Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Preparations continue, staff alerted

OK, so the RFD juggernaut is creaking out of the station--has been for a couple months, but now it's getting serious. The Halloween Spectacular at Easton's historic Avalon Theatre will commemorate a couple things: for one, it's the 20th anniversary of Radio from Downtown, which began in tiny Seagull Studio at WSCL at what was then Salisbury State University (they've since dropped the 'State'--top heavy, I guess)--in either late October or early November, 1989. Last century, doncha know? I can't remember who was on the show, which was mostly extemporaneous drivel--except we had a live jazz quintet with maybe Charlie Upshur on bass, me on guitar, maybe Tom Clark on drums, I don't know. Help me out here, you people who were there (all 10 of you, not counting musicians). And I made some stuff up, same as now, except hopefully the writing's better. I think Jack Purdy and I might have debuted "Shore Thing," our first radio play. In five episodes cuz we couldn't think of an ending, just figured we'd keep going. Tony Broadbent was the engineer. Soon the drivel, as it were, became scripted instead of off-the-cuff. Improvement? You tell me.

Cut to 2009, some 75 shows later. We're commemorating--in addition to RFD at 20--the 71st anniversary of the original broadcast of The War of the Worlds, by Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre on the Air. A compelling radio drama, to say the least. Got America's panties all bunched up, apparently. We did our version in 1998, and I opined at the time if by some weird twist of fate I was still doing this show in 2008, we'd do it again to celebrate the 70th anniversary. Well, we missed that, but 71 is a good year to celebrate, no? We kept the same irresistible name: Invasion of the Strangers Walk by Night, Part VI (Vee-Eye): The Terror Continues. Jack Purdy and I have changed a few things, added a few things, and I'm sure greatly improved the quality of the script, although Orson might be turning over in his grave. Or Howard Koch, the guy who adaped the HG Wells story.

Anyway. We'll have the fabulously harmonious trio Hot Soup to warble a few tunes for us; I'll talk to Dr. Donald Boesch, prez of the U of MD Center for Environmental Science about the EPA's vow to CLEAN UP THE BAY, GODDAMN IT!; NPR stalwarts Liane Hansen and Carl Kasell along with actors Melissa McGlynn, Jack Purdy, John Ebert and me; the Flamingo Brothers Phil and Ramone; and of course our crack house band, the No-No Nonette. And a couple of surprises.

We hope you come. True, it'll be broadcast on three local stations and on the internet a couple weeks after the performance, but the live gig's the thing. In any case, I'll post the broadcast info here pretty soon. Call the Avalon for ticket information, or check out their website, avalontheatre.com, or radiofromdowntown.com, which I guess you're already doing. See you there.


Anonymous said...

Nice article!

Music You Need To Hear said...

Yikes, has it been 20 years already?!

Though I wasn't there form the beginning, I remember the Western we did -- there was some singing, I even used my belt for the cracking of the whip, as well as coconut shells for the horse clopping.

Then there was the show with the ventriloquist...

Congrats on 20 years - hope all is well.