Comments by Dmae Roberts

Comment for "Then Phoebe Realized That's What It Is To Be an Actor"

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Great collage piece

Tali Singer was my intern this summer on Stage and Studio. She did several amazing features and collage pieces. This is her best collage piece. After several hours of recordings following around this actress pursuig her dreams, Tali created an artistic profile that's light-hearted and engaging. This piece would work in any arts magazine show. Keep an eye on this young producer in the future. She is a talented and creative producer who grows with each new production.

Comment for "Healing Through Music"

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New Talent

Tali was my summer intern and produced several artistic features and collages for my Stage and Studio show on KBOO radio. Her work grew by leaps and bounds this summer and this is the best feature. She spent a great deal of time gathering interviews and sound for this piece and the depth and artistry really shows. Give a listen and see for yourself! This is a young producer we'll be hearing from in coming years...

Comment for "Healing Through Music"

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New Talent

Tali was my summer intern and produced several artistic features and collages for my Stage and Studio show on KBOO radio. Her work grew by leaps and bounds this summer and this is the best feature. She spent a great deal of time gathering interviews and sound for this piece and the depth and artistry really shows. Give a listen and see for yourself! This is a young producer we'll be hearing from in coming years...

Comment for "Healing Through Music"

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New Talent

Tali was my summer intern and produced several artistic features and collages for my Stage and Studio show on KBOO radio. Her work grew by leaps and bounds this summer and this is the best feature. She spent a great deal of time gathering interviews and sound for this piece and the depth and artistry really shows. Give a listen and see for yourself! This is a young producer we'll be hearing from in coming years...

Comment for "A Mixed Collective"

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Musical Personal Tour Through Mixed Identity

Cristina Quinn's debut documentary is a refreshing tour through multiracial identity through her own personal story and that of three others. The quality of interviews is impeccable and her choice of music is hip and varied. I would have preferred not to have stereotypical sounds like the gong when she reveals she's Japanese (Taiko drums would be more ethnically appropo) but this is an enjoyable half-hour. Well here's a thought for stations: Pair this piece with my own Secret Asian Woman and you have a full hour on Mixed Race identity! http://www.prx.org/pieces/23753-secret-asian-woman

Comment for "Hawaii's Plantation Culture"

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Visiting Hawaii

Thanks for your comment!

If you're going to Oahu, check out Hawaii's Plantation Village. It's in Pearl City close Pearl Harbor.

http://www.hawaiiplantationvillage.org/

and ask for Espy Garcia if she's still a docent there!

Take care, Dmae"

Comment for "Hawaii's Plantation Culture"

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Visiting Hawaii

Thanks for your comment!

If you're going to Oahu, check out Hawaii's Plantation Village. It's in Pearl City close Pearl Harbor.

http://www.hawaiiplantationvillage.org/

and ask for Espy Garcia if she's still a docent there!

Take care, Dmae"

Comment for "Bridging the Shores: The Hmong-American Experience"

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Review of Bridging the Shores: The Hmong-American Experience

This is important, thorough and well-produced reportage on the Hmong Community. Long in the background of mainstream America, the Hmong are poised to enter a more prominent presence. Clint Eastwood's soon-to-be new movie is even based on a Hmong storyline. Wisconsin Public Radio is to be praised for showing as many viewpoints and perspectives in this one hour from contemporary hip-hop Hmong to a rising star in the political world to everyday Hmongs making choices about which traditions to keep. The news magazine approach lends itself well to covering such a wide variety of topics. My only criticism is that a couple of the reporters would do well to sound less FM annoucerish and more engaged in the story they're they're telling. But that's a small observation. This is fine work and I urge all stations around the with Hmong populations (and there are many) to air this program. It would help mainstream listeners to understand the complexities and differences of this Asian community.

Comment for " Mothers and Sons"

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Review of Veterans Day Special: Mothers and Sons

Marjorie Van Halteren is a true radio artist. Her sonic texturing and musicality makes her pieces rise above most audio work on public radio today. Nothing makes this clearer than "Mothers and Sons." In this deeply poetic and gently moving artistic piece, Van Halteren proves again her unsung brilliance in the public radio world.

"Mothers and Sons" is one moving and remarkable work. There is no glitz, no boring narrative, no spelling it out for the audience. This is sound art that tells a carefully woven and intelligent story of two mothers grief over the loss of their sons who were tragically killed. One in WWI and the other in the tragedy of the 1988 Lockerbie, Scotland air disaster. This piece describes how it took 18 years for one woman and 14 years for another to create loving memorials for their sons. For those going through grief, this piece can speak to the transformative power of art to heal from and to come to terms with terrible loss.

