It is getting increasingly difficult to feel good talking about anything other than the horrorshow the country is quickly turning into, because really nothing else seems as important or prescient. Not to mention the headshaking level of disbelief. Whether actually an out and out fascist himself or not (I honestly think that this individual’s narcissism issues overshadow everything, and that they actually do not give a shit about anyone else), for the first time, possibly in American history, there is an individual in the White House who refuses to categorically denounce fascism. Additionally, this individual is so cowardly, they refuse to place the blame for an act of terror and hatred squarely on the shoulders of the perpetrator. Notice how I have thus far refused to use the words president, man, or even person, because people, men, and presidents don’t act the way the thing we currently have as our representative to the rest of the world is doing. I can’t help but feel that it is an enormously dangerous distraction from the real damage that is being done by the people behind the scenes. An extreme case of wag the dog. It’s frightening, and if you’re not frightened, then you’re not paying attention, or worse.
At some point, though, you’ve got to stop taking in the poison and get some fresh air, or risk giving into despair and hopelessness, and there’s a very long way to go and a lot of work to be done. For me, this almost always takes the form of filling my head with music, and I don’t know how many who read this are aware of it, but Neil Finn (he of Split Enz and Crowded House fame) has been staging a series of weekly Facebook live shows that will culminate with the recording of his new album (also live), which will then be available the following week. It’s an ambitious, exciting project that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen done before, and if you’re someone who enjoys great, melodic pop music, I highly suggest you head over to Neil Finn’s website to learn more. Anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing for a break, and enough of an unsolicited plug for Neil Finn.
We have on our hands here the 50th edition of Limited Engagement. That’s a kind of milestone, right? I thought it was, and for a while I’ve been teasing a new project, so I thought this was a good occasion and platform to announce it properly.
Hoot ‘N’ Waddle is a project Janell and I have been knocking around for a while, a business we started that has been used to funnel Limited Engagement projects through, but what exactly we were going to do with it wasn’t ever fully cemented. Then, as I was looking for some sort of Phoenix podcasting community and not really finding anything, Janell suggested that I create the community—an idea that sounded great, but one that I was also very hesitant to take on, as I wasn’t convinced I could carry it out at a level that would be up to my standards or something that anyone else would even be interested in. I promptly forgot the idea, or filed it away somewhere, or something, because at some point this summer, after a particularly productive shower, I came downstairs all excited, saying that we could use Hoot ‘N’ Waddle as the hub for arts and culture podcasts in Phoenix, at which point I was promptly reminded that, yes, this was a great idea, and it wasn’t in fact mine. That’s alright, I’m a big enough man to admit it, and a good idea is a good idea.
Launching this Fall, Hoot ‘N’ Waddle will be a home for arts and culture podcasts in Phoenix—a sort of podcast co-op. Some shows will be hosted directly on the site, in other instances we will be more of a portal to a show’s existing platform. In some cases, I will be recording and producing the shows, while Janell creates the design aesthetic; some shows will be entirely the product of their creator/host from top to bottom. I can’t give out all the details yet, or name all of the shows, as some conversations are still in progress, but do stay tuned for more details, and if you’re interested in either creating a show for Hoot ‘N’ Waddle, or including your existing show in the project, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The website will be launching soon. For now, if you want to stay up to date on the progress of Hoot ‘N’ Waddle, like the Facebook page, or follow Hoot ‘N’ Waddle on Twitter.
This week, for the 50th episode, we’ve got our first Hoot ‘N’ Waddle show. Created, produced, and hosted by the amazing Jessie Balli, Chatterbox is a weekly storytelling series that takes place on Wednesdays at Fair Trade Cafe. Chatterpod, the podcast version of Chatterbox, features stories told by those participants who consented to have them recorded and broadcast. This is the pilot episode, so we’re throwing it out there as a special edition of Limited Engagement, but future Chatterpods will be their own thing. I’m very excited to be working with Jessie, and Chatterbox is a great storytelling series, so go out there and support it!