Field recordings in the Annapurna region of Nepal near Tibet, including a ceremony for the Buddha’s birthday, a few donkey trains passing in a cacophony of melodious bells; and a five-foot prayer wheel in a Buddhist gompa in Marpha.
From NPR Radio Expeditions, hidden deep in the woods of the Payette National Forest are the terraced remnants of the “Ah Toy Garden” (near the town of Warren, Idaho), now on the National Register of Historic Places. Produced by Carolyn Jensen Chadwick with sound desgin by Michael Scweppe.
When most people are headed to the beach, our producer heads for the ski slopes near his home in Utah. The goal is to find a combination of freezing and thawing in the late spring that gives the mountain snow pack the singular spring skiing experience(on PRX | on NPR).
Attempting to climb the world’s most deadly and second highest demands extreme gear, training, timing, preparation, and a carefully selected team. Joe Frank eschews every bit of that: why make so easy? Excepted from Joe’s hour, Mountain Rain, available on CD and as an MP3. Music: “Buried At Sea” MC 900 Ft Jesus, One Step Ahead of the Spider.
3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38 thousand miles, an exploding volcano, 2 cameras and almost a terabyte of footage… all to turn 3 ambitious linear concepts based on movement, learning and food ….into 3 beautiful and hopefully compelling short films…..
= a trip of a lifetime.
move, eat, learn
Rick Mereki:: Director, producer, additional camera and editing
Tim White : DOP, producer, primary editing, sound
Andrew Lees : Actor, mover, groover
Commissioned by STA Travel Australia
Music:” “Play On” composed & performed by Kelsey James (myspace | iTunes)
Part 1: A bike trip through Yellowstone and Teton National Parks, into windstorms, between snowbanks, and in the middle of a bison herd. Interviewees: Rick McAdam, Yellowstone Park Ranger; Geyser Gazers at Old Failthful; Kathy Urbigkit of Spin a Yarn, Dubois WY; Wolves in West Yellowstone MT.
Part 2: Finishing seven hundred miles of miking and mic-ing in Wyoming, riding north on the east side of Yellowstone,. encounting killers, hunters, special forces, and trips to Heaven. Interviewees: Dan Herring, Herring & Sons Taxidermy, Thermopolis WY; Special Forces members Buck Wilkerson (US Army retired) and David Owens (Tech Sergeant, US Air Force) at Honor Our Special Operations Forces Weekend, Memorial Day, Cody WY; Pastor William Hardrick, Kingdom of Heaven Embassy visiting his kids in Riverton WY (photo gallery).
The paving of America as seen from the shoulders and sidewalks of our country’s roads. Musings-in-motion recorded during a 5000 trek from Arizona to Georgia to Maine. “It is becoming illegal to travel this country by foot.” Music by Jeff Arntsen. (A longer version of this story is at Third Coast International Audio Festival.)
Bhutan is a land of prayer flags, Buddhism, and, like everywhere else: poverty, poor health, and domestic violence, Queen Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuk believes her job is to increase the Gross National Happiness. To do that she treks into the most remote corners of the country, meeting people she’d otherwise never see, asking about their lives, helping them with health care issues, and working to end mistreatment of woman. Outer Voices accompanied her into an unmapped corner of the high Himalayas — they are the first foreign journalists invited to accompany a Bhutanese monarch on a trek, and to interview the Queen.
The Queen Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck (photo by Jack Chance)
Special thanks to Her Majesty Queen Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuk, the staff and clients of RENEW Bhutan, Tshering Uden Penjor, Françoise Pommaret, Ariana Maki, the Royal Body Guard and the Royal Bhutan Army, the Zulikha Nunnery, Hotel Zhi Waling, and the people of Daifam, Zamtari, and Shinka Lauri villages.
RENEW = Respect Educate, Nurture and Empower Women, “an organization dedicated to the empowerment of vulnerable women of our society so that they can emerge as socially and economically independent members of their communities.”