"Mothers and Sons" would make a touching sonic memorial for Veteran's Day, Memorial Day and Mother's Day. I urge programmers to give a listen and find room in their schedules for this beautiful and moving work.

Comment for "Voler"

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Review of Voler

What a thoroughly engaging and inspiring piece! From the first few seconds you can tell this is going to take you to the clouds. I love the use of music with Myonne's story of her desire for flight. This would be a joyful drop-in for any news magazine.

Comment for "Saving The Sierra"

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Review of Saving The Sierra

"Saving The Sierra" is impeccably rich in soundscapes, diverse voices and thoughtful contemplation. As development continues to encroach on shrinking farmlands, this timely documentary asks pertinent questions and offers differing routes to solutions. Producers Catherine Stifter and Jesika Maria Ross not only knows their subject matter but have a personal connection to the material as residents of the Sierra. This beautiful meditation on the challenges facing their homeland mirrors the dilemma so many of us face in our own states. I convinced my local station to air "Saving The Sierra" on Earth Day, and I urge other stations to give a listen and schedule this fine documentary on April 22nd or beyond.

Comment for "The Silent Generation: From Saipan to Tokyo"

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Review of The Silent Generation: From Saipan to Tokyo

With Memorial Day coming up, this would be a good piece for programmers to check out. This documentary focuses on the generation of soldiers who were the "tough it out" men before the diagnoses of "post-traumatic stress." The "Silent Generation"--the ones who wouldn't, couldn't talk about the horrors they experienced without fear of going mad. Producer Helen Borten skillfully interviews men who admittedly have never shared their memories of the people they did not want to kill, the fellow soldiers who fell beside them, the women and children slaughtered before their eyes. The stories are unforgettable and necessary for us to hear and to remember. It is an important historic document that could and should be aired as long as there is war.

Comment for "Mea, Me, Mine"

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Review of Mea, Me, Mine

Salt Institute continues to impress me. The short audio pieces done by students are some of the best I've heard on PRX. Transgender issues are still new and unfamiliar to mainstream America. With the advent of movies like TransAmerica and this piece by Richie Duchon, we can become more aware of pain and challenges in redefining gender. Mea Tavares is an endearing and captivating subject for this piece. He was born female and has spent most of his life in turmoil. The story he tells is riveting especially the connection he's made with his father after he underwent surgery. Mea, Me, Mine is a stellar piece and quite timely. I recommend it as part of any gender issues program or as a piece of audio art.

Comment for "Toilet Paper Scrap Chronicles Civil Rights Ordeal"

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Review of Toilet Paper Scrap Chronicles Civil Rights Ordeal

Very well done historical piece done in first person storytelling with archival material and a reading. From the first tease of how toilet paper made history, this is a compelling short piece about one of the episodes the civil rights movement. The story is told through one of the hundreds of people arrested during a voter reistration drive. She wrote a letter chronicling this effort while jailed in Louisiana. Producer Brian Bull has done an outstanding job producing a textured and intriguing piece. I highly recommend it for airplay during Black History Month.

Comment for "Poverty On Trial"

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Review of Poverty On Trial

Now here's a way to make a public hearing more intriguing to listen to. From the opening piano notes to Jessica Lockhart's personal retelling of the people testifying to the actual audio of the witnesses, this is a highly listenable and emotionally engaging piece. The public hearing cuts are of course rife with p-pops and mixed too quietly in the first third of the piece. Lockhart also has a voicing stumble toward the end that could have been cleaned up. But what an unusual take on what would normally be a straight hard news and detached report. I think station reporters could do well listening to this piece for inspiration. The piece is actually evergreen enough to play for any themed show about poverty.

Comment for "Lovesick and Locked Up"

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Review of Lovesick and Locked Up

This says it's a nine minute piece but it's really four. The last part is a song following the piece which can be faded out at any time. But don't let that deter you from this poignant, emotionally charged piece by Blunt Youth Radio. Matt and Cassie are an unusual teen love story. Both addicts, they tell their love story while in lockup at a youth rehab center in Maine. Their first person storytelling is intimate and earnest. Blunt Youth consistently does great work and I encourage stations to give this a listen for a different Valentine's Day story.

Comment for "Jamestown Discoveries" (deleted)

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Review of Jamestown Discoveries (deleted)

This is solid newsy historic report on the real founder of Jamestown. I like unheralded hero stories and it's an interesting piece with sounds of the archeological dig. It's always nice when history gets corrected and myths are busted. I suspect that East Coast stations would enjoy airing this piece more since the history closer to them especially with the 400th anniversary of Jamestown's founding coming up in 2007.

