In the early 1960s, James P. Coyle and Mal Sharpe roamed the streets of San Francisco, microphone in hand, roping strangers into bizarre schemes and surreal stunts. Today, their humor is a cultural touchstone for artists as varies as Henry Rollins and The Upright Citizens Brigade.
These recordings are from the Sharpe family archive, which is tended by Mal's daughter, Jennifer Sharpe. You can learn more about Coyle & Sharpe on their website or on MySpace. Their recent box set is These 2 Men Are Imposters.
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Our pal Neil Campbell, (who is half of the brilliant comic duo of Neil & Paul with our other pal, Paul Rust), has just re-launched his long-dormant web comic My Naked Dad. The new site is gorgeous, especially Neil's carefully crafted line drawings of dad penis. Oh, and the comic is hilarious.
And hey, while you're checking out Neil & Paul effluvia, check out Paul's rarely-updated but always-hilarious blog, Watch Paul Rust Age Behind Glass.
Ever since my little one-sided tiff with Weekend Edition, I've been getting emails from people who are dissatisfied with some aspect of NPR. These folks are usually like me... they invariably start off saying, "I really love NPR, but..."
Someone told me about the letter I'm about to print below, and I happened to know the producer of the show, so I asked her if I could reprint it here, since it was so, well... unbelievable.
The show which prompted the letter, 11 Central Ave, is a really neat idea. Basically, it's a super-short (3 minute) serial dramady about a family reacting to the news. It's run on some neat stations during the local slots in NPR news shows. Our friends at WUSM in Hattiesburg run it, for example. Besides hearing it on the radio you can also hear it as a podcast.
Anyway, here's a listener letter that the show's producer got:
This show is possibly the *worst* thing ever to reach air on an NPR
station! How can you even think it's good? Are you really carried only
on Boston's WBUR an only three (of hundreds!) of NPR stations?
Here's the letter I sent to NPR -- in error, as it turns out -- and to
Please, please, please. Enough of 11 Central Ave.
Its not funny. Its poorly written. Its poorly read (certainly not acted
its as if the readers are doing cold reads of the script!).
The only advantage: It gets me leaping across the room to turn off
This is the worst thing ever on NPR -- and Ive been listening since the
And here's the response I got from NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday staff.
Not exactly a vote of confidence.
We completely agree with you about 11 Central Avenue. But I must tell
you it is NOT an NPR production. It is produced independently and has
been acquired by 3 stations so far - including WBUR. If that is your
local station, I urge you to go to their website, www.wbur.org, and send
your criticism directly to them. We have no control over what stations
insert into our programs, but a letter to them from you will have an
effect that word from us will not. Thanks for your note.
Weekend Edition Sunday
How embarrassing it must be to get dissed by NPR!
No response yet from WBUR. Maybe they got too many complaints?
Please contact WBUR and apologize, then get out of your contract. Then
please destroy any evidence of your lame show and disappear quietly
into another Chicago address: about 1000 yards offshore into Lake Michigan.
They don't mince words, do they? (I'm referring to NPR, of course.)
Of course, 11 Central Ave is an unusual program, and you'd expect to get a bit of negative response. But doesn't that response from NPR the listener forwarded shock the heck out of you? I mean, seriously folks...
And to think, when I wrote to Weekend Edition, I only got a form letter back...
Listener/reader Rob Bloom sends us this funny short film, for which he wrote the screenplay.
His screenplay for the film won a big contest, and was produced by the UCB Theatre and directed by Maggie Carey, whose work we've featured here before. As a result of the contest, you might see the film as pre-show entertainment the next time you go to the movies.
Also worth checking out: Carey's "Jeannie Tate Show," which also features her husband Bill Hader.
CONSIDER YOURSELVES TEASED!
Scott Dikkers served as Editor-in-Chief of The Onion from 1989 to 2000, when he left for the warmer climes of Hollywood. He returned to The Onion in 2005.
We talk with Scott about The Onion's newest venture: Onion News Network. It's one of The Onion's most ambitious ventures into non-text media, and will feature parodies of cable news, Sunday-morning talk shows and C-Span. The network's motto is: "You'll never read again."
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Our intersititial music is provided by DJW
The Sound of Young America is underwritten in part by Project Breakout
"I tried hard to like this podcast. I listened to about a dozen installments. Guests were interesting. Unfortunately, I couldn't get past the behavior of the host. He speaks in an affected radio voice, steps all over his guests with his 'witty anecdotes,' and keeps referring to himself, in the third person, as "America's radio sweetheart."
If this podcast gets a new host, I'll be back on board. Until then, I remain unsubscribed."
From our mailbag!
Well, since you asked for it, I'm writing in with some thoughts regarding your radio show that is now being broadcast via WNYC here in NYC.
I must say I had an immediate (negative) response to your self-assigned title of "America's Radio Sweetheart." What's that all about? And what gave you the balls to give yourself that title? I mean, someone like Ira Glass is indeed America's Radio Sweetheart - but only bc he's been the radio f o r e v e r and bc he is broadcast all across our country. Just thinking it's a bit premature to be self-assigning such a title to yourself! sheesh.
A bit presumptuous, heh?
So what makes you YOUNG anyway? We have NO IDEA how old you are - I wld think if you're gonna lay claim to YOUNG you'd better qualify yourself. Sounds to me as to you're around 45, btw. And your subjects haven't exactly been cutting-edge "young."
Dunno why, but WNYC has been running your add ad naseum - I honestly don't want to hear it ONE MORE TIME. I don't want to hear that you're "marginally employed" and that you make good meatballs. PUHlease.
The show? Guess the show is OK. Heard your bit with Amy Sedaris. Heard yesterday's show with live mic guys from the 70's - a WHOLE HOUR on these guys, I ask you? Cudda been a twelve minute segment.
Anyway, as you wld say, thanks for listening.
XXXXX in Brooklyn"
If you'd like to add some good to the world, why not review one of our great shows in iTunes?
Or how about this -- send an email to your local public radio station saying you love The Sound of Young America, and would love to hear it on their airwaves!
FOLKS, IT'S AS EASY AS THAT!
The Sound of Young America / MaximumFun.org SoCal meetup is Friday, April 13th, 2007.
Mark your calendar for 8PM. We'll meet at the Bourgeois Pig, at 5931 Franklin Ave in LA. This moderately insufferable coffeehouse is right next door to our next stop, and we can have some cups of Morrocan mint tea.
Then, we'll catch the late show at the UCB (should start at 9:30) -- it's The Match Game, starring podcast superstar Jimmy Pardo and friends. Hopefully one of us will win the hundred dollar prize and cover everyone's outlay on overpriced tea a few hours earlier.
All in all, ten or fifteen bucks well spent, says I.
One note: the Match Game will require reservations. They're not available yet, but I will post here on the blog and on the forum when they are. When you make your reservations, please email me your confirmation as an RSVP, so I know how many people to expect.
Les Savy Fav
Hang It Up, Keep It Up
We hear Aaron's debut story, among other things. Above: Aaron's dancing debut, in his high school's cafeteria at lunch.
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The Sound of Young America and Jordan Jesse GO! are supported in part by Project Breakout!