Description 33 - Voluptuous Panic

Still not in Canada, but in London (England) to walk across a bridge, sit on some rubber and go down a slide. Not exciting enough? How about a creaking door?

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Associated links:
Millennium Bridge
The new Globe Theatre
The Tate Modern
Watch the live webcam at the base of the slides, or watch video of the ride down each of them (I was on Slide 2).
Gilbert & George: in Wikipedia, their exhibition at the Tate Modern, and them discussing the exhibition

Originally, this episode was going to be called "Art For All," which is Gilbert & George's credo. In their manifesto What Our Art Means, they put it this way:

We want Our Art to speak across the barriers of knowledge directly to People about their Life and not about their knowledge of art. The 20th century has been cursed with an art that cannot be understood. The decadent artists stand for themselves and their chosen few, laughing and dismissing the normal outsider. We say that puzzling, obscure and form-obsessed art is decadent and a cruel denial of the Life of People.
While the slides have no nudity, bodily fluids, or run-down house (though possibly the odd cute boy in a hoodie), I think they express this intention pretty well. I'm not a huge fan of modern art, because I can't always relate to it - which for some, is the point. But it is nice to have some art that can be quickly understood on a visceral level by anyone, which pretty much forces you to participate in its themes and prove them...and while having fun. Very skillful stuff.


Description 32 - Rue Mouffetard

There is a nice town called Paris in Ontario, but it is not the Paris where this show was recorded. It includes me buying toothpaste while listening to Boney M - do I really have to say any more?

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Associated links:
Rue Mouffetard featured in the Project For Public Spaces
Mon ami Xavier: his publishers and a gallery of some of his work. (please allow pop-ups and click on "book")
The Tabacaria blog gives love to Xavier's comic Les Indégivrables
Musée Marmottan
That Monet painting I remembered from childhood.
Fondation Le Corbusier
OChef makes duck confit!
Petite Anglaise blogs about Paris driving

I've since determined that the cheese-and-potato thing I ate that night was not cassoulet, since that is a way to use white-or-other beans, and no way were they involved in that dish. It was more like a gratin, but I know that's not what they called it on the menu - I could have sworn the word was "cassoulet" or "cassoulette", but I guess I was wrong. I'll have to ask Xavier...

You'll notice the link that talks about Rue Mouffetard is from a site about public spaces. This is something I didn't discuss while blathering this episode: that there are many, many places in Paris for people to gather. Because it has this ersatz network of odd corners and roundabouts and streets that emit from a centre, there are dozens of spots like where I stood at Place de la Contrescape, with a fountain in the middle and a little area around it, then the small roundabout surrounded by cafés and shops where people sit out front. And I wasn't even around for what is the best-known thing about the area: the open-air market at the other end of the street at Square St. Medard, nearer to my hotel. I was always either too early or late to check out the vendors there. And as the name suggests, it starts in a sort of square, which is yet another area where people walk around or hang out. And most of these areas are very focused on pedestrians - which may have something to do with the fact that when all this got started hundreds of years ago, you had your feet and maybe a horse or a cart. Still, I think that's part of what makes it such a "vibrant" city, to use the parlance of purple travel prose. I think it's really hard to plan for something like that, but those carrying the Jane Jacobs torch will do what they can.

Oh, and the toothpaste I bought? Would you believe...it was made in Canada!


Biggest Day Job Plug Ever

Hi. No, I don't have a new episode, but I'm editing...occasionally. I was on vacation, so here's a flickr set (yay! my first flickr set!) to give you some idea where I was and perhaps provide a preview of the next two shows - if of course I ever get them done.

Now, on to the business at hand.

You know that my day job is producing audio description for movies and tv shows so the vision-impaired know what the hell is going on. Description 27 is about that, and if you heard it, you'll recall I explained that it isn't easy to access our stuff on tv - I demonstrated turning on the SAP (Secondary Audio Program) by navigating a mess of buttons and menus and crap on my particular tv and vcr. You can imagine how fun that process is for someone who can't see.

When I've posted day job plugs on this blog, they've usually been for CBC stuff we've described, because we have a deal with them where first-run CBC shows of an hour or more that air prime-time can be simulcast on our sister station VoicePrint, which you can get in an online stream. Still, that's not many shows, and the vision-impaired should be able to hear all the described programming available (even stuff we didn't do - gasp!) as easily as possible.

So the company where I work has applied to the CRTC (big-shot regulators) to get a tv station with nothing but shows with open description, meaning without all of that SAP nonsense. The description is just there. Frickin' cool, huh? The vision-impaired can enjoy or hate tv just like the rest of us without all that dumb technical hassle.

Part of the process of applying to the CRTC for this station is that the public can submit their opinions on this idea, whether they think it's great or stupid and why. And it does make a lot of difference. That part of the fun is going on now until March 8.

So if you have a minute, head over to this page:
...which tells you how to submit your letter of support (or non-support, but you wouldn't do that, right? right?), and even provides some more info on the station if you want it. You can submit by snail mail, fax, email, filling out an online form and even by phone.

Thanks in advance for helping out, and really for just bothering to read this. Now, back to that day job of mine...and eventually editing that next podcast.