There were a lot of firsts this week… This was the first time that we invited random passers-by into the AM 1700 studio to talk. This was the first time that we had a guest text in to say that he wouldn’t be able to join us. And this, to my knowledge, was the first time that a member of The Saturday Six Pack staff has had his life threatened in earnest. And, while I’ve yet to listen to the entire show, I think it could be my favorite so far. There was a lot of serendipity… a lot of lovely, unexpected twists and turns.
Here, for instance, is Lorenzo… a young man known to cruise around Ypsi late at night on his bike, offering rides to people in the child carrier he often pulls behind him. He dropped by the studio to have his photo taken by our first guest, photographer Nick Azzaro, and, afterward, we chatted a bit about why he does what he does. Here he is outside the studio last night with his bike. [If you’d like to fast forward through the podcast to get to my conversation with Lorenzo, it happens at about 1:30.]
It’s kind of beautiful what can unfold when you open your door and welcome people in… unless, of course, one of those people threatens your life. But we’ll get back to that later.
If you’d like to listen for yourself, you can hear this episode on Soundcloud or iTunes. Or, if you scroll to the end of this post, you’ll find it embedded… Here, though, for those of you who would rather not listen, are my rough notes.
We started the show off with a new intro created by local musician Jim Cherewick. It has a very submersive quality to it. If you listen, I think you’ll see what I mean. It’s a lovely, incomprehensible jumble of audio sourced from previous episodes of The Saturday Six Pack, kind of layered at different speeds. When I listen to it, I get the sense that I’m being held beneath a babbling brook, but not in a violent way. Or, to put it a different way, if the show were water, this is what it would feel like to drown in it. [If you’re a musician, and you have an idea for an opening theme, let me know. I like the idea of having a lot to rotate through, kind of the same way we do with headers on this site.]
D’Real Graham requested that he be allowed to purchase this week’s six pack. And, since it was his birthday, I said we’d allow it. He chose Shorts Brewery’s Good Humans. And, at 6:00, we started the show by opening a few, and chatting for a while about the birthday dance party he had planned for later that evening at his apartment, the after-school tutoring program that he manages for 826michigan, and the possibility of getting local kids involved producing segments for The Saturday Six Pack… One of my favorite moments this week, by the way, happened during the segment with D’Real, when thanked me for giving him a beer which he’d himself purchased… Here he is thanking me.
Speaking of beer sponsorship, if there’s anyone else out there who would like to supply the six pack that fuels the show, here’s what I’m thinking… In exchange for a six pack of cold, drinkable beer, you would have an opportunity to address the AM 1700 audience for 30 uninterrupted seconds. And, during that time, you could say whatever you liked. If you’d like to complain, as others have, that every guest of The Saturday Six Pack is either my toadie or sycophant, here’s your chance to tell me so to my face. And it’ll only cost you the price of a cold six pack.
Speaking of toadies and sycophants, I asked D’Real which he was. He responded, “Both.”
Oh, and, speaking of D’Real, one of my only regrets about this episode is that I didn’t follow through with my threat to call his condo later in the evening to hear how his party was going. (A hologram of 50 Cent was scheduled to perform at 8:00, and I would have loved to have heard it.)
After my short chat with D’Real, Nick Azzaro took the chair opposite me, and we talked about his recent decision, along with his partner, Yen Azzaro, to relocate their art, design and photography studio from Chicago to Ypsilanti a little over three months ago. Here’s Nick at the beginning of the show, before he went outside barefoot, into the snow, to take photos of people walking past the studio. (Apparently, the AM 1700 toilet overflowed on his feet, leaving him with no choice but to discard his shoes and socks.)
Nick and I talked about his work teaching photography in the Ypsi public schools, the “free headshot” social events he and Yen had hosted in their studio, their upcoming plans for art shows and panel discussions in their South Washington Street space, and how much easier it is to make things happen in Ypsilanti than in Chicago.
At some point Yen called in to ask how much Nick had been drinking. (She was at home, celebrating their son’s second birthday, while he was on the air with me, drinking beers, telling us about his favorite bar in Chicago, and running around outside barefoot with his camera.)
Among other things, Nick and I discussed the old Elbow Room, at which point I related a story I’d heard secondhand about a man observed in the bathroom of the bar one night vomiting into the sink, and then using his hands to ladle said vomit out, and back into his mouth. A few minutes later, the phone rang. It was former Ann Arbor realtor Newcombe Clark calling in from Chicago to say that he’d heard the same story, and thought it likely that drugs and alcohol may have been involved. [You’ll find this conversation near the 30-minute mark, just shortly after D’Real grabbed the mic and told all of the children in the listening audience to go to bed.]
And then we began pulling people in off the street to have their photos taken by Nick. For the most part, it went well. We talked with Lorenzo, who I mentioned at the top of the post, about his mythical late night bike rides. We met a few women who were out looking for adventure after just having purchased a new belly button ring down the street. And we chatted with a fellow who asked that we not share his photo with the police… And then there was the guy who, I’m pretty sure, threatened to kill both Nick and D’Real. [Listen for yourself at 1:07.]
Then, at the 51-minute mark, we listened to Pete Larson’s most recent song, recorded that very morning in Kenya, where he studies the transmission of livestock viruses when not writing music for The Saturday Six Pack.
And, at the 58-mintue mark, Brigid Mooney called in to continue our discussion from last week about her “classy” vagina, among other things. (We asked her to come in and have photos taken to document her current state of classiness. She declined.)
Sadly, at 1:23 we discovered that our next guest, David Klingenberger from The Brinery, wouldn’t be coming after all. (He sent me a text.) I worry that perhaps he heard either Brigid’s call about her vagina, or the tense exchange outside the studio, and decided to turn his car around and head back to Ann Arbor. He tells me, however, that it was a family emergency, and says he’d like to come in some other time to talk about fermentation, preservation, and the awesomeness of gut bacteria. We’ll see.
Thankfully, we were creative and filled the empty space nicely, with things like the hastily-constructed “Wallet Talk with Kristen J. Cuhran” segment, which I’m hoping can become a regular feature. [Listen at 1:12.]
The episode was not without its disappointments, though. Most notably, the the guy who calls in several times each show to play songs by “The Who,” didn’t even call once. (I’m worried about him.) I also wish that we’d talked more than just a few minutes about Lorenzo Lamas… Live and learn.
Lastly, I’d like to thank Cre Fuller for stepping in and helping me to finish our last beers and wind the show down, while talking about the possibility of other food-related segments.
LISTEN TO EPISODE SIX:
[note: The very first and last photos were taken by Nick Azzaro. All of the others are by Kate de Fuccio.]