Comments by Jenny Asarnow

Comment for "NO! - What's it mean?" (deleted)

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Review of NO! - What's it mean? (deleted)

I like listening to Bill Paladino because his voice sounds very NPR anchor, but he talks about reading the OED with a magnifying glass, sings songs off-key, makes fun of self-help books and imitates the knights from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It's great. His voice says things you would not expect such a voice to say.

The use of sound is key to this piece and I like the collage of voices that participates in his interior conversation. A young woman suddenly yells "NO! That means I don't want Bill Paladino to stick his microphone in my face!"

The music at the end says it well: "No no no no no, nobody can do the shimmy like I do." Bill Paladino is doing the shimmy.

This piece is high on style and low on content. Nicely executed.

Comment for "Embroidery Felon"

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Review of Embroidery Felon

I love the editing of this piece. It's very well structured. There's the narrative beginnig, describing the Materson's situation and how he began embroidering. Then it becomes a conversation. Materson talks with himself. The sound cuts in and out rhythmically and sensually, along with a lovely eerie music. Materson jumps in and out of the interview with the curator, so that they have a discussion, an animated discussion full of interruptions--they echo each other.

I agree with the previous reviewer that the piece seems to end suddenly. I'm not sure I don't like that, though. The whole piece is such a burst of energy, I think it makes sense to suddenly fizzle away. And the last line is very beautiful: "emerging from the chrysalis, much more beautiful than it had been." It's an ending, without being conclusive. It makes me want to learn more.

Comment for "My Experiences With The "N" Word"

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Review of Experiences With The "N" Word

This is a thoughtful commentary on an persistently complex and relevant issue. Paul McDonald brings us from his aunt in Florida ("that's just how they talk around here") to a race riot in his Birmingham, Alabama high school, to Richard Prior's trip to Africa. The transitions are very smooth.

McDonald's soft southern accent lends a sense of place and authenticity to the piece. His ability to reflect openly and honestly on his experiences with the word "nigger" is one highlight of this piece. The other is the admiring description of Richard Prior. Imagining the voice of this piece identifying with Prior is intriguing, as they seem so different from one another.

One thing this piece is missing is sound. Considering the references to Prior, it would be wonderful to hear some archival recordings of events described. Any recording of Prior using the word "nigger" would add a lot to this piece. The same goes for contemporary uses of the word. It would help the piece to include sound from any number of sources--either the producer's own recordings or sound from movies or songs. I would have also liked to have heard references to those who have had this discussion publically in the recent past. Randall Kennedy comes to mind. Any of these improvements would place the piece in a larger dialogue, and elucidate what McDonald is adding to that ongoing conversation.

Comment for "How Long Do You Keep a Polluting Heap?"

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Review of How Long Do You Keep a Polluting Heap?

The great thing about this piece is the way Rebecca Williams uses her personal experience to catalyze a discussion of a news-y topic. In fact, her personal perspective brings out an aspect of the topic (automobile pollution) that would otherwise have been hidden--the economic impact of pollution prevention on individual consumers.

It's a snappy, tight story, without any extra baggage. The ending is particularly smart, as Rebecca makes the story personal for the listener as well.