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Author Topic: KunstlerCast - The Big Slide Episodes (3)  (Read 5711 times)
Duncan
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« on: January 29, 2010, 10:47:47 PM »

KunstlerCast #97, #98 & #99: Big Slide + Q & A
A Staged Reading

Released: Jan. 29, 2010, Feb. 4, 2010 & Feb. 11, 2010

In this two-part series, we present "Big Slide," an original three-act play by James Howard Kunstler. Set in the autumn of an unspecified near-future year, at an Adirondack "great camp," this is the story of three generations of the Freeman family who have taken refuge from New York and Boston during a severe national political maelstrom. Though we are never fully apprised of the exact nature of this event, it appears that a coup d'etat has occurred in the White House and local militias have risen up all over the nation in response. The estate at Big Slide is isolated from these events, but the electricity has stopped working and, apparently, the law enforcement has, too.

ACT 1
Direct Download:
KunstlerCast_97.mp3
(60 MB | 64 mins.)

ACTS 2 & 3
Direct Download:
KunstlerCast_98.mp3
(53 MB | 57 mins.)

Question & Answer
Direct Download:
KunstlerCast_99.mp3
(23 MB | 21 mins.)




Buy the Big Slide e-Book!

Please purchase a copy of the Big Slide e-Book, which contains the entire 116-page script by James Howard Kunstler.



http://www.kunstler.com/BigSlide
« Last Edit: February 12, 2010, 06:40:13 AM by Duncan » Logged

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dscottjst
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2010, 09:52:47 PM »

I enjoyed "Big Slide" act 1.  I'm waiting to see how Act 2 develops.  Just like in "World Made by Hand" Jim throws in tidbits from our collective past that jogs my memory and gives me a chuckle.  Like the mention of an old Kelvinator Refrigerator in the book, and the Bon Vivant soup botulism story from around 1969 that drove the company out of business.
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« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2010, 06:17:27 PM »

Hey Jim and Duncan

Really enjoyed Act 1 and can't wait to see how it ends.  Here's a marketing thought: now you have sucked people in with Act 1, how about making Acts 2 and 3 pay-to-listen?

Peter
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Duncan
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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2010, 06:46:11 PM »

Hey Jim and Duncan

Really enjoyed Act 1 and can't wait to see how it ends.  Here's a marketing thought: now you have sucked people in with Act 1, how about making Acts 2 and 3 pay-to-listen?

Peter

Thanks Peter!

That's a good marketing strategy and many podcasts follow that format. However, I wouldn't want to leave you podcast listeners hanging like that. Smiley

I also want to bring a larger audience to the actors who performed the reading. They did a great job. The live performance had about 100 - 125 people. But already there have been about 4,000 listens to the podcast and I'm sure there will be a few thousand more by the end of the week. My "payment" to the actors for allowing me to record their performance is you guys -- the listening audience. Pretty cool, eh?

But here's the important point. We're not charging for the podcast. But we are selling the Big Slide e-book for $5, available in PDF, Kindle and Kindle for the iPhone.

When you purchase the Big Slide e-book, you are supporting the KunstlerCast and JHK directly. So please buy the e-book to show your support.

 But this ain't an NPR pledge drive. The Big Slide e-book is something tangible that you receive and it's worth $5. Trust me.

Here's where you buy the Big Slide e-book:

http://www.kunstler.com/BigSlide/
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Duncan
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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2010, 10:32:57 PM »

echo echo echo...

I'm kind of surprised that no one's commenting on this episode. The listener numbers are way up this week so I know people are tuning in.

Is everyone waiting for the conclusion before commenting?

--Duncan
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Paranoia_agent
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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2010, 06:19:52 AM »

Well here's my preliminary quick take on the first installment of Big Slide, Act 1:

Good build up so far. I'm definitely drawn in, and eagerly awaiting the next act. Ive noticed alot of the themes from Jim's books, blogs, and Kunstlercast discussions w/ DC. The characters and their dialogue are clearly representative of most of Jim's main themes and ideas -familiar to those of us who have been reading and listening for a while now. One part that has me pretty confused is the weird step-sibling "affair", I guess you would call it, between Raven and step brother Zack. I cant seem to figure out which message Jim is trying to convey. My best speculation so far is that he is trying to suggest that the loose, post-modern, ill-defined make up and structure of American families is not well suited  to the weathering a serious time of national emergency or other hard times. That's the best I can come up with for now anyways.....

My criticism of the play thus far is that the dialogue is weirdly anachronistic. Why are people in a paly set in the early 21st century all talking as if its 1905? Is this done on purpose by JHK to convey a point or deeper meaning? It really makes no sense at all and distracts the listener from being completely absorbed in the story. I noticed this too in "A World Made by Hand", which was otherwise an excellent novel. I really cant understand why Jim, who is so consistently smart, insightful, and original with a razor-sharp wit and sense of humor, and has such a GIFT for words and phraseology, whether in the written form, or in casual, off the cuff discussions w/ DC on the Kunstlercast, writes such BAD dialogue. Perhaps someone can enlighten me?Huh?? Well, still eagerly awaiting the next act!
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« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2010, 11:20:59 AM »

I'm enjoying the Big Slide very much.  Thank you, Duncan, for recording the reading.  I hear some edits here and there, so I assume there were digressions during the event that probably made editing a bit of a challenge.

It's interesting to see how Kunstler is working in his "Long Emergency" themes into the plot and also to hear his "voice", as we've come to know it via the podcast, coming from his stage creations.

