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Cue Sheet – 2005


    Just checking in long enough to point you to an amusing (from our distant perspective) article from the Chicago Tribune:

    Hell hath no fury like that of a scorned National Public Radio fan--especially in Detroit, where listeners angry over recent programming changes have gone to court, charging the city's NPR station with fraud.
    The fury in Detroit over program changes at WDET-FM has listeners claiming they were tricked into contributing money to the station during a pledge drive while station operators were secretly planning to junk locally produced programming and replace it with national talk and public affairs shows.
    You'll find the whole tale here.



    I’m taking the next week and a half off from KUAT, and may or may not blog during that period. In-laws are descending upon us, and since these are people I actually like, I want to devote some time to them. With luck, I can get my remaining work-related obligations out of the way efficiently. By the end of next weekend, I need to edit three articles by other people for the Tucson Weekly, review a play that opens on New Year’s Eve, finish proofreading someone’s very strange novel about graverobbing and necrophilia (if only the writer had more fun with the sheer loony perversity of it all), write 2,000 words for the All Music Guide, do some minimal Web site maintenance every couple of days for Fanfare magazine, and finish off two overdue articles for Strings magazine. This actually is equivalent to only about two full days of work, so it shouldn’t interfere too much with my social life. Meanwhile, as those of us who are supposedly waging war on Christmas say, happy holidays.



    A few years ago I heard a pack of coyotes howling on Christmas Eve, and was pleased to think of them as wild carolers, going wash to bosque with their own seasonal greetings. But what, exactly, would coyotes, good pagans all, sing about at this time of year? Here’s what I came up with, sung to the tune of “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”:

God bless you, hairy cattlemen,
and hirsute shepherds, too.
More meager would our mealtimes be
Without the likes of you,
Who’ve introduced into our realm
That tempting baa and moo.
Oh, thank goodness for human fools who keep
cattle and sheep.
All we ask is:
Please don’t shoot us from your Jeep.



    My contribution to the current Tucson Weekly:

    Kevin Johnson, the man who has produced local performances of such socially deviant musicals as Assassins (about president-killers) and Ruthless! (about a little girl who tries to murder her way to stage stardom), wants to get his clutches on your children.
    Yes, as an offshoot of Arizona Onstage Productions, whose idea of a fundraiser is a screening of an opera inspired by trash-TV host Jerry Springer, Johnson has formed Arizona Youth Onstage. And the group's first show this spring will be ... Annie.
    You’ll find the full explanation here.



    Every so often, a “meme” infects the blogosphere; bloggers provide personal responses to a list that's floating around, with one blogger often tagging another to keep the meme going. Our Girl in Chicago has effectively tagged everyone, so I have no choice but to participate.
    First, some caveats and elaborations. This was an incredibly difficult task for me, starting with the movie and television questions. I tend not to watch or read anything more than once, so there’s really no such thing as a movie I could “watch over and over.” But let’s pretend. The first and fourth movies I list are big epics that deeply reward all the time you have to invest in them; the second has scene after scene of little acts of decency that manage to choke me up; the third and fourth are visually inventive and full of remarkable atmosphere. Two of them are in French, which makes me look either smart or unpatriotic.
    As for the TV shows, I watch almost nothing (I use my big plasma screen for movies), and I just don’t watch reruns. So I listed the one program I do watch, and those that reliably snag my attention when I’m channel-surfing in a hotel.
    So here we go:
    Four jobs you've had in your life: record store clerk, theater critic, newspaper editor, webmaster.
    Four movies you could watch over and over: The Godfather (Parts 1 and 2, but not 3), La Gloire de mon père, City of Lost Children, Lord of the Rings trilogy.
    Four places you've lived: Yuma, Arizona; Midland, California; Prescott Valley, Arizona; Tucson, Arizona.
    Four TV shows you love to watch: 24. And if I watched reruns, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Babylon 5, The Twilight Zone.
    Four places you've been on vacation: Chaco Canyon, Prague, Fez, San Francisco.
    Four websites you visit daily: Salon, About Last Night, Arts Journal, Dilbert.
    Four of your favorite foods: anything involving pasta, palak paneer, green salads with berries or citrus, wine (which I consider a component of a meal, not an intoxicant).
    Four places you'd rather be: Provence, San Francisco, southern Utah, an adobe house in Tucson’s Barrio Viejo.



    The Hartford Courant is running an interesting article surveying the wide availability of classical music (not just wall-to-wall Vivaldi) on the Connecticut airwaves, and wondering why people are wringing their hands about the sad state of classical radio. One of the story’s sources is Bob Goldfarb, that rare radio consultant who understands and likes classical music, and has his head affixed to the proper end of his body. (I’d often encounter him at concerts when he lived in Tucson, briefly, about 15 years ago.) Says Goldfarb, who has worked for Teldec and run the commercial classical station in Seattle and should know what he’s talking about:

"There is a belief in the public-radio station system that growth is good, and total revenue is more important than net revenue. By those measures, classical music doesn't stack up well. … But one of the things that has been remarkable is that when public radio and TV was conceived in the late '60s, it was understood that being a public service meant filling in gaps of conventional programming. Public service now has morphed into reaching to more listeners."
    In other words, many of the people who run public radio stations, in pursuit of bigger and bigger audience-fundraising goals, have abandoned their mandated audience. The true crisis in classical radio is this betrayal of the American public.


About Cue Sheet

James Reel's cranky consideration of the fine arts and public radio in Tucson and beyond.