Audio from a film. Watch it here: https://vimeo.com/292243431
Features new music from John Barner. Stream and buy the record here: https://americanresiduerecords.bandcamp.com/album/darker-places
I used to dream satisfaction in quiet commerce.
Past experiences made new.
Wandering the aisles - no one there.
Belief a strange buzz - energy left over from all that's typical.
I'd rarely buy.
Just look. Touch.
Erasure is violence. Ever, always, being justified: “The director said she made the changes so as ‘not [to] show them.'”
Sun Yung Shin is the voice in the piece. She is a writer and educator living in Minneapolis where she co-directs the community organization Poetry Asylum with poet Su Hwang. When The Beguiled was released in 2017, she was part of a conversation about the whitewashing of its narrative and the violence of erasure that is justified everyday.
The 1966 novel had a black female slave as a supporting character, whom director Sofia Coppola removed from the film; and for a biracial character from the novel, she cast white actress Kirsten Dunst.
Garrett Tiedemann: Forever there…
Sun Yung Shin: What is complicated about it?
Archive Tape Adult Man: Let’s see if we can explain it. [Fact of communicating] You an I have a coat of armor that protects our bodies from the outside world. It’s our skin.
Archive Tape Young Girl: Who is it?
Archive Tape Adult Man 2: Tissue.
Archive Tape Adult Man: But, did you know that you really have two skins.
Sun Yung Shin: Probably in this…moment. The hatred of women is surging. Certainly the discourse of misogyny seems really prevalent with our new administration unleashing and giving people permission.
Archive Tape Young Girl: What?
Archive Tape Adult Man 2: Is one of the most deadly and elusive enemies ever faced by man.
Archive Tape Adult Man: Body juices flow and withdrawn into the head. Never to be seen or used again.
Sun Yung Shin: So I think, you know, Sofia Coppola is at the intersection of all these things that people are interested in. You know, the Coppola cinematic inheretance. Here being a young, wealthy, beautiful woman. Her making films that have been reasonably successful that have women protagonists. And then this film, at a time when we are increasingly or maybe the same as ever divided on whether racism exists or is morally right; for her to take on this civil war, post-civil war film and people it only with white women, make them what’s interesting in their sexual intrigues and competition and whatever else is cooking in this film. But, erasing black women’s bodies, erasing black labor, erasing the cause of the war, erasing what enabled these white women to live as white women - keep their dresses clean and all that - does seem appalling to me, it’s really truly appalling to me and I got very upset about it.
Archive Tape Young Boy: Alright!
an end or final part of something, especially a period of time
the furthest part or point of something.
"a nerve ending"
Julie, Shapiro: Yeah. I mean it is really for the 28 people that will get this in the mail. The timing and the pace, it doesn't, there's no time you know there's no strict deadline or timeline for this ever. It's really my own making of a structure for how quickly it goes out.
I would like to open it back up to people expressing interest so I can send out the signs. I mean I love the fact that it can't be done instantly and someone can't just take a picture or something and send it to me in an e-mail. That's not enough, right? They have to express interest, I'll send it out to them usually pretty quickly. They send it back whenever.
And maybe I'll do one or two issues a year depending on who gets in touch and how quickly I get responses back. So, but I think at least one year going forward is a pretty safe bet.
Garrett: I suppose I should have said...One. Two.
Garrett (on phone): So this is like the end of a little over a year.
Julie: It's been a long time.
Garrett: And we always finish with the end. And then we will crack up because we will both know that there is no such thing. As the end.
Julie: Yeah, definitely. I think I can do that. I'm going to try to print them Monday and then it's just a matter of literally getting or buying enough. I can't steal any more of my dad's envelopes, they are not big enough, so I have to actually go buy some envelopes, that's fine.
Garrett: Shoved unconsciously, but systematically in-between a sun visor on the driver's side. I have no idea where most of them lead to. Although they once delivered me. Maybe to your house. If that's the case you can probably expect me again at some point.
Julie: I will admit it's been a while since we talked the first time and I had grand visions of putting out the paper version of Anodyne Redux like by the end of the year, by the end of 2016. And lo and behold it's eight or nine, nine. OK. Let's call it, it's nine months into 2017 and I have countless times looked at that folder of signs that have come in through the mail and thought NOW is the time to put these on paper. But, the truth is things got busy. We moved, we bought a place, like life just totally exploded on top of our normal workflow. And so I hadn't really yet gotten around to making the paper version. And you know it was not until you sent me a note to say hey this is coming together. Things are looking like we'll be ready to release you know in a few weeks. That made me realize how much I really wanted to have that paper version done and to follow through on that claim that I was going to do it and the promise I'd made to participants.
Garrett: Blue apartment, house upstairs. A funny sculpture. Chair out front. This issue was meant to be read aloud, not necessarily to anyone else. Lets read and find out.
Garrett (reading e-mail from Julie): Remember about a year ago when you expressed interest in my 20 years later revived zine; and I sent you an illustration with two kids holding up a sign? You filled in their sign with whatever was on your mind and send it back. Do you remember? Do remember I promised you would one day receive something in the mail for your efforts? That day is quickly approaching, but since it's been so long I thought I should double check.
Garrett (on phone): What was it about the...Me getting ready to put out the audio that sort of made that happen do you think? Was it just the sort of that there would be audio saying you were going to do it.
Julie: It was partly listening to some of the drafts and hearing myself talk about how much I enjoyed doing it and I was like oh yeah I really enjoyed doing it a lot. And what was cool was I already had already really thought out what I wanted to make. So it was really just a matter of like spreading things out, putting them together and gluing signs onto a piece of paper. And I realized I would totally enjoy doing that.
So I just, you know, in one night just mocked up both sides of the poster sized version that, small poster size version that I'm going to make and it felt as great as it always has to like sit there at my kitchen table late at night with my son's glue stick and put this together and think about mailing it out. How would I package it? You know would I look for envelopes that would fit the whole poster or am I gonna fold it and if I fold it should I lay it out according to where the folds would be? And all these things so. I usually choose the path of least resistance and think it's just paper, it can get folded and unfolded as many times as it needs to.
And you know, the big question is do I make color copies or stick with the old black and white? So I've not made that decision yet. But yeah I was just like sitting down and doing it and totally enjoying doing it again.
Garrett (on phone): Well and I notice on the Tumblr you've added a couple more and then I noticed you changed around the description of it that's sort of highlighting the paper version for real.
Julie: Yes, it's seeming more real. Well one thing is I had a couple of signs hanging out in my incoming mail pile that have been there for months so the signs came a while back I just hadn't processed them through the system of putting on Tumblr and then adding them to the pile to be put onto the paper version so, that little kind of...I'm always tinkering too. So no matter. You know every time I look at the tumblr site I want to change it.
I actually added more text there because I was trying to balance the line breaks. I didn't have any control over the line breaks and it was bothering me that like it was one long line with two or three other words on the next line so I was just trying to outsmart Tumblr.
Garrett: So many seeking direction and insisting we are not. I can sense it in his shoulders as we walk silently to the river. Grooming our hunches separately. Watch it in her wrist as she opens a bottle and hands it to me sighing $2.50. I read it in words that have arrived from the other side of the planet. Words describing temples and vulnerability and filth. My self-seeking. There is panic involved. Carefully placed in the corners of eyes. Their spontaneous, adamant need for reassurance. The right recipe. For direction.
Julie: It's funny how it worked out. I was thinking that initially I would put out 30 or 40 at a time per issue because I guess this could be ongoing still. And I had 28 signs so I had 2 gaping holes. So I actually gave a sign to my 6 year old to fill out and I plan to sort of write in the space with the last one so it just worked out perfectly in terms of what I have to work with and what I want to make out of it.
Garrett (on phone): And so are you thinking it'll be more like a broadsheet sort of poster or are you going to try to fold it all together into something.
Julie: Yeah, total broadsheet, two sided, differently oriented. And then I'll just sort of fold it in half and send it out I think. But it's funny because it will end up being pretty much the same shape as the zine which is pretty square. Yeah, I think it was pretty square actually. So the packaging will not be that different from when the zines went out.
Garrett: How hard is it to exit my head. To listen to my body. To trust my instinct. Immense difficulty in letting direction find me and relinquishing the search.
5. I'm not as afraid as I thought I'd be. Crashes in the night, movement in the shadows. It's dark out in the woods. Miles away from the cafes and bookstores. When the moon leans toward fullness, distant flashlight in the icy cold of space. Direction sprawls out in front of me. Warning against the ruts as we troop home. Wine stains on my shirt. Who needs purity in the deep woods?
Julie: Um...I don't know, I guess like my...the thing is like, I guess I look back and think it was so easy. I really spent just a couple hours putting the sides of the poster together. So, you know, that could have been done at any time, but I really had to be mentally ready for it in some way, and ready to take it on, and it just hadn't been until this weekend and I realized I was like totally ready and that probably has a lot to do...I mean the way Anodyne has always been a reflection of where I'm at in my life. That just feels like another perfect. It still feels so true. I was so happy to realize it's still something that gives that back to me, that it always has been a sort of companion, in different times for different reasons and it was just it was sort of like Hello old friend, let's sit down and put you together tonight.
And it's not a task, it's not an obligation, it's just something I really want to do you now. And I'm really excited to line them all up and put the stamps on, probably with Phine again because he helped me mail out the signs to begin with. And like, I look forward to the process, I look forward to people getting them. And , you know, ultimately look forward to doing the next round.
Garrett: The signs, the arrows, the indicators; they're directions, but I still don't know where to go half the time.
Garrett (on phone): Are you feeling any different about the process being where you are right now? Or does it feel like you're kind of being put back in time?
Julie: Looking at my handwriting is odd, It's just odd to write. You know I actually, I wanted to thank everyone so I wrote their names out that will go along one side of the poster. But, I wrote them out a couple of times to understand how much space that would take. And I used to just eyeball that and it would be fine. I'm a little rusty on that account.
But, I also felt a little nervous about putting something down because it would be permanently on each sheet. So, there was a little bit more trepidation. And we're so used to editing our own words and you know that Delete delete delete button and cut and paste and you know that's really not part of this process. So that was, I was very conscious of how different it is than writing on a screen.
Garrett: Security of guidance. The safety of visualization. The lure of gaging.
Julie: Be like one paragraph of you know something and I wrote, I hand wrote that out and then started scratching things out and you know arrows and this and that and I had thought about sitting down at my computer to type it out first and then just transcribe it onto paper. But I thought No I'm gonna actually I'm gonna put the whole process out there in front of myself and that was challenging. But, you know, I think I like what I came up with I never. I'm waiting a few days till I actually commit it to the actual poster, but I think it got there in the end. But, it's a mess. It did not come through that first time at all.
Garrett: Stop with orange windmill urban sculpture type thing closer pass fire station.
Julie: I will say that once I got into the rhythm of like arranging the signs and thinking about the visuals on the signs and the words versus pictures and wanting that to kind of be intentionally laid out, that part felt great you know just having that tactile hands on moving the signs around and eventually gluing them all down and figuring out how much you know the pattern the glue stick on the back and how much glue a piece of paper needs to stick. I haven't really thought about that in a long time. And and just, I just enjoyed that so much, getting into the rhythm and you know there are 28 signs to glue So it was very repetitive and I WAS thinking about the fact I was listening to a podcast and that was very different because I used to always just have music on.
Garrett (on phone): What were you listening to?
Garrett: Feel free to choose some direction. And take it. Tell me what happens.
Julie: I wonder if, should, could we do. Should we do a call out just for people who want a sign?
Garrett (on phone): Yeah.
Garrett (on phone): Absolutely.
Julie: Because that would be fun if people hear the series and ultimately want to contribute. So if anyone who heard this series actually would like to contribute to the eventual issue two, episode two, I said it yet again, issue two of Anodyne Redux they could just send me a simple email email@example.com and tell me that they're interested. I'll just need a mailing address and they'll get a sign in the mail you know within a week or two.
And they can, you know, to get a taste of the signs that they've been hearing about and see past ones those are at anodyneredux.tumblr.com.
Garrett: 7. The end.
Julie: You know maybe it'll be a little steadier now. Maybe it won't. You can look me up in 20 years again. Maybe I'll be ready to put out the second Anodyne Redux.
Garrett (on phone): We'll do another recap.
Julie: Yeah, why not?
a strong ringing sound such as that made by the plucked string of a musical instrument or a released bowstring.
make or cause
Garrett Tiedemann: As iterated previously, there's always more to say. Which is not a unique realization or particularly brilliant one, but a constant that I've finally given up trying to ignore and in doing so have returned to the most familiar conduit for contemplating minutia, filing grievances, attempting to make some sense of things while salvaging a few laughs, even if I am alone in laughing, that I've known ever.
I figure now is the link between then and eventually. I prefer to ride into the horizon. Forget the bridge altogether, let alone the toll for safe passage; especially if I am alone in laughing.
Recording for Anodyne. Something lives only as long as the last person who remembers it. Be careful they don't see the statues in the house.
Julie Shapiro: I've been wondering myself about was what to call it because I didn't know whether to call it Anodyne again. So I settled on redux, which is of course just like speaks to the new version of it and I decided I didn't want to make a whole book with a lot of writing and images of clip art so I didn't want to call it the same thing. But it's certainly inspired by that so I'm trying to tie the two ideas together, but that felt like a hard decision actually.
Garrett (on phone): Well that seems to be something you've really carried with you through up till now is like the important conversation of a community of making stuff and so like the participation in making things is in part to facilitate people coming together around stuff.
Garrett (on phone): For lack of a better phrasing.
Julie: Yeah. No I think you are. I think you're right on. With all the crazy connect the dots that have gotten me from making the zine to doing what I do know with like a big podcast network that is a through line for sure; that sense of togetherness and community and finding common interests, common values, common missions with other people.