Comment for "Traditions of Medicine Meet in the American West" (deleted)

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Review of Traditions of Medicine Meet in the American West (deleted)

This is a really good series. Perhaps the most comprehensive coverage of the Lewis and Clark journey in any media. Peter Coyote is a dream host. He adds warmth and vitality to the storytelling. This particular episode of the 13 parts gives us a wide variety of perspectives on the gifts that Native American contribution to healing and medicine. It's fascinating material. The audio of the medicine man is especially compelling. The newsy module toward the end is a little jarring at first because it has a different tone than the rest of the hour. But this is the beauty of this series. The producers really take risks in presenting the material so it isn't a boring history piece. I do wish Scholar Clay Jenkinson didn't sound as if he's reading rather than just talking to us. Still this is fine work.

Comment for "RN Documentary: Imagination is the Instrument of Compassion"

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Review of RN Documentary: Imagination is the Instrument of Compassion

This is telling and profoundly beautiful piece about art responding to tragedy and horror. The opening music with the lone child's voice in repetition is simply stunning. There has been some music, some stage plays
about September 11th but not as much as one would think. The fear from artists is criticism that it's too soon to have any perspective. Any artwork responding to the horror would be scrutinized under a microscope. But as Novelist Jonathan Safran Foer responds, writing a book that might be called bad is better than not writing at all. "Imagination is the Instrument of Compassion" is worthy of airplay not just on the 9/11 anniversary. Producer David Swatling has artfully blended the intricate John Adam's score with Feor's interview and insightful excerpts from his book in this very compassionate and enlightening piece.

Comment for "My Classical Music Appreciation Teachers"

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Review of My Classical Music Appreciation Teachers

An easy listening personal essay by Producer Fred Flaxman. Certainly his love of classical music is evident and it's a relaxing listen as he recounts the Golden Age of Radio hits that deftly used classical music as themes such as the Lone Ranger and Alfred Hitchcock. It's nice to remember this and his tour through these songs is quite nostaligic and softly done. This would work for any classical music station, I think, as a drop-in.

Comment for "Two Chinese Schools"

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Review of Two Chinese Schools

This is definitely a high school piece about an interesting and little talked about subject--the differences between being Chinese and Taiwanese. The narration is roughly recorded and the narrator still needs some experience in the vocal booth. Some of the actualities at the beginning sound better than the narration. Some of the actualities in the last half, are recorded in an open large space and the voice has reverb on it. There are jump cuts and ambience clipping throughout the piece. This is unfortunately distracting from the content of the piece which again is something that most mainstream Americans know little about. I would recommend re-doing the narration and cleaning up the clipping and jumpy editing. It would be worth doing to make this piece work for broadcast.

Comment for "A Clandestine Recording of My Parents at New Year's"

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Review of A Clandestine Recording of My Parents at New Year's

There's something fun about clandestine recordings especially of family members. Huddled quietly, trying not to draw attention while getting odd sounds you don't know if you'll ever be able to use for anything. Such is the case with Laura Kwerel's serendipitous sounds of her parents and neighbors on New Year's Eve. The sounds are funny and weird and the countdown to midnight has a quirky suspense to it. I could hear turning this from raw tape to a piece with some narration and description in personal essay form. It could be a nice drop-in for next New Year's....

Comment for "RN Documentary: From Brooklyn to Banja Luka"

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Review of RN Documentary: From Brooklyn to Banja Luka

In this portrait of modern romance, we meet a very charming and sweet couple living in Holland. The husband is American and the wife is Serbian. Producer Dheera Sujan has provided us with a loving portrait of the couple as they discuss what they like and don't like about each other and what brings them together. My favorite moment is when the husband sings so sweetly. It's very moving. Sometimes, they laugh too much and it takes too long to get to the deeper and more serious parts of their life. But this is such an ideal piece to air on Valentine's Day and it would appeal to most listeners. I'd highly recommend stations to give it an audition. International couples haven't had that much focus or examination. This half-hour would be great paired with another Radio Netherlands piece or another Val Day piece to make an entertaining slice of life special.

Comment for "Portraits of Faith"

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Review of Portraits of Faith

This is a thoughtful program on religion, the kind I can listen to without cringing from post-traumatic Christianity. Producer Aaron Henkin and Writer Jason Tinney have done a respectful and thorough job of asking people of diverse beliefs about their most intimate opinions of the meaning of life. There's a lot going for this program to make a one-hour special during this time of year. It's compelling radio and it fits the NPR clock. But mostly it's a professional production and more meaningful than a lot of holiday offerings. I do think it needs less of an explanation about the process of gathering the interviews. The piece stands on its own without a lot of narration. There's a New Dimensions quality to it too and I like producers and programs to find an individual style and voice. Still, this show is highly recommended during the holiday season.

