Comments by Amy O'Leary

Comment for "What Cheer Brigade? Plays Recess (narrated)"

Review of What Cheer Brigade? Plays Recess (narrated)

It's great to hear little kids go nuts like this about a big, loud, band. The kids were pretty hyper, and a lot of their tape is a little peaky, but fun. I would have liked a little more narration to help understand the scene visually. It would have been nice to hear from the guy in the monkey costume who was afraid of the mob of kids as well. Overall a sweet little piece that channels the enthusiasm of kids really well.

Comment for "Agnostics at Christmas"

Review of Agnostics at Christmas

Yeah, I've never heard from Agnostics at Christmastime. You don't hear about them generally. And why not? Something that most mainstream news organizations wouldn't touch in a million years.

Comment for "Brooklyn Christmas Tree"

Review of Brooklyn Christmas Tree

The first tease of tape, was a little hard to understand. I liked the background sounds of traffic and car alarms. The tree seller was warm, and likable, and the end punchline was really great.

The Louis Armstrong song was neat at first, and then a little distracting, especially once the tree seller started talking about travelling around the world. You felt like he was in a different place, and you wanted the music to either end, or change, to reflect the transition in topic.

I wanted a little more from him though! It's a nice short piece, but I wanted to fill out the Christmas-tree selling part of his job first, before we get to the Buddhism stuff. I thought it could have easily been a nice 4-6 minute little feature.

Fun & Seasonal!

Comment for "A Clandestine Recording of My Parents at New Year's"

Review of A Clandestine Recording of My Parents at New Year's

I love Laura's tone as she introduces the piece and counts down the minutes towards New Years. It's so conspiritorial. It's very, very timely, of course, but you totally feel like you're her kid sister, up past your bedtime, sitting on the stairs, eavesdropping on the parents.

The piece is very simple, but the suspense is palpable. Once the moment arrives, the sad, unending honking of the adults in the room and their tepid greetings of "happy new year" seem so sad. Like a bunch of lost and lonely geese.

But Laura sounds gutsy and I wanted to hear a little more from her.

Comment for "The Ring and I: The Passion, The Myth, The Mania"

Review of The Ring and I: The Passion, The Myth, The Mania

The ideas in the work (and this piece) are so many, and so varied, that they do that job for you. In perhaps in the strongest testament to Wagner's musical genius (or the piece's editing?), the ideas are held tightly together by the promise of the music itself, deftly interwoven through key musical passages. The disparate interviews (talking about Food, Jung, Zeppelin, Incest, Answering Machine Messages) and music work together to give a resounding, if impossible to summarize, answer to that nagging question radio listeners everywhere must ask about a piece: "so what?"

A fast overview of the Ring at the beginning might have been nice -- but probably also impossible. This thing is too big to digest in any less time. And the ending is exactly right. Well worth the hour.

Comment for "Wt Wd Jss Do?"

Review of Wt Wd Jss Do?

The piece is short, quick, and amusing. Ian's speedy verbal interpretations of text-messaging are performed with aplomb, providing ample payoff to this essay.

Comment for "The Valentine 1955"

A pivotal moment, a sudden ending.

The Valentine, 1955 leads up to a perfect pivotal moment between two children as race and culture drive a wedge between them. It is a great moment, an important moment to understand, but then the piece just drops us there. I would have liked a little more time just to digest what had happened. If this was played on the radio, I can't imagine what you would say to follow up to those last words.

Comment for " The Rise and Fall of Third Parties"

Review of The Rise and Fall of Third Parties

Tight. Succinctly addresses the spectrum of issues involved with third-party politics. I think it would work just fine anywhere outside Minnesota - the state is a good choice for geographical focus on the issue given the continued impact of third parties in state politics there.

Comment for "How to Sing the Star-Spangled Banner"

Review of How to Sing the Star-Spangled Banner

Who knew that trick about hitting the high note? Short, but a pleasant and surprising little break from the norm.

Comment for "The Pol Walk"

Review of The Pol Walk

"The Pol Walk" is a delightful and refreshing reminder of someting we too often forget about democracy: that it's supposed to involve regular people. The rhythm of the piece serves its message well, and the sound behind it places the listener firmly on the door-knocking trail with the candidate. Would be a wonderful break from traditional campaign coverage.

Comment for "People Don't Have Anything to Say"

Review of People Don't Have Anything to Say

Somebody had to say it, and it's said clearly here. I can't decide if I like this or not, which to me is a sign of clear originality. There would have been a bigger payoff for me if at somepoint there was a line about why people don't have anything to say, but perhaps it would defeat the purpose.