Jake Warga takes us on a personal tour through the Holy Land, looking at how the conflict started and what it’s like today between Jerusalem and Bethlehem… between birth and re-birth. (Also a PRX radio story.):
It is with a mixture of sadness and relief I announce the passing of my Grandmother: Alma J. Kelsey (Warga, Smith).
Born in Lincoln, Nebraska on July 4th, 1910, she passed away this weekend, 99 years later.
Alma was the oldest of seven siblings but the last to depart. She is survived by myself and her son Robin.
In 1928, at the age of 17, Alma Smith eloped with Wayne Warga, 19, and headed West for Hollywood to start a new life and a family. The family was harder to come-by for her husband was not medically able: but in 1938 she bore my father, Wayne (Bud), after a secret affair with an LAPD officer. Then in 1949 she met another man to have another child: Robin. She wanted a family so bad and bore the weight of her secrets until she started AA and revealed all.
In the 1970’s she met and married Dick Kelsey, painter and animator. They moved to Leisure Village in Camarillo where her Lilly Garden won village awards year after year. She stayed by Dick through his Alzheimer’s and eventual death.
In 1985 AA became Alma’s new church, where she grew to become a guru in the program. In 1994 we stood together and buried her son, my father, Wayne. It’s around that time Alzheimer’s started pulling her away.
In 2005 NPR aired a story about her (transcript). I invite you to hear Alma in her own voice, “Grandmother: Aging, Decline & Love” (8:16 mp3):
A road trip along historic route 66 in New Mexico, exploring America’s past and present. Tour includes a Santa Fe cooking class, a hot air balloon ride above Albuquerque, Acoma tribal traditions, a mining museum in Grants and a historic hotel in Gallup. Aired on NPR All Things Considered; by producer Jake Warga, “Route 66 Postcard” (8:20 mp3):
Captain Cook gave Norfolk Island its first tourist slogan when he spotted it in 1774: “Jewell of the Pacific”. In 1825 it became “Hell on Earth,” the most feared of England’s penal colonies in Australia, designed as, “a place of the extremist punishment short of death.” Later, it was given to the decedents of the Mutiny on the Bounty to settle. Now, the tourism slogan is: “Norfolk Island… be surprised” — and the island has become completely dependent on tourism.
Guide Jane Mills take us on a night tour inside the walls of Port Arthur, Tasmania’s former convict settlement and notorious 19th century penitentiary, now one of Australia’s top tourist attractions. Aired on PRI The World; by producer Jake Warga, “Ghostly Prison- Tasmania” (2:49 mp3):
The lore of the Yukon used to be the gold, hidden in the rocks. Today, only a few still dig and pan, but others treasures in culture and history still abound. Aired on NPR All Things Considered; by producer Jake Warga, “Exploring The Yukon” (5:26 mp3):
Holiday cheer and holiday weird, a mix of lotsa holiday stories, found-sound, and sprinkling of sampled songs:
A home-recording of a “Christmas Gathering 1947” (4:08 excerpt), on an unlabeled 7″ Wilcox Gay Recordio Disc, was found by Bob Purse. The complete recording is posted at the 365 Days Project, “Christmas Gathering 1947” (6:32 mp3):
Health caretakers, friends, family, workers and volunteers:
“Dialysis” by Joe Frank: A phone call, kidney failure and a friend indeed; followed by a flight of final fancy, from the hour “Goodbye.”
“Three Woman” by host by Dmae Roberts: Three women, a Chicana, African American and Romanian immigrant, describe their different approaches to surviving breast cancer. Produced as part of the “The Breast Cancer Monologues,” with Miae Kim, Anca Micheti, and music by Maria Esteves.
I have acute hearing. I hear voices in passing. Here are a few. Feel free to add your own.
Ritual Coffee Roasters, San Francisco, 6/12/08
“I’d rather own a cat, because when a cat gets sick it just dies…”
Club Cocomo, San Francisco, 7/08 (Boy tries to get girl)
“You’re the hottest smart girl I know…(music)
…I can’t tell you what I do in Iraq.
