Saturday, February 24, 2007

Far Afield Thoughts for this Site---Academy Awards

Leaving the notes for the 3 radio programs aside for the moment and being happy that the Academy Awards are on after TRADITIONS has aired on February 25 I thought to throw out a few thoughts.
What started as an industry event has, as most things, turned into a commercial gala. With plenty of imitators now--Golden Globe, Peoples Choice, etc; Given that we have to--as Arthur Miller said about Willy Loman--"...attention must be paid". Though one does have to ask when thinking of other things in this universe---WHY.

But, since attention is being paid, a few comments and then some favorite picks---and your comments are welcome.

I never could understand a contest for Best Picture. How do you compare a tragedy, a serious docudrama (documentary is a different category), a comedy, and a musical. Different animals and different breeds.

Acting can surely be compared for its difficulty and its impact on the audience. The technical things---make-up, sets, effects, etc; as well.
My choices---let me see if you agree--

Picture: Little Miss Sunshine -- a dark comedy with a wonderful point.

Actress: (female actor) Judi Dench -- An amazing performance as always--Kate Blanchet was her equal in this great film---Notes On A Scandal.

Actor: Forest Whitaker. Would it not be interesting to see Peter O'Toole win after all those great roles for actually playing himself.

Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin-- He made me not want to leave watching Little Miss Sunshine---you all know, surely, he started singing folkd songs with the likes of Lee Hays and others.

Supporting Actress (female actor) : Abigail Breslin --who could best exemplify Little Miss Sunshine---Frankly I thought she was the lead. Kate Blanchet had an equal part to Judi Dench. These categories are pretty misleading---she, too, was a marvel to watch.

No comments on any other things since I am not technicaly versed in make-up, cinematography, etc; other than to say that, given its popularity and political correctness, Al Gore's film will win the documentary award. As to animated features---I suppose Happy Feet gets it on a technical basis. But, frankly, nothing has come up to Shrek yet. This one is only 90 minutes and feels like 2 years---every effect but a kitchen sink is thrown in. Cute at first then it becomes tedious---best to stick to March of The Penguins. Real and not cute.

Any comments you have are welcome---and as for me---I will watch bits and pieces===Ellen DeGeneres ---and then read the results in the paper. After all there is other pap on the boob tube.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Some Program Notes--As The Title Says

As the title says---Program Notes. So a few updates and, perhaps, some other thoughts at the end---with some recommendations for activities.

First off let us focus on TRADITIONS for this coming Sunday. Besides re-visiting some people we have not heard in a while---I always am amazed how many programs focus on the newest pieces of material to come their way and all the other things are forgotten. Not to overdo the thought---but the "classics" in any genre should never be neglected.

Our artists are not in the classical area and yet there is no reason in our genre these people should be neglected. I won't mention the names---but they certainly will be heard on TRADITIONS---this week is no exception.

Aside from all that. We are in the period past Mardi Gras and into the Lenten one. You probably know that the symbolic 40 days of Lent are tied to many famous biblical 40 days---floods, treks in the wilderness, days of grace for Ninevah (before it burned). I am sure you know that I have got some music for the occasion. And a few other things I think will capture your interest. If not---oh well, please feel free to yawn---but, as some old-time radio person said---"uh uh don't touch that dial and stay tuned for..." (if you know who that is or for what show let me know). I think it was Fibber McGee--or Blondie.

Moving On: The recommendations for activities. If you are fans of film and radio you do not want to miss going to the Museum of The Moving Image in Long Island City, NY.

I went, recently, to this magnificent museum after a long hiatus--some 10 years.

I can only say that it is better than ever. Besides the great artifacts you will find there---from the earliest cameras and projectors to the latest equipment you will also be treated to classic films (check their schedule ) but in addition a chance to see some classic films with introductions to their creation. Also, being in radio, I appreciated the exhibits--interactive---of sound editing. Though, it has to be said, it was a good demo but not how it is done in a studio.

I would surely recommend this for children. My own grand kids actually passed by the video game parlor ---the evolution of video games ( all free--included in the admission) to see the great exhibits and be able to do some of the following---create an animated Monty Python sequence, dub a voice over into a movie scene, create a TV moment in front of a Green Screen, and more.

I admit it is cheaper to go there for video games than an arcade(think of what a game parlor costs per game)---but there is so much more to interest the wee ones. They get hooked---a true bonus in horizon widening and education.

The area used to be industrial but now has changed completely. How I recall in my years of visiting factories the area--Now-- next door are The Kaufman Studios, site of many movie and TV filmings. COnverted factory buliding as is the museum.

Restaurants abound. Across the street is a most wonderful Italian restaurant---Cafe Paradiso (what else) with wonderful old pictures of film and film stars as decor. A few blocks away is Astoria --home to some great Greek restaurants and a Hungarian place I wished I had visited---ach--ich liebe das und ich kan das nicht haben ---meine Mocca am 2d Ave. is nicht mal.

OK ---I was pretty close---Mocca on 2d Ave. NYC is gone. But--as said---the above really is a cornucopia of delights.

SO==Feed the mind at the museum and the tummy (and soul) at the other places.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Few Thank You Mentions and Some Reminiscences

I really have to send out many thanks to the loyal listeners who have supported this program over the many years it has been on. You know that it was started by Ron Olesko (on the right) (while a student) in 1980. It is now the longest running program on WFDU and, frankly, has evolved into the last program left in this area that still gives you a diverse menu of offerings in the folk area each week.
WFDU, thankfully, still programs "locally". By that I mean there are people here---you can talk to them and you can interact. If you know of any other stations in this or in most areas I would like to hear of them.
As we said today---we try to present a "festival" each week. A diversity. Not all Bluegrass, Blues, C/W ==rather a blend of all that and the traditional and the new folk artists that are emerging. There are many. We have introduced you to Pat Wictor, Johnsmith, Dave Carter/Tracy Grammer, and so many others---Sharon Katz and the Peace Train---the list goes on. Other local stations claim to be local---they wait for a track record from the artists. Well, they get it here on WFDU and many, thankfully, keep their loyalty to this station which is why the greats keep coming back--The Kennedys, Tony Trishka, Mary Gauthier, and so many more.
So--thanks again for your support which supports you as well in keeping your listening habits where they are. I know I hate it when something I look forward to is gone.
As to the reminiscences. One of our pledgers today recalled how had been listening to this program since 1980 and knew all the previous co-hosts and also when the program started. I am flattered that he found that my start---some 13 years ago now---was rather nervous and how it has evolved into something he looks forward to each week. I recalled to him how he sent me a CD of Spanish Civil War songs and how he wrote that he hoped I would share my collection of recordings on the program. Also, how we met many a time at the Clearwater Revival (Great Hudson River Revival) and caught up on things---and programming.
As to that ignominous start. I thank Ron Olesko for letting me warm up for a few weeks in a studio that was not broadcasting. I thank my daughter for coming by with her husband in 1994 for my "debut" and commenting on my nervousness----and now complimenting me on the quality of the program.
In continuing my Oscar acceptance speech---I thank all those little people who made me a big fish in a little pond. WOW!!! Does anyone thing I can get to do the Oscars?
Other listeners have called to say hello and support the program and comment on the depth of feeling they have for this particular show. I--and Ron---both thank you in the most heartfelt way.
Obviously I cannot single everyone out to thank. Many do not want to be acknowledged and I shall honor that. So---heartfelt thanks for your sincere help in keeping something we all want around for much time to come.
Finally---please e mail or make comments here if you have anything you wold like to say about TRADITIONS or if you want to make some late pledges. Email is