Garrett: You are my old friend. A distant flashlight in the icy cold of space. Wandering inspired ramblings, picking their way through.
Garrett: Samples from Anodyne Redux.
Paul de Jong: Sometimes old rage, truths that should have been told.
Garrett: It's a transcribed sound sample, from a self-help cassette. Deep letting go. Out of my vast sample library of sound and spoken word. When Julie sent me the Redux request in the mail I was working on editing the transcribed text into poetry.
Angeline Gragásin: So yeah. So I picked one up and then I ended up going to. She gave a presentation. And I ended up going to it. And you know making the connection because she announced it at the end of her presentation by the way you might you know pick up a copy of my zine and yada yada. And that's that's how I found it.
Julie: I have been advertising Anodyne by mostly through Twitter, right? And it got, I've had no lack of entries but I did go to one sort of conference in New York a couple of months ago and just put a pile of them out to see if anyone would take them and do anything with it. And I only got one back so far, but it's so good. It's like one of my favorite signs ever. And the excitement of knowing like this stranger, I don't know who it is, picked it up off the table it just said for you - it was like the sign and it just said for you, exclamation point - just to see if anyone would bite. Which is a little bit how it used to be where I would leave piles of these signs and invitations for people to take. And so she might be the only person that plays along. But it was such a great sign to get back in it. You know it was it was excellent, just arrived yesterday in fact.
Miyuki Jokiranta: So stop and listen is actually a little project that I did a while ago where I would draw footprints on the pavement where I found a particular beautiful spot for listening that I you know I'd be walking down the street and I'd be arrested physically, sonically, by a space and I would carry chalk with me and I would draw footprints on the ground and then I would write stop and listen. And that would be a little indicator to someone that was walking down that same pathway to do the same. And they might have an experience similar to the one that I did.
Garrett: Starting it now, it's obviously in reflection of the last 20 years. So like, how is it different thinking about it now and how also is it different when you're bringing in something like tumbler and like the sort of digital interface and recognizing a desire to have it there while not losing the physical.
Julie: Yeah, I know. I really struggled with does it need any digital presence. And then I thought, well that will help me because I'm not trading zines, I'm not listed in other zines so people can find out about mine, like how am I going to keep...Besides my initial Facebook post and tweet that's now pinned to my Twitter whatever feed you know how else can I get the word out so, I don't mind having them all in one place digitally. But, the prize is that everyone who contributes will actually get a paper version.
Simone Roche: I wonder if there is a little bit of this that works because it's non-digital because otherwise it's like it's Twitter right? It's just a list of things people write, you know, you may as we'll just have a 140 character limit on a on a long tumbler scroll. So I think putting a little brick in like this is like a tapestry idea you know and it's those blankets or whatever. So I think being part of a digital unit is in many ways it's not worth a curse. It's just like, if she asked me to write this digitally it wouldn't have meant the same, I wouldn't have thought about it the same way.
And while I do, you know I had to send an email to a friend who's putting a book together for a friend's 40th birthday and I thought about it and I wrote the email and she's going to print that in the book and that's nice and I thought about it, but I thought about this, this was a different thing you know like you commit something to pen and paper and you send it off in the post. It's a little bit less immediate and it's more purposeful and I think you...I don't know. I love these collections. I mean it's still just a collection of individual's thoughts. I don't know if it's necessarily more than the sum of its parts, they're all...not that they're tied together, but maybe it is when you see the thread that's going through people. I don't know it's hard to tell, but I certainly think the analog idea of it. Brings a different approach out of people and maybe that helps the thing have more resonance.
Julie: Incorporating all of them back. And anyone who reads the tumblr will never have, will never hold those in their hands. So I still feel like I'm rewarding the people who participate and care enough to. You know I haven't decided if I'll make extra copies for people who aren't contributing, but I kind of like the idea of the tumblr just being the signs too. And I've also decided I don't think I'm not going to fill up the rest of the zine with other ramblings. I don't actually have the time to do that. So I'm going to try to do more of a broadsheet that has like all of, more of a poster sized thing that has all the signs that get contributed back with a little bit of text to kind of explain what it is. But this one's is way more about what people send me. It's not as much about like what you know my internal musings, angst ridden rants and things.
Garrett (on phone): Yeah, so you're a little more of a curator of other people's musings.
Julie: Yeah. Which I guess is very consistent with what I've been doing for the last 15 years.
Garrett (on phone): Yeah well and it's interesting because when you do, there was something about when you write it down on paper that forces you to at least in my mind you think about the words you're writing down more as if it's more permanent than what you put digitally whereas digitally it's like oh I'll go back and edit my grammar errors if I want to...
Julie: ...or I'll just update. You know you can't. This is a one. Like, what's the one status update for this project. You can't you can't update your update.
Garrett (on phone): Right. So are you thinking you'll keep sending requests to all the same people or is the idea to try and keep going to people who haven't responded as you build it?
Julie: Yeah it's totally, I wouldn't repeat anyone. So it's just like, I think I'm going to wait and see what kind of a lay out I start working with when I get more back but I think I'll go for something symmetrical like 30 or 40 of them per issue and always have different ones. And then hopefully you know once the first ones out and people see it there is more interest in participating. I just get it's just like it can just like live on its own, it's out there now. I have mostly sent to people who have seen my invitation and responded. But there are a handful of people I've just decided I'd love to reignite a correspondence with so I've sent them signs. Theirs will be surprises in the mail. But they know I did the old one so it won't be completely out of context and what's interesting is when I posted the Facebook thing, kind of impulsively I didn't give it a whole lot of forethought. I mean I had a vague plan in my head, but the people from that time in my life who responded you know is really...some people have pictures of old issues. My sister put up a picture of a T-shirt. You know I was like so cheap that for Hanukkah every year I'd be like here's my zine! Or, here's a T-shirt I thrifted and then went to my friends screen printing studio and made T-shirts for all my cousins you know who were like What is this. But you know some people still have that stuff. People keep stuff, so it's kind of great.
Allyson McCabe: We sort of collectively decide what has value or what should be kept. You know, that sort of thing. I'm sure there are many many zines out there that we don't know about that will become known to us at some point, but just because somebody decided that they were important. And one of the cool things about a zine is that the gatekeeper is us you know it's not some person from on high you know hundreds of years into the future making a decision that they were significant because of X Y or Z specifically.
You know we collectively are the judge of what's of value. So I think I think that's you know and they all represent different little micro communities and sometimes these zinees have lasted longer than the things they were attached to. You know so for example several bands had zines that were a huge part of what they were doing. Sometimes the bands aren't together anymore, but the zines still are.
Simon: The more stoic, mostly repressed place you know going back 50 years maybe not even that far or maybe 40 years and a lot of people you know, burying emotions and all that kind of stuff. And while in one way of course that can be really even more traumatic and really bad. But there's some kind of stoicism and just kind of parking stuff, going on with it, and you know if it rears its head again then so be it. I mean you can fix a set of shelves that fall down, but you can't necessarily fix all these things and I think the idea that you would get over things and people saying get over it. I mean I know they flippantly say that usually about something you know spilled milk but I kind of thought learning to park, learning to parallel park these issues may be a bit more benefit than the idea of getting over things.
Julie: You know, I mean it's hard to say like what impact Anodyne had in that zine world, but because I kept it up for quite a while. I mean 13 or 14 issues is a lot for that time because a lot of people started zines and moved on, just like podcasts, just like blogs, right? So you know I think like it did it kind of was like out there because it's very active. So for a little while it was one of the ones you'd hear about, was you know, I think it was listed in lists of zines you know it was in a few, it was highlighted in a few higher profile places for zines which doesn't mean much. I mean they did work, they were co-opted they became very mainstream after a while, but when they were truly more underground you know it was like a small pond. I was like a medium sized fish in a small pond so people remembered it pretty well and associated, still associate me with like doing all that. So it was fun just to kind of. I mean I think a lot of the pull back is a real, not like a midlife it's not a crisis it's like a midlife revisiting of my earlier self a little bit, which makes me feel very old to say, but I've noticed in a few ways this is happening and that is like reconnecting with people from that time.
Miyuki: How long did it take you to write yours?
So once I'd settled on that trope, stop and listen, seconds. I've written it 100 times. But yeah there was a there was a large amount of deliberation as to whether I wanted to continue to be that person. And turns out I did.
Garrett: Suspect a partnership between nearsighted and farsighted has obscured vision so severely though I'm not sure it has everything to do with my eyes. Somehow from this faraway planet it seems more valid than world, as distant stretches out snaps back into place. Such a nice twang.
Julie: I don't feel the need to say the kinds of things I said back then and it's kind of a time thing. I think I'm less interested in my own ideas in that way. I'm actually just more interested in other people's ideas. I certainly have ideas and I believe in them etc. but I find other ways to express them. And. You know I guess I have all these other outlets. That's the other thing. I feel very strategic about the way I use social media so that becomes an editorial outlet not just an update about my life or if it's an update about my life, it is disguised its editorial disguised as an update about my life and I think a lot about the kind of public. I mean I would say as most people do, but I think a lot of people don't think about what they're putting out. So I feel like I've got a kind of curated, careful approach to that and maybe that's enough and that doing this side project would just become a burden more than anything, but maybe who knows I say that and now maybe one side will be the zines and the other side will just be like you know nine point font of like crazy rantings from midnight you know writing sessions, I don't know. We'll see.
Tania Ketenjian: Everything that you post says something about you. But some things say more about you than others. And I think I was playing it very very safe. I am what might be called a stalker on social media. I don't post very much but I love looking at what other people are doing. And I'm very careful about what I post. I really want to. Today I read, I read a quote by Walter Mosley or I read an interview with the author Walter Mosley in the spring issue of The Paris Review. And I immediately thought you know I want to I want to post this on this on Facebook I think this is great. People should know this about like, you know, he's being irreverent about the choices we make as a creative person and realizing the fragility of those choices I guess. And I was like, I want to post this thing and then I kind of thought oh maybe I shouldn't and then it starts then it goes through this whole questioning and then, but then then the whole thing that you're posting then becomes far too analyzed in this way of like what does it reflect on me rather than just its inherent beauty. So that's why I try not to post too much because I don't want to be too character driven. And so in essence, the quick answer is No I did not think about what this was going to say about me or if I did I knew I was playing it so safe I knew that I wasn't taking a risk. And I like that because so much can be misinterpreted online and through text and through printed matter and so I'd rather just play it safe.
Garrett (on phone): Alright, so we've got a few minutes left. So, with deciding to do this again, and I know we've talked about this some so I know this is kind of retreading, but I think you know speaking too about leaving this stuff out and someone did respond. I mean I think it's very much as a reception feels like a gift and that like the looking over the old ones you did like I can imagine that like getting one of them was like a gift from wherever.
Julie: Always. Totally. Exactly.
Garret (on phone): Yeah. And I think it's sort of, much the same like in the last couple years people have returned to appreciating vinyl because it feels like a physical thing. Is that partly feeding as well as your own creative need to do it, like why you want to still make a physical thing when you know it's still a lot of work even to put them up online?
Does it make sense what I asked?
Julie: Yeah, I felt kind of like two questions in one, but I will say that like everyone that I receive now is totally exciting. You know there's always that sort of sense before you open the envelope of what's inside. And then there's actually, I don't remember how I handled this back then. If I actually curated entries or just put everything in. I think I was pretty open to whatever came back. I'm actually a little bit more picky now and there are a few that have come back that I don't want to include. I just don't think they're very thoughtful. I think people just like dashed something off and sent it back. Now if they happen to dash something that I find appealing it might still get into the magazine, but there's sort of a line that if people...I guess the easiest way to say it is like there's been a few entries in this new batch that I'm not that excited about. And then I feel like that is where my own aesthetic taste is going to guide the actual outcome which feels as much, as much my offering as all of the people who've contributed. Maybe it's just you know 15 years of being a curator first and foremost I just can't let go of that quality control a bit.
Garrett (on phone): At least I know, sort of in my brain, like part of your sort of artistic moment then becomes assembling them together in a certain pattern, which is very different than the metadata of an upload.
Julie: Yeah definitely, definitely. And I should say like even though I said that earlier about feeling a little weird about most of the signs coming in pre-election, there's also an upside to that which is I actually wouldn't want the issue to be burdened by one common response to you know a new reality. And while it could be a document of a time which would also be very important, and I regret missing that opportunity a little bit, Anodyne has never been a political thing. Maybe in the broadest cultural political sense you could say it was because it was DIY and managed to make it for free and sort of stayed out of the major publishing industry. But for the most part it is meant to just be something a little bit less circumscribed by a particular tone. So at the end of the day it's probably fine that we'll have signs from before the election and after the election.
Allyson: Say for any kind of thing that you make. You know, I make the zine. There, you know you might say any zine you look at it and somebody who knows nothing about zines and is completely outside of it might be like why would anybody waste their time, these photographs they're all like photo copy that looks terrible and there's a typo here and haven't they proofread it. And oh my god who cares about this obscure band that nobody heard of you know that person is not going to get it and it can't be explained to, but for the people who it is intended, like if it finds its audience, it's done its job it served its purpose. The zine, all the zine does or the podcast or whatever the thing you're making does is all it does is it's a vehicle for delivering that idea.
Tania: If there is an opportunity to connect, to be part of something, to say that...say someone I meet that contributed to this zine, I don't know them in any other way except for that we both contributed, then we, we're connected. We're connected in that way and I don't think there's anything more important in life than feeling connected.
