Long before the podcast, there was Third Coast International Audio Festival. Since 2000, Third Coast has been a leader in audio storytelling, paving the way for this craft back when our ears relied on iPods. This year’s festival, called The Fest, features two weeks of live podcasts in venues across the city—from October 1 to 12—that will overlap partially with their annual Third Coast Conference.
The experimental storytelling podcast Imaginary Advice will kick off the festival at Links Hall with Scottish author Ross Sutherland presenting stories, essays, and poetry that have never been heard on the show before. Links Hall resident AJ McClenon, a sound artist and performer, will join the show as a special guest.
Each one of Sutherland’s imaginative pieces is inspired by found video footage. He samples 10 seconds of an Irish news broadcast to transform it into Renaissance painting; he took an old videotape of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to reconnect himself with his grandfather; and he deconstructs a TED talk to analyze our dreams. This will be Sutherland’s only North American appearance in 2018.
The second event will be a completely new and original show between Third Coast Audio Festival and producer Martina Castro (co-creator of Radio Ambulante, NPR’s first Spanish language podcast, and both creator and host of Duolingo’s Spanish Podcast). Titled Historias Bilingües En Vivo/Bilingual Stories Live! on October 3rd at the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, the festival’s producer Isabel Vázquez will help curate an evening of stories told live by Castro as well as Chicago artists and storytellers.
This is but a taste of the imaginative shows Third Coast Audio Festival has planned for us — The Fest includes 6 other shows. Third Coast was among the first to lead the way in audio storytelling, and now in the age of podcasts and smartphones, they’re pushing the boundaries of the form while drawing our attention to the craft.
More information on their entire list of programs and ticket information can be found here.
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