Improve your Improv: Attend Columbus Unscripted October 8-11

barbaraAllen

Barbara Allen

 

DebbyPhillips

Debby Phillips

It’s Columbus’ third annual improv comedy festival, the Columbus Unscripted Improv Festival 2014. Hosted by Columbus Unscripted, the festival will include professional-level improvisational workshops as well as performances by over 15 local improv troupes and nationally acclaimed improvisers, Jamie Campbell, The Stevens Family and Hitch*Cocktails from the Annoyance Theatre Chicago.

Listen to my talk with  Columbus Unscripted performers Barbara Allen and Debbie Phillips and find out about the festival and what kind of secret addiction Debby has developed (hint: it’s related to improv).

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October 10 – Ohio Art League’s One Night

Amy Tillinghast

Got an itch to buy some new art to go with your collection, but you’re not a Wexner? Make plans to attend One Night,  the main  fundraiser event for the Ohio Art League. One Night will happen on Friday, October 10, and you can learn more about it by listening to my talk with Ohio Art League board member Amy Tillinghast, or watching our YouTube video, which features many great images courtesy of the Ohio Art League.

First three people to comment below will receive free tickets to One Night!

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Cynthia Rosi on the Paranormal

Cynthia Rosi

Recently, I sat down with Cynthia Rosi and talked to her about being a spiritual cleanser as part of the Craft Halloween special. You can catch the special on midnight of October 31 or 3 pm on November 1 on the mighty WCBE, 90.5 FM, central Ohio’s NPR station.

She trained as a spiritual healer and has done space clearing to seal a room with light to promote spirits moving to other realms. Her book, The Light Catcher, will be released in October.

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Catch a Code

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Brad Henry is a doctoral student at the Ohio State University, working with technology, as well as Director of Technology for eStudent Learning. We sat down to talk about computer programming, technology, and his project with Code.org that encourages students to work with code.

Interested in code? Work in a central Ohio school system? Contact Brad to learn more about his project.

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Polonius: Sword Storage

growth-stasis

On my drive into work this morning, I was listening to the amazing Vienna Teng song “Goodnight, New York,” which has these lines:

I’ll see you all on the other side
After I am a different man with different eyes

It got me thinking about the difference between stasis and motion. Are we living out Bill’s “To thine own self be true” or are we always becoming something else?

I can see it either way. Even though the lines are spoken by Polonius, a character whose best use is as sword storage, there’s value to the idea of maintaining your core values, your true inner self. This is the cry of idealistic youth watching their heroes sell out. You hear it behind every use of a punk song to sell beer or cars, after every art masterpiece licensed to hawk shoes. Most ironically, it’s heard when certain businesses proclaim that they “stick to their core principles,” since these principles might seem to be simply “stick it to the customer.” (Hello? Time Warner?)

As I get older (I’ve mentioned that I’m 23 now?), I’m increasingly persuaded by the idea that we’re always becoming, always intaking new data and comparing it against existing structures to see what impact it has on our perceptions. As columnist Sydney J Harris said, “Being yourself is not remaining what you were, or being satisfied with what you are. It is the point of departure.”

Finding points of departure was one of the reasons that I started this blog and the radio show. Although I’d interviewed artists and writers for years, Craft represented a break with certain kinds of interviews and the welcoming of others. No more interviews with people who didn’t want to be interviewed. (One of my worst interviews was with an academic who confessed to being terrified of being interviewed and who showed no apparent interest in her area of study. Awesome.) No more interviews with people who didn’t engage creativity.

This last sentence may seem harsh, but it’s perhaps softened by the realization that I know I can fall into the uncreative category. Every time I end the show with the admonition, “Be creative,” I feel a little like Polonius. How can I not have something more creative to say?

When I said something like that to an artist friend, she responded with “YOU CAN BE ARTISTIC. DON’T RUN FROM IT.” (You know how those creative types like to use all caps.) Maybe it’s time I buy a beret?

So where are you? In your life are you becoming something or are you already there? Are you in process or completed? First person to comment gets 5 books from the Craft library.

Still here? Don’t forget to send me your ideas for the Halloween show

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Lee Child and Doug Dangler: This Time, It’s Personal

Several years ago, when Lee Child was in town with the Thurber House, I was scheduled to interview him. Unfortunately, I had to go out of town unexpectedly and missed him. Fortunately, I was able to catch up with him recently and talk to him about writing the Jack Reacher novels (including the most recent, 19th novel, Personal), working under deadlines, and how a potential supermarket job gave Jack Reacher his name.

 

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How to kill someone in a hospital

parsons

Surgeon Kelly Parsons wrote Doing Harm in the off hours over the past 8 years to give an insider’s look at how murders are secretly committed in hospitals.

Perhaps I should label the above [satire] like Facebook is apparently doing just to make sure that it’s clear Dr. Parsons has written a fiction novel.

We talked about his novel, how he developed the plot, and what group -a surprise to me- seemed to offer him support in his writing.

Be the first person to comment below and win a copy of Doing Harm (must be picked up at WCBE, 540 Jack Gibbs Blvd, Columbus, Ohio).

 

 

 

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Mindy McGinnis makes you want to drink deeply

Thirsty for a great interview? Mindy McGinnis, a young adult librarian, author, and active blogger, is a must-meet individual whose talent and comical personality make for one refreshing conversation.

In her two post-apocalyptic novels, Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, the world is faced with a shortage of water and owning it means killing to survive.

The Craft summer intern, Kayla, met with McGinnis at the 2014 Ohioana Book Festival to discuss what exactly makes water the blue gold of the world and where exactly that leaves makeup and UGG boots when fresh water is no longer in large supply. On her video blogs, McGinnis coaches her fans on how to dress for survival, telling girls that the closer they look like to guys, the better.

During her interview with Craft, McGinnis reveals who inspired her video blogs where, in some cases, she is seen feeding her book a bottle, and then a kitten,  and listing all the taboo topics (including rock and roll) that may or may not be in her novel. Her sense of humor leaves many of her fans baffled. To this McGinnis responds, “When I do panels and people watch my vlogs, they’re like, ‘You’re so funny, your Twitter feed is so funny, your blog is so funny, and your book is not funny.’ No, my book is not funny. My book is not funny, and it’s not meant to be funny.”

McGinnis hopes that one day, she gets around to publishing more of the pieces that reflect her humor, but fans can look forward to her gothic historical novel coming out in 2015.

You can check out her video blogs on writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com, and you can listen to the full Craft interview.

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What scares you?

Halloween 2014

The 2014 Craft Halloween radio special will feature stories from listeners. What are your favorite scary stories? Maybe Edgar Allen Poe, maybe Christina Rossetti?

Here’s a YouTube video to get you into the proper mood.

In the comment below, let me know how to contact you and a little about your story: maybe it’s a time you got scared at Ohio State University. Maybe it’s a time you were scared in your own home. Or maybe it’s the most frightening of all: watching city or state government in downtown Columbus! (shiver)

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Veronica Roth’s Divergent View of Grad School

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 7.06.45 AMAmazonVeronicaRothVeronica Roth seems like one of the nicest authors I’ve talked to in a while and her Divergent series has racked up huge sales. But we did have different views on one important aspect of our shared experiences. Listen in to find out where Veronica’s sunny disposition ran into my more sober one.

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