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We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Classics.
On this week's show The Del Close Marathon, Ian Roberts from the Upright Citizen’s Brigade and Anthony King of the UCB Theater join us to talk about the marathon which took place in memory of the legendary comedian. Jeff Griggs, author of “Guru: My Days with Del Close”.
For over 30 years Del Close was the leading light in improvisational comedy in Chicago, having a huge influence on Mike Meyers, Bill Murray, John Belushi and the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, among many others. Following Del’s passing in 1999, the UCB started the annual Del Close Marathon as a means of celebrating their mentor’s life, and passing on his legacy to future generations. Ian Roberts and Anthony King from the UCB talk about the event.
Jeff Griggs’ book “Guru: My Days with Del Close” explores elements of Close’s biography, from his childhood in Kansas, his early years as an actor to his involvement with the Compass Players and Second City.
Please share your thoughts on the show in the comments section!
“The Art of the American Snapshot 1888 – 1978” is currently running in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, until 31st December 2007. The exhibition features photos from the collection of Robert E. Jackson from Seattle, one of the country’s premier snapshot collectors. I spoke to Robert about the exhibition and all things ‘snapshotty’ – here’s what he had to say.
EMcD: How would you define a snapshot?
RJ: The snapshot can be defined as a democratic photographic phenomena arising out of the technological advances in the mechanics of camera processing. This produced a product which allowed the amateur to take photos with some of the same degree of ease and sophistication as found in professional photography at a cost which was affordable. The act of taking a snapshot is personal response to a moment involving telling a story using the camera as a surrogate for memory.
EMcD: How did you go about accumulating these photographs over the years?
RJ: My interest in snapshots grew out of an earlier interest in paper ephemera. I liked the content of the snapshots--the tricks, the odd poses and costumes, the small jewel-like nature of the medium. And probably most importantly snapshots were inexpensive relative to other types of photographic mediums, and they were plentiful which meant I could build a collection with some ease. One can collect fingers obscuring the lens, photo emulsion mistakes, gay interest photographs, badly tinted photos, photos where faces have been scratched out, photos of pit bulls, photographer shadows, the notations on the backs of photos. Also this most democratic of photographic mediums could have only been built using the internet and most specifically Ebay which allowed me to network with dealers and be exposed to items from around the United States and often the world on a daily basis.
EMcD: You've assembled a huge array of photos spanning a 90 year period in American history. What themes does the exhibition explore?
RJ:The exhibition explores the creativity of the snapshooter and how cultural influences impacted the ways in which the photographer interacted with the times as well as with friends and family. The personal, intimate nature of the snapshot and the often voyeuristic impulses of the snapshooter are highlighted through the portrayal of sleeping photos throughout the time period. The issue of remembrance, narrative, and rituals within the snapshot genre are shown via the presentation, through the decades, of birthday cakes.
EMcD: What impact did the introduction of easily accessible photography have on life in America during the period examined?
RJ: It provided the general population an affordable means to create a narrative of their life. Their ability to record the world around them and to interact, via taking a picture, in the historical and familial events by which they were surrounded allowed for the preservation of a slice of American life which we now can experience and attempt to understand from a sociological and aesthetic vantage point.
EMcD: Since 1978 technology has improved dramatically and the way we now view images has totally changed. Does the fact that we now view many of our photos via computers and not captured as actual physical prints ruin the concept of the snapshot?
RJ: Technology has not necessarily improved in relation to the creation of the snapshot, but rather has changed, and via such change has impacted our way of thinking about the taking and making of a snapshot. Once the price decreases and the ease of taking and editing a snapshot increases, photos which don’t fit within the accepted canon of what a “good” snapshot should be are often eliminated (in that sense one could say something has been “ruined”). Thus the manner in which we interact with our snapshots, our memory, has changed. Snapshots are not viewed anymore as private documents, but rather are viewed as something to exhibit in the public sphere via websites such as Flickr.
As part of the exhibition, the documentary “Other People’s Pictures” will screen on November the 21st and 23rd at 1.00pm in the Gallery. The 53 minute piece tracks nine collectors as they hunt for images of people they do not know. Co-producer of the documentary Lorca Shepperd was a previous guest on TSOYA. Listen to the interview with Lorca Shepperd
Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim -- known collectively as Tim & Eric -- are the creators of the Cartoon Network [adult swim] series "Tom Goes to the Mayor" and "Tim & Eric, Awesome Show, Great Job!" Their bizarre humor hinges on uncomfortable social relationships and industrial-film aesthetics. Discuss this episode on the forum!
This week on the show Jordan and Jessetalk with Ryan McKee about his trip to the Bondage Ball (not very appropriate for kids), plus KCRW and Would You Rather.
THIS WEEK'S ACTION ITEMS:
* What was your worst holiday ever and why? Tell us the story!
CONTINUING ACTION ITEMS:
* Review the show on iTunes. * Do you have a dispute Judge John Hodgman can solve on a future broadcast? Email it to us! Put Judge John in the subject line. * Have personal questions for Jesse and Jordan? Call 206-984-4FUN and tell us what they are! * Does It Hold Up? JJGo's new action item!! Tell us about the things you liked in your youth that are still entertaining in 2007! Call 206-984-4FUN! * Would you like to play Would You Rather with us on a future episode? Email us or give us a call at 206-984-4FUN.
Call 206-984-4FUN to share your thoughts on these ACTION ITEMS.
The always-great Fresh Air rock historian Ed Ward has a piece on Swamp Dogg on Fresh Air today. Swamp is one of the Great Heroes of The New Sincerity, a brilliant musician and a really wonderful guy. When Nick Hornby was over there, he saw my autographed picture of Swamp and we fell into a convo about soul's most outrageous man.