A Radio Playground - Live Audio Theater

Live at the Hook and Ladder Theater


A Radio Playground Poster

Presenting a program of Live Radio Drama and Comedy in a Benefit show for KFAI Radio (90.3 FM, and KFAI.org).

Sunday, May 19, at 1:00 PM at the Hook and Ladder Theater, 3010 Minnehaha in Minneapolis.



KFAI Community Radio is practically the only station in the Twin Cities that still supports Modern Audio Theater. So come out to see one of the few presentations of the ancient and new arts of Radio Drama, and support your favorite local radio station.

Local comic and Ukelele instructor,
Dean Johnson, will act as the Master of Ceremonies and guide us through the many places that audio can take you that television and movies cannot.

First off is
The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society, who re-stages the great horror and suspense shows from the golden age of radio, including tales from Suspense, Lights Out, The Witch’s Tale, The Shadow, and more. Each episode is performed live on stage with actors playing multiple roles and producing all of the sound effects. We also produce the The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society podcast!

Then
Fearless Comedy presents BIG FUN RADIO FUNTIME!, where Artistic Director, Tim Wick, brings in gloriously original sketches written with your mind in mind.

And we’ll finish it off with a set of short plays from the Award-winning
Great Northern Audio Theatre, taking you on ordinary and fantastic journeys to places you didn’t know you wanted to go. Including A Day at the Library, and Tell Them NAPA Sent You.

Suggested donation - $10.




Cart Wrangler Up For Audie

The Old Cart Wrangler Audie Nomination


February 4 brought us the news that The Old Cart Wrangler’s Saga is a finalist for the 2019 Audie Awards
Old Cart Wrangler's Saga
from the Audio Publishers Association, in the Original Works Category. Well, it certainly fits in that slot: It’s about as original as they come. Written for audio from the beginning, and the performance by David Ossman was the World Premier of the piece. Great Northern Audio and Otherworld Media were pleased to present it back in June at The Brick, in Kansas City, MO, with eclectic jazz behind the Old Cart Wrangler himself. You know that guy. He’s the one who’s always out there chasing down the stray carts, the ones that are out on the edge of the parking lot looking longingly at the bigger world beyond.


Tom Lopez, at ZBS, says —

Takes a lot to impress me, but you did it. I can’t think of anyone better than David Ossman to perform this piece. … It is really really good. Like perfect. And in front of a live audience. Oh yeah, and Dwight’s backing was so nice to hear, very fine indeed. … I have to admit, it’s rare I listen to a piece all the way to the end, but you nailed me in the first minute … maybe seconds.


The sublime jazz backing band was Rev. Dwight Frizzell on woodwinds, Julia Thro on guitar, and Patrick Conway on percussion. Subtle sound effects were from Tony Brewer.

(The announcement gala was in early March, and we didn’t win.)

Wrangler_n_Band

This photo of the performance was taken by Phil Proctor, also of the Firesign Theatre. The disc or download is available from Blackstone Audio’s Downpour site. It includes a half-hour conversation between author Brian Price and David Ossman, talking about the work, the performance, and the Cart Wrangler character.

What We Did On Our Summer Vacation


I mean, besides going to The Brick while in Kansas City, we attended the
HEAR Now Festival of Audio Fiction. There we had the delight to present the annual Mark Time Awards, and as the opening to that we staged one of our own audio plays, Dialogue With Martian Trombone. The all-star cast included David Ossman, Phil Proctor, Melinda Peterson, Orson Ossman, Richard Fish, and Donna Postel. You can hear that here.

Convergence 20


In July I went to the 20th Anniversary Convergence science fiction convention in Minneapolis. There I was able to help out with the
Big Fun Radio Funtime performance by Fearless Comedy Productions. They were kind enough to invite me to do sound effects for the show, which I was happy to do. They also let us write a sketch for them, so we offered up The Awk Awk Incident, about the dangers of telling the Bird Watchers you’ve seen something rare around your own place. Our thanks to Tim Wick, artistic director at Fearless Comedy, for the opportunity.