Offbeat retreats and obscure tours thru the heart of Americana:
“Losing It at Universal Studios” (4:37) Mark Allen
Temporarily insanity during a tour of Universal Studios in southern California. So many cool things to see, to do, to tour. The writer is overwhelmed by the magnificence of it all, and pretty much loses his mind. Based an Mark Allen’s web essay “I Suffered Stendhal Syndrome At Universal Studios Hollywood!.”
Boonville is a small community in Northwest California, founded in 1862, a few hundred feet in elevation, with few hundred residents. And… the town has it’s own language, Boontling. We go sharkin’ and harpin’ thru Boonville with Charles C. Adams, author of Boontling: An American Lingo.
“David Lynch goes into clean neighborhoods and finds the germs and bugs beneath; I go into dirty neighborhoods and find the life.” That’s how filmmaker Tony Buba describes his twelve documentaries about his hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania. Buba is the son of Italian immigrants, part of the wave of Europeans who came to America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to work in the steel mills of Braddock and other towns around Pittsburgh. Now the steel industry is almost dead, and Braddock is the prototypical post-industrial “‘rust belt” town, a town where a person either lives by his or her wits or lives in poverty. Buba tours through the streets of Braddock, past the old Croatian and Slovak social clubs and through streets, now empty, that once bristled with activity.
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)
This time alone living in the luxury of Martha’s house has helped me relax enough to see myself and my circumstances a little more clearly.
I’m sick of Mexico. Sick of living in fear, of poverty, of the (mostly) assholes I know there and most of all sick of loneliness.
So tonight I’ve decided to head out into the night with my digital recorder and start doing a story on loneliness. You know, loneliness is probably the hardest thing to admit and for sure the hardest thing to bear.
I was inspired last weekend by a singer songwriter named Steve, who is sadly, dead.
#1 Bar Noise at a place called Buttons.
So here I am again alone in a bar waiting for this Dave Millsap to come on stage and sing the songs of Steve Bruton whose life was loosely depicted in Crazy Heart, the movie with Jeff Bridges.
I actually cried when I saw his beat up old truck drive down one of these breath-taking New Mexico highways because God Damn It that’s me driving up from the Matehuala Desert towards Saltillo, Coahuila in my beat-up Jeep and whatever it is that’s sent me down those lonely Mexican and New Mexican roads, I’m pretty sure it has something to do with movies like this.
The difference is that I’m a woman and don’t play the guitar or paint or anything except live and write about being alienated and sad and, yes, lonely. More…
Just imagine, if you can being an old (and you know I don’t feel all that old) woman with less than a hundred dollars to her name driving north on Hwy 57 between San Luis Potosi and Matehuala as the sun goes down.
A motel costs 400 pesos. So does a tank of gas.
Children stand by the side of the road holding out live rattle snakes for sale or a wild eagle dangled by its feet.
It’s getting dark.
The empty light comes on the dash board. There are no gas stations anywhere.
Food is out of the question till you get to the border; and when you do get there it’ll be another six hours to your friend’s house where you can sleep for a couple of nights.
I thought—in that hazy hopeful time right after graduation and before my foolish marriage that I could be a bohemian, a colorful avant-garde part of the late 1960s and then (I’m not sure when I thought it would actually be) I expected to have a house, go to graduate school and eventually teach at some small liberal arts college somewhere.
I guess I got a lot of these notions from biographies and magazine articles that fell into my hands from my mother’s casual (and probably mundane) choice of reading material.
She herself had fancied a similar life and she too found the shock of turning middle aged without it too much to bear.
Chief Mountain Hotshots, Nicole Meeso and Aldon Wells, Powell Campground ID — Getting ready for a day’s work in the Clearwater Forest with the Blackfeet wildland firefighters, known as some of the best in the world.
Sister Carol Ann and the Bendictine Sisters, St. Gertrude Monastery, Cottonwood ID — Land stewardship is a matter of faith in these sisters’ rural Catholic perspective. We walk thru the woods of the monastery; 800 acres which the sisters have had to learn how to manage.
Lois & Betty, Patterson Restaurant, Patterson WA — Sipping coffee and surveying farm life from the breakfast tables of a small town cafe.
Louis Butler and family, Walla Walla River WA — Four Generations Fishing: A retiree from Hanford Nuclear Reservation goes catfishing with his daughter, grand-daughter and great-grandsons.
