TTG BIT N - (4=6)

10574460_892063710823227_7444319382702839593_n.jpg

The Fox sisters were three sisters from New York who played an important role in the creation of Spiritualism: Leah (1814–1890), Margaretta (also called Maggie) (1833–1893) and Catherine (also called Kate ) Fox (1837–1892).[1] The two younger sisters used "rappings" to convince their older sister and others that they were communicating with spirits. Their older sister then took charge of them and managed their careers for some time. They all enjoyed success as mediums for many years.

This description was taken from Wikipedia. For more information visit the page.

This series is written by Henry Cooke and produced by Garrett D. Tiedemann.

Original music and sound design by Garrett D. Tiedemann.

Tape Extracts:

And people have been communing with voices from other planes of existence with some regularity.

1931.

Accounts of contact with strange creatures, or spirits, weren’t that uncommon. The spiritualist movement, kickstarted by the accounts of the Sisters Fox, had been running for about 45 years now and people…

TTG BIT N - (3=2)

Phelps-_Electro-motor_Printing_Telegraph-588eee223df78caebca3be7d.jpg

Samuel Finley Breese Morse (April 27, 1791 – April 2, 1872) was an American painter and inventor. After having established his reputation as a portrait painter, in his middle age Morse contributed to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs. He was a co-developer of Morse code and helped to develop the commercial use of telegraphy.

This description was taken from Wikipedia. For more information visit the page.

This series is written by Henry Cooke and produced by Garrett D. Tiedemann.

Original music and sound design by Garrett D. Tiedemann.

Tape Extracts:

On May the 24th, 1844, Samuel Morse sent the first long distance telegraph message across America from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore.

He sent…

from the Bible’s book of numbers.

Frames the telegraph as a gift from a higher power.

From God to Morse to the rest of us.

Morse is merely channeling God’s wi…

TTG BIT N - (2=8)

2=8 cover.jpg

Gef (/ˈdʒɛf/ JEF), also referred to as the Talking Mongoose or the Dalby Spook, was the name given to an allegedly talking mongoose which was claimed to inhabit a farmhouse owned by the Irving family. The Irvings' farm was located at Cashen's Gap near the hamlet of Dalby on the Isle of Man. The story was given extensive coverage by the tabloid press in Britain in the early 1930s. The Irvings' claims gained the attention of parapsychologists and ghost hunters, such as Harry Price, Hereward Carrington, and Nandor Fodor. Some investigators of the era as well as contemporary critics have concluded that Voirrey Irving used ventriloquism and family collusion to perpetuate the hoax.

This description was taken from Wikipedia. For more information visit the page.

This series is written by Henry Cooke and produced by Garrett D. Tiedemann.

Original music and sound design by Garrett D. Tiedemann.

Tape Extracts:

Of course, Gef couldn’t speak at first. He just squealed and thumped inside the walls of the house.

However, in time he started to make gurgling noises like a child.

And with encouragement from the isolated Irvings, he picked up English. Not least through Jim’s daily reading to him from the newspaper.

Gef could also speak the odd phrase of Russian, Spanish, and…

TTG BIT N - (1=1)

10569008_886235074739424_6146507230411982417_n.jpg

This series is written by Henry Cooke and produced by Garrett D. Tiedemann.

Original music and sound design by Garrett D. Tiedemann.

Tape Extracts:

First up, a word of warning.

It turns out this is an ambitious topic to fit into half an hour.

I’ll be glossing over a few things, passing by others at speed.

I’m assuming that everyone’s clever and has Google to follow things up later.

I’ve also published a lot of notes and references online, which, which I’ll be giving out the address of…

With that said…

Offbeat: A Resurrection of Crimes Unpaid

pexels-photo-963486.jpeg

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

Tape Extracts:

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.

 

Comfort.

Comfort.

Samples from Anodyne - "Such a nice twang..."

IMG_3988.jpg

twaNG/

  1. 1.

    a strong ringing sound such as that made by the plucked string of a musical instrument or a released bowstring.

    •  

make or cause

Tape Extracts:

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. 

Julie: Yeah

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.

[Intro Break]

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. 

End credits:

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.

Julie: Bye.

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. 

