After Hours at the Libertarian Convention

I took the 16th Street Mall shuttle this evening to the Sheraton Denver Hotel (formerly the Adams Mark) to check in with the National Libertarian Convention. The big hall was empty except for a guy working at his laptop on the front stage. He turned out to be the National Secretary, Bob Sullentrup, who was kind enough to pause in his toil of writing the minutes to speak with me about the day's events. Bob Barr was nominated for president on the sixth ballot this afternoon, finally besting Mary Ruwart, who was nominated vice president.

On the way out of the hotel I spoke with two delegates and a party member. My Twitter friend Rick Wolff, a Libertarian delegate from New York in 1992, was following along via the live Qik feed, providing a running chat commentary that I could see on the screen of the Nokia N95.

As an early and strong supporter of Barack Obama, I am pretty far from the Libertarian outlook. But I admired the clarity and passion of the Libertarians I spoke with tonight. It's refreshing to step away from the Clinton-Obama horse race into a world where ideas matter more than winning.

I plan to return to the Convention tomorrow morning for some audio interviews for Wednesday's Audio Pod Chronicles.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Don't Miss "The Last Five Years"

Playing through June 29th at the Garner Galleria Theatre in the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, this two-person musical carried me away to a good place this evening.

I attended it alone, because Darlene is hosting a quilting class at the apartment--a frenzy of fabric and thread, a whirlwind of four women totally focused on quilts with the man of the house in elegant exile at the Curtis Hotel for two nights.

The musical is about a man and woman who fall in love, drift apart and after five years finally split up. What's unique is the way the story is told. At the start, the woman, played tonight by Johanna Brickley, is singing songs from the end of the relationship, and the man, Thom Miller, is at the beginning, five years earlier. As the stage time proceeds, she goes back in time, and he goes forward. This creates all sorts of artful tension and irony, but the real payoff is the point at which they sing together in the same 10 minutes of time before continuing their solo trajectories to past and future.

The score was quirky and unpredictable, and the actors were strong in voice and presence. They made me feel intimately how lucky I am to be in a marriage that works. But it also made me know how often she and I do not reside in the same moment, because of various external ambitions and worries that pull us into our own worlds. I left the theatre determined to find and savor more of our 10 minutes together.

So if you're in Denver, don't miss this show! And bring someone you love.

NOTE: The Denver Post reviewer got lost in the couple's career plot and missed the emotional authenticity, which really worked in my opinion. The guy could have been a lawyer as well as a writer, and she could have been an environmental engineer instead of an aspiring actress--it wouldn't have changed the deeper human rhythms of the show. I did admire the critic's coining of a word to describe the show, though. He called it a "divorcical."


Saturday, May 24, 2008

First Lit Reading on a Kindle?

This evening at Cafe Babu in Boulder I read the opening portion of an essay published today in Wazee Journal, a Denver e-zine. Instead of printing out the pages, I loaded the text onto my Kindle and read from the device. A first in literature? Well, maybe. In any event, it was a fine gathering of Wazee authors and writers published by Green Fuse Community Press.

My essay is titled "Cold Turkey in Paradise: 12 Days Off the Internet at Maho Bay." Thanks to Jessica Slater, nonfiction editor of Wazee, for accepting it for publication. It was good to see her again at the reading.

I filmed the first part of the evening with my Nokia N95, but it ran out of battery after about 45 minutes. That recording is available at .


Mile High Podcaster Peeps

I attended this evening's Denver Area Podcasters Meetup at La Loma restaurant and was impressed at the size of the crowd--more than 20 by my count. We heard the latest from Goldie Katsu on the Thin Air Summit, and I made a pitch for the upcoming Denver Media Makers meeting Sunday May 25th at 10 a.m. at Panera Bread, 1313 Grant St., Denver. I was also pleased to meet the multi-talented technologist Ron Lewis for the first time, having followed him for a long time on Twitter.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Podcasting for the Arts in Montana

UPDATE: The embedded frame now contains archive of my presentation.

UPDATE 2: My presentation begins at about 10 minutes into the recording, so you might want to move the slider bar ahead that far to skip past the setup.

