I’m grateful to Stephanie Schubert, Operations Coordinator of the Pacifica Network, for conducting and publishing this interview she did with me about the recent Arts Express production of To The Lighthouse. At the end of the article, you’ll find a link to our podcast page, if you’d like to hear the production.
Forget about Oppenheimer. The year 1982 saw the release of one of the darkest, most horrific and yes, funniest documentaries ever made. I’m talking about film The Atomic Café which was a head-spinning stew of actual atomic age propaganda of the 1940s fifties and beyond, crafted from government-produced educational and training films, newsreels and advertisements. The film exposed the vast propaganda machine that the US state uses to deceive and market its insane atomic policies. Now it’s in re-release, and I think more relevant than ever, and I was very happy to be speaking today with one of the original directors of The Atomic Café, Jayne Loader.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear Part One of my interview with Jayne Loader as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio show heard on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
Part Two is here:
To The Lighthouse was a novel I had been intrigued with since my twenties. When I heard that it had just gone out of copyright, I thought it would be fun to write a radio adaptation and to direct and edit it.
I started writing this adaptation back in January of this year, rehearsed it and recorded it in April and May with a fine company of actors, and then edited it in June and July. I’m happy to say we’ve finally completed it.
Here’s the logline:
In this adaptation, prepared especially for radio, Virginia Woolf’s ground-breaking stream of consciousness novel, To The Lighthouse, is brought to life.
In a sort of ghost story that plays with time, memory, and recollection, a young boy, over a period of ten years, tries to journey to the lighthouse, a stormy boat ride away from his family’s summer vacation home. The life of his nurturing mother, hemmed in by social and family strictures, is contrasted with that of her artist friend who lives in artistic freedom, but alone.
Included is a brief three minute introduction to give the context of the novel and the era in which Virginia Woolf was writing.
Our cast, in order of appearance:
James Ramsay…..Byron O’Hanlon
Mrs Ramsay….Mary Murphy
Mr. Ramsay…Jack Shalom
Charles Tansley….Joe Levine
Andrew Ramsay….KeShaun Luckie
Lily Briscoe….Lucy McMichael
William Bankes….Marty Levine
Cam Ramsay….Sarah Taylor
Prue Ramsay….Vivienne Shalom
Minta Doyle….Emma Mueller
Paul Rayley….David Lepelstat
As you may know, not only are film and tv writers out on strike, but now film and tv actors have joined them. I recently spoke to actor/comedian Jay Potter, who is on the board of the New York local of SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ film and television union, to get more clarity about what is happening. In that conversation, fresh from a day on the picket line, Jay spoke about some of the key issues and the wider implications of the current exploitative Wall Street/Hollywood mode of film and series production.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear my interview with Jay as broadcast yesterday on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the country.
Veronica White was a local artist and activist who was full of surprises. In a new short film documentary called Veronica White: A Life in the Key of the Community, her many facets are explored. I was happy to speak with Director Chuck Moss and Executive Producer Julius Hollingsworth about the film.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the conversation as broadcast yesterday on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI FM NY and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
The Unit, a TV series which aired about fifteen years ago, while not my particular cup of tea, was widely recognized as one of the best written series on television. That was in no small part because playwright and screenwriter David Mamet was the creator of the show. A little while after the series was cancelled in its fourth year, a leaked memo from Mamet to the writing staff emerged. In it, Mamet gave some of the best and most succinct writing advice that can be given for writers of a screenplay. Here’s David Mamet’s memo to the writing staff of The Unit.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear my reading of that memo, as broadcast this week on the Arts Express radio show, heard on WBAI FM NY and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
Yes, it’s yet another episode of our ersatz Bob & Ray comedy segment with yours truly and Rick Tuman. In this new episode, we hear from the CEO of the Neighborly Rent-a Robot Company and also from a master of the denizens of the deep, the Shark Whisperer.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the segment as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program heard on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica stations across the nation.
We’ve been putting together a fundraising show for WBAI, Arts Express’s parent radio station, so that’s what we’ve been up to in the last few weeks. We dived deep into the Arts Express archives and put together a fantastic flash drive with some classic interviews done by host Prairie Miller as a donation premium. In order to pitch it, we ran a show last night that contained some excerpts from some of those interviews, which you may enjoy listening to. The show contains pieces of interviews with Queen Latifah, RFK Jr., The Rolling Stones, Isabel Allende, and Mike Africa Jr. Click on the triangle or mp3 link above, in order to hear the program as broadcast last night on WBAI FM NYC.
It’s quite wonderful how powerful and evocative our sense of hearing can be. Worlds can be conjured up and recalled from just a subtle sound. It may seem contradictory, but my guest on Arts Express this week was the creator of a new film all about sound, 32 Sounds, Sam Green. We had lot of fun discussing that favorite topic of ours.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear my interview with Sam Green as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program as heard on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the country.
“Welcome to the Silver Age of Radio. We’re sorry to say we’ve reached the end of our run of Gunsmoke episodes starring William Conrad, Zazu Pitts, and Henry Cabot Lodge Jr, after airing a grand total of 32,647 episodes. But have no fear, we’ve dug down deep into our dusty archives and have come up with episode two of the Jack & Rick Bob & Ray homage, first broadcast way back on April 19th 2023 on the Arts Express radio network. So, without more ado, it’s Jack & Rick…”
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear our second Bob & Ray homage as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program heard on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation
Filmmaker, actor, and writer John Sayles captured my imagination ever since his first film, Return of the Secaucus 7. Soon, other great films followed: Brother From Another Planet, Matewan, Eight Men Out, Amigo, and so many others. But of course, John Sayles is not only a filmmaker, but also the author of short stories and novels including Union Dues, Amigo, and Yellow Earth. Now he’s come out with a new novel called Jamie Magillivray: The Renegade’s Journey. I was very happy to speak with John Sayles on the Arts Express radio program.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to listen to my interview with John Sayles as broadcast today on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the country.
