Listen to a story on NPR’s Morning Edition about the wacky musicians, engineers and video producers collectively known as CDZA. Their experimental web videos are a hoot. CDZA has more than a quarter million subscribers to their YouTube channel. Oh, and about the above photo… well, uh, they don’t look nearly that good in person.
The Klezmatics were given a lifetime achievement award by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research on November 19. The hard rockin’, hard workin’ klezmer ensemble was lauded for offering “a provocative model of how to respond to the destruction of Europe’s Yiddish culture.” The band’s trumpet player Frank London said, “We are blessed to be a link in the chain of Yiddish continuity.” Read all about it on the Arty Semite blog.
Fans of “Doonesbury” have been doing without the Pulitzer Prize-winning comic strip since the summer. The strip has been on vacation. But its creator, Garry Trudeau, has not exactly been chilling at the beach. Trudeau spent the last several months in a New York film studio making a sitcom called “Alpha House.” The show is being launched online on Amazon. It chronicles the misadventures of four fictional Republican senators who share a Washington, D.C., townhouse. We visit the set and and talk to the great cartoonist-turned-TV-producer in this NPR story.
Listen to a radio story about Ben Zion Shenker, the composer of beautiful chasidic melodies or negunim. Shenker is a Modzitzer chasid and the Modzitzters, of course, are known for their beautiful negunim. A podcast on Shenker will be produced in the coming days for the web site of The Forward.
The new series Jersey Strong on Pivot TV focuses on two unconventional households in New Jersey. Listen to a feature on The WBGO Journal about the show, which is produced by the team behind the Newark reality series Brick City,
Bread and Puppet Theater began 50 years on New York’s Lower East Side. Since 1974 it is based on a farm in the town of Glover in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Listen to an 11-minute report about Bread and Puppet’s life in Vermont on “Vermont Edition" on VPR, Vermont Public Radio. And a shorter piece on NPR.
Why is there a portrait of the Chofetz Chaim on the wall of a Hudson Valley mansion owned by one of America’s elite WASP families? The answer to that question can be found in the pages of this week’s Forward.
Waste Plastic Used to Make Filament for 3D Printers
College student Tyler McNaney became obsesses with 3D printing and not long thereafter designed a machine that grinds waste plastic down, melts it and creates spool of filament that can be used in 3D printers that make plastic objects. Listen to a report on Vermont Public Radio. And, Tyler, get your butt back in mechanical engineer class!
Listen to Only A Game this weekend to hear a story about Jahmani Swanson, the 4’5” point guard for the New York Towers, a basketball team comprised of men that are between 4’ and 4’6”. The 27 year-old New York City native is poetry in motion on the basketball court.
Martha Hennessy divides her time between Vermont and Manhattan’s East Village where she volunteers at a house of hospitality founded by her grandmother, Dorothy Day. Listen to the story on Vermont Public Radio.
This is a lower receiver for an AR-15 rifle. It’s the chassis on which all the other components of the weapon are attached. It was made on a 3D printer and there are amateur gunsmiths who think that one day almost an entire firearm will be produced with a 3D printer. Oy.
Listen to my report on All Things Considered.
Radio Ambulante is a long-form narrative radio project that aspires to create the kind of storytelling magic a anumber of public radio prograns are known for but they hope to do it for Spanish-speaking listeners. Read about the Radio Ambulante crew here.
Sam Lovejoy, the Anti-Nuke Firebrand Who Became a Civil Servant
39 years ago today Sam Lovejoy toppled a tower in Montague, Massachusetts and declared the Montague nuke will never be built. He was right about that. But who could’ve predicted that more than 30 years later Lovejoy would become a civil servant in the state of Massachusetts. Listen to a story about a key figure of the anti-nuke movement of the late 1970’s. It aired this morning over WFCR in Amherst, MA.
Larry Selman will collect no more. He passed away last Sunday at the age of 70. I wrote a remembrance for the NPR web site that you will find here. You’ll also find audio there for a short piece on Selman that aired this morning on Weekend Edition. There are also obits on-line for the New York Daily News and The Forward. The Forward obit includes a link to 10-minute podcast I produced about Selman surviving Hurricane Sandy. The last time I saw Larry Selman he told me he wanted a kitten to replace his cat Happy, who died in the days after the hurricane.
So, Paul Krassner gets up one morning out there in the desert of Southern California and forwards me an email with a link to a wonderful new web site dedicated to the Satmar mensch Nechemya Weberman, who is facing a serious time out behind bars for sex crimes. I’ve long struggled with the question of who is more despicable: African-Americans who won’t “snitch” on a someone who has killed a black person or haredi Jews who won’t go to law enforcement authorities when they know a child has been raped. A pox on both their houses. Read this piece in The Forward about the family of Nechemya Weberman. And remember: you don’t need a Weberman to know which way the wind blows.
Thanks to a saint from the Bronx and a cabal of neighbors in Greenwich Village, Larry Selman survived Hurricane Sandy. Listen to the podcast that details doings on Bedford Street on the web site of The Forward.
Listen to a report on NPR’s Weekend Edition about the emergence of groups around the country offering a co-ed DIY alternative to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. We attend a gathering of the Hacker Scouts in Oakland, California and visit the headquarters of diy.org which kids use to show off their projects. We also meet 11 year-old Grace McFadden who made a pair of felt slippers using a juice carton for soles and drop by Adafruit Industries, which makes merit badges for dumpster diving.
Listen to a story about Downtown Community Television on NPR’s "Weekend Edition." DCTV, which is headquartered in an old firehouse in the Chinatown section of Manhattan, is celebrating 40 years as a community video center that also produces hard-hitting documentaries for major broadcast and cable networks.
