Interview: Into The Arts KPNW-DB

Click to listen to the KPNW “Into the Arts” interview
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1cvnhN–xZWiaQ5CvrYovce_EhjuOaIgh

After announcing that I was not returning to community radio production this fall, Jeannie Gilbert, station manager of KPNW-DB digital radio, invited me over to her studio to share my swan song.

In 2011 I woke up put a turtleneck on and was like, “I’m a freakin’ mess!” That same month I started volunteering at 102.3 KMRE SPARK Radio, broadcasting community radio out of the Museum of Electrical Invention, hoping community work would straighten me out. I used the moniker “Boosie” to hide from judgmental ex-in-laws, and *boom* history was made. This was the profile photo for my FB radio presence for seven years:

Boosie 2011-2018, RIP

Its 2018 and I must admit my life is better for the experience. Want to know more? Take me out for coffee or drinks and I’ll share all my secrets. Until then, keep it real…

“After seven years of producing radio programs, I have decided to say goodnight to this chapter in my life. Thank you KMRE, KZAX, and KPNW for supporting my work. Thank you all for listening, and a special thank you to the hundreds of guests who have lifted me up and inspired me and my listeners over the years.”
-Shannon Laws, producer/host Chickadee Productions

If you have any questions or want to listen to your favorite program offline please contact Shannon Laws on FB messenger or via her writer’s page.

Samples of Bellingham Art Beat and other programs have transferred over to her writer’s website located here: https://shannonplawswriter.com/

Thank you again for your support and stay beautiful Bellingham! ❤️

 

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38th Annual Mayor’s Arts Award

“Thank you, City of Bellingham’s Mayor Linville and the Bellingham Arts Commission for awarding “Bellingham Art Beat” the Mayor’s Arts Award.  It is a great honor. In addition, I need to extend a special thank you to the many dedicated listeners in Bellingham and online who follow the show, and the over 58 guests who have appeared on “Bellingham Art Beat”, shared their stories and inspired many.  A town is only as great as it’s people.  The people of Bellingham are extraordinary!”  ~Shannon Laws, Community Radio Producer

 

Mayor Announces the 38th Annual Arts Award Recipients

Mayor Kelli Linville announced today the recipients of the 38th Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards. A reception and awards ceremony honoring the awardees is scheduled for May 3, 2017.

This year the Mayor is honoring a broad range of artists, advocates, organizations, and performances that have significantly contributed to the arts in our community. Award winners were chosen based on nominations submitted by community members.

Mayor’s Arts Awards will be presented to the following recipients:

  • Cynthia Zaferatos
  • Bellingham Art Beat – Shannon Laws
  • Homeless in Bellingham Video Series – Fredrick Dent and Lisa Spicer
  • Scott Henderson
  • Bellingham House Concerts – Dan and Victoria Sabo
  • Sonja Max and Oliver Max
  • Kevin Murphy
  • Brend Hunt-Holma
  • Mary Gillilan and Norman Green
  • Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

To learn more about each awardee and their accomplishments, please attend the celebration scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday May 3, 2017 at the Mount Baker Theatre in the Walton Theatre, located at 104 N. Commercial Street in downtown Bellingham.  This ceremony is open to the public.

Elizabeth Vignali’s “Object Permanence”

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By request, Elizabeth Vignali shares her poem “Object Permanence” the title piece of her debut poetry book set to release November 2014.  Below the post, please click the link to hear Vignali read one of her poems for a local community radio program I produce called “Poetic Moments”.  ~Shannon

 

flowers in the sun

 

Object PERMANENCE

My hands don’t wash kiwi fruit; they bathe you
when you were a few weeks old.
You had this same sparse hair
defying gravity over a taut scalp.
My thumb flattens a path of bristles
that spring up again as they dry.

I rubbed water over your fragile skull,
wiped it away from your forehead, away from the eyes
open wide. Your hairs rose as they dried, lifting
in praise of warmth.

Infants haven’t learned constancy—
this is why they delight in peek-a-boo,
a beloved face appearing again and again.
They do not mourn the absence.
They do not mourn.

Children comprehend permanence by one year.
We spend the rest of our lives trying to forget,
brush little grains of worry in our palms
and pocket them: bills, calories,
the permanence of death. We meditate, we drink,
we fight to remember what presence felt like.

