radio

What We're Loving: Aural Pleasures, Pleasant Surprises, Overwhelming Choices

Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week David Allison drops science, Jonda Robinson makes a shocking admission, Rachel Hall can hear words, and Ryan Callahan sets a hook for next week. radio dial with lightsWell my name’s rapping David And I’m here to say I like listening to rap music on the radio like e-ver-y day

Oh, didn’t see you there! Sorry about that, I was just trying out the new skills I’ve earned after listening to rap on the radio for the last week and a half. For all you uncool listeners still checking out “rock and snore” music on the other stations, let me tell you about the awesome music of 93.3 and 94.5. What they do is take a fresh beat, lay down an informal poem, and voila, rap music!

Radio stations 93.3 and 94.5 changed their programming on 11/15 to exclusively play hip hop from the nineties, aughts, and today. Obviously hip hop stations have been around forever, but this is the first one that I’ve seen that combines the nostalgic fun of listening to songs from your childhood and rap. I’d highly recommend giving the station a listen.

So next time you’re in a car check out rap music it’ll take you far- away from here back in time to a yesteryear so just to recap my name’s David I like to rap and realize nothing rhymes with David - David Allison

bb9271ceee885807c899b0a98b406f3b[1]I’m about to use a phrase I don’t get to use very often as of late: I really enjoyed the most recent episode of Saturday Night Live. This season has been a little rough, but I faithfully tune in, like a sports fan who knows her team will probably blow the game but watches anyway, hoping to be pleasantly surprised. Well, this past Saturday the team at SNL pulled out a win in my book with their Thanksgiving episode, featuring Cameron Diaz as host and musical guests Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars.

First of all, anytime Lil’ Baby Aidy is on the scene, I know I’m going to enjoy it. She and her girls were back with “Back Home Ballers,” touching on all the perks of coming home for the holidays--having access to a stocked fridge because your mom went to Costco, doing a load of laundry for just one sock, and your mom putting out “bowls, bowls, all type of bowls.” My favorite part is when Aidy has to deal with the neighborhood paparazzi and make small talk with Jean, because her reaction is about the same as mine in that situation.

Another highlight for me was the “High School Theater Show,” and I can’t even really explain why. Maybe it was the fact that it reminded me of the seriousness with which I took not-so-serious things in high school. Maybe it was the biting commentary on the death of Main Street, censorship, and our addiction to social media. Or maybe, just maybe, it was all those boxes. Either way, it made me laugh, and I enjoyed seeing so many members of the cast on stage together.

I enjoyed a lot of other parts of the show as well--the "School House Rock" cold open, Kate Mckinnon’s Angela Merkel on Weekend Update, Kenan’s poetry interpretation of Friends, the Night Murmurs ladies, and the always entertaining Bruno Mars. If you haven’t been checking out SNL lately, I’d recommend you give this one a chance. - Jonda Robinson

Innovo_Audio[1]Growing up I was always very voracious reader. Getting me to read was never an issue for my parents. I always read above my reading level, and by the time I was in seventh grade I had already Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. Twice. Not to brag (even though I totally am) but I was incredibly smart. My parents never forced me to read so I’m not sure what fueled my adolescent love of hard books and libraries but I think I’ve narrowed it down to two extremely important moments in my life.

1) Watching I Love Lucy for the very time as a kid. The very first episode of Lucy I ever saw was “Lucy thinks Ricky is trying to murder her.” In this episode, Lucy is captivated by the murderous novel she is currently reading. She gets so caught up in the book that her reality becomes distorted causing her to believe that Ricky is trying to kill her. Being that into a piece of literature, minus the part where you think your husband is going to kill you, is pretty awesome. If you haven't seen this episode immediately drop what you're doing and do so; or stop being my friend.

2) I really wanted to be a lawyer. Again, I have no clue why but it even at the tender age of four I knew being a backup dancer for MC Hammer probably wasn't going to happen.

Unfortunately around the time I became a teenager, joined the band, discovered Saturday Night Live, and realized that the no one would ever love me the way the Backstreet Boys would, reading fell by the wayside. In fact, if someone told to read a cool article in whatever girl magazine was popular in the late 90s or early 2000s , I would proudly proclaim I didn't know how to read. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read a few since then but it’s definitely not something I make a habit of. I am not proud this at all. I’ve admired those with bookshelves full of worn books due to the amount of times their owner has read them. My bookshelves are just full of DVDs, vinyl records, and textbooks from school. Not cool.

This would have remained true if it wasn't for a very late, but oh so on time, discovery. Books on tape. Where have they been all my life? For the record, I know audio books have been around for quite some time; I just never paid it any attention. Books on tape have shown themselves to be the greatest invention since the scrunchie. Yes, I believe the scrunchie is up there with wheel, fire, and the stoplight. If you’re a girl/boy who has long hair, has ever had long hair, or a man with daughters, you will agree with me. Books on tape are the equivalent to that strange piece of advice you get from an uncle but always brushed off until something big happens and you realize he was right.

