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.


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.


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.

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.
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.


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.


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.

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.

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.

In The Embers is Audie Finalist

In The Embers is an Audie Award Finalist

2017 Audie Awards finalist

The Audio Publishers Association announced the finalists for the 2017 Audie Awards on February 8th, and Great Northern’s In The Embers is included as a finalist in the Audio Drama category, and in the Original Work category. We’re very pleased by this event. The Audies are given each year for the best in audiobooks, and for the narrators who perform them.

In The Embers available from Blackstone Audio

A review in
AudioFile Magazine announced when In The Embers was released by Blackstone Audio on their Downpour website. We are very pleased to be published by Blackstone, one of the leading audio publishers with an ear for audio theater. You can also find In The Embers as a download in the ZBS online catalog.
In The Embers

The Blackstone release includes three original songs integral to the story and a 70-minute In The Embers - The Making Of documentary created especially for Blackstone. The song lyrics were written by Brian Price and sung by Robin Miles, with music performed by Mike Wheaton. (In The Embers, My Columbine, and My Gorgeous Boy.) The documentary consists of commentary from the writers and producers, and interviews with the actors, musical composer, and producer Tom Lopez of ZBS. We also introduced the two actresses who played the grownup versions of the two sisters at the center of this story, Robin Miles and Jacquie Maddix, on KFAI radio recently. The two had not met until we brought them together on Sound Affects to talk about their roles.

Twin Cities Geek Reviews In The Embers

Twin Cities Geek website

The Twin Cities Geek website posted a review of In The Embers, written by Kelly Starsmore. You can read the whole review at twincitiesgeek.com. She says, “In the Embers is one for the ages and something that I will come back to time and time again. We’re glad she liked it, and we hope you will get yourself a copy and give it a listen, too. You can see more here at Great Northern Audio. It’s available for download from ZBS.org and at Blackstone Audio’s Downpour site. In the Twin Cities you can get compact discs of the show at Uncle Hugo’s SF Bookstore, and at Dreamhaven Books.

In the Embers, feature-length audio drama

Oh, and there’s a 60-minute documentary on The Making of In The Embers that includes interviews with the producers, the actors, and the musician, and a few comments from our mentor, Tom Lopez of ZBS. It’s entertaining as well as having something to say about the making of modern audio theater. There’s a link to the documentary on the ZBS home page, and it’s free.

And since we’re speaking of
ZBS, they also have links to some new podcasts all about ZBS’s use of binaural sound recording. There are already several episodes up there, so lots to listen to, including complete ZBS stories, and some examples of ambient binaural recording that is full of fun and wonder. Narrated by Meatball Fulton. To get the full effect of binaural be sure to listen using headphones.

Sound Affects: A Radio Playground, on community radio KFAI in Minneapolis, is broadcasting another ZBS project, The Fourth Tower of Inverness, the very first Jack Flanders adventure. There are a few episodes each Sunday evening at 9:30 PM through June, on 90.3 FM and 106.7 FM in the Twin Cities, and streaming live at KFAI.org. Archives of the show are kept for two weeks, so don’t hesitate to listen now.

Mark Time Awards finalists posted

Mark Time Awards
Annnnd, since we are on the subject of modern audio theater, there is a list of the latest finalists in this year’s Mark Time Awards competition posted. Take a look at them at marktimeawards.org. Some good new works in the genre’s of science fiction, fantasy, and detectives. The winners will be announced on June 9th in Kansas City, MO, at the HearNow Festival of Audio Fiction, and presented by David Ossman. The Mark Time Awards are a legacy project of the Firesign Theatre celebrating the best in modern audio drama.

The Recollections of Turner Ashbey

Turner Ashbey, Chapter 30

Recollections of Turner Ashbey

Writer, historian and former ambassador to the Great State of Colorado, Turner Ashbey looks back at his life including his on and off again relationship with resistance leader, Laze Fitzgerald.  

Chapter 30

This is the final chapter.  Turner tells about what he knows of the end of an era.  And then maybe he shuffles off.
Thanks for listening.

The Recollections of Turner Ashbey, Chapter 30 (19 minutes, 13.5 MB)

See all the Turner Ashbey Chapters

The Recollections of Turner Ashbey

Turner Ashbey, Chapter 29

Recollections of Turner Ashbey

Writer, historian and former ambassador to the Great State of Colorado, Turner Ashbey looks back at his life including his on and off again relationship with resistance leader, Laze Fitzgerald.  

Chapter 29

Turner and Laze Fitzgerald participate in a happy ending or do they?

The Recollections of Turner Ashbey, Chapter 29 (12 minutes, 8.5 MB)

See all the Turner Ashbey Chapters

In The Embers Available Online

Available now from ZBS

Great Northern’s newest feature-length audio production,
In The Embers, is available now from the ZBS Catalog. Downloads include the 80-minute production in 320 kbps resolution, and a PDF CD cover image suitable for printing.

In The Embers coming from Blackstone Audio

A new review in
AudioFile Magazine announces that In The Embers will be released by Blackstone Audio on their Downpour website on December 8th. We are very pleased to be published by Blackstone, one of the leading audio publishers with an ear for audio theater.
In The Embers

This new release includes three original songs integral to the story and a 70-minute In The Embers - The Making Of documentary created especially for Blackstone in cooperation with Waterlogg Productions. The documentary consists of commentary from the writers and producers, and interviews with the actors, musical composer, and producer Tom Lopez of ZBS.

Great Northern Audio Collection Boxed Set

Blackstone also carries the entire Great Northern Audio Collection in a Boxed Set of 18 stories, including many from the celebrated Mark Time Radio Shows. You can get them individually or all together as downloads or on CD or MP3 CD. You can even rent them if you just want to see what this silliness is all about.

These are whimsical and original tales of science fiction and fantasy, featuring the voices of Firesign Theatre members David Ossman and Phil Proctor, and well known Hollywood actors Chuck McCann and Wally Wingert along with the superbly comic regular cast. The tales include Tell Them NAPA Sent You, about wizards, dwarfs and auto parts; Dialogue With Martian Trombone, the real story behind the Ramone Raquello Orchestra featured on Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast; The Jewels of the 11th Generation, a tale of a 300-year-old starship, kids, space pirates, and squeaky toys; and much more audio fun.