Julie: You know it's hard to sort of recede for me in terms of the new issue has, it's taking longer than I thought I would just because I cannot find the time and energy to work on it when I want to. And, I think part of it is just being a parent now, having a child being a parent, as opposed to the other form of apparent, as one word. And you know that extra energy that I have really goes into raising my kid with my husband. So yeah I guess there's a little bit of guilt that's come in. I don't think people are waiting for it. They've probably forgotten if they even have sent in zines. But, I'm keeping track of how long it's taking. And so I've set aside some time, in my mind, over the holidays to actually mock up the first issue and figure out what I'm going to do on the other side of it. You know how much writing there will or will not be. And so, I'm looking forward to that. I mean that feels like a really compelling project ahead that I think I'll find some time for in the downtime of the holidays. But, yeah, it's much harder to fit around my current lifestyle both personally and professionally. I mean if I think of the hours that most of those Anodynes were made during, both written and assembled, it was like between midnight and 3:00 a.m. and you know I just I don't have that, I can't burn the candle like that anymore.
I'm getting a lot out of this, I hope that when I send the signs back to people they get something out of it. I hope that participating, they get something out of. l hope they like getting a piece of mail that isn't a bill. You know, this is a small, little enhancement to a day kind of thing.
Tania: I don't know how you're going to put this all together, but I will just say that you know Julie I've said this to you many times before when I've seen you in a conference with hundreds of people around, but you really have this extraordinary ability to make someone feel very special and make someone feel like their contribution is special. And you do that in so many different ways whether it be bringing people together in a conference or inviting people into a radio project or creating a zine. And it's such a wonderful gift and you know your warmth is something that I really value in my life even if I may see it every couple of years.
I'm Allyson McCabe. I'm an independent reporter for NPR's arts and culture desk. I'm also the creator slash producer slash host of Vanishing Ink.
My name is Angeline Gragásin. I'm a writer and filmmaker.
I'm Simon Roche. I'm a graphic designer. I have a side project called The Radio Post.
My name is Whitney Henry-Lester. I'm a podcast editor and producer.
Hi, my name is Tania Ketenjian. I'm a journalist.
I'm Miyuki Jokiranta and I make radio documentaries. And occasionally head off on strange sonic excursions.
Simon: I contributed.
Angeline: And I contributed.
Tania: I contributed
Allyson: I contributed
Whitney: I contributed to Anodyne Redux. Is that how you say it?
Miyuki: I contributed to Anodyne Redux.
Julie: All right. Talk to you soon. All right. Take care.
Garrett (on phone): You too.
Garrett (on phone): Bye.
Garrett: It's so important to support the people who insist on living their lives by their own terms, creating their own work by their own rules. Check out independent record and bookstores and comic book stores. Find things you like and let their creators know. Share them with the people you love or at least the people who would appreciate them, even if they don't know it yet. All of this, meant as vague as it sounds, depends on communication and support. Enjoy the centerfold, enjoy the tape, enjoy the fact that you have great taste in music.
So, if you'd like to play the kids with sign game. Or already have and would like to play again. Or know someone who you think might like to play. Or need some advice. Or want a Connie Francis tape. Or just feel like ranting about the general chaos that seems imminent. Or perhaps you'd like to rave about it. Please send your comments along with a brief statement to Anodyne.
Atomic shake well publications.
William S. Burroughs (archive tape): Silence to say goodbye.
This has been The White Whale. Samples from Anodyne.
properties of transmission and deflection.
the way in which an event or course of action is perceived by the public.
"the issue itself is secondary"
Garrett Tiedemann: The last Avid Consultant came a year ago. I trust in the lapse of time solidifies. This one is her reliance. The last traces of recumbent hesitance. The directions in this issue of Avid Consultant have been gathering in my car, in my mind, for an unknown amount of time.
Garrett (on phone): The sensations influence aesthetic choices and creativity. They all, at least for me, they all elicit an idea. Whether it be audio or visual that starts to frame your understanding of the moment that is much more nostalgic and poetic than maybe it actually was. But, it doesn't negate what it actually was. It's just that it's there's so many things constructed into the recollection.
Tania Ketenjian: To why did I want to be part of it was because I thought OK. I mean, I've told Julie this story several times. One day I was actually for Weekend America, way back when like 12 years ago, I was gathering vox in front of this cafe here in San Francisco. And I I start talking to someone and they were like oh do you know do you know do you know Julie, she's in radio? And I was like, yeah I do. He said, YOU KNOW HERE? OH MY GOD SHE'S AMAZING. I LOVE HERE. And he was just crazy about her.
And I remember, and he's this guy named Chicken John and he wanted to be a mayor of San Francisco, he's a real character. And it made me realize wow, I mean like the circle that Julie runs in like the various circles that she runs and are fascinating. And I want to be part of that. And I think you know I think that sometimes we, you know we do all these different things to befriend or even deepen a friendship or even any sort of connection that's there. And you know, Julie I may not talk at all unless we see each other at a conference. We may not know about each other's lives necessarily, but we are connected in a way and I value that connection and an opportunity to deepen that, even if it's just by sending in a Shel Silverstein poem is exciting to me.
Garrett: The dictionary at my elbow, a different sort of weapon consulted regularly, confirms the suspicion regarding a slow leak in spelling skills, which has led to a fascination with words misspelled versus words miss typed versus words misbolded.
Is atrophy audible?
Let's try that again.
Miyuki Jokiranta: I'm apparently in a soundproof booth Garrett, but there are people outside and I fear you might get some bleed so. I'm sorry if that's the case. OK.
Julie Shapiro: I think I would sit down and kind of you know start very very in the moment and spiral out from there when I was writing so I can imagine things like well it's 2:00 a.m. in the morning I'm trying to finish this up and so this you know excuse this intro for whatever reasons. And that might just have been an anchor anchoring me into a mindset for writing more about things. I mean a lot of those early issues are also, that's all handwritten. So, it might have just been stream of conscious in the moment you know not really pre-written and edited and reshaped and reformatted just a total brain dump in the moment and that's probably when I would be most susceptible to describing what I was doing and where I was and why. Why the circumstances,if I was on the road like the New Zealand. Now switching to Avid Consultant, the New Zealand issue was really circumstantial. It was, to a play on words would be, it was it was quite the Anodyne to my situation, which was I had developed a stress fracture while backpacking around New Zealand and needed a project to keep me occupied and so I did an issue of Avid Consultant. You know that sort of got it started while I was laid up on somebody's couch in Dunedin and then you know sort of brought that process as closely as I could to my New Zealand experience, which involved being in the Wellington public library. I remember that the kind of trope for that whole issue was washing, putting clothes out on a clothes line and washing things because I found a kind of funny manual on that that visually was you know kind of stimulated some ideas about, to play with I guess. But yes, that was very circumstantial and I think you get a lot of that like what was going on and the mechanics of how that one came together actually in the text.
Garrett (on phone): Yeah, I'm holding that edition.
Garrett: Two pieces of advice. Never make any big life decisions in your 20s that concern another person. You can't hold the baby too much.
Garrett (on phone): Is there a gap between Anodyne and Avid Consultant or did you just kind of change gears?
Julie: They overlap and I think I just, you know after 10 or 11 issues I was ready for something a little different.
Garrett: Samples from Avid Consultant. Do you know how to find your way?
Six. So the search continues. Direction is always sought even as we stand still, content. How to get there, the destination itself is barely relevant. A travel partner must want to play travel games and like to hear women singing the blues and Sonic Youth.
Angeline Gragásin: I mean I think what. What was engaging was the fact that it's a game and I have you know I haven't played a game like this since I was a kid. I haven't done a chain letter or I mean I barely send things through the mail anymore. Well, actually I think I started sending postcards again maybe around the time that I...I think that's true. I think that may be true.
Garrett (on phone): That's interesting.
Angeline: Yeah, because I was like oh that's pretty easy. That was pretty easy I could just buy a whole box of postcards. Yeah, I actually I think, you know what, I think that might have been what inspired me to start doing that. Yeah.
Garrett (on phone): And then are you keeping them strictly like, what's done of the postcard gets mailed and you're not taking an image to remember it or post it anywhere? Is it really sort of kept to the material thing?
Angeline: Yeah. I'm not documenting it and I'm not, there's no project dimension. It's not a project it's actually just thank you letters to friends.
Allyson McCabe: But, I think that's probably a generational perspective to some extent to feel that anything that's physical feels a little bit more real a little less ephemeral.
Julie: And I felt like that Avid Consultant was going to be more of a writing project and I wanted to simplify actually. I remember thinking like this one will be simpler, it won't rely on other people's input because you know I'd always have to wait for these signs to come back. Which wasn't a bad thing, it just created its own rhythm, that I was dependent on other people to finish an issue and get it out with Anodyne. And Avid Consultant was just just my stuff. Possibly to a problematic extent, but who knows.
In reading back through I sort of had this horrifying conclusion like oh my god I was kind of writing poetry and it's really...horrifying is the wrong word. But I never thought of it as like, you know, a poetry project at all, but I could see that I was grasping to have some formality and metaphor and rhythm in a way that wasn't just like you know a journal spill. It was like a very distilled sense of what the journal spill would have been in a much more, presented in a much more sort of fake, casual, formal sense to some degree.
Allyson: But, you know, zines in general they were meant to be ephemeral. Now we have zine libraries, there's many different archives for zines. Some are online but some of them are physical, attached to libraries like for example Washington D.C. has a whole the whole punk archive to itself as part of the Washington DC library. Others are attached to universities like Barnard has one. I believe University of Maryland has one. I'm sure there are many many others, but they weren't intended to be kept forever. They ended up being kept forever because people started to see the value in them. I think more than maybe some of the makers did at the time when they were first distributed.
Unknown Woman (archive tape): Those of us interested in innovated forms of zine archiving must find a way around the limited to digitize or not to digitize argument that to me seems to dominate many conversations of digital zine preservation. We need interactive ways to display interface with zines that offer new engagements with their multiple materialities and contested histories. Fortunately sub-cultural archival practices already exist that can tell us what zinesters want for and from their archives. Practices that in theory can also benefit the zine researchers and librarians who are interested in the thriving social worlds that cluster around these vibrant, queer little booklets and this notion of a perverse materiality that was brought up is really interesting there. So to take advantage of such culturally saturated technologies., however, we need to are fully reckon with why zines matter and the particular ways that they do.
Garrett: Agitate. Briar patch.
While slipping into a nap the other day it occurred to me that this experience has wandered into a prickly layer of grammatical metaphor. Just at dusk. Can't shake the notion now and I'm suffering from constant realizations confirming the theory. The initial diagnosis was an army of commas, forcing an inescapable pause in travel, announcing contingency from every angle commencing the duel between patients and restlessness.
Julie: And that also reminds me about sticker packs; for a while I was making these sticker packs and sending those around. I think just the packaging, I was thinking of like I bought this like huge bulk you know package of clear envelopes that you could stick things into and would make a really cheap crappy stickers at Kinko's on sticker paper and they were like totally ironic and one was like Terry Bradshaw, is that his name? They were so not stickers you'd want to put anywhere. And that was kind of the point I guess. But that felt really important. And then I made like the sticker, I had a sticker and went on a rampage around Portland putting stickers that said too many stickers on all the cars that were covered with political, you know feel good...that was even Boulder too actually when this all started in Boulder. You know when there's so much PC, that pageantry of like how many bumper stickers can you get on your car. So I thought it was really clever to put on a sticker that said too many stickers on those cars.
It was vandalism actually although they were so crappy I'm sure they wiped off with like the first drizzle. So, I hope. Yeah that was my activism back in the day, stickering cars with too many stickers.
Miyuki: I didn't have any hesitation at the time in contributing; when I knew of the project, when I was invited to participate. It was kind of a no brainer. But I had a lot of hesitation around what I would actually write in that blank square, in that blank rectangle, held up by those two people, very earnest, very committed people holding this sign, ready to kind of present your words. And so what I ended up writing was stop and listen.
And then listen deeper.
And why did I write that? Because I tried writing a bunch of other things about the state of politics, about personal revelations, about you know grand poetry. And I just came back to a trope of mine which is to keep your ears open and to navigate the world through your ears. And to wake the ears as much as you do any other sense.
Julie: I had this amazing sociology teacher in seventh grade Mr. Rasashi and his mantra was be observant. It was like above the door you know. Now I think about that a lot. I think all of zine making is being observant and inviting other people to be observant. And not only be observant, but you know kind of share your observations or express them in some ways. So I didn't kind of act on making Anodyne into anything. But a lot of the stories I've happened to have the opportunity and great fortune to make could easily have been Anodyne articles I guess you could say you know competitive model horse collecting or a love letter to a racehorse or you know a soundscape from Africa. Like the audio pieces I've really love or that piece I shared with you about memory and watching the day after, like that felt like an audio version of Anodyne to me.
Garrett: Consider what you need. It's a ward. Rains a gonna fall.
Whitney Henry-Lester: I feel like. Like I have no capacity to put a pin in my own curiosity and my own curiosity for information so the Internet is actually really bad for me and I know this is true for a lot of people but this is how I feel it for me. I can just be on the Internet trying to find information for a long time and then forget I'm doing it hours later. And so. And that's true with story telling like I'm obsessed with storytelling so I'm constantly listening or looking or reading or on Transom or trying to find out what people are saying about it or just looking and listening to other people's work. I love doing that. But at some point you have to stop doing that. And I have to be intentional about stopping doing that. So I have to sort of give myself parameters like, this week I'm going to make rather than listen or...Just sort of setting like specific timeframes for doing specific things and making time for making work rather than listening or being a part of the conversation because you can be a part of that all the time but for me it's less about balance and more about like; or less about constant 24 hour balance, but more about like day to day I need to break it up that way. If that makes sense.
Unknown Male (archive tape): By means of printing the fund of knowledge accumulated through the ages is available to everyone great and poor alike.
Julie: I don't have access; Kinko's is different, I don't know people at Kinkos. I think it would actually be hard to put the magazine together or the zine together without putting a lot more time into it.
Garrett (on phone): Well yeah, because so many, I mean Kinkos don't even really exist anymore do they?
Julie: No, it's like FedEx Kinko's and you have to pre-pay everything so you can't get anything for free. God damn it. And like people they just don't seem as nice. I mean this whole culture of like punks working at Kinko's, I just don't think it happens anymore. For whatever reason.
