Comments by Alexandros Zervos

Comment for "Southwest Side Stories: The Hot Place to Be"

User image

Review of Southwest Side Stories: The Hot Place to Be

When I first hit play, I was expecting to listen to a cliché piece about a community that has rallied around a local park. Instead, I was surprised to hear a very touching, personal feature. The narrator does not pretend to be a spokeswoman for her community and talk in hyperbole. She tells it simply as it is (with enough detail to provide a general image) that yes, it’s a bad and dirty part of society, but hey, there are people who are happy here and that by itself makes it a great place. The piece is very personalized to the speaker, and although the audience may not directly relate with this feature, it can provoke a very interesting discussion on what is necessary in society to be happy. From a technical stand point, the narrator is usually clear, and the audio clips are properly used, when necessary. The piece is unfortunately plagued by a hissing air noise in the background, but this does not take away too much from the feature. Despite the hissing noise, the feature flows well, and it definitely is a heartwarming story about making the best of what people have. Just one listen may make many any one look at the simpler things in life.

Comment for "I'm Not Emo"

User image

Review of I'm Not Emo

Culture, social norms, and the impact on a person; this piece dishes out all of those things. The piece flows well and is able to keep the attention of the listener (it does not feel like nine minutes!). For the most part, sound clips and audio are properly introduced at key places, allowing for a better understanding of the message. This piece appears to be a combination of two central ideas: social norms vs. somebody different, and an in-depth discussion of the African-American culture. These two powerful ideas come out well in the piece, but can leave the listener confused as to the focus of the overall feature. The feature feels more like a combination of two strong pieces rather than a continuous one. Also, there is not a lot of direct connections made between the two central ideas, however this provides an opportunity for a listener to come to his/her own conclusions about the ideas presented in the peace. Overall, I walk away feeling more knowledgeable about a different culture, but I still do have questions as to what the narrator thinks about these issues. The piece is a good introduction for somebody who wants to provoke discussion about culture that is related to African-Americans or youth.

Comment for "Can the meaning of life be found in your trash?"

User image

Review of Can the meaning of life be found in your trash?

Almost everybody has read a fortune cookie or a horoscope claiming to teach the mysteries of the universe. Having had this experience myself, I can’t help but laugh, as the narrator in this story argues from the common sense angle about these so-called profound messages. Although, she is the only one who talks within the feature, her changing tone and her personality allow her to really come through to make this a strong piece that can keep a listener’s attention. This piece would be great for anybody who needs a feature that will raise spirits, or at least change the way people might look at the deep messages of life.

Comment for "A Tax on plastic bags"

User image

Review of A Tax on plastic bags

Many people believe that the youth population is not adequately represented in politics. It is for this reason that I am very fond of this piece as it shows how a group of teenagers can have a big voice in politics. Although the narrator is biased to her cause, her interviewee discusses both sides of the issue. I understand both the reasons for her group’s proposal, and the challenges they face. The piece itself does not contain sound effects or music (no flashy elements here), but the startling statistics that the narrator presents, combined with her powerful arguments, makes this a forceful call to action. This feature can be very effective to encourage a local group to get involved in their own community, as well as to show how even a youth group can make a difference in politics.

Comment for "East Coast Culture Shock"

User image

Review of East Coast Culture Shock

Being a resident of a multicultural city like Cambridge, I can understand how the narrator feels shocked when she is in a "monochromatic" racial setting. It is very clear that the narrator was feeling powerful emotions throughout her experience. That being said, I wish I had seen more of these emotions come out through her feature. The ideas are very powerful, but the entire story is told in a monotonous voice. The personality of the narrator comes out only at the end of the piece when she says, "I know, I know, how un-Berkeley of me." This piece could use more periodic bursts of sarcastic commentary like the above example. It's a good feature for generating discussion about diversity in schools, but it is not a piece that can hold a listener’s attention, due to its blandness.

Comment for "From Biking In Sweden...To Biking In Texas"

User image

To walk or not to walk?

I feel that this piece starts off very strong for the first half, and it has some very powerful energy in it. The narrator's tone changes throughout the start of the piece. This really makes it seem as if a listener is hearing a person and not a robot. I really wish the author had maintained this change of tone, because at certain points the piece does seem to become monotone. As opposed to focusing on America as a whole, I would've preferred if the narrator had spent more time on Texas. The fact that she generalizes America makes it feel a little bit awkward listening to this piece, especially since I live in a city that does do a lot of walking (the narrator makes it seem as if all of America doesn't do much walking). Despite this minor flaw the piece does have a very good flow, and it does a good job of showing the teenage perspective on greener ways of traveling. The overall best thing about this piece is how the narrator at points seems to come alive in the piece that really makes it stand out. This piece is good for a location that lacks good public transportation or for an event designed to motivate people to walk. However, I feel that if a listener was located in a city where people walk a lot, this may sound a little bit awkward to them.

