Comments by Emon Hassan

Comment for "Mexican-Punjabi-American Farmer David Rai on Food Shortage"

User image

Review of Mexican-Punjabi-American Farmer David Rai on Food Shortage

Good to be back, reviewing!

Pieces like this are rare because they go to the source and let people who have their hands and feet in the process speak. After all, the point of view of a farmer is as important as that of a scientist or a politician, at least, when it comes to farming.

But that's not what makes this piece even rarer. David is a Mexican-Punjabi-American farmer. If you as a listener don't find that fact fascinating on its own, I might have to summon my exclamation point-laden words and seduce you.

I didn't think you'd fall for that either. The guy is pretty straight-forward and speaks it as he sees it. Perhaps 9 minutes of his thoughts should count as valuable to listen.

Comment for "Shakespeare"

User image

Review of Shakespeare

Although it's only two minutes, the piece covers all aspects of the festival, neatly wrapping up the fact that attending it would be anything but 'plain.' In short, there's something about William that strikes a chord with all types of audience members. I really didn't follow the 'In short' format, did I?

Comment for "Trombones are Awesome" (deleted)

User image

Review of Trombones are Awesome (deleted)

The audio quality is pretty bad which could have been salvaged with some smooth editing. I'm being harsh on this piece but to accept the producer's argument that trombones maybe the coolest instrument, one has to feel the music and not worry about audio quality.

Comment for "From The Heart"

User image

Review of From The Heart

It's hard to understand why a person would end his life. The question, although not addressed directly in this piece, is the theme of this story. People don't wish to end it all because it's an easy way out. That's ignorance talking. It's harder for someone whose life is not captive to a struggling heart to understand that it just might be the pain caused to the ones you love that hurts more.

Comment for "Palestinian Dreaming"

User image

Review of Palestinian Dreaming

A poetic piece hoping to view the conflict-ridden middle eastern region from 3 different perspectives. Although the dreamers in the story are connected via a particular situation, the listener - me - is left wondering what the message of the piece is. Sure there's a message; stories about the region almost always does. But stripping away all of that, and simply listening to it as a story about 3 lives, a listener has to admire the visual approach taken in this piece. But I wasn't able to strip away all of that because I am too aware of the underlying message this piece might or might not have. Is it bad to have a piece make you think? No, but this piece did not.

Comment for "Baby Pictures"

User image

Review of Baby Pictures

Operation Babylift brought 2700 children from Vietman in 1975. This piece witnesses the children who've since grown away from home go back home and connect. You will, however, not learn much about that generation of children except for the few who talk about how they feel they've emerged from Operation.

Nevertheless, their feelings need your ears because, chances are, one of them maybe your neighbor.

Comment for "Where Do Cadavers Come From?"

User image

Review of Where Do Cadavers Come From?

Chances are, you've never wondered what happens to bodies donated to science, let alone the lengthy preparation they - the cadavers - endure to make physicians out of students. Sure their souls have long parted from them and left them behind, but these cadavers contribute to science for years and years on.

The location described in this piece is only a few blocks away from where I live. There are moments in the piece that are creep-inducing - a doctor mentions students sometimes feel hungry after dissection after the producer observed the area resembled a cafeteria. Yes, it's not a comfortable place to be in but it's the truth.

Why should you listen to a piece that would make you uncomfortable? Because you should know how some people give a whole lot more, even after death, for your body than you care to for your own.

Comment for "The Beatles Greatest Single Ever: Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane"

User image

Review of Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane: Best Single Ever?

You can always expect Paul Ingles to shatter your knowledge of music. If you think you're a Beatles enthusiast, for example, you should listen to any of his pieces on the band, such as this one, and find out how little you know. Yes, you. Yes, me too.

No shame in that. I'd rather learn from the best. This piece re-visits and demos the construction of two classics as told by historians and historical archive mother lode - the recordings by the band. Shame on anyone who underestimates the influence of The Beatles on music. Period.
Not you, of course. You are reading this because you get my drift.

Comment for "#2: The Rite of Spring, or when Lenny met Igor"

User image

Review of #2: The Rite of Spring, or when Lenny met Igor

Listen to the The Rite of Spring and tell me it's not the first heavy metal piece ever composed. You could disagree with me but I'd still win. Tell me the riot caused by the first performance didn't inspire future mosh pits.

