We had a bone to pick withChicago Public Radio
. We know the U.S.'s oil rig-infested chunk of the Gulf of Mexico isn't always pleasant to look at (let alone swim in) but it's an actual part of the ocean while Lake Michigan is just that -- a freaking lake.We
're on the Third Coast.
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"I expected to get some flack about that," says managing director Julie Shapiro. "I think I'll just roll over on my back and be submissive about it."
Now that that's out of the way, we can discuss what festival actually does. The group keeps a finger on the pulse of the radio documentary (which does continue to beat), gathering segments from stations around the world and taking submissions. Their best finds are heard on Chicago Public Radio's Re:sound and in a traveling program, which comes to the Aurora Picture Show this Friday and Saturday. "Audio is sometimes thought of as the absence of images," says Shapiro. "We try to find pieces that are complete on their own."
An example in Friday's show is Just Another Fish Story for which producers interviewed residents of a small town in Maine about a 60-ton dead whale that washed up on its shore 11 years ago. The story has a definite campfire feel. Also on the bill is a New Yorker's ode to his favorite pirate station and picks from the 99 Ways to Tell a Radio Story contest for which the festival compiled almost 100 three-minute-or-less documentaries -- no two of which are overly similar. — Nick Keppler
For more on this ill-named audio amusement park, check out our Night & Day section -- which isn't afraid of going Tex-centric on your ass. We'll also tell you about the art show toasting the Alamo City, the local block party more boisterous than any in the Bronx and the classical concert that proves Houston's output is catching up to Leipzig's.