Comment for "Curandera"

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Review of Curandera

Cultural healthcare traditions are just now becoming more noticed as an important part to healing and health for many immigrants. This piece by Hal Cannon touches upon several examples of the importance in traditional healing practices told through a profile of the Curandera working in Oregon. American is becoming more aware of how natural healing practices can work in conjunction with Western medicine. This professionally done piece is a worthy example of that and would have a great deal of interest from listeners. The Curandera would work well in news magazines and in healthcare shows during any time of the year.

Comment for "RN Documentary: Waiting to go home"

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Review of RN Documentary: Waiting to go home

Another excellent documentary by Dheera Sujan of Radio Netherlands. This half-hour piece gives us a detailed examination of the life and dilemma of Burmese refugees currently living in Thailand with no home and no hope of going home. Like the Southeast Asian refugees who escaped the aftereffects of the Vietnam War, the 140,000 refugees from Burma live in poverty conditions along the Thai-Burmese border, some for more than 20 years. Sujan traveled to the Mae Ra Mo Loung camp and talked with refugees of many nationalities and social workers there about the harsh living conditions, drug addiction, alcohol abuse, domestic violence, political divisions--pretty much everything that you would expect in a small city but with more emphasis because of the temporary conditions of the refugee camp. Still there is a sense of hope and strength in the residents there especially for the children as they embrace new techonology and education. "Waiting To Go Home" is a timely piece and can easily be partnered with another Radio Netherlands half hour to make a great and pertinent world affairs one-hour special.

Advisory: "Guinea Pig shit" is spoken very quickly 15 minutes into the piece.

Comment for "A Colonel's Daughter"

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Review of A Colonel's Daughter

Makiko Ishihara has an intriguing voice and as a storyteller she is compelling to listen to. The story of her trip back to Japan from her home in Toronto to visit her austere father's memorial service is wonderful radio. I especially love the tape of her father and later on her conversation with her daughter asking her if she was too tough as a mother. In a loving and funny exchange, her daughter says yes but she got used to it. I love Outfront's work and usually it's about the right length for me. But this one felt too slow and long. While I love the elegance of the story unraveling, I think this piece could have been tightened up by several minutes. Yet there is a mesmerizing quality to this work and it's one you want to listen to while taking a drive on a rainy and wintry day thinking about your own childhood memories.

Comment for "American Five Year Old to Be Lama" (deleted)

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Review of American Five Year Old to Be Lama (deleted)

This is an intriguing tale of a "little Buddha" in Seattle. A Tibetan-American family is about to take their five-year-old son to become a lama in a monastery in Nepal. Definitely something out of the ordinary in the American experience. Producer Chana Joffe-Wait has done a compelling job gathering sounds from the Tibetan congregation, conversations with the five-year-old and his parents. Somehow this is too much of a slice of life piece though and much too short. I'd like to know more about the conflicts the family or the child must have had about going away for the rest of his life. Perhaps more about how this lineage was determined. Also, the piece is listed at 6:34 but for a station to use it needs to be remixed without the NPR lead and outcue. It's really more of a four-minute piece. To be useful to stations to run in newsmagazines or drop-ins this remix would need to be done with a generic outcue.

Comment for "Elvis in Asia"

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Review of Elvis in Asia

At first I thought this piece would another "oh look Asians are doing weird American things" kind of piece. But this look at Elvis impersonators was given a fair and honest treatment. In fact the piece shows off the singing ability of the personators in an impressive way. Icons are addictive here in the US and overseas. This five-minute piece can be a light pick me up during a day of hard news. It's not a stellar piece but one that is solid and fun. The only thing missing is pictures which I wish the producer would post.

Comment for "Japanese "War Brides""

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Review of Japanese "War Brides"

December marks the 50th anniversary of the War Brides Act. Before 1945, Asians were the only group excluded from immigration. This piece by Anna Wu features a group of war brides living in North Carolina. While an important piece, it feels like it could use another draft. The tape of the war brides is charming but they were recorded in a room all together. Often you hear laughter in response to the interviewee's statements. It works quite a bit of the time but sometimes distracts from what the women are saying. There is a lot of useful info reported by the producer but I wanted the women to go deeper to talk about what it was like to adapt to US life, the racism they must have encountered after the end of the war, and the loneliness of being so far from their families and homeland. What was it like for them to raise American children who didn't know much about their Japanese culture? How did their husbands adjust to comments about being in an interracial marriage? I would have liked more exploration. This is a great subject and I would encourage the producer to delve more into her tape to find the depth or perhaps go back to the group of women for another round of interviews. This is important history and one that isn't covered much at all in US history. I do encourage stations to listen to this piece and think about commemorate the 50th anniversary during the month of December.