The Old Cart Wrangler's Saga

World Premiere Performance by David Ossman


June 6 in Kansas City, MO
The Old Cart Wrangler's Saga, Live!







HEAR Now Festival Presents

The 22nd Annual Mark Time Awards


June 7th, in Kansas City, MO, the
HEAR Now Festival will host the presentation of the Mark Time Awards for 2018. The ceremony will include a performance of Great Northern Audio Theatre’s Dialogue with Martian Trombone, starring David Ossman and Philip Proctor, of the famed Firesign Theatre.
MTA Banner ad
All this will take place at 9:00 PM in the Grand Ballroom of the Holiday Inn Country Club Plaza Hotel.

The Mark Time Awards are well known in the field of contemporary Audio Theater for their recognition of the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres. In cooperation with the HEAR Now Festival of Audio Fiction they have expanded to include detective stories, and this year added a comedy category. They are named after the Mark Time character created by the American comedy troupe, the Firesign Theatre, and have been actively supporting audio drama since 1997. Mark Time Awards are given internationally, and have been won by producers from Ireland, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Belgium and all across the United States.

Mark-TIme-ad-plaque
The presentation and performance includes a radio play that answers the question of what became of the Ramon Raquello Orchestra, the ones that played at the Meridian Room on Orson Welles’ infamous War of the Worlds broadcast back in 1938. We’ve all wondered about that, and now the whole story can be told. The play was written by Brian Price and Jerry Stearns of the Great Northern Audio Theatre, both Mark Time Grand Master Award winners themselves, and besides Ossman and Proctor features an all-star cast of Melinda Peterson, Richard Fish, Donna Postel and Orson Ossman. It was first performed back in 2004. This production is in conjunction with OtherWorld Media and HEAR Now.

The
HEAR Now Festival will run June 7-10, 2018 in Kansas City, and includes many other performances and workshops in the fields of audio storytelling, audiobooks, podcasting, childrens literature, and a celebration of Mark Twain. You can hear more from the Firesign Theatre, too.






Chuck McCann Dies

Featured in “Villains On Parade”


Chuck McCann in action at CONvergence
Chuck McCann was a Guest of Honor at CONvergence in 2010, along with voice actor, Wally Wingert, who was a friend of his. They both agreed to perform in the Mark Time Radio Show, so we wrote something that would make use of their talents, and fit the convention theme, Bring On The Bad Guys. (See #15 on our Mark Time Radio History page.)

We were very sad to hear that Mr. McCann passed away on April 8, 2018. We knew of his friendship with Stan Laurel, and that he was one of the few actors who had ever even tried to mimic both Laurel and Hardy. So we went for that in the radio show script. In the performance everybody was hitting on all cylinders, Chuck and Wally were milking every joke for all it was worth. It’s fun to watch the pros work.
Villains On Parade perpetrators.

In the photo on the right it’s director Brian Price being mauled by Mr. McCann, musician Eleanor Price in front, Wally Wingert, and Jerry Stearns, producer. Listen to all of Villains On Parade here. It’s about 32 minutes long. Listen especially for the “Lost film commentary” by the orcs from ‘Lord of the Rings’. It’s all about the villains, you see.


Loose Wheels and Narrow Necks

New Great Northern release at Blackstone Audio


Loose Wheels & Narrow Necks
Over the years while writing, directing, and acting at radio theater workshops and in the Mark Time Radio show performances at Minneapolis' CONvergence science fiction conventions, Brian Price and David Ossman found that they shared a love for classic Beat poetry, Lord Buckley, and prose poems, so they started doing some of their own. This is a collection of their unique hybrid of humor, music, character, and performance.



“Great short stories by one of my favorite writers!” – David Ossman.


Written by Brian Price, except for the one that was written by Brian Price and Jerry Stearns. Performed by David Ossman, except for the one performed by Richard Fish and the one performed by Eleanor Price, and the ones performed by the whole cast.

Available at the
Blackstone Audio Downpour website. Some are posted here on our Mark Time Radio History page.


