words and art by w a l t e r w s m i t h

Posts tagged “Writing

Reblogged from Maggie Madly Writing: If Nobody Read Your Blog

Great post Maggie. I have always appreciated your posts. They are full of inspiring and positive insight. I am in my second year of blogging. And I began for the purpose of having an outlet for my visual art and to promote it. But what has occurred is that I have found myself producing more art and on a regular basis. This process of blogging has given me a vehicle for daily creativity and peer response. In its own way it is a much greater vehicle for reaching out than the occasional art exhibit. But it does lack the human contact that an art opening provides. But then who travels from the UK or India to see one of my exhibits 🙂 Lately I have seeing my stats go up. Putting some pressure on trying to maintain that rise. But I am slowly letting that go. I have other interests … far from the computer. Like biking. So I realize, I can only do so much, and to the rest be content to share what I can. This is a thoughtful post you have given us here Maggie. I hope you do not mind if I re-blog it on my blog for others to ponder as well.

Maggie Madly Writing

…would you still blog anyway?

That’s a question I’ve pondered, and for me, the answer to that question is yes. I would still blog, even if I was the only person who read it. When I started this blog, I never expected for it to get followers and people who regularly comment. I initially started it for myself, but apparently others wanted to read my ramblings about writing and whatever else.

So if everybody stopped reading my blog, I’d still keep writing entries. If my follower count gradually dropped to zero, if comments got fewer and farther between, and if my pageviews dwindled to nothing, I’d still write. The content would change, I think. I’d probably end up writing more rants and raves about my personal life than anything else. Sure, I’d still write about writing, but when given the opportunity, I can be quite self-centered (and that is something…

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Weekly Movie-Making Moments In Film: Joe Frank Theater

The ongoing work of avant-garde monologist Joe Frank….

Memories

http://youtu.be/jO1mgTvLfa4

During the 1980’s while listening to NPR Radio, I came across the incredible surrealist work of monologist Joe Frank. His dark story of angst and misplaced reality quickly fascinated me. His work over the years has been a strong influence on my writing and my visual art. I am very pleased to introduce to you, my readers, to the beautiful work of Joe Frank. – Walter Smith

Joe Frank (born August 19, 1938) is an American radio personality, known best for his often philosophical, humorous, surrealist, and sometimes absurd monologues and radio dramas.

Early life

Joe Frank was born Joseph Langermann in August 1938 in Strasbourg, France near the border of Germany to Meier Langermann (then 51) and his wife Friederike (then 27), while in transit from Germany (where they were living, although they were Polish citizens). Being Jewish, his family was fleeing Nazi Germany and moving to New York City, where they arrived on April 12, 1939. Bills to allow the family into the country were passed in the U.S. Congress twice, the first having been vetoed by President Roosevelt. Joe’s father died when he was 5 years old. The next year his mother married Freddy Frank and changed Joe’s last name. In his twenties, Frank studied at Hofstra University in New York and later at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Frank taught English literature at the Dalton School in Manhattan when he became interested in the power of radio.

Early Career

In 1977 Frank started volunteering at Pacifica Network station WBAI in New York, doing experimental radio involving monologues, improvisational actors, and live music during late night free-form hours. In 1978 he moved to Washington DC to serve as a co-anchor for the weekend edition of National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, his first paying radio job.

During this period he wrote, performed in, and produced 18 dramas for NPR Playhouse, which won several awards. His 1982 monologue “Lies” was used as the inspiration for the Martin Scorsese movie After Hours, without permission.(He later settled out of court for a “handsome” settlement.)

KCRW, 1986–2002

In 1986, on the invitation of Ruth Hirschman [Seymour] the general manager of NPR’s Santa Monica affiliate KCRW, Frank moved to Santa Monica, California where he wrote, produced and performed in his own weekly hour-long radio program, “Joe Frank: Work In Progress.”

While at KCRW, Frank received several awards, including a Peabody Award and two Corporation for Public Broadcasting Awards, one for his acclaimed three-part series “Rent-a-Family.” Frank was also a Guggenheim Fellow.

Joe Frank continued to work at KCRW until 2002, and his work evolved, as evidenced by the diverse series he produced: first Work in Progress, then In The Dark, followed by Somewhere Out There, and finally The Other Side.

Radio programs

Frank’s radio programs are often dark and ironic, and employ a dry sense of humor and the sincere delivery of ideas or stories that are patently absurd. Subject matter often includes religion, life’s meaning, death, and Frank’s relationships with women.