You come to me with a wilted fistful of tulips,
yellow petals waxy and sullen. I try to explain the benefit
of leaving flowers unpicked. Enjoy them and then leave them
for others to enjoy, I say. Don’t hang on to them so tight.
Experience them, then let them go.

I long to have you a baby again, to love you
despite your pink insistence, your curled
shrimp fists, your incessant keen.
I’d bring you my breasts filled with milk.
I’d hold you until my arms fell asleep.

 

Liz Headshots 014
Elizabeth Vignali author of “Object Permanence”

Vignali on Soundcloud reading “Scarlet Runners”

S.P. Laws interviews Vignali, October 2014

Cell Hell

Is it just me or has the whole freakin’ world been duped?  
First let’s define the word duped.  
Duped: A person who functions as the tool of another person or power.
Oh well, in that case the answer is a big YES!
Which one was your first?

Throughout the 1900’s, appliances in the home, particularly the television, radio and phone have seen the greatest increase in new users and technological advancements.  (This I mention with a negative-nod to the U.S. auto manufacturers who, just lately, have the electrical car in production, after 100 years of gas engines.  Chumps.  Innovation and forward thinking are not their strong suits.  Also, um, adding seat-belts is not inventive, it is reactionary.  Double chump!)

Time travel with me for a bit…  

Phone bills  
During the corporate downsizing and the increase cost of goods in the 90’s, I started to look at ways to save money on my monthly budget.  

My power, water, garbage, cable, gas, and phone bills were in the spotlight. Somehow I needed to find ways to cut back.  So I started to recycle my garbage, drop down to basic cable, changed the spouts in showers and sinks to use less water, used a cold/cold cycle to wash clothes, attempted to car pool a few times a week, or bus.  

Hi-Tech home entertainment center includes: video (3 flat screens) , 
music, internet and phone interface, even a record player
Don’t lie-  you  know you WANT this!

For the phone I was able to bring my phone bill down to $15 a month, by turning in my cell phone, getting a long distance pre-paid calling card and an answering machine.  Fifteen dollars a month!  

2013:  I just purchased my first smart phone. 

Cell Phone usage in the US has increased from 34 million to 203 million in the last ten years.  There is an estimated two billion cell phones world-wide, which means about 4.5 billion people go without.*

Apple Iphone

Up until the 90’s, most homes had only ONE phone line.  I can imagine 10-20 years ago the phone companies, billions spent on laying down land lines, were in a panic!  I can hear them screaming, “No one wants our extra features, our Phone Line Insurance, or our Call Waiting!  We’re loosing money. What shall we do?”  

Cell phone companies swooped in with what people didn’t know they wanted: storage on their phones, texting, a camera, video recording, on-line access, all in the palm of their hand …AND people were willing to pay for this!  I AM willing to pay for this.  I have been duped.  

Families across America have cut back on food, clothes and entertainment to make room for ever-higher phone bills. Now, carriers are betting that they can push that bill even higher, The Wall Street Journal reports: But as more people paid up for $200 smartphones and bills that run around $100 a month, the average household’s annual spending on telephone services rose to $1,226 in 2011 from $1,110 in 2007, when Apple Inc.’s iPhone first appeared.

I am a proper “dupee”.  The perfect sheep.  It took my phone carrier a over a year to present me with an upgrade package that I could afford.  I took the bait. I waited impatiently during the two days it took my phone to arrive. When it did I push people aside to get at it! The rest of the world can “suck it” as I thoughtfully enter my settings.  “Oh you are even sexier in person”, I thought to myself, “Your features, your storage capacity… this is the beginning of something wonderful!”


In the morning, stepping out to catch a bus for work, I noticed a copy of the Yellow Pages, dropped off by a carrier a month ago, curled up and unwanted in the door-stoop of a neighbor.  



Why?  Again I ask, “Why?”


The past is painted yellow

WSJ Article Cellphones Are Eating the Family Budget

Lead Belly

Since fall of 2011 I have been the hostess on a local classic blues radio show, “Boosie’s Playhouse Classic Blues” that airs/streams on KMRE 102.3/ kmre.org heard every Saturday night at 10 p.m. PST.  In doing research for the show I come across many interesting stories.  Here is one of my favorites about the classic blues artist, Lead Belly.