This piece has stories related to Stravinsky's composing this piece and, of the latter years, stories inspired from the meeting of Leonard Bernstein and Stravinsky. I wouldn't mind believing them to be true, even if they didn't turn out to be. I do mind reviewers doing the accent in the piece, but it makes the stories even more outrageous. It's preferred that way. How much will you enjoy this piece? Right till the end, my dear.

Comment for "Undatable in the City"

User image

Review of Undatable in the City

Rose Hill dared to open up when most people wouldn't have. This story is about finding love in the most unexpected way one can think up. The best part about this story is, no one did think up. It all happened. Rose found Heather and Heather found herself with Rose. Movies about finding love may have a sweeter soundtrack. But true stories, such as this one, make music with life.

Comment for "Humpback Whale Song"

User image

Review of Humpback Whale Song

Informational, and I've learned quite a few things from this piece. For educational programming it's a must have on the roster. Doesn't overwhelm with scientific jargon but the clarity in its narrative structure makes it a worthwhile listen.

Comment for "Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish Poet Paul Muldoon" (deleted)

User image

Review of Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish Poet Paul Muldoon (deleted)

For someone who hasn't any idea of Muldoon's work, this piece may not mean much to him/her. For a fan, it's a treat to hear the author read his own work. It's only through an author's reading can you find its sound giving the work another dimension, if I may.

Muldoon's work has been celebrated and awarded over the years. Do the poems he selected to recite say much about him? They weren't meant to. However, it left me unsatisfied because I didn't relate to them as a listener. I know I should bee able to look beyond my personal taste and be able review the piece on its own merit.

I will say, however, that just because I don't know his work well means the rest of the world wouldn't stand in line to hear this man recite his poem. This piece gives him a microphone, gives him space, and lets him be. That alone, if creates more young writers, is worthy of this event and, thus, the existence of this piece.

Comment for "My Mother's Story"

User image

Review of My Mother's Story

I often tell people that the world's most complex human relationship is between a mother and a daughter. I'm no mother, nor a daughter (see my profile picture). So how is it that I make such a conclusion?

Well, for one, stories women tell about their relationship with their mothers and, two, watching closely the mothers/daughters - who are near and dear to me; Or not but still share their stories - with their daughters/mothers.

The introduction serves a purpose here. 'My Mother's Story' captures a slice of that relationship quite well. I mean the piece did not set out to explore the nature of mother/daughter relationships in general; it simply wanted to accumulate stories about mothers as related by their daughters. In doing so, 'My Mother's Story' became a study in each of the participating women's relationship with her mother. Why did one woman hate her mother only to realize years later that she needed time to understand her better? How do you write about your mother in a thousand words? What do you leave out? These are all part of a discussion you hear women in this piece have. Is it possible that they've learned a lot about themselves during the project by 'living' their mother's lives? Quite possible. When you put pen to paper and reflect, the mirror becomes full-length and the memory streams without filtering itself. Details are crystal clear, only the meaning has changed from when first experienced by a daughter. A mother likely can see herself in her daughter, but a daughter has to wait. You too will likely find yourself in some of these stories in this piece.

A good choice to air for mother's day, but a great piece to listen to any time of the year, or any time in your life.

Comment for "Jason Peacemaker"

User image

Review of Jason Peacemaker

This five minute diary by singer/songwriter Jason Peacemaker will break your heart. He represents a group, aboriginal people - who remain largely unnoticed by us folks, infected with HIV and addiction. That does not prevent him from looking at a better future by helping fight both. He was only 32 when the piece was produced. But you hear a wise man who is out of tears, but full of hope.

Comment for "Extreme Cold Party Tricks" (deleted)

User image

Review of Extreme Cold Party Tricks (deleted)

This is a really good series PDs should pick up for a regular slot at their stations. It's informational, entertaining, and the presenters are fun to listen to. Want to know how to explode water? How about that Vodka trick for your next get together? Listen in.