Garrett: Thanks to all who contributed to Anodyne and this production. It could not have been done without you. Additional music and sound elements were provided by John Barner and Leon van Bokhorst

This has been The White Whale. Samples from Anodyne. 

Samples from Anodyne - "I trust in the lapse of time solidifies..."

IMG_3982.jpg

op·tics

ˈäptiks/

properties of transmission and deflection.

  1. 2.

    the way in which an event or course of action is perceived by the public.

    "the issue itself is secondary"

Tape Extracts:

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.

Biding time.

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. 

[Intro Break]

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. 

[Audio Interruption]

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.

Samples from Anodyne - "High explosive bombs."

IMG_4021.jpg

post·script

ˈpōs(t)ˌskript/

noun

  1. an additional remark at the end of a letter, after the signature and introduced by “P.S.”.

    “Leaving tomorrow.”

 

Tape Extracts:

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.

[Intro Break]

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. 

Julie: Totally.

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.

Samples from Anodyne - "Was like a soundtrack for me..."

IMG_3986.jpg

hōp/

  1. 1.a feeling. archaic

    •  
    •  

"he looked through her belongings"

  1.  on, want; More

Tape Extracts:

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. 

[Intro Break]

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.

Samples from Anodyne - "The thing with beginnings..."

IMG_3993.jpg

or·i·gin

ˈôrəjən/

noun

  1. 1.

    the point or place where something begins, arises, or is derived.

Text Extracts:

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. 

[Intro Break]

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. 

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.

Offbeat: Status Update

Cover art for this episode provided by Dana Elizabeth Gerber-Margie from  Bello Collective .

Cover art for this episode provided by Dana Elizabeth Gerber-Margie from Bello Collective.

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/

Tape Extracts:

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?

Garrett: Yes.

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?

Caly: Anthem.

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.

Last Thursday (in Fragments) - "I think that's it"

LT Episiode 7.jpg

"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."

Tape Extracts:

[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. 

Last Thursday (in Fragments) - "Limitation"

LT Episode 6.jpg

"To write is to make oneself the echo of what cannot cease speaking..."

Tape Extracts:

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.

Last Thursday (in Fragments) - "Interpretation"

LT Episode 5.jpg

"Everything is to be had at such a bargain that it is questionable whether in the end there is anybody who will want to bid."

Tape Extracts:

Don Chambers: Andrei Tarkovsky talks a lot about poetics in film and the idea that he's making something that, the interpretation has as much to do with the audience as it does to do with the filmmaker and that they are trying to make a piece of art that, a piece of film, that is participatory and he's not giving you. It doesn't have a, it's not telling you what it is. It's allowing you to make it something. 

I don't believe any technology should be a limitation. Dylan was a huge influence on that early on. I admire people who are willing to follow what's important and the monetary part of it is really not all that interesting. It would be lovely, but it's not interesting and it doesn't make good art. It might make a cooler looking video or get into a better studio, but...

It's Werner Herzog who, he talks about, he stole the camera from his film school to shoot his first movie. This kind of we've got to do this any way we can possibly do it and if you don't have the burn to be able to do that then you won't do it.

Garrett Tiedemann: The films that you did for these, did you make them or did you have other people help you make them?

Don: I made them. They're all over the place though. Some of some of them I filmed, some of them I took YouTube stuff and messed with it, mashed it up together, so it's a little bit of it's kind of across the board.

Garrett Tiedemann: And then when you play them would they be background or would they have their own place where the point was just...

Don: No they would have there they would have their own place.

Don Chambers (in film excerpt): I was recently hired to copy the Encyclopedia Britannica. My name is Jobez Wilson. I'm a pawn broker. My assistant recently drew my attention to an advertisement in the paper for an opening in the League of Red Headed Men. A foundation established by the late Ezakaya Hopkins to promote the interests of red headed men by paying them to perform small tasks.  As my pawn shop had been in decline of late, this was a welcome opportunity. While there were many other red headed applicants waiting in line the day of the interview. Miraculously I was hired.

My job was to copy the pages of the Encyclopedia Britannica. I only had to provide pen and paper.  I went home that evening in high spirits, but soon became perplexed. This must be some kind of hoax, or fraud. He's paid so well for such a simple task. This copying the Encyclopedia Britannica. 