Frank’s voice is distinctive, resonant, authoritative, and—because of his occasional voice-over work—often oddly familiar. At the 2003 Third Coast Festival he explained that he was “recording in Dolby and playing back without it—which created Joe’s now familiar intimate and gritty sound.”

Adding to the atmosphere of Frank’s monologues are edited loops of instrumental music from sources as diverse as Miles Davis, Steve Reich, Tangerine Dream, Can, Air and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

The repetitive music and Frank’s dry, announcer-like delivery are sometimes mixed with recorded phone calls with actor/friends such as Larry Block, Debi Mae West and Arthur Miller, broken into “acts” over the course of each hourlong program.

Frank’s series The Other Side included excerpts from Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield’s Dharma talks at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. In an interview on KPFA’s the Morning Show, Kornfield was asked about working with Joe Frank. Kornfield explained that although he had never met or talked to Joe Frank or heard his show, he didn’t mind Frank using the lectures and that many of his meditation students had found Kornfield through the show.

Other work

  • He can be heard on the song ‘Montok Point’ on William Orbit’s album Strange Cargo Hinterland.
  • “The Decline Of Spengler” Stage Play (New Directions 48, New York)
  • “A Tour Of The City” Stage Play (Tanam Press, New York) was produced by Theatre Anima at Hangar #9 in the Old Port of Montreal in 1990, and was directed by Jordan Deitcher.
  • The Queen of Puerto Rico and Other Stories,, William Morrow and Co, New York, 1993. ISBN 0-688-08765-5 a collection of short stories: Tell me what to do—Fat man—Night—Date—Walter—The queen of Puerto Rico—The decline of Spengler

2002–present

Since 2002, Frank has performed on stage in Chicago at the Art Institute of Chicago and Steppenwolf Theatre, in San Francisco at the Great American Music Hall and in Los Angeles at the Hammer Museum and Largo at the Coronet, as well as other venues.

In 2003, Joe Frank was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Third Coast International Audio Festival.

His body of work (over 230 hours) continues to be aired on the Pacifica Radio affiliate station KPFA in Berkeley, California and many NPR stations including WNYC New York, KCRW Santa Monica and WBEZ Chicago. The entire archives, Joe Frank film shorts and other extras, are available by subscription to his web site. Show CDs, downloads, and iPods are also available through his website.

Frank’s new web site launch in August 2010 now includes free daily downloads of stories excerpted from his radio shows.

Frank continues to write new work for the stage and his website, and posts frequently on Facebook.

Inspiration to other artists

Frank’s body of work has inspired a variety of other artists including:

  • Ira Glass of This American Life: “Ira Glass worked under Frank as one of his first jobs in public radio, and credits him as his greatest inspiration.”
  • David Sedaris, writer
  • Troy Schulze, a theater artist in Houston who created the show Jerry’s World (2003) for the Houston, Tx.-based theater group Infernal Bridegroom Productions. Utilizing material from several Frank shows, the piece was deemed “Best Original Show” in Houston that year, by the Houston Press.
  • Jeff Crouse, artist and technologist, created Interactive Frank, which uses content from the web to dynamically create a Joe Frank Show. “The user types in a sentence, and Interactive Frank takes over, scouring the web for another sentence that follows a sentence with the last three words. Frank can also find streaming audio to accompany the generated narrative based on a word analysis, and it can read the narrative using an online text-to-speech generator.”
  • Filmmakers like Francis Ford Coppola, Michael Mann, David Fincher and Ivan Reitman have optioned or bought stories from Joe Frank’s radio shows.

Voiceover and acting work

Joe Frank has done voice over work for commercials including Zima, and Saturn Corporation. He was the voice of the computer in Galaxy Quest and provides voiceover for:

  • “Wild Rescues” on Animal Planet
  • “Conspiracies” on A&E
  • “Ends of the Earth” on the Learning Channel
  • “Hurricane X” on the Discovery channel
  • “Sexy Beast” film: narrator on trailer. This trailer was nominated for best film trailer in 2004.

He also had a small acting role in The Game.

Awards

  • 2003
    • Third Coast International Audio Festival Lifetime Achievement Award

During NPR Playhouse

  • 1982
    • Broadcast Media Award
  • 1983
    • Radio Program Award from the Corporation For Public Broadcasting
    • Gold Award from the International Radio Festival of New York
  • 1984
    • Gold Award from the International Radio Festival of New York (second)
    • American Nomination to the Prix Italia
  • 1985
    • Special Commendation from the Berlin Prix Futura

During Work In Progress

  • 1988
    • Major Armstrong Award
    • Corporation For Public Broadcasting Program Award
  • 1991
    • Peabody Award
  • 1993
    • Guggenheim Fellowship for Radio Art

Looking Forward to 2012 – An Artist Shares His Thoughts

Looking forward to a year of art, writing, and contemplative journeys in 2012….

