Description 21 - Cleveland

It's the North Coast, it's the place Ian Hunter said rocks, it's where I was born - which I'll mention way too many times as I stumble around the debris of my lame-ass youth. Includes music by the Michael Stanley Band, a movie theatre that became a bakery, a life-size photo of Dan Marino and a band playing Outkast on an old freighter ship.

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Associated links:
University Circle
Cleveland Clinic (who took care of Mom!)
The Michael Stanley Band discography for download
The Cool Cleveland blog/podcast
PopMatters visits Cleveland Heights
Coventry Village
Cleveland Free Times
Cleveland Scene
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
The Goodtime III

As I was recording the intro, it was early that morning, and saying the date, I realized it was my brother's 45th birthday. Mentioning that, my voice had a bit of melancholy to it because we haven't spoken for a few years. It's one of those long, stupid stories families have, unfortunately. When I was home, I only heard his voice on a voice message on my parents' cellphone giving a contact number in case of emergency, as he and his current wife were camping.

Editing, I noticed two main themes people might get from this episode: 1) I'm an old person obsessed with how things have changed or stayed the same, 2) no matter how significant certain places might be to me, they're not terribly distinct from places like them in many other towns. There are a lot of Coventrys out there, I suspect, just waiting for angst-ridden pseudo-intellectual kids like I was. I hope you had (or still have) yours.

The MSB track was taken from a greatest hits collection called Right Back At Ya', and the song was originally found on the album You Can't Fight Fashion, both of which you can find at the link on the list above. To give another idea of the band's popularity at the time, MSB eclipsed Bruce Springsteen to set the attendance record at the local major amphitheatre, Blossom Music Center, which holds a little under 20,000 people. And sure enough, classic rock station WNCX is still around and Michael Stanley is still on afternoon drive, God bless him and his rich, low voice.

Oh, and the mixtape? The song before the MSB track is "Breakin' My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes)" by Mint Condition, and the song after is "Justifed and Ancient" by the KLF featuring Tammy Wynette. Those were the days, man....


Great Big Day Job Update!

So I was just perusing Boing Boing as I often do, and there's this story from Cory Doctorow about the National Film Board of Canada putting many of their legendary short films online for free. Of course, that's great news for most people, but for me, I had to go over there to see if any of my day job stuff was up there yet.

Y'see, starting last fall, in my day job - described video for the vision-impaired - we started doing A TON of work for the NFB, describing a big chunk of their catalogue. It was done for this huge online project they're undertaking. Well, it's finally coming to fruition, and it looks like they're starting with the animation. The hardest films to do, not surprisingly, were some of the legendary films of Norman McLaren. Considering his groundbreaking animation techniques and the utter lack of dialogue in them (much less linear narrative), you may wonder how the hell someone could describe it all for the blind. Well, we wondered too, as did the NFB and the McLaren estate, which is why we went through months of meetings and focus groups and yadda yadda. And in the end, we all decided to do a little more description than we usually do, adding a tiny line about the techniques used to give people an idea why this stuff is such a big deal. In the end, we're pretty happy with how it all turned out, and evidently so is everyone else - a movie or two showed at Cannes this year as they gear up for the release of a DVD box set of McLaren which will include our work, and now the films are starting to appear on this new part of the NFB/ONF website here (for the French, click "Francais" at the top).

When you go there, in the drop-down menu, select "films+described video" and you'll have your choices. Also select described video in the preferences when it asks you whether you want high-speed and all that stuff. (Note: this whole thing is Quick Time only.) Play what you want, and for the English versions, you'll hear me saying what's going on if you're vision-impaired (btw, I think the site is supposed to be accessible to screen readers, but i'm not sure), or if you just want to listen while you're surfing somewhere else or don't feel like looking. Neato!

Coincidentally, the website for my day job is alive and open to all. I wasn't directly involved in putting it together - way more patient people than me pulled it off. So head to www.audiovisioncanada.com for the final word on what the hell it is I do, with info other projects you can hear (on tv in Canada or VoicePrint online), how to buy more of it or have it done for your tv show or movie.

Okay, back to editing the Cleveland podcast. Ain't it amazing what you can learn by procrastinating?


Description 20 - NXNE '06 part 2

From my balcony, I offer the last Podcasters Across Borders review in the podosphere while trying to listen for race cars. Then it's time for Saturday night at North By Northeast, with music from Kate Schutt and Galore after we don't stand too close to Stewart Copeland.

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Associated links:
Podcasters Across Borders
dicks&janes podcast
The Sniffer podcast
The Ottawa Local Podcast
Molson Grand Prix of Toronto
Official Stewart Copeland Site
Interview with cbc.ca about Everyone Stares
Kate Schutt and at myspace (please check out her sites and buy stuff - I didn't ask her permission to record her!)
Crash Kelly
Galore and at myspace and buy the new album!

Hey, you see my Yahoo avatar? (On my blog, for those of you getting this from an rss reader.) Cute, eh? My thighs are just that small and my eyes are just that big. It does effect my balance as I walk down the street. :-)

While Kate Schutt was listed in the NXNE grid as being from Boston, I have learned she has been living in Guelph, Ontario. (Go ahead. Say "guelph". GWELF! Isn't it fun to say?) Perhaps another ex-pat then? The kismet just doesn't stop! Btw, Kurt Swinghammer joined Kate at the end of her set for a terrific cover of Sheila E's "The Glamorous Life." Just a wonderful thing to stumble across. I wonder if this is making up for not asking her permission yet....

Of course, I also didn't ask Stewart Copeland for his permission either, but I did give him lots of time to promote the movie, which for the record is titled "Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out". The Police was the band who changed how I think about music. I'd always been into just whatever was on K104 or FM96, maybe showing early signs of loving dense vocal harmony by digging Daryl Hall & John Oates (hey! don't judge!). Then I ran across The Police - I don't even remember how anymore - and they blew my mind. It was all these aesthetics mixed together and put out with such high musicianship (especially Andy Summers, who Copeland admits is the star of this movie). Sting was of course compelling and could write a hell of a song, and there was Stewie, all wiry and cute and jumping around and beating the crap out of a drum set. Man, it was awesome. And a couple years later, they gave me my primer on my favourite band breaking-up-but-not-quite-breaking-up, wisdom I'd use with The Pursuit of Happiness. I loved Sting's first solo album, bought the second one, then my interest started to trail off. I peek in on Andy's work and Stewart's work on scores (you can just tell...) and work with Oysterhead. People grow up and their loves evolve, and it's cool. But to see these guys jumping around on a snowy hill, to see Stewart at a big show playing his drums but chatting with his camera over his shoulder about how cool it is? I'm a giggling schoolgirl with a scoliosis brace again.