Since 2004, I’ve gone to twelve funerals…I go to counseling every week…I want to talk about it with you but I can’t.” (Boy does not get girl)
Castro, San Francisco (the Gay neighborhood)
“I LOVE balls of furry!”
“Balls of Fury! it’s hilarious! Christopher Walken, OhMyGod…”
“Oh, the movie, yeah, anything with Christopher Walken IS Hilarious!” (I’ve seen it, it’s not)
Downtown Seattle: Group of gutter-brats (homeless or grungy or drugs or all and tattoos and piercing) gathered on a street corner waiting for signal to change, but not crossing when it does.
“It wouldn’t spread if you’d quit scratching it…next thing you know it will be in your ass.” I hurry and cross.
University Ave, Seattle: Grungy kid is sitting against a bike-rack which he is handcuffed to, surrounded by “friends.” Sitting on sidewalks here is illegal.
“Come on guys, this isn’t funny…well, it is…but it isn’t…Come on…”
Luxor, Egypt, Internet café. April, 2007 (An Egyptian guy, young, is on the internet cafe’s terminal next to mine. Web-cam chating with what looks like an Eastern European woman, young, speaking in seduction-English. I start transcribing the one side I can hear )
“…I want to climb into computer with you.
…nobody can take you away from me…you, with somebody else?…you can dance my grave first, no way. (her lips stutter in the sensual 3 frames per sec) They can’t stop me, if they kill me, I don’t care. I love you more than anything in this life (pixel pixel) what? I wish I had you with me 5yrs ago…why?…I will wait for you. I was 19 too. so it might be different. you are the one I give my life. you have the map inside your brain, inside your heart. can you see my heart from here…sensitive, what I ask for. what will i do if somebody else takes you away from me? if you decide this, I have no other choice. I love you, I need you, there’s nobody who take your place…I believe in you the rest of my life. I don’t care. Can you see me? this is why I did happy days. can you hear me? you no go crazy, shit. no don’t worry, I’m not sick 14hrs a day. I’m just sorry for her, but I can’t take this on ‘cus…what? because I have to go to gym everyday. I need visa in passport, new visa, this means the future for us. believe m she is 15rs old, I’m very happy, she’s a friend, not a woman friend. Nubian. Vacation, famous in a museum…
uh, I don’t think so, no way, even if I went to village tomorrow. we call it wezakarrah. Because she drinks zakari all the time…ok. I just want to kiss you…really, how old is he?..because I am speaking to you…nothing. A man go crazy in a relationship like this…baby…please don’t tell anybody about this sick child…no, I tell my wife soon…but now we have really big room and the teacher leaves soon…several things can happen, she can become my best friend, and I don’t understand, she may leave this, it is not my fault. she’s angry now, pissed off is proper…she is…I promise you if she leave, she won’t be back again, ever…what is going to happen? …I’ll be in jail and die.
I want you. So what do you think…do you agree to be with a crazy man, like me…would like to help you, next year you’re 18 and you’re leaving. I hate the house, I hate the no sleep, I hate it. At night I talk to you and am very happy, you are my life, it’s great. I will never give you up, no matter what you do…can you hear me?…
…can you hear me?” (connection ends)
Yukon 7/08 Whitehorse
“…he was out in the yard eh, just shootin’ at that thing with a BB gun, it was hilarious!”
Forgot to post this when it aired, 1/1/08 on NPR ATC— A travel writer’s upside-down Australian dilemma of drop bears and hoop snakes, swag and snores, knee-clicks and star clusters, by Jake Warga “Hike Australia” (7:50 mp3):
A day-in-the-life of Rabbi Arik Ascherman with Rabbis for Human Rights in Jerusalem. He interacts with Arabs and Jews, and intercedes when he can during Palestinian home demolitions. He looks for common ground amongst the the rubble and rocks, the M-16s and tanks, and the two religions that started as one. (Photos by Jake Warga.)
This week on NPR ATC, HV’s Jake Warga had a story on the recovering mountain gorilla population in Rwanda. Seems the genocide decimated populations of more than just people. “Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda” (8:19 mp3):
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.