For Orthodox Jews, being both observant and actively gay is a theological taboo. Listen to four gay Orthodox Jews who are trying to grapple with their two identities. The group includes an ordained Orthodox rabbi and a Hasidic lesbian living in a frum section of Brooklyn. Listen to the podcast on the website of The Forward.
Listen to a story on “Here and Now" about a web site where kids can show photos and videos of their do-it-yourself projects. The radio program is produced at WBUR in Boston and is heard around the country. diy.org has some awesome patches for kids who master more than 40 skills!
Listen to a report on NPR’s “All Things Considered" about the military putting millions of dollars into hacker spaces. The money is coming from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. It’s been called the Defense Department’s venture capital firm — in the past it played a key role in the development of GPS systems and the Internet. Now, a big portion of the new money will go to fund hackerspaces in high schools, including one at Analy High School in Sebastopol, California.
Listen to a story on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday about violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman’s collaboration with the cantorial superstar Yitchak Meir Helfgot.
And in the Forward there’s a print story and podcast on the topic. Perlman and Helfgot have a new album called “Eternal Echoes” on the Sony Classics label. On the Forward’s Arty Semite blog there’s a sidebar on Perlman showing this reporter YouTube videos of great cantorial performances.
This hour-long radio documentary about the Orthodox Jews of Brooklyn resulted in a producer-in-residence gig at KCRW in Santa Monica. The doc was commissioned by WNYC and contains recordings made over a 16-year period while working on stories for NPR, WNYC, Reuters and New York’s daily newspapers.
Listen to a half-hour radio documentarty about the hipster comedian Lord Buckley. More than 50 years after his death, Buckley still has a cult following. This original radio documentary was commissioned by KCRW Santa Monica.
The great Jim Brown is considered by many to be the greatest player to grace the gridiron, but he was also a standout lacrosse player in college. Brown has frequently expressed his love of lacrosse. And so, when the opportunity arose to buy a stake in the Long Island Lizards, he jumped at it. Listen to a feature on Jim Brown and the Long Island Lizards this week on Only A Game.
Photo above: A Lizards midfielder known as The Beast autographs a poster after a home game in Uniondale, Long Island.
Thilde Foerster worked in the European film industry in the 1920’s. An affair with a hotshot Hungarian director resulted in a son and a battle for child support waged on two continents. Foerster’s granddaughter, a prominent New Zealand playwright, tells the story in a play titled “Don’t Mention Casablanca.” Newspaper story and podcast in this week’s Forward.
Listen to a report from Vermont’s North East Kingdom where tiny house evangelist Derek Diedricksen and Adirondacks carpenter Bill Rockhill taught 20 people from around the country how to build a tiny house. And check out Deek’s tiny house blog.
Or watch an audio slideshow about Tiny House Summer Camp on the MAKE blog.
The four-day workshop was attended by the notorious Sims Brothers of Madison, Connecticut.
They don’t make ‘em like Joseph Greenstein any more. Greenstein, a.k.a. the Mighty Atom, was a Jewish strongman who raised 10 kids in Brooklyn. This story starts in Poland, makes stops in Texas and Vaudeville, involves feats of strengths still standing in the record books and includes a tall goy known as Slim the Hammerman who performs with a star of David embroidered on his shirt in honor of “the old Jewish guy.” Listen to the Mighty Atom podcast on Tablet Magazine here. This story would not be possible wothout the help of Ed Spielman.
Bluegrass and klezmer virtuoso Andy Statman is a recipient of the NEA’s National Heritage Fellowship. Read about the Brooklyn-based clarinetist and mandolin player on the Arty Semite blog.
Listen to a half-hour radio documentary about Statman commissioned by KCRW.
Listen to a story on NPR’s Weekend Edition about digital fabrication. We meet Duann Scott of Shapeways, who fixed his Bugaboo baby stroller by 3D printing a broken part in stainless steel, visit the Ponoko home office in Wellington, New Zealand and chat with designer Tiago Rorke, part of the team responsible for SketchChair.
Listen to a feature on how archery’s recent inclusion in major motion pictures is drawing new people to the sport. A link to Only A Game is here. The story includes a visit to Proline Archery Range in Queens, New York.
Check out the June 11th issue of Current. The newspaper, which covers public broadcasting, has a story about broadcasting legend Bob Fass, whose late night free-form radio show has been on the air for close to 50 years. Watch a trailer for a new documentary on Fass here.
Go to makezine.com for the lowdown on a new web site where kids can upload digital photos of their handiwork. It’s more than a web site, though. It’s a new youth organization that will eventually help kids who like to make stuff to meet up in person.
Yoonseo Kang is one gutsy young dude. The 18 year-old Canadian robotics wiz resisted parental pressure to go to college and instead moved to the Open Source Ecology farm in Missouri to help make the world a much better place to live in. Now comes word that Kang has been selected as a Thiel Fellow which comes with a $100,000 grant that he will use to buy equipment and materials for his open source CNC circuit mill project.
Listen to The WBGO Journal on Friday evening, May 4th for a story about a Greenwich Village neighborhood that started a trust fund for a developmentally disabled man and has kept him in his own apartment with his beloved cat and dog. Larry Selman, who just turned 70, is the subject of Alice Elliot’s Academy Award-nominated documentary, “The Collector of Bedford Street.” Selman is known as the collector because he has spent years on the sidewalks of his West Village neighborhood collecting contributions for a variety of charities. True to form, Selman wasn’t shy about asking for donations from neighbors who showed up at his recent birthday party.