Tag Archives: podcast

For Ears Only: LightHouse Listenings presents podcast ‘The World According to Sound’ on March 8th and 9th

Ever wondered what bridges sound like? Or ants? In a new event at LightHouse, we’re offering an opportunity to relax, join friends for a drink and simply enjoy the act of listening.

On March 8th and 9th, the LightHouse for the Blind in San Francisco will host its first-ever LightHouse Listenings — a live listening party for ears only — featuring San-Francisco based podcast The World According to Sound.

When: Wednesday, March 8th and Thursday, March 9th at 7 p.m., doors open at 6 p.m.

Where: LightHouse Headquarters, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco

Cost: $10 in advance. $15 at the door (cash only). Visit our Eventbrite page to purchase tickets online. If you experience any difficulties purchasing tickets through Eventbrite, contact LightHouse Events Manager Dagny Brown at dbrown@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7311.

The World According to Sound (WATS) takes you on an hour-long jaunt through sound and space. Auditory hallucinations, cityscapes of bygone eras— these are the sonic oddities you might experience (or just truly pay attention to) for the very first time. Think 100 people sitting in a dark room equipped with sleep shades as they listen to a selection of choreographed sounds coming from eight world-class speakers placed throughout the room.

If it all sounds a little curious or experimental, we’ve got you covered: come straight from work for a beer on us. Doors open at 6. We think letting your mind do a little wondering and wandering might just be the perfect way to unwind after a long day in the office.

Not only are podcasts an inherently accessible medium for the blind and low vision community, but The World According to Sound is perfect for our audience of radio, recording and audio enthusiasts. So we’re teaming up with the podcast to bring the event directly to a local live audience for The World According to Sound’s east coast tour sendoff. It’s your chance to lean back and listen to the sound of blackholes, auctioneers, the Golden Gate Bridge and more — the eyes have no place at this event.

The two public radioheads behind the WATS, Chris Hoff and Sam Harnett, are no strangers to their live event’s popularity in the blind and low vision community — that’s why they approached us to host their east coast tour sendoff. The podcast’s very first donation, back in 2015, came from a blind listener in Nevada, who loved the evocative nature of the 90-second sound show. They have since received recurring praise from other blind and low vision attendees who were refreshed to find an event so tailored to a non visual medium.

Hoff and Harnett also have some interesting theories about sound and visual culture. They think that non visual mediums, like sound, might create a little more room for a special mental state to creep in – one might call it luxurious boredom – a kind of freeing opportunity for the always-spinning brain.

“Visual culture in America is so dominant and controlling,” says Sam. “But when you present sound in the right way, you create a space where your mind is invited to meander.”

“We’re looking for a sound that can communicate to the listener in a new way, evoke something and making you think about the world differently,” says Chris. “Our jobs in public radio have made us pay attention to sound — we’ve been conditioned to listen to spaces.”

You’ll probably walk away from the event thinking about audio in a whole new way. We certainly did after digging into a few episodes on the World According to Sound’s SoundCloud page.

LightHouse Listenings

We present live listening parties for ears only, from live podcast recordings to pre-recorded material, hosted by LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco. We’ll host panels, album releases, live musicians, you name it — if you’re into listening, we’ve got the venue. If you’re interested in staging your event for LightHouse Listenings, contact LightHouse Events Manager Dagny Brown at dbrown@lighthouse-sf.org.

About the World According to Sound

Sam Harnett and Chris Hoff started the World According to Sound show with one idea: to make radio that’s about sound, not storytelling. They both tell stories in their public radio day jobs — Sam as a reporter at KQED and Chris as a sound engineer at KALW. But they believe the medium has potential for so much more. That’s their bigger goal—to bring more sound, more experimentation, and more weirdness to mainstream public radio in their 90-second podcast.

WATS East Coast Tour

Starting on March 25, the World According to Sound will be touring the east coast and presenting their live event at colleges and universities including Skidmore College, University of Vermont,  Boston University and others. First stop? UVM on March 25th. Visit www.theworldaccordingtosound.org to stay updated.

A special thanks goes to BBI Engineering Inc. for sponsoring this event with the donation of eight world-class speakers. 

Street Photography – By and For the Blind

Tim Tonachella’s voice is unmistakable. I’ve learned its texture, its subtle turns and the meaning behind the sounds. It’s got some gravel in it; it throws stones playfully. Over several phone calls with the Michigan photographer this past year, though, when we talked about his life, his approach and his raw, explorative photography – the main thing ringing in my ears was that he didn’t want the first bullet point to be that he’s blind.