Garrett (on phone): Well that's interesting because then it becomes a lot more people kind of working alone in the room right.
Julie: Yeah yeah.
Garrett (on phone): Which, part of this whole was the community building even if it was just the community building with the person helping you print it.
Julie: Yeah, totally. Yeah that kind of late night/early morning feel to the air you know that whole thing of being out in the world at that time and under fluorescent lights for too long and taking a break in the parking lot and definitely having snacks or beers or whatever. It was a thing, it was a whole process. Again it was process, you know, it was like how it got made.
Garrett: Line drying. Made in New Zealand. Avid Consultant the circumstantial issue has taken shape 18 hours ahead of most of you under the influence of mediocre painkillers and some realizations maybe better left unrealized.
Hanging out is easier if clothes basket is at waist level.
Footnote. The unexpected interruption in my trip, didn't even hear the bone crack, renders the crystal ball hanging from my backpack more useless than usual. As cloudy as the skies hanging over Dunedin these past few weeks.
Siri: Hello. Still enjoying. One thought. You may want to re-track; the proper pronunciation of the city's name is dun-EE-din.
Garrett: Sound. The sound is important because it influences everything. Jingly jangly guitar playing, minimal bass lines, loose strumming, and keyboards. This is a place. The sound of a place that traveled far beyond the confines of its borders to pull people in and influence out.
I'm told it might be six weeks before mending is complete. Regardless of my newly introduced lightning quick recovery program. A stubborn foot remains reluctant to cooperate. Meanwhile I've taken up residence on a very purple couch at the top of a long stairway. My exponentially generous friend lives above a camera shop downtown. When shops close up around 6:00 the rushing around out there relocates quickly.
As if it's a race. The street asserts a determined quiet; placing the day's letters of constant retail drone. My ears cling to the emptiness. Still. Dunedin is a fortunate place to be grounded. All Staples are within hobbling distance and access to books music and caffeine is plentiful. The days pass by hook or crook. Been watching old movies, taking pictures of letter slots, sewing envelopes close and sending them to the other side of the world, spilling guts, concocting, excavating.
Garrett (on phone): So much of this seems to speak to grasping at the ideas in your head with the world as it is, but necessitating new things to become available. So, like, you know in reading something, finding a rhythm and finding a pacing like it starts to speak to the idea of this being more than words on a page for someone else to read, but being something that needs to be presented in a certain way which necessitates a certain recording musicality presentation of it which sort of then sets you on a path of what becomes podcasting where you're able to present the words the way you want them to be presented.
Julie: I think too, Avid moved into a physical space as well, like that issue that you have, one of them has rings, oh it doesn't have rings because I couldn't send them, but it was held together by like little claspy metal rings. So it came off the paper. And there was another issue that really stands on my mind. The theme was bullfighting which seemed very profound at the time and I had some great graphics and you know. But it was, I just remember it being like such a nightmare to package because I decided to put each page on a different shape of construction paper and then I would glue on the words on like a white piece of paper. But some were going horizontally and some were going vertically so it was actually...Avid was also more expensive to make, which makes no sense at all, like you try to get better and more efficient at things. But, because there were always pieces parts to it and then figuring out how to send it, but I didn't send around as many either so it probably all evened out in the wash.
Garrett (on phone): Something that seems so important to the consumption of these as well as to the making, very much seems the tactility of it. So, like, even though it was a pain to start with, how Avid Consultant went, like you still did it. Do you see that? And, like, can you articulate why you think tactility was a focus as part of it?
Julie: I do remember the process and still I think we've talked a little bit about what's brought me back to doing Anodyne again is the processes is like 75 percent of the joy and the reward. And back with Avid it was like the process times 100 because, I wish I could remember how many I would make of each, but it was like kind of a factory assembly line basically you know and I just I loved that process. I mean now I would just be listening to podcasts the whole time, but then it was just like a total music bliss out experience of being productive, feeling like I was getting things done, being very satisfied. I mean I've never been a visual artist in the kind of drawing, painting realm. S,o I think for me feeling like I was succeeding in at least putting something together that I was proud of and ended up the way I wanted it to be was like by figuring out these small constructions and then putting them together and then you know that's the beauty of like having the actual thing in your hand to read. Another thing I miss terribly which is again what's pulling me back to doing it again, but definitely definitely that the object in your hands mattering and sitting out.
Garrett: To always avoid risk is to often miss the point. Codification need not be strictly functional or as formal as we're taught or as innocent. Invention should continue, this molding of language, we are after all somewhat bound by it. So certainly deserves some say in the matter.
By the end of this, I'm running out of clothes pins and have weighed enough decisions and striving for sensibility to bust the scales. But there are times when a bothersome foot injury seems less relevant than other circumstances hovering. Like Plan B. Or that a dog will remember me in a country about to escape war.
Garrett: So, if you'd like to play the kids with sign game. Or already have and would like to play again. Or know someone who you think might like to play. Or need some advice. Or want a Connie Francis tape. Or just feel like ranting about the general chaos that seems imminent. Or perhaps you'd like to rave about it. Please send your comments along with a brief statement to Anodyne.
an additional remark at the end of a letter, after the signature and introduced by “P.S.”.
Garrett Tiedemann: The kid with sign thing. High explosive bombs. So where did this whole thing start? I don't really remember. Suddenly though in the middle of my busiest and evilest school semester ever I found myself wanting to do this project. Never thought of a name for it beside the obvious kids with sign game.
I must apologize for the shrinkage and lack of color in the reproductions of all the replies. Also a warning I decided to print all addresses of those who responded and I encourage you to communicate with anyone if you are particularly angered, delighted, offended, intrigued, turned on, or otherwise stimulated by any specific entry.
I have been asked why too much.
Honestly I launched this whole project for the sake of doing it. It's really the only reason. At one point I realized that it was pretty interesting to see where everyone was at in their own heads, but from the beginning it was spontaneous. If anything, my insomnia coupled with the proximity of Kinko's to my house contributed the most to the creation of the entire thing. It's a little sad how many didn't understand the absence of a motive. Anyway, I hope the kids with sign game is as entertaining and confusing for you as it has been for me. If not, well, I'm sorry you're missing out. And of course thank you to all replied because see, it would have been impossible without you.
Simon Roche: So this was another thing to do and I wanted it. No, I want to make some time for that and have a think about it and I didn't, so when it eventually came, Look I better just send this back, I'm just going to write something, no one is going to see it anyway. I just wrote that down and I kind of wrote it going. I've written Julie a couple of letters, and I've never met her, so we have a nice little rapport in letters that is kind of nearly a little, it's almost confessional, certainly for me anyway, and I just found it really nice that you could just write to somebody you haven't met but you feel like you know them in letters and it's a bit easier than saying it to them. So, I think it just poured out of me and I went yeah, yeah great. And Julie reads it and maybe she puts it on a web site, but like 10 people might see it and they're not going to read mine. So, you know, in a way it was nice to not worry about it that much but now it's out there I guess.
Garrett: I like to imagine it redone as the pool table.
Contents. Watch yourself. The invitation should be worded.
Unidentified Child: Wouldn't it be silly if we lived in a light bulb? It would be as hot as a desert.
Angeline Gragásin: You know, I realize that what I had sent in was a statement. And I meant it earnestly, but and then seeing the images I realize that I could have taken a more playful approach. If in my head the to do item was draw a picture, I would have taken a completely different approach to composing an image than I would have to writing a statement.
Charles Bukowski (archive tape): Do I know you?
Tania Ketenjian: If you look at something, a contribution within the context of other contributions, it's inevitable that you're going to be like, hmm maybe I should have put in something else or. I mean how often do you say oh my god that was the perfect i did such a great job, that was the perfect contribution.
Allyson McCabe: So when you're thinking about the difference between how you construct a persona on social media versus how you construct a zine persona, they're really different. In a number of respects. But, one of the aspects in which they're different is the idea that in a social media situation you're looking to sanitize your image, present a kind of constructed self that's always happy, successful, smiling, or has just posted something important, you know whatever that may be. Whereas in the zine there's much more of an emphasis on the idea that you're you're creating kind of aesthetic, a kind of sub-community or cultural community statement, you kind of recede a little bit behind that. And I think that's a space that a lot of people feel more comfortable in. I would say a lot of radio producers feel more comfortable in.
Garrett: Samples from Anodyn. Anything that's not a mystery is just guess work.
Julie: I think my entree into the radio world had a lot to do with my zine because I had, you know, it was all I had really. I didn't have a portfolio of any clips or radio stories that I'd ever produced because I had no media training. But when I applied for an internship, when I started applying for internships, and got an interview at WUNC, the News Director asked me, in a very kind of dramatic way he pulled my zine out from under the desk and was like how do we turn this into radio. And in that moment I was like, oh god I have no idea but I'm interested. So it was something that he identified as like well this was kind of becoming, radio was becoming a more creative playground for narrative storytelling. And he saw a connection there that I wasn't necessarily making at the time, I was just like well this something I made my own stick it in there so people think I have initiative. But, I think about that a lot because I think a lot of what I've been drawn to and the culture that we've created through Third Coast and now what Radiotopia is all about, and even like the spirit of PRX; everything I've been involved with has, makes sense that there's some DNA from the zine, that zine kind of, the drive to make that has driven me to do everything else I've done since then.
Miyuki Jokiranta: I didn't really know what I would write and I didn't really know what other people were writing. I hadn't really seen anything posted yet. And I loved this idea that if I didn't peak, then potentially I would be revealed amongst a whole bunch of ideas and thoughts and images at the same time. And that that revelation could potentially say something, suggest something, present something.
Allyson: I was excited about it, you know. As soon as I saw the posting she asked people to send their physical addresses if they wanted to get the prompt and then they would get the zine. So that was step one. Being excited about that. And then step two was when it actually came and I saw what the prompt was, there's that moment of excitement, and again I think probably because I'm older, but there was this sort of moment where I was like oh what you know what can I come up with as opposed to just maybe, earlier in life I would just put in any little snarky statement and see if it would fly. I think also your name is on it. You know that's something that's really different.
Garrett: Before. I left there and somehow ended up here. There were no directions back then, there was no intention beyond investigation. We followed signs and arrows and indicators lazily which led us into different directions, ultimately. After. Solo then, but not solo. The original not from concentrate. Shake well then mitigate.
Julie: So then the counter's, you know, like you could just whack your counter a few times and it would go back to zero. You wouldn't have to pay anything. So, anyway there are all these tricks of the trade. And that, the process for me has always been a huge part of it.
I just remember this garish, very bright white lighting. Not that conducive to intimate, poetic, expressive. I mean I wouldn't write there. I guess that's where the assembly took place.
Unknown Male (archive tape): Printing is essential to all education. All the other arts rely on it. Religious Movements depend on it. Business could not function without it. Nor could government. Because of the need for printed matter in practically all of man's activities, printing now ranks fourth among the nation's great industries.
Julie: I don't even remember the writing of it all that well, I mean I would have,, I think some of the first episode, episodes there I go again. Some of the first issues were typed out on like a word processor. Before I even had a PC and I can remember. Yeah I remember I had this amazing word processor that I always kept calling a food processor, that was like a weird semantic glitch for me. And it had five fonts. I remember it was so cool to switch between these five font choices on the word processor and I did a lot of writing on that. I remember it being kind of trusty friend in those times.
Garrett (on phone): OK. Did the ability to do that and that sort of fun-ness inform some of the design layout and everything because you incorporate a whole lot of different sort of textural things with the fonts and layouts and stuff written, or not really?
Julie: Yeah, I remember I always wanted, I always incorporated a lot of handwriting alongside these kind of barely formatted chunks of text with borders and there were so much cut and paste, it was really collagey, montagey, chaotic layout often and that was a way to also include recurring theme throughout each issue. I do remember I would have a sort of a visual theme per issue and so being able to just cut and paste little bits of that theme and variations on that theme throughout the issue till it was kind of very full so every page has a lot of you know sort of major content and then a lot of decoration and some minor commentary along the visual lines and a lot of just random stuff that appealed to me for this reason or that
Garrett (on phone): Yeah, I mean, Anodyne feels very much like, in the sort of most beautiful way of it, someone figuring out the world. Like someone sort of connecting with other people and using that as a conduit to sort of seeing how the world can take shape for you. And actually manifesting instead of just sitting in your head.
Julie: Yeah, it was definitely part angsty journal writing writ large for other people and you know just my own little observations piling up and accumulating. I mean I think about it now with the social media parallel like how many times a day I just something happens and I just go oh I found a web site that advertises charms for stethoscopes, I'm going to tell the world about that. That would have been an Anodyne thing back in the day. You know, so it's the same exact, the prompts are the same. They haven't changed, the kinds of prompts that seem important enough to me to point out to other people. That was a way to figure out how to convey some of that and translate some of my own observations about what was going on around me to other people.
Building a community too, so it was satisfying in all these ways. And it was expression, so very self-indulgent in a lot of ways. There was just something about building a system and developing that system and figuring out the best way to be efficient, but not to the extent that you would cannibalize your creative efforts by being efficient. You know that kind of happy medium ground where you're doing it best, but in the way you want to do it. I think that's a huge part of it is the actual process.
In fact, in some of the little notes I'm writing to people with this one I'm saying I've noted that I'm just much happier when there's all this paper handling. And organizing and dropping off a stack of 10 envelopes at the mailbox. Now I have the mailbox on my way into work, I get off my bike, put it in, I have a system, it's like a ritual, every couple of times a morning round ride to the mailbox and put them in and I'm sounding a little like a crazy person I realize, but there's something. It's very soothing you know. It's order, it's control, I mean you could probably, any psychologist would be like right you have control, you're creating, you're making your own rules, you're sticking to them. There's something very logical and soothing, anodynic, about it.
