Tag Archives: storytelling

The Blarg No. 62: Dan Hull

Down the Collector’s Rabbitt Hole

I’m not merely an obsessive music collector, I’m a nerdy, obsessive music collector. Actually, full disclosure, I’m a nerdy, obsessive compulsive music collector. Every item among my thousands of CD’s and hundreds of records is meticulously organized—first by genre, then by artist, release type (album, ep, single, compilation…), and within these artists and release types, everything is chronological. I will purchase and then keep several copies of an album, because there is a slight difference in the track list, or one version contains a bonus that another lacks. Everything is catalogued, too. Originally, before the prevalence of cataloging apps, everything was organized in a spreadsheet. This morning, I stopped short of squealing with delight over being able to scan the bar code of a Japanese import 7″ Bruce Springsteen single (“I’m Goin’ Down” b/w “Janey, Don’t You Lose Heart”) and have it pop up with cover photo, release notes, pricing details, and the social security number of the individual who manned the pressing machine at the plant (a little exaggeration, but you see what I’m getting at).

One thing I used to be, and find that I am not any longer, is a music snob. If I thought anything was too commercial, too mainstream, too middle of the road, it was open to derision. Then, I hit my thirties, and I found that it didn’t matter anymore. Good music is good music, and the above philosophy led to conflicts in my enjoyment of stuff I loved as a kid: Billy Joel, Huey Lewis and the News, John Mellencamp—at best qualifying something as a guilty pleasure—which is ridiculous. In the years since I have allowed myself to enjoy what I enjoy proudly and openly, and not judge a person (too) harshly when they like music I can’t stand, I’ve found that I enjoy music even more. You know what? “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” is a great fucking song.

This topic was my conversational introduction to this week’s guest, someone I’ve seen around at events for years, but never really had a conversation with. Now that we’ve talked music, though, we might be best friends.

Dan Hull is the founder of The Storyline, a cornerstone of the Arizona storytelling community and a platform for live storytelling events hosted and produced by Hull. The most recent incarnation, The Storyline Slam, is a monthly competitive storytelling event which takes place at The Newton. To learn more, and even throw your name in the electronic hat for the next event, visit The Storyline website.

Best,
Jared

Listen to LE 62 – Dan Hull

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The Blarg No. 50: Chatterpod pilot

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 jared@ltdengagementpod.com. 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!

Listen to LE 50 – Chatterpod Pilot

Best,
Jared

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The Blarg No. 41: Sean David Christensen

I’m working on something very exciting and very big. Well, I think it’s very exciting and very big, but I can’t talk about it. I hate that. When I’ve got an idea cooking that can lead to something awesome, I want to talk about it with everyone who asks me what I’m up to. Unfortunately, that same stage where I want to tell everyone about something is the same stage where the idea tends to fall apart, because people aren’t as excited as I am, or they try some devil’s advocate sort of thing. All of it is well-intentioned, I’m sure, but it also has an awful deflating effect on me which often leads me to abandon the idea, to lose faith in it. I’m not letting that happen this time. This idea is too important—direction of life changing level.

In the meantime, I’ll settle for teasing the idea and hope that in itself will generate some excitement and keep me going. There is a lot of groundwork ahead—a lot of meetings, conversations…hard, organizational shit that is not my strong suit, that I loathe doing. I am much more of an idea man, like Michael Keaton’s character in Night Shift (if you haven’t seen that movie, I highly recommend you do so). In a perfect world, I’d offer up the idea, the motivation behind it, and then someone else would swoop in and take care of the logistics, but what are you gonna do? Anyway, as they say, watch this space.

This week’s episode is a conversation with Sean David Christensen. Sean is promoting his short film, The Duel, which has had screenings at the Athens International Film and Video Festival and the San Francisco Documentary Festival, and can be seen at the Marfa Film Festival this July. He’s also done a number of other short films which you can find on Vimeo, he’s a frequent storyteller at Chatterbox and Bar Flies, and he’s in the band Maggie Dave. I had a great time talking to Sean, and you should definitely check out his work. The soundscape at the end of the show was created by Rafael Anton Irisarri.

Best,

Jared

Listen to LE 41 – Sean David Christensen

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