Ken Karzmiski, Archeologist, Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, The Dalles WA — Looking for lost Lewis & Clark legacy, and the artifacts and languages of native cultures drowned by the Columbia River dams.
USCG Duty Surfman Kyle Betts, now Chief Boatswain’s Mate and Executive Petty Officer, Cape Disappointment U.S. Coast Guard Station WA — The USCG Search and Rescue team pulls boats and people out of treacherous West coast waters along the Columbia River bar, where the river meets the ocean: “the graveyard of the Pacific.”
An earlier pedal over the same route, from the Rocky Mountains, down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean, interviewing whoever crosses our path: wind surfers, church organists, forest service employees, and “we’ve been talking to as many loggers as we can, to try and find out if they don’t see bicyclists, or they just hate us.”
The first movement in From the Journals of Lewis and Clark, a symphonic work for orchestra and choir based on the expedition’s journals. Montana’s Great Falls Symphony commissioned University of Idaho music professor Dan Bukvitch as the composer. The text is President Jeffersons’s instructions to Captain Lewis in 1803.
Biking & Mic-ing the Modern Lewis & Clark Trail; part one of two, up the Missouri River into the Rocky Mountains. Barrett Golding and Josef Verbanac, a radio producer and an English professor, a Jew and a Souix, bicycle from Missouri to Montana, enduring floods, war, worms, mud, and myriad Lewis & Clark festivals:
Prep: Cross-country preparations, then and now, from Penis syringes and Indian presents, to AAA and GPS. “Your observations are to be taken with great pains and accuracy, for others as well as yourself” –Jefferson’s Instructions to Lewis, 1803.
Flood: Missouri floodwaterss, a frog symphony, a million worms, bowfishing a beanfield, and in Marthasville MI little league it’s Lemke Trenching and Excavating vs. Miller Funeral Homes. Don Sherman, a retired Chrysler worker, who now volunteers his time taking care of the city park in the flood-prone landmark rural town — which, in Lewis & Clark’s time, was the last outpost of white society. And we go bow-fishing for in a bean field.
Rendezvous: Biking and mic-ing the Missouri River. Captain Lewis’ Aria, surveyor-stalking cougars, black powder bursts, cave wall Manitous, and Edens lost. Explorers express emotions and the Expedition breaks into song, in “Corps of Discovery: An Opera in Three Acts” produced by music professor Eric Dillner and the University of Missouri’s Show-Me Opera. Geographer James Harlan maps the Two Missouris, the Missouri Territory now and two centuries ago, using an 1815 Land Office survey and Clark’s field-notes. James Denny, Historic Interpreter, for Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources, points out where pictografs on a cliff were a landmark of the Lower Missouri, until the railroad blew ’em up; we tour through the tunnel of the ex-Manitous.
Wars: No Home on the Range, Chief Joseph’s Race Track, and Brothers Buddha and Brahma. Farrell Adkins, Campground Host at Arrow Rock MO sings the little known second verse of “Home on the Range.” Matt Nowak, Natural Resources Director at Fort Leavenworth Army Base KA describes this places part in the death and desctrution of the Nez Perce people.
Indian County: Daily pow-wows, casino economies, and Lewis’ birthday gloom. Neil Phillips, Penobscot tribal member and former canoe racer paddles from Maine to Montana, experiencing life on the river, a little-seen view of America. Joe Verbancec Sr. tours us thru the Standing Rock reservation.
The Strenuous Life: Bruce Kaye, Chief Naturalist at Theodore Roosevelt National Park recounts Teddy Roosevelt’s time in North Dakota. His ideas about conservation developed in the badlands, then get expressed in the acts of the President of the United States and the start of the National Park system.
Re-enaction: At Coal Banks Landing, on Missouri River “Breaks” in Montana, we encounters the re-reactors, traveling up-river using the boats, clothes, food, guns and knifes of the Lewis & Clark era.
Camp: Lewis and Clark made 600 campsites on their expedition from St. Louis to the Pacific and back. So far, the exact location of only one has been identified. For 13 years, archaeologist Ken Karsmizki has been digging at Lower Portage camp of the Great Falls, on the Missouri River in Central Montana, and finding fire pits, butchered bones, wooden stakes and other artifacts, all dating to Lewis and Clark’s time.
