: sitting in a dark room listening to radio and allowing it to transport you to new places.

Loop the Loop

I closed the evening with this piece from RadioLab. I’ve listened to Loop the Loop several times and the story of aviator Lincoln Beechey continues to enthrall and inspire me.

March 31, 2012 — Filed under: Blog — helder @ 9:44 pm

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