Track List (performed by David Ossman unless otherwise noted):


''
Closed Mouths and Narrow Necks''
The Yellow House - West Plains, MO, May 29, 2002
At the NATF Audio Theater Workshop
Bass: Thom Hoglen, Sax: Eric Elder

''
Cart 437'' (or ''The Long Way Around'')
CONvergence 2006 - July 7, 2006

''
The Collapse of the 20th Century Was So Gradual''
Minicon 32 - March 28, 1997
Piano: David Emerson

''
Clones Day Parade''
CONvergence 2001 - July 6, 2001
Piano: Mike Wheaton

''
Unrelated Cliffhanger Theater''
CONvergence 2006 - July 7, 2006
With Windy Bowlsby, Tim Wick, Charlie Meitzner, Preston Ossman, Eleanor Price, and David Ossman

''
Your Mileage May Vary''
CONvergence 2002 - July 5, 2002
With Richard Fish
Music by Eleanor Price

''
A Cure for Science''
CONvergence 2004 - July 2, 2004
Trombone: Jim ten Bensel

''
The Tiniest Souls''
CONvergence 2007 - July 6, 2007

''
Under the Broken Tree Bridge''
CONvergence 2008 - July 3, 2008
With Eleanor Price
Piano: Keith Spears

''
Cart 437: Part Two''
Hear Now Festival - Kansas City, MO, June 9, 2016

''
You Can't Handle the Truth''
CONvergence 2007 - July 6, 2007
With Wally Wingert, Windy Bowlsby, Tim Wick, Preston Ossman, Eleanor Price, and David Ossman
_________________
And since you’ve read this far, it turns out there IS a conclusion to the
Cart 437 Trilogy. Coming soon to a website near you.




HEARNow Festival Report

HEARNow Festival was a Good Time


Brian Price and Jerry Stearns had a good time at the 2017 HEARNow Festival of Audio Fiction in Kansas City, MO. I thought I’d tell you a bit about what we did, and hope it inspires you to attend sometime. Remember, this is only some of the events that we were connected with; there was a LOT more going on than this. You can check their
online schedule to see more.

First of all, this was my first chance to actually see the
Audie Award we won for Best Audio Drama from the Audio Publishers’ Association, for In The Embers. Brian says the New York TSA took him out of line at the airport because of this oddly shaped and unscanable item in his pack. They opened it up, said “Congratulations”, and sent him on his way.
Audie-600


Thursday


In the evening we did a
Best of Audio Fiction presentation, joined by Robin Miles, about our award-winning piece, In The Embers. We got to talk about how it came to be, and about some of the technology that enabled us to put it all together even though few of us live in the same section of the country. We shared the hour with Russell McGee, who is a sound designer for Big Finish’s Dr. Who audio series. He came with a computer presentation, way better prepared than we were. We were able to spend some time with Russell and his wife during the Festival, too.

Friday


Brian went to help out with the
Workshop 101 team, teaching about the writing and production of audio theater. Follow the link to hear some of the short works that they completed during the Festival.
Kathy-Jerry-Christy

Jerry attended a playback session at a local theater - where it is great to be able to hear productions on a BIG excellent sound system and in a room designed for listening. I chose to attend a session presented by two other people who put audio theater actually on the radio. Hosting were Catherine Rinella of Midnight Audio Theater at WCBE in Columbus, Ohio, and Christy Duntan of KZMU community radio in Moab, Utah, who brought us Downtown Abbey. Both shows really fun to hear.

Next Brian and I both hosted a session in the theater called
Simon Jones, A Retrospective. He is the original and genuine Arthur Dent of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, accept no substitutes. Technical difficulties threatened to make it a difficult session, but Simon’s good humor made it into a hilarious hour of stories from his illustrious career on stage and in radio, TV, films, and audiobooks.
Simon-Brian-Jerry-300
Dirk Maggs sent in a video from the UK nearly in praise of Simon, as well. This session won 2nd prize as an audience favorite event for the festival. (First Prize went to KC Wayland who presented a chapter from his ongoing podcast series, We’re Alive, earlier that day.)

