Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Monday, December 06, 2010
Monday, October 19, 2009
In every life, a little rain…
We’ve had a little rain in Northern Minnesota these past two weeks. Back home in Oregon, it would be cause for complaint. Here in the Northwoods, however, rain inspires thankfulness that the precep falling from the sky is not yet frozen. For me, it’s a reminder that sometimes, a little trouble is to be expected; even for a group as blessed as the Icebox Radio Theater.
‘Pickaxe Hill’, our next podcast, is slated to go up on the feed one week from today. Recording and basic editing is complete, and I have a pretty good idea what I’d like to do with the music, so over all I’d say this show is on its way. However, family commitments will take me away from the studio (and out of Minnesota) for all but two days of that period. That leaves us with a kind of tight schedule to work under. Plus, the play that follows in three weeks time is part one of our newest Dome Dog saga, which – sadly – I did not get started on last week when I should have. We might try and record Wednesday evening, but getting the crew together for this Dome Dog has been a trial. What makes it even worse is that Harley Droba, our star and creator of the series, is chomping at the bit with plenty of free time to go to work. Sorry Harley! I’m confident it will all come together.
Our Sound Effects Director Dave Erwin will be working on a few final effects for Pickaxe Hill today, after which I will have all the pieces in place. Part of the job here will be figuring out how much of the work can be done via laptop on the road. So, once again, organization is the key.
Another cause for worry for the theater this year is our grant situation. We went ahead and started this podcast studio with grants a big part of the finance plan. Now it seems like one grant we’ve applied for may be a long shot. It’s a frustrating situation in that the grant in question is from the State which is looking at more than doubling its arts funding in the next few years. I serve on a regional arts council, and the folks there are dealing with so many uncertainties, they are getting very conservative with existing funds. This means our grant, which looked likely about three months ago, is now in jeopardy. Luckily, our support from the community has been such that we might be able to continue in our new studio through this season. Still and all, I can’t help feeling like I made a mis-step applying for the state grant at all.
What do you do in this situation? You keep positive.
We WILL finish ‘Pickaxe Hill’ on time.
We WILL keep the doors of the studio open.
We WILL keep getting better and better at producing audio theater.
We WILL pay the rent this month.
That being said, if some of our blog readers wanted to visit the donation button on our website, I wouldn’t complain. : >
Thanks for reading, and remember to…
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Monday, October 05, 2009
The Icebox Radio Theater 2009/10 Podcast Season (first half)
Here's a run-down of the first few episodes of this podcast season. Schedule subject to change.
October 12 – CASS & LOL Two young girls, the best of friends. Like most girls like most girls these days, there is at least a passing fascination with vampires. But how far will this fascination go? ‘Cass & Lol’ is presented as part of ‘Frozen Frights’, the IBRT’s series of new horror.
October 26 – PICKAXE HILL Frozen Frights month continues with this terrifying tale of a young couple and the house of their dreams. Doug and Julie always wanted a home by the lake, and now they can finally afford it. No matter that the house comes with a mysterious past, and a neighbor who is obsessed with it. But when Doug is mysteriously injured leaving Julie to face things alone, terror awaits her on top of Pickaxe Hill.
November 9 – Dome Dog, Issue 2, Episodes 1 & 2 Minnesota’s very own super hero is back in an all new adventure! When his beloved Vikings football team offers Dome Dog a chance to play pro ball, he can’t resist even though best girl and newly minted crime fighting super-partner Mustard Girl smells a rat. Will Dome Dog realize his mistake in time? Or will the lure of the gridiron prove too much for our hero – and an opportunity for a mysterious stranger from the shadows?
November 23 – THE “CALLS TO SANTA” SHOW Every year, the Icebox Radio Theater revives a holiday radio tradition. In the first weeks of December, Santa himself flies into Northern Minnesota to spend a week at the local radio station fielding calls from area tots live, on the air. This year, we’d like the whole world to join in on the fun via Skype and the theater’s streaming radio station. And to get you in the mood, we offer up a few choice slices of last year’s show, including the heart-warming audio theater classic, ‘The Christmas Room’.
