Hitchhiking was once common, These days it’s aquired an aura of danger and desperation. Who wants to take the risk — especially after all those gruesome stories about rapists and serial killers? But occasionally you can still spot some guy stranded on the side of a road, sign out, thumb up, hoping that your car will be his salvation. Is he dangerous? Insane? Or just plain dirty? Maybe we should stop and find out. (PRX)
Protest may be new to some parts of the world, but in America, complaining about the government is a national pastime. We hear protest music and mashups; we go to protest marches, from Vietnam War era actions on the National Mall, to modern-day Tea Parties and Town Halls:
“Town Halls 2009” (2:05) Barrett Golding
Protest used to be mainly for the young and left-leaning, but recently older right-wingers have joined the party — the Tea Party. When Congressmen went home in 2009, this is what they heard from constituents. Music: Jeff Arntsen, mix: Robin Wise, audio: excerpted from YouTube videos.
The popular Burmese rock band Iron Cross is using music to challenge the nation’s infamously repressive regime. In the great tradition of rock and roll, Iron Cross is taking on Burma’s military government with song.
Recordings, remembrances, poetry, and PTSD from some of those who fought America’s longest war:
The sounds of Saigon, 1972: in combat, on the radio, in the streets, were recorded by Claude Johner for the Folkways recording Good Morning, Vietnam (liner notes 4M pdf).
Doug Peacock, former Green Beret medic, deals with the PTSD of vets, including himself (interviewed by Scott Carrier). Peacock wrote the book Walking It Off: A Veteran’s Chronicle of War And Wilderness.
Rich Kepler’s war experiences were bottled up and about to burst, until he released them in his poetry (producer: Larry Massett).
An oral history of African-American Vietnam vets, based on the book Bloods: Black Veterans of the Vietnam War: An Oral History by Wallace Terry; produced for radio by Katie Davis.
Mormons believe Native Americans are descendants of the ancient House of Israel. It’s a Mormon mission to bring them back to the Kingdom of God. So they brought children, mostly Navajo, from their reservation homes, and placed them in Mormon foster families across the West. From 1954 to 1996, more than 20,000 kids went through the Indian Student Placement Program. Producer Kate Davidson spent a year interviewing people about their experiences. Her story, edited by Deb George, ran on the Worlds of Difference series from Homeland Productions.
“Take the road toward the top secret army base. Go past Muskrat Spring until you get near Salt Mountain.” A statue of a Hawaiian chief overlooks the Utah desert, with a plaque reading: “Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono. Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono,” the motto of the kingdom of Hawaii: “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.” A tale of two states, lost tribes, and the Polynesians of Skull Valley who named their town, Iosepa, after Joseph Smith III.
A classical composition, in three parts, for strings, winds, and an interview with Tom Martinet, who trained to be a priest, but, instead, started working Nevada dice tables. Premiered 1997 in Vegas, performed by Sierra Wind Quintet. Re-released on PKB’s 2006 Larkin Gifford’s Harmonica.
“Poker at the Ox” (9:54) Alex Chadwick
An NPR hosts pits his wits against the regulars at a downtown small-town casino. Guess who wins. Produced by Carolyn Jensen; sound engineer by Michael Schweppe.
“Old Gambler” (7:07) Joe Frank
An excerpt from Joe’s hour “Zen” in his series The Other Side. What happened in Vegas… definitely didn’t stay in Vegas. Getting on the wrong side of Sin City’s collection crew.
“Bass Keno” (8:18)
Jazz bassist Kelly Roberti (David Murray Quintet) lost his bass to the keno machines. He kicked the habit; the scars remain, but the bass is back. Kelly was a 2010 Governor’s Arts Awards winner.
“Lock It Up” (5:56) John Ridley
A radio drama written for Ridley’s 2001 LA Series on NPR Morning Edition. Performers are Bob Wisdom, Yang Chee, and Jim Wallace (script).
Above photo of the Las Vegas sign by Kcferret, June 2005.
Interviews from the Elvis archives, and new ones with Gordon Stoker of The Jordanaires (Elvis’ backup singers) and Elvis friends (aka, Memphis Mafia) Jerry Schilling and Patty Parry. Produced by Paul Chuffo and Joshua Jackson of Joyride Media, for the Sony Elvis 75 project, which has more music and interviews. Also check Joyride’s other Elvis hours: The Early Years, In Memphis, and He Touched Me- Elvis Gospel Music.
Chuck Denault is a Police Officer for the small town of Kittery, Maine. He has two passions;: Serving the community he lives in and being the best possible Elvis Impersonator he can be. In April of 2003 the producer went for a squad car ride-along for some behind the scenes aspects of law enforcement and Elvis.
Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson publicly debates FOX News host Sean Hannity. The spectacle took place inside a chasm called Us versus Them. Produced in 2007 for This American Life; music: Rickie Lee Jones, “Nobody Knows My Name” from Sermon On Exposition Boulevard.
Leo Grillo locates lost pets in Los Angeles. He cares for animals, thousands of them. Today, his organization, D.E.L.T.A Rescue (Dedication and Everlasting Love to Animals), is the world’s largest animal rescue shelter.
A mid-90s visit to Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Everyone knows this one of the places where the government developed the first atom bomb during World War II. But our host was interested in Chaos Theory, an elaborate mathematical description of turbulent systems like the weather, and possibly the stock market, and who knows what all else. Chaos Theory was all the rage in Los Alamos then. Along with the theory, it turned out there was also real chaos in Los Alamos. It was slinking up and down the streets late at night in the form of a feral dog. Produced for the radio series SoundPrint.
Writer Charles Bowden reports from the US-Mexico border about the drug wars, the poverty, and the environment. His writing is harsh but unflinchingly accurate. Host Scott Carrier portrays Bowden in the words of the people he has written about.
Hannibal, Missouri, birthplace of Mark Twain; a day on a tugboat; St. Louis showboats; and changing the course of mighty rivers. We spend the whole hour on this 1984 downstream trip through the history and mystery of the Big Muddy, with Larry Massett and Scott Carrier.
Radio stories about radio, then stories about radio stories:
“Dueling XMTRs! #3: VOIRI vs. the World” (2003 / 1:01 excerpt) ShortWaveMusic
These “Dueling Transmitters” are an atmospheric found-sound un-manipulated mix of Spanish ham-radio operators, slow Morse code, data squalls, and the Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran. From the Shortwavemusic blog post “The Effects of Radiation.”
An FM radio station in Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, is called Urbana. It’s hip, bilingual, plays music from all over the world, and is famous in Uruguay for its 30-second sound portraits featuring the voices of famous people mixed over avante-garde music.
Four years of reports on life in the Mexican border-town of Ciudad Juárez, with poverty and corruption, with daily drug-cartel murders and military violence. Told by photographer/Juarez resident Julián Cardona, author Charles Bowden, and host Scott Carrier.
In 1984 people told producer about their dogs and their dog’s dreams, produced with Christina Eggloff for their series Animals and Other Stories, with funds from the New York State Council for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Howard Dully traces the reasons and repercusssions of his transorbital or “ice pick” lobotomy, a radical new procedure in the treatment of mental illness in this country, pioneered and performed by psychiatrist Walter J. Freeman.
Produced by Dave Isay and Piya Kochhar, with help from Larry Blood, Eliza Bettinger, Brett Myers, Jessica Tickten, Anna Goldman, Maisie Tivnan, Colin Murphy and Jonah Engle Narratored by Howard Dully; edited by Gary Covino. Jack El-Hai was project advisor. Special thanks to: Barbara Dully, Andrew Goldberg, Christine Johnson, Lyle Slovick & David Anderson at the GWU Gelman Library archives. Funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
NPR Alex Chadwick invites America to share their stories of Flexible Flyers and downhill runs in a cross-USA audio Sledding Party, produced by Katie Davis. (Music: “Come to the Meadow” Roger Kellaway Cello Quartet (1974).)
Seven skiers go into the back-country, only six return; the story from the perspective of the survivors: Dave Carter, Dwight Butler, Alan Murphy, Chris Larson, and Larry Olson; in memory of Greg McIntyre.
A training day in the life of three women at the U.S. High Altitude Sports Center in Butte, Montana; with skaters Chantelle Bailey, Tara Laslo, and Mary Doctor, and trainers Michael Crowe and Susan Sandvig.
“Vatnajökull” (excerpts /2003) Chris Watson
And the sounds of Iceland’s largest glacier, captured by field-recordist Chris Watson, on his CD Weather Report(Touch Music).
Watson’s Vatnajökull sounds were also used in this Sigur Rós film, “Heima” (trailer):
Chosen for the caliber and impact of their work, these exceptional artists embody our nation’s vast cultural, ethnic, and geographic diversity. Each was awarded an unrestricted grant of $50,000 in recognition of their outstanding creative contributions.
A Scott Carrier (2006) article in Mother Jones, “Rock the Junta; In Burma, a band of heavy metal Christians speaks of liberty between the lines”:
Burma is a forgotten country. You might have a hard time finding it on a map, and it may not even be called Burma on the map you’re looking at. It might be called Myanmar, as that’s the official name for it now. It’s an extremely fucked-up place, the size of Texas, located between Thailand and India, south of China. For the past 44 years, it’s been cut off from the rest of the world by a junta of xenophobic and superstitious generals calling themselves the State Peace and Development Council. Others call them mendacious assholes and hungry ghosts.