Who came up with this beautiful idea? Does he or she have a Pulitzer or whatever other great literature awards there are yet? They should. It is because of this super hero of knowledge that I have “read” the most amount of the books ever. Literally, I feel like I have listened/read so many books right now that I could successfully take down Ken Jennings in double Jeopardy. Three-to-five collective hours of listening to someone read to you throughout your drive to work, getting ready for the day, or preparing for sleep and you’re done. This is amazing. Never again do you have to worry about having the proper lighting or your eyes getting tired. Audio books are the answer. Now all I have to do is buy the actual book to place on my bookshelf. That way I’ll have a visual representation of how learned I am. - Rachel Hall

100bullets[1]Choosing only one thing to love this week is simply beyond my abilities. There are too many entertainments pulling at my heart. The penultimate episode of Sons of Anarchy was so good that I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat. Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice beguiles me with its flaky charm and barrage of jokes,. The comic book adaptation of Frank Miller's Robocop 2 screenplay has kept me company on a few cold New England nights. A visit back home for Thanksgiving rekindled a passion for Azzarello and Risso's 100 Bullets and led me to their other works, like Spaceman and Jonny Double. To praise one would be to slight the others.

December also brings the annual tradition of best of lists. Also know as "Hey, Ryan, here's a bunch of stuff to buy. Immediately. Why are you waiting?" These lists often serve to remind me of all the great things I've read and watched this year, while simultaneously shaming me for not having watched or read everything that someone might be considered good. You know, in case someone mentions a book or movie at a party and they ask what I thought of it, and I have to say I don't know of it, like a idiot. I live my life to avoid moments like that. Not-knowing is the worst. I can only assume you live the same way. That's why, starting next week, and for the rest of the year, What We're Loving will take a look back at 2014. Hopefully we cover all the bases of goodness so you won't be left feeling like an idiot on New Year's Eve because you never heard of Elect H. Mouse  State Judge. - Ryan Callahan

 

What We're Loving: Long Descriptions, Short Descriptions, Pre-Teen Interests, Teen Interests, Our Lying Brains

Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week David Allison shares his inspirations, Jonda Robinson rules middle school, Sarah Wyatt is mesmerized, Amanda Hahn reignites her passion, and Ryan Callahan plows ahead.  P1-AT967_RADIO_F_20100224175520Terry Catlett and myself have been hard at work for a while trying to figure out what sort of written show we wanted to bring to the DCH stage. This week, we’ll finally be putting up the fruit of that labor with the show David and Terry: Portrait of a Crime. It’s a radio play, complete with live sound effects provided by Colten Winburn and Daniel Matthews. In honor of that upcoming show, I wanted to share a couple of clips that inspired the production.

The first idea for the show came about when I randomly heard WC Fields’ “The Day I Drank a Glass of Water” and played it for Terry. It’s super dumb and terrible, but you can check out the ten minute piece here. Favorite part would be the long, drawn out description when he finally goes to take a drink. The sheer absurdity of how they over explain it really spoke to us. After listening to this, and similar radio plays, we realized the sort of show that we wanted to do.

Our primary inspiration for the style of humor would be everything The Smothers Brothers did. If you’re not familiar with them, The Smothers Brothers were a comic singing duo that hosted a variety show in the 1960s. They created these happy, upbeat, clean, folk songs that still hold up today (Especially if you liked my piece on A Mighty Wind.). I love the dynamic between the straight and absurd players, something that is especially evident in “Boil That Cabbage Down.” Check it out here.

So if either of those billion year old clips, or my normal shows with Terry, are to your liking, we’d love to have you join us on 8/31 at 8:30 as we debut the radio play! - David Allison

Middle SchoolIt’s been a big week for students, parents, and teachers around these parts, as school started back this past Monday. Because of this, the thing I’m loving this week is hanging out with middle school kids. No, it’s not a creepy thing--I’m a “highly qualified” teacher by Texas standards, so it’s not only something I enjoy, but it’s something I get paid to do.

The first week is filled with lots of emotion. Crying, complaining, wondering if you’ll make any friends--and it’s pretty rough on the students, too. I teach both 6th grade and 8th grade, so I get to see both sides of the spectrum, all the way from the eleven-year-old on the verge of tears because she can’t get her locker open to the smooth 8th grader who has gotten as good at this middle school game as he did at [insert title of popular video game all the kids are playing these days]  over the summer. I’m only three days in, and I’ve already had had one sixth grader ask me if she could read Milton’s Paradise Lost, another tell me that when he grows up he wants to be “a problem, so people throw money at me,” and a group of 8th graders who have declared an “anti-spork” movement in our classroom, proclaiming the superiority of the spoon and hoping to get #antispork2014 trending.

