My second track of the year is complete. Inspired by Hearts of Space‘s Space Guitars series (6 programs in all), I wrote this all-analogue number over the weekend. Originally it was going to be a theremin aria of sorts, but after adding echo, delay, chorus and reverb, I realized that I may finally be able to play guitar without getting calluses on my fingers…
Equipment: Yamaha CS-80, Andromeda A6, Moog Etherwave Theremin, Moog Minimoog Voyager, Lexicon MPX-1. Recorded and mixed at Waynemanor Studios, 2005-02-26.
An Open Letter to Joan Ganz Cooney, former president, Sesame Workshop (Childrens Television Workshop)
Dear Mrs. Cooney,
What a pleasure it was to receive in the mail today the 4-DVD set of The Best of the Electric Company. It is a joy to see these programs available in purchasable media, and to be assured that the money will help fund future Sesame Workshop programs.
When I took over running the grey-area online archive of Electric Company video and audio clips a few years ago, I knew I was taking a risk. I never intended to threaten Sesame Workshop’s claim to ownership of these works. However, the rich heritage of these programs, and the profound impact they had on multiple generations of American children deserved a wider audience…even if it was just grainy, small online translations of grainy copies of copies of off-the-air broadcasts. It was with no small surprise that I received a C&D letter from Sesame Workshop’s legal department shortly after Cory Doctorow linked to my site from boingboing. The monthly transfer rates from the site after his link (but prior to the Workshop’s letter!) confirmed that there was an incredible market for the material. I’m ever so glad that Sesame Workshop stepped up and reclaimed its heritage for itself! I was especially pleased to see your segments on the second DVD, and to see some (though limited) framing of the content in its original educational context.
Clearly, with a renewed interest in the show, it is everyone’s hope to whom I have spoken that Sesame Workshop renews the show in this millenium. The format and content will most certainly be different, but continuing the mission to help children read through positive cultural references without the heavy-handed moralism of many an educational television program could very well be a breakthrough. I wasn’t ever directly involved in the original production…but I sure would love to be involved in future work, if there’s a place for someone like me.
Again, I salute your efforts on Sesame Street, The Electric Company, 3-2-1 Contact and the myriads of other educational efforts that followed, both on and off screen. As I struggle to educate both children and adults alike, I continue to look to your pioneering work as a source of inspiration. I still think of your statement in the original Parents’ Guide released just as The Electric Company was set to air: “If television’s true potential as a weapon in the fight against reading failure is to be realized, the full range of television techniques and talents must be exercised.” And, just like your 8 year old granddaughter recently said – this show still is “REALLY good.”
Thank you once again for your hard efforts.
Joan Sarah Touzet
It’s funny, I think about my high school – New Trier, class of ’91 – more than I think of my university years. Tonight marks the 23rd annual (non-competitive!) Frank Mantooth Jazz Festival, currently being webcast live at http://ntjazz.com/, and it is nothing short of deeply moving.
I am listening now to the strains of Sherrie Maricle & the DIVA Jazz orchestra, and I am floored. Jim Warrick always did a fantastic job with bringing good jazz to New Trier, and he always let the students and musicians shine. It was never about himself, making money, or false prestige. Some of my classmates went on to become professional musicians, and I feel honoured to have shared the stage with them. The rest seem to have gone on to lead successful lives in every sphere. (It has been hard for me to stay in touch with them as they’ve scattered, and also because I have only returned to Chicago once since I graduated.) In a word – Jim took many a lonely outcast musician, and helped them find inner peace and confidence through their senses of rhythm and melody.
To Dan, James, Ben, Matt, Scott, Andy, and all of the other friends who I loved but whose names escape me at this late, sentimental hour — but most of all to Jim Warrick — my sincerest thanks for allowing a mediocre piano player to grace your stage for four years. I will never forget the memories, nor will I ever lose my love for jazz. And, if it’s quiet enough in the house, I just might sit down at my piano and try to play Spain again…or one of the old Spyro Gyra Synthesizer Ensemble arrangements…
2006 is the year I finish projects and show the world what I can really do.
It’s modest, but I started this knitting project in earnest back in October, devoting something like 3-4 hours a month on it.
It’s finally done, and I think it looks great. Thank you M. for getting me into knitting!