Random Friday Top 10 and Cultural Miscellany

I’m tired and a little grumpy today. Spent most of the day dragging ass and my second wind only kicked in about a half hour ago. I started a new long-term temp job at this esteemed institution of higher learning this week and I’m having a little trouble adjusting. Don’t get me wrong: the people are very nice – especially the crew I’m working directly with/for – and the work is easy. But I haven’t held a strict 9-5 job in a year and a half, so having to get up in the morning again is kicking my ass. I’ve been averaging about six hours of sleep a night since Sunday, but it hasn’t been enough. This morning I felt like I woke up already in a coma.

So suffice it to say: I’m gonna make this short and sweet tonight.

First off, I’d like to alert you all to a new web venture I learned about earlier this week. It’s called StoryBoard and it’s the brainchild of friends and fellow bloggers Robin Reed and Eric Winick, whose mutual love of NPR and This American Life has led them to branch out into the storytelling arena. They are hungry for content and story proposals (they’re so new there’s only one story currently running on the site – a story of Eric’s that’ll give you a good idea of what they’re aiming for), and eager to get the word out. I think this whole thing sounds cool, so I’ll let them tell you more about it in their own words:

Dear Friends:

In order to indulge our near-obsessive love of public radio and desire to fill the universe with the best stories out there, we are announcing the formation of a new online venture: StoryBoard.

Having educated ourselves in the ways of digital audio recording and digital sound editing, we are looking for a few good stories to edit into listener-friendly podcasts or streaming audio, and then to post them for public consumption on a new website.

What does this require? Why, your participation, of course.

What does my participation require? Your willingness to tell a story, of course.

How does it work? For starters, decide if you have a story about something that happened to you that changed your outlook on… something. Yourself, your life, your career, your political views, whatever. The story should be about a person, place, or event that had an impact on you. It should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. It can be funny, heartbreaking, or just fascinating. The more personal, the better. Preferably it should take somewhere between 5-15 minutes to tell. And it goes without saying that you need to be willing to share this story with the world. Because once we commit it to “tape,” it will be out there for all to hear. Though we would prefer to identify all storytellers by their actual names, you may choose to have your piece credited to an assumed name.

Sound interesting? Here are the next steps.

1. Reply to this e-mail. Send us a summary of your story in 1-3 paragraphs. It doesn’t have to be well-written — just give us a sense of the story’s content and structure. What is its beginning, middle, and end?

2. One of us will respond to you. We will say one of the following: (a) Yes, let’s set up a time to record that. (b) It might be a great story, we just need a little more information before we can make a decision (it may be too long or short, or missing certain elements) (c) In our subjective opinion, we don’t think it’s right for this project (i.e. it’s just not the right piece for this venue).

3. If your story is selected and recorded, it will be featured on the main page of StoryBoard, then eventually moved to the archives. We’ll also give you a CD and a link to the story’s home in our archives.

Want to hear a sample of what we’re planning? Check out http://storyboardaudio.com/ to hear our inaugural story, a piece Eric recorded a couple years ago, a hilarious and terrifying story of poor college students crashing a high-end party, with disastrous results. (P.S. Not all stories have to feature celebrities)

So that’s it. StoryBoard in a nutshell. We are excited about this project and hope you’ll share your stories with us. Or ask us questions. Have a friend or friends you think might groove on the idea? Feel free to forward this e-mail to her/him/them.

Yours in auditory solidarity,

Robin Reed and Eric Winick

Auditory solidarity: I love that!

In other news, it’s been a bit of a sports day for me. As you can see I’m only beginning to publicly admit on the blog how much I love pro sports. Here are today’s highlights:

  • The NBA has ruled that the Miami Heat and the Atlanta Hawks must replay the last 52 seconds of their December 19 overtime matchup due to a massive officiating snafu by the referees. The do-over will be in March. ESPN commentators Dan Shulman and Hubie Brown were talking about this at the beginning of tonight’s broadcast of the Miami-New Orleans game and brought up a good point: what happens if either team makes a trade or two before then? Will the new player(s) be allowed to play in the rematch even though they weren’t on the team’s official roster back in December? There seems to be nothing in the league rules about this one way or the other. Things like this intrigue me to no end, but make me glad I’m not the commissioner. (Note to Pat Riley: you might not want to think about trading Shaq just yet.)
  • The Harlem Globetrotters will retire Curly Neal’s jersey number at Madison Square Garden in February. This makes me very happy. I grew up watching these guys on ABC’s Wide World of Sports (okay, I just dated myself big time there) and always loved them. Curly was one of my faves and I’m glad he will now be enshrined with fellow Globetrotters like Wilt Chamberlain and Meadowlark Lemon. (Insert the sound of me whistling their theme song here.)