Riding the path to a creative tomorrow

Somewhere in the waking, I will paint with more than one color, write with more than one word, express more than one idea….

This will be my last post of 2011. It is Friday morning, December 30th. I am sitting in front of my computer while listening to Fluid Radio on ITunes. As I begin typing, Fluid Radio is playing a track entitled Shooting Blankets from the band called Two People in a Room. It is a quiet morning. The ambience is meditative. The cats are hanging about; grooming themselves, eating and listening to the sounds. I am preparing lunch; whole grain pasta, and tomato basil sauce with scallops and meatballs. I wanted to go to the gym this morning and do some spinning or weight training, however when the urge to write beckons, expression and creativity governs the day.

I have been thinking for some time now what I wanted to work on and accomplish for the New Year. This past year I feel I have been quite successful. I spoke more in depth about my past achievements in my recent post It Has Been a Year of Blogging – Some Thoughts I Wish to Share. Now it is time to look forward.

The very first thing on my agenda is the opening of my online store n e w d i g i t a l s c a p e s for selling my art. I have completed the design of the site (Imagekind is my site provider) and I am now in the process of uploading, editing and organizing my art galleries. I am very excited. An online store, I believe, is well suited for my digital art, and should provide a high quality venue for the purchasing of my art. Prints in various sizes, high-end photographic paper, canvas, and assortment of frames are all available. Links to the site will be available on my website and on my blog in January.

I am also looking forward to returning to my love of video art. I just got a HD video camera, and will be upgrading to a semi-professional editing system. I hope to investigate a distinct realm of processing which I call “video as chance”. It is a form of video expression that allows for time, space and subject matter to dictate what come into the lens of the camera. In the meantime, I will continue to create 2-dimensional photographic work. As I hope to continue to find new ways to structure my work in a beautiful yet provocative form.

I will continue to blog as often as I can. In the past year, I have come to appreciate blogging as a great tool for finding a consistency that sustains the creative process. The heavy schedule of creating new art, and marketing my online store may mean less posting. But I always let the mood of the moment carry the day, so we will see.

Another important part of my exploratory nature is my connection with the mind and body through challenging physical adventures. Top of the list is finding new mountains to climb on my mountain bike; long road trips on my road bike; rocking climbing and hopefully sky diving. That last one will take a little courage.

I hope to finish out the year with the publishing of an art book that centers on my blogging experience. Art for Posts is the title.

All in all I am looking forward to expressing ideas and concepts, and continuing the communication I have come to appreciate with so many talented writers, photographers, musicians, and artists.

2012 is a year for us. Let’s do it together.

Art rules.

Ideas conquer….


It Has Been A Year Of Blogging – Some Thoughts I Wish To Share

2011 the year of blogging….

At the keyboard ... creativity, art, and prose

A beautiful journey…

It has been a very productive year. I started blogging a year ago in December of 2010. When I began this journey, I was not sure what I was getting into or what I could accomplish. I knew that it was my goal to reach out to others; to connect and express ideas; to work hard with integrity; and to love the process. I am thankful for the diversity of the internet and blogging in particular for providing this opportunity. Blogging is a challenge, yet quite rewarding. I am amazed at how the creative mindset, through blogging, can develop and extract the promise of intimate expression.

In the past year I have created 190 posts and over 100 new works of art. To my pleasure, I have had a modest amount of followers and subscribers, with over 7000 views. There were many who believed that what I had to say was pertinent, entertaining or of some value…

And for that I am surely grateful

I appreciate all those who have taken the time out of their own busy blogging schedule to visit and comment.

Over the past year, I’ve come to meet some fascinating and creative writers, poets, artists, and individuals. I read. I listened. I absorbed; ideas that surprised me; thoughts that guided me; images that propelled me; and creativity that led to my own immersion. And in the end, the journey has been very satisfying for me … mentally, spiritually, and personally.

How has the past year been for you in respect to your blogging experience? Has it been fulfilling, or did other obligations dampen your output? Were you able to express the ideas, dreams, and hopes that captured your imagination? Did you discover you had an important voice and much to share?  And as we approach 2012, what do you want to achieve in the upcoming year?

Do share.

And again, thank you for all your support.

Have a great holiday and New Year.

Peace and Light

Walter