Instead of just writing what I thought about things and sending it out to people I got involved with involving other people and the element of surprise and you know sort of being curious about what other people were thinking about.
Garrett (on phone): Yeah, I know when I just responded, like yeah. I mean there's something, I think there's always something enticing about being a part of something no matter what it is, like just that community building. Oh, this is something untethered to a lot of the normalcies of modern life. I wonder if that was for a lot of other people, like oh hey. Sure. I don't know what this is but I'll do it.
Julie: Yeah. And I feel like I just hit upon this magical image that is so non-threatening and so open and kind of silly like it's just like a very, I find it a very charming image that somehow is the perfect space for people like oh I could do that even if they've never sent a piece of mail in their life, or in the last decade, you know they still hopefully will not think too hard as we were talking about and just kind of come up with something. So yeah it remains to be seen and the hope is not never to invite like the most profound, most important thing, from anyone, but just really like what's on your mind?
You know, help these kids spread a worthwhile message, whatever that means to you.
Garrett (on phone): Well that's interesting because we're sort of caught up in this idea of like everything's important but you're always looking for the thing that's going to be really important. Or to say something that's really important. But, the image sort of elicits this sort of editorial. But, then at the same point you are saying that the sort of mundane is important.
I was curious to know like how. Because you really hadn't. You had no idea what the old zine was and you saw an image that like invited people to get involved. So what, how did you respond to getting the sign? Was that anything like what you were expecting. I mean you had seen the image already, but did you expect the project to be about the image. And like what was your thought process.
Garrett (on phone): It was so simple, yet so complex in its delivery. So like even putting, I thought there was a message even in putting the pink over the return label like. So it was this sort of, like those are the things that when I think about creation and when I think about any one whose work I follow who I find value in, it's the sort of simple cohesion of an idea that because it seems so simple you immediately infer that there is way more to it which ultimately becomes you inferring that.
Julie: Yeah. Absolutely.
Garrett (on phone): So for me it was just, it was so simply packaged that there became all this sort of weight to everything, and then it actually elicited a sentence that to me sort of coalesced with everything I was going through, like especially this summer, and so then I just made sure to write it down and I was like OK I'll just think about this tomorrow to see if it's the right thing...
Julie: ...if it still rings, right.
Garrett (on phone): Yeah.
Julie: Well I have to say with the covering up of the address, I had hoped to get blank stickers and I just walked up to the drugstore with my son and they didn't have, you know you get like a label of stickers you would print on to. And I thought I would just cover things up. And so I just was like, well Phineas, should we get the blue or the pink sparkly tape. And he picked the pink so we went the pink. So it was really just. And then I realized that like are people going to look under or are they going to read into this and I loved that just being completely up to, you know, open again open for interpretation. And then the field notes stamp is just like something I've always loved and I had this two second moment where I was like oh should I call the whole thing field notes because that is really what it is, you know, it's like observations out in the world, but then there's those other little books that people refer to as field notes a lot so I thought that would get confusing. And, again like, it was just was like a perfect little "P.S".
Garrett: So, if you'd like to play the kids with sign game. Or already have and would like to play again. Or know someone who you think might like to play. Or need some advice. Or want a Connie Francis tape. Or just feel like ranting about the general chaos that seems imminent. Or perhaps you'd like to rave about it. Please send your comments along with a brief statement to Anodyne.
1.a feeling. archaic
"he looked through her belongings"
on, want; More
Julie Shapiro: Anodyne was like a soundtrack for me as well. I was always listening to music that was a lot about something to do while I listened to music.
Simon Roche: I'll read it, it says: we don't have to get over everything traumatic we can live with ghosts.
Allyson McCabe: I do think that as somebody who is old enough to have been around sort of in the 90s wave of zines, and even before that, you know most people my age you know they have kids now. And so that's something that kind of comes up is the idea of I think I had said something like, 'I'm telling mom' why does it still work despite generations of evidence to the contrary and just sort of struck me as a sort of truism that would make sense as a zine statement, but also a statement for people who have kids and know exactly what I'm talking about.
Julie: I think it's funny when you're watching bad TV and something profound comes out of a character's mouth that speaks directly to your life situation and you're like no, this can't be happening that the answer is coming from this terrible TV show, NO.
Garrett Tiedemann: I urge you to take advantage of the following offer. If you send me a blank cassette, and some money for shipping and handling, I'll gladly tape for you Connie Francis Sings Jewish Favorites.
Julie: I mean you have to couple this with being in college, being up at all hours, having friends working at Kinko's, that was a huge part of the equation for all zine makers back in the day who would just make your copies for free. I had my friend John who had the overnight shift. You know, my theory was like every Kinko's in America had an overnight shifter wearing Converse high tops. And you would find the person wearing Converse high tops, you would make friends with them, and they would help you make your zine for free. So I could do color copies.
Kinko's had this temporary thing you could do everything in a mono color so you could have green, just like instead of black and white it would be green and white or red and white or blue and white.
Miyuki Jokiranta: And she then promised I think, I think she'd already had the idea that she'd started up again. So I did know that she'd done this in the past, but I think when I first saw the Anodyne, the first image of it online, it didn't calibrate with the picture that I had had in my mind. So, I was pretty curious to see in the flesh.
Garrett: Samples from Anodyne. Smile, obey rules, good manners pay.
When a massive star dies leaves behind the small, dense, remnant core.
Allyson: Back in the day, when I would read people's physical zines, papers zines; you know you read it a few times, you get a sense of what the aesthetic is, you know maybe sometimes if it's political what the politics are, musical taste, etc. and you're able to figure out OK you know do I make sense in the context of what I know about this publication. In this case, I wasn't familiar with the paper iteration that existed before so I had only the idea of the prompt.
Tania Ketenjian: It's very empowering I think, in many ways, it's like you don't have to go with the establishment or the established ways of getting something published, you can just do it this way.
Julie: It was really open, total experimentation. I did one, one essay on glow in the dark, things that glow in the dark. And then I had like glow in the dark, I found like glow in the dark stick...make your own stickers. So, like put some of those into all of them. I was very into process I was very into like inserting something into every one. And I loved the folding, I loved the packaging, and the kind of making the stack of things to address, stamps to put on, you know kind of compulsively so that way.
Miyuki: I decided to participate, one because she invited me and that's a very generous gesture. And you can't really turn that down, but two because blank space to me is absolutely terrifying. I just find it just totally paralyzing. And have. For years and will for years to come. And so, of course I had to say yes because there's no other way to deal with paralyzing blank space than staring at it.
Tania: Yeah, I mean I grew up in San Francisco and I I went to a college called Bard and I think that although...and I actually even, I mean, I kind of made a zine when I was in high school. It was called, what was it called, Perusa. which means inquiry I think in like Sanskrit or something. But, then also it was a play on words with perusal like you could just peruse it. So, yeah I was familiar with zines and I actually love sort of the punk nature of zines and the political nature of zines and all that they represent and the countercultureness of it. It's kind of like Pirate Radio
Garrett: White space, two lines, each like a train track. Travel through space. The opposite of what is familiar. Negative descending, the positive, an arrow on which familiarity travels without limits. Familiarity and human likeness.
Julie: For a sort of literary styles. I mean I was really highly influenced by just the general mail art culture for sure. And that was like the Wild West of design and creativity and innovation. And I had a real love for the Fluxus movement. I know like a lot of that, those two kind of artful historical entities really were on my mind a lot during these years and they were communities that I tapped into, other fans of those things and the Fluxus and the mail art were very heavily connected as well so that was kind of a logical bridge.
Interviewer (archive tape): Well George, let's skip back a little bit. How did Fluxus get its start?
George Maciunas (archive tape): First plan was to publish a magazine Fluxus. And that's how the name came about. And we just, like the dictionary meaning, kind of several meanings, which anybody can look up. It was influenced directly by the school of John Cage that he had in the New School where people like George Brecht, Dick Higgins, Jackson Mac Low were taking in 1958 to 59 I think. They were taking a class and all those people later were associated with, well the magazine never came out in time, it came like five or four years after. We started to plan it and we just found it was too costly to do. The concepts was easy to do.
Like Ben Vautier, who has a lot of theater shock pieces as he calls. There would be, for instance, a play going on and on announced all people would come for that play, but the door is locked. Meanwhile the play starts and goes on. And they just, you know, they hear all the noises, but they cannot get in.
There's another audience piece like that, similar, where at the end of the concept we would tell that well the last piece has to be performed in a secret place and we have to take one row at a time to that place.So the usher will take the first row of people, they would follow him and he will just take them down the back exit into the street. Meanwhile the rest, you know, they all sort of drinking in anticipation, what's that next piece? And they'll never know except when they actually go through it.
Julie: There were a few others, zinesters, zine makers at the time that I definitely was close with and some of the formats, you know, shared certain aesthetic qualities. The cut up, the black and white Kinkos, you know, like sort of Kinko's style. But, of course the content was pretty different one to the next.
Charles Bukowski (archive tape): Style. Style is the answer to everything. A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing. To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without it.
Garrett: My performance of childhood; a kind of dark traffic. Men in uniform were posted all along its length. Some had cameras, some had guns. To slip down it's invisible curtains like sheets.
Garrett (on phone): Well, that seems to be something you've really carried with it through, up til now is, like, the important conversation of a community of making stuff. And so the participation in making things is in part to facilitate people coming together.
Garrett: Curtains like sheets tied together and hung out hotel window. Toward itself.
Garrett (on phone): You were saying that the way of mapping this out was sort of a collage effect. So, would that be mostly gluing things down or taping them, I know eventually they reach the copy machine.
Julie: Glue sticks, it was always glue sticks.
The, with the format of Anodyne being the, you know, every other page or every few pages for signs, that to me provides kind of the backbone of each issue. And then a kind of mess of montage and collage could spiral out from that center through line. And so there was some order, but also with a sense of almost improvisation and experimentation around that very direct and consistent part of putting the signs in each issue.
Garrett: Tattoos and teeth. Several cases presented on morning hospital rounds led to the observation that there might be a relationship between the number of teeth and the number of tattoos a person possesses. We tallied data and plotted the number of natural teeth both intact and broken against the number of tattoos both professional and amateur. Examined all patients who were seen by the anesthesiologist service who had at least one tattoo. We set no lower limit for the number teeth. Results? The quantities of teeth and tattoos are inversely related, if a patient has tattoos he or she is likely to be missing teeth. For adults more tattoos equal fewer teeth. The teeth tattoo relationship is linear. See figure. We are continuing to collect and refine our data.
Whitney Henry-Lester: I think probably right around that time. So, I mean, I have this. I was trying to think, OK what what is something important enough to me that I would put it down on paper and encourage other people to take a moment, even if it's just a second to look at it and it was just, you know. I can think too hard about that. And so, I didn't want to think too hard about that. The first thing that came to mind was something that I'd been doing and had been working on, it being really important to me, was just taking Sundays away from the internet and I'd been like, it's a lot easier to do if you name it. So I named it, no internet Sundays, it was this thing that I was doing.
Allyson: Submitting anything to anybody else is really different stakes than doing your own thing. I think I was thinking a lot more about you know not should I submit, but could I submit something that would be good enough. You know you sort of have an idea for your own show or your own project, what that level is. But, when I submitted to Julie's zine I really didn't know what any of the other entries were.
Angeline Gragásin: Actually, you know, I think I didn't know what other people had written. I think I didn't have the URL for the blog, if I remember correctly, it was not written on the form. Because I remember being surprised after seeing mine go up, what other people had written. I remember being surprised that people had thought to even draw pictures and I remember thinking, ah man I should have done that. But, I think at the time I wanted to be as, like, what was the most concise, succinct statement that I could make and stand behind. It was the thing is going to be published you know. And that, that was it.
Tania: You know if I had maybe given it deeper thought in the sense of I don't know how can I. A lot, a lot of people know Hug O' War, you know, a lot of people are familiar with that poem and Shel Silverstein and I have a five year old and we had just gotten those poetry books so they were kind of in the ether around my house. But, I mean, I think that in my sort of maybe playful, quick thinking way I was like oh this will be a great way to sort of say all right well we're in this political moment that's sort of devastating. Why don't we soften it up a bit and put something playful and remind people that you know above all else love and and care and affection and respect for others is what matters. And I think there are lots of ways to say that you know. I mean there are lots of, you could say it through a kid's poem like I chose to do or you could say it through you know some political writing or you could you know something by Naomi Klein or maybe something by Noam Chomsky or something that you know something that really questions. And if I had really wanted to get into that and sort of think through the concept of what's a zine and what does this really mean and how can you sort of uncover something through that medium or maybe share something in a way that you wouldn't be able to share otherwise, I probably would have shared something different. But, you know, everyone loves Hug O' War. And it's sweet.
Whitney: Or trying to do. It's a practice, it's an ongoing thing. But, that seems like worthy to put down and I'd also actually been, you know I do a lot of sort of like weird paper stuff, collage, or this like printmaking but very, very, very amateur level.
So I have this desk that's like set up for writing letters and I just went to the desk and said OK what do I have around here I've got this typewriter, I've got this stamp I actually had because I had carved this heart stamped for my wedding invitations. So it was just right like right there at the moment and I just played around with what I had on my writing desk. And this is what came out.
Julie: I feel like in choosing to bring the zine back, that's exactly what happened. I wasn't. It wasn't like a conscious decision. Oh it's been 22 years I'm going to do this again. It was going through stuff and finding the signs, finding a folder of the blank signs, that somehow was with me and always thinking. A couple times over the years I felt like oh maybe it's time to do this again and revisit, but I really had the strong sense that I had the space in my life for it. And I was really excited to kind of turn away from all digital all the time. And think about you know extending, inviting people to like go so far as to find a stamp and an envelope to send this back to me you know and some people wont. That's the thing, that's a barrier for a lot. But, now it's so novel. People are like, you're gonna send me something in the mail?
