Monday, January 29, 2018

Indiegogo Campaign for "Joe Frank: Somewhere Out There"

Independent filmmaker D.P. Carlson has just launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $75,000 for the release of his documentary film, Joe Frank: Somewhere Out There. Music was a vital component of Joe Frank's radio artistry, hence much of the funds raised will be utilized to obtain licensing for musical works included in the film, as well as for final sound editing and mixing, and other expenses associated with screenings on the 2018 film festival circuit.

In his video appeal above, Carlson notes that Frank, who died just two weeks ago, had himself seen the final cut of the documentary, and was "really excited about sharing it with audiences." To catch a glimpse of what the excitement is about, check out the trailer at the film's website, and then help support Carlson and his team get this feature film tribute in front of both longtime Joe Frank aficionados and a new generation of listeners. Perks for donating include a thank you in the film credits and an array of premiums.

Monday, January 22, 2018

RIP Joe Frank, Radio Artist Extraordinaire

The pioneering radio artist, Joe Frank, died one week ago on January 15, 2018 at the age of 79. Frank produced an extensive and unique body of work during a career of over forty years. Known for his monologues and ensemble casts of characters, Frank utilized both scripted and improvised segments that were set to entrancing music that propelled the mood, action, and emotion of his novel form of storytelling.

Attuned to the philosophical quandaries of life, a deep humor runs through every dramatic episode as Frank employs any manner of historical, cultural, and artistic references to explore and express the absurdities and follies of human existence. In certain respects, Frank is a great moral fabulist who revels in chaos as much as he rebels against it, either with or without cause. His art is truly sui generis, and resistant to facile description; it is best to simply listen to the work itself to understand and appreciate Frank's radio alchemy.

Some of Frank's shows are still being broadcast on various radio stations around the country, including WFMU and KCRW, and the Joe Frank website offers several options to purchase his work, including CDs, DVDs, flashdrives, as well as streaming subscriptions. A number of tributes have been offered in the last several days, a compilation of which can also be found at the Joe Frank website. Slate magazine has just published his last interview, "Joe Frank Signs Off," and his obituary has appeared in the New York Times, among other publications.

The above video is a trailer for D.P. Carlson's documentary, "Joe Frank: Somewhere Out There," which will be released later this year.

Monday, January 15, 2018

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

Martin Luther King, Jr. [1929-1968] would have turned 89 today. It was during the March on Washington, held on August 28, 1963, that Dr. King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream Speech." The speech galvanized the civil rights movement, and in 1964, James Blue released the film, "The March," which documented the events of the March as well as King's speech.

The film was produced for the Motion Picture Service unit of the United States Information Agency, and was intended for foreign audiences. In 2008, the documentary was inducted into the National Film Registry maintained by the Library of Congress. A full digital restoration of the original negatives was later undertaken by the Motion Picture Preservation Lab to coincide with the March's 50th anniversary in 2013; details of this painstaking process are available at the National Archives website.

The National Archives has many other resources related to King and to African American history, and there are several prior Common Curator posts regarding King's legacy as well.