Radio documentary, podcast and poli-sci punk.
East Van Calling: Nalo Hopkinson
Sci-fi / Afrofuturist writer Nalo Hopkinson says for people of colour living with brutal police violence, unemployment and crumbling infrastructure: ”it’s not the apocalypse, its just Tuesday”
"What happens to disabled people in the brave new world?" Nalo Hopkinson asks. "A lot of science fiction is guilty of trying to cure us. More and more of us are standing up and saying, 'we're not sick. The world is. Fix the world, but don't necessarily fix us.'”
Nalo was born in Jamaica and has also lived in Trinidad, Guyana and for the past 35 years in Canada. Nalo is currently a professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside.
She’s written six novels, including Brown Girl in the Ring; a short story collection and a chapbook called Report from Planet Midnight.
I spoke to her about diversity in science fiction and why Hollywood’s dystopias resonate so much with our present. Maybe for some, the end is already upon us.
Thanks to KUCR at University of California, Riverside and CBC Vancouver for making studio time available.
Thanks also to Lisa Hale for producing and to Jacob Dryden for the score.
Part of this interview appears in our CBC Radio One Ideas documentary “the Coming Zombie Apocalypse.”
Listen to the whole program at cbc.ca/ideas.
The East Van Calling podcast is on iTunes. Please subscribe, review and share.
East Van Calling: The Walking Dead-Zombies & Colonization
What does TV's The Walking Dead reveal about the colonization of Indigenous peoples? Native American studies scholar Dr. Cutcha Risling Baldy sees many connections. For her people, the Hupa, Yurok, and Karok tribes of Northern California, the apocalypse began centuries ago.
Dr. Risling Blady watches the popular TV show the Walking Dead. But she’s thinking, teaching and writing about parallels to colonization.
I spoke to Cutcha about survival, resistance and Indigenous experience of the end of the world. She explains colonization through the lens of popular culture and responds to all-too-frequent comments that Indigenous people should “just get over it.” Cutcha points out that some salvation lies in traditional knowledge of what to eat after the collapse and a sense of humor.
I interviewed her in the spring of 2015 for a CBC Radio One documentary called The Coming Zombie Apocalypse. Its about why it’s so easy to imagine the end of the world, but why it’s so hard to imagine an end to capitalism. Air date: October 27, 2015 - 9 PM across Canada, in North America on Serius XM and on cbc.ca/ideas.
Cutcha Risling Baldy's blog post on this subject is at http://www.cutcharislingbaldy.com/blog/on-telling-native-people-to-just-get-over-it-or-why-i-teach-about-the-walking-dead-in-my-native-studies-classes-spoiler-alert
East Van Calling: Just a Small Oil Spill
In 1988 the Nestucca tanker barge spilled 874 000 liters of Bunker C oil into the Pacific. This radio play chronicles volunteer cleanup amid official foot dragging, as oil washes up on 95 miles of BC coast.
Amid 18 foot swells off Washington State, the Nestucca was struck and holed by the tug that was towing her.
Prevailing winter winds drifted the spill along the west coast of Vancouver Island. The heavy oil moved north for days, invisible, beneath the surface, washing up on beaches by New Years Eve.
56,000 seabirds were killed. Many crab and shellfish populations were oiled. Herring spawning areas were hit and sensitive ecosystems damaged. indigenous fishing practices were impacted.
After the recent spill into English Bay from bulk grain carrier MV Marathassa, we look back to another, bigger spill in a more remote area - through the magic of radio drama. So gather 'round the wireless.
This hour-long CBC radio drama is excellent- full of rich detail and character. However, it is an artifact of 1980s and lacks the perspective of the Nuu-Chal-Nulth and other First Nations on whose territory the oil landed.
The potentially severe health impacts of contact with Bunker C oil are not mentioned – and perhaps not known at the time.
DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME. Shoreline oil cleanup is dangerous, requiring specialized training and Personal Protective Equipment.
The CBC doesn’t make radio plays anymore. Radio drama studio 212 was shut in 2012, due to austerity cuts to the public broadcaster’s budget.
We were only able to obtain a copy thanks to Stafford Reid of enviroemerg.ca consulting who got out his cassette recorder back in the late ‘80s and hit record.
