LIVE at The Sandbox

November 19, 2009: The Sandbox premiered in front of a live audience, featuring appearances by journalist Ken Myers (NPR, Mars Hill Audio Journal), poet Marc Malandra, and singer-songwriter Barrett Johnson.

The program’s theme focused on the important but tenuous place of language in a culture—particularly American culture. Using clips from Ira Glass’ This American Life, Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, and his own first interview with singer-songwriter Johnny Cash, Ken Myers introduced the audience to “the opportunities and potential delights of audio media.” Audio media, perhaps more than any other medium in American discourse, demonstrates a type of measured, honest speech often lacking from contemporary American culture.

Marc Malandra’s poetry evoked his childhood on Catalina. Some published and some yet-unreleased poems included his neo-sestina “Inspired by a Journal That Won’t Accept Submissions About Nicaragua, Whales, or Parts of the Body,” and a poetic “duet” with guest reader Natasha Duquette, “RE: building a Language.”

Barrett Johnson played three unreleased acoustic songs. His plaintive melodies, brittle vocals and folk-inspired picking carried tales of love gained and lost. In pairing the spoken and sung word, the program demonstrated the simple strengths of language to communicate and inspire.

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