We talked a lot about how describing things affects how they’re perceived, and my intention was not to congratulate him for being the first legally blind guy to pick up a camera (he’s not, in case you’re wondering).

I reached out to ask if we could use his work in an exercise to help explore the  process and practicalities of describing artwork for a blind audience. He was kind enough to say yes, and today we’re able to present never-before-seen photos along with a conversational, round-table audio description from a few folks who have spent time at the intersection of blindness and visual art: UC Berkeley professor Georgina Kleege, SFMOMA curator Peter Samis and San Francisco photographer Troy Holden.

Before we dive into the audio, a bit more about Tim Tonachella. He came to photography later in life, and when he first picked up the camera, everyone seemed to scratch their heads. He had gone to the Michigan School for the Blind with the likes of musician Stevie Wonder and our own Enchanted Hills Camp Construction Manager George Wurtzel, and though he still wryly jokes that he “never really liked blind people” much, his legal blindness was a constant throughout his life. When he picked up the camera in his fifties though, he suddenly had access to new worlds. The telephoto lens wasn’t, as many might assume, a confounding tool only for use by sighted folks, but instead opened up environments and enhanced his ability to see much in the way it would for those who clock in at 20/20 on the eye chart.

On January 27, Tonachella’s show “Growing Old On the Street” opens at the Downriver Council for the Arts in Wyandotte, MI. The collection is full of portraits, candid and posed, that reflect  the toughness of Tonachella’s human fabric. The show, which also showcases the interpretative works of dozens of other artists, reflects Tonachella’s core sensibilities: generous, honest and a bit rough around the edges. Tonachella’s process is a labor of love, and often involves sitting patiently to hear the stories and take in the realities of the quietly persevering souls that cities have left behind.

Listen to the whole discussion in the playlist above or click each image to be directed to its associated Soundcloud link. Find out more about Tim Tonachella’s upcoming shows at the end of this post.

Photograph 1: A man sits on a concrete ledge and leans his weight into wrought iron fence. His wears a bucket hat and the smoke from the cigarette curled in his right hand catches in the light. A bottle of hard liquor is perched next to him on the ground, slightly concealed by an angular concrete block. Click the image to hear the corresponding audio file.
Photograph 1: A man sits on a concrete ledge and leans his weight into wrought iron fence. His wears a bucket hat and the smoke from the cigarette curled in his right hand catches in the light. A bottle of hard liquor is perched next to him on the ground, slightly concealed by an angular concrete block. Click the image to hear the corresponding audio file.
Photograph 2: An old man clasps a cigarette in his wizened mouth, below his salt and pepper mustache. He wears a bucket hat and a worn polo. His eyes are closed. Click the image to hear the corresponding audio file.
Photograph 2: An old man clasps a cigarette in his wizened mouth, below his salt and pepper mustache. He wears a bucket hat and a worn polo. His eyes are closed. Click the image to hear the corresponding audio file.
Photograph 3: An old, closed-down, shuttered candy store. A clutter of old boxes and furniture appear through the gaping window. Click the image to hear the corresponding audio file.
Photograph 3: An old, closed-down, shuttered candy store. A clutter of old boxes and furniture appear through the gaping window. Click the image to hear the corresponding audio file.
Photograph 4: A man in a knit cap, denim jacket and hoodie looks at the camera with a steady gaze. Click the image to hear the corresponding audio file.
Photograph 4: A man in a knit cap, denim jacket and hoodie looks at the camera with a steady gaze. Click the image to hear the corresponding audio file.
Photo 5: The same man breaks into a toothy grin. The shot is farther away and reveals the piano he sits at, his gloved finger pressing into ivory keys. Click the image to hear the corresponding audio file.
Photo 5: The same man breaks into a toothy grin. The shot is farther away and reveals the piano he sits at, his gloved finger pressing into ivory keys. Click the image to hear the corresponding audio file.

Tonachella’s exhibition at The Downriver Council for the Arts runs from January 27 through February 10, 2017. Downriver Council for the Arts, 81 Chestnut Wyandotte, MI 48192

He’ll also be featured in two other shows in Michigan coming up in July and October this year.

July 2017: Village Theater at Cherry Hill, 50400 Cherry Hill Road, Canton, MI 48187 (exact dates to be announced)

October 2017: Tim’s solo show will Exhibit during National Visual Impairment month. Y Arts, The YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit, 1401 Broadway St, Detroit, MI 48226 (exact dates to be announced)