And hand writing, you know, that I'm like like addressing. I mean, I did print out a letter because I didn't want to write that 80 times, but you know a little bit of a note to everyone who participates, and actually writing out the actresses and most people hand write them back because it's a little hard to finagle you know, you could type onto it, some people type with a typewriter, but yeah it's like that just humanness about sending something to someone and getting it back.
And in Portland there were some local kind of I would say zine superstars that I knew and kind of ran into a bunch; sometimes at Kinkos making our zines. So yeah, I would say there was a very strong kind of shared community, creative energy between everyone making them and a real generosity too. You would definitely trade yours with someone else's. And I think I sold them for like a buck or two to cover postage. Never. I mean it was never ever a profit making venture and is not this time around either. I'm just paying for stamps and you know beg borrowing and stealing. I took a stack of envelopes from my father's neurology practice. He retired and had this stack of envelopes and I was like I'll take these for my zine, perfect. You know. So that's why there's a pink tape over the envelope that you got because. Yeah. Because that was what you would do, you just, you know, used as few resources as possible. You have to pay for postage.
Simon: It's kind of like the bullet that lodged in your gut and, you know, your skin grows around it and you just live with it and you know eventually it just becomes part of ya. So, I guess that's what a little, if it doesn't kill you. It might make you stronger, but it mightn't kill you again. You know, it's just, it's done all the damage it's going to do and now it's just a part of you.
Garrett (on phone): Did you have an overarching theme for each one that distinguished the musings on daily life or was it really governed just like, it was, the overarching was Anodyne and it was just built up with what you had at the time.
Julie: Yeah, more the latter because I would constantly be collecting you know books to cut things out of and ideas for interviews. I did some some some print interviews. A lot were just kind of like stream of conscious writings, quasi poetry ranting. You know. It's funny because certain phrases and clusters of words still ring true for me, but they're always surrounded by a lot of guff. But yeah, it was a little bit of a mind dump, and a heart dump, and a brain dump each time.
Garrett: So, if you'd like to play the kids with sign game. Or already have and would like to play again. Or know someone who you think might like to play. Or need some advice. Or want a Connie Francis tape. Or just feel like ranting about the general chaos that seems imminent. Or perhaps you'd like to rave about it. Please send your comments along with a brief statement to Anodyne.
the point or place where something begins, arises, or is derived.
Garrett Tiedemann: The thing with beginnings is that once you've started, it sometimes becomes clear that you're already in the middle. That you started a million and a half times already and you're actually drawing conclusions that you must be in the proximity of some other ending.
Garrett (on phone): Were there any sort of huge influences on how you approached the method? Either within zine [mispronounced] writers or outside in literature, audio, that sort of thing.
Julie Shapiro: I have to say I find it so interesting that you call them zines and not zines [like magazine]. Is this like a...maybe it's a divide of like who did it when?
Garrett: Well, so, I did not learn of these things until sort of after the fact. So things like the pronunciations are not part of my cultural upbringing.
Julie: It doesn't look like zine, it looks like zine. Sure.
Garrett: So, this is partly also like, in a selfish way, this is me learning through you a particular version of this development in the late 90s. Things like that.
Julie: Yeah. Well think of, I mean it was zine because they were like kind of like magazines. I mean that's how I always thought of it.
Allyson McCabe: You know there's a way in which your personal experience has a broader public point. You know that's why people, that's why there can be sites where people digitize these mix tapes and share them and even if I don't know either party, the party who made it or the party who it was made for, I can still relate to the emotions. And I feel that that carries over to the idea of a zine. You know a zine could have one, it could have an audience of one. It could have an audience of many more than one. But, the sweet spot I think is the idea where it feels a little bit exclusive, a little bit underground, a little bit like not everybody knows about this thing and that's what makes it kind of fun.
Julie: I mean I always have done this, well to state the obvious not by myself because it's completely about other people, but I've never collaborated with someone in making it, beyond the signs you know, so it's funny because I was thinking, you know I had decided not to go into audio with it at all like firmly, I'm not interested in that for this. I wanted something outside of that part of my life through this. But that ,I was actually really intrigued by the idea of someone else doing it. So, it was really interesting when you reached out with this idea of could you, you know, could you sonifi some of these ideas and some of the signs that come back beyond just reading them and you know what's the sonic interpretation of the message people are sending. Messages people are sending.
Garrett: Samples from Anodyne. Don't let the fascists tell you what to do.
Julie: Anodyne had a lot. It had like, was like...
Allyson: There's this great quote from Virginia Woolf and she says partially in writing a letter to someone you're trying to give back a reflection of them. I mean that's kind of a paraphrase, but... In writing a letter you want to give a reflection back to that person of who they are. I mean, I think that's an amazing thing.
Julie: The centerfold was always like a woman hero. One was like Harriet the Spy in the cover of that book. One was Connie Francis because I kept finding Connie Francis records at the thrift store. One was like this amazing postcard. It was like a chainsaw advertisement and had this like 50s woman sitting on a like bright red chainsaw with like a beautiful display of colorful chainsaws behind her, sort of menacing, but except it was actually just an advertisement. Strong, strong woman wielding wielding a chainsaw. But, yeah, I think I'm just trying to remember like as the riot grrrl stuff came and my sense of feminism was growing as well. You know how that was expressed through a more cultural lens and a sort of fun and sometimes ironic lens as well.
People are drawn to a community vibe and then feel more welcome and then become part and then pull others in.
Garrett: When nothing is done, nothing is left undone. Last night I dreamed I was in hell and now I'm having trouble making a list of things to blow up. I didn't realize I was in hell until I got out of bed, Julie the sixties glasses wanted to be hear about it. Instead I gave her another piece of metal I found inside a dumpster in an alley.
Orson Welles (archive tape): It's true. It's a good story though.
Miyuki Jokiranta: Ah, how did you first become aware of Julie's zine?
Tania Ketenjian: I didn't know that she had done the zine in the past and so...You know it doesn't surprise me that she has. But, yeah, I didn't know and I thought Gosh how does she find the time to do it.
Allyson: Really only vaguely. I think it was described in a social media post as a redux of the zine. You know, so I kind of worked my way back and then I found out more about what she was doing before and making those connections.
Simon Roche: She sent me a letter, I guess some time a year ago maybe, and in it was one of these little cards with the little kids on it, holding up their blank card, and I was like OK and she just said will you fill this in I've got a collection of them that I keep online.
Whitney Henry-Lester: Probably. I think she had a pin pinned tweet on Twitter that said something, I'm resurrecting my zine and I didn't know about the original zine, but it sounded like something that Julie would do.
Angeline Gragásin: I encountered her zine at an event at Kickstarter last October. I saw the zine before I knew who Julie was. She had already distributed several copies. They were kind of strewn about the space like amongst the snacks.
Julie: Is actually the origin story, so I came upon this image of these two kids holding up the sign in like a 1950s health book and so I whited out what was in their sign, it was like tips for good health, and I just, it was blank, and I thought like well here's a blank canvas to just invite people to you know speak up about what they're thinking about. So, it was very like of the time, of the DIY, of the like give people a voice you know kind of, I think of it a little bit like pre-status updates. You know it was kind of the analogue version of just speaking your mind and sharing it with the public.
Allyson: You want to make it as organic as possible. It's not like you're taking your brand new pair of jeans and deciding to you know drive over it 100 times in your driveways so they look distressed. You actually want it to be distressed. I think that there is a kind of sincerity even in that construction when you're putting these things together.
Julie: So, I was actually, I was in college in Colorado in Boulder and I actually started getting into mail art, like postal mail art, M-A-I-L, and this was right also around the time I was working in a record store and I was really getting into the kind of riot grrrl music movement.
[brief riot grrrl interlude]
Julie: Just a lot of DIY energy around. And I started morphing my kind of mail art, which was basically just make stuff and send it out to people who would make stuff and send it back.
Garrett: Join us, we're donating our bodies to automobile crash tests.
Stop the slogan. X-ray-o-matic.
Allyson: You know that feel real. You know that the flaws are what make them human. I think there's something about listening to some podcasts you know and some looking at some zines; any kind of homemade media that people realize that there is a person behind this and their trace is part of what's happening and that's kind of what makes it appealing. I don't have to necessarily look at zine and go oh you know who's is this or be able to tell you know that looks like a so and so. But, what I can get out of is the idea that some human person or group of people made this and they took the time to put this all together and it feels to me a lot more satisfying than a glossy magazine that maybe you know has recycled the same stories over and over again or is just chasing what's happening right now.
Julie: There was a really thriving underground of mail art; international actually. So, there were probably five or six dozen people who I would occasionally trade mail art with, but then because it was happening at a time where a lot of young girls were kind of speaking up and supporting each other. That became something I wanted to do more of and have more of an editorial kind of narrative input on I think although I'm sure I wasn't thinking of it in those terms so I'm putting that back on it now. I also was really into like a lot of kitsch and I was a thrifter and I collected things and that kind of old school clip art.
Garrett: Anodyne 1. Failure to read may result in injuries or death.
Anodyne came to English via Latin from Greek and it has been used as both an adjective and a noun since the 16th century. It has sometimes been used of things that dull or lull the senses and render painful experiences less so. Now, in addition to describing things that dull pain, Anodyne can also refer to that which doesn't cause discomfort in the first place.
Julie: So, that's how it started, and I called it Anodyne because I loved what that meant. It wasn't a word that was on a record album cover yet or... It also became the name of a publication in the northwest but, I think Wilco put out a record called Anodyne. But, before that I decided to call the zine Anodyne and then I had copped this little warning from a instruction manual. So the cover was just like the sign with the kids and it would say Anodyne. And then the bottom would say failure to read may result in injury or death.
So, that was like the basic template for it. And then, so there was some similarity from issue to issue. And then, yeah inside was kind of anybody's guess.
Miyuki: I think I first became aware of Julie's zine when we were doing this fantastic project in New Zealand. We were road tripping across New Zealand and looking for tiny libraries. Libraries that were the size of your bathroom or your closet or potentially your living room. And we were rolling over the hills, this kind of incredible New Zealand landscape, and Julie was kind of just telling me about her past and she told me about a zine that she used to run, she used to distribute, when she worked in a record shop when she was living that indie life. And that was the first I heard of it.
Julie: I mean, one problem with doing a zine in that time in my life was I moved around so much so I was constantly getting contributions mailed forwarded to me like sometimes two addresses behind etc or having friends pick up mail and you know a lot of a lot of my memory of putting that thing together actually happened in the fluorescent lit Kinko's in the middle of the night. I think that's where I actually did a lot of the work. So, the mail would come to my house or come to a P.O. Box but I would actually take it all into Kinko's because, I think I said earlier, I had friends working there or I would make friends with people there and then just set up camp and spread out you know commandeer the counters and just go to town for several hours.
Garrett: How you act in public is important because people will form an opinion as to the kind of person you are by observing your manners.
Julie: What was I saying? So, yeah, I think it was this blend of already being in the habit of going to the post office a lot, making things, being delighted by things coming back. And then the zine, zines were just coming up and so I felt like I was plugged into that scene already and it was a very logical, natural thing to do.
Garrett: Sharing. A folktale by Jeff Grimes.
A young couple are holding hands on a walk which follows a dry creek bed. Under a large cottonwood tree they find the dead bodies of a man and woman. The bodies lie lazily next to a clump of tree roots. There are knife cuts on their clothes and skin. Leaves stick to the dead woman's throat. After a long day of talking with police, reporters, friends, and family the young couple go to the man's apartment. He convinces the woman he had been holding hands with to perform oral sex on him. He thinks these words perform oral sex on me. Although he doesn't say them and uses his hands and body movements to do the persuading. The woman's name is Lilia. She shares a distaste for eating with her mother. As a result, their bodies look very much alike. For instance, there is no difference between the size of a mother's lower arm and upper one. The same is true for her daughter. Now Lilia has a man's penis in her mouth. She thinks she hears a teakettle whistling in the distance. The man's name is Jerry. Without opening his eyes he looks outside the room. In the dark there are two children, a boy and a girl. They are holding a sign and smiling.
Unknown Male (archive tape): This abstraction, called Caprolan Number One is not a painting and it's not on campus. It's printed on Caprolan nylon and can be worn.
Julie: Yeah, so giving a platform to other people. And I was really interested in the contrast, like how people would approach this idea of here's a very small like parameters right like it's just a couple inches by a couple inches and what can you do in that space. So, I would leave them for people to find and mail back to me and then they would get a copy of the zine. I would give them to other zine makers and we would trade zines. I would give them to like musicians coming through town at the record store. So, for me it was kind of a way to just connect with interesting people and a place for me to pour out some of my own angsty thoughts at that time. Originally the zine had a lot more writing, and a lot more overwriting. Oh my gosh I've been reading through some old issues and the editor, the now me you know a couple of decades working in editing other people's writing is so kind of charmed and horrified by that stuff. But, you know, I had feelings, I had a lot of feelings back then I guess. And there is you know an element of humor and there were reviews, there were some record reviews. I did things like interview toll booth operators about what they loved about their jobs and gas station attendants and in Portland where I was then moved and lived most of the gas stations were run by attendants so. I had this like, I thought it was brilliant. I'd ask every gas station attendant, What's your favorite kind of sandwich?
And then a friend made like a comic of it. I mean you know it was like, pretty random, quirky, nonessential, all wrapped up and that would all surround the zines that people would send me back.
Simon: And I'd say I probably left it for like six months or whatever. I left it for a long time and then she kind of reminded me somehow. Usually analogue like, we don't have, I don't have that many mails or texts or anything, but she reminded me going could just get me the thing I really need to post it.
So I was like OK. So I kind of wrote something that was on my mind right then and I sent it off and I I knew nothing more about it. I don't know, somehow I do remember her telling me it was online and I must of looked at it online, but it's all a blur. So, I'm not quite sure.