One small suggestion for the play:

I am a baby boomer, so I well understand the discussion and relevance of the Kennedy assassination in the play.  However, I don't think I'm alone in thinking that the 9/11 attacks now loom larger as a "worst day" in America.  The lack of any mention of 9/11 in this context, for me, makes the play sound like it might be taking place in the 90's, rather than the present day.


 
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The St.Paulite
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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2010, 06:19:27 PM »

Big Slide - Act 1 was certainly fine and I didn't have a problem listening to it. It was thoroughly enjoyable.

However, and I do not believe I am an anomaly, I generally do not enjoy listening or readings/radio productions of plays. I prefer to see the production - as it noticeably adds to the experience (once again, in my opinion). I would gladly buy tickets and some for my friends/family if it were to come to my area - but otherwise, a road-trip/flight to Rochester seems out of the range of possibilities.

...
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« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2010, 07:48:55 PM »

I too felt I was listening to the Grapes of Wrath or The Waltons, not something set in the near future.
JHK has a real talent for keen and insightful observation, but it doesn't translate to his fiction.
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Duncan
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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2010, 08:01:43 PM »

I prefer to see the production - as it noticeably adds to the experience (once again, in my opinion).

See those photos at the top of this post? If you look at those while you listen, that's what it was like "seeing" this production. Smiley

It was a staged reading.

JHK really does want to see the play produced as a full production, though. I'd like to see that as well.
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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2010, 06:56:19 PM »

I just wanted to say that I greatly enjoyed the first act of Big Slide. As others have said, Jim's voice, ideas, opinions and humor are all easily identifiable in the words of his characters, and I found it to be a lot of fun to hear it all manifested this way. The actors have done a fantastic job - they have really brought the text to life and easily engaged me as a listener. Perhaps there is legitimacy to the criticism that the dialogue is somewhat anachronistic (however I don't think that you'll find many references to the pejorative "f*ckhead" in the works of Eugene O'Neil or Cllifford Odets).  Similar to the self-professed "elitist" character (forget the name) - Kunstler, I suspect, really does eschew popular culture and this is signaled by a conspicuous absence of familiar, modern vernacular (certainly not the hyper-hip dialogue of say, a cultural omnivore like Tarantino). On a personal level though, I love Jim's choice of words as well as his general take on things  - "you think you're so worldly but you're just smutty" - great stuff!
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Duncan
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2010, 10:09:38 PM »

Updated this board so that all discussion of Big Slide can occur here.
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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2010, 06:21:25 AM »

Well, "Big Slide" certainly was entertaining as well as a cool variation on the Kunstlercast weekly podcast. Thanks to Duncan and Jim for making "Big Slide" free for listeners to download and enjoy.

In review, I found "Big Slide" to be entertaining, especially for us devoted Kunstletites, but sort of disappointing. As interesting a it was to experience Jim's themes and ideas represented in a dramatized form, I could not get past the HOKEYNESS of the dialogue. In the first act, all the members of the Freeman family came off sounding like ante-bellum southern aristocrats from "Gone With the Wind" rather than terrified, disoriented, contemporary northeastern urbanites fleeing to the safety of a family resort in a time of national crisis. By act 2, the dialogue of the Freeman family seemed much more natural and less anachronistic, but upon the arrival of Deputy Farnham and his goon squad, the dialogue went from weirdly anachronistic to down-right hokey and cartoonish. Although Dep Farnham and co were obviously supposed to convey a sense of menace and subdued thuggishness, I almost laughed out loud when one of Farnham's henchmen found "a mess o' oats on the stove". I mean, come on. Break out the banjo already. Jim is from upstate NY and certainly from his writings has a very keen understanding of the people places and things. Im from upstate NY, and although there are an abundance of "woodchucks", to use the pejorative, they are from upstate NY, and not Tennessee, and dont talk like they are from there. For a really authentic feel, "deputy Farnham" and his gang of thugs should have been replaced with a a bunch of guys with oversized basketball jerseys and tattoos of flames on their necks looking to loot the Big Slide lodge of beer, frozen burritos, and Play Station 3 games. That would be a realistic portrayal...... 
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Duncan
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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2010, 07:57:07 AM »

I could not get past the HOKEYNESS of the dialogue. In the first act, all the members of the Freeman family came off sounding like ante-bellum southern aristocrats from "Gone With the Wind" rather than terrified, disoriented, contemporary northeastern urbanites fleeing to the safety of a family resort in a time of national crisis.

Could be, in part, the way the actors chose to read the lines. I've been eating, sleeping and drinking Big Slide for the past three weeks with the editing of the podcast and the proofing/formatting/publishing of the ebook, so I can't even differentiate between reality and Big Slide anymore. Smiley

But I do remember there were a lot of lines that I read differently in my head.

You could buy a copy of the e-book (ahem) and see if the lines read differently. Or you can take a look at the free sample at http://Kunstler.com/BigSlide

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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2010, 08:02:01 AM »

Some cool press coverage of Big Slide:

Where'd Those Books Go? (and does it matter?)
Seven Days, Feb. 04, 2010
http://7d.blogs.com/blurt/2010/02/whered-those-books-go-and-does-it-matter.html

Recognizable Characters in Predictable Circumstances
Club Orlov, Feb. 1, 2010
http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2010/02/recognizable-characters-in-predictable.html

Five Questions: Duncan Crary*
The Record, Feb. 4, 2010
http://www.troyrecord.com/articles/2010/02/04/news/doc4b69cd71910c1647915718.txt

(*Fun little piece in my local newspaper which mentions Big Slide)
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