If you get ever get the chance to hang out, work with, or mentor some middle school students, go for it. It will open up the door for some memorable conversations, you’ll get to make a (hopefully) positive impact, and you’ll also be reminded that even on your worst day, you can be thankful for the fact that you never have to be that awkward thirteen-year-old version of yourself again. - Jonda Robinson

nicki-anaconda-previewOh. If I could sum up Nicki Minaj’s music video for her latest single, “Anaconda”, in one word, it would be “Oh”. It’s a non-stop barrage of ass, sex, glistening skin, and Sir Mix-a-lot doing more work than Miss Minaj. And I kind of love it.

I thought I’d check it out while I was writing, foolishly thinking that it would just be background chatter. I was mesmerized from the first image. Oh. “What is this?? No! Why can’t I turn away??” It’s so much writhing, so much skin, so much Nicki. I mean, there’s no way everyone on set didn’t see her sorganz (my new slang for sex organs, try it out) well enough for a police sketch artist to use in court.

There’s such a build up in this video to her actually dancing but she never really does. Her back up dancers kill some moves while she pats their asses and twerks a little on a chair. Oh. There’s a section of the video that consists of cuts between her suggestively eating a banana and spraying herself with whipped cream and lots and lots of butt.

I’m not feeling it. But I could hear the sound of thousands of young boys closing their bedroom doors while I was watching it. And if that wasn’t enough, the bridge (???) is a scene of Nicki giving Drake a lap dance so good it seems to be a religious experience. I think we sometimes forget that he started as an actor because that lap dance looked weak as hell to me. This whole thing probably sounds like I hated the video. I did. I love that I hate it. I hate that I love it. I love it. Oh. - Sarah Wyatt

pomerantzThe new school year started up again this week. That doesn’t make much of a difference for grad students since our schooling is year round, but this marks the beginning of my third year in grad school, with about two or three more to go. This summer, for the first time since I started doing research almost 5 years ago, I started getting bored with what I do. I cared a little less about my ongoing studies and results. I spent less time playing with my data (usually a favorite hobby of mine). I stopped reading the RSS feeds of science journals I follow. I just wanted to lay in the sunshine all day and do comedy all night. I needed a kick in the pants. You guys. I got it. I got my kick in the form of this video by Dr. James Pomerantz.

Even if you’re not interested in neuroscience, I highly recommend watching it. Dr. Pomerantz was the PI of the lab I volunteered in after college, and he always demonstrated an amazing ability to explain such a vast array of different topics so simply, clearly, and interestingly. In this 8 minute long video taken at colloquia at Rice University, he does just that. He describes how we perceive, and essentially recreate, the world around us. As Dr. Pomerantz puts it, “when our neurons and the external world disagree with one another, the neurons win every time as for as our experience is concerned. We are all prisoners of our neural architecture.”

That applies to everything we experience. If you have vertigo and your neurons are firing in a way that says the world is spinning, then to you, the world is spinning. If you’re depressed, it doesn’t matter how many people tell you cheer up and that they love you. You’re going to be depressed until your body corrects itself or you seek help. Knowing why our brains don’t always mirror reality can help inform solutions. It can change lives. In the meantime, it’s just really, really cool to learn about. To all of you who are going back to school too: let’s learn the crap out of this weird little world we live in, shall we? Bring it on, year three. - Amanda Hahn

urlOver the past few weeks I have been working my way through the novels, stories, and other writings of Raymond Chandler. Okay, I haven’t read any of the stories yet, or the other writings, but I have finished the first two novels, The Big Sleep and Farewell, My Lovely.

Both of these novels, in fact all of Chandler’s novels, star world-weary, hard-boiled, heavy-drinking, quip-ready private detective Phillip Marlowe. Chandler writes in the first person, allowing the reader to see the people and places of pre-war Los Angeles through Marlowe’s point of view, alternately sardonic and empathetic.

It is this point of view that makes the books great. The plots are nothing special; they’re often needlessly complicated. The mysteries are either incredibly obvious or impossible to sort out. It is the words, the tone, those descriptions – "She was thinking. I could see, even on that short acquaintance, that thinking was always going to be a bother to her.” “Neither of the two people in the room paid any attention to the way I came in, although only one of them was dead.” – which will keep you turning the pages.

I enjoyed Farewell, My Lovely more than The Big Sleep, likely due with my familiarity with the plot of the latter thanks to the Humphrey Bogart film version. Farewell, My Lovely also benefits from a virtuoso chapter in which Marlowe wakes up in a locked room, having been drugged, and struggles to regain his senses. It’s a terrifying flirtation with madness, made all the more effective by how grounded the character is the rest of the time.

My adventure through the Chandler bibliography shall continue. There are only dozens of stories and four more novels to go. After that, I can rest easy. Until I move on to the complete works of Ross MacDonald. - Ryan Callahan