Any resemblance to Mike “I Was Just Thinking….” Barnicle is purely coincidental….
- Kind of amazing to hear the wall-to-wall media coverage of the New York Philharmonic’s trip to North Korea….startling and gratifying to hear snippets of the New World Symphony in the middle of network newscasts. Worth reading: Anne Midgette’s column in the WaPo on this not being a case of bringing Great. Western. Art. to poor benighted souls behind the Bamboo Curtain….
- Also check out the blogon-the-road-to-Pyongyang reports from WNYC’s John Schaefer. For an opposing viewpoint on cultural diplomacy: Terry Teachout’s thoughts in the Wall Stret Journal on why this whole Philharmonic performance was a political abomination. Click here to hear a portion of Pyongyang performance.
- Which reminds me of a similar history-making venture I helped to orchestra for NPR in 1999: The Milwaukee Symphony’s trip to Cuba, which was the first time a US orchestra had performed on the island since the Philadelphia Orchestra had been there in 1959. ‘Course, it was a little easier for our NPR crew to move around the country than it was for the delegation traveling to North Korea this week…I remember that producer Laura Bertran even managed to lend some technical and logistical help to the struggling public radio station in Havana to broadcast the concert live on the island. (Oh yeah, they played Gershwin, too….the Cuban Overture, natch) Click here to hear some of the music from similar symphonic excursions in the past, and here for a similar Washington Post story on other “Diplomacy Concerts” of that past half-century.
- Also in the Post: a feel-good story about the Radio One company moving back into D.C. and helping to anchor a redevelopment of the Howard Theatre, one of the great jazz venues when DC was a great jazz town.
- I don’t know any of the politics involved, but imagining WYPR in Baltimore without Marc Steiner is simply bizarre. If there is any station, public OR commercial, defined by a single personality it would be WYPR and its erstwhile talk-show host. Perhaps that was the problem; I don’t know. But props to the station for broadcasting (on morning drive, no less!) a refreshingly candid and honest account of a stormy Feb. 20 community advisory board meeting about the issues involved. With a transcript, no less. That took some courage.
- On the other hand, for the same station to air during afternoon drive a six-month-old repeat of a Mario Armstrong “Digital Cafe” feature? About an Internet startup being Beta tested? With a casual disclaimer that “some information may be out of date?” Incredibly. Lame.
- Speaking of public radio: Terrific story by Joel Rose of WHYY on the inevitable move to the Web by niche music magazines. Simple explanation: As record companies decline, there’s no one else to pick up the advertising slack…
- And, apropos of my Guitar Zeroes posting the other day, the Youth Radio piece that ran on All Things Considered was another fascinating take on how music and gaming are converging: Producers who discovered music through gaming and moved on to become audio professionals are suddenly finding inspiration and incorporating the sounds and techniques of such games as Dance Dance Fever and Rock Band into their productions. Worth a listen.
- It’s nice to see Pete Seeger getting his props from PBS this week, with an American Masters portrait airing tonight on most PBS stations around the country. Except, that is, in DC, where despite Pete being on the cover of the Post’s TV Week, the local pubtv powerhouse WETA inexplicably is running a show a three-year old show on Judy Garland. Huh? I’ll have more to say on Pete in a later post.