Speaking of songs, it’s time for this week’s Random Friday Top 10, which is spread out across three of my Pandora stations. Love the variety, people!

  • “A Venture” – Yes (The Yes Album)
  • “Why Have They Gone” – Starcastle (Citadel)
  • “Watcher of the Skies/Firth of Fifth” (Live) – Transatlantic (Live in America)
  • “Song for America” – Kansas (Sail On: The 30th Anniversary Collection 1974-2004)
  • “Sound Chaser” – Yes (Relayer)
  • “Echo” – Tom Petty (Echo)
  • “The Shape I’m In” – The Band (The Band: Greatest Hits)
  • “Billie” – Pavement (Terror Twilight)
  • “Letter From a Concerned Follower” – Pedro the Lion (The Only Reason I Feel Secure)
  • “The Great Salt Lake” – Band of Horses (Everything All the Time)

In closing, I’d like to alert you all to another little cool something I found out about earlier this week: the formation of The Downtown 3, a new business partnership between 3LD Art and Technology Center, Dance New Amsterdam, and HERE Arts Center to offer affordable tickets for events at all three venues. Here’s the what the official press release had to say about it:

3LD Art and Technology Center, Dance New Amsterdam (DNA) and HERE Arts Center proudly announce THE DOWNTOWN 3, a partnership offering audiences an affordable way to experience cutting-edge performance in Lower Manhattan’s alternative arts scene. These three leading Lower Manhattan institutions are united by a shared aesthetic and artistic philosophy, which merges dance, theatre, and technology to create new and innovative modes of expression. By purchasing The Downtown 3 Punchcard, audience members receive deeply discounted admission to all three venues, offering audiences an affordable way to experience risk-taking performance in Lower Manhattan’s alternative arts scene.

Purchased online or at any of the three venues’ box offices for only $33, The Downtown 3 Punchcard is used to reserve one ticket at each venue for select performances. With discounts averaging 60% off the full ticket price, Punchcard holders pay only $11 per ticket. An additional savings is available for purchasing two Punchcards, $30 per Punchcard, or $10 per ticket. The Downtown 3 Punchcard will be available on January 1, 2008 and is valid for select performances for all of 2008. To purchase The Downtown 3 Punchcard, participants call 212-352-3101 or visit www.downtown3.org.

Purchasers of the Downtown 3 Punchcard can use them at many offerings from the upcoming seasons at 3 LD Art and Technology Center, Dance New Amsterdam and HERE Arts Center. For example, for only $11 each, audience members can enjoy performances of 3-Legged Dog’s hotly anticipated upcoming premiere of Charles L. Mee’s FIRE ISLAND (regular ticket price $30); ; DNA’s OB·ject.ob·JECT, highlighting women choreographers and featuring Vanessa Justice, Nicole Wolcott and The Doorknob Company (regular ticket price $20); and HERE’s production of Oph3lia, a new work by HERE’s Resident Artist Aya Ogawa, which will open their newly renovated facility in June 2008 (regular ticket price $18).

In a joint statement, 3LD Producing Artistic Director Kevin Cunningham, HERE’s Executive Director Kristin Marting and DNA’s Executive Director Michelle Audet said: “We are incredibly excited to join forces in promoting our community of artists. Together, we form the bedrock for inspiring, engaging and cutting-edge performances happening in Lower Manhattan. This partnership creates more ways for our audiences to make art a part of their everyday life.”

And with that it’s time to go work on my lines. Merry Mount gallops along apace (you can read a brief update about it on Ian’s blog). More on that front shortly.

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