Tag Archives: Not In My Backyard

Scott Knowles: Interview

24 Hrs. New Orleans map from Good Magazine.

24 Hrs. New Orleans map from Good Magazine.

A 24-hour walk.

Along with Scott Knowles, two guys named Kurt Braunohler and Calvin Johnson have created a series of psychogeography projects called 24 Hrs., of which I am a huge fan.

I read THIS article in Good Magazine (a wonderful mag you should check out).

In short, these guys take a group of 30-40 people and they walk around the city (New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans, etc.) for 24 hours, mimicking a 24-hour road trip, visiting unique businesses, cultural hot-spots, eating, drinking, performing tasks (cleaning a cemetery for an hour) until they are tired, disoriented, and experiencing their city in a mindset and time that they are unaccustomed to.

Since then, I have been having meetings about hosting a walk like this in Windsor. I want to make it a little different though. I want it specifically to be an orientation or re-introduction to our fine city of Windsor. I want it to run from 8am until midnight instead of being 24 hours.

The idea struck me so fascinating that I decided to find one of the organizers and interview them for Not In My Backyard, the new radio show on CJAM.

Scott Knowles, a professor of Urban History at Drexel University in Philadelphia, was an incredible person to talk to, and I felt a kinship to a man who has an explorer within him that has successfully reached the surface in the form of many psychogeographical projects like 24Hrs.

Before and after the recording, we spoke a little longer about the area of Windsor/Detroit and how I hoped his group would come and offer a walk in the Detroit area. Scott encouraged my participation in having a walk of my own, which was a fairly uplifting suggestion.

We discussed liability, which was a concern for the walk, and he offered his experience as an example. He tells his groups what’s a stake with their physical health, but he does not require a waiver to be signed. Why? Well, he feels similar to me on this, as the legality that people jump to when they are simply going on a friendly, organized walk is part of what ruins events just like this. It’s a sad commentary on society as a whole when the first thing you have to consider on a walk that will find you immersed on a ground level to your dwelling is liability waivers.

We talked about his other projects, including disorienting groups of blindfolded people by dropping them off in the middle of an urban centre, in the middle of a park or parking lot, and asking them to find their way back, as a group, to a particular spot. It is mostly a unnerving time when they first remove the blindfolds and try to figure out where they are. Secondly, it is a challenge to envision the city and the easiest route to the final spot. It’s a wonderfully fun idea I also plan on borrowing after the Big Walk.

Another event involved people keeping track, on paper, of every single minute that passed (in a given time frame of an hour or two) while walking through the city. It was an experiment and observation of the passage of time. The amount of things that occur in a given minute that we don’t bother consciously recognizing because of our haze of hurry we immerse ourselves within.

The last event he told me about was equally incredible. Artists, urban planners, etc. go to a venue (restaurant, coffee shop, McDonald’s, whatever) with tons of drafting paper and pens and markers. Then they decide, individually or in groups, what SHOULD be in the place of the building they are sitting in. They tape up the designs and ideas on the front of the building and debate the worthiness of their designs/arguments. It’s a beautiful concept because it’s an imagining. It allows those capable of envisioning better, to dream. It encourages wild-eyed hope and appreciation for a city, a surrounding that we want.

Talking with him was as uplifting an experience that an interview can be because of the clarity of his intentions and penchant for the less ordinary.

My interview with Mr. Knowles will run on October 7th at noon.

As it stands, with some unexpected and expected obstacles, the Big Walk will happen on Saturday, November 8th. I am only taking 25 people on this walk, and it will be first-come, first-serve. Interested? E-mail me at phoglounge@gmail.com

New Radio Show on CJAM: Not In My Backyard

I’m always running my mouth. In one of my bouts of loose-lippedness I disclosed to someone that I had th desire to do another talk radio show on CJAM.

Reading articles about the world, technology, etc., can be a little insular. It’s a LOT insular actually, because I don’t really get to discuss theĀ  topics I read. I know there are people out there who would love to get into the topics, but most of the time, they’re too heavy to discuss at work…a downer.

So I thought I’d do a show and invite calls, feedback.

As I ran my mouth one night about this desire to do a show, in front of one L. Adam Fox, he replied, ” I was ust going to fill out a program request form for a show like that…wanna do the show together?”

Well geez.

Adam is FAR more experienced with radio, and is kind of “in charge” of stuff with regards to CJAM 91.5 FM here in Windsor/Detroit. To do a show with him would be a great learning experience for me, and it would be done correctly. He told me his idea for his show. It was clearer, smarter, and better than my original vision. We would cover local stories regarding culture, arts, music, whatever…and report it professionally, while also being ourselves. Cutting loose a little bit here and there.

The first show arrived in a flash. The first thirty-minute episode of Not In My Backyard (Adam’s idea for a name that I liked immediately) was a bit clunky, but aimed toward a place I am happy heading toward. Adam interviewed the people responsible for the (now) successful Fahrenheit Fire Festival. My story was a post-event look at the FAM Festival with the creator, Murad Erzinclioglu. FAM Fest found scores of bands, artists and film-makers and organized them on display at several venues in downtown Windsor.

The second episode of the show was much cleaner, and smooth, and I am far more confident in having you hear THAT one. In that show, I interviewed Tony Gray, a local artist who has become a syndicated cartoonist with not one comic, but TWO! Yeah, he sits next to Garfield and strips of the like. Adam spoke with local music marvel Johnny West. Awesome interview. Especially because no one really knows ANYTHING about this guy who has been impressing people with his music for years almost anonymously

If you live in Windsor or Detroit and you want to hear our show when it airs, it is on every Tuesday at noon. If you would rather live stream it or listen to archived versions of the show, you can do so at cjam.ca by finding the archives, clicking on the Tuesday you want to hear, and selecting the 12:00pm start time.

In parting, I want to give you a heads-up that this awesome community radio station is having its annual pledge drive in a couple of weeks, and I invite you to contribute to see that the station makes it’s goal of $25,000. The programming is top-notch whether we’re talking about spoken word or music programming. It is a station that represents a lot of what’s great about radio, commercial-free radio. That’s a beautiful group of words, commercial-free radio. If it’s something you believe in, like I do, you can contribute with Pay Pal on the CJAM site, or you can call in and pledge during the drive.

It’s a station I believe in, and am genuinely proud of, and I think it is a treasure that needs to be nurtured.

More about that in a later post.