If all goes well, the above window will show the live feed of my presentation today in Great Falls Montana at the Montana Arts Council's "Marketing Tune-Up" workshop. I am scheduled to begin my "Technology as a Strategic Tool" presentation at 10:15 am Mountain Time (12:15 p.m. Boston time). I will spend most of my time urging the nine arts organizations at the workshop to consider podcasting as a way to reach new audiences. We will create a composite audio podcast featuring 2-minute snippets from each one and upload it during the second hour of my presentation.

Here are places I'll take my audience on the Internet:

Kodak "Winds of Change" video



ComScore stats on growth in online video viewing

A 3-year-old reviews Star Wars - video

Bill O'Reilly's meltdown - video

Viral Video Chart

Tacoma Art Museum on Twitter

Yesterday's streaming went pretty well and you can click here for Jim Copenhaver's talk on audience development. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the record feature to work during Dale Erquiaga's excellent presentation on branding, but he had some viewers during the live stream and some action in the chat room. UPDATE: Click here for the second part of Dale's talk, given today (May 17)>

UPDATE: Here is the link for the audio podcast the group made during my workshop session, quick voices from the following Montana arts organizations: CM Russell Museum, Montana PBS, Fort Peck Fine Arts Council, Butte Center for Performing Arts, Paris Gibson Square museum, Southwest Montana Arts Council, Great Falls Symphony, Premiere Dance Company, and Great Falls Arts Association.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Where There's Smoke There's Podcasting

Last night's visit to Cape Cod to give a talk on podcasting began with some drama.

As Beth Dunn and I made final adjustments to the equipment at the the office and meeting room where she is Director of Communications, the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, she spotted smoke coming from an electrical outlet and surge protector. It smelled really bad, and it made us wonder if there was something burning somewhere we couldn't see. Beth called the Hyannis Fire Department, which responded forthwith. And so 15 minutes before my audience of 40 people was due to arrive, the room was filled with full-suited firemen carrying axes and cool digital monitors. Beth, whose network in the real world rivals her extensive connections online, quickly found another venue at Cape Cod Community College. I unhooked my Mac and the projector and stuffed all the tech gear in the suitcase for a quick change of plans.

My talk thus got off to a late start, but by the end of it I'd forgotten about the smoking surge protector because of the high engagement level of the folks who followed us over to the college. It was an audience made up entirely of artists exploring ways to support their art with new media tools. Most had heard the term "podcast" but had little idea what it meant. They asked great questions that helped me understand the subject better, which is always a payoff of giving these sorts of presentations.

I recorded the session with my Edirol R-09. The volume was all over the place, because I left the Edirol on a table and moved around a lot. Twitter friends Simon Young of New Zealand, Duane the ThePreppyDude, Darren Barefoot of Victoria, B.C., and Steve Rhodes of San Francisco offered helpful advice on how to improve the file minutes after I posted a plea for aid on Twitter. In the end, the Conversation Network's free and excellent Levelator improved the audio to within listenable quality. The talk lasts an hour and 20 minutes.

Several people came up after my talk to say they planned to experiment with podcasting. I can't wait to receive my first email with a link to a new show that got its start on Cape Cod. When Beth and I returned to the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, we were relieved to see the building stills standing.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My Podcast Subscriptions

In preparation for tomorrow's presentation on podcasting at the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, I have been reviewing my current list of podcasts, as shown in my iTunes directory. This list changes all the time, as some podcast fall out of favor and I audition new ones. I try to keep it at about one screen full of names; otherwise I'd just keep adding new ones. A guy I know at Apple today emailed me that the latest published count of podcasts in the iTunes directory is 130,000. My favorites, of course, near the top and bottom of the list above, are my own offerings, the Audio Pod Chronicles and the Video Pod Chronicles, which appear on alternating Wednesdays.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Utterz as the rx for Preparation Block

I'm preparing for a presentation on podcasting Tuesday on Cape Cod and used Utterz as a way of thinking out loud. Which was great, because Beth Dunn, who's hosting the presentation in her capacity as Director of Communication for the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, found the video on Utterz and left an audio comment letting me know she thinks I'm on the right track. This is a great way to prepare for a presentation, and playing around with Utterz helped me muscle through preparation-block. I'm really excited about the Cape Cod event. My session is maxed out at about 40 participants and is part of the Foundation's 2008 Speaker Series titled "Tell Your Story: Personal Branding, PR, and New Media for the Artist."


Saturday, May 10, 2008

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