“Just a Small Oil Spill” aired in four parts on CBC Radio’s Morningside in 1989. It was written by Donald Halca. In the cast Steven Miller as Dave, Coleen Winton as Beth, Boyd Norman as Serge, Norman Browning as Rick, as well as Lilian Carlson, Ron Halder, Willy Marsh, Laurie Murdock and Steve Ivings. Technical engineering by Gene Loverock and Sound Effects by Joe Silven. Program Assistant was Loretta Joyce. Production Assistant was Stephanie Katourse. Produced in Vancouver by Don Kolletuck.
East Van Calling: Radio Kričač - Underground AntiFa Transmissions in WW2 Slovenia
During World War 2, across Europe, partisans used underground radio against the Nazis.
Ljubljana, Slovenia, was occupied and encircled by barbed wire. Subversive broadcasters set up Radio Kričač in a different basement every night, trying to stay one step ahead of the fascists. Broadcasts opened with the urgency of a ticking clock.
In 1945, Slovene partisans threw out the fascist occupiers, without the military assistance of the allies. Seven decades later, the spirit of that resistance is being celebrated.
Aljaž Pengov Bitenc is descended from Slovenian partisans and radio folk. He writes blog, a newspaper column and runs Radio Kaos. East Van Calling talked to Aljaž about Radio Kričač in his small studios, overlooking the old city of Ljubljana.
With one eye on the board to monitor the station’s afternoon broadcasts, he explained how those WW2 anti-fascist transmissions worked.
The irregular transmissions had moral boosting messages, reports of partisan actions and readings form Slovene authors and poets.
Eventually, Kričač went radio silent. The fascists could never find the transmitter. Instead, they confiscated all the radio receivers of Ljubljana. But now it's back. Radioheads in the Slovenian capital are broadcasting on 88.8 FM, and on the web at http://radiokricac.si until May 9. Smrt fašizmu, svoboda narodu!
Produced by Lisa Hale
Thanks to Radio Slovenia for the reenacted Radio Kričač jingle
"Bandiera Rossa" by Pankrti
Recorded in Ljubljana in 2013 for the CBC Ideas program "End of the Dial" by G.Mullins, L.Hale & Y.Gall
East Van Calling: Kuna Eclipse Creation Story
On the San Blas Islands, people with albinism save the world during lunar eclipse. Kuna cosmology holds that during a lunar eclipse, a jaguar is eating the moon. Kunas with albinism fire arrows at the celestial jaguar and save the world.
Unlike the classic Hollywood trope of the evil albino, cultural and social ideas about albinism are not universally negative.
Albinism has deep spiritual and symbolic power in the believe systems of many indigenous peoples across the Americas. Albinism is characterized by little or no pigment in the skin, hair or eyes, low vision and photosensitivity. In some cultures, those with the condition are afforded a special status.
People with albinism figure prominently in the cosmology of the Kuna. One of the eight original humans had the condition. During lunar eclipses, the Kuna must stay indoors, except the “moon children” (Kunas with albinism) who fire arrows at the celestial jaguar and save the people.
This episode features Kelly Allen, a writer and researcher on the social conditions of people with albinism in Uganda and Panama.
The episode uses a clip from CBC Radio One's "The Imaginary Albino" by G Mullins & L Hale. as well as an interview conducted with Kelly Allen, academic and researcher on social responses to albinism in Uganda and Panama.
East Van Calling: Albinism at the United Nations
The UN has proclaimed every June 13th as International Albinism Awareness Day - to bring attention to the rare genetic condition and to the discrimination & voilence that often accompany it.
People with albinism - albinos - tend to have little or no pigment in the skin , hair or eyes. We are legally blind and light sensitive and rare. Only one in 20 000 has the condition in North America and Europe; one in 2,000 in Africa.
In some parts of the world having albinism can put you in danger of being attacked.
In East Africa there is a trade in the body parts of people with albinism— our fingers and toes, and bones and blood, and hair and skin have become commodities on a black market.
There is a superstition among the wealthy elites in some parts of the world, that potions made from albino body parts will give them lucky powers.
The UN passing this resolution on November 18, 2014 is a shout out to all the people around the world who are by themselves with this condition, and suffering in isolation because its such a rare condition.
Thanks to Lois Grant for the audio of my speech and to Carol Off & jeff Douglas at CBC Radio One's As It Happens for the interview
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