Orchestration: “From the Journals of Lewis and Clark” is a symphonic work for orchestra and choir based on the expedition’s journals. Montana’s Great Falls Symphony commissioned University of Idaho music professor Daniel Bukvich as the composer, whose job was to make Art imitate History.
TAL crossed the 400th episode line with an hour of “Stories Pitched by Our Parents.” Among them was one Nancy Updike did with her dad about the Erie Canal, featuring this addictive original ditty she co-writ w/ musician Dave Hill:
The best traveling is time traveling. We (journalists and planners) awoke this morning in the early 1900’s. A potbelly stove strove to warm the dusty, drafty, and mostly forgotten ranch house built from 1903-1905. The house itself woke to find squatters in sleeping pods in every room and hallway. This ranch house is now used only once a year for a month of skiing. Skiing? I looked at Frederico Siha, the 67 year old man who owns the property and has lived here for over 50yrs. He didn’t strike me as a skier. Apparently the word for skiing and sheering (of sheep) is very close, my translator corrected with a smile. Senior Siha has three children, all living in the city, none with any interest in continuing the farm tradition, “You have to keep going till you can’t,” he tells me. Further, he’s sure they’ll just sell the land when the time comes. But before then, he wants to travel to Europe, a place he’s never been. When pressed for specifics he smiles and says, “Anywhere in Europe.” More…
[“Iraq: Christmas 2009“: observations, images and sounds from Iraq, Christmas 2009, a series of posts by Jake Warga.]
Oh the things I’ve seen.
I shall never complain about long lay-overs again.
I have flown in a C-17 transport.
I shall never complain again of uncomfortable seats again.
I have ridden in the belly of a Stryker.
What do you get when you stick a public radio guy with a Fox TV crew in the back of a Black Hawk for a multiple re-fuel hop up to Northern Iraq?
A bumpy ride.
I saw an injured dove in Baghdad trying to be nursed back to health on a blast wall away from cats. It had a saucer of water and feed, don’t know who put it there. I saw a dead dove come evening.
I got a serious cold sleeping in a 20-man tent during a thunder storm, closest I’ve come to being attacked.
I have yet to meet someone who wants to be here. I have met some wonderful people.
For lunch the other day I had crab legs, the desert bar is endless, burger king is everywhere. Where else in Arabia can I eat bacon and watch Fox TV on flat screens throughout a mess hall?
Ugandans hired by KBR guard entrances to buildings on bases, the Peruvians have the evening shift. They look at my passport, I don’t think they know what they’re looking for.
A papier-mâché Mount Rushmore and Statue of Liberty are in the DFAC (Dining FACility). Pakistanis do the dishes. You’re not allowed to bring bags into facilities or wear a hat, but you are required to have a weapon. I am unarmed. I know now the difference between an M16 rifle and an M4 Carbine. Both are 5.56 Caliber, I don’t know what that means but I was given a pamphlet.
The military is run by acronyms. I’m staying in an LSA (Life Support Area).
It’s almost encouraged to have a bad hair cut, in this I feel at home.
I go next to JCC in Tikrit with PSD (Joint Coordination Center…Personal Security Detail), I feel important, I may be a fool. I spend Christmas Embedded with the Chaplin…why not. Here’s what soldiers want for Christmas (4:07):
Black hawk gunner
Dust goes to one lung, trash burns go to the other.
Met a soldier young enough to be my daughter, I become a grandfather when she tells me about her 5yo back home. Everyone dresses the same, it’s confusing, uniformity, conformity, camouflaged in green in a land where there is only brown.
With love from the war on terror. Pictures at Flickr.
From Trent Harris’ video travel webisode series Fling A Ding series:
FLINGADING #8: You step, you die
As a child soldier in Cambodia’s notorious Khmer Rouge army Aki Ra laid many landmines. He now clears these deadly bombs with a stick and a pocketknife, more than 10,000 to date. It is very dangerous. No one pays him to do it. Aki is the real deal.