Well, the next day I arrived to the office at ten o'clock and everything was as it should be. Duncan Ross, my employer, started me off on the letter A and at two o'clock bid me good day and complemented me on the amount I had written. Every day I work a four hour shift copying and I was paid handsomely. The only stipulation of the job was that I must not leave the room during my shift.

Every day was the same and it suited me well.

Eight weeks later I was nearly finished with all the A entries and looked forward to moving onto the Bs when it all stopped. I went to the office that day only to see a sign tacked to the door. I was disappointed, I was confused, bewildered, so I turned to the only man in town who I thought could help.

Don: Second month was random. It was the theme. Pretty sure that's the month that I just with my iPhone I filmed clouds in the sky and for like ten second pieces of clouds in the sky. And I did that for the month. And then at the end put that all together and coupled it with some Charles Fort, the guy who wrote the first book that was all about anomalies and he collected frogs falling from the sky and you know just strange anomalies so I kind of mashed those two up together just to bring up some ideas. 

I've gone through periods of time where I wished I was someone who could just get a job, buy a car, and have a nice house and come home and we'd have dinner and then we'd watch a movie and then we'd get to bed and you get up and do it again the next day. 

Last Thursday (in Fragments) - "Making up a mystery"

LT Episode 4.jpg

"Getting lost is the best way to find something."

Tape Extracts:

Garrett Tiedemann: The ability to film and photograph so easily has created this thing where we are always at a distance in this ever need to document that we were there to begin with. But then you can't actually, even in being there, you can actually talk about what it was to be there so you can't narrativize it, you can't put it into your own story. That's what's really interesting about what you did. You created this microcosm of moments that people can then turn into their own story.

Don Chambers: Which is going to be better than what they were at. 

It was like I set up a thing that I wanted to do. Initially it was only going to be three months and then it turned into the longer thing. Initially it was just going to be a winter thing. Even though it was crazy, from my point of view the first one was like beautiful and a fiasco. It had moments of beauty and moments of like utter terror. But, I was I want to do that again was my immediate response. I want to do it again, I want to get better at it. At this point I want to be a lot better at it and I'd like to do. But, that's down the road at this point. 

The one thing that this did, the whole process did, was it didn't allow me to write. I wrote, I mean I wrote I was writing for the thing, but I wrote like two songs last year which in my work mode that's basically I took a year vacation from songwriting. And so I was really hungry to get back to that, which is what I'm involved in now. 

You always want everything to come out exactly how you imagined it in your head. And of course, that's never the case. The best part of the Last Thursday was, or one of the things that I took away from it was that reminder of like, making art is not, you don't sit down and plan it out and then six months later you made what you planned out. If you do that, you'll be bored out of your mind.

Although, that was not my intention when I was doing the Last Thursday, but it was a good reminder of even though I thought I'd left things pretty open ended, it was a good reminder that if you're doing something that that has some life to it then it actually has its own consciousness about what it's going to do that you cannot control at all. And so that's when you're caught up in the thing and that's where the good stuff happens. That's where the sandbox is for you making something is when it's too much and you don't understand it. And. It's creating its own ideas. That's what you want to do in general whatever you're doing if you're a painter or a song maker or whatever. I mean it's all about getting outside of yourself. And If you can't get to the sandbox then you're the the person who planned something out, executes it, and that's great if you're a chef, but it doesn't work for art making. Then there's no strings showing, there's no vitality to the thing. 

I've written plenty of songs that I knew as soon as I finished them, oh it's nothing more than what it is. It doesn't have any mystery in it because I didn't allow it to become wild and run away and do bad things and become out of my control. I need to not understand what I'm doing in order to make. 

That's kind of key to what I do. 

Making up a mystery that I don't understand and then playing around with it some and then if things go well it'll give me something back and I think this whole thing did that and gave me things back. 

Getting lost is the best way to find something.

Last Thursday (in Fragments) - "No photography. No video."

LT Episode 3.jpg

"We must expect great innovations to transform the entire technique of the arts, thereby affecting artistic invention itself and perhaps even bringing about an amazing change in our very notion of art."

Tape Extracts:

Don Chambers (from show recording):  For whom the phenomenon was supposed to have been presented to itself, had been caught cheating time and again. I believe in a hereafter and no greater blessing could be bestowed upon me than the opportunity once again to speak with my sainted mother who awaits me with open arms to press me to her heart in welcome. Just as she did when I entered this mundane sphere.  

