Joe Frank created radio that didn't sound like radio. His programs are dark and funny and sad waking dreams that I looked forward to finding on the dial.
Radio great Joe Frank has died. He had a long radio career, including decades at KCRW. Frank’s storytelling influenced many young radio journalists, who had never heard anything quite like him before. This includes ‘This American Life’ host, Ira Glass, who shares what it was like to be a young production assistant for Frank. — Remembering radio legend Joe Frank
Hiram and I found this out on Saturday when we stopped in on our way to the John Waters Christmas show at the Rialto. There were plates of cookies and a big thermos of lemonade. It was around 7:00 I think — practically past our bedtime — which made the eating and drinking all the more delicious.
I remembered all the hours I spent at the store when I was in high school and decided to re-read something I would have been reading then, but there was no Richard Brautigan or Kurt Vonnegut available. We've been reading Oliver Sacks's autobiography, On The Move, and in it he's mentioned plenty of authors I've never read but have this idea I should — W.H. Auden, for example. I asked the owner for a recommendation of something by Auden and she said she'd never read him either, so I know I'm in good company. I bought a hardback of his collected works printed the year I was born a couple years before the Book Stop opened.
Happy Anniversary, Book Stop. We have always been close, but I didn't realize we were contemporaries.
If I played banjo, I could write and perform a song called The Bees Outside My Bedroom Window. In it I would sing about grandma's biscuits, which I eat hot from the oven with butter and honey from the bees outside my bedroom window.
On my way home from work last night I bought some of that new bread I am embarrassed about liking at the Co-Op on Fourth Avenue. The bread has about two dozen different grains and seeds in it, is a bit sweet, and the bag has a caricature of the long-haired, moustached company founder — who looks like he could be an ex-convict — playing guitar with his big muscles.
I think about how exciting this bag of bread would have been to me when I was experiencing puberty. Perhaps I would have made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with it to eat while watching Midnight Express.
It turns out the founder is an ex-convict who got out of prison, perfected his bread recipe, and began speaking motivationally. Afterward, he could buy all the guitars he wanted and cars to drive them around in.
What's my point? Oh, right. Since Tiny Town Gallery is a couple doors down from the Co-Op and I'd read on the internet that Issue 2 of the Tiny Town Times, the risograph quarterly the gallery publishes with Tanline Printing, is available — Hurrah! — I stopped in and picked up a copy, which is free. Full disclosure: I say so not because I know it's free, but only because they didn't try to stop me when I walked out of the store without paying for it.
We're in Mexico City, in the notorious Roma neighborhood, trying not very hard to not stand out while trying not to look like we're trying too hard to fit in. You know how it goes.
It's even gayer here than we thought it would be so if we come back, next time we'll be sure to do lots of push ups first so our chests will be ready and perhaps we'll also work on a time machine so our skin looks younger.
But we won't go for protein shakes and cigarettes after the gym. Which seems to be a popular workout routine here.
Some good news is that for the first time in my travels in another country I seem to have worn shoes that nobody looks down on. I have been wearing Converse sneakers for years, but this visit lots of other grown men are wearing them too, so nobody cares. I'm invisible.
While we're at dinner eating one of my favorite Mexican foods — Argentinian food — a fashionably dressed man in a geometrically patterned black-and-white shirt who seems to have 1985 on a speed dial app he keeps checking sits down at the table next to ours, blocking Hiram's view of another man wearing a sweater on his shoulders. Hiram confides he's always thought the sweater tied around the shoulders is a silly look, but when seated at the dinner table? And when it's 76 degrees out? It's really upsetting him. I have long known about the Mexico City Brideshead Revisted cosplay enthusiasts, but the strong feeling it provokes in Hiram is something I have never known about him.
Lots of things can bubble to the surface when couples travel together. It's healthy, you know?
Anyhow, we want to thank the man from 1985 for helping us enjoy our dinner with his line of sight prophylaxis but suddenly it dawns on us: What if he is Information Society and just wants some privacy? If so, we should probably respect that.
So we do.
What did they play in dentists' offices before Saint Elmo's Fire?
How effortlessly we forget the Spanish word for unflappable.