Imagine please: A working class uprising. The lower classes are starving. They demand the right to eat. They want access to the great stores of grain that have been won in the recent war, confiscated from the enemy, but withheld from the peasants. And so begins the most class-conscious play that Shakespeare ever wrote, called Coriolanus.
Click on the triangle above or mp3 link to hear our commentary on Coriolanus, as broadcast yesterday on the Arts Express radio program, heard on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation
The wonderful Connie Norgen, reading some of her recent poems, as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI FM NY and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to listen
March is the birthday of golden age radio comedians Bob and Ray, so herein, our Bob & Ray-ish radio segment, featuring Rick Tuman, as broadcast yesterday on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI FM NY and Pacifica affiliates across the nation
Cllck on the triangle or mp3 link to listen.
Last week I took a look at the theatrics of a classic con game, three card monte. This week, I take a look at some of the most interesting films that have been made about con artists–and there are a lot of them. I managed to con myself into watching or re-watching hours of such movies this week, and if I don’t mention one of your favorites, rest assured this is not a definitive list by any means, just the ones I caught this week. I’ll rate them from one to five stars just for fun.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the review as broadcast on the Arts Express radio program today, heard on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the country.
This is a radio segment based on an article I wrote a few decades ago about the theatrical elements of hustles like three-card monte.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the piece as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
Yesterday, locally on WBAI FM NYC radio, we were charged with running a fundraising program, so we put together a satire and humor special featuring some of our favorite pieces we wrote for Arts Express over the year. Feel free to skip over the pitching…
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the broadcast as aired last night.
What does it take for a writer/actress to perform a play she’s written about prisons, at a prison? And in particular, at one of the most notorious prisons in the country, Angola, the Louisiana State Penitentiary, America’s largest prison-plantation. A new documentary about that performance and its aftermath, titled Angola Do You Hear Us?, has been shortlisted for the Oscar for Documentary Short Subject. I was happy to speak with the director of the film, Cinque Northern, and the playwright/performer, Liza Jessie Peterson.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the interview as broadcast on the Arts Express radio program today, aired on WBAI -FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
The film is streaming on Paramount +
Here in the US, January 6th has taken on a particular political meaning, but for most of the world, it’s the celebration of the twelfth night of Christmas, partridges in pear trees and all that. It’s a traditional time of partying and celebration, and Shakespeare titled what I believe is his best comedy, Twelfth Night. But it might be have been better called, Love Makes Idiots and Fools of Everyone!
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the rest of the story as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program, heard on WBAI-FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
Recently here in NYC our mayor authorized a Public Service Announcement which featured a perky young woman telling us what to do in case a nuclear bomb fell. After listing what to do, she applauds us by saying, “You got this!” Well we were kind of horrified by it, so we here at Arts Express thought it might be fun to write our own version of that PSA.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear our version of the PSA as broadcast last week on the Arts Express radio show, heard on WBAI FM and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
Twas the end of December and feeling like hell Covid and flu, do these things ring a bell? Pre-emptions and scrambling to get the work done The rain and the snow and the where-is-the-sun? Inspiration was meager, the cupboard was bare There was nothing to say, I had nothing to share I was feeling the blues, and I have to confess I was stuck for a piece for the next Arts Express...
Find out how it turns out in our year-end Arts Express thank-you poem, as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio show heard on WBAI-FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to listen!
Welcome to our inaugural Arts Express episode of our “Shakespeare Without Tears” series, making Shakespeare accessible and relevant for the 21st century. We start off with an episode based on an a post I wrote here some time ago.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the episode as broadcast today on the Arts Express program on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
And for our New York City listeners, we’re happy to tell you that we are now on at a new time, Wednesdays at 9PM.
Making shopping decisions can be tough, but this holiday we’ve come to the rescue! Take a listen to our latest Arts Express Playhouse sketch, written and produced by your correspondent, and featuring the brilliant talent and skill of Mary Murphy and Lucy McMichael.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the piece as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio show on WBAI-FM NY and Pacifica affiliates across the country
Any course can be taken
as the right course to take,
but no course like that
can be the course taken always.
Any name can be named
to determine what is or should be,
but no name like that
can be what determines them always
Those are the opening lines of one of the oldest pieces of literature known, the Tao Te Ching. Aside from the Bible, it is also probably the most translated piece of literature known, written in about 400BC. Now, in a new translation by Brook Ziporyn transliterated as the Daodejing, English readers can get some new insight into this provocative and ambiguous classic, which I’ll be reading from.
If you’ve never encountered the Daodejing, you may be startled by its startling modern dialectical approach to life. This new translation with be published this January by Liveright Publishing; you can find more info here.
Click on the triangle or the mp3 link above to hear the reading as heard today on the Arts Express radio show broadcast today on WBAI FM NY and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
And for our NY friends–we’re on at a new time on WBAI FM: Wednesdays, 9pm.
** Actress Inger Tudor of Goliath speaks about Voodoo Macbeth and playing Rose McClendon, the legendary Depression-era African-American theater actress.
** A portfolio of photos from the actual historic 1936 Federal Theatre Project production of Macbeth
** 28 Children: Artist Mary McClusker’s moving tribute to children killed by guns
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