Comment for "Valentine's Day at the Roxy"

User image

Review of Valentine's Day at the Roxy

Sorry I'm a little late on this one. This piece, however, should not be ignored because of its time specificity. It's an audio vignette of mentally ill participants in an annual Valentine's day dance event. We hear men and women talk about love,life, and how they plan their lives around someone else. You and I may have our own perceptions of what mentally ill people feel for the opposite sexes, and if we find this piece 'revealing,' we should be a little ashamed of ourselves.

Comment for "Buzz, Bands and the Biz: Why SXSW Matters"

User image

Review of Buzz, Bands and the Biz: Why SXSW Matters

The city of Austin is known as the live music capital of the world. South by Southwest has, in the past two decades, grown into a mega festival showcasing new talent - at least that's how the founders had envisioned it. Twenty years later SXSW is compared to Sundance Film festival for becoming the go to place for finding new talent, signing new talent, and showcasing old talent after a makeover.
This piece explores the festival's history, mission, and how its face has changed over the years. Has its identity been exploited by giant media companies to pass off their roster of talents as a SXSW find? Do smaller bands, with less money and push behind them, still get to play to a major audience? Or has it become a giant party for industry darlings to gather once a year to tout their new hot catch? And most of all, how important is this festival for new talent in the MySpace and DYI age?

If you like your listeners to have an all around idea of what SXSW is about, then this is the piece to air. SXSW is just around the corner, by the way.

Comment for "Dinner at the Blind Cow"

User image

Review of Dinner at the Blind Cow

Perhaps the only way you can fully understand the nature of dining in the dark. It was easier for me to place myself in the room where everyone ate and talked. The description was clear enough to give us an understanding of what difference a little bit of light makes in our daily lives. I understand dining in the dark restaurants are a big hit in the US as well. If you're not sure what dining in the dark restaurants are like, this piece will take care of you.

Comment for "Personality Profile of Bob Marley"

User image

Review of Personality Profile of Bob Marley

A dry profile of Marley's life. If the narration went any faster I would have mistaken it for a news channel piece, which perhaps it is. Some portions of the piece cuts abruptly. Could have been smoother. I did learn a couple of new things but, all in all, the piece does not give us much.

Comment for "Sit With Me"

User image

Review of Sit With Me

Heartbreaking. Not because of what Cameron's dad is going through, and I don't discount his illness at all. Heartbreaking because both father and son feel helpless that they are not able to help or do for each other more. I cannot listen to pieces about father and son without getting emotional; I've admitted to it several times before without an ounce of discomfort. Cameron reminds me of where I was at that age many years ago. But he asked. He asked what every father wants to hear, "what can I do to help?" And he replied. He replied...

Comment for "Marie's Crisis"

User image

Review of Marie's Crisis

Jim has 16,000 songs memorized. He's played at Marie's Crisis where no microphone makes everyone a star. The piece is nicely woven together with vinyl recordings, live performance clips, and Jim talking about what playing music means to him. 9:41 minutes worth your time.

Comment for "Calcutta Typing"

User image

Review of Calcutta Typing

I know that sound too well. Brings back memories! :)

Comment for "Aphasia"

User image

Review of Aphasia

In an attempt to explore Aphasia, the piece ended up being over produced to sound clever. Okay, I understand that that may have been the point all along, to make the listener get the feeling of Aphasia but, honestly, a listener would rather not be inundated with sonic experimentation.
I found the second voice echoing lines throughout the play very distracting and it did nothing to enhance the experience. Yes, I started to get into the piece at the beginning and wanted to learn more about 'Aphasia' but by the fourth time I heard that line " I did it because I..." I gave up.
Here's what I mean. You're at the movies watching a group of travelers stuck in the desert in 110 degree temperature with no water. You're rooting for the characters on screen and eagerly await their arrival at a lake for a sip of water...until the air conditioner in the theater breaks, it starts to feel hot, and your comfort is compromised.

Comment for "World Covers" (deleted)

User image

Review of World Covers (deleted)

What a great piece! Enjoyable from beginning to end. The songs you grew up listening to will seem new, refreshing, and original. It goes to show that a good melody can find home in any culture and still convey the emotions it sets out to explore.

A must for music lovers.

Comment for "A Hawaiian Christmas with Slack Key Master Kapono Beamer"

User image

Review of Hawaiian Christmas with Slack Key Master Kapono Beamer

Hopefully the title won't make you wonder about the timeliness of the piece. It's not just about Hawaiian Christmas. Kapono Beamer is a storyteller who uses music as time pieces, if I may. Beamer is part of a famiy with a long list of achievements in music and Hawaiian culture. His playing is rich in style yet simple in its statement.