So, I don't really know much about Julie's Tumblr at all, except for the fact that you're now ringing me about it.
"Blank slate" redirects here.
For other uses, (disambiguation).
Part of a series
Tabula rasa (/ˈtæbjələ ˈrɑːsə, -zə, ˈreɪ-/)
In Locke's philosophy, tabula rasa was the theory that at birth the (human) mind is a "blank slate" without rules for processing data, and that data is added and rules for processing are formed solely by one's sensory experiences.
Julie Shapiro: It's funny how it was like a part of my life then, but really was like a foundation for everything that's come since. Building of a community of readers, by involving people as participants, was part of the plan a little bit.
Angeline Gragásin: I'm happy to support Julie and her work in any way I can.
Tania Ketenjian: Whatever Julie is involved with, immediately my ears perk up.
Allyson McCabe: I know that she has a sort of zine name, which was Julie Atomic, and I was always sort of curious where it came from.
Whitney Henry-Lester: Pretty much anything that Julie does I am happy to participate in.
Simon Roche: Someone said, I know this girl you should send her one of those. And, I did and then she was like Oh, my god, I love the printed word.
Garrett Tiedemann: Samples from Anodyne.
past tense: revealed; past participle: revealed
make (previously unknown
cause or allow (something)
Miyuki Jokiranta: I didn't really know what I would write and I didn't really know what other people were writing. I hadn't really seen anything posted yet. And I loved this idea that if I didn't peak, then potentially I would be revealed amongst a whole bunch of ideas and thoughts and images at the same time. And that that revelation could potentially say something, suggest something, present something.
This Offbeat episode was produced for the KCRW 2017 Radio Race. The theme was Down With Whatever and included a special bonus clip of David Bowie performing for special consideration. Everything had to be recorded and mixed within 24-hours.
Unnamed Child: So, what I am making here is a little family.
Garrett Tiedemann (Narration): Thinking is difficult. Getting up is difficult. Planning is difficult.
This morning I left the record player on mistakenly. The old analog hum lingered in time as I got my kids' lunch together. Made me remember what it was like before being a parent. Made me remember my wife sleeping in. Me reading. Time. The air not doing anything.
Instead of taking an idea and planning it out, grabbing a microphone, and going outside; I gave a microphone to a child, to wander around with, carry it. An identity from a child who cannot speaking. Chasing after a child who can.
Garrett (to unnamed child): You're making a family? What are we going to do with the family once you finish coloring them in?
Child: Go to the park!
Garrett (Narration): Ideas over product. Ideas over thought excursion. As I just let the recorder go.
I have this book. It's, in the closest sense, my book. Because they are notes. They are notes that I write as I'm making things, writing things, coming up with ideas. And from time to time I go back through them. Like now when I don't have any idea what I'm doing. Grabbing at words. Trying to screw things together. And when you do that, you're not only taking something and making something anew, but you're reengaging with an idea from a past time. Trying to get a sense of what it was, trying to see its connections to the rest of the page. How a thought got put down and forgotten. How a thought became a thought. Became something obliged to exist.
It's an idea I want to live with, it's an idea I want to store; contain and have as a moment in time.
I did what the instructions said. We went out, did our day, a certain day in the life. I had this idea for a story about a day in the life of living with children. Being a part of children. Being enrapt in the abstraction and curiosity and experimentalism of sound that is children. Children naturally are an orchestra billowing out at the edges.
It's the thing that drives some people nuts and it's the thing that's most stimulating; a house is dead when your children are gone. There is no sound like their presence or their absence.
America is less. Resist.
Orson Welles: To be born free is to be born in debt. To live in freedom without fighting slavery is to profiteer. My plane last night I flew over some parts of our republic where American citizenship is a luxury beyond the means of the majority. I rode comfortably in my plane above a sovereign state or two where fellow countrymen of ours can't vote without the privilege of cash. Surely my right to having more than enough is cancelled if I don't use that more to help those who have less.
My subject today is the question of moral indebtedness. So I'd like to acknowledge the debt that goes with ownership. I believe, and this has very much to do with my own notion of freedom, I believe I owe the profit I make to the people I make it from. Any public man owes his position to the public. That's what I mean when I say I am your obedient servant. It's a debt payable in service of the highest efforts of the debtor. The extension of this moral argument insists that no man owns anything outright since he owns it rent free.
A wedding never bought a wife and the devotion of his child is no man's for the mere begetting. We must each day earn what we own. A healthy man owes to the sick all that he can do for them. An educated man owes to the ignorant all that he can do for them. A free man owes to the world slaves all that he can do for them. And what is to be done is more, much more than good works, Christmas baskets, bonuses and tips, and bread and circuses.
There is only one thing to be done with slaves: free them. If we can't die on behalf of progress we can live for it. Progress we Americans take to mean a fuller realization of democracy, the measure of progress as we understand it is the measure of equality and joy by all men. We can do something about that.
If we waste that gift we won't have anywhere to hide from the indignation of history.
I want to say this: the morality of the auction block is out of date. There is no room in the American century for Jim Crow. The Times urge new militancy upon the Democratic attitude. Tomorrow's democracy discriminates against discrimination. It's charter won't include the freedom to end freedom.
I come with a call for action. American law forbids a man the right to take away another's right. It must be law that groups of men can't use the machinery of our Republic to limit the rights of other groups. That the vote for instance can't be used to take away the vote. It's in the people's power to see to it that what makes lynchings and starts wars is dealt with. In a people's world the incurable racist has no rights. He must be deprived of influence in a people's government, he must be segregated as he himself would segregate. Our liberty has every day to be safe from marauders whose greed is for all things possessed by the people. Care of these possessions is the hope of life on this planet. They are living things they grow. These fair possessions of democracy. And nothing, but death can stop that growth.
Let the yearners for the past, the willfully childish, learn now the facts of life. The first of which is the fact of that growth. In our hemisphere the growing has begun, but only just begun. America can write her name across this century and so she will if we the people brown and black and red rise now to the great occasion of our brotherhood. It will take courage. It calls for the doing of great deeds, which means the dreaming of great dreams. Giving the world back to its inhabitants is too big a job for the merely practical. The architects of freedom are always capable of hope. The lawmakers of true democracy are true believers, they believe quite simply in the people in all of them.
Be of good heart. The fight is worth it. But, what will be here when we are gone. America is the less.
Part of this year's more diversified Academy Award nominations, Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan have been nominated for Best Sound Editing for La LA Land; becoming the first all-female team nominated in the category (Ai-Ling is also nominated for Best Sound Mixing along with Andy Nelson and Steve A. Morrow). As sound supervisors and designers on the project, their job was to lead the teams that brought every sound you hear. With a heavy emphasis on using production sound versus pre-recorded mixes of music; the performances in the film often feel more organic and real, not so decentered from the overall sound of the narrative as is customary with the genre. This approach informs every step of the audio process; a fine balance of imaginary realism, with key components of audio that connect to the makeup of our everyday living.
Taken from the print version of this piece, which appeared on YourClassical.
Morgan: Ai-Ling and I were both working on a film by Cameron Crowe called We Bought a Zoo. I was working at Fox and I was brought onto the show by one of the mixers, Doug Hemphill, who had worked with her and thought she'd be perfect as a sound designer for the film. I was already supposed to be the sound supervisor on it and I was going to supervise with another person, but [that other person] couldn't do it. So as we were working really well together, I asked her if she wanted to supervise it with me and she said yes — so that was the first time we worked together as a sound supervising team. Since then we've done four [including] La-La Land, and now we're also working on Battle of the Sexes, which is about the Billie Jean King versus Bobby Riggs tennis match.
Could you briefly explain the difference between a supervising sound editor and the distinctions that get broken down in the final credits?
Lee: I would think a supervisor would have more of a direct relationship with the filmmakers: going to meet with them to discuss ideas to see how the sound can help with the storytelling and to try to take everyone's ideas, including your own, and work on it to make it come to fruition. Typically in a sound editorial department for features it's composed by a team of sound editors; mainly broken up into dialogue, ADR [dialogue re-recorded for better sound quality], effects, and Foley. So, the sound supervisor would then coordinate with sound editors to try to achieve the vision of the filmmakers — and sometimes the sound supervisor also edits the sounds together or gathers everyone's work together to present it.
How does your collaboration work?
Morgan: Usually when we supervise together I focus on dialogue and ADR — all the spoken words, for the most part — and Ai-Ling deals with sound design, sound effects, backgrounds. Then there's usually a Foley person or a Foley supervisor, but she supervises that Foley supervisor to tell him what the director wants because the first thing we do is meet with the director and picture editor and we have a spotting session and we play the whole movie and take notes and they give us their vision of how it should sound.
So, what were your first thoughts when you saw La La Land?
Lee: You could tell, even early on, with how it's shot, the directions, the choices that [director] Damien [Chazelle] made, and all the beautiful original music that it was going to be a really beautiful, personal movie. It's a very brave choice for Damien.
Do you approach a film like this any differently than, say, Planet of the Apes, or any of the big-budget superhero films you've done? Is the process any different?
Morgan: Well, I think any time we approach a film and start working on a film you have to think okay, what is the style of the film? What is, as you said, the palette? What is the mood of the film? The textures of the film? And we do the sound work according to that.
In the case of La La Land, because [Chazelle] made it very clear that he wanted the sound to be very naturalistic and then had to seamlessly transition into the musical numbers, on my side, because I was doing dialogue and ADR, I tried really hard to use all the production sound that was recorded with the images and not replace a lot of it with ADR and dubbing — because I knew that he didn't want that, he wanted to sound real. Even with the singing there were several places where the singing was done live on set, for the more emotional numbers like her audition number at the end.
I did cover some of that in ADR, but sometimes I would just use a word or a syllable so that I could keep as much of the production as possible. But, on other movies, like Planet of the Apes or an action film, you know they're going to use a lot of ADR and you cover it and you record all the ADR and you try to get it in the movie. But, in this case I held back — I really tried to make all the production [dialogue] work and [with] Andy Nelson we decided we can make this production work, even though it sounds really noisy. We're just going to make it work and maybe sprinkle in a couple of words of ADR. That helped anchor the film and keep it in reality until it took flight and went into a musical fantasy world.
It really did. It didn't feel separated out like some musicals can — you get that feeling of the space in the room not being manufactured.
Lee: They wanted to make sure the music doesn't sound too Broadway-ish, so having a live recording helps ground it too.
Did it change how you worked, rather than if you had everything contained from studio recordings?
Morgan: Certain things. For example, the duet number where they're dancing overlooking Los Angeles, the first dance they have together where she's wearing the yellow dress; that duet goes from production speaking and there of course is background sounds, the noises of Los Angeles.
Ai-Ling put more backgrounds on it and then it transitions into the musical, but I don't know if it's Ryan Gosling's voice or the way it was recorded (possibly), but the quality of his [studio-recorded] voice was very similar to the quality of the production, and so it was this gradual transition. So, on my side I had to make a background fill of the noisy background that was with the dialogue. And we continue that over the transition to the music, and Ai-Ling did the same thing with her sound effects.
Lee: Yeah, basically for that scene I would maintain the background, the city sounds, and insects through their singing and as the song goes they slowly taper down so that the music would take more precedent. So, we established Foley cloth movement, back movement, footsteps, hand grabbing the lamppost, and stuff like that that helps ground them rather than just prerecorded singing voices. The Foley helps make it feel like it's a live recording, that they're really singing there.
How do you pinpoint those moments?
Lee: With a musical you have to be very selective. Even when you edit these Foley, you have to be really careful to make sure they are in rhythm to the music rather than too much in sync sometimes because your eyes can fool you because your brain just connects to the rhythm rather than what you see and sync sometimes. And, of course the pitch and tone of the sound, it should not clash with the music. Otherwise either they just get lost in [the music] or just poke out like a sore thumb.
For the opening number, even though every so often the dancers would be walking around while dancing, we were careful not to play all of the [footsteps] all the time, it's only used to accentuate the music or a particular move that you see. And Damien is very specific about that. He's very meticulous, down to almost an exact science — so even though sometimes, like in the middle of the traffic song, a group of them are dancing on the cars, we did not play that because sometimes those sounds may overpower the music. For those I opt not to play up the stomps at all, but later on in the traffic song when you see the wide shot of all the dancers on top of the cars, for that area I played some of their stomping and dancing on the car roofs.
That's after they introduce the percussion band in the truck, right? Which kind of justifies a shift in the sound.
Lee: Yes, yes. So you know, things like that — or even like the crowd, suddenly you hear them cheering and clapping in rhythm to the music. Little moments like that helps ground it and actually makes it more fun on the track.
Is working with someone who has that sort of sensibility you talked about, where he's really specific on what the sound is going to do, different than someone who maybe doesn't seem to really know how to talk about it?
Morgan: Sure, because sometimes you work with directors who will give you some notes but they're not very specific. And then it's up to you to bring them something, and then once there's something in front of them they can bounce off of what you've shown them or played for them and then they give you notes on that and you build from there. But with Damien...I mean, there was a really nice give-and-take, but he started off every scene and told us what he wanted. Then it would evolve, but we would usually start with that.
Lee: He would tell us what he would like to have, his vision. In the opening sequence, for example, he wants to slowly build up the horns and the car radio, built into this cacophony of sound, real sounds, and then through that the musical number comes in. So he would say "I want to make sure people know it's in a traffic jam. The cars are standing still," so he doesn't want to hear any sounds of cars driving by, just cars idling, not any kind of moving since we were trying to sell through a soundscape to the audience that we are in a traffic jam in Los Angeles without seeing it visually until later on when the camera pans down to the individual cars.
From the very beginning, when you introduced Mia and Sebastian you articulated who they were and who they were going to be through their sounds so she's driving a Prius, very clean and sort of non-disruptive — whereas he's driving an old car that's loud and he's rewinding tape and making all these sort of noises until he honks at her and it's like that archetypes how they're going to come together. Was that the forethought going into it, or was it that just worked for the opening?