Friday evening we were able to slip away for dinner at Arthur Bryant’s barbecue restaurant with Simon Jones and his wife, Nancy, Russell McGee and his wife, Elizabeth, and Rich Fish, Tony Brewer and Butch D’Ambrosio.

Saturday


In the afternoon Brian and I were pleased to moderate a session for the
Podcast Palooza presenters attending the Festival. This has been an important event for us because it gets all these producers from around the country in the same place to talk and listen to each other about what they are doing, and ways they might be able to do it better. It was well attended, and everybody had something to say, and an attentive audience.

Sunday


This morning is the
closing brunch and awards event for the Festival. One of the things that happened here was the presentation of the annual Mark Time Awards. Organizers David Ossman and Judith Walcutt called in via Skype to announce the winners, who were chosen this year from Firesign Theatre’s biggest supporters over the years. Brian and I were asked to read the acceptance speeches from the winners, but Brian had a better idea, and we were able to get Simon Jones to read them – which was WAY better than having us do it. David commented that he’d like Simon to read all their credits in the future.
Corwins_600

And the final Big Deal at this ceremony was the presentation of the Norman Corwin Award. Brian and I are greatly honored to have received this award, and especially in conjunction with the Corwin Legacy Award given to Stan Freberg, one of our heroes of audio comedy.

Thank you


We’d like to thank Sue Zizza for being a gracious host to the Festival and to us. Thanks also to David Shinn for technical wizardry at a variety of incompatible venues. And to the NATF committee who somehow thought we were deserving of an award for sticking with something we loved for many years, and having opinions about it.




In The Embers wins Audie!

In The Embers takes the Best Audio Drama Audie Award


Audies_Brian Price, Paula Poundstone, Robin Miles

June !st the Audio Publishers Association announced the winners in their annual Audie Awards in New York City. We are pleased to say that In The Embers took the prize in the Audio Drama category.

Photo:
Brian Price, Paula Poundstone, Robin Miles. > >

We’d like to thank the Academy, the Foreign Press Association, our long-suffering families, Tom Lopez, the excellent cast, CONVergence, and librarians all across the country for this great honor. We are pleased to be recognized for something that we loved doing.




Stearns and Price honored with Norman Corwin Award


The founders and moving spirits behind the Great Northern Audio Theatre have been chosen to receive the 2017 Norman Corwin Award for Excellence in Audio Theatre. Based in the Midwest, Great Northern Audio Theatre creates its own unique brand of lighthearted, whimsical, and comic original stories that evoke the inventiveness of Firesign Theatre and the sophistication of golden-age radio producer, Norman Corwin. Working with Minnesota's premier Sci-Fi convention, Minicon (later moved to CONvergence), Jerry and Brian created live shows each year to the delight of con-goers, embracing – and extending, and often satirizing – the Science Fiction genre. Their motto says it all:
Norman Corwin Award for Audio Theater Excellence

“Ours is not to create the machines of the future.
Ours is to make fun of them when they break down.”


They have also created many excellent studio productions, and their work is not always comic. It can be pointed, ingenious, and dramatic, crossing genres and offering new viewpoints on modern life. To give just a few examples,
Tumbleweed Roundup turned a Western story on its head with a wild cowboys-and-aliens encounter; Drummer's Dome explored generational realities and perceptions; Solid State University took a look at education as it was, is, and might become (winning the Golden Reel Award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters); Dialog With Martian Trombone ingeniously revealed the real extra-terrestrial invasion that was covered up by Orson Welles' famous broadcast; and In The Embers – a truly classic original story of music, memory, and time and was mastered at the legendary ZBS studios – has won an Audie Award for Best Audio Drama. .

The Norman Corwin Award for Excellence in Audio Theatre, given annually by The National Audio Theatre Festivals (NATF), is the premier American recognition of lifetime achievement, regardless of media, in the field of audio theatre. It was instituted May 3, 2010, on Norman Corwin's 100th birthday. The first Award was given to Mr. Corwin himself, who is considered the Grand Master of American radio theatre.