Garrett Tiedemann: I find myself asking this a lot because it's part of the main thing that I've been thinking about, looking at all this stuff, but is that film out anywhere or did you strictly make it to be shown that night.

Don Chambers: I strictly made it to be shown that. 

Don Chambers (from show recording): There is one thing I'm going to ask for cooperation with and that's, a little later in the show, I'll remind you again, a little later in the show we're going to need complete silence and complete darkness. And therefore I'm going to ask you to turn your cell phones off, put em' in your pocket, put em' in your - not now, but a little later; you can still check your twitter account or whatever for the next thirty minutes or so, but at some point we're going to ask you not to leave the room for a brief period of time. 

Garrett: It's one thing to do performance, whether it be  music or spoken word. And then it's one thing to kind of combine. It's insanely complicated to put it all together. 

Don: You should have told me that before we started.

Garrett: Yeah I know. What drove you to go for it all? 

Don: I've never seen a show like that. I've never seen a show that could put all that together and I kind of just wanted to see if I could make it happen. You know, I think one of the takeaways from this is we probably needed about four people behind the scenes making this all happen if you wanted to do it on a less discombobulated, less less mistakes level. But, the fact that most of the time it was John and I doing all the heavy lifting meant that there was this random thing that fed through all of it.

There was definitely random mistakes that happened in every single one, of course. But, the reason I wanted to do it in the first place is because I hadn't seen anything like that. I like a lot of different things. I just thought, why aren't why are shows. For one thing most rock shows are for bands basically doing the same thing or three bands and they're basically doing the same thing for the evening and you like one you don't like the other whatever, you like all three of them. 

But, why not make a...I wanted to make a contained thing that started at a certain time and ended at a certain time. That's another big thing about Athens is our shows here really start at 10 or 11 and they end at 2:00 in the morning.

Now that has its has its own built in. There is a theater to that. But it's, but it's a long drawn out theater that doesn't really like. I'm older now, I kind of want things I want to go in and get something really good and then get the hell out of there. And that's what I was trying to build. 

Doing it this way, the audience never knew what was going to happen next.  And I really like that aspect of it.  Of course, the flipside of that was sometimes I didn't know what was going to happen next.

[from a recording of the show - John Barner is introduced to read An Halloween Poem to Delight My Younger Friends by Leonard Cohen]

Fewer and fewer moments that happened that you can't say I had this wonderful experience. Here's a video of it. And, to me it's not nearly as sexy not nearly as fun as just experience something and being able to talk about it. And. And. The only thing the person can experience from it is your enthusiasm or your wonder at having been a part of it. And. I'm much more interested in that. You know, I like going to shows where they have no photography no video signs on the walls because I want everybody to be present. I want to be present and in the moment of the thing happening.

John Barner (from show recording) reading An Halloween Poem to Delight My Younger Friends by Leonard Cohen:

Impassive frogs, skins stretched taut,
grey with late October,
the houses down my street
crouched, unaware of each other.

Unaware of a significant wind
and mad children igniting heaps of rattling leaves
and the desperate cry of desperate birds.

Dry, stuffed, squatting frogs.

I don’t know where the children got the birds.
Certainly, there are few around my house. Oh,
there is the occasional sparrow or robin or wren,
but these were big birds.
There were several turns of parcel twine about
each bird to secure its wings and feet. It was
that particularly hard variety of twine that can’t
be pulled apart but requires a knife or scissors
to be cut.
I was so lost in the ritual that I’m not sure if
it was seven or eight they burnt.

(“The effluvia of festering bodies was so great
that even the Mongols avoided such places and
named them Moubaligh, City of Woe.”)

Soon they grew tired of the dance
and removed the crepe-paper costumes
and said prayers and made laments.

It was a quarter-to-nine
when one bright youngster
incited the group to burn the frogs,
which they did at nine.

(Now that I think about it, the birds
must have been pigeons.)

If one of Temujin’s warriors
trapped a deer to eat,
it was forbidden
to slit its throat.
The beast must be bound
and the beast’s chest opened
and the heart removed
by the hunter’s hand.