Lead Belly was born in 1888 as Huddie Ledbetter. He reached the top of his blues career later in his life during the 1930’s – 1940’s.

Lead, unfortunately, spent much of his early adulthood in a Texas prison for homicide. He got an early release after writing and singing a song for the State Governor. In 1925, he wrote a song asking Governor Pat Neff for a pardon. Neff, who had promised at his election never to pardon a prisoner, broke his promise and set Huddie Ledbetter free.

Lomax and Ledbelly
In 1930 Lead returned to prison, this time for assault with intent to kill. Reputation and talent follow you everywhere, even through prison walls. Good citizen or not his music was desired and according to a folk song collector for the Smithsonian, John A Lomax, needed to be documented. 

In 1934 John and Lead recorded for the Library of Congress the album now titled “Leadbelly’s Last Sessions” Excited for this opportunity Lead let loose! He had a wonderful memory for music and folk stories. He played and sang songs from the Tin Pan Alley, dance tunes, prison work songs, mule-skinner hollers, rag songs and the “Mean-Blues”. This jail bird did SING! Accompanied by his 12-string guitar he sang all of these in his signature roof-ratting high baritone voice.

Lead and Lomax
recording in prison

His style of “Country Blues” or “Folk Blues” made him in a minor celebrity at the time. Lomax arrange (another) early release for Lead. Despite the segregation social pressures at the time these two, a white man from the northeast and a black man from the south, were determined to preserve musical history, together. Lomax and Lead traveled all across the southern states collecting and recording rare and traditional music. Most of the folks they recorded were like Lead, too poor and unsure of how to get a recording contract. Folks who had memorized stories and songs from their friends and family and passed them down verbally. Songs that were distinctly American but most Americans would never of heard one note if it wasn’t for this unusual “power team”: Lomax with the equipment and cash, and Lead with the knowledge and connections.

Lead Belly~ his temper landed him in jail twice, but his music, the music of his people, set him free -twice. His biggest recorded hit “Good Night Irene” raised a revival for Folk Blues and influenced many.

Please visit these sites for more information:

Nothing

Nothing is the best something. If you Google “Nothing” you’ll get something: deals for “nothing”, blogs about “nothing”. Google Image gets you photos about the word “nothing” and there is even a town in Arizona called “Nothing”. Perhaps it was founded by the Noth family?

Nothing is where all things come from really, including ideas and useful inventions, such as the telephone. In the 1870’s commerce and people spread across America’s new territories. Mass communication was needed but the current Morse code system was limited to sending only one message at a time. Alexander Graham Bell figured out that many messages could travel simultaneously along the same wire if the signals differed in pitch. Using the same network of wires already in place for the telegraph his “harmonic telegraph” incorporated a technique that benefits society to this day. Now you could argue that there was a rough system in place that Bell simply made improvements on, but that is not the case. The only common denominator is that both systems are wired based. The telegraph uses Morse code mono tones of dots and dashes; the human voice is more musical in nature and has a wider range of characteristics than code. Bell had to create something from nothing.

AM radio waves crossing the surface of the planet. In Seattle, if conditions are right, you can pick up AM stations from the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

When you were a kid, did you ever sit in front of your old radio tuner trying to find a new station or a familiar song? In the 70’s the AM channels always had the weirdest stuff on them during the night. I would sit crossed legged in front of the massive radio, slowly rotating the large dial, making my way down the frequencies marked on the plate looking for something… anything. In between the stations was dead air, nothing but static. If the weather was right radio waves would bounce over from foreign countries and far away cities. Imagine my joy when I first discovered the Dr Demento Show! Out of the snowy static of nothingness, rising up from the dust of the indistinguishable comes Dr Demento!

*cue dramatic music*
dr demento ault
Promo for the Demento TV show
dr_demento_bath1976-220x222
Dr Demento’s show was on the air nation wide for 40 years!

Barret Eugene “Barry” Hansen, aka: Dr Demento hosted a radio program that was two hours of pure goofiness.  His show aired from 1974-2011. For a kid this program was pure gold!  Demento, a National Radio Hall Of Fame recipient, put together creative people, energy, and ideas on his radio program for 40 years. Congratulations Dr Demento!

Ideas are like that- a station hidden in the static, and all we need to do is sit, wait and get tuned in.

Visit his site, hear his silliness:
http://www.drdemento.com/