December 7 - Dome Dog, Issue 2, Episodes 3 & 4 Our new Dome Dog Adventure continues! With Dome Dog distracted by gridiron glory, a new villain appears on the scene. He is called, ‘The Hunter’, and he’s ready to use his vast money, privilege and inhuman ability with a deer rifle to turn Minnesota’s wealth of natural beauty over to a select group of rich and powerful playboys; A Slap in the Face to everything the 32nd State stands for! As the Hunter moves ahead with his plan, Dome Dog’s partner in life as well as crime fighting, the Shape Shifting wonder of the North, Mustard Girl, acts on her own. How will she fare against the Evil Rich One? Tune in next time to find out!
December 21 - Dome Dog, Issue 2, episode 5 All is darkest before the dawn as The Hunter tightens his grasp around Dome Dog and Mustard Girl. We don’t want to give too much away in this capsule, but you’re gonna wanna tune in to this special omnibus climax to the Latest Dome Dog saga!
January 4 – THE SCOOP SISTERS, ‘NEW SCHOOL BLUES’ PART 1 Those small town girls of mystery are back in an all-new adventure! Daughter Mary is struggling with a difficult teacher at her new school in tiny Icebox, Minnesota. But when mom Mel and grandmom Jasmine try to help, yet another mystery bubbles to the surface in the lives of Northern Minnesota’s most dedicated independent reporters.
January 18 - THE SCOOP SISTERS, ‘NEW SCHOOL BLUES’ PART 2 The plot thickens as Mel and Jasmine try to uncover the secrets of Mary’s least favorite teacher, and end up in the middle of an FBI investigation! Recorded in front of a live audience.
AND MUCH MORE TO COME….
Monday, September 21, 2009
You remember your first apartment? Ours (my wife’s and mine, that is) was a tiny little crook in the wall with one of those accordion sliding walls for a bedroom door, and three large windows that looked directly out onto an alley, the top of the car port, and then right into the apartment next door which seemed, at times, to only be six or seven feet away. This being a college town, there was no end of drama in that apartment next door, and my wife and I spent much of our first three months of marriage trying to figure out exactly what the relationships were between the two men and one woman who lived across that alley. Diane and I have lived in many places since then, but I’ll always have fond memories of that first place.
And now, the Icebox Radio Theater has a place as well, and it’s every bit as funky and quirky as that apartment with a view from long ago. I’m writing this in the basement of Backus Community Center, a 70-year-old building that served International Falls as a junior high until a few short years ago. Our new home is in the basement; a room marked ‘Health Room’. I do not know if Health Class was taught here, or if it served as some sort of early weight room, but it was a challenge to convert this space from its former use to ours.
About two weeks ago, several brave volunteers began moving our equipment, a lot of donated carpet, Styrofoam and cardboard egg crates into the room. Along the way we picked up a few tables, chairs and music stands (it’s amazing what you can scrounge around the basement of an 70-year-old building) and benefited tremendously by the generosity of the building’s management who allowed us to use the old fly curtains from the auditorium stage as sound insulation.
Last week, our good friends the Erwin’s came in to record ‘Cass and Lol’, our first play to be recorded here. Things basically went off without a hitch. There is still a little more echo than I’d like, but we’re working on it.
The attached photos are of the actor’s area (basically finished) and the control table (look, already a mess!) The next task will be shaping a sound effects area out of the rubble of all our other projects. We still have hopes for a comfy green room area, but are waiting on some donations, namely a few furnishings. Oh my kingdom for couch!
Yesterday, my daughter and I ran internet cable to the room, so we can now broadcast from this space, as well as record. The whole project is really coming together, so stay tuned for more. Keep Listening!
Monday, September 07, 2009
Happy Labor Day, everyone!
I sit wearily typing this as summer officially comes to an end. A wonderful, marvelous team of people gathered today to begin the process of turning a large, very noisy room (the picture at right is the blank canvas stage) into a recording studio. There’s still a lot of work to do, but I think we’re on our way. I’ve always wanted a playground on which to play, and I can see it coming together in the next few days. There’s still a few things the room needs. Our Green Room area (a place for actors to hang out between takes) is a little bare of furniture, as we were hoping someone would offer up a old couch or two and no one did. I still have hope and know that this funky little space will help us create great things, and maybe even become a comfortable hangout, besides.
Some more nice news: Radio Poplar, an online station in the England that started out life as a service for a hospital in Leeds, will be airing three of our plays during the Christmas season. We’re very proud to know that more folks in the U.K. will find out about the Northland’s stories. Their website is http://www.radiopoplar.co.uk.
Well, that’s about all the gas in the tank. The first shows from our new studio are due in October, so stay tuned, and Keep Listening!