Last Thursday (in Fragments) - "It was, in some ways, a total disaster"

LT Episiode 2.jpg

Certain that she had made a good painting at last, she pedaled home from the studio in the moonlight, fervent and giddy with glee.

Tape Extracts:

Don Chambers: The first month, so I had never shown a film at Flicker before, at the place we did the thing. And the first month I got there and they're like oh well this cable doesn't work and this one doesn't work and we don't have a laptop. So I ended up, like, at the last minute, an hour before the show started, I drove around and someone said that I could borrow their laptop and I drove over to their house and they weren't home anymore.

So, then I ended up going to my house and getting my computer, bringing it in and setting it on a chair and just showing the film on the computer. And I didn't even get there until after the show had already started. So it just kind of set this tone.

People seem to enjoy watching someone else in a slight state of panic. I found myself, I did, I found myself at least for the first three or four months...then there was sound. You know one month the PA just didn't work; halfway through the show, stops working.

And you're trying to do this show that I was really thinking of, I wanted to present, like, to create an atmosphere. So those interruptions for me were terrible, but from an outside point of view audience people were like: 

Oh that was great. I loved it that that happened.

Oh really, well I was panicking. 

That happened, that happened for the first six months. And it was nobody. I mean it was everybody's fault and it was nobody's fault. It was just the way the shows seemed to go. But, that also created you know weird, like, I had my schedule of the show printed out for every show, but I would get so flustered by something not working and then I'd forget something else that was actually key to something that happened later in the show because they did have within a two hour window they would have some things would happen early on that needed to be fulfilled later. And I would just forget about one part or the other. So, it was in some ways a total disaster that I learned a lot from.

You know, we're doing these things in one month. And it would take me three or four days to recover from the last one. And then I'd find myself, like, all right. I didn't have any kind of pre-scheduled I want to do this or that. I had, I had a few notes on one page here; building office stuff and it was kind of little what do you want to do next every month. But I didn't really have a... I didn't have any kind of timeline for what I wanted to do for the year.

I made a theme's page and that was based off of either a theme, a story for my life, or a trick that I wanted to do. 

Probably something I was reading at the time.

Well, the first one was hidden in plain sight and that was, the theme came about after I went out to Scull Shoals, John and I went out there, which is an abandoned town outside of Athens. It was abandoned at the turn of the 19th century. It was a town on a little river and it was flooded twice. And eventually the residents just gave the place up. So there's still some of the, there was a cotton mill there, there was a hospital there, there was like 3000 people lived in the town that eventually was abandoned. So, we went there to film that cause it's right outside Athens, not a lot of people know about it, and made a short, little film about it and that was the impetus for the first one, which was hidden. 

Don Chambers (from show recording): Well, we've been doing this for ten months now. This is our tenth and final month of the Last Thursday.  I think we're gonna need some duct tape. John can you grab some duct tape in the back, I think I left it on the shelf there. Always good to have duct tape for these shows. 

I want to thank you for coming out. So these last ten months, among other things, we've had poetry, films, painting, and scripts; readings, body doubles, Shakespeare, and a little bit of murder.  And finally tonight, with your help, we're going to try and recreate an early twentieth century, good ol' fashioned seance. We're going to try and conjure the dead. Anybody who is not comfortable with that, well you should have read the flyer.

Last Thursday (in Fragments) - Series Preview - Quote Me

In 2015 Don Chambers hosted "a music and other things entertainment" each month called The Last Thursday. Each month had its own theme and governed not only the types of content, but way of presentation for the evening. These evenings lived and died in the moment with very little social media promotion or archiving. 

In the second series of The White Whale we offer snippets of these evenings; providing first glimpses beyond the nights of what went down and why their existence foregoing online permanence is important.

Visit Don Chambers for music and more.

Tape Extracts:

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 this really fucked up like brush, artist's brush. And he had some paint with him and he was looking at the book and in order to make his points he was just painting on to the book that we were talking about. So I've been doing watercolors while we've been talking in my notebook. 

I think I started off reading Simulacra.

Disregard it.

If you want, the other thing I'd throw out as a ridiculous idea is if you wanted to do some e-mail exchanges, if you felt like you needed more language, we could do e-mail exchanges and then you or friend could just quote me. Like, maybe a girl, but I don't know, if you feel like it. I don't know, it's morning and I'm not sure what we talked about. 

