I went into Pip Chodorov’s Free Radicals: A History of Experimental Film with reserved judgment. What I found while watching the film was that it is a film of incredibly narrow range.
Category Archives: Media
I wrote about the BBC Audio Drama Awards last year but without much criticism. This year’s shortlist makes me a bit more critical.
Some things deserve further consideration–perhaps better consideration than mine. Writing about them after the fact may allow someone to set the record straight on things unjustly neglected or inaccurately appraised. Here is another handful of things I did not write about in 2012.
Thoughtful communities should always value judgment over opinion. Popularity is not a judgment and should never concern anyone thinking about what is beautiful. Push come to shove, I will always encourage what is beautiful over what is popular.
Displaying an immense range of knowledge and interests, his radio plays run the diapason of thematic concerns. Yet whatever his subject be, Mr. Pownall’s plays are distinctive and brilliant. They reveal the deft hand of a master who truly believes in the power of a medium often in danger of being reduced to radio gaga and triviality.
Professor Guralnick’s analysis is text-based. There is nothing inherently wrong with this. However, one can go too far.
When it comes to audio drama, BBC rules the roost. Like it or not, BBC remains the largest producer of audio drama in the English language, if not the world. To discuss audio drama at all, one has to deal with the BBC and their chokehold on the history of the field.
Audio recording of the Verbalists storytelling group, recorded live 10 November, 2012.
Giving Prof. Guralnick the benefit of fair doubt, I believe her goal in writing the book is to expand the audience for radio drama by proving its link to stage drama, to discuss playwrights who are best known for their stage work, rather than playwrights who write specifically for radio. I cannot argue against her choice of material. What I will argue is that the approach probably confirms more biases than it dispels.
Artists like Norman Corwin strove toward an idea of radio as an artist’s studio with radio drama as a natural product of the process. Yet as so often typical in American culture, singular artistic visions hardly merit a mention in histories of radio. The idea of an artist’s studio went largely ignored, because the goal of OTR was not to produce art but rather to produce consumers.