Comment for "Cocoa And Lazer Guns"

User image

Plain, Simple, Hilarious nontheless

What this piece lacks in flashy sound effects and crazy voices, it more than makes up with its humor. The narrator's "creative" use of metaphors provides a nonstop continuation of laughs as he lists some obscure facts about "chocolate (sexual metaphor)" that most likely would surprise anyone. I like how the narrator actually raises the question as to why "chocolate" is such a big issue in our society. To describe the piece using three words: smooth, hilarious, and profound. This piece would be great for a mature audience, a group in need of a quick laugh, or maybe people just exploring the "chocolate" issue.

Comment for "Green Roofs Offer Hope to Stem Runoff"

User image

Starts with a problem, then becomes a sales pitch, strong finish.

I like how this piece opens up by presenting the problem and the possible solution. This piece is slightly informative on the benefits of green roofs. However, I feel that the piece overall diverges from its original meaning. My interpretation is that this piece was meant to explain how green roofs are able to fix the runoff problem. However, near the end of the piece, it seems to become more of an advertisement for green roofs in general. This isn't necessarily bad, but it takes away from the overall clarity of the piece. The narrator is a little bit monotone throughout the piece. I wish that he had thrown a little bit of himself into the piece (or at least some music). This would have been key especially since he had so many humorous interviews, but most of the facts came from the narrator himself. One concern I have for this piece is that it seems to make some assertions without any factual proof. For example, the narrator talks about how green roofs reflect heat, but then he says that it will keep a house warmer in the winter. The broad assumptions (or the lack of explanations) near the end of the piece just seem to take away from the interest I originally had about the runoff problem. This is overall a good piece for somebody who is explaining green roofs alongside the piece. On a more positive note the piece has a very strong ending that I found to be very interesting. It goes to show you that green roofs might be found where you least expect them!

Comment for "Mother/Father"

User image

Same Arguments, New Lens

While I don't know a lot about Hilary herself after this piece, it's very clear she has a strong skill in poetry. Taking traditional arguments from the Environmentalist Movement, and presenting them within this spiritual lens allows for a very provocative piece. Her changing voice level within the piece really slams on a listener the deep emotion from her spiritual beings (Father Sun and Mother Earth). Certain parts of her poem are spoken in a very piercing voice that, although are a little bit hard on the ears, help contribute to the feeling of an emotional plea by the spiritual beings. Overall, the piece flows nicely, and is definitely a piece that stands out in terms of creativity. It would serve to be a great opening to get people thinking about the Environment, and it is a good quick summary of what some of the major issues are.

Comment for "Horned lizards of our nation's Air Force"

User image

Review of Horned lizards of our nation's Air Force

The words "war" and "environment" are not usually found in the same sentence, unless the phrase "is not helpful for" is in between them. Through this piece, Jordan presents a positive aspect of the military by showing the listener a base’s commitment to preserving the environment. Jordan takes a listener alongside him into the field, with a few experts, to discover some curious horned creatures. Throughout this process, there was a good range of sound that really made me feel as if I was right there alongside him. It felt like being a modern explorer! After listening to this piece, I wanted to find an image of a horned lizard just to see what Jordan was really looking at. The people at this base gain more than just a positive feeling from helping their surroundings. Jordan emphasizes this at the end as he lets the expert's tell how preserving the base's environment has benefited the troops at home.

Comment for "Change My World"

User image

Review of Change My World

The opening audio in this piece is a little bit loud, the first few seconds can be confusing, and this can give the false impression that the rest of the piece is going to be shaky as well, however it’s not. Through an elegant mastery of words Steph takes any listener through a thought-provoking journey that may leave you wandering what is your role in the large environmental movement. Throughout this piece Steph hops between her own inner revelations, and a variety of interviews at different locations that can leave a listener wondering, and may even force a chuckle or two. Although, it is easily inferable how she draws her final conclusions in her inner revelations there is a small lack of clarity in her opinion that makes me wonder how she finally came to these conclusion herself. It’s this lack of analytical points that although, make this piece a little bit detached from the creator, create many opportunities for thoughts from any listener. Steph seems to put a signpost during her second revelation as she introduces music in the background, and I can infer that this was one of the more important statements she wanted to make through this piece. Over-all, despite a minor lack of clarity, there is a good flow to this piece that allows a listener to step back and see the tri-step thinking process that Steph goes through until she finally has discovered her role in the movement.