It's your burden now. You can have it. 

Go far. Go weird.

Offbeat: Life (2016 KCRW RadioRace)

Offbeat Life.jpg

This piece was produced by The White Whale as part of The 24-Hour Radio Race from KCRW's Independent Producer Project. Features the voice of Don Chambers, a musician from Athens, GA. For more information on his work visit http://www.donchambersmusic.com/

Tape Extracts:

Everybody was trying to imitate everybody else because there was a set rule of this is how we're going to do this.

(narration from performance film) I went to the office that day only to see a sign tacked to the door. I was disappointed. I was confused, bewildered. So turned to the only man in town who I thought could help.

If you can get your ego out of the way and let it take on its own life then I think copy and imitation, I'm not afraid of those. You're looking for the ghost in the machine.

It started off with a film of Disneyworld. Like these were my personal films of my childhood in Disneyworld. At some point I had a friend of mine get up and give a lecture on why the Beatles ruined Rock and Roll. And then Pete sits back down and I was like "now ladies and gentlemen, Pete" and another guy came up dressed exactly like him, who does a good imitation of him, did the speech in an exaggerated form of what they'd just seen. This guy's good though, this guy, Curtis, my friend Curtis. 

The one year I was working at the bar and I stepped outside the bar and looked up the street and there was Vic Chesnutt on Halloween night, rolling down the street in his wheelchair with this acoustic guitar in his lap.

(narration from performance film) I was recently hired to copy the Encyclopedia Britannica. 

And it was Curtis doing Vic who he could do, he could do Vic Chesnutt better than Vic Chesnutt. Later that week they played a show. Curtis came out, introduced as Vic, Curtis came out and did a Vic song and then like halfway through the song Vic comes back with ropes on him as if he'd been tied up in the back. And Vic comes out and they end up doing the song together, but I swear Curtis' version of Vic was, what I remember was Curtis' version. 

(narration from performance film) Everyday was the same, and it suited me well.

I definitely am a strong believer in stealing. I'm a strong believer in trying to copy something as exactly as you can and when you go back and compare it to the original thing, and the part that didn't quite get that original thing, that part of it is you. I think borrowing and stealing, pull from wherever you can pull from. I think copying and imitation is a little tricky because copying is more of what I am talking about. 

I don't know if you've listened to the book on tape of Keith Richards' story, 'Life'. That's a really interesting book on tape. It starts off with a professional actor, British guy, reading Keith Richards' story. Then, about eight chapters in, Keith Richards reads a chapter of his own story. And Keith Richards doesn't sound nearly as Keith Richards-ish as the guy who was just doing it. I kinda wanna know who that is.

 Everybody is borrowing from somebody else constantly. You can't help it. It's part of being alive. 

 

Offbeat: Bellhop (#ShortDocs 2016 Submission)

Offbeat Bellhop.jpg

"We were lied to." This short audio work was produced for the 2016 #ShortDocs competition held by the Third Coast International Audio Festival. This piece was inspired by the "film noir" mini-movie produced by Manual Cinema. In addition to original music by Garrett D. Tiedemann there are music tracks by Manual Cinema within the mix as required by the competition for this year. To learn more about this year's competition and view the film inspirations from Manual Cinema visit Third Coast: http://thirdcoastfestival.org/competitions/shortdocs/2016

Tape Extracts:

I awoke from a dream. Trees lined the city. Night turned on. And we were still.

Kids playing.

(whisper) Why are they so loud?

There is no anxiety. No trace of despair. No pain. No regret. Or any sadness as one falls from great mountain heights. 

Instead the person who is falling often hears beautiful music while surrounded by superbly blue heaven that is filled with rosette clouds. And then suddenly, and painlessly, sensations are extinguished immediately from the body at the exact moment that the body makes contact with the ground.

I awoke from a dream. 

On these tapes was a man. A wall of a man. Held up.

(newsreel) Clearly this is going to have psychological importance.

In the story she asked the most fundamental questions. I work myself to keep from receding into the distance. To find her, playing in the streets, oblivious to the goings on of a tired old man. 

Fingers bleeding. Looking for a burial. Sunlight long in the distance. 

(deep voice buried in newsreel and other audio) Alright, we have to take him away.