Morgan: I'm sure that that's how Damien wrote the characters. It's funny, I never thought of it 'til now, but when you described it I thought, yes, Sebastian's very analog and she's a little more modern and digital even though they're both dreamers and they both love old Hollywood. He loves jazz and she loves old Hollywood but he's a very analog character.
Lee: Thinking about the dinner fight scene, though, and Damien having such a good concept and idea about music and rhythm...you could even tell in his dialogue scenes, such as this dinner scene, that there's rhythm between Sebastian and Mia: how they paced that fight, the dialogue between them, and how Damien liked to use the production almost like production Foley props, like all the cutlery sounds or the drinking in between the lines to help accentuate the rhythm of that scene. It's not like obvious that it's music, but in the way it has this musical rhythm in there too.
Morgan: The thing I love about that scene is I have watched that scene hundreds of times, maybe, and I never ever notice exactly when the music goes away because I get so sucked into the argument every time, but then at a certain point you realize the music has stopped. But for me, I don't hear it when it stops. I realize "oh my gosh, the music stopped." And I think when Ai-Ling brought in the sound of the record, the record hitting those grooves...
Lee: Oh, yeah, the hiss.
Morgan: It doesn't start right away when the music stops. It starts later on.
Lee: Yeah, so you have this tense silence, moment of silence, between the two of them. And then you hear the hiss of the record coming in.
I realize films today have a lot of music in them, but did it feel like this had more music than you're used to working with, and did that complicate it at all, or since it was a musical was it kind of like "nope, this is the world"? Morgan: Yeah, I don't feel like it had more. It's funny because especially when you work on some of these bigger action movies, they have so much music in them and often when we're at the final mix on movies like that, inevitably someone, one of the producers or the director, says what if we took that cue out and we took that cue out. But in La La Landit was different because it was all mapped out ahead of time and maybe because the music was so integral to the story, I didn't feel like there was more music than usual. I felt like the music...
Lee: ...was just such a big part of the story.
Morgan: It was very organic. It's the best. It really is the best-case scenario in terms of doing sound for a film when it's organic like that and it's all of one piece and everything goes together so well.
Caly McMorrow is an interactive art and sound artist based in St. Paul Minnesota. Immediately after the 2016 presidential election she participated in social media catharsis by covering a well referenced Leonard Cohen song and sharing it for those who it may benefit. In this episode she talks about the post and her continued efforts to unify and connect people together through the complications of life and art.
To see photos of the piece Status Update visit: http://www.calymcmorrow.com/status-update/
Music in this episode by Caly McMorrow is from her album All of This is Temporary and can be found here: http://www.calymcmorrow.com/music/
Caly McMorrow: So when I learned piano, it was very much classical and I didn't really play popular music growing up. And so when I sit down and play, I often just play - I joke not joke that I got good enough at piano to play Beethoven sonatas badly.
But, interactive installation art...means making for people to interact with. So, there's a lot about museum culture that's look and don't touch or you're the audience and I'm a performer and so I'm the creator and you're the consumer. And the thing I like about interactive installation art is that that line is blurred or goes away entirely. So, creating experiences or environments that an audience is invited to participate with and the purpose of the art work isn't really realized unless they do that.
No, no. It was, actually the line in the song, in the chorus, one of them is forget your perfect offering. And so I thought, well this is not perfect and here you go anyway.
You know, everybody was quoting this line from Anthem. I didn't really know it very well and I went and found it and listened to it and read the lyrics and it just one of those things where; oh man, this really captures what I'm feeling right now. And it's kind of prescient because he's gone.
I like having something that's prepared, but still has that random thing in it as well. But, having that safety too I felt like putting this recording up took a lot of that away and so it was a scary thing for me to do actually.
It was a link that a friend of mine...and this was like Tuesday, Wednesday morning when I couldn't sleep and I was up at like four in the morning. I kind of wanted to put Facebook down, but at the same time it was this...I knew that other people were awake and posting and going through the same thing so I wanted to sleep but I didn't want to put it down because I felt connected to these people that way.
And a friend of mine said, you should Google Amanda Palmer reading Goodnight Moon,and I hadn't seen her do it. And there's just a bunch of videos when really terrible things have happened in the world where she would say a lot of bad stuff is going on right now, but I've got a baby and I've got Goodnight Moon and I'm gonna read Goodnight Moon and there is something about these simple comforting things, especially as somebody who that was my favorite bedtime book as a little kid. That was just really cathartic to watch and kind of the same thing, this imperfect spur of the moment thing that she did; I think maybe to comfort herself and hopefully comfort other people. And it did, for me, so I thought OK, maybe if I do this thing. It's kind of crappy, and the music nerd in me is AAAH, there's parallel fifths and I missed that note and all whatever. But, maybe people don't care a much as I do.
Garrett Tiedemann: So, I guess the first thing we should probably do is what did you actually do?
Caly: What did I actually do?
Caly: I decided to make a video of a Leonard Cohen cover, kind of to help process feelings about the election, feelings about so many awesome creative people dying this year.
Garrett: So, it's a performance a Leonard Cohen song. What was the Leonard Cohen song?
Garrett: OK. Why Anthem?
Caly: Kind of a lot of reasons. I was thinking about why I did it because it was a really spur of the moment thing and...After he died...It affected a lot of art friends and the thing that people kept posting was the refrain from that song which is: there's a crack in everything, that's where the light gets in. And it occurred to me that I didn't really know that song very well. And I went to find it.
So, I listened to it and then I actually tried to find covers of it that kind of spoke to me, maybe even a little more than his version, and there really weren't any. So, I found the chords and wrote it out and played it a couple times and then I just decided to put it online. It was, you know, a crappy sloppy cold rainy day and I decided to work from home, from my job, and I like playing piano when nobody's around. And no one was around and so I woke up wanting to do that because I was kind of the mood of the day.
Ok, I'll do this thing and then I'll go.
Most of the music that I make is electronic and has a lot of layers and has a lot of production behind it. And I also, I'm an introvert, I kind of dislike playing live and especially singing in front of people makes me feel really vulnerable. But, it feels like everyone is feeling really vulnerable. So, it was kind of like, well, if I share this maybe it will help somebody.
Garrett: Well, and you told me, you hadn't posted music in a while, like you hadn't exercised that or at least released that to people for a while.
Caly: Yeah I really hadn't. The last time I played a show was July and just, in general, I make less music than other kinds of artwork lately, but it's still a big part of who I am artistically.
This one that's actually in front of us on table...
Garrett: That you set fire to
Caly: That I set fire to accidentally. Yeah. This has almost completely just been a project for me to learn how to do stuff. And it's an interactive twister board. There's panels that light up that have pressure sensors in them and as you play the game they light up, so it's kind of a play on a disco floor. They light up and each one has a sound associated with it. So, it's a remix - you remix audio based on where you're stepping on the board. And then I have multiple sets of sound loops.
The biggest piece that I did called is Status Update. And it was a spiral of vintage light bulbs and at the center of that was an antique desk with a candle stick phone. The phone would ring every once in a while so the idea was for audience participants to walk into that spiral and pick up the phone and there was a prompt and people could record thoughts or answers to questions and the installation would collect those recordings and then play them back. Every light bulb had a speaker attached to it and it would replay what they recorded back. And then two speakers at the entrance to the spiral played a collage of any of the recordings that past participants had left. So, the longer the installation was up the more it collected and hopefully the more interesting it got through the life of it.
The phone keeps ringing.
This piece was produced for the 2016 Very, Very, Short, Short Stories contest and was inspired by the rules of CLIFFORD THOMPSON
Dialogue: "Do one thing for a person, and he think he owes you; do everything for a person, and he thinks you owe him."
Sound: Cicadas whirring
Narrative: The action takes place during the hottest summer on record.
In a small shop they gather, knowingly submitting to the last breaths of suffocation, exsanguination, and repose in a world torn by snow flakes.
This piece was produced for the 2016 Very, Very, Short, Short Stories contest and was inspired by the rules of CAROL ZOREF:
Dialogue: "The animals kept arriving."
Sound: Knives being sharpened.
Narrative: Someone dies from suffocation.
"The memory came faint and cold of the story I might have told, a story in the likeness of my life, I mean without the courage to end or the strength to go on."
[Opens with the story of Libby Cantrell as told by Don Chambers as Recorded at the Show]
Don Chambers: Yeah, obscurity has been...when I was in college my professor Judy McWillie used that description for my paintings that I like to obscure things and I'd never thought about that before. But it is it is part of the way I work and that goes back to that that Tarkovsky idea of poetics and film, that's not. It's a little bit of different from that. But the idea of weaving words or images together in a way that there's plenty of gaps in the weave that need to be filled in by someone. By the intelligence of another person, the person who's coming to it, so the piece remains open.
Obscuring is another way of doing that. Make somebody else do some work too. I don't want to give it all away. I don't have anything to give all away either. I don't have a message. I'm not interested in messages.
Ideas are always, the big ideas are abstract and wily and and hard. The big ideas you shouldn't be able to look at all at once, you can't. We're too close to em'. They are very large animals and we are getting a little glimpse of their hind leg and then of their their main and then the eyeball if you get lucky one day, but you're just moving around this really big thing that it'll take you your lifetime to get to understanding the sublime mystery of the world and how we're here, what are we doing here, all the basic questions these are giant, giant questions and they're the things. Art making is just moving around that big giant beast. And don't get stuck in its mouth.
Garrett Tiedemann: Did you start off as a painter?
Don: I did. I started off, I went to school in South Carolina and then in Georgia and I got a degree in painting and printmaking and worked as an artist for a bit of the 90s. I got a few grants. I did this collaborative piece with sociologists. We went down to Florida and interviewed retired circus performers and I photographed all their like scrapbooks and personal memorabilia. And then I would kind of mess them up. I did installations based on those. And we also had a book of interviews of all those performers. But I was playing music because I was in Athens and that just kind of took over. It was just funner.
There was a point where I felt like I had to decide whether I was going to go one way or the other in my in my 30s and I was like alright, I'm just gonna music for now and let's see what happens. But I keep coming back to it. I had a painting show last year. First time in 10 years. But I keep, I've always done visual stuff, but I hadn't really done anything that I felt like was worth it, was focused enough to show. But, last year I had a painting show and I'll probably do like a three or four month painting stint.
I just, the older I get the more I like working on one thing at a time and focusing on it and making it a project. And then when I'm done with it I'll do three or four months of painting and then I'll go back to music.
I had a dream last night. I had a dream last night that I was talking with Tom Waits. And we were talking about something and I was referencing a book. And he got out. He got out of his really fucked up artist brush. And he had some paint with him and he's like looking at the book and in order to make his points he was just painting onto the book that we were talking about. So, I've been doing watercolors while we've been talking in my notebook.
I stole from my dream.
Garrett: I always find it interesting to encounter people who aren't locked in a singular idea of what they're supposed to do because I mean I know growing up even if you're studying artists and whatnot who did a lot of different things you're sort of given this, and maybe it's an American idea I'm not totally sure, but this idea of the artist doing like, they are a painter or they are a composer or they are a filmmaker. And it's always the ones who never were settled in that that I found the most interesting, where it just all overlaps and feeds a larger piece that's not satisfied with just one medium.
Don: And there they always say you're not supposed to try and be more than one thing. But, to me they all feed together. I mean, why not? Who says?
Orson Welles (from Archive tape): Be of good heart. The fight is worth it. That just about means that my time is up. When my time's up it's time for me to say goodbye and to invite you please to join me at the same time, at the same station. Until then. Thanking you for your attention. I remain as always...
Don: Well if you didn't get enough we can always come back to it man.
"To write is to make oneself the echo of what cannot cease speaking..."
Garrett Tiedemann: So what did you find?
Don Chambers: Well, that I was really hungry, I was really hungry for getting back into song writing, but that's that's not really finding anything.
When I was a kid, there was nothing more satisfying than cutting the grass. Because you've got that immediate change of landscape and I like the immediacy of the songwriting process at the beginning stages when you're just making things up and having an immediacy in my songwriting I think the Last Thursday did give me more willingness to push myself further in taking chances with songwriting because one of the other keys to the Last Thursday was its limitation.
It's a great idea to give yourself a list of things that you can't do or some kind of limitations. So, you get things done, basically. I don't work well if I have too many choices. And the Last Thursday, because of the time limitation and I tried to do as much as I possibly could with the palette I had made for myself. And so moving back in the songwriting, I think it's given me the willingness to just push, push out further.
Johnny Cash with Woody Guthrie and with Dylan's 60s stuff. My first band before Vaudeville was called Cursing Alice. And we used to cover a lot of that and we were purposely acoustic because I was afraid if I picked up a electric guitar and got a couple of pedals that I wouldn't learn how to write a song.
So we kept it really simple at the beginning.
The themes, the general approach to the whole thing, it's a very visual show and the thing that I'm working on next is going to definitely pull in a lot of those themes and a lot of the visuals and turn it into something else. It was too fruitful here to to just leave it behind. But, I want to leave it behind as the thing that it was. I don't want to try and ever repeat that, at that place, with that set up because it was special in that way. Small theater, intimate, pretty much I had a mailing list. So the crowd was, a lot of the same people came every month and were along for this ride you know and we'll see what's going to happen next, what's going to be in the Christmas stocking.
I don't want to try and repeat anything like that, but it is folding into the next thing. I just, I'm just honestly I'm not sure I want to go there yet with talking about it.
Putting words to it, then it becomes somehow committed in your head to this is the way it is supposed to be even though you might have only said it to one or two people, but I think your brain starts to think oh, it's going in this direction. Right now, I'm pretty sure I see which direction the things going in, but it's gonna. I want to let it gestate for a while.