In 1980s Los Angeles, Skid Row was known for two things: the homeless and avant garde theater. Clyde Casey was a struggling street performer who often slept in parking lots behind the fledgling theaters. When a security guard failed to show up for work one night, Casey agreed to watch theater-goers’ cars under one condition: he could stay in character. Thus was born “The Avant Guardian,” a surreal crimefighter that policed the area using music instruments and a utility belt full of toys. David Weinberg tracked Casey down decades later to discuss his unique brand of peace keeping.
The Symphony of Sirens by Charles Maynes
Every city is filled with its own unique sounds, but can you compose an orchestra from them? In 1923, Soviet composer Arseny Avraamov gave it his best shot with “Symphony of Sirens.” He attempted to conduct Moscow’s everyday sounds while perched on a rooftop overlooking the city. No recordings exist, but producer Charles Maynes imagines what Avraamov may have heard and explores how the city sounds now.
Finding Music In The Sounds of Antarcticafrom KALW
The frozen expanse of Antarctica might seem like a quiet place, but composer Cheryl Leonard can tell you it’s anything but. In 2009, Leonard traveled to Antarctica to capture the sounds of the icy continent. She has since made music from the sounds of cracking glaciers, and even fashioned original instruments from penguin bones. In this piece, KALW’s Martina Castro interviews Leonard about her subzero composing experience.