Write to the Point!

A Neighborhood Studios Program at the Mark Twain House

Archive for the tag “Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts”

Apprentices Get Behind the Mic

Ashaya at WNPR

Ashaya Nelson

Writing Apprentice

Twain Studios

Sit down at the table, adjust the microphone, breathe in and out, and read your script.

The first time we went to WNPR we just were on the set of a radio show. Seeing the last-minute preparations was interesting. Everyone came into the studio about three minutes before the show went on the air.

The host, Colin McEnroe, and three others had fun while working. They spoke about binge watching that has become popular.

But on our second visit to the station, we were able to see what it’s like to be behind the microphone. The other apprentices and I each recorded a piece of our own work inside a studio.

Opening the heavy, soundproof door, I was anxious and a little nervous when it was my turn to record my work about the strong librarian, Josh Hanagarne.

It’s not as easy as it may look. We helped to encourage each other.

Hearing my voice was weird. A lot of us didn’t like hearing our voices.

It took me multiple times to get it right. I had to make sure I wasn’t talking fast, that my voice was projected and I was speaking with expression.

After Senior Producer Catie Talarski edited our recording, we helped each other choose what music would sound good with it. We selected from a variety of music on the studio computer.

I decided that I wanted a song that was a little upbeat.

Recording was one of my favorite things we did this summer. It was a new and good experience going to WNPR.

Rae at WNPR2.

Rae Martin

Lina at WNPR

Lina Allam

Molly at WNPR

Molly Miller

Meaghan at WNPR

Meaghan Szilagyi

Ambriel at WNPR

Ambriel Johnson

June at WNPR

June Tran

Stephen King is the Real Deal

By Alan Burkholder

Writing Apprentice

Twain Studios

When most people go to see celebrities in person, they feel like they are meeting people of very high attitude and self-image. They’re afraid to ask questions, they’re afraid to look at them and they’re afraid to even approach them. Such fears are often irrational, and on most occasions it turns out to be completely untrue.

When I went to see an interview with author Stephen King at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, I expected a lot of what he would refer to as “bullshit.” I expected a grumpy, uptight old man who was full of himself. What I got was a guy who seemed fun to be around.

Stephen King, Patti PYou would think that a man who has trouble remembering his childhood, who has written some of the darkest works in modern American literature, and who also got hit by a van in the winter of 1999 would be a little bit sour at this point, but the first thing that struck me about the interview was the fact that while the questioner, Colin McEnroe, walked on stage in dress pants and a smoking jacket, while Stephen himself walked on stage wearing a polo shirt and a pair of blue jeans. No uptight celebrity that I know of wears jeans for an interview.

Incredibly calm and casual throughout the interview, Stephen never bothered censoring his language, as anyone in the audience could tell you. He seemed like he was just having an ordinary conversation, and made the whole ordeal seem more like a stand-up comedy than a proper interview.

Stephen talked a lot about his works, his music – I was surprised that he was a guitarist – and also a couple of the films based on his work. He noted that some of his favorite adaptations were Stand By MeThe Shawshank Redemption, and The Green Mile, which are all really good movies with wonderful actors.

At this point, I realized that Stephen was just a regular guy. Sure, he is famous and successful, but in all honesty, I don’t think that mattered to him.

I haven’t read a lot of Stephen’s work, but based on what he said and how he acted, I’d like to check out a couple of his stories sometime. After all, if he understands how people work, and how to keep a reader engaged and interested, he must have some idea of how to write a good story.

I think I’ll start with something less horror-oriented, though, because I don’t want Stephen’s work to be the source of my nightmares for a week and a half.

You may have noticed I keep referring to King by his first name, Stephen. The reason for this is because I think King is an extremely royal name for a man who makes a living writing about killer clowns and children who, for some reason, all have ESP.

You could argue that Stephen is a king: the king of modern horror. To that, however, I’d just half-close my eyes and applaud slowly for your half-baked joke. Stephen may or may not be a king, but if he is, he’s the humblest king in history.

Stephen King, Rock Star Writer

Stephen King, handshake, Rae, Patti P

Writing Apprentice Rae Martin shakes hands with author Stephen King at the Mark Twain House & Museum while Apprentices Molly Miller and June Tran look on.

By Rae Martin

Writing Apprentice

Twain Studios

The thoroughly publicized Stephen King – Colin McEnroe interview at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday succeeded in packing the house and raising lots of money for the Mark Twain House & Museum.

Everyone shuffled to their seats; some dressed to the nines, others, not quite.

The place itself was well designed, as many old buildings tend to be. Priceless architecture, beautiful ceilings, 1930s styled seating, and an atmosphere completed by a prestigious place across the plaza from the state Capitol.

McEnroe finally came on stage after Gregory Boyko, chairman of the Twain House board of trustees, ended his placid prologue full of classic Twain quotes such as, “My works are like water. The works of the great masters are like wine. But everyone drinks water.”

Following McEnroe came the big man himself, Stephen King. They both sat and began to talk. And talk. And talk. His personality, a bit like that of a rock star, and the mythos of King and his works kept the crowd enthralled.

The most intriguing thing wasn’t so much what King said – though he was often funny – was just how fretfully normal he seemed. Put his fame aside and you get a roughly average Joe.

Unfortunately, this seems to be the reality of most “celebrities,” and discovering this hard truth nearly detracted from the experience. Nearly, but not quite, as a story still came from the evening and from a later, personal encounter with him.

“Personal encounter” is actually a major over-exageration. As King exited his Friday morning tour of the Twain House, my workshop group and I stood in his way, fawning over his performance from the night. If we hadn’t, he would have been able to circumvent us entirely.

Truth be told, I was a bit anxious about pestering the man for an autograph – keep in mind that was my main goal – but he seemed to find the group’s attention cute enough to come over, shake our hands, say hi and take a few pictures. He must be very used to these things by now, but he was very courteous about all of it.

I’d just opened my mouth to ask for a signature when King said, “I gotta jet.”

It was a simple sentence to represent the underwhelming nature of it all. Of course the kids were thrilled, more for his celebrity than anything else in that exchange.

As much as I would hope to be successful in my craft, the type of instant recognition King gets is detrimental to the nature of most writers. We are to act as observers and highlighters of the world around us. In any case, I wish King the best of luck in the future. He’s reached a cultural level I probably never will.

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