PDs should recognize this piece not just as a Christmas ornament, but as a jewel in their programming line-up anytime of the year.

Comment for "A Lesson Before Dying" (deleted)

User image

Review of A Lesson Before Dying (deleted)

It's not easy adapting a work originally written for the stage into radio drama. Actors, for one, have to restrict their performances to the use of their voices. That is asking a lot from them when they're used to being visually expressive.

Why does it matter here? The awareness of having to play for two different types of audiences kept the actors from losing themselves in the story. A very unfair position to put the actors in. This play suffered, if a bit, from that.

However, the story itself, and Jamahl Marsh's performance as Jefferson, makes it all worth while. Mr. Marsh's performance, with just his voice, achieves what is the most difficult to do on radio, make us 'see' his body language, the fear, the confusion, and the hoplessness on his face. You don't hear a voice anymore, you see a person.

Who received the lesson after all? Jefferson, or the people who came to help him find himself? A good play only ends, but doesn't leave you. This is one of them.

Comment for "George Harrison: An Appreciation (59:00, 118:00 or 8:00)" (deleted)

User image

Review of George Harrison: An Appreciation (59:00, 118:00 or 8:00) [Died 5 years ago 11/29] (deleted)

Sometimes music speaks volumes about the artist's growth, as a musician and as a person, better than the artist him/herself. George Harrison had always been the dark horse of The Beatles. I don't mean musically as part of the band, but as someone who held together the bandall those years. With Harrison, the best part was, you could have identified with him in your own way, with your own reasons.

This piece is essentially about how his fans have identified with him over the years. His fans have always found ways to look inside of themselves through his music. What do I mean by that? Let's just say they have always felt that by listening to his music, he was somehow listening to them.

What struck me, while listening to the many, many clips of music presented here is the consistency in theme throughout his career. His beliefs as a 19 year old and how he perceived the world around him never really changed. Five years have passed since his death. 'All things must pass,' he'd said. Listening to this appreciation of George Harrison, as crafted by Paul Ingles, I can't help but think of him as an Easterner with a Western name.

Comment for "Bus tour takes poetry on the road"

User image

Review of Bus tour takes poetry on the road

With poets varying in age and experience, a group takes poetry on a bus tour to read and reach out to an audience, sometimes in unusual places.
I wish this piece was a longer one and covered a little bit of every aspect of the tour. It was meant as a news piece, I assume, which is fine as a time sensitive piece (the tour ended in October) but has left me unsatisfied because of it.

Comment for "Reverse Culture Shock"

User image

Review of Reverse Culture Shock

Ethan Todras-Whitehill was able to, in a few short minutes, convey what it feels to be a New Yorker going to a foreign country and coming back to New York as a New Yorker who went to a foregin country and came back to New York.

Now, unless you're a resident of New York City yourself, and provided you love living here for what it offers, good or bad, local or foreign, English or no English, the above statement will, perhaps, make no sense. So why should I expect you, the person reading this in Montana, to listen to Todras-Whitehill be a New Yorker? Good question. But I'm pretty sure you won't ask that question once you listen to the piece, because it's not just about having reverse culture shock as a New Yorker. It's about accepting to keep the words 'culture' and 'shock' away from each other.

Comment for "Mind Control: Neural Rhythms and the Beat of the Brain"

User image

Review of Mind Control: Neural Rhythms and the Beat of the Brain

We all fall into a rhythmic pattern in this world. Some of us are more attuned to our own rhythms (the animals, the insects), and some of us seem to get accustomed to rhythmic behaviors set up for us (the humans).

Neurofeedback, the subject of this piece, is not a concept. It's a scientific method that proves to us, humans, that you are in charge, largely, of your bio-rhythm. But we humans need to see it on a monitor first to believe our own powers. Dr. Sheldon Levin, thankfully, thought of it too.

The piece tells us two things. One, there is hope for people with head injuries or people needing therapy due to other illnesses, thanks to Dr. Levin's